Author Archives: Kończak Hubert

Electric cars.. just a car or a trend to save the environment.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Electric cars have been around for quite some time now. The most revolutionary, advanced and well known are Teslas created by Elon Musk. People are acknowledging that there is such opportunity to own and drive an electric car. And we cannot deny that the trend is there. There are more and more electric car charging stations set up, even in Poland where people are very skeptical. There are newer and faster charging stations developed. Although most cars are petrol powered there is inevitable switch coming. Will electric cars hang on to it or will hydrogen-powered ones take over? This question is yet to be answered. Some say that electric car’s range critical point is about 600km. Over that the development is supposedly not worth it, but we are still to see what’s coming.

The mindset of people is changing. We care more and more about ecology, environment around us. Usually it is just awareness or minimalizing the effects (e.g. masks in cities to filter harmful particles). But awareness, acknowledging that the problem IS there is the first step. Electric cars are much more ecological. Especially if country’s electric energy is becoming more greener. Nevertheless I see a change in peoples’ mindset towards electric solutions.

Hell I am a full on “petrol-head”. I am huge motorsports fan, F1 fan, I love the sound of engines, of the exhausts.. And when I think of cars.. I see electric ones up there. If I could choose to drive any car, my mind recently changed and moves in electric direction. Which is a spectacular change for a person who is all about petrol in his blood. That is no proof but I think the trend is there to change peoples’ mind. The fact that the infrastructure is there and is growing. Few years ago we could not have driven in Poland to some places in an electric car.. now it is mostly possible. There are barely any “dead spots”. It adds to the fact that most advanced electric cars increase their range on one “charge”  (which itself is becoming quicker). Which is amazing and as electric cars become cheaper people have fewer and fewer excuses not to buy an electric vehicle. Of course there is tradition and their mindset – that “new” is most likely to be faulty, the fear of the unknown – is still there. But in my opinion the change is inevitable and is coming. Whether it is electric cars takeover the market of “new” cars bought or some newer solutions like “hydrogen” powered cars. Only time will tell the truth of the future.









Are self-checkout, cashier-free, tech based shops the future?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As the technology moves forward, companies try to implement more and more of it into their business. One of the futuristic ideas being already developed and test-implemented is cashier-free, self-checkout stores. The idea is that such store can operate without any employees on site. It only needs restocking, cleaning, and maintenance once necessary. It is a great way for companies to lower the cost of having a retail store to a bare minimum – basically the rent/price for the place.

The idea is that a person has some kind of app or device that lets him in one at a time. The person can choose whatever he wants, and the payment is automated through the app. The idea seems simple, but there is a lot of technology and processes involved. First of all, the shelves must be weighted. Additionally, the exact weight of all the products in sale must be known. This way, the shop “knows” how many products, from which shelf was taken and can assess what exact products are those. Thus there is no waiting in line to scan or weigh the products for the customer. Ideally, the customer takes it off the shelf and carries with on the shopping. The second of all is the payment, identification, and safety. The shop must have a few cameras to see what is happening outside and inside. The identity of the person must be known in case of any problems with payment or damage. So the app (or the entrance to the shop) must have some facial or other type of recognition along with all the credentials and credit card number. In China, the shops that work are based on Wechat app with is operated and developed by the Chinese company Tencent. The app is Whatsapp-like. It allows communication, payment, identification of the person, among other features.  So if a person has Wechat app on their phone, they can enter the shop. And the shop instantly has all the information about the person along with credit card number and etc. This allows them to enter the store and proceed with shopping. Third of all dealing with all the problems, unawareness, maintenance is a bit harder due to no employees on site. So the logistics with the restocking but also customer help may be tricky. But can also be solved with technology – for instance, chatbots (in the app). The lack of electricity or malfunction of the app or banking system may cause some problems as well.

The idea of such technology-based stores, as described above, is more than possible with existing technology. It is necessary for the customer to have a smartphone and an app essentially. That means most people in developed countries with access to such stores will be able to shop in such places. It is a lot cheaper for the company due to no necessity of hiring many workers (one or more per store). It can have “Service teams” which operate on few stores or certain districts with troubleshooting. The AI (chatbots) can help customers with the shopping process. So such a store, except restocking, ideally is operated by just the technology. There are some easily visible dangers – malfunction or lack of electricity. And above all, the more hidden ones. About our privacy, our free choice (every move being recorded and digitsed).

Will the technology be widespread on the streets very soon? I think that is quite likely. Trends change, but this kind of “store-machine” is cheap, safe, and very effective. The customer spends very little time in the store and does not have to worry about anything – everything is in the app. So the only barrier is peoples’ attachment to tradition. Only time will tell if the technology-based, cashier-free shops will be more and more common.


Google Stadia – future of gaming or just another trend that will fade away?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

What is Google Stadia and why is it revolutionary? Google Stadia is “a cloud gaming service operated by Google”. It allows playing and streaming games by fulfilling only 2 conditions: stable, high-speed internet connection and a single device. One of many to choose from: Google Chrome web browser, Pixel smartphone, Chrome OS and a special device Chromecast or a TV+controller set-up. These are not the most excessive demands. Basically, most people who game on a daily basis or stream it have access to both of them (most common and easily accessible would be Google Chrome web browser downloadable for free). Of course, you have to buy an Edition of Stadia (either Founders or Premiere) and later there is a subscription fee for using Stadia Pro. At launch, Premiere Edition was 119 pounds and subscription was 8.99 pounds per month.

It is revolutionary because we can play our favorite library of games from any place in the world without bringing our expensive gear PC or laptop. We can (theoretically) get rid of those at all if we want to rely simply on using Google games library. We can enjoy our favorite games from anywhere we want if the connection is quick enough and we have a proper subscription. Then we can stream at 60fps in 4k quality. That is the “sweet spot” for gamers. Of course, a person needs a controller either Xbox or PS4 dualshock. There is also a Google Stadia controller designed by Google. It has a few tricks up its sleeve. For instance, it has a built-in mic (with google assistant), responds quicker with the cloud or lets users take videos and pictures which instantly appear in Stadia app on smartphones.

Other companies such as Microsoft are developing something similar but Google launched their product first of the bunch. And it was not flawless. There were many issues that have disappointed the users close after launch.

To name a few the library was very limited at launch – just 22 games. There were a lot of issues with streaming, even high-speed stable connections were not enough and caused lag (or audio-lag) or connectivity problems. The Google Chromecast device seemed to overheat. There were instances that some games were able to break the hardware to the point of the necessity of buying a new one. Adding to that we need to buy the games from the store. So if we had any e.g. steam, uplay or origin based libraries we cannot use them. All the games must be purchased from google’s library.

Ultimately the main benefits of Stadia are the flexibility and the absence of the “box” under our TV. We just need a compatible controller of some sort, high-speed connection and a TV screen to play or stream our favorite games. In that fashion, we can do that all over the World if we fulfill those conditions. It is revolutionary and it might have a bright future. There is a low chance this direction will make gaming gear (PC’S, laptops, consoles) obsolete. But will Google Stadia build its userbase and improve the product by giving more possibilities? Will it add to it so we, as gamers, can throw our PC’s to trash or let them grab dust? Or will the connectivity and hardware issues burry the project deep in history to serve as another meme?? Only time will tell.




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