Month: July 2014

Business Analyst

Featured Candidate: Meet Rob

Meet Rob, a Computer Programmer for the Digital Revolution. A determined leader who is fascinated with technology, he brings both passion and creativity to each of his projects.

“You’re never too old to try something new. You finish with your education and you think you’re done and your metaphorical house is built but no, than comes  renovation after renovation – that’s how I look at life as a whole personally and professionally,” said Rob.

Adept in computer programming, Rob has always gravitated to opportunities that meld the human experience with technology. The knowledge he has gained has helped him with everything from being a champion Italian track star, to being a Web Developer with Ganz.

His accomplishments don’t stop there. He was a team lead at Ganz during the Webkinz craze, is a father of two, and just completed his first gig as a DJ.

Given all this, it’s obvious that Rob has a real passion and zest for life, and where technology can take him.

“My career has been quite an accomplishment. I’ve worked for some really cool companies and my resume is strong and speaks for itself. In the companies I’ve worked with I’ve done a lot of good work and everyone has been happy about that,” said Rob.

His academics are nothing to ignore either. He is a graduate with honours from the prestigious Bachelor of Math and Computer Sciences Program at Waterloo University. He didn’t stop there, and went on place second in a fourth year CG course for C++ and OpenGL in a 3D Brick Breaker Game, spending more time in the computer labs than back in his room, but he said it was all worth it in the end.

“I think my degree is pretty respectable, and being a Waterloo graduate is something I am very proud of. I went through their computer science program within the Math Department, and it definitely wasn’t for the faint of heart.”

Rob is also a very proud father. He has managed to develop a robust skill set while raising two children.

“I was once told being a dad is probably the only thing worth doing in life; that everything else is subjective to a degree. But objectively being a father yields many rewards. I love and respect my kids and the challenges of raising them – the challenges of modern day parenting are like no other in time. Technology is changing so quickly, as are our social dynamics with each other and with our kids. When in history has a parent texted his daughter to tell her to come home for dinner? My wife and I are doing the best we can, and so far the kids are growing up to be pretty great little people.”

His work experience has allowed him to develop a skill set that combines technical computer programming skills with effective human communication.

As for the future, he is fascinated and excited by the challenges it may bring – especially in business.

“We’re still trying to figure out how to incorporate all this technology into what’s fundamentally important. Technology is wonderful and we’re moving in the right direction. I’m very excited about everything that’s coming and how we can incorporate the human experience into that.”

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Want to be a featured candidate yourself? Send us a message on our LinkedIn group, here or on Twitter @pfourdigital

 

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Featured Job: Digital Solution Analyst

When you’re a Digital Solution Analyst who is looking for the right challenge in the modern world, it can be difficult to know where you fit. Look no further! We can tell you exactly what your next move should be.

Our client is turning the gears of the global economy. They run the everyday transactions that make life easier for Canadians and the rest of the world. For more than 130 years, they have helped companies connect, interact and transact with customers from all corners of the globe. You could be a part of this revolutionary company that is transforming businesses, and easily keeping pace with the Digital Revolution.

They are looking for someone who can quickly understand next generation digital commerce. They need someone who has the determination and the dedication to revolutionize loyalty management systems, who can develop customized applications using the MS Win platforms, and is as proactive and innovative as the company they will be working for.

The ideal candidate has retail business analyst skills, with knowledge of recent retail digital strategies.  They also have experience with BRD and SRD solution determination, good verbal and written client communication skills, and have business experience working with customer information.

This is a contract position, but any candidates selected will be kept busy for a long while.   Untitled-1

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How we view risk for a one-way mission to Mars

Today we have a special treat! Andrew Rader, Canada’s Know It all and front runner for the Mars One project, has agreed to let us post parts of his book!

Below is an excerpt from his book Leaving Earth: Why one way to Mars makes sense. Read it and enjoy.

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I am by no means a risk taker. Probably the riskiest thing I have ever done 123 is skydive, and this was only because it was part of a challenge on the reality TV show where I appeared in early 2013 124. Although I have a pilot’s licence and am an aviation enthusiast, I’d never given a lot of thought to skydiving. Hesitant at first, when put to the test, and assigned a mission to remember a dozen letters spread out on a landing strip, I decided to go for it. Admittedly, part of it was peer pressure – I was certainly conscious that I was on TV. Others on my team were also nervous, some probably even more than I. Seeing my ex-airforce teammate Beth jump first helped a lot (I wonder what the first skydiver was thinking?125). But mostly, I decided that it was worth the risk in order to accomplish something, even if that something was no more than winning a challenge in a competition. Having a mission to accomplish, and a task to focus on, goes a long way to justifying risk for me. In fact, the main thing that was going through my mind at the time was “If I die here in a stupid skydiving accident, I’m never going to make it to Mars…”. I even remember discussing the relative risks and potential benefits of a trip to Mars vs. skydiving with the television host.

123. Apart from living, which still unfortunately carries a mortality rate of 100%.

124. Canada’s Greatest Know-it-All.

125. Actually, the first parachutist, Franz Reichelt, was killed on his first jump off the Eiffel tower in 1912 — I wonder what the second thought!?

Clearly, going to space is much, much riskier than skydiving. Just how risky is it? It is currently one of the riskiest jobs you can do, at least in the western world. As a species, we’ve sent over 500 people to space, and at least 18 have been killed there 126, with at least 10 more being killed in training 127. This means that as an astronaut, you have something like a 5% chance being killed on the job. How does this compare with other risky careers? As of 2013, over 2,000 US soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, with a peak deployment of over 100,000 troops. If you don’t consider rotations, this means that over a 12 year time frame (a typical astronaut career), the equivalent rate is roughly 2%. The risk per soldier is lower if you account for the fact that troops are rotated, however, military training accidents are not uncommon, and soldiers often see multiple tours or action in other theaters such as Iraq (with a similar deployment loss ratio of 2.5%)128, which somewhat offsets this.

126. They were: Vladimir Komarov (1967), Georgi Dobrovolki, Viktor Patsayev, & Vladislav Volkov (1971); Greg Jarvis, Christa McAuliffe, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Michael J. Smith, & Dick Scobee (Challenger, 1986); Rick Husband, William McCool, Michael P. Anderson, David M. Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, & Ilan Ramon (Columbia, 2003).

127. They were: Valentin Bondarneki (1961); Theodore Freeman (1964); Elliot See & Charles Bassett (1966); Virgil Grissom, Edward White, & Roger Chaffee (Apollo 1, 1967); Clifton Williams (1967); Robert Lawrence (1967); Yuri Gagarin – first human in space (1968); Sergei Vozovikov (1993).

128. US loses in Iraq have been over 4,500 killed with over 32,000 wounded for a peak deployment over 175,000.

Over a 21 year period from 1990 to 2011, encompassing both relatively quiet and active times, the average death rate for US active duty military personnel from all causes was 72 per 100,000 person-years 129. This means that over a 40 year career, your chance of being killed in service was about 2.8%. However, this is an average across all branches and duties. Clearly, it would be far less risky to perform the majority of support roles, and far more risky to be in front-line infantry service. Additionally, this figure fails to account for that fact that the chance of being wounded is seven times as high as that of being killed130, meaning that compared with an astronaut, even if your chance of being killed is lower, your chance of being wounded is much, much higher in the military.

129. Medical Surveillance Monthly Report, Vol. 19 No, 5. May 2012.

130. Coalition losses in Afghanistan to 2013 have been approximately 3,400 killed plus more than 24,000 wounded.

In the civilian sector, things aren’t actually better. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2011), assuming a career length of 40 years, the ten riskiest jobs by occupational death rate per worker over a career are: fishermen (4.6%), logging workers (3.6%), aircraft pilots (2.8%), farmers (1.6%), roofers (1.1%), miners (1.0%), waste collectors (1.0%), truck drivers (0.9%), machine operators (0.8%), and police & firemen (both around 0.7%). Kind of makes you think twice about becoming a fisherman, doesn’t it?

We should also keep in mind that, although these are currently amongst the riskiest jobs in the western world, they are nowhere near the riskiest jobs of all time, nor even the riskiest jobs in the world today. These figures are for the United States, where figures are reliable and conditions are relatively good, even for risky jobs. The equivalent rates for civilian jobs in developing countries around the world must surely be higher – and just think of how much more dangerous it would be to be a soldier fighting in a third world conflict zone, or even be a civilian living there.

Obviously, we don’t want to voluntarily subject people to more risk than we have to, but it is still illustrative to reflect upon some examples from history. Over 3 million soldiers fought during the four years of the US Civil War, and over 600,000 died in it, along with another 450,000 wounded. This is a relative death rate of around 20%, for just four years of fighting. Yes, life was shorter and harder back then, but this astonishing rate – more than ten times what we see today – just goes to show you the level of risk we have tolerated in the past when we thought it was justified. For a 20th century example, the US lost around 5% of men deployed in the Second World War 131, and these figures would have been much higher had the scheduled invasion of Japan taken place 132.

131. Around 420,000 were killed from around 8.5 million deployed.

132. Projected US casualties were in the hundreds of thousands. Of the 500,000 Purple Hearts manufactured in anticipation of the 1945 invasion, over 100,000 have yet to be given out as of 2013 – they are so overstocked that units carry around spares for immediate award in the field.

Moreover, US losses were extremely mild compared with most. The Soviet Union lost as many as 36% of deployed personnel – almost 9 million men, or roughly the population of Sweden 133. Poland has the dubious distinction of having lost the largest population percentage, with around 16% killed, counting both civilian and military deaths 134. Indeed, during the Second World War, more than 2.5% of the population of the entire Earth was killed!

133. Of around 25 million deployed, in addition to at least 15 million more civilian deaths.

134. Around 5.5 million of a population of around 35 million.

So what’s my point? Obviously, no one wants to recreate the conditions of the US Civil War, the Second World War, or any other conflict. My point is that in times of crisis, humans have tolerated extreme sacrifices and levels of risk to accomplish major goals, such as maintaining the Union and ending slavery, or defeating the Nazis and Imperial Japan. We may not think about it in our comfortable lives, but if you were shopping for a job throughout human history, you could do a heck of a lot worse than going to Mars, even one-way.

The history of exploration isn’t much better. Columbus’ ships were tiny craft less than 60 ft long, and they sailed into the unknown without any of the modern risk assessment we would expect today. His largest ship, Santa Maria, was wrecked along the way, and he had to leave men behind in the New World. Magellan’s expedition, sailing around the world for the first time starting in 1519 was perhaps the greatest exploratory achievement of all time. However, of five ships that set out with 237 men, only one ship, Victoria, completed the circumnavigation and struggled back to Europe with only 18 men on board135. Franklin’s 1845 expedition to discover the Northwest Passage was lost with all 134 souls when his ships, Erebus andTerror, froze into the ice136. Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance became similarly stuck in Antarctic ice during his 1914-1917 expedition. However, thanks to his leadership, he managed to save all his men after what must have been one of the worst ordeals in exploratory history137.

135. One ship, San Antonio, had previously abandoned the expedition and returned to Spain. Magellan himself was killed by natives in the Philippines when he meddled in local politics.

136. This was during the early days of using canning for food preservation, and it seems that lead poising and the associated symptoms – including insanity – may have played a role in the fate of the expedition.

137. Shackleton’s expedition earns the title of “most successful failed expedition”. Like Apollo 13, it was meaningless in exploratory terms – but as a human story of courage, teamwork, and endurance, it is one of the greatest of all time. Check out Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing.

Looking back on these exploratory endeavors with a modern eye, they no doubt seem reckless – but would we consider them to have been mistakes? Would we prefer that they had stayed at home where it was safe138? I certainly would not: these explorers had the bravery to do what they could to change the world, even if they were often motivated by dreams of personal advancement. If explorers of centuries past had insisted on a 99% or even 90% chance of return, the whole course of human history would have been dramatically different, and we would not be where we are today. I am by no means suggesting that we assume risks as recklessly as those we accepted throughout the history of exploration. I am simply suggesting that, compared with the risks we have already taken, a human mission to Mars would not rank at the top of the list, either in terms of risk to the individual, or in terms of total lives put at risk. As perhaps the explorers of the past understood far better than we do today, great achievement is worthy of great risk.

138. Not so safe for some of course, considering Europe during the age of exploration was a cauldron of war and disease, with a life expectancy of around 35.

In comparison with what our ancestors have done, a one-way mission to Mars sounds downright reasonable. No flights would be sent to Mars before multiple successful demonstrations of the same launch and landing technologies. No crew would head off to Mars until there was a base already in place, with system checks complete and everything backed-up with spare parts. How Bering and his Russian explorers would have envied their Martian counterparts. There are certainly risks, but we simply can’t apply same standards of risk to exploration as we do for routine operations139. While a 5% chance of fatality is far too high for a mission to the International Space Station, it should be perfectly acceptable for a mission to Mars. These days, we seem incapable of making this distinction.

139. Some would argue that any human space operation can be called “routine”, but this is precisely my point. For space exploration, fewer, riskier, and more ambitious missions are preferable to a large number of safer mission with less ambitious goals.

So what are the major risks of a Mars mission? There are several types. There are of course risks associated with all spaceflight, particularly with launch and landing. Then there are the risks associated with operating complex equipment far from Earth, for example micrometeoroid impact140, or multi-system mechanical failure. Finally, there are the risks associated with having humans in space and on Mars for long periods of time, both physiological141 and psychological.

140. This is actually rarer than most people think. Space is big and mostly empty. Compared with interplanetary space, Earth orbit is utterly filled with debris, and significant collisions are still exceedingly rare. This is even more true of asteroids, even though there are millions in our solar system. Remember in The Empire Strikes Back where C-3PO said “the chance of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1”? He’d have been closer if he’d said “the chance of hitting anything is 3,720 to 1”.

141. I.e., to do with the body, such as medical risks, but also things like long term exposure to the space environment.

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Andrew is a spacecraft engineer with experience on half a dozen space missions. In March 2013, he won Discovery Channel’s #1 Competitive television series Canada’s Greatest Know-it-All.

He is currently a second-round candidate for the Mars One project, which aims to send human settlers to the red planet starting around 2023. He is an avid trivia player and public speaker, giving talks at schools, on convention panels, at museums, and other venues. He also also a Youtuber and tabletop game designer.

 

  • Get a copy of his “Leaving Earth: Why One-Way to Mars Makes Sensehere (print or E-book) or find the E-book here on Amazon (print/Kindle), orhere on Smashwords (for any other platform).
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Space Geckos and Living on Mars

It’s the love boat in space!

By now, the entire planet has probably heard of the crisis between Russia and the Ukraine. If you haven’t, I highly recommend you go to cbc.ca or bbc.co.uk for an update. The very basic gist is this; Russia has invaded the Ukraine and the rest of the world is laying sanctions against Russia in retaliation.

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Many sanctions have been laid. The most recent that Canada has laid against the warring country include:

  • Arms Industry
  • Financial Sectors
  • Energy Sectors

Perhaps the most interesting, and  overlooked effect that these sanctions are having are on Russia’s space industry.

 NASA cuts ties with Russia

In a move perhaps reminiscent of the space race of the 1960s, NASA and Russia are again at odds. Last Wednesday, NASA said it was severing all ties with Russia over the Ukraine crisis. The one exception being any joint operations with the International Space Station.

Nasa’s and Russia’s space agency will “continue to work together to maintain safe and continuous operation” of the space station, Nasa said in a statement.

Now what does this “cutting of ties” involve?

NASA employees can’t travel to Russia or host visitors until further notice. (Sorry to all you Big Bang Theory fans out there — Howard Wolowitz won’t be travelling to space with the Russians again.)

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It’s not just seeing each other in person that has been barred. NASA employees are also forbidden from mailing or holding teleconferences with their Russian counterparts.

It is into this environment of isolation that Russia’s space ventures are now facing disaster.

Out of Control Russian Space Craft

After NASA cut its ties with Russia, Russia invested $52 billion dollars into its own Space program.

The geckos are among 21 other experiments that are currently aboard the Foton-M4 satellite. The satellite, which was launched July 18, was designed to see if and how animal reproduce in microgravity, and if there are changes in the survival of the eggs.

rocket

image courtsey of dcnewsroom.com

On Thursday of last week Russia’s mission control said the craft will not respond to its commands.

So yeah, there is currently a satellite filled with lusty lizards circling the planet in imminent danger of crashing back to earth .

“The equipment which is working in automatic mode, and in particular the experiment with the geckos is working according to the program,” Oleg Voloshin, a spokesman of Russia’s Institute of Medico-Biological Problems said.

UPDATE: It looks like power may have been restored to Foton-M4 as of this morning. Roscosmos says its 90% sure the problem has been resolved and the experiments are still viable. They are still unsure why this happened in the first place.

Why do this experiment?

Well, space is big.

If humans are ever to travel outside of our solar system we have to be prepared to be in space for long periods of time. Unless we discover light speed travel, in order to travel in space for extended periods  we might need to use generation ships.

generation ship

Other projects on the ship were designed to study development of plant seeds, microbes, as well as the effects of cosmic radiation on various biological objects.

The Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, is saying the six tonne satellite could continue to operate on its own “for a long time”.

Roscosmos

On the other hand, a space expert cited by Interfax said that without communication, it could stay in space for as little as four months.

Russia hasn’t been having the best year, and it has quite a history of problems with its space program.

Earlier this year, a Proton-M rocket carrying a communications satellite to provide internet to remote parts Russia exploded minutes after take off. That is the second crash of a Proton rocket in less than a year.

In June, the maiden voyage of Russia’s first new spacecraft since the Soviet era, the Angara rocket, was aborted at the last minute on live television as Vladimir Putin looked on.

It was successfully launched on 9 July.

The last Proton-M to be launched in 2007, which was carrying newts, lizards, Mongolian gerbils, slugs, butterflies and spiders, returned successfully to Earth. But the first Proton-M launch in 2001 ended in tragedy after the satellite fell back to Earth and exploded, killing a soldier.

This satellite is expected to land in the southern Orenburg region southeast  of Moscow in two months time.

Now with Russia unable to ask for help from the west or NASA (not that it would) one can only guess how things might turn out.

What is the west doing?

Russia isn’t the only country in the world trying to accelerate the space race. Although NASA has severed its ties with Russia, it is also making strides into the future. Here are a few things that are happening on our own continent.

NASA and the 12 billion dollar rocket.

The space shuttle era is over, but that doesn’t mean that we have given up on space travel.

NASA is trying to build the Rocket to end all Rockets; a highly advanced machine that would send astronauts to asteroids and Mars. These would be much larger than the Saturn V rockets which sent men to the moon.

Or it would, if NASA had the money for it.

Federal auditors are warning that NASA doesn’t have enough money to get this rocket of the ground by the end of February 2017 as planned.

NASA’s Space Launch System is at “high risk of missing” its planned December 2017 initial test flight–the Government Accountability Office 

The GAO report put the current shortfall at $400 million, but did say that solid progress has been made on the design.

NASA’s launch system officials said there is a 90 percent chance of not hitting the launch date at this time.

 MARS One

Want to go live on Mars?

mars one

The not-for-profit Mars One project wants to send humans on one-way trips to Mars. One of this bloggers good friends is Andrew Rader, one of the front runners in this project.

space_x

He has a pretty brilliant book out called “Leaving Earth: Why One-Way to Mars Makes Sense“. You can click HERE to check it out.

Before it sends people to the Red planet,  it first wants to send experimental packages  — potentially including the first interplanetary advertisements.

These experiments are scheduled to go to Mars in 2018. If you have the money, you can even put your company’s name on the robotic lander that’s scheduled to carry the experiments.

No word yet on whether the delay in the post shuttle rockets would have an effect on the launch day of Mars One.

“What better way for an unknown phone brand to establish worldwide brand awareness and an image of innovation than by purchasing the naming rights for the first private Mars lander?” Bas Lansdorp, co-founder and CEO of Mars One, told NBC News in an email.

Telescopes

The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST) will make the Hubble Telescope look like a children’s toy.

It is a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror.  The project is working to a 2018 launch date.

The Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System – www.jwst.nasa.gov/

jwst

Even though JWST is not in the sky yet, NASA is already planning which telescope will take its place.

The Advanced Technology Large Aperture Space Telescope (ATLAST) is a NASA strategic mission concept for the years after JWST.

It will have a primary mirror diameter in the 8m to 16m range that will enable people to see heavenly bodies like never before.

ATLAST is a long time off. Until then, we’ll just have to stick with the good old Hubble.

This photograph of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope was taken on the second servicing mission to the observatory in 1997. Credit: NASA
Monkey Parking

Jerk Tech?

The world is full of Jerks.

You know who I’m talking about – that person who snatches the parking spot you’ve clearly been signalling for, that man who cuts the line in the coffee shop, or that woman who steals your reservation at the restaurant. We’ve all met them. Sometimes we have probably been guilty of being them.

What happens when those behaviours and attitudes that define us ‘oh-so-fondly’ as being jerks make the jump to the digital world?

Well, then, you have Jerktech.

Jerk Tech

 

What is Jerk Tech?

Jerk Tech refers to Apps that essentially exploit loopholes for a fee. These loopholes are usually found in small businesses and public infrastructure that are not owned or controlled by the person who created the App.

In other words, these Apps sell something that would otherwise be free.

Josh Constine, a writer at the popular blog Tech Crunch coined the term recently.

 “Go disr*pt yourself” is what I have to say to founders of startups like ReservationHop and Parking Monkey — Josh Constine, Tech Crunch

The key point about Jerk Tech, is that they take a fee for publicly available resources and charge people for the privilege of using them.

These publicly available resources can include everything from public parking spaces to reservations at restaurants.

The actual provider of the resource (whether it’s a city Councillor who created the parking spots, or a restaurant owner who is trying to survive) don’t get any benefit at all.

Examples of Jerk Tech

A lot of Jerk Tech revolves around the concept of Peer-to-Peer commerce.

Dropbox is an example of Peer-to-Peer commerce. Two individuals use the service (and can pay for it if necessary) to share large files. Dropbox acts as a middleman of sorts, and it is completely legal.

The problem lies in that many of these peer to peer applications fall into a legal grey area. Now governments around the world are scrambling to figure out how to regulate them.

There is a growing backlash against some of these companies. Many are saying they are pushing the boundaries of what makes an acceptable or honest commercial enterprise.

Reservation Hop

Reservation Hop is one example of a Peer to Peer application that many are calling Jerk Tech.

It’s a way to get into a trendy and popular restaurant that has been booked solid for months quickly. However, there is a catch.

Reservation Hop is being called Jerk Tech because the company is trying to make money from something that’s essentially free: making a dinner reservation

Even the company’s founder wrote that he’s the most hated person in San Francisco. He continues to defend his App though.

We book up restaurant reservations in advance. We only book prime-time restaurant reservations at the hottest local establishments, and we mostly list high-demand restaurants that are booked up on other platforms — Reservation Hop

Monkey Parking

Monkey Parking single-handedly created parking rage in San Francisco.

How is it doing this? Well, by selling parking spots to the highest bidder.

Monkey Parking drew the attention and anger of San Francisco’s district attorney Dennis Herrera in June. Herrera sent a letter to the startup, saying its app — which allows people leaving a public parking space to auction it off to nearby drivers — is illegal in San Francisco.

San Francisco went as far as to ban the use of the MonkeyParking app in late June, declaring that it would not allow the creation of a “predatory private market for public parking spaces”.

City authorities sent a “cease and desist” letter to MonkeyParking and threatened fines of $2,500  per violation of the order. It gave the company until 11 July to stop operating in the city.

Initially resistant, the Monkey Parking has temporary shut down services while it clarifies how it can legally operate.

Are all Peer to Peer Commercial Apps Jerk Tech?

Ah, therein lies the rub! Monkey Parking and Reservation Hop are the far end of the spectrum – the worst of the worst of the Jerks, so to speak.

But Jerkdom isn’t black and white. Think of it like a sliding scale, with some companies just pushing the boundaries of what’s acceptable, while others are jumping right over the barriers.

Where exactly those barriers are isn’t exactly clear yet.

Uber

Very few Peer-to-Peer commercial Apps are more hotly debated than Uber


Since launching in San Francisco four years ago, Uber has expanded into 149 cities in 41 countries, with an app that enables users to hail a taxi with a tap of a smartphone.

The company’s latest push has been into Asia: since launching in Seoul last August, it has entered other cities including Beijing, Singapore, Bangalore and Hong Kong.

While users have embraced the convenience offered by Uber, taxi drivers are up in arms against the threat to their livelihoods. In June, taxi drivers in Berlin, Paris, London and Madrid staged a co-ordinated strike in protest against the app and a Belgian court declared Uber illegal in April.

In spite of this, investors have shown keen interest in Uber, making it one of the most valuable start-ups of recent years. In June it raised $1.2bn in new capital on terms that valued it at $18bn.

Seoul’s government has gone as far as to launch legal efforts to ban Uber in the country

“Uber is hurting the good people of the taxi industry,” said Kim Kyung-ho, head of the Seoul city transport department.

AirBNB

Sick of paying expensive fees for Hotels? There’s an App for that!

 

There are roughly 15,000 AirBNB “hosts” in New York and, according to the courts or the tabloids, they are scammers, pimps and updated versions of slumlords.

AirBNB itself admits there are bad apples in the system,  but the startup estimates that 87% of listings are in good faith. Other statistics suggest that professional landlords abusing the system are responsible for as many as 30% of all listings.

This App goes against a law that came into effect May of 2011 that says it’s illegal to rent full apartments for less than 30 days.

With AirBNB,  a studio apartment on a vacation rental site can go for $175 or so a night, bringing in much more than the monthly income from someone with a standard year-long lease. Plus, the hosts could basically operate like a hotel, but without all the pesky safety regulations, insurance requirements, permits, or zoning that real businesses have to deal with. Or good neighbors for that matter.

On the other hand, it can operate as a cheaper alternative to people who want to travel but can’t afford traditional accommodation.

Right now AirBNB is still functioning, but whether a few bad apples will push this App into the “Jerk Tech” category remains to be seen.

So, whether  your are a start up or an individual, try to remember your behaviours have an impact on people around you.

Don’t be a Jerk.