Shake Shack restaurant trials self order systems to reduce labor costs #Robotics #automation

Having customers place their own order has been in trials – or already implemented – at many restaurant chains as a way to reduce labor costs.

“We need to answer how we take care of our team with that federally mandated wage,” said Chief Executive Officer Randy Garutti during a phone interview. “Our labor costs are skyrocketing.” The new location is “our way of seeing how we are going to do that.”

Source: Shake Shack Claims Automation Won’t Hurt Its Famed Hospitality – Bloomberg

Automation was going to reduce the need for labor regardless of wage laws; however, sharp increases in minimum wage laws are accelerating the trend to reduce the number of workers, where possible.

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Workaround: Barnes and Noble Nook e-reader app no longer available for PC, Mac #BarnesAndNoble

I discovered after a Mac OS X update that my very old Nook e-reader app for Mac OS X no longer works – and that Nook discontinued the app for PC and Mac desktops in 2013. Barnes and Noble says we should use their cloud-based/web-based app from a browser (presumably this means we must have an Internet connection in order to read?)

Problem 1 – Barnesandnoble.com Inaccessible

Unfortunately, an attempt to access the Barnes and Noble web site returns

This page is unavailable due to either geographic restrictions or other restrictions in place at this time. NOTE: other restrictions can be a result of our security platform detecting potential malicious activity. Please try again later as the restrictions may be lifted, or contact your service provider if the issue persists.

ID: 8387029820181080074

As best I can tell, this means Barnes and Noble has blocked our IP address for unknown reasons. Their recommended solution is to reboot our Internet access modem and/or attempt to request a new IP address. This is absurd. Our IP address works fine for accessing all other web sites.

Problem 2 – No Nook E-Reader app available – Work Around

If Barnes and Noble e-books can no longer be read on a PC or Mac, what can we do?

One solution is to install an Android emulator, and then install the Android B&N e-reader app in the emulated Android. An emulator is basically a simulator – it simulates and Android device but its really just software running on a PC or a Mac.

I installed the Nox Android emulator app on my Macbook. After dealing with odd user interface issues, I went into the Google folder and opened Google Play, and then downloaded and installed the Nook e-reader app for Android. I ran that and was able to synchronize my library of purchased e-books and can now read them using the Nook app for Android running in an emulator on my Macbook. The emulator seems to be a bit hard on the battery – may want to use this solution when you can plug in the notebook computer to AC.

I had the same IP address when I synchronized the Nook library, pointing to something very weird (and possibly very stupid) in Barnes and Noble’s web site operation.

 

 

 

AccuWeather app continues spying on user’s location #privacy

New tests reveal that while one privacy-invading feature was removed in an app update, the app still shares precise geolocation coordinates with advertisers.

Source: Despite privacy outrage, AccuWeather still shares precise location data with ad firms | ZDNet

This is done without the user’s consent.

Accuweather says it uses one’s location data to provide local weather forecasts but it appears the primary purpose is to optimize ad revenue. A side effect is that a dossier of our movement is constantly maintained by corporations.

With Android, if you use the GPS location features of the phone for any purpose what so ever, Google logs your location in the cloud. You cannot opt out of this – your choice is to use location services and be surveiled by Google, or not to use any GPS location features.

We now use an offline Garmin navigation product which presumably is not logging our location as it is only connected to the Internet a few times per year to update the software. But we really don’t know – may be Garmin is also logging our location albeit with a months long delay.

San Diego’s minimum wage experiment accelerating adoption of automation

San Diego raised its minimum wage very rapidly. Data suggests that while the wage hike benefits those with minimum wage jobs, it is also rapidly eliminating low wage jobs all together. Read the entire (and long) story for the details.

This blog has long noted that while automation is going to happen regardless, rapid minimum wage hikes accelerate the adoption of automated systems, eliminating jobs more rapidly:

And California’s decision to speed Darwinian selection also encourages automation. McDonald’s is rolling out ordering kiosks, Starbucks is testing robotic baristas, and hamburger-making machines are nearing production.

One local restaurant owner told me that all his future locations will allow customers to buy and pour their own beers.

A 50-handle system costs $1,800 per handle. That’s well above $1,000 per handle for the bartender-based system, but it pays off in a year by eliminating one or two workers per shift. Presumably someday robots will listen to our problems, too.

Rising productivity is good for the bulk of consumers, because fewer workers equate to lower bills.

Source: Is San Diego’s new minimum wage already hurting its poor? – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Eliminating jobs through automation is not necessarily a bad thing. ATM machines, self service gas, self service check outs are all examples of recent semi-automated services that we take for granted. Throughout history, many jobs have gone away – elevator operators and telephone “manual switch” operators all went away.

If automation frees up labor to be put to more productive uses, this is a good outcome. However, there will be some who are not able to transition to higher value added work and may be come unemployable.

Merely having Tor software may be used against you in Court?

In other words, Tor:

Solari said Winner’s laptop also contained software that could enable her to access online black-markets and buy items — such as a fake ID or passport — without revealing her identity or location.

Source: Accused NSA leaker wanted to ‘burn the White House down’ | New York Post

They can make the same allegation about encryption. Attempting to protect your medical, financial and educational records is a sign of nefarious intent?

Every journalist in existence, if they are any good at all, has Tor on their computer. So do private industry analysts reviewing competitor’s products and government policy plans. Tor is a browser that assists with anonymous browsing and accessing web sites as it hides one’s true IP address from the destination web server. There are numerous and valid reasons to use Tor to access publicly available information.

Improving industrial efficiency using #InternetOfThings #Iot sensor technology

Reno startup Filament is gearing up for high-scale production. The startup recently closed a $15 million round of new venture financing. The capital will allow Filament to scale manufacturing

[Their tech is designed to upgrade legacy industrial systems]

First, the device can physically connect to the machine if it has a diagnostic port. Second, the technology can monitor the environment around the infrastructure. Their devices can monitor temperature, humidity, light, sound pressure level and accelerometer movement. Lastly, the devices can provide a large-scale network in areas where there is little or no cellular service or WiFi.

Source: Reno-based tech startup Filament secures $15M in venture financing | nnbw.com

This is a great area of opportunity – enabling the monitoring of legacy equipment. Some times, just knowing the variation in temperature and humidity can be an important piece of information on a manufacturing line, or in an HVAC system or what ever your system process is.