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2017年11月20日 17:41:24来源:西西翻译

To understand why Google has just paid .2bn for a company that makes thermostats and smoke detectors, you need to look at some of its earlier attempts to invent the “smart home”.要弄明白谷歌(Google)为何刚刚斥资32亿美元收购了一家生产自动恒温器和烟雾报警器的公司,你有必要考察一下它早些时候在发明“智能家居”(smart home)方面所做的一些努力。These were more than simply object lessons in what not to do. Past efforts, though resulting in failure, highlight the range of Google’s capabilities – and why, following this week’s acquisition of Nest Labs, it looks to have taken a formidable lead in a tech market that has barely been invented yet.那些努力不仅仅是一些表明什么不该做的实例教训。尽管谷歌过去的努力未获成功,但它们却凸显出两点。第一点是谷歌的能力范围。第二点是为什么在上周收购了Nest实验室(Nest Labs)之后,谷歌似乎已在一个迄今几乎还未被创造出来的科技市场取得了难以撼动的领先地位。Google’s first attempt, five years ago, took the form of an internet service called PowerMeter. This was an online service for monitoring home energy use. It turned out that most people had better things to do than track their energy consumption on a website.五年前,谷歌的第一次努力表现为一个名为PowerMeter的互联网务。这是一个监控家里能源使用情况的在线务。不过事实明,大多数人还有更重要的事情要做,没工夫在网上跟踪家里的能源消耗情况。Next came a software platform known as Android@Home, which was aimed at other manufacturers that want to build the “smarts” into internet-connected objects for the home. The first of these products was meant to be an LED lightbulb that could be turned on using a smartphone app. The manufacturer abandoned the idea before it was launched.接着,谷歌推出了一个名为Android@Home的软件平台。这个平台针对的,是其他想在家居联网设备中嵌入“智能”的生产商。首个此类产品原本会是一个可用智能手机应用点亮的发光二极管(LED)灯泡。但生产商在推出这一产品前放弃了该创意。An internet service and a software platform were fine ideas as far as they went. The missing ingredient was a truly useful piece of intelligent hardware. Or, to be precise, an appealing, easy-to-use consumer product that bundled a desirable set of capabilities with an intuitive interface: software, hardware and online service working in concert to make life around the home better.就其本身而言,互联网务和软件平台都是不错的创意。缺失的元素是真正有用的智能硬件——或者确切地说,是有吸引力而又易于使用的消费产品。这种产品应该把一系列人们想要的功能用直观的界面包装起来:软件、硬件和在线务能协同工作,令家居生活更美好。So who better to turn to than Tony Fadell, whose claims to fame include being lead inventor of the iPod and founder of Nest? Apple’s music player was the gadget that launched the modern consumer hardware revolution. Pleasing in itself, the iPod would have been nothing without the software and online store that brought the digital music business to life.那么,还有谁是比托尼#8226;法代尔(Tony Fadell)更适合的整合人选呢?法代尔名气很大,他既是iPod的首席发明家,又是Nest的创始人。iPod是苹果(Apple)的音乐播放器,正是这款小型电子产品开启了现代消费类硬件的革命。不过,尽管iPod本身的样子很讨喜,但如果没有让数字音乐业务焕发生机的软件和在线商店,它可能什么都不是。Mr Fadell went on to embed his iPod lessons in Nest’s thermostat, right down to the wheel-like control for programming the unit. (Honeywell has fired off a legal challenge, claiming that the circular control unfairly copies one of its own inventions.)法代尔随后将他在iPod上取得的经验融入到Nest的自动恒温器中,就连后者的编程界面也沿用了前者的那种环状控制器。(不过,霍尼韦尔(Honeywell)发起了一项法律诉讼,称这种环状控制器剽窃了该公司的一项发明。)A Nest thermostat taps into online weather forecasts and information from its own sensors about a user’s movements to guess the best temperature to set.Nest的自动恒温器能利用在线天气预报和其自身传感器获取的用户移动信息,来推测应设定的最佳温度。This is where Google comes in. While it may take a product visionary such as Mr Fadell to come up with the idea, the device is nothing on its own. In an interview with the Financial Times, the Nest founder was forthright about what is involved: 80 per cent of the work behind his company’s products goes into building and running the infrastructure on which they depend.这正是用到谷歌的地方。尽管提出这一创意可能需要像法代尔这样对产品有远见的人,但这种设备单靠自身其实发挥不了什么作用。在接受英国《金融时报》采访时,这位Nest创始人坦率地谈到了需要做的工作:在该公司产品背后,80%的工作都是建设和运营其产品所依赖的基础设施。There are few better infrastructures to plug into than the one operated by Google. It is not just the scale of its data centres or the capacity of its broadband networks: the internet company could also be in a good position to turn data collected by Nest’s devices into valuable intelligence.就Nest产品所连接的基础设施而言,没有哪一家能比谷歌运营的设施更好。这不仅仅是因为谷歌数据中心的规模或其宽带网络的能力,还因为这家互联网企业能够轻易地将Nest设备收集的数据转化为极有价值的情报。In this it can bring two assets into play. One is Google’s own vast trove of data. Combining Nest’s data with information from its other services promises to give Google unrivalled insights into your preferences – not just the temperature you like to wake up to, but how long you linger over breakfast before heading to work and what route you take to get there.从这点来说,谷歌可盘活两大资产。其一是该公司自己拥有的海量数据库存。谷歌如果能将Nest的数据与自己旗下其他务获取的数据结合起来,将有望对用户的偏好形成最为透彻的认识——不仅能知道你醒来时喜欢的室温,还能知道你上班前会在早餐上消磨多长时间,以及你会走哪条路上班。The other important asset is the skills needed to make use of all this data, such as developing algorithms that will turn it into intelligence that can be used to inform useful services. If Google could anticipate when you were about to leave home in the morning, it could alert you to up-to-the-minute commuting conditions, and make sure your home was properly secured.另一个重要资产是对以上所有数据加以利用所必需的技能,比如研发算法的技能——这种算法可把数据转化为情报,通报给一些有实用价值的务。如果谷歌能预判出你早晨大约什么时候离开家,它就能向你提示精确到分钟的通勤状况,并确保你的住宅得到妥善保护。Privacy fears are certain to raise their head. But a smart home that truly understands and can respond to your needs might overcome those concerns. And if Google tried to use data from around the home to serve up even more relevant adverts, it would be part and parcel of the tacit compromise its users have long accepted.当然,这一定会引发隐私方面的担忧。不过,一个能够真正理解并响应你需求的智能家居系统,可能会让你把这种担忧放在一边。即使谷歌试图利用从你家中得到的数据向你展示更多相关广告,也不能算是突破了其用户长期以来已经接受的一种心照不宣的妥协。At least that is the theory. There is much to do to prove that it can work. Making smart household objects desirable will not be easy. Customers of Nest’s smoke alarms talk far less enthusiastically than those of its thermostats.至少从理论上说是如此。要明这种方式能够奏效,还有很多事情要做。生产人们喜欢的智能家居设备不会是件容易事。Nest烟雾报警器受到的追捧就比自动恒温器少得多。Google also has to show that it can make serious money as it moves deeper into hardware, where profit margins are lower. But if it can get all the parts of the smart home working together while also coming up with hit new gadgets, it may be hard to match.谷歌还必须明,随着它更深入地涉足硬件领域,它仍有能力赚取可观利润,毕竟硬件领域的利润率要低一些。不过,如果谷歌能在有效整合智能家居系统各种元素的同时推出令人印象深刻的新型电子产品,它将很难找到对手。 /201401/274433。

  • Tian Yuan Yuan is China#39;s top Internet model, a title she earned by promoting products from skin-tight leggings to rabbit fur bags through online shopping site Taobao Marketplace.田媛媛是中国第一网络名模。她在淘宝上为商家推广从紧身打底裤到兔毛手袋等商品,从而获得了这一称呼。Tian is one of 35,000 models who pose for virtual storefronts on Alibaba Group#39;s Taobao.田媛媛是3.5万名为阿里巴巴集团旗下的淘宝网店工作的模特之一。With little to differentiate between more than 6 million electronic storefronts, models like Tian have become the main attraction. Taobao ranks the girls based on sales of the products they pitch, as well as their popularity among vendors and fans who can vote on the website. Sellers can then make an online booking to hire a girl to pose with their product.淘宝逾600万家网店几乎大同小异,所以像田媛媛这样的模特自然成为主要卖点。淘宝依据她们所推广商品的销量,以及她们在商铺和粉丝中的人气对她们进行排名。随后商家便可以在线预约聘请一位“淘女郎”来推销自家产品。;A good model is important for sales,; said 22-year-old Tian. ;Both your facial expression and body language should match the style of clothing. For example, I will move and pose gently with office dresses, while I act cool in American style clothes.;22岁的田媛媛表示:“好模特对于提高销量很重要。你的面部表情和肢体语言都应该与衣款式搭配。比如,如果穿的是职业装,我的动作和造型都会十分优雅,而如果换做是一身美式装,我就要表现得酷劲十足。”The leggings she modelled sold some 14,000 units in a single month. She also helped shift more than 6,000 rabbit fur bags.经她推广的打底裤月销量达到约1.4万条。她还帮助商家卖出了6,000多个兔毛手袋。The models can make as much as 10,000 yuan a day, a far cry from the five-figure payouts top supermodels bank for a photo shoot, but a healthy sum considering average per capita full-year income for urban Chinese was just 21,810 yuan in 2011.这些网模一天的收入可高达一万,虽然跟日进斗金的超级名模没法儿比,但相比普通民众的人均年收入,这一数字已经非常可观了。2011年,中国城镇居民人均年收入仅为2.18万元。Alibaba is not alone in offering logistical support to small online businesses. EBay Inc, for example, owns online payment service PayPal that helps small vendors accept credit card payments. But Alibaba#39;s models-for-hire service is unusual in that it does back-end jobs such as photography as well as being a platform that supplies the models themselves.阿里巴巴并非是唯一一家向电子商家提供后勤持的平台。比如,易趣拥有在线付务贝宝(PayPal),这项务使得小商户可以接受信用卡付。但像阿里巴巴这种提供待聘模特的务不太常见,因为它不仅提供拍照之类的后台工作,也是一个提供模特的平台。A Taobao store owner can use the free platform to search for models by price or look, or even by specific body part such as hands or legs. Models classified as ;Japanese; or ;Korean; tend to look younger while ;European; and ;American; models have more Caucasian features.淘宝店主可利用这个免费平台,根据模特的价格或外形,甚至是手或腿等身体的特定部分,寻找相应的模特。“日韩系”模特往往比较年轻,而“欧美系”模特则具备更多的白人特征。;I used to rely on models provided by modelling agencies but because each agency has only a limited number of models, it couldn#39;t meet my business needs,; said Huang Shanlei, who sells lingerie on Taobao Mall.出售女式内衣的淘宝店店主黄珊蕾(音)说:“我过去靠的是模特经纪公司介绍模特,但由于每家公司的模特数量有限,无法满足我的业务需求。”Working the ;office lady; look“职业女性”范儿Working with Taobao models was easier because most of them were free agents with fewer restrictions on the types of assignments they could accept or on how the photographs from a shoot could be used, Huang said.黄珊蕾表示,与淘宝模特们的合作相对更容易,因为她们中的大多数都是自由从业者,有关她们接拍任务的类型以及所拍摄照片用途的限制较少。Model Li Qiqi poses for different stores back to back on most days, sometimes in more than 200 outfits a day. With big doll eyes, she describes her look as ;Korean office lady;.模特李琦琦(音译)大多数日子都会连续为不同店铺拍照,有时一天需要试穿200多套衣。长着一双洋娃娃般大眼睛的她称自己的外形像“韩国职业女性”。;If you model on Taobao, you focus on the specialties of the outfit and the features of the outfit. You make sure you don#39;t block it when posing,; said 24-year-old Li, a Shanghai native.作为土生土长的上海人,24岁的李琦琦说:“做淘宝网模,你需要注意装的特色。要确保你在拍摄时不会喧宾夺主。” /201209/198517。
  • China Mobile, the world#39;s largest wireless carrier by subscribers, is feeling the pinch of increasing pressure from the Chinese government, which is striving to reduce the company#39;s dominance in China. 中国政府正努力削弱中国移动(China Mobile)在国内市场的主导地位,后者正日益感受到来自政府的压力。按用户数计算,中国移动是全球最大的电信运营商。The latest policy headwind is its talks with the other two state-controlled carriers China Unicom and China Telecom to set up a joint venture to build and manage telecommunications infrastructures in China. 中国移动面临的一项最新政策阻力是:该公司正与其他两家国有运营商中国联通(China Unicom)和中国电信(China Telecom)讨论组建一家合资公司,负责建设和管理中国国内的电信基础设施。The discussions-- likely directed by the government-- match with Premier Li Keqiang#39;s stated goals to reform state-owned enterprises by boosting competition. Bloomberg News中国移动一家营业网点中展示的手机。上述合资事宜可能由政府引导。中国总理李克强曾表示将通过提高竞争推动国有企业改革,筹建合资公司的举措与这一目标一致。While the planned joint venture could help enhance the sharing of resources and reduce the costs for future network expansion, dominant carrier China Mobile may lose its strength in network coverage as it is likely to share its extensive network with the smaller rivals, said analysts. 分析师表示,尽管计划筹建的合资公司可能有助于提高资源共享的程度并降低今后扩建网络的成本,但此举可能令占据主导地位的中国移动与规模较小的竞争对手分享其庞大网络,导致其丧失网络覆盖优势。China Mobile, which has reported declines in earnings, had a head start on speedier fourth-generation mobile services in China, hoping the new services would help fend off rising competition and help it regain growth momentum. 近期利润下滑的中国移动在发展高速4G网络务上拔得头筹,并希望4G网络能够助其应对日益激烈的竞争并重拾增长动能。Smaller rivals China Unicom and China Telecom operate on 3G mobile technology platforms that are widely used globally, which give them access to more popular smartphones. The two companies have sold Apple#39;s iPhones for several years but China Mobile only started offering them with the roll-out of its new 4G network in January. 其规模较小的竞争对手中国联通和中国电信采用了全球普遍使用的3G移动技术,这两家公司因此能够与更受欢迎的智能手机厂家合作。两家公司已经销售苹果iPhone数年,而中国移动在今年1月份推出其4G网络后才开始销售iPhone。The new joint venture could undermine China Mobile#39;s first-mover advantage in 4G services, analysts said. 分析师称,新合资企业可能削弱中国移动在4G务上的先发优势。#39;If all tower assets in China are transferred to this new company, it will help China Telecom and China Unicom to accelerate their 4G network rollout, #39;said Leping Huang, an analyst at Nomura. 野村(Nomura)分析师Leping Huang表示,如果中国全部通信铁塔资产均转移至这家新公司名下,那么受此推动中国电信和中国联通推出4G业务的速度可能加快。The number of telecom towers that China Telecom and China Unicom own is only equivalent to 28% and 46% of the towers that China Mobile owns, according to Nomura#39;s estimate. 据野村估算,中国电信和中国联通目前拥有的通信铁塔数仅相当于中国移动通信铁塔数的28%和46%。Analysts said an independent telecom tower company is a common business model in some countries like the U.S, India and Indonesia. A tower company typically will purchase or lease land, build telecom towers and lease the space in the tower to telecom operators. Telecom operators will use the space to install base station equipment they purchase from equipment vendors. 分析师称,在美国、印度和印度尼西亚等国,独立的通信铁塔公司是一种常见商业模式。通信铁塔公司通常会购买或租用土地,搭建通信铁塔并将通信铁塔内的空间出租给电信运营商。运营商将利用这些空间安装从设备供应商那里购买的基站设备。China didn#39;t have an independent tower company in the past. 中国过去没有独立的通信铁塔公司。As part of the government#39;s continued effort to promote competition, China Mobile has aly suffered from lower interconnection fees that smaller rivals pay for calls to the company#39;s network, beginning this year. Analysts said the savings from the interconnection policy will help fund China Unicom and China Telecom#39;s network upgrade and marketing efforts to further increase its mobile users this year. 中国政府一直在努力促进竞争,其中一项举措便是从今年开始下调中联通和中电信向中国移动付的网间结算费用。分析师称,中国联通和中国电信将利用这一政策所节省的费用升级网络、加强营销,以便今年进一步增加手机用户数量。They added that more policy headwinds are ahead for China Mobile in the coming years. For example, the Chinese government could gradually introduce mobile number portability which enables subscribers to retain their mobile numbers when changing from one carrier to another. This measure is expected to hit China Mobile badly as the mobile giant, with more than 770 million subscribers, controls about 60% of the mobile market in China. 分析师补充道,未来几年中国移动在政策上还将面临更多阻力。例如,中国政府可能逐步引入携号转网功能,即用户能够在更换运营商时保留原号码。预计这一措施将对中国移动构成严重打击,该公司用户数超过7.7亿,控制着中国移动通信市场大约60%的份额。China Mobile declined to comment. 中国移动对此不予置评。 /201405/294625。
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