It was one of those everyday showdowns. I turned my Honda Civic onto Keystone Place North. At the far end of the short residential street, another car turned in to face me. With cars parked on both sides, one of us would have to pull over and let the other go. Something about the other car looked…More
Joseph Sunga is a happier Seahawks fan this season. The eight-year-season ticket holder will watch his team battle for the NFC title Sunday in what might be the franchise’s best year ever. Nothing tops that. But there’s something else. This season, Sunga and many of the 68,000 fans who’ve packed CenturyLink Field could actually, reliably, finally use their…More
Inside new construction on the corner of Yale Avenue North and Republican Street, builders are busy.
Seattle entrepreneurs are sporting hard hats to tour three dusty floors of 500 Yale Ave. N., and the crews have fewer than three weeks to turn its skeleton of wood, glass and metal into the largest, most ambitious coworking space Seattle has seen.
When it opens Feb. 1, the WeWork space in South Lake Union will show how neighborly work habits have become.
The 55,000-square-foot space will fit more than 800 workers — 57 at long, shared tables on the first floor and the rest in glass-walled rooms housing from one person to 18.
But what will make this assembly of desks a “coworking” space won’t be proximity. it will be pingpong tables. Unplanned happy hours. Regular talks and mixers on the first floor. It will be the free coffee and free beer (yes, beer), the décor fit for some hip young magazine and, if activities at any of the 15 spaces the New York-based company currently operates spread, crazy things like Mario Kart tournaments.More
A new year is all about hope. What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? How can technology help? This week I thought I’d hand the mic to Seattle tech thinkers and leaders and ask them one intentionally broad question:
What’s one thing you hope to see happen in technology this year?
I hadn’t given any thought to Scarecrow Video in months, maybe years, when I heard the news a couple weeks ago.
As you’d expect, Seattle’s world-famous video store is in trouble. Rentals have dropped 40 percent in six years, despite efforts to draw people in with coffee, beer, screenings, all kinds of deals and even bar trivia, and owners are wondering if it’s time to fade to black.
The culprit, of course, is change. Video-store rentals hit their peak, $8.5 billion, in 2001. Last year, we spent as much on those rentals as we did in 1984, a measly $1.2 billion, according to analyst IHS.
Blockbuster Video, founded in 1985, operated 1,700 stores when the company filed for bankruptcy in 2010. This month, parent company Dish Network said it would close the 300 remaining company-owned Blockbuster stores next year.
Scarecrow owners Carl Tostevin and Mickey McDonough put out a call for help in October. Scarecrow is no Blockbuster; it has collected 118,000 titles and a lot of love. The store’s fans will step it up. Supporters of independent businesses will stop in on principle.
But what about the rest of us? I’ve done nothing but rent or stream from Netflix, Amazon.com, Hulu or iTunes for years. Same with most of my friends. I’d love for Scarecrow to stick around, but online convenience rules. Is there something I’m missing?
I went in last week to find out.More
Ian Allan gets bored watching full live games of his favorite sport. Davida Marion rolls her eyes when friends ask to hang out on Sundays. Marc Sells once yelled “Yes!” when he heard a certain someone had torn his ACL.
Is this madness? Maybe. It’s fantasy football.
I knew almost nothing about the booming $1.2 billion fantasy sports industry until a few weeks ago, when the Seahawks took on the Houston Texans. We served chips and hummus in the TV room, and Sells, a good friend, grabbed his phone and opened his laptop. While we rooted for our team, he rooted for his fantasy players, whose real life performance in games across the NFL would either validate or condemn painstaking decisions he had made that week.
More than 24 million Americans play fantasy football, and I’ve managed to avoid talking about it with any of them. This year, though, is different. This year, for the first time in my life, I’m actually following a season of sport. I’ve now gasped and jumped and scared the baby with some wild, out-of-nowhere shriek for nine straight weeks of soaring Seahawks football, and I can’t believe I didn’t get into this sooner.More
Clothing stores that know what you like. Self-driving cars that know where you’re going. Sensors that warn you’ll have a heart attack days before you have it. Bars that serve your favorite drink minutes before you sit down.
This isn’t fantasy. It’s the future.
It’s described in “The Age of Context,” the second book by tech enthusiast and former Microsoft evangelist Robert Scoble and business journalist Shel Israel. The book is a parade of newborn technologies and an analysis of trends in mobile, social media, data, sensors and location technology that all lead to one compelling conclusion: The world we’re headed to is a world that knows us. One where commerce, transportation, health care, service and learning are transformed by technologies smart enough to not just meet our needs but anticipate them. It’s a world where we are safer, stronger and more powerful than we ever dreamed.
But there’s a cost: For the world to open up to you, you have to open up to the world. You have to share more and more of all those trackable, quantifiable behaviors we’ve come to call your personal data.More
Last week, for the first time ever, I walked into a store and bought something with nothing.
I was at the shoe counter at Nordstrom, a pair of Under Armour sneakers boxed and ready to go. I’d forgotten my Nordstrom notes — coupons the store mails customers who use its credit card — and asked the sales associate to look them up. He did.
“Do you want to buy this with your Nordstrom card?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said, opening my wallet.
“Don’t bother,” he said, looking at his screen and pressing a button. “You’re all set.”
Back home, I pulled out my wallet and looked inside. There was my license, the credit card I didn’t need, a bunch of business cards and gift cards I forgot I had and, tucked in the back, some stray $1 bills I didn’t remember putting there.
It’s hard to imagine a world without cash. It’s harder to imagine a world without wallets. But the way things are going, you have to wonder if we’re destined to lose both.More
A light moved back and forth inside the Stratasys Objet Eden 260V, blue as the one on R2D2’s rotating head. Inside, it was cooking plastic. Layer after layer of polymer was turning a file you see on a screen into an object you hold in your hand.
No big deal to industrial designers who’ve seen some form of this for years. To me, it’s magic.
The Eden 260V is one of several 3D printers that sit unceremoniously at the back of Makerhaus, the tinkerer’s wonderland in Fremont, as if they weren’t out to change the world.
The Eden 260V costs over $100,000, but the game-changing MakerBot Replicator 2X, sitting on a table a few feet away, is just $2,799. A display case showed off the machines’ products — everything from detailed figurines to a one-piece replica bike chain, its bendy parts in working order.
Looking at them for the first time last week, I didn’t know what to see. Are these newly cheaper, more accessible machines agents of a new industrial revolution? The in-home “desktop manufacturing” that will let us print a new light bulb at home? Or are they too slow, too geeky and too complicated to be more than glorified tchotchke makers?More
Remember when grocery store self-checkout was the future?
The bulky talking machines have been around for more than a decade, and I’ve used them maybe four times. I finally noticed the 12 that are huddled in the University Village QFC when my husband went straight for them a few months ago. On the day of the Fremont Solstice Parade, I found myself lined up behind them at the Fremont PCC. But only because there was no other way with that crowd that I was going to pay for my sandwich in time for the naked bike ride.
There was talk in the early 2000s that self-checkout lanes would soon handle all grocery-store transactions. Now we know better. Everyone likes control and convenience, but some of us (raises hand) don’t want to do more work. Supermarkets like Boise-based Albertsons cut back on self-checkout lanes when it became clear that the machines are an option, not a revolution.More