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New Age Of Technology: Self-Driving Cars

New Age Of Technology: Self-Driving Cars

We sure do hear a lot about Google and its self-driving cars lately. What seemed like an idea for a sci-fi movie just a decade ago is rapidly moving on to become reality – and it doesn’t really matter what one thinks about it. We live in the age of technology, with progress in this field moving at breakneck speeds. What seemed impossible twenty (or even ten) years ago is an integral part of our lives today. It is quite certain that ten years from now we are going to laugh at how tame our suggestions about the future were.

However, although there is a lot of talk about self-driving cars, I found that I (as well as most of my acquaintances) actually now very little about them, except for the fact that they are, well, cars that somehow drive themselves. I decided to remedy that and read up a little on the subject.

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The self-driving car is an extremely ambitious project by Google, aimed at changing the way we perceive individual transportation in the future. Seeing that the absolute majority of traffic-related accidents and deaths stem from human mistakes, Google intends to create cars that would eliminate this threat and allow everybody to be independent in their movements irrespective of age, physical condition, or ability to drive. People who previously were forced to stay in one place or be dependent on others for their transportation (elderly, visually impaired, children, etc.) would be able to drive wherever they wanted –  easily, quickly, and more importantly, completely safely. All that is necessary is to input a location and press a button, the rest is done by the car itself.

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Very well, but how exactly is it done? What is inside this car that you are supposed to entrust your life to? The car is equipped with sensors capable of detecting all kinds of objects at considerable distance, allowing the AI controlling the car to navigate streets while safely avoiding collisions. Of course, Google cars are currently in the prototype stage , but they do exist and have been undergoing extensive road-testing for quite a while already. By now, their cars have covered almost 1.5 million miles, with only a handful of minor accidents. The vehicle at fault was usually a manually-driven car they collided with. Nevertheless, Google publishes all the traffic incidents and claims they are going to be used as learning experience in further perfection of their AI.

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Google cars are not the first attempt at creating a self-driving car – not by a long shot. Actually, the first autonomous vehicles date back to the 1980s; however, they never left the prototype stage and their introduction was never attempted at such a large scale. Furthermore, knowing Google’s reputation, it is probably safe to assume that in the very foreseeable future we may encounter real self-driving cars moving along our streets en masse that won’t actually be that unbelievable a sight.

One thing is for certain; we live in the age of rapidly changing lifestyle paradigms. Those who are skeptical about self-driving cars today should think about the mobile revolution. It brought to us the world in which the majority of people are connected to the Internet around the clock by means of portable devices, which can be used as anything from phones to personal workout assistants. This would’ve seemed preposterous or incredibly far-fetched just a couple of decades ago; however, today’s smartphones, apps, and constant online status are absolutely natural conditions of life for the vast majority of people. It is very likely that the same fate awaits self-driving cars. The best thing we can do is adapt to these changes.

Featured photo credit: flickr.com via flickr.com

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Melissa Burns

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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