This week’s headline story: Holiday Deliveries Overtax Shippers
Holiday shopping online is expected to have risen 17 percent this holiday season to a record $43.4 billion, according to comScore. The convenience of shopping online and special deals offered by online merchants, including FREE SHIPPING make a compelling argument for shoppers to stay home and shop, rather than fighting the traffic and crowds at the mall. With the big increase in delivery orders, shipping companies are straining under the demand, and some promises to get gifts delivered by Christmas have gone unfulfilled. A snow storm over much of the Midwest has further complicated holiday deliveries. Online merchants are getting an earful from frustrated shoppers who were forced to tell family and friends that their gifts are “in the mail.” After waiting and waiting, some shoppers headed to the mall after all, planning to return those shipped items when ever they arrive.
All We Want for Christmas Is Our Gifts on Time! [NewsFactor]
and elsewhere in Tech News.
- A research team from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has developed technologies that have empowered a paralyzed woman to operate a robotic arm directly through thought with a level of agility and control approaching that of a human limb.
Mind-controlled robotic arm has skill and speed of human limb [Reuters]
- Researchers at Intel labs are developing a “touchpad steering” wheel. Touch-sensitive areas of a vehicle’s steering wheel allow a driver to call up a head-up display on the windshield, to control every device in the vehicle including turn signals, wipers, headlights, cruise control, entertainment, and GPS. The interface is intended to do away with all of the dials, buttons, and levers on the dash and steering column, and allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road.
Touchpad steering wheel keeps eyes on the road [NewScientist]
- 3D printers are in the news a lot these days, as this amazing technology has become more affordable. Now a group called Defense Distributed is illuminating the more controversial aspects of 3D printing. The group claims to have created downloadable weapon parts that can be built on the latest generation of 3D printers. Owners of these printers can simply downloading a gun’s design plans, print it, assemble it, and fire it minutes later. No background checks, no questions asked.
Scary But True: Click, Print, Shoot Downloadable Guns [NewsFactor]
- Twice as many Americans own tablets today as a year ago. Roughly 19 percent of all Americans over the age of 18 now own at least one tablet. Forrester Research says that many people purchase tablets because of the “simplified computing experience” and affordable price. Purchases of traditional e-readers like the Kindle are dropping, as increasing amounts of shoppers are choosing more advanced tablets like the Kindle Fire.
U.S. Tablet Ownership Doubled this Year [NewsFactor]
and in Tech Industry news…
- Three stories from Facebook. First, Facebook has quickly risen to the number two spot behind Google in net mobile ad revenue in the United States, according to research firm eMarketer.
Facebook Zooms to No. 2 in Mobile Ad Revenue, Behind Google [NewsFactor]
- Facebook is testing a new feature that allows members to pay one dollar to send a direct message to any user on Facebook.
Facebook Testing Paid Message Service to Strangers’ Inboxes [NewsFactor]
- Prepare for more annoying online ads. Facebook is planning to inject “in-your-face” auto-playing video ads in users’ news feeds some time next year.
Facebook to Place In-Your-Face Video Ads in News Feeds [Ecommerce Times]
- Google is offering a new music service, called Scan and Match, to attract users to its Android platform. The software scans your hard drive to discover music files, and then provides access to your songs in the cloud from any Android device.
Google’s Cloud Is Alive With the Sound of Free Music [Ecommerce Times]
- Do you suffer from food allergies? Soon you will be able to test food for allergens using your mobile phone. Scientists at UCLA have developed an app that utilizes a mobile test tube called – you guessed it, the iTube, to test food for common allergens such as peanuts, almonds, eggs, gluten and hazelnuts.
Got food allergies? Thanks to UCLA, you can test your meal on the spot using a cell phone [UCLA Newsroom]