The time for self-driving cars is already here. A permit was awarded to Nuro — the state’s first commercial permit for self-driving cars — from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in late December 2020.
This permit allows it to operate autonomous vehicles commercially on the roads of two counties. Welcome to the world of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, wherein soon everything shall be autonomous and automated.
What’s Next? Machine Learning 2021
As per current reports, 65% of companies who are planning to adopt machine learning say the technology helps businesses in decision-making. In the article, we shall help you further understand and analyze these developments.
What is Machine Learning?
The current big data technology developments are churning out eons of data every second. But, what exactly should be done of this data if it cannot be well utilized well. Machine Learning ensures that the data patterns and processes thus created are utilized well to “train” machines as to how things need to be done.
Humans have forever tried to develop machines that could understand and analyze facts like humans and make decisions on their own, just like a human brain.
Under the purview of Artificial Intelligence, concepts and algorithms that are actually making machines smart enough to make autonomous decisions are called Machine Learning.
So, if an autonomous car decided to lower its speed in the forthcoming times, it is a Machine Learning led decision.
Trends that shall define the evolution of ML in 2021
Machine Learning makes a machine “smart.” With various applications and trending innovations in this circuit, there a plethora of developments in terms of businesses as well as products and services that shall be on offer for the users in 2021:
Have you ever noticed the insightful and customized recommendations that Netflix offers its users as per their current “watchlist?”
In fact, it is now one of the most effective ways for the platform’s content creators to get found. Even the Amazon recommendations based on your earlier choices and orders are Machine Learning initiated.
With user experience topping the requirement list of all online businesses, 2021 is sure to witness several developments on these lines with more complex and thorough usabilities.
Do you know about Google Lens and its various ML algorithms? The platform basically transforms machine-created images into virtual search options, leading the user to search for the related information online.
It is the best application development framework and basically involves image-based search rather than regular text-based searches. Lens uses computer vision, machine learning, and Google’s Knowledge Graph to make things work.
Mobile Apps like Facebook and Instagram also utilize similar algorithms to help users auto-tag their friends. Already a rage in the online community, the developments in this field are further touted to get more advanced in the upcoming times.
More than half of all smartphone users have engaged with voice technology on their device in one form or the other. It is the future of how the world searches.
In-home voice-based searches through Alexa and Google-home have been transforming the complete user experience of varied connected devices as well. Further developments on these technologies include more streamlined conversations (without wake words like ‘ALEXA’ or ‘GOOGLE’) using evolved Machine learning-based NLP (Natural Language Processing).
There are algorithms, as well, as better compatibility and integrations within various connected devices and software. These developments are further set to evolve in 2021.
The ever-evolving Chatbots
Chatbots have been deployed to care for the customer relation management and HR verticals of businesses (especially in this COVID-19 era) with aplomb.
They are the new technology tool helping clients digital assets like websites, mobile apps, etc., to communicate with the users without any time-lapse. Basically, chatbots are of 2 kinds. The basic ones pick up trending keywords and provide viewers with answers already fed in the system.
However, the modern chatbots are of the second type wherein AI, and Machine Learning algorithms are being utilized to make them smart by helping them understand user requirements through the data they input.
With machine learning chatbots continuing to advance in 2021 as well, we are entering an age of intelligent automated shopping assistants that will make the overall experience smarter, to say the least.
Machine Learning and IoT devices
As you likely know, you can connect your Dyson to Alexa and control it. You can work to gain the same connectivity within the varied range of connected devices all around us. The list of such devices includes smartwatches, smart refrigerators, smart clothes, to name a few.
Reports suggest that the IoT market revenue is $212 billion worldwide. By 2025, there are expected to be more than 75 billion devices globally. Slowly, but gradually the systems monitoring and controlling them are touted to get smarter with more and more integration of ML-based algorithms.
The integration of these two technologies shall fire on the base platform to develop smart cities of the future. The concept and its related applications are already under development and are sure to come under real-time usage in many forms in 2021.
The culmination of these technologies shall enable the development of various smart new application ideas in the form of startups as well.
The technologies have also been playing quite a pivotal role in IIoT developments. IoT predicts the time at which a system or component will no longer perform its intended duties. ML can be effectively utilized in machine prognostics to end function, helping businesses predict machine issues, breakdowns, etc., leading to increased efficiency.
Machine Learning is now the choicest platform for Business Growth
A report by Crunchbase says that “Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning (ML) related companies received a record $27.6 billion in funding in 2020.”
The trend is further set to evolve and expand in 2021, with more and more companies taking up the challenge to develop smarter gadgets and systems for more autonomous work and lifestyle.
These trends are sure to take a prominent part in these developments.
Image Credit: yan krukov; pexels; thank you!
Lay Down Some Tracks with The GoTrax Traveler – ReadWrite
Who remembers the first time they saw one of those electric scooters or bikes propped up against a bus stop in their city? Nowadays, you can’t walk down a city block without seeing rows of e-scooters, e-bikes, and even mopeds. Needless to say, the micro-mobility trend has not only caught on, but it’s here to stay.
The on-demand model took off as we saw companies like Lime and Bird jump onto the scene. This trend is both an awesome and fun innovation, but soon these companies ran into some problems working with local jurisdictions. Scooters were crowding sidewalks, left in streets, freeways, and even found floating in rivers. These “micro-vehicles” needed a home, so a new opportunity was born.
Lay Down Some Tracks with The GoTrax Traveler
The demand was clearly there, but the pay-as-you-go model had its fair set of problems. That’s when GoTrax realized there was an opportunity.
GoTrax is a relatively new company making strides in the micro-mobility space. They are most commonly known for making an awesome line of inexpensive e-scooters. Now they’re breaking into the e-bike market and the ReadWrite team was lucky enough to take their GoTrax Traveler for a spin. Here’s my review:
Unboxing the GoTrax Traveler
The team here at ReadWrite definitely knows a thing or two about technology — but when it comes to bike mechanics, several people on our team we’re as “green” as they come. Luckily, the GoTrax Traveler was a breeze to assemble.
The box comes with all the tools and parts you’ll need to put the bike together. The instruction manual is fairly straightforward, but take a few pointers to heart from our experience.
First, this is definitely a two-person job. The front wheel is attached towards the end of the assembly process, so you won’t be able to prop the bike up on its kickstand for assembly. We already keep a bike stand inside our office to encourage a healthy lifestyle — so we assembled the bike using that when needed.
When attaching the handlebars, make sure the bars are aligned with the front wheel before tightening down the handlebar. Again you’ll want your assistant mechanic to hold the front wheel in place as the handlebars are aligned and tightened.
Lastly, I had a little trouble fitting the front wheel disc break into the brake pad without causing some friction. After loosening the pad and a few parts of the brake mechanism, everything worked fine—time for the fun part.
GoTrax Traveler Specs
The GoTrax traveler is the newest e-bike model in their 2021 line as of today. The e-bike boasts a 31 mile per charge (31 miles using pedal assist and 20.5 on pure electric) and speeds up to 20mph. Additionally, the GoTrax website lists the following specs:
- 36v 10.4AH Battery
- 500W Motor
- Electronic display with 3 speeds low (8.7mph), medium (14.3 mph), and high (20mph)
- 29″ Air filled tires
- Size – 60.62″ x 9.45″ x 31.89″
- Weight – 58.5lbs (max rider weight – 265 lbs)
The battery can be easily detached from the frame for charging, which takes anywhere from 4-6 hours and can be locked to the frame to avoid any “sticky fingers.” The goal of my test ride was to test these specs to what’s advertised on the GOTRAX site.
But, of course, everyone in the office wanted to watch and then see how this bike compared with their bikes at home. Obviously, many factors make up these numbers, but I did my best to give our readership an idea of what to expect.
We have had a ton of fun on these e-bikes.
Our main bike riders are about 6 ft. 160-180lbs and fit quite comfortably on the bike — but we have two women on the team and they like this size as well.
The seat is adjustable and the ride is more of a “cruiser” feel than a typical road bike. We all liked the bike on the fastest speed setting but can attest to the fact that the other speed settings are a great way to keep things in control.
If you are using pedal assist, use the lowest speed setting as the motor will quickly replace any effort you put into pedaling the bike.
The bike is quite powerful, the 500W motor can quickly get you up to the 20mph top speed quickly and the bike can climb uphill with ease. The ride is very smooth and really fun to ride around city streets, neighborhoods, and the thick tires even allow for some very light off-roading (this is probably not recommended, but we did it anyway).
The battery lasts long enough for several days/or even weeks of short trips and can easily be taken out for a full day of riding. The overall frame feels strong, and the bike should last a long time, assuming the electronics are taken care of. (I wouldn’t leave my bike out in the rain for long, though it might be fine.)
The bottom line is this bike is not only fun but a great option if you’re looking for a fair-priced electric bike. The GoTrax Traveler is currently retailing for $949.99 (at the time of writing this article), which includes a 30-day return policy and 3-5 day free shipping.
The ReadWrite team thoroughly enjoyed this e-bike, and given the 30-day return policy, we’d recommend taking a GoTrax Traveler out for a spin!
What Causes a Website to Load Slowly and How to Fix Them – ReadWrite
It is a common occurrence for business owners, bloggers, hobby website developers, or anyone else who has a site. Your site’s visitors could be wondering why your site loads very slowly, whether it is their online shop, blog, or social media platform.
What Causes a Website to Load Slowly and How to Fix Them
The speed of your site determines how successful your website will be. It has a central role to play, including the conversion rate and the visibility of your site. Thus, optimizing your website’s speed is vital, although it might need some input to get it done.
Luckily, there are several accessible speed tests applicable. Even though there are several reasons why your site may be slow, you can resolve most of them for free. Unfortunately, slow speed for your website is undoubtedly a recipe for failure.
It is frustrating to both you and the visitors to your site. Slow loading sites account for at least 2.6 billion in losses of lost revenue each year. Thus, we look at some of the most common reasons why your site runs slowly and possible solutions you apply to start noticing a difference in your business.
Using unoptimized images on your website
If you have large file sizes with no tags, no description, or names, such images are considered unoptimized, and they may slow your website.
Images resulting from programs such as Photoshop are known to be large files. Even though they may be quality images, they can slow your website since they carry many details.
Besides, Goggle can’t see images. Thus, they usually read alternate tags only, which gives you room to add a small description of the image, but without the description, Google will not know what your images are.
How to solve it
You will need to optimize the images on your website hence turning your website into a fast one. While optimizing the images, you should start by compressing them first.
If you resize images, you should keep the ratio intact. Thus, if you resize the height, you will also need to resize the width; otherwise, you will be distorting the image quality.
Look for a photo editing platform that will allow you to stick to the correct ratio. It will be essential to change the size of the actual images instead of stating the size of the image on the website’s code since that will not optimize your images.
It is advisable to resize the photo before you insert the code. Besides, the file type is also vital in resizing the size of the image.
For instance, PNGs are applicable when using images that require some transparency or in instances where you need a very detailed image. But you should know that PNGs are larger files that take more time to load.
Since you want a standard file type that will load quickly, you should go for JPGs since they load quickly due to their smaller file sizes. Thus, the site will load faster for your visitors, particularly on mobile devices.
Too much flash content
Flash is a great tool that adds interactivity to your website, but it could also slow your website. Flash content consists of bulky files that are big hence making the pages load slowly.
Thus, reducing the size of the flash files or doing away with them will ultimately significantly improve your site’s speed. Also, you can look for HTML5 alternatives and use them to replace the existing flash content.
How to solve it
Find HTML5 replacements and reduce the size of the HTML files or eliminate them.
High traffic on the website
High traffic is another reason why websites get slow. Although information moves at a very high speed, it can only accommodate a given number of users before slowing down. The bandwidth of the website determines the number of visitors it can handle at a given time.
Bandwidth is how much technical information an internet connection can handle at a given time. A large bandwidth will handle more information, and thus it can handle more visitors.
The same case applies to the Mbps, which refers to megabits per second. It helps you to know how much information is transferred through your internet connection per second.
How to fix it
High traffic is necessary, and you should welcome it. But you will need to find a solution to keep your site loading faster by increasing your bandwidth.
That is achievable by contacting whoever is hosting your site and getting a better plan which will come with some increments.
Too many ads on your site
Ads will take a significant part on your site, just like videos and images, and can result in slow websites. If you are allowing third parties to advertise your website, they can cause your website to be slow.
The ads will increase the amount of time it takes to load the website and keep annoying the visitors to your site. The visitors on your site might bounce because of ads or the load time.
How to fix It
In case the visitors on your site are bouncing from your site due to too much load time, then decreasing the load time would be advisable; otherwise, you might end up losing valuable customers who would be worth more than the adverts.
Besides, if ads are your primary revenue source, you could be losing money if you have so many on your site. If the site takes too long to load, the visitors might find that they were waiting for ads instead of the content, and they bounce off annoyed.
Thus, it would be best to reduce the number of ads to at most two on your site. That will not slow your site much, and it will help to sustain your visitors.
A large number of social sharing buttons
It would be best to allow you and users to share information on social media fast, but it can also slow the load time if you have so many sharing buttons.
For these buttons to work, you will need to add them to your site plugins. You will also need to retrieve data from the respective social media site where they are used.
Thus, you will need to note that having a button for every social platform can lead to a slow pace for your site.
How to fix it
If you know your content does not get any share, you should do away with the share buttons. You should also reduce the number of share buttons on the page. It would be best if you only focus on high-value sites such as Facebook and Twitter without overloading your site.
It will also help to save your page from loading data from sites.
Lack of content delivery network (CDN)
Failure to use a content delivery network might be the cause of your slow website. Content delivery networks have several servers placed in various geographical places to serve your website users. The user will connect much faster to your website if you are using CDN with your website server. The content delivery network reduces the distance between the website server and the user.
The site loads very fast since the distance between the user and the website server is concise. A content delivery network speeds the communication between your browser and website server; without it, you might have to wait a bit longer to open your browser.
How to fix it
To fix a slow website, implement a content delivery network. You will have to engage a company offering professional content delivery network services for your website to be more accessible. The load time will be short, and you will have your website running in no time.
Having too many elements on a page
The videos, images, scripts, and various elements you have determine your page’s size. If you have more elements on a page, then it will load very slowly. When all pages load like snails, your website will be relatively slow.
How to fix it
To fix this problem, reduce the quantity and size of elements per page; this will reduce your website’s load. Maximize fewer images, videos, and other elements to achieve the desired effects. Consider performing a heat map test on your website to know what users are clicking and viewing.
The heat map test will help you know whether you have excess content on your website. Go ahead and delete videos, images, and other elements that have no views.
Inefficient web hosting
You need a hosting service for you to display your website online. Web host gives you space to create your website. As a result, it operates your website from its server. If a user enters your website in a browser, the web host uses its server and serves the user of your website.
Web hosting services have different costs, a cheap hosting service will load very slowly, and you may lose your customers.
How to fix it
Paying for a reliable web host will cost you more to acquire good hosting services, but you will enjoy peace of mind knowing that your website is easily accessible and loading time is reduced to seconds. Keep in mind that poor hosting services and a slow website can make you lose valuable customers. To avoid losing customers, always invest more in a hosting service that guarantees your users a fast load time.
Besides, you can acquire VPS windows since it is an inexpensive package, but it allows you to create and run complex websites. You can also store huge chunks of data and also stream it to a number of adaptable services. It is suitable for your company if you are not sure how much traffic you will experience.
Failure to make use of caching techniques
Caching is a technique that enables you to store data used frequently in cached memory. To improve the functioning and efficiency of your website, engage in the caching process. Without caching, you must be missing out.
The data at cached memory is easily retrieved as requests of this data are received directly to the point. Your website performance will drastically improve if you implement server and browser caching.
How to fix it
Caching is a bit tricky but can always be done carefully without altering something else. You can also engage an expert to do caching for you.
Various factors make your website load slowly. You require to take a lot of steps to make sure your website loads fast. It means a lot of time is required, while you may be engaged elsewhere. Being a business person, you may not have enough time to optimize your website. Hire an expert to clean the mess for you and have your fast-loading website.
How to fix it
Hire a professional is the easiest solution to having a fast-loading website. Experts always have knowledge, time, and resources to ensure your website is easily accessible. They also offer you advice on what you should do to have your website optimized.
Unclean coding is another cause of website slowness if your website has inline styling, large white spaces, empty new line, and irrelevant comments, the style sheet becomes more extensive in size, making your website load slowly.
How to fix it
Reduce the file size and compress the code to improve your website loading time; this process is called Minifying. If you don’t have enough knowledge in minifying, engage various online tools to clean and minify your stylesheet files. You can also consult IT experts.
Various factors affect the website loading speed. These factors include high traffic, too much flash content, numerous ads, bulky codes, and unoptimized images. It is challenging to determine what is the leading cause of a slow website.
You should put every effort into knowing the root cause of the problem and solve it, matter how hard it might seem. The fast-loading speed will attract customers and increase your monthly earnings. You can also look for an efficient support team to help you increase your website loading speed and solve your problem permanently.
Netflix and the Netflix of Gaming Opportunity – ReadWrite
Gaming has been big business for a long time — but Netflix just kicked the whole industry up about ten notches in one swipe during Netflix’s latest earnings call. Now, all of us have the great opportunity to Binge-Game as well as Binge-Watch.
Personally, I wish this essential entertainment step had been taken at the start of COVID — but whether Netflix makes this move early or late — the step is epic for all of us.
Netflix and the Netflix of Gaming Opportunity
“Games” is a really interesting component. There’s no doubt that games are going to be an important form of entertainment and important modality to deepen that fan experience so we’re going to keep going.” — Greg Peters
That statement once again fueled speculation that Netflix may be getting into gaming in a much bigger way.
In an industry that has long been dominated by a-la-carte and freemium business models, the idea of a subscription gaming service continues to be one of the most sought-after paradigm shifts for game companies.
In fact, Forbes said, “’The Netflix of video games’ is a label thrown around like confetti at a victory parade. It’s held out as the prize that awaits the winner in the burgeoning game streaming arena.”
Where are we in this paradigm shift, and what are the various subscription gaming platforms currently out there today?
Apple Arcade costs $5 per month and has over 180 of the best collection of mobile games — Arcade Originals, Timeless Classics, and App Store. Apple’s subscription is ad-free, has no in-app purchases, and is shareable with the entire family.
Some of the more popular games in Apple Arcade: NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition, Star Trek: Legends, Badland+, Monument Valley+, Sonic Racing, The Oregon Trail, SpongeBob: Patty Pursuit, Mini Metro, PAC-MAN Party Royale, Fantasian, What the Golf?, and LEGO® Brawls.
Microsoft Game Pass costs $10 per month for PC or Console, or $15 per month for both. The service continues to expand its offering and includes EA Play with the PC and PC+Console offers.
Microsoft finalized its acquisition of Zenimax and expanded its library for Game Pass by 20 massive games all at once, including The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind, Doom Eternal, Dishonored 2, and Prey.
The service includes other hit titles like Grand Theft Auto V, MLB® The Show™ 21, Outriders, Zombie Army 4: Dead War, NHL® 21, Minecraft, Forza Horizon 4, Destiny 2, Madden NFL 21, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six®, Star Wars™ Battlefront™II, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Age of Empires II, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
PlayStation Plus costs $5 per month when buying for the full year and $10 per month when subscribing monthly. Very different than the Microsoft Game Pass, Sony’s solution for PlayStation Plus provides 2 games each month that users are able to download and play for as long as they remain a subscriber.
Games include Call of Duty Black Ops III, Crash Banidcoot N Sane Trilogy, Resident Evil Biohazard, Fallout 4, Monster Hunter World, Battlefield 1, Days Gone, Zombie Army 4: Dead War, and Oddworld Soulstorm.
Stadia’s Pro subscription gaming solution costs $10 per month for PC streaming of games. Games playable for free as part of the subscription include Enter the Gungeon, Hitman 1, Everspace, PAC-MAN Mega Tunnel Battle, Lara Croft & the Guardian of Light, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Resident Evil 7 Biohazard, Republique, and Submerged: Hidden Depths.
Nintendo Switch Online costs only $20 per year, and the service is billed as primarily giving the ability to play hit Nintendo Switch games online, such as Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, Diablo 3, and pretty much everything else that has online connectivity.
The service does come with the bonus of offering over 80 Super NES™ and NES™ classic games—including Super Mario Kart™, Super Metroid™, The Legend of Zelda™: A Link to the Past™, Donkey Kong™ Country™ as part of the service.
TapTop — Alexa Built-In is a tabletop gaming console primarily for board games and costs $5 per month. It also includes Amazon’s free Alexa service providing all of Amazon’s Alexa Voice-Based Games.
TapTop’s library and full coming soon include — Yes! All of these — Catan, Ticket to Ride, Codenames, SET, Pandemic, Terraforming Mars, Machi Koro, Space Base, Dead Giveaway, Downforce, Conspiracy, My Little Scythe, Splendor, War Chest, Rival Restaurants, Fake News, Game of 49, Burgle Bros, Mini Metro, Hardback, 12 Orbits, Texcoco, Avalon, Tigris & Euphrates, Carcassonne, Takenoko, Jaipur, Love Letter, Medici, Axio, Ra, Mansions of Madness, Towers of Arkhanos, Mysterium, Pathfinder, Smallworld, Lost Cities, Concept, Blue Moon City, The Quest for El Dorado, Rise of Tribes, Game of Thrones, 7 Wonders, 7 Wonders Duel, Dream Home, Patchwork, Zombicide, Abandon Ship, Modern Art, Castle Panic, Night of the Ninja, Planet Apocalypse, Can’t Stop, Games of Art, and 8 Minute Empire.
In addition to traditional board games, the TapTop interacts with physical RFID-enabled figures placed directly on the screen and will be launching several titles incorporating physical RFID figures and RFID cards in late 2021.
Netflix of Gaming
Until Netflix enters the fold — the question of “Who will be the Netflix of gaming?” will be a question that continues. We are all banking (and hopeful) on Netflix!
Even after Netflix “makes it” — it seems that the “The Netflix of Gaming” title will be a debated and debated — long into the future.
At this point in time, Microsoft’s Game Pass, Apple’s Arcade, and Blok Party’s TapTop – Alexa Built-In seem to be the ones to beat.
Stay tuned to see how it all develops.
Top Image Credit: tima miroshnichenko; pexels; thank you!