Monthly Archives: May 2022

Filling the gap between classic cars and two-wheelers

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Squad Mobility has just officially announced its project – a two-person small car, which, among other things, has photovoltaic cells located on the roof.

Squad is a solar-powered tiny electric car with a simplistic design and is intended to be a low-cost alternative to other electric vehicles. It has retractable doors, wide windows and a solar panel on the roof that generates enough energy to drive 20 kilometers each day. It should be sufficient for average daily commuting. There is also a replacement battery that extends the range to 100 kilometers. The batteries can be charged at home from the socket or replaced at charging stations. Two engines will deliver 5 kilometers of power and a peak speed of 45 kilometers per hour.

Behind the design of Squad stands Mateusz Tomiczek –  Polish designer, who collaborated on the creation of electric cars before, such as the Lightyear One. Mateusz wanted the vehicle to maintain an attractive price and to be able to compete with two-wheelers. The car was a great stylistic challenge also due to the interior, which needed be as functional and simple as possible, and made of materials that are easy to clean.

Squad is much smaller than classic cars, which on average take up to 10 sqm of parking space. It only needs a quarter of this space, which means that up to three such cars could stand side by side in one parking space. The regulations of most European cities, according to the manufacturer, allow Squad to park on motorbike parking spaces.

The company is also working on a four-person version, but no date has been set for when it will be shown. The car will be offered for EUR 6,250 at first.

Personally, the design does not convince me, however Squad could be a great solution for moving around a large city, where finding a parking space is almost impossible. What do you think about that idea?

Should you care about your calendar’s privacy?

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People use calendar apps on daily bases to organize their time. In organizations, we utilize calendars like Google Calendar to setting up events, syncing with coworkers, etc. Privately, we use calendars to organize our private time and private events from meeting with friends to shopping at Biedronka. Did you ever wonder if events you put into your calendar and share with others’ calendars are really private?

According to the Forbes article, Google Calendar had a potential privacy issue in 2017: when you wanted to share your calendar with others with the use of a calendar link, the URL to your calendar was indexed in Google Search which meant that anyone could access data from your schedule. It was not only a problem for individuals that someone could access their private calendars but also for organizations – that privacy issue could be a reason for leaks of company’s confidential data like meetings, events, zoom links, files to documents, etc. Another privacy concern related to calendar apps is that through creating events and shared meetings we give data about our life events and people we meet to companies like Google which are considered not to be the best firm in terms of privacy. Also, rumors from the internet state that companies may be using calendar data for targetting.

More and more companies that offer encrypted solutions enter the market to address these problems. One of the largest players is ProtonMail which recently rebranded to Proton and offers encrypted email services, calendars, cloud drives, etc. According to Proton’s blog about calendar privacy: “A calendar is more than just a tool. It’s a record of the moments that make up your life.” which indicates that our calendars should be private by design, and no one should even try to take advantage on that. Proton’s CEO Andy Yen in an interview with Wired states that Proton’s ultimate policy is to provide users with useful tools with collecting as little data as possible. Data from ProtonMail and ProtonCalendar are fully encrypted and protected from data leaks, and data-exploiting by the cloud provider or government requesting information on users.

I believe that in the era of raising awareness and the importance of data privacy, companies like Proton have huge opportunities to stand out and even compete with tech giants like Google or Apple. The question is, whether users and companies are ready to abandon the big providers and their perfect solutions and switch to smaller data privacy-oriented entities?


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NS (Dutch Railroads) will test the rental of electric public transport bicycles

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The NS will start a trial this summer with the rental of electric public transport bicycles. These public transport e-bikes will be tested for a year. Renting such an electric bicycle costs 10 euros per day.

NS will make 30 public transport ebikes available at four stations during the trial. The company wants to use this to investigate whether the public transport ebike is popular and whether the electric bicycles can be ‘a valuable addition’ to the normal public transport bicycles.

“With the OV-ebike, we want to make it even more attractive and easier for travelers who have to travel a little further from the station to take a bicycle for the last part of their journey,” says Marise Bezema, responsible for the OV-fiets at NS.

Range more than 100 kilometers
The range of the e-bike in the eco mode is 110 kilometers, the NS informs Bright. In the normal position, 70 kilometers of electrical assistance is possible on a full battery and in the highest position, the range is 50 kilometers.

10 euros per day
Renting an e-bike costs 10 euros per 24 hours. With a normal OV-fiets, the daily rate is 4.15 euros. The NS will inform you shortly at which stations the electric bicycles will be parked.

The company presented the trial with public transport ebikes to consumer organisations, ProRail and municipalities. According to the NS, the reactions to the plan are ‘positive’.

GPS tracker due to risk of theft
Theft of the e-bikes is a risk and that is why they are equipped with a GPS tracker. In the event of loss or theft, the bicycle can be found with this.

The NS wants to use the GPS information for research during the trial. This allows information about, for example, the travel distances, the location of the bicycle and the speed to be mapped. In order to preserve the privacy of consumers, the personal data and location data are stored separately. As a result, the supplier knows where the e-bike in question is, but not who is on the bike. The NS knows who is on the e-bike, but not where it is.

Previous attempt unsuccessful
It is not the first time that NS will rent out electric public transport bicycles. Between 2011 and 2014, e-bikes were already offered at a small number of stations for 7.50 euros per day, but that project proved unsuccessful. The same applied to the range of electric public transport scooters, which the NS also stopped at the end of 2014.

NS currently rents out a total of almost 22 thousand public transport bicycles at 300 locations. A personal OV chip card is required for renting.

Gucci will accept cryptocurrency payments

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Image may contain Garden Arbour Outdoors Palm Tree Arecaceae Tree Plant and Porch

A growing number of companies have started to accept virtual currencies. For example, Microsoft, Tesla, and Amazon already accept Bitcoin. Luxury brand Gucci also announced that they will accept cryptocurrency payments in some stores in the US starting at the end of May. They are planning to expand this change to be applied to Gucci’s full North America network. Another luxury brand Off-White also started accpeting payment with cryptocurrencies this March in some stores in London, Paris, and Milan.

Cryptocurrencies that will be available to use are more than 10 currencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, etc. The company also reported that niche cryptocurrencies like Shiba Inu and Dogecoin will be available too. Then, how customers can pay with virtual money? If a customer wants to pay with cryptocurrency, one will be sent an email that has a QR code that allows using a digital asset wallet. With that QR code, the customer can use their virtual money.

However, the important thing is that this was not the first time that Gucci showed an interest in the web 3 world. This March, the company launched the Gucci Vault, a digital store where they plan to sell their items in the metaverse alongside real-life items. They also already released several NFTs in collaboration with Bored Ape Yacht Club and Cool Cats. Furthermore, Gucci’s parent company Kering has recently introduced an in-house game that was developed in collaboration with creative agency Al Dente to educate employees on NFTs and Web3.

With Gucci’s this action, it is expected that cryptocurrency payments will be accepted by many mainstream businesses.


Impressive Virtual Reality (VR) centre launched brings VR a step forward

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Image retrieved from CCXR

With the rise in popularity of Virtual Reality (VR), this is a significant step forward, since the tools used by video game developers and film producers to generate high-quality virtual content are now available to businesses and charities at the multi-million pound complex.

One of the advantages of working with extended reality is that it allows companies to host and attend events without having to travel. For example, one could have a business meeting in a neighbouring country and in a normal situation, would have to travel out but with VR, one could attend the business meeting from wherever one is, thus significantly reducing carbon footprint.

Hence, I believe that VR is the future and an exciting space to be.


Subsea Internet Cables Could Detect Earthquakes

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The UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and their partners say that the cables could be used as deep sea scientific sensors, helping to sense earthquakes, tsunamis, or see how climate change alters the currents.

Fibre-optic cable

This has already been tested by scientists through the use of a cable connecting the UK and Canada. This is being tested because installing sensors to monitor the ocean floor can be very costly and very difficult, and for that reason only very few of such sensors exist. Using subsea internet cables would be more cost effective.

Theres an estimated 430 of these cables, spanning over 800,000 miles, providing good coverage from country to country. Vibration, pressure, and temperature changes can slightly affect the speed that the light is travelling through these cables, which could be detected. As scientists could detect waves through the link from the UK to Canada, the same same could be done for the other cables around the world, providing a great coverage of underwater sensors. Theres also a potential, untested yet, possibility to sense the temperature change in the ocean due to climate change.

Overall, the ability to sense earthquakes, tsunamis, and other factors at such close range would be very beneficial, as it provides the possibility to have more time to prepare for such events, and with preparation damage and more importantly casualties could be limited.


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Paying for your cinema tickets by crypto is doable as of now.

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Amc Theaters App now allows its users among conventional methods of cash and card payments now accepts cryptocurrencies in Dogecoin and Shiba Inu. The payment has not brought any further complications for the clients, customers go through the same buying purchase as before. They can then select a form of payment in crypto through the support of a platform Bitpay that stands as an intermediary in the transaction between the user and the cinema.  Some experts call it a “hype” move, with what Tesla did when they tried to sell their cars using Bitcoin, however they have done so after just 49 days, claiming that Bitcoin is energy insufficient and does not correlate with the company’s mission of transitioning the world to a sustainable energy source. AMC has already made a name for it as a company with controversial moves. In the beginning of March the movie theater company acquired a stake in gold mining company “Hycroft Mining Holding”, which also put various experts on their feet, some even claimed that AMC is misusing the shareholder capital, but hey, maybe they have their own secrets, no?

Quite a company as it seems, would you say they have a carefully planned long-term strategy or it is a game to get some public notice and a few headlines? 


Genopets. How to make money by moving.

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In November 2021, IEO platform Bybit Launchpad launched its project where users can participate in Genopets (GENE) token sales and earn NFT by developing their own virtual pets. Genopets is an NFT game on the Solana blockchain with a Play-to-Earn model as well as its Move-to-Earn variant, where the name speaks for itself. The main focus of this game is to work with wearable devices that can track players’ actual movements. The essence of this game is that the user receives rewards for walking, running, and other physical activities by carrying around a smartphone with a specially installed application. Moreover, the game includes logical puzzles.

How does it work?

Genopets app tracks data from your smartphone, fitness bracelet, and other devices and use it to track player movements. This means the more movements a player makes, the more resources and experience they get to spend on developing the game characters and getting more profit out of it. This is what makes this game significantly different from most video games that involve a sedentary lifestyle. At the initial stage, the player gets a small pet, the value of which will increase as its features, combat characteristics, and appearance are improved. The virtual Genopet evolves by increasing the player’s level and can also be upgraded and customized. Once a certain amount of experience units have been collected, the pet can be upgraded. 

The habitat of such pets is the space, where the pet can grow and develop. Habitats are procedurally generated NFTs, which can be created with in-game tokens and crystals or bought from other users on a special marketplace. The final coinage of NFTs is played for free. This game’s meta-universe uses a dual token system: GENE and KI, with support for various assets on the Solana blockchain. GENE tokens, in turn, are used to manage and implement many game functions. There are three main functions of this asset: Governance, Betting, and VIP access to fresh game content. Governance allows users to vote and make decisions regarding new gameplay options, quests, items, locations, and more. A betting feature gives users the opportunity to earn rewards in KI tokens. This will require joining the GENE decentralized staking pool.                                                                      

Benefits and risks.

By developing your interactive pets, you can sell them on special NFT marketplaces. Another positive aspect of this game is the compulsion to be physically active, which is important for one’s health, especially if he or she has a sedentary lifestyle. This game not only allows the user to earn money but also improves physical health by forcing the player to perform movements in the real world. The advantage of playing Genopets is that you only need a smartphone to play it, which makes the game as convenient and easy to use as possible. This NFT game is also interesting in that it has a combat arena where you can challenge other players to earn even more experience and get into the leaderboard. This feature adds to the excitement of the game. Regarding the weaknesses of the game, it can be noted that in order to participate in the game and get a pet, the user must spend some BIT tokens, which is an initial investment. Another drawback of the game is the limitation of tokens. A single user can purchase no more than 500 GENE tokens.


Genopets is a quite interesting and simple NFT game, it encourages physical activity in users by providing additional earning opportunities. However, like any other similar crypto game, you’ll have to invest in it first and take a certain amount of risk in order to start making a profit from it.


Imagen All the Issues

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Text-to-image generators are a relatively new thing in the AI world. The idea of ‘feeding’ a program just a few words and it generating an image seems really exciting.

That is exactly what OpenAi’s DALL-E or Google’s Imagen can do. Users can input a short description of whatever they want to see generated, and the program shows an image.

A chrome-plated duck with a golden beak arguing with an angry turtle in a forest
A robot couple fine dining with Eiffel Tower in the background

As you can see, some results are incredibly accurate and detailed. However, it is important to remember the images above were previously chosen by humans, meaning there are probably a lot more images out there that are not as good.

Both DALL-E and Imagen are not accessible to the public and there is a reason for that. With such programs available universally anyone could create, for instance, fake news or an image with the intent to harass someone. Moreover, it is crucial to remember that most algorithms are trained on biased data. That means that the output can often be, for example, racist or sexist.

I believe that programs like DALL-E and Imagen will eventually become public. Hopefully, by then, we will figure out a way to make them less biased and less harmful.

Do you think that such programs will be available to the public in the nearest future? Do you think they should be?



A big smart eco move by Coca-Cola

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Recycling has been one of the top topics nowadays, with a great number of solutions and advanced inventions, but the one i focus on in this article, considering its simplicity is one of those that should be implemented worldwide.

According to Coca-Cola, all their bottles including caps, are completely recyclable. The problem, however, is that not all packaging is subjected to it. Caps are often not thrown away by consumers and litter the world while they could be recycled.

The main idea standing behind Coca-Cola has decided to change the caps in the bottles of its drinks. The caps will be attached to the bottles to reduce waste and ease bottle recycling. The company hopes that the new design, in which the cap remains attached to the bottle after opening, will reduce the risk of littering the caps.

The solution is another idea of ​​Coca-Cola, which tries to be more environmentally friendly. The company focuses on the plan of the world without waste, which is why it consistently aims in this direction. Previously, the manufacturing process was changed to only use recycled plastic excluding caps and labels. This makes it possible to save about 29.000 tons of plastic per year.

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