Archive for January, 2009
Wired.com’s Autonomous Robots Invade Retail Warehouses was a very interesting read, and the Youtube video (below) is really cool. Zappos, Staples, Walgreens and the Gap have warehouses that use robots that pull products to fulfill orders and perform other warehousing chores. In the future, all of your online shopping may have robots on the other side helping manage the fulfillment of your order, and do it faster than conventional warehouses can now.
The wifi-networked robots, built by Kiva Systems of Woburn (woo-burn), MA, bring products in the warehouse to human workers. These special warehouses, more densely packed warehousing spaces incorporate interesting workstations where the orange robots bring racks containing products to be shipped. A laser points the worker to the product to be shipped, the worker picks the item up and scans it, and if its the right product the robot takes the rack away, and a light above one of 3 boxes waiting to be filled and shipped indicates where the product goes. The same light also indicates when an order is complete, and ready to be shipped.
Online shoe seller Zappos says their Kiva warehouse has a lower defect rate, higher productivity, plus a better safety record and quieter work environment than their traditional warehouse. You might think that working in an environment like this would require lots of training, but the system actually reduces training time for new workers.
These autonomous robots can also rearrange warehouse stock to place faster selling items closer and moving slower selling items farther away as orders come in. I also thought it was really cool that the robots find time to check their charge level – they run a self-test, check their charge, and if necessary dock with a charging station for some extra juice.
The relatively small space where the workers are needs climate control and lighting, but this is not the case in the majority of the warehouse since the Kiva systems robots don’t need either. This translates to a huge cost savings since most of the warehouse can remain unlit and doesn’t need to be climate controlled.
Cool, now when you are in Gmail you can view Youtube and Google video (who knows what else in time?). Try sending the Youtube Google used in their post to a friend in your chat:
I have 2 Gmail accounts receiving email for 3 email addresses, the obvious 2 email addresses and a webmaster email for work. My personal email account has 186 unread personal emails, and 114 read emails (total 300 emails in inbox); while my work Gmail account has 48 unread work emails, and 179 read work emails (total 227 emails in inbox).
In addition to some advice to my great IT friend who works with a Charleston SC Home Automation company, Lifehacker’s 20 Ways to Use Gmail Filters is MUST read. The Lifehacker article is a little old, but its still a good starting spot with as many emails and as little free time as I’ve got. At-a-glance I saw some great ideas, now if I can only remember to print that off along with my friend’s advice – oh wait, this post will be a good reminder, eh?
After I get my Gmail cleaned out some, I’ll post an update with thoughts and ideas that worked for me. Questions and comments about filters or Gmail inbox cleaning strategies are welcome!
Call of Duty: World at War was my favorite Call of Duty game, though I may go back though and play the others again. Like its predecessors its a first person shooter, but this one is set in World War II’s Pacific theatre and the Eastern front (you play 2 different soldiers). According to Wikipedia, COD: World at War has soemthing new in the series:
A new feature to the Call of Duty series is the co-op mode, which can support up to four players online and two offline.
Also according to Wikipedia this installment has a more mature theme. Heads splat blood and you will see various body parts after explosions – so set the filter if you have young ones.
MORE Call of Duty: World at War LATER..
Back in early December 2008 I wrote Site Design Basics – Navigation and Links using the high profile Just Jared blog as an example, after all the big guys can take some constructive criticism. Here we are about a month and a half later and I’ve checked the site again and although I’ve noticed some changes, the underlying problem remains – even though so many websites have buttons and text links that are black, its a web design usability mistake… a web design faux pas. As a matter-of-fact Jakob Nielsen’s Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2005 item number 2 is “Non-Standard Links” – it made spot #2 in his list of 10! Read about Jakob Nielsen on Wikipedia (link above on his name) if you are a web design freak or a usability freak like me, its really interesting. At any rate black text links are a no-no even if they are graphical, unless they actually look like a button. Here are “poor” and “good” examples of black links:
Even though these both have arrows, only one is visibly a button. when someone gets to your website the last thing you want them to do is to have to look around to decide whether or not your links are clickable – you want it to be easily visible that something IS clickable.
Area 1 (see figure 1 near logo at top): This area has been re-worked a little bit, but I discovered something less noticable – a search bar! My wife’s been checking this site out for 4 months now and I was talking to her about it again the other night when I decided to write this and she said she had no clue there was a search bar, and I’m not surprised because its well hidden. The old site’s textual list of celebrities has been replaced (below the search bar near the logo) has been replaced by the new “Featured Stories” area (note the Kontera contentlink there also – the “evil Kontera” will be discussed later*). What you have is 3 featured stories, each one consisting of a thumbnail picture and text. In the screenshot here at the first one has a small pic of Angelina and Brad and a larger mugshot of just Angelina with the text “Angelina Jolie is Akris Suit-able” in black. Then there are 2 more featured stories, and above the last story, below “com” in the Just Jared.com logo is a pair of blue arrow buttons for navigation. Those are quite nice, however the clickable text for each story is in black and to further confuse things the top halves of the pictures are not clickable and while the bottom halves are.
Area 2 (see figure 1 above article): These are older and newer links which take you to the post before and after the current post. Again you cannot tell at-a-glance that these are “Older” and “Newer” links to navigate through posts, they sort of blend in to the page. They should be visually identifiable as buttons.
Area 3 (see figure 1 right edge): Here is more black text hiding the fact that it is clickable. Unfortunately the text did not show up in this screenshot, that’s my faux pas. There are black and also gray “read more” links in this column, “Just advertise here” links, and celebrities names here that do not appear to be clickable, but they are.
The Fix: Fixing what I’ve pointed out above is simple CSS editing. CSS would fix the camouflaged search box, and all of the text I’ve pointed out, making these hidden links “jump out” and probably making a lot of regular Just Jared regulars a lot happier.
In reading Google’s Inside Adsense (blog) Asking Dave Taylor about AdSense I was reminded of a goal I had relegated to the “I’m not going to do that pile”, though now I’m re-thinking it. I’m talking about putting Adsense in the middle of articles/posts with no border and a matching background.
Hearing Dave Taylor and Inside Adsense discussing this idea has sparked my interest again and I’m seriously going to re-consider exactly how I could implement this on my blog.
Wow, I thought I was so weird feeling like its some extra step after sending an email to “have to” go back to my inbox and archive the reply to keep my inbox clean. This happens with many of my replies as I CC myself on many important emails.
Now go to Settings > Labs and enable Send & Archive, and when you reply to emails you can click the new Send & Archive button next to the send button! Too cool!
According to the Gmail blog’s tip “Archive mail on your iPhone” by default the iPhone will delete your Gmail, which will be deleted in 30 days from your Gmail forever. Since Gmail is big on archiving they’ve written this tip to help you avoid losing your valuable email:
First, get rid of your default set up. Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar. Find your Gmail account under “Accounts,” click on it, scroll to the bottom, and click “Delete Account.” Don’t worry — it’ll be back and better than ever in a sec.
Then manually configure IMAP using the “Other” menu option…
The tip above concludes by either watching a YouTube video (below from the original post) or visiting the Gmail Help Center here.
For more info and options check out the original Gmail post here.