Drone World – Amazon and the drone delivery network

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos announced this past Sunday (12/1/13) that his 21st century version of Wal Mart has been considering using drones to deliver small packages within 30 minutes to certain households. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Bezos guessed that this system might be in place in the not too distant future.

“I know it can’t be before 2015, because that’s the earliest we could get the rules from the FAA. My guess is that’s, that’s probably a little optimistic. But could it be, you know, four, five years? I think so. It will work, and it will happen, and it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”

Rightly so, this caused a degree of ridicule from all sectors of the web, here’s Charles Stross pointing out why this might be a bit far fetched-

That being said, I recently enjoyed a TED Talk with Andrea Raptopoulos about using a very similar delivery network to bring food and medicine to inaccessible parts of Africa. Companies are developing this technology… so why not one of the largest companies on earth?

James Ball at The Guardian helped to deflate the enthusiasm for it and bring a little bit of reality to the situation. Calling it little more than click bait, he sees it as a distraction from the very real stories about  the Panorama investigation which concluded that working conditions in Amazon’s factories could cause mental and physical illness, or the story that in spite of £7 billion in UK sales, they have paid no UK corporation tax.

Ball goes on to state that this was little more than a cynical ploy to boost Cyber Monday sales by getting their name into a major media outlet. This is, I think, Amazon’s reason for having Bezos do the Charlie Rose interview. The technology is incredible, and I do believe that after 2015, when the rules on these devices are relaxed by the FAA, we’ll see a lot more businesses start to use drones. For good and ill.

Here’s the clip that aired on 60 Minutes

Morning Cuppa – 03/21/13 – Hemingway! Websites matter! Charles Stross on self publishing!

I have a crippling case of con-envy this morning as my boy-o’s are off swan-diving into the sweaty pool of geekery that is Pax East. Don’t shed a tear for me though, I’m fine, REALLY I’M FINE!

  • Have you ever had the dream to get an opportunity to work in another writer’s space? If you’re willing to commit to a year-long stint in a suburban Chicago attic, then you just might be able to work in a home that Hemingway lived in. Until he was five at least. But hey, HISTORY!!!
  • Do you still need a website? Is it even an important part of an author’s platform anymore? You bet your boots, and especially if you’re an author of scifi, fantasy or horror, a website and rss feeds are a piece of the open web for which the paragons of our collective genres advocated. Jeremiah Tolbert explains more.
  • Charles Stross explains in a blog post today why he chooses not to self publish. When it comes right down to it, he doesn’t want to do the sales, marketing, not to mention copy editing, etc that goes into getting a book out. And it would be a huge time-suck even if he did know every part of the process. He’d rather just stick to the writing.
    Fair enough, though as a (currently) unpublished author, sometimes I wonder if that same freedom exists. If I never manage to get a contract, or if I decide that the payoffs for going with a publisher are too minimal, then I’ll be stuck doing these tasks myself. It’s neither here nor there, after all he was just relating why he doesn’t self publish but it does give you something to consider.

As I mentioned, my compadres from the podcast that I’m in, Unqualified Geeks, are at Pax East all weekend. Follow them on Twitter for more coverage.