Just Walk Out

It’s going to take me a while to get use to shopping in a store where I don’t have to check out. You better get used to it too, because Amazon is going to change the way retail is conducted today.

All the media is talking about the new convenience store Amazon opened today in Seattle. Called Amazon Go, there are no checkout lines and no cashiers. It’s all explained in the quick video I posted above.

It’s so ironic that the online company that helped put so many book stores out of business, and is now doing the same thing to other kinds of retail outlets, is now luring customers back to bricks-and-mortar.

Amazon Go is a cashier-less and, checkout-line-free store so people can shop in record-breaking time. All customers have to do is scan the Amazon Go app when they walk in, and then take what they want, and leave. Amazon does the rest. Every move you make is recorded. Eventually Amazon is going to know more about you than anyone else.

Watch the video to see how Amazon has perfected the entire automated process. You can take something off the shelf and then change your mind. Amazon is adding and subtracting from your bill every second of the way. It’s miraculous.

Recode, the tech site, did a marvelous job covering this story. Photos from Recode.

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Photos by Jason Del Rey

The Fountainhead Experience Art Walk

Eliot and I belong to the Fountainhead Residency and Studios in Miami because the non-profit has a multitude of programs for emerging artists and collectors. We are contemporary art enthusiasts. We do not pretend to be knowledgeable or serious art collectors. We have spent a lot of money on art because we fell in love with the passion and determination of certain artists and what they created. Many of our purchases were made at the Williams McCall Gallery, the only fine arts gallery South Of Fifth, South Beach.

It’s amazing. We have no regrets. We love every piece we have bought over the years, even the ones we have on loan to many of our friends because we just do not have enough space in our apartment.

We are always on the hunt, even though we promised each other many times that we spent enough in our lifetime. Yesterday was proof that art is for love and investing. Fountainhead co-founder (2008) Kathryn Mikesell took a group of us on an art walk of three galleries on South Beach.

We were introduced to several pieces of art that sold for $500 a few years ago and now go for $20,000 plus. That certainly caught the attention of everyone in the group. A number of the art works we saw yesterday featured computer disks, paint swatches, photo negatives and pennies. Eliot went head over for heels for the pen and ink on woven paper by Ben Sack. The detail and the imagination used in his drawing just has to be seen in person. Visit the Robert Fontaine Gallery.

We heard a wild story about Ben Sack. He spends most of the year cruising around the world taking in the sights and learning the history of each city he visits. That helps him achieve the details in each drawing. I also remember something about Ben being blind in one eye. That seems impossible, doesn’t it?

We also had the pleasure of visiting David Castillo and Conde Contemporary galleries. The penny piece below is from Conde Contemporary. The gallery owner, Stacy Conde, is pictured below with Kathryn.

Fountainhead is a Miami treasure. Kathryn and Dan Mikesell have been bringing artists from around the world to live and work in Miami for up to two months each. That means 30 to 40 artists a year, and a total so far of over 300 artists from 36 counties. They also host open houses several times a year, and are presently establishing other art experiences.

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Foldable Smartphones

Smartphone manufacturers say foldable phones are still a big question mark. No one knows for sure whether the public really wants them.

Early adopters are very excited about getting displays that bend and fold. The mainstream says, according to my tech friends, “they like things they way they are.”

Give me your thoughts!

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What Do You Think Of This Idea?

Would you read a story if it was free? Do you think I will be able to get companies to buy this machine for $10,000 to keep their clients happy? I appreciate your comments before I get started pitching this concept to companies around the United States.

A Drone Becomes A Hero

If you ever wondered whether the world really needs drones, be sure to watch this video.

For the first time ever, a drone saved the lives of two male teenagers who were caught in dangerous surf off of the eastern coast of Australia. It could have happened anywhere.

The drone, named.”the Little Ripper,” dropped an inflatable rescue pod to the boys. It allowed them to make it to shore three times faster than a normal rescue.

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This Is No Drone

It’s my godson’s son.

I just felt like sharing this with you. Lucas Sklaw, 2, is dancing to Polar Express, sung by Tom Hanks.

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TimesTalks | Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan

If you loved Lady Bird, don’t miss this interview.

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We just saw Phantom Thread tonight. Don’t miss it. An excellent period piece about a fashion designer.

Rent A Lux Room By The Minute

Image: landlopers

This is going to sound crazy to you, but there is a new trend in the hospitality industry that all seniors should know about. A growing number of luxury hotels around the world are renting guest rooms by the minute. All you need is an app and a credit card.

Of course, you are thinking what I did when I first heard about this new concept. Fancy hotels must be officially opening their doors for romantic reasons. That may be the case, but the fancy participating hotels say otherwise. They get plenty of legitimate requests from clients who need rooms for a few hours. Some have three to five hour travel layovers, others need rooms to rest between shopping sprees, business appointments, and sightseeing trips.

This must be serious business. Some of the hotels involved are the Surrey and the Pierre in New York City and the Taj Campton Palace in San Francisco. Rising operating costs are also another reason hotels are anxious to rent out empty rooms.

The major companies with apps in this business are: hotelsbyday.com, dayuse.com, and recharge.com. Prices vary all over the place. The New York Times did a big story on this topic that is worth reading. I was very interested in this story because two years ago I was desperate for a room at CES in Las Vegas. I checked out of my room early on the third day of the show. My flight home was a red eye later that night. By noon, I was feeling ill. I needed to lay down. There was no place to go. I ended up getting a massage in a fancy spa. I slept through it, but I felt much better after.

I would have paid a pro-rated amount for a good nap in the hotel I had checked out of, but those options weren’t available then. I think I like the new short-term arrangement.

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You’re Not Alone In Bed

I just don’t know how you will sleep tonight after you read what I just learned about your bed sheets. Here we go. They are filled with dust mites.

Gross.

You can’t see them but they are there. They live off of your dead skin. CNET said that each human sheds 1.5 grams of skin. That’s enough to feed one million dust mites. Oh, by the way, they are pooping in your bed too.

Coyuchi, a textile company, said that sheets have to be frequently washed. You are going to be shocked to learn just how little people wash their sheets. It’s pretty disgusting.

Be sure to wash bed sheets in water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the the minuscule bugs.

Click here to learn more how to protect yourself.

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The Most Downloaded App Last Saturday

Buzz, buzz, buzz. The social media world is buzzing about the Google Arts & Culture App. It’s available on both iOS and Android.

The Google Arts & Culture App has a new feature that attracted a record-breaking number of folks last Saturday. It actually does something exceptional that has never been done before, according to Appannie, a metrics site.

The arts app actually compares a user’s selfie with a doppelganger from the company’s catalog of historical artworks.

It is pretty amazing.

The Google Arts & Culture App uses “a computer-vision tech to examine what is similar about your face to the thousands of pieces of art that are shared with Google by museums and other institutions.”

You are going to have a lot of fun finding your double. See my comparisons above.

Google thinks Felicia Day and Pete Wentz look like:

Mudslide Devastation

We have friends who live near Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres in Montecito, California. They have been evacuated twice in a month, first by the Thomas Fires, then by the mudslides.

They sent me these photos to show the before and after of the area. They wanted us to get the picture of how badly their area has been devastated. The good news is that their new home has been sparred, but the area is currently unlivable. They have to stay away for at least a few weeks, perhaps more.

We are grateful that they are very upbeat people and can tough it out.but enough is enough. We pray that they can return home very soon and this is the last of the natural disasters forever.

You May Never Fold Laundry Again

Life is full of surprises. Whoever thought that one day there would be a machine that folds your laundry?

It’s not available now, but it will be in in the latter part of 2019. There are a number of companies working on it. The one that got some serious attention at CES is FoldiMate. The company claims that a load of laundry can be folded in four minutes.

I never realized that so many people hated folding laundry. FoldiMate reported that they received 8,000 pre-orders for a $850 machine.

If you are one of those who pre-ordered a unit, you should be forewarned that FoldiMate can’t fold all items. Forget baby clothes, socks and undergarments. Maybe that will change a year from now.

For more in-depth coverage, read the story The Verge did on FoldiMate. They also have some cool videos.