Having worked with some professionally shot drone footage of properties for use in legal disputes, what I like the most about it is the way that it puts things into context so well.

In real estate, location is everything, and nothing compares to a drone for impact in highlighting a property’s location. Digital Journal has an interview with Douglas Thorn about how drove video is changing the real estate sales industry:

“My videos are like mini-movies,” he tells Digital Journal.”I start with an intro that showcases the entire area so that potential buyers can get a complete idea of the community and natural surroundings before zooming into the home and detailing the interior.”

Thorn’s sizzle reel is below:

Great top 10 list of the best conspiracy theories from 2015 by Jonathan O’Callaghan at IFLScience:

In the past, we’ve had to deal with shapes on Mars that slightly resemble a recognizable object, claims that UFOs are visiting Earth, and *shudder* Moon landing deniers.

This year, those conspiracy theorists really took it up a notch. We were treated to not only more aliens visiting Earth, but extinct animals coming back to life and even a new round of end-of-the-world conspiracies.

Back in 1995, Microsoft dominated the computer world. While hard to imagine for most younger folks, back then the Internet was a new and strange thing—even more mysterious than “the cloud” that we’ve been hearing about for years.

The new opportunities and threats posed by the technology behind the “World Wide Web” led to an amazing roller coaster ride catapulting the tech industry from obscurity into ubiquity.

Microsoft’s Internet strategy would ultimately lead to a decade-long anti-trust fight with the US government, and a major shift in marketshare within the overall tech industry. That saga can be traced back to a memo that Gates sent to all employees at Microsoft that served as a call to arms. Below, Paul Thurott takes a look at the aftermath 20 years later:

Today, it doesn’t matter what Microsoft does.

Microsoft is no longer the gatekeeper for the Internet, and there are far more people accessing the web—and connected services—with mobile devices than with PCs. Today, Microsoft is racing to put its mobile apps on competing platforms like Android and iOS, opening up those users to its own services. And it is opening up Windows 10 to work more closely with those devices. The days of “Windows only” are long gone. Today, the Microsoft brand has overtaken the Windows brand, and the firm’s integration point is in the cloud, not on the PC desktop. Microsoft has become IBM.

Microsoft’s rivals make the most popular browsers, Safari and Chrome. Microsoft’s rivals make the software that runs on the most popular mobile platforms (and, in the case of Apple, make the hardware as well). Microsoft’s rivals make the most popular connected services, host the most popular app stores, and control the most popular content ecosystems. Microsoft’s leverage is gone, and while its technical accomplishments and speed in embracing other platforms is laudable, it’s not clear that the software giant will ever regain its mojo on the client.

Microsoft has circled the wagons around productivity, a market it still dominates and, to be fair, has the best products. This makes sense. But the 25 years after “The Internet Tidal Wave,” it’s amazing how unsure and clear the future is. At the time of the memo, Bill Gates could simply declare a direction, and Microsoft would both follow through and succeed. Today, Satya Nadella does the same, and Microsoft quickly follows through. But that success bit is still an open question.

Read the full article which also includes a high-quality version of Gates’ memo in its entirety.

Source: Petri.com (via Zeldman)

One of the great themes in science fiction is the fear that the machines we humans have created will someday lead to our own enslavement or even extinction. As research into artificial intelligence (AI) exploded following Turing’s breakthroughs, the concept of self-awareness in non-organic manmade objects elicited a sort of existential dread. Update: See below…

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Last week, my colleagues and I joined about 1,400 of our closest friends in the construction defect litigation industry at the Disneyland Hotel for a conference. It was my first time staying at the actual Disneyland Hotel. Nice hotel, but really unacceptably poor wifi, and the grounds demonstrate a myopic and blatant disregard for the drought we find ourselves in…

After six months of intense research, Austin Carr wrote an extensive article for Fast Company on a massive program that Disney undertook at the iconic Disney World resort to bring its theme parks into the modern digital age. The article is called The Messy Business of Reinventing Happiness.

The night before the article went live, Carr gave a behind-the-scenes glimpse of some of the drama that was uncovered during his investigation. Well worth the read:

Talk to Disney or read other stories about MyMagic+, and you’ll learn it cost nearly $1 billion to develop. But you won’t be privy to the fact that the earliest bill-of-materials cost estimate for the MagicBand was $35, a surreal 87,000% increase from the 4-cent paper tickets Disney historically relied on. Or that the cost to redesign and integrate DisneyWorld.com with MyMagic+ ended up ballooning to nearly $80 million. One former creative involved tells me “people do a spit-take when I tell them I worked on an $80 million website. But the scale of it was so massive.”

Talk to Disney, and you’ll hear about the collaborative, team-oriented atmosphere. You won’t hear about the internal resistance, the grasping for credit, the political battles. One source deeply enmeshed in the development describes Disney as a “culture that is all smiles and happiness, and everyone is going in to give you a hug. But you have no idea who is working against you. You come out bruised and bloody.” Another former exec says there was “land-grabbing, finger-pointing, and, quite frankly, a lot of yelling in closed-door meetings.” Adds another executive partner intimately involved with the project, “There were a lot of bodies buried on the side of the road [over the course of developing MyMagic+].”

But the truth is, this is how innovation happens. The scale of MyMagic+ was indeed massive, as are many projects developed at innovative companies. Yet rarely do we get such an intimate look into how that creative process actually works.

Source: Fast Company