Tag: California

Zoho Mail

Wednesday, 10 April, 2019

Those who mail Rainy Day, and some people do, are guaranteed delivery (99.9% uptime). This is thanks to Zoho Mail, an excellent service provided by a company that was founded in 1996 by Sridhar Vembu and Tony Thomas in Pleasanton, California. Today, Zoho has its global headquarters in Chennai, formerly Madras, in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Along with mail, the Zoho product range includes a web-based office suite containing word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, wikis, customer relationship management and project management applications.


Robots: The Warehouse Workers of the Near Future

Thursday, 22 September, 2016 0 Comments

The story involves a logistics company and grocery empire run by a modest New England billionaire. Most people will be unfamiliar with Symbotic LLC and Rick Cohen and C&S Wholesale Grocers but they are at the forefront of a move to show that that robots can manage the storing, handling and hauling of goods that retailers deal with in vast amounts each year.

Fully Autonomous Robots: The Warehouse Workers of the Near Future by Robbie Whelan of the Wall Street Journal describes Cohen’s brave new vision: “His strategy has two prongs: Install robots in C&S warehouses to serve grocery chains, and sell them to companies that have their own distribution facilities. Over the next year, Symbotic plans to roll out nearly a dozen fully-automated food warehouses across the country from Pennsylvania to California, serving grocery chains.”

One of Symbotic’s selling points is what it calls “Capital Recovery”, which goes like this:

“Often companies find that an automation system optimizes their operations enough to justify combining two warehouses into one. Additionally, the capital they can recover from selling the second warehouse can offset the cost of the system. The capital recovery model allows customers to exceed their operational demands while recovering capital from unnecessary facilities and/or resources.”

Robbie Whelan points out that Rick Cohen’s success is driven by his fascination with fat — not of midriff variety, but of the administrative kind:

Mr. Cohen said he became interested in robotics because of a lifelong passion for cutting fat at his family business. His grandfather, Israel Cohen, founded C&S in Worcester, Mass., in 1918. Mr. Cohen became CEO in 1989 and is sole owner.

“Taking waste out is fascinating to me,” Mr. Cohen said. “I walk through a warehouse, and everyone sees what’s happening, and I see what’s not happening.”

Typically, the Daily Mail trashed Rick Cohen’s privacy when it published “Revealed, America’s most modest billionaire: Tycoon worth $11bn is so down-to-earth that neighbors don’t recognize him – on street where average home is $294,000.”


Dilma & Hillary, Thelma & Louise

Friday, 22 April, 2016 0 Comments

Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief of the Economist, is offering readers two covers this week. Latin America gets “The great betrayal,” which is about the economic crisis in Brazil and the upcoming impeachment of its president, Dilma Rousseff. The country is in a state of despair as it fights its worst recession since the 1930s, and the real should stop at Ms Rousseff’s desk, but the Economist is magnanimous: “The failure is not only of Ms Rousseff’s making. The entire political class has let the country down through a mix of negligence and corruption.”

For the rest of the world, the Economist cover features Hillary Clinton. “Could she fix it?” America, that is. It’s a lukewarm leader, peppered with reservations such as “Mrs Clinton’s solutions too often seem feeble,” and “her policies are fiddly.” As she rolls up her sleeves to retune the USA’s rusty engine, the lack of enthusiasm is startling: “Yet, rather than thrilling to the promise of taking the White House or of electing America’s first woman president, many Democrats seem joyless.”

The Economist Latin America The Economist Clinton

It’s been 25 years since Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis hit the highway in Thelma & Louise, Ridley Scott’s road movie that put women in the driver’s seat, finally. The film kept them at the wheel all the way to the vivid end as they flew into the blue yonder above the Grand Canyon in a green Thunderbird convertible. In Paste Monthly, Amanda Schurr remains transformed by it all. Snippet:

“… their flight from Oklahoma to Mexico is urgent, telling and inimitably American. Leave it to Ridley Scott, taking visual inspiration from Terrence Malick’s Badlands, and the sweeping flyovers of fellow Brit cinematographer Adrian Biddle to capture the promise and danger of the scorched West — the film was shot largely in California and Utah, and it’s never looked more stunning, nor strangely unsentimental and unforgiving.”

A bit like the electorates in Brazil and the USA, “unsentimental and unforgiving.”


The magical words of Mary Meeker

Thursday, 28 May, 2015 0 Comments

The famous Mary Meeker, formerly an internet stock analyst at Morgan Stanley and now a partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, yesterday delivered her 20th annual “State of the Internet” presentation. The venue was the Code Conference in California. Seven highlights:

  • Population usage of mobile phones grew from 1 percent globally in 1995 to 73 percent in 2014.
  • Consumer drone shipments jumped 167 percent in 2014, to 4.3 million units.
  • Smartphone adoption is slowing: 23 percent growth in 2014 compared to 27 percent in 2013.
  • Twitch has 100 million monthly active users for its live streaming, up 122 percent.
  • Video constituted 64 percent of internet traffic and 55 percent of mobile traffic in 2014.
  • India was the top country in internet user additions last year: up 63 million.
  • WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, Kakao and Snapchat will evolve into multipurpose content hubs.

Approaching the end of her presentation, Meeker said that the most magical words you can hear are: “That’s really interesting, I had never thought of it that way before.”


Golden Youth

Saturday, 15 March, 2014 0 Comments

In the days when record shops were popular, if not entirely profitable, recordings by Golden Youth would be kept in the “Indie / Alternative” section until the band had a hit that could be categorized commercially. The duo from Sacramento in California consists of singer/songwriters Stephanie Lauren and Kyle Monroe.


Does capitalism work? Ask Jan Koum.

Thursday, 20 February, 2014 2 Comments

Jan Koum was born in 1977 and raised in a small village outside of Kiev. The family home had no electricity or hot water and his parents rarely talked on the phone in case it was tapped by the state. At 16, Koum and his mother immigrated to the US, where she took up babysitting and he swept the floor of a grocery store to help make ends meet. When his mother was diagnosed with cancer, they lived off her disability allowance. When she died in 2000, the young Ukrainian was alone in America; his father had died in 1997. He taught himself computer networking by buying manuals from a used book store and returning them when he was done. He got a job a Yahoo but in his LinkedIn profile, he unenthusiastically describes his time there with the words, “Did some work.”

He left in September 2007 and spent a year traveling around South America. On his return, he applied, and failed, to find work at Facebook. In January 2009, he bought an iPhone and realized that the seven-month old App Store was about to generate a whole new industry of apps. His thinking was it would be cool to have a free messaging app where the login was your own phone number. Koum chose the name WhatsApp because it sounded like “What’s up,” and a week later on his birthday, 24 February 2009, he incorporated WhatsApp Inc. in California. Yesterday, Jan Koum signed the $19 billion Facebook deal paperwork on the door of his old welfare office in Mountain View, California. (Photo courtesy of Jan Koum)

Jan Koum


Haim

Saturday, 5 January, 2013 0 Comments

Este, Danielle and Alana Haim are Haim. The trio of Californian sisters, who are being compared to Fleetwood Mac, have just topped the BBC Sound of 2013 new music list. The band’s songs mix layers of contemporary R&B rhythms with ’70s rock and ’80s synth-pop. “Haim have an unapologetic passion for music that shines in their songs,” said BC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens. “They’re brilliant musicians who have a real talent for tunes that merge their tales of growing up in the 21st Century with a classic songwriting ability.”


The Sisters Brothers

Wednesday, 28 December, 2011

Another delightful item in the book-filled Rainy Day Christmas stocking was The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt. In short: The Sisters Brothers are a pair of fraternal contract killers roaming the 1850s American West. Charlie Sisters is shrewd and remorseless; Eli Sisters is less psychopathic and more philosophical, but cross him and he’ll blow your […]

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