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Posts in Innovation
360 Degree Cameras on Vacation
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I've been a camera geek for as long as I can remember. I love how each camera is able to play on its strengths to create beautiful images and videos.

In the last few years, there has been an increase in advanced camera technology – iPhone's portrait mode all the way up to 360 degree cameras.

Last year, I purchased a GoPro Fusion camera to experiment with and so far, it has accompanies me on every major trip.

For our end of the year vacation in Thailand, I left it running in a few different places, edited the videos when I got home and simply published it on YouTube. The result is embedded below:

For the first time ever, a technology is able to truly capture the surroundings without disruption.

As I continue to research this technology, I'll definitely be posting a lot more videos on my YouTube channel.

Dear Seamless - What Happened?

I've lived in New York City for a majority of my adult life. I also don't know how to cook edible food, so I rely on the vast number of food delivery options in New York - Seamless, UberEats, Postmates, etc. Whether I eat at 6pm or 11pm - I know I can tap on an app and get a meal delivered to my living room. 

I've been using Seamless since the first week I moved to the city. And lately, it has gone downhill fast.  

  1. The tracking system that the app uses is antiquated and far worse than what I'm now used to in the era of UberEats. For example, yesterday I ordered a meal and it was delivered to me in about 30 minutes - faster than usual. As soon as I sat down to eat, I get a notification that my food was on the way. 
  2. The app has taken a turn for the worse every single time. A few days ago, I tried to enter in a new credit card and kept getting an error message. No specific error message, just a generic one. Given that many of the Seamless competitors support Apple Pay, it's annoying to have one app that doesn't support it. 
  3. Seamless also doesn't maintain any sort of proactive quality control or customer service. When I have issues with Postmates or UberEats, there is always an alert or phone call that indicates what the issue AND the resolution is. However, that hasn't existed with Seamless - despite their customer service being excellent when you reach out to them. 

In an era of mobile first, it's sad to see original disruptors not being able to deliver. And the issue is not unique to Seamless. Postmates has yet to accurately quote me on an order and UberEats is still learning the ropes. 

Mobile is important and a cohesive user-experience is more important than ever. There's a base level of expectation and with dozens of competitors in each market - the best one wins. 

50 Hours on Airplanes

It’s that time in my family - where people start getting married and move on to the next stage of their lives. 

In March, one of my cousins was getting married in India. She lives in Singapore and flew there a week before the wedding. Her younger sister, was flying from Singapore on the same day that I was scheduled to land from New York. 

In the interest of making the week as memorable as possible, I decided to do something crazy - swap my tickets that took me from New York to Abu Dhabi to Mumbai - a mere 16 hours on a plane to a ticket that had me flying from New York to San Fransisco to Tokyo to Hong Kong to Singapore and then finally to India - a trip that kept me in transit for nearly 50 hours, just so that I could surprise her on board. 

Here’s the thing - I loved every second of it. 

I’ve been flying for well over 25 years. Flights between New York to Los Angeles are second nature and 14 hour flights feel extremely familiar. 

It helps to know the ins and outs of airline operations. It helps flying in first-class. It helps being comfortable in unknown surroundings. 

Commercial aviation has become incredibly comfortable and for someone who still glares out the window for every take off and landing, it remains one of the very few places that is awe inspiring. 

Climb on. 

Amazon Echo and the Smart Home

In December of last year, I received an Amazon Echo as a gift - and it has slowly changed the way I do certain things. 

If you are unaware, the Echo is a smart device that is designed to be the hub of your home. 

I’ve only scratched the surface of what Echo is capable of, but here’s how I use Echo on a daily basis:

  • “Alexa…wake me up at 8am”
  • “Alexa…what’s the weather today?”
  • “Alexa…when is my next meeting?”
  • “Alexa…play some Bollywood music.”
  • “Alexa…trigger find my phone.”

Alexa essentially does whatever you ask it to do. It’s a combination of Google Now and a one-way assistant. And it works really really well. 

Over the past month, I’ve stopped using the alarm on my iPhone to wake me up or searching for “Weather 10010” everytime I’m ready to leave my house. 

While Echo may only save you a few minutes a day, it is capable of doing a lot more when partners start integrating their services with them. 

For most consumers, it also makes terms like “smart-home” and “internet-of-things” a lot more understandable. If this is the future, I’m glad Amazon is leading the way with a consumer-friendly product. 

We’re in the era of platform stagnation and smart engineers are looking to do more now that computing power enables consumer level adoption of virtual reality, augmented reality and much much more. The video below is shot on a $350 camera that stitches 360 degree video in a few minutes. For professional content creators - it’s a step forward in a very big way! 

Experience the blizzard in 360!

Posted by Aanarav Sareen on Saturday, January 23, 2016

It’s an exciting time to be working in technology and as things scale up, I’m looking forward to being a part of it. 

Sunrise and Outlook for iPhone

The iPhone is my primary device for just about everything. With the exception of writing, design and some of the other creative projects - I use my iPhone most of the time.

Lately, I've been disappointed with Mailbox. It started off as a great tool, but has bee painfully unreliable lately. 

On the other hand, I've been trying Sunrise and Microsoft Outlook on the iPhone. The combination - even for Google Apps is extremely powerful. 

Microsoft hasn't been winning the mobile race, but their apps are certainly making me reconsider their stance and their direction. 

Looking forward to what Microsoft produces in the future.