Category Archives: Uncategorized

Wild Innovations in Retail and the Hidden Cost of Machine Learning

We are back! Cathi Bond and Nora Young got together (virtually!) to talk future of retail and carbon footprint.

Cathi talks about Showfields, a digital/physical hybrid store in New York, and their new Magic Wand app (via PSFK). 

Nora talks about this article from two Université de Montréal professor/researchers on the 'hidden infrastructure' required for machine learning: the carbon footprint of training machine learning applications on lots of data. 

Hope you're all well and coping ok! 


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Trends in Autonomous Vehicles and Streaming Video

This time, Cathi Bond and Nora Young "get together" virtually from their respective homes for a pandemic-appropriate recording.

Nora talks about Zoox, the Amazon-owned autonomous vehicle company (check out the details and images at Fast Company). The shuttle design reminded Nora that Toyota is aiming at a similar shuttle application, and that autonomous vehicles supported by LIDAR technology was a buzzy topic at this year's CES. 

Cathi Bond has been thinking about Netflix, which has commissioned a ton of original content for 2021. She wonders if it could signal a return to the old Hollywood studio system for a new era.


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Renewable Shipping and Ebike Crackdown

Before the December deep chill set in Cathi Bond and Nora Young got together in Nora's backyard to talk tech.

Cathi Bond talks about Oceanbird, a huge, wind-powered shipping vessel that relies on very innovative technology. It's being designed by Wallenius Marine out of Sweden. Check out the images at Dezeen.

Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about this Guardian article about a pilot project in the Netherlands to cut the power to speeding ebikes. Sensible safety measure or nanny state run amok? 


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Summer Travel Special – Pandemic Edition

Cathi and Nora are in Nora's backyard again for a couple of takes on how to enjoy summer vacation when many of our conventional travel plans have been disrupted by the pandemic.

Cathi Bond brings you the Luno Air Mattress, an inflatable mattress designed to fit in the back of your vehicle, so you can camp in your car in comfort. Cathi and Nora reminisce about old timey camping with terrible gear!

Nora Young talks about Drive and Listen, a charming website that lets you virtually drive around various cities around the world while listening to local radio from those cities. They chat about the indie internet and VR.


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COVID and Tech Behaviour; Gym Rats are Losing It

This time, Cathi drops by Nora's backyard for a physically distant recording. Nora mentions this survey suggesting, unsurprisingly, how much take up there's been for online shopping during the pandemic. Nora talks about how COVID is changing tech habits, including hers. Cathi argues for the value of in-person shopping for community. Cathi has been a hard core gym rat for many years...like, *many* years. She's dying for the gym to open again, and talks about the impact on people's well being. Will folks in small spaces be able to have home gyms? What will we do when the long dark winter returns? What are your health strategies (mental and physical) during the pandemic? Share your thoughts in the comments. [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/15121070/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard/tdest_id/237069" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Stress-Busting 2020 and Smart Glasses

This time, Nora Young continues the conversation about living smarter in 2020 with this Fast Company article on handling stress better as a key to resiliency. She also refers to Kelly McGonigal's book The Upside of Stress. Meanwhile, Cathi Bond talks about Bosch's upcoming smart glasses, which offer an augmented reality display that aims to be non-intrusive. Use cases include cooking with recipe instructions in front of you, instead of referring to a book, or driving directions. Cathi points out how distracting today's car dashboards are. [iframe style="border:none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/12809258/height/100/width/480/thumbnail/no/render-playlist/no/theme/standard/tdest_id/237069" height="100" width="480" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen] Download MP3

Happy New Year: The Resolutions Edition!

Happy New Year, all! Hope your year is off to a great start, and thanks so much for listening to The Sniffer.

This time on the podcast, Cathi Bond and Nora Young share their resolutions for the year ahead. 

Cathi has decided to try out the Wim Hof method, which combines breathing exercises and fffffreezing cold baths, with an eye to greater health and wellness. Cathi talks about her personal experiences and will report back. You can read more about the method, as well as some of the controversies, reservations, and questions some researchers have in this Discover article. See also Wikipedia's entry for a good overview.

Meanwhile, Nora points out that unlike most years, 2020 has seen very few tech predictions for the year(s) ahead. She talks about this great, short article by Kara Swisher, where she builds a business case for tech innovation.


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Looking Back at the 2010s and Hands-on Shopping

Happy (nearly) holidays!

On this podcast, Nora and Cathi look back at the decade that was. What are your picks for highlights (and lowlights) in your own life and in the culture? Leave a comment!

Nora mentions this New York Times look back at the 2010s.

Meanwhile, Cathi talks about Woondering, a cool pop-up on Brick Lane in London, where you can check out actual physical versions of products with crowdsourcing campaigns at Kickstarter or Indiegogo. It's wrapped up for the year, but there are plans to take it to other cities in the future.

Cathi also mentions Genussee, a Flint-Michigan company that makes glasses from discarded water bottles.

All the best for the season, and we'll be back for a New Year's special!


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Innovations in Solar and Surprising Sources of Traffic Jams

This time, Cathi Bond talks about Heliogen, which seems to have had an early stage breakthrough in using Concentrated Solar Power systems to get to temperatures of >1,000 degrees C, enough to power industrial processes, as opposed to just generating electricity. More details at New Atlas.

Nora Young talks about why the spike in traffic problems may be due to our convenience economy, especially quick delivery of online ordering, and ride hailing. See this well-researched Boston Globe article. 


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Battling Digital Distraction and Brand Experiences

On today's podcast, Nora Young talks about this post on dealing with digital distraction by having a clear idea of what you would do instead of being on your phone. She also mentions Nir Eyal's new book, Indistractable.

Meanwhile, Cathi Bond mentions this PSFK article on a sort of 'loyalty card 2.0' approach some retailers are using. Customer loyalty earns people experiences and makes them 'part of the club'.


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