Supermarket's Futuristic Outlet

Future Store may be the greatest thing to have happened on the River Rhein since Siegfried slew the dragon

5 min read

Razor-thin margins in the fiercely competitive German food retail market have prompted Metro AG, one of Europe's largest retailers, to test new technologies that streamline the way shoppers pick and pay for items, and cajole them into buying more. Here, at Metro's Future Store in Rheinberg, a medium-sized city north of Düsseldorf, near the Dutch border, this reporter roamed the aisles on a typically crowded shopping day. He found the experience to be something special, as the marquee over the entrance suggested [see photo, " Read All About It!"].

Customers at the Future Store can use a number of gizmos that promise speed, comfort, and even a bit of fun: scales with digital cameras that can differentiate tomatoes from apples, so as to weigh and price them; multimedia kiosks that provide information about select foods and wines in the store; and carts outfitted with a small computer and display with an integrated scanner that allows you to call up the day's sales bargains and tally your own purchases, as well as help you navigate the store.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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