Monday, August 18, 2014

Amazon Drone Delivery - to your front door in 30 minutes or less!

Online shopping has always been easy, convenient and fast – but it just got better! Free shipping? How about delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less?

In a service Amazon is calling Prime Air, delivery drones will be able to carry items up to five pounds, which accounts for 86% of all deliveries Amazon currently makes. Amazon offers a myriad of products, including everything from books, bathing suits to a Kindle, and as soon as you hit the buy button, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will pick up the package at the Amazon warehouse center and fly directly to your front door.

Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, is no stranger to high tech advancements. His forward thinking entrepreneurial ideas and futurist developments continue to push the envelope. In the 1990’s when most consumers were leery of online shopping, his belief in e-commerce made him a pioneer in the game. Today, living up to Bezos’ expectations, the number of online shoppers has grown exponentially.
In the near future, delivery drones will be as common as today’s UPS. Bezos added that the drones’ motors are electric, offering a green alternative to the current delivery trucks. Using GPS co-ordinates, the drones will be able to fly to the destination without the guidance of man.

Awaiting FAA approval, the UAV’s are being tested around the world to ensure they are air worthy. A video of one of these test flights was posted to Amazon’s website showing a sealed parcel pickup and delivery.

These drones are ready and waiting to hit the skies near you. Sure, there are many small issues that need to be debugged, like public safety – you sure wouldn’t want one of these UAV’s hitting you in the head – nevertheless, this technology is one of the greatest advancements since virtual reality, 3D printers, or PayPal. It is definitely worth getting excited about!

We will certainly be seeing them within the next five years, but if Amazon gets its way, these drones, called ‘octocopters’, will be at your front door by 2015! Yet another great idea by Bezos – and this one is definitely going to fly!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

AJ Vandrie “Bringing the Outside In”

His work has been described as a ‘balance between two worlds’.  AJ Vandrie grew up in Northumberland Hills with his adoptive family. His background is composed of Ojiway/Chippewa and Irish heritage. He pursued his art studies at the White Mountain Academy of the Arts in Elliot Lake, a school, located in an isolated area in Northern Ontario, sought to combine First Nations and European approaches to art, which was a great fit for AJ. After his first year of studies, he suffered a personal loss, with the death of his birth father and mother who died within a sort period of time from one another.

It was at this time that AJ began exploring the art style that he is known for today.  Widely considered Woodland School of Art, this style is synonymous with the artist Norval Morriseau, whose influence is evident in the works seen here. One can find definite similarities between these two artists; style aside, they are both deeply spiritual, sharing, through their art, personal and cultural stories. However, AJ has certainly developed his own unique style. Known for its hard black outlines, bright pure colours, and distinct backgrounds, this art is certainly to be appreciated on its own merits.

Wanting to complete his studies, AJ learns that the school in Elliot Lake has closed its doors. He turns to the Haliburton School of the Arts where he continues to study, graduating with honours and awards. Inspired by the spiritual energy in nature, AJ transforms his visions and dreams into works of art, which he describes as ‘bringing the outside in’.

He illustrates the flow and energy in his work creating action in the painting. The bold black outlines depict the body of the subject and the blue indicates the spirit within.  A collection of his work is painted using the four sacred colours; white, black, read and yellow. All combined, they create an earthy reddish brown.

At his studio in Stockdale, AJ describes the process of his paintings and how he gets absorbed into the work, how it calms him and makes things around almost disappear. He describes the feeling as quiet and collected, allowing him to focus on keeping his breathing calm as he works. Each piece is signed with a distinct flower signifying his Ojibway name ‘Wahbegona’ meaning Wild Flower, a name given to him by his father. Looking at the many works he currently has on the go, I asked how he knows when a particular piece is complete. He laughs. “You just have a sense; when it is all in balance, that is when it is done.”

AJ Vandrie is the featured artist on the Spring issue of The Link Magazine available now near you! Pick up your copy today.

Friday, April 11, 2014

QUIZ: TED wants to know what you are willing to pay for.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is in the news, trending, and on the move north – to Canada! Carrying a slogan of “Ideas worth spreading”, TED and TEDActive are currently held in Long Beach and Palm Springs, with a planned move to Vancouver and Whistler respectively this year.

One of the largest movements for our generation (the Gen Xers and Millennials) is the non-profit, free education of TED Talks. With a global audience of billions, one may be hard pressed to find someone that is unfamiliar with the fast paced and growing ideas of these conferences. Just YOUTUBE it and you will see for yourself.

Malcolm Gladwell, a past presenter, might say that if it is on TED, it has hit it’s ‘Tipping Point’. With it’s growth, TED has spurred TEDGlobal, TEDxParis and many more, including the TED Ideas Lab. This lab, partnering with The Globe and Mail, is currently debating how much you would pay for better health care, education and other public services Canadians consider funded by our taxes dollars. 

Would you pay extra for;

·      Better supplies in your own child’s classroom?
·      Decreasing your waiting period for surgery?
·      For a members-only lane on the 401?
·      Acceptance to any University in Canada?

These questions and more make up a quiz you can take in just minutes to find out how you feel about the role that money plays in our public services.
What do you think the economist Adam Smith would have said about this in his 18 minutes on TED? Take the quiz now.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dorothy Winter - The Art of Quilting

Dorothy Winter

 “These quilts, these time honoured traditions, certainly hold their place in history.”

The Seasons (Hildegard von Bingen)

The art of quilting holds more history, in particular that of women, than one might initially imagine. We traditionally view quilts as functional bedding, which are decorative and commemorative, even historical, however, the value in the artistic expression of the quilter is often overlooked. We know quilts to be a source of warm comfort, an heirloom perhaps, but most do not think of them as holding historic messages. In times and cultures where women held a quieter place within the family unit, quilts provided a clever medium for females to articulate ideas and to tell a story.

To Dorothy Winter, who, for over 20 years, has dedicated herself to producing meaningful works of art, quilts matter. She began making her quilts for practical purposes for her family when they lived in a farmhouse. These family treasures made way to future projects. Producing numerous quilts over the years, her scenes vary telling of the times, all holding memories and stories; historical really. There are scenes of farmland, and woodland, and Punch and Judy entertaining children on the beach. There are quilts made from the ties of men in her social network and quilts depicting the work of artists such as Kazimir Malevich, and then there is the piece shown on the cover titled The Seasons (Hildegard von Bingen). Dorothy was inspired and notes about Hildegard ‘She wrote down her thoughts, composed poems and music and corresponded with many of the rulers in Europe. Her influence was far-reaching. Some of her writings were very relevant to the problems we face today. Specifically women’s rights and environmental responsibility.’

Dorothy marvels that no two quilts are alike in their execution. Even where the same pattern is used, the fabric chosen, the colour placement and the stitching together, produce a completely different piece of art. Her works include different fabrics, even silk, which are placed to enhance the idea of the project with their texture and colour.
Winter Spruce

In this day and age where sewing machines can make an easier job of these big quilts, Dorothy prefers to hand stitch her work. ‘Hand stitching allows more flexibility, gives a softer finish, and, since I am in no hurry, it is a very tranquil activity during which I enjoy seeing the texture give life to the material’. Starting with ideas, and drawings, and listening to the fabric chosen for the quilt, these hand-stitched pieces can take between three months and up to a year for her to complete.

Challenging the idea ‘if it is useful, it is not art’, Dorothy began hanging her quilts on walls displaying them to be viewed as the works of art they are.  Her respect for the quilts is evident in the quality of her work, the images are beautiful and masterfully stitched, and truly must be scene to fully appreciate the craftsmanship. These quilts, this time honoured tradition, certainly hold their place in history.

Check out the Winter Solstice 2013 edition of The Link magazine which features Dorothy Winter as the cover artist.