With new apps geared toward booking business trips, two startup stars of the sharing economy aim to tap into the lucrative -- and highly competitive -- corporate travel market.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 12:14 PM

Businessman using smartphone in back of car © Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty ImagesBy Douglas MacMillan and Craig Karmin, The Wall Street Journal


Airbnb and Uber Technologies popularized the concept of a "sharing economy," where regular consumers share things like car rides and apartments. Now they are sprucing up their services to appeal to the buttoned-up business traveler.


The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyThe fast-growing technology startups this week each announced new versions of their apps geared toward booking business trips. Both companies also struck deals with Concur Technologies (CNQR), the expense-reporting software used by more than 20,000 companies.


Appealing to corporate clients would give the young technology companies a toehold in the business travel industry, which is expected to generate $1.21 trillion in revenue worldwide this year, according to the Global Business Travel Association.

 

Hand-carved from an aluminum block, the 128-gigabyte ZX1 resurrects the iconic portable music player -- minus the cassettes -- for premium buyers in search of high-quality audio.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 21, 2014 1:31PM

Models display Sony's digital audio player 'Walkman ZX-1' and a headphone 'MDR-1' © YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty ImagesBy Kana Inagaki, The Wall Street Journal


Thirty five years after its debut, Sony's (SNE) Walkman is enjoying a little comeback.


The Wall Street Journal on MSN MoneyBut while the original cassette player of 1979 heralded the age of mass-market, portable music, the new $700 Walkman is aimed at premium buyers, as technological advances help more audio-on-the go users head upscale.


The ZX1, as Sony's gadget is called, is in many ways the antithesis of Apple's (AAPL) slender iPod, and the Walkman's own svelte predecessors. It has a heavy, bulky body that houses 128 gigabytes of storage for ultra-high-quality music files. Sony says each ZX1 is manually carved from a block of expensive aluminum, which helps reduce noise.


"The message for our designers and engineers was: please create a good product without worrying about the cost," said Kenji Nakada, Sony's sound product planner.

 

Want to cut the cord but don't want to miss out on 'Game of Thrones' or 'True Detective'? Some providers offer an Internet and HBO plan -- if you know how to ask.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 17, 2014 4:29PM
Matthew McConaughey, left, and Woody Harrelson from the HBO series 'True Detective' (c) AP Photo/HBO, Michele K. ShortBy Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Wall Street Journal


The Wall St. Journal on MSN MoneySo you're thinking about cutting the cord on cable TV, but worry you'll miss HBO? There's a way to get what you want.


HBO won't sell access to its online streaming service HBO Go directly to consumers. (ESPN, another often-cited reason for why people stick with cable, has the same policy.) To get a login, you must go to a cable TV company, which usually tries to upsell you on a pricey package that includes lots of channels you don't want.


Frustrated, some would-be customers just cut cable and "borrow" an HBO Go login from a friend. (An HBO spokesman says those logins are "limited to those residing in the home.")


But in recent months, many big cable companies have wised up that they might lose a slowly growing niche of cable-cutting customers. Several of them now will sell a package that include just Internet, HBO (and HBO Go) and the most basic of TV. You're not exactly without cable TV, but you're with much, much less of it.

 

The designer of the 'Iron Man' suit is among those working on high-tech body armor for elite troops.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 14, 2014 11:02AM

This undated publicity image provided by Marvel shows Robert Downey Jr., as Tony Stark/Iron Man, in a scene from

By Dion Nissenbaum, The Wall Street Journal


The Oscar-nominated designers at Legacy Effects have outfitted such memorable movie warriors as The Terminator, RoboCop, Captain America and Iron Man.


The special-effects company is now at work on what seems a mission impossible: Building an Iron Man-style suit to protect and propel elite U.S. troops by encasing them in body armor equipped with an agile exoskeleton to enable troops to carry hundreds of pounds of gear.


The 3-D printers that once churned out parts for actor Robert Downey Jr.'s red and gold movie armor are making pieces for a Pentagon prototype. Military officials recently examined three designs, an early step in a project by the U.S. Special Operations Command to create a new generation of protective armor within the next four years.


"We are trying to be revolutionary," said Mike Fieldson, the military's manager of the project known as TALOS, the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit.

 

As more and more jobs become automated, the irony is that the most tech-savvy generation in history could lose out to the very technology it has mastered.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 9, 2014 6:00PM

A robot cooks during a demonstration at the FOOMA Japan international food machinery and technology exhibition in Tokyo, June 12, 2009 (C) Michael Caronna/Reuters
By Reilly Dowd, The Fiscal Times


Joining the workforce in the age of pizza-delivering drones and self-driving cars is easier said than done, especially for millennials. Available jobs are increasingly going to equally qualified applicants, the types that were once just a thing of Hollywood movies -- robots.


The Fiscal Times on MSN MoneyConsider the irony: Millennials are coming of age in a world where the one thing they understand better than any other generation – technology -- may well be the thing that hurts them most of all.


It's all part of what leading tech gurus say is an urgent need for society to transform the way it views jobs. 


Google (GOOG) cofounder Larry Page, for example, says one antidote for high unemployment is to view employment differently; if people prefer not to work 24/7, "just reduce work time," but don't consider part-time a negative.

 

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