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Why have a Just Cause

I would be willing to bet that most entrepreneurs start companies for all the wrong reasons. I’m sure many do it to make money, to be their own boss, or simply because they have an idea. My own journey resembles this too. I started SlovSoft because I had passion for technology. NetParadox was to pursue a “great” idea, and Ceremity enabled me to get away from the corporate world and build cool tech. …


It is no secret that consumers are increasingly more demanding. Unlike the days of old, there is no shortage of information or options when it comes to commerce. Today’s consumers take online purchases for granted and demand convenience, personalization and a great experience. In fact, according to Deloitte, the top reason consumers buy online is convenience. Because online stores like Amazon provide that value to their customers, some are saying brick-and-mortar retail is dead.

For example, we no longer rent videos from Blockbuster. Even convenience stores are being disrupted by more convenient options. Companies like Filld are helping us bypass gas stations altogether by delivering gas directly to our vehicles. …


Blockchain has captured the imagination of many technologists and businesspeople alike. Its potential could be far-reaching, yet it is also unclear how exactly it will be implemented. Since the concept of blockchains is relatively new, many people still have questions. Truth be told, I had the same questions myself when I initially started to explore this technology. Today, I’m able to help others answer some of those questions while speaking on technology panels or consulting with clients. This Q&A was borne out of questions I often get.

What Exactly Is Blockchain?

At its core, blockchain is a framework for creating business-to-business workflows. From a technical perspective, it’s essentially a decentralized database. This database automatically synchronizes data among various systems in which each system receives a copy of the data. The advantage of this distributed model is that if one node fails, the remainder of the blockchain ecosystem still works. Blockchain can also provide transparency. It stores an immutable log of transactions that cannot be changed after the fact. The system is powered by cryptography and includes consensus mechanisms that minimize fraud. …


In 2011, Marc Andreessen famously proclaimed that “Software is eating the world.” Today, I cannot think of a single industry where technology and software, in particular, are not heavily used. In fact, in terms of leveraging licensed or cloud software, or even building their own, companies typically have a plethora of choices when it comes making their businesses automated and digitized. Many of these businesses think about technology in very strategic terms where digital solutions can transform their business models, change the way they deliver value to their customers or improve the way they collaborate. …


Solving Real-World Problems

I recently attended a blockchain conference hosted by the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. Among the speakers were Goldman Sachs, Walmart, USAA, Merck and others. Each of the speakers spoke about the potential implication of blockchains on their businesses.

For instance, Frank Yiannas, the vice president of food safety at Walmart, addressed the difficulty of tracing a product to its source. Remember the E. coli outbreak in 2006 spread by spinach? According to the CDC, during the outbreak, 199 people were infected, 102 were hospitalized and three died. For about two weeks, retailers stopped selling spinach all over the United States until the farm that caused the outbreak was identified. For two weeks there was a danger of people getting sick. …


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TLDR: Instructions on how to assemble and use the car: https://github.com/vcollak/AutoBot

About a year ago I brought a Tamiya remote controlled bulldozer back from a trip to Japan. It looked like a very simple kit to assemble, and I figured that my 13-year-old son and I could work on that together. What I liked about it most is that it required a gearbox assembly. I thought it could be very interesting for both of us to learn how gearboxes actually work. Sure enough, my son and I had a ton of fun assembling the vehicle. At the end of the “project” we had a car, but unlike most remote controlled vehicles, this one was NOT wireless. It literally had wires that lead to a simple plastic remote controller. We thought that was a bit too old school and imagined how cool would it be to control the vehicle straight from an iPhone. …


Application written in Go that will extract all contacts from Gmail emails and save them into a database.

The app parses all of the emails and extracts FROM, TO, and CC fields and saves them into a MongoDB database. Each time the app is executed it will only scan new emails.

Souce code: https://github.com/vcollak/GmailContacts


The rise of the machines and the fourth industrial revolution

Hollywood has been predicting the rise of the machines for a long time. You may have seen movies like The Matrix or the The Terminator where machines get intelligent, somehow decide to wage war on humans and we all become nearly extinct. While this doomsday scenario is only science fiction, in the recent years some of the most prominent business leaders and technologists, including Elon Musk, have expressed deep concerns about artificial intelligence (AI). Perhaps the reasons for those concerns are that AI has gotten dramatically smarter over the last couple of decades. It was previously unthinkable that a computer could win against a world champion of Go (an ancient Chinese game), yet that’s exactly what occurred recently. What is even more remarkable is that the computer (aka AlphaGo) was not really programed to play the game. Instead, it essentially learned to play using its neural network basically mimicking the way humans learn. Like humans, AlphaGo can also constantly improve without being told how to do that. It’s no doubt that AI beating humans in games is quite remarkable. However, can this technology deliver greater benefits to society? Also, where could it lead us — other than a total and complete annihilation of the human race, of course? Before I fully explore that, let me quickly summarize where we are today. In the past few decades we essentially digitized what was previously a very analog world. Before, just about everything that existed on a piece of paper can now be found in a digital world. …


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If you need to implement a drawer (sidebar) in Objective-C, this may do the trick. I was trying to find several examples of this, but mostly came up Swift or Objective C samples without much explanation. This provides both.

Sample code with explanation: https://github.com/vcollak/VladDrawer


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When your customers or vendors email you, you always add them to your contacts and never have to hunt for their contact info ever again, right? Right…Well, I personally always found it frustrating having to hunt for people's email addresses and thought there should be a better way than having to scan old emails or calendar items. Here are some solutions that worked for me:

Gmail or Outlook Settings
One solution to this problem is to automatically add contact for a person you replying. Gmail has this feature under settings. Just turn on “Create contacts for auto-complete” and any email address your email to will be added to Gmail’s contacts. Outlook has a similar feature. These are useful, but what if you’re looking to find an email for someone you never replied to? …

About

Vladimir Collak

Technology entrepreneur who loves both technology and startups. You can find me at www.collak.net

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