5+ New Inventions from Silicon Valley; Is NYC Ready?

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Drones, phones and robots–more cool gizmos that will make commerce and communication even more convenient. Your future automated lifestyles have arrived!

At least they’ve arrived in the San Francisco area known as Silicon Valley, that tiny part of the world that is the birthplace of Hewlett-Packard and Google, and home to Facebook. More importantly Silicon Valley has the densest population of techies–285.9 out of every 1,000 private-sector workers.

And you gotta love techies. (I wish I could keep one in my pocket.) They are highest in the food chain, above nerds and geeks. Nerds dabble in technology as early adopters; geeks fix technology that malfunctions; techies actually invent it. And they are making big bucks doing it. The area has more millionaires aneducation-technologyd billionaires per capita than any other U.S. city.

So, what are they using lately? Technology guru Kevin Roose, author of  Young Money about the world of young Wall Street bankers, shares his favorite west coast ‘latest and greatest’ new apps and gadgets below, and whether or not New York City will latch on.

h/t: New York Magazine

Personal Drones
What they are: Remote-controlled or auto-piloted helicopters, costing anywhere from $100 to $10,000 and up.

Why they’re popular: You can strap a GoPro to a drone to take a “dronie” of yourself from above. But early adopters are also experimenting with more practical applications, like surveying crops or as part of home-security systems. It’s not rare to see multiple tiny helicopters flying overhead on any given weekend afternoon in Dolores Park, shooting photos and scaring tourists.

Will they be a Thing in New York? Yes, if Martha Stewart is any indication.

Wealthfront/Betterment
What they are: Online money-management services. Both take your money and invest it (mostly in low-cost index funds) for very small fees, using software instead of human financial advisers. Just put your money in, answer a few questions about your financial goals, and the software does the rest.

Why they’re popular: Both companies have marketed themselves to Silicon Valley techies who have money but no time or expertise to manage it. Wealthfront gives seminars on investing at Facebook and Google, and Betterment — which is based in New York — has tried to capitalize on the tech boom as well. I often see people checking their portfolios with both companies’ mobile apps on the train.

Will this be a Thing in New York? Probably. It’s not as cool to say “my money’s in Wealthfront” as “my money’s with Goldman Sachs,” but it’s a lot cheaper.

Venmo
What it is: An app that lets you send money back and forth to your friends. Lucas uses it.

Why it’s popular: It solves the check-splitting problem at restaurants, and doubles as an underground social network.

Will this be a Thing in New York? It already is, to an extent. The difference is that Venmo is everywhere in San Francisco. Landlords collect rent through it, friends use it to split Uber rides, and charities use it to collect donations. Expect it to get universal in New York as well.

Oculus Rift
What it is: A virtual-reality headset.

Why it’s popular: It’s been a gamer favorite ever since it launched, but Silicon Valley got obsessed after Facebook bought the company for $2 billion. There’s even a monthly virtual-reality meet-up for hard-core Oculus fans.

Will this be a Thing in New York? Not for a while. Oculus is still not widely available, and living in Brooklyn is kind of its own virtual reality.

Postmates

What it is: An app that allows you to get anything delivered in an hour or less.

Why it’s popular: Because people love instant gratification and are lazy. Plus, unlike Seamless, Postmates can deliver non-food items like phone chargers, toilet paper, or emergency socks.

Will this be a Thing in New York? Yes, unless WunWun or another rival beats it out.

Smartwatches
What they are: Computers on your wrist. Samsung and LG are making them, and Google and other companies are hoping they’re the wave of the future.

Why they’re popular: Because it’s more polite to glance at your wrist for new e-mails than pull out your phone. Smartwatches are still mostly big with developers and tech workers, because early models don’t do much except make you look like Dick Tracy.

Will this be a Thing in New York? Only when Apple releases one.

Continue reading: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/08/12-sf-obsessions-new-york-hasnt-discovered-yet.html

As the article says, people love instant gratification. With these latest gadgets we just may end up like the Wall-E loungers who never needed to get off their chairs . . . for anything. Just push a few buttons–order lunch, conduct business, drive a racecar, watch a movie, the potential seems endless.

At the moment, I just want my internet connection to never fail.

 

T.M. Burroughs

 

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