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Skype Co-Founders Invent Delivery Drone on Wheels

Posted by cfeehan on November 6, 2015

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Attention humans: the future is now.

Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, former co-founders of Skype, have created a company called Starship Technologies which will produce small, autonomous ground drones that are designed to deliver groceries, drug store products and packages straight to your home at an incredibly low cost. Essentially, the drone looks like a little high-tech cooler on six wheels, complete with a video camera, sensors, and GPS tracking system. Fascinating.

The whole idea behind their creation is that a customer will place their order online and then the drone will be automatically loaded up with up to two grocery bags – or 20 pounds – of goods inside a “portable warehouse”, which is built from a converted cargo container. These can be set up anywhere there’s a bit of empty space, which is incredibly convenient. The drone then heads out on its journey! It travels on sidewalks at a top speed of four miles an hour, the speed of a fast pedestrian, and its goal is to have the package delivered within 5 to 30 minutes. The drones can apparently navigate their way through busy pedestrian traffic with ease because they can detect obstacles, adjust speed, stop, and even safely cross streets all on their own.

The drone can somehow even tackle low stairs, and is battery powered, which means that it’s ready to go out and do more deliveries after a short recharge at the warehouse. This makes it much better for the environment, because it’s not using gas, like typical delivery trucks. It consumes even less energy than most light bulbs! It’s also 15 times cheaper than hiring a human delivery person, which is its major draw, and is totally waterproof.

Another really cool feature of this service is that you can track the drone’s progress with an app on your phone, and then use the same app to open up the drone when it gets to you. Only you have the key to open it up! Kinda makes you feel like a secret agent, doesn’t it?

Even so, I immediately thought the worst and wondered, “Couldn’t someone just pick this thing off the street, bash it with a hammer and claim whatever’s inside as their own?”

The answer is yes, technically, but these drones come complete with a video camera and a GPS tracking system, so that probably wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do. The grocery bag full of produce and peanut butter probably wouldn’t be worth the time you’d spend behind bars after the company tracks you down with the GPS, so I’d strongly advise against it.

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Starship drone: https://www.starship.xyz/concept/

I’m trying to imagine a world where humans and ground drones share the sidewalk like it’s no bigdeal. It just seems so crazy that we would ever get used to that! It’s such a futuristic image. Will they be able to speak with humans? Ask them about their day, or offer a friendly hello? Or would we just ignore them, like these insane pieces of technology weren’t maneuvering past us en route to their destination? Maybe that’s where we’re headed, but it’s not easy to picture when some of us still don’t know how to operate an iPad.

One of the obvious upsides to ground drones – and I’m assuming it’s the reason Starship Technologies created this type of drone – is that they’re not airborne drones. There has been a lot of debate recently over the use of airborne delivery drones, including the problem of drones flying too close to aircrafts, drones flying much too close to homes, and even the Federal Aviation Administration changing their policies. A man in Kentucky was even arrested a couple of months ago for shooting down a drone that he felt was flying too close to his house! Clearly, people haven’t entirely warmed up to the idea of airborne drones yet. Currently, Amazon, Walmart, Google, and other companies all want to implement airborne delivery drones, which complicates things. All I can say is that this is definitely not the last you’ll hear of airborne drone issues! At least for now, these low-risk ground drones seem like a realistic middle ground, as far as robotic deliveries go.

Unfortunately you won’t see any delivery drones yet, but it will happen soon – Starship Technologies will first test its robot in Greenwich, England, in 2016. And if all goes as planned, we might see these little guys strolling down the sidewalks next to us a few years after that.

Check out Starship Technologies’ website here if you want to learn more about their delivery drones.

Source: https://www.starship.xyz/

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Caitlin Feehan, Blogger & Editor


Converse have been my footwear of choice for the past 9 years, I’m convinced that all doors and sidewalks are conspiring against me, and I enjoy sticking my head out of the passenger window on long car rides.


How To: Monitor Internet Usage & Avoid Overage Charges

Posted by amustard on November 4, 2015

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Have you ever gone over your monthly Internet usage limit? It’s never fun paying any additional fees on monthly services. This is why we put together this friendly guide to avoiding overage charges to ensure you are getting the most out of your Internet package.

We’ll start by showing you how to monitor your monthly usage online (for your Execulink Internet service) and then we get into some tips on how to limit your usage and avoid any additional charges on your Internet bill. 

How to Monitor Your Internet Usage

      1. Log on to MyExeculink
         
      2. Under the Home Tab, click on the View your usage link under Internet


          
      3. You will now be brought to the Internet - Connections page


         

        On this page, you will see your connections listed (appearing as user name), and a quick glance at your current usage for the month.

         
      4. If you would like further information on your usage, click either your connection (test1234@execulink.com in the example above), or the usage amount.
         
      5. You will now be brought to a page, detailing both your current month’s usage,and usage information from the previous 2 months.

        • a) Each month’s data will show your Download and Upload totals as well as your total usage (that you will be billed for).
            
        • b) Below this, you will also see how much was downloaded/uploaded during the Free Usage period between 2am-9am. You are not charged for this usage.
           
        • c) The View usage details link allows you to view your data per day. 
          (see step 6 to see what that looks like)
           
        • d) At the bottom of the page, you will see a chart comparing your billed usage against the total amount of usage you have for the month.
           
        • e) Below this, is the amount of time you have spent online.
           
      6. If you click the View usage details link on a particular month, you will be brought to a page that details your usage on a daily basis.

To watch the video on how to Monitor Internet Usage see below.

Five Tips to Avoid Usage Overage Charges

      1. Disable Auto Play on Facebook videos

        In a recent update, Facebook made all videos Auto Play when you view your timeline. This eats up your monthly usage limit without your consent, but you are able to disable this feature. For instructions on disabling Auto Play on Facebook videos, click HERE. 

      2. Turn off YouTube’s Auto-Play Feature

        After viewing a Youtube video, another video is automatically played immediately after. Although this feature can be useful to continuously play videos, it can be disabled to avoid using up to much of your monthly usage. For instruction on disabling Auto Play on Youtube videos, click HERE.

      3. Ensure your Router has a legitimate password

        Controlling your own personal Internet usage is hard enough, you do not want others hopping on your wi-fi and using up your bandwidth. Make sure you have a wi-fi password, and make sure that password isn’t obvious. For tips on choosing the best passwords, click HERE

      4. Schedule downloads for Execulink’s Free Usage Period (2am-9am)

        Most of Execulink’s capped plans include a Free Usage Period between 2am and 9am, where all downloads and uploads are not counted against your monthly usage allotment. In addition to manually waiting and downloading late at night, there are several extensions you  can use in your browser to schedule downloads such as Firefox’s Download Scheduler

      5. Switch to an Unlimited Plan

        If you are a heavy internet user (in terms of usage, not weight) and even the 4 tips above does not help you stay under your monthly usage limit, it may be time to switch to an unlimited package to eliminate any worry of going over. To check out Execulink’s unlimited high speed Internet packages, visit http://ow.ly/RjbGr.  

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Andrew Mustard, Marketing Coordinator


Devoted Leafs fan through the good and the bad - mostly bad. Born and raised in Stratford, Ontario - with more swag than Bieber. Success isn’t a maybe - it’s a must.


Inside Out is Pure Feels

Posted by cirvine on November 2, 2015

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Have you ever wondered what’s going on inside someone’s head? Well, wonder no more, because Pixar has answered this riddle with Inside Out, a beautiful and heartfelt movie about a little girl and her many emotions.

The movie begins with the birth of Riley, our little girl. With her birth comes the creation of Joy, Riley’s most prominent emotion. Accompanying Joy in Riley’s mind are 4 other essential emotions: Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear. Day in and day out they watch the world through Riley’s eyes and control her responses through their mainframe computer. When emotional moments happen in Riley’s life, a particular emotion takes over the controls.  Afterward, a little video marble is added to her memory banks in the hue of that emotion’s colour. For the most part, Riley’s memories are a joyous yellow. But that is all about to change when her dad gets a new job in San Francisco, forcing her to move away from everything she has ever known and loved.

Goodbye happiness, hello loneliness. Or to be more exact, hello Sadness. Once Sadness takes the reigns and starts affecting the most important memories—core memories—micromanaging Joy must get back in control and fix her little girl. They are soon lost in the mind of Riley, and the two emotions must join forces (along with the help of Riley’s trusty imaginary friend, Bing Bong), and get back to the mainframe to help Riley from the inside out.

This movie is a psychology major’s dream. With settings like the building of Abstract Thought, where Joy and her friends get deconstructed into ever simplified versions of themselves; or lines like, “These facts and opinions look so similar” while riding the train of thought, there’s a lot to pick up on and enjoy. That being said, there’s also a lot to be sad about. It’s a struggle not to shed a tear during this movie, and even now when I think of certain parts I have to stop and shake off the feels.

The emotions are perfectly cast, which adds a lot to the movie. With Amy Poehler as Joy, you can’t help but draw similarities between this character and the uber-happy and upbeat Leslie Knope from TV’s Parks and Recreation. Likewise, Sadness is voiced by Phyllis Smith, who played Phyllis Vance in The Office, another meek and somewhat pitiable character. Joining them are the hilarious Bill Hader as Fear, another Office girl, Mindy Kaling as Disgust, and of course the always-angry Lewis Black as Anger.

The beautiful lesson that this movie shares with kids is that it’s okay to be sad. It’s normal to have moments of despair and frustration and confusion. Although we strive for happiness, it’s inevitable that we will feel pain sometimes. But with that pain can come wisdom and contrast, and sometimes more is learned through sadness than joy could ever teach us. Pixar takes this ambitious lesson and simplifies it so that children can understand, but sets it within a spectacle that will still keep them entertained and enthralled. Not only that, but they sprinkle it with gloriously thoughtful moments that make it a delight for adults as well. Just don’t forget the tissues.

You can watch Inside Out on Execulink’s VOD channel (ch.100) from November 3rd to December 2nd.

 

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Candice Irvine, Blogger, Marketing Specialist, Graphic Designer


I'm addicted to games of all kinds: boardgames, video games, card games, mind games... nah, just kidding about that last one. Or am I?


Fearfully Fun Halloween Party Ideas

Posted by cfeehan on October 30, 2015

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Halloween is right around the corner, which means we don’t have to wait much longer for all of the frightful festivities! One of the best things about Halloween is that you can make it into whatever you want it to be – whether it’s a fun, lighthearted celebration for kids, complete with candy corn and princess and pirate costumes, or a dark and ghostly jubilee where you can finally bring our your most dreadful decorations and disguises. Whatever Halloween means to you, you better hope you’re prepared for the main event – the Halloween party! This blog contains a bunch of Halloween party ideas for every kind of holiday-goer.

Food and Drinks

I’m going to be honest with you; food was the first thing I thought of when I thought of Halloween parties. But Halloween food has always been a touchy subject – you want it to fit the holiday, but you don’t want it to gross people out so much that they won’t eat it. Here are some ideas that are cute and easy, and won’t send anyone running.

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

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Mummy Hot Dogs

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Witch’s Brew Punch

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And if you decide to provide bottled beverages, there’s always this innovative drink cooler idea!

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Theme

This part isn’t necessary, but sometimes it’s fun to give your party a theme. Is there a specific horror movie you love? Are vampires your thing? Do you and your friends like dressing up as Star Wars characters every year? Narrowing down your focus can help you plan out the other elements to your party, like invitations, costumes, and food! Here’s some inspiration, in case you still don’t know if you’d like to have a theme:

  • Murder mystery party
  • Willy Wonka party
  • Zombie party
  • Harry Potter party
  • Fear Factor party

There are so many themes you can choose from – search “Halloween party themes” on Google if you want more inspiration!


Activities

Now, we don’t want your guests to be bored, right? There are a ton of fun Halloween game ideas for people of all ages online. Some of my favourites are below.

Pumpkin ring toss

This one could be fun for kids for adults, because the ring and pumpkin sizes can be modified to change the difficulty. Set up as many pumpkins as you want (suggestion: 6 in a triangle format), stand a couple of metres away, then throw the rings at the pumpkin stems. If you get a ring on a stem, you win!

pumpkin_ring_toss.jpgHalloween Mystery boxes

This one is not for the squeamish. It involves putting totally normal foods into containers that the unsuspecting victim cannot see into, and telling them it’s something else, or not telling them at all! It’s not really dangerous or gross; it just gives off that illusion! Here’s a picture that will give you some ideas of what to put into the mystery boxes:

Halloween_Mystery.jpg

Don’t let this hinder your imagination – go ahead and come up with more slimy edible alternatives to fool you guests!


Decorations

Monster doors

This one is really cool, and you can get your kids to help make it. All you need is some construction paper, streamers, fake spider webs, or any other material you think would look good, as well as an adhesive of some sort that will come off of your front door easily. Just cut out the shapes you need and voila! Monster door. Aside from the ideas in the pictures below, I also think your door could look really cool as Frankenstein, a ghost, a vampire, or a jack-o-lantern.

monster-door.jpg

Halloween balloons

This decoration is really simple, but really cute. All you need are some orange and white balloons and a brand new, thick-tipped black permanent marker. Then, draw ghostly features or jack-o-lantern faces onto your balloons and they become instantly festive!

Halloween-Balloons-01.jpg

Jack-o-lanterns

Don’t forget the old classic – decorate your party with your own carved pumpkins! Check out our recent Execublog post for some ideas.

No matter how you choose to decorate, what food you choose to serve, or even what activities you have planned for your guests, we at Execulink hope you have a freakishly fantastic Halloween!


Sources:

http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/family/galleries/35015/monster-doors#SW5Uve3xAsiHq2J0.32
http://www.hotref.com/blog/halloween-party-games-ideas/

http://www.southernliving.com/food/holidays-occasions/halloween-pumpkins/halloween-pumpkins-cooler

http://www.mombythebeach.com/halloween-witches-brew-punch-drink-recipe/

http://chocolatechocolateandmore.com/iced-sugar-cookies/

http://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/crescent-mummy-dogs/d52a57d7-ab8a-4a1c-8dae-f9f90d03b912

http://emmastrend.com/category/halloween/page/13/

http://www.lovethispic.com/image/135743/halloween-mystery-boxes


 

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Caitlin Feehan, Blogger & Editor


Converse have been my footwear of choice for the past 9 years, I’m convinced that all doors and sidewalks are conspiring against me, and I enjoy sticking my head out of the passenger window on long car rides.


Pumpkin Carving Creations!

Posted by cirvine on October 28, 2015

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A big shout out to Barb Vodicka, an Execulink Telecom customer who sent us her #execulantern. We wanted to showcase your handiwork and thank you for your submission!

For more spooktacular pumpkin carving inspiration, check out our favourites below!

 


Hopefully these gave you some inspiration for your own jack-o-lanterns this Halloween. There are plenty of other resources out there as well for free stencils, pumpkin carving tips, and more. The possibilities are endless so grab the kids and enjoy one of the funnest times of year!


Sources:
http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/halloween-ideas/a25009/unique-pumpkin-carving-ideas/

http://removeandreplace.com/2013/10/11/38-halloween-pumpkin-carving-ideas/
http://www.buzzfeed.com/emofly/13-brilliant-pumpkin-carving-hacks#.jcvd5Koqa
http://www.creatingreallyawesomefreethings.com/pumpkin-carving/
http://www.sunset.com/home/weekend-projects/make-black-cat-o-lanterns
http://realhousedesign.com/funny-halloween-pumpkin-carving-ideas-2013/cool-halloween-pumpkin-carving/
http://www.dumpaday.com/genius-ideas-2/diy-halloween-craft-ideas-30-pics/

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