Friday, 14 September 2012

What I've been reading this week

I’m of the belief that participants in the TMT industry need to read widely in order to understand the present and future dynamics of the market. To that end, this post is a collection of the articles that have caught my eye.

This week: Amazon goes Dickensian, films in the living room, social effects of the NHS robot leg and Star Wars takes on Star Trek

Digital media

I’m yet to be convinced that audiences are presently ready for Zeebox’s brand of second screen, but in case they are, Zeebox have partnered with Chyron to offer polls, sampling and other measurement tools on their application. http://thenextweb.com/media/2012/09/10/zeebox-integrate-new-tools-allowing-broadcasters-interact-directly-users-via-second-screen-app/

Tablet use does, however, increase linear TV viewing, 39% of users say they watch more versus 15% who watch less. http://www.rapidtvnews.com/index.php/2012091224033/ipad-kindle-fire-and-other-tablets-drive-greater-tv-viewing.html

Kindle Serials is a really interesting idea – a return to the Dickensian norm of serialising books, so that chapters appear as they’re written. I think it’ll be a slow burner myself, but represents another interesting way in which published content can get to users. New types of content are vital to reinforce the competitiveness of literature in the face of ever greater consumer choice in entertainment. Useless for me though. I’m too unstructured and appear to be writing my book backwards. http://www.fastcompany.com/3001099/amazon-changed-reading-now-it-could-change-writing

Aussie cinema chain Hoyts are going to stream new releases to customers in their living room, doubtless at quite high cost. It’ll have to be, since cinema chains are sitting on fixed assets that are best monetised through sales of ancillary merchandise like popcorn, fizzy drinks, t-shirts etc. Now, if they offer it as part of a Sky Go – esque old + new media subscription bundle, it’ll be interesting. Real’ interesting. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/10/hoyts_launches_movie_on_demand/

A really funny review of 4 books on pinterest. Wherever there’s a fad, there’s a raft of “experts” ready to cash in with their “insightful” opinions... oh wait, that’s me?! http://www.fastcompany.com/3000055/pinfluence-pinterest-business-and-two-other-how-books-about-pinterest-reviewed

Pinterest is fun though. Check out this infographic! http://www.fastcodesign.com/1670750/infographic-the-astounding-power-of-pinterest#1

Newspaper readership is up... if you count online readers, who don’t pay anything and aren’t worth much in ad revenues. Print is down. http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=50013&c=1

I don’t think that the downward pressure of open access on Reed Elsevier’s profits will be the 60% suggested in this article, but it’ll doubtless be significant. http://paidcontent.org/2012/09/10/open-access-research-catastrophic-for-reed-elsevier/

Technology

A billion iOS and Android devices in service by the end of the year. That’s a lot of screens, and there’ll be more to come. The second billion could be less than 3 years hence. http://www.ben-evans.com/post/31264118733/ios-and-android-pushing-towards-1bn-devices

Google Glass is definitely edging closer to production. Diane von Furstenberg included the heads up display specs in her show at New York Fashion week. Very cool. http://allthingsd.com/20120909/google-glass-makes-surprise-appearance-at-new-york-fashion-week/

As bionics advance faster and faster this author believes that schisms will emerge in society between augmented “super humans” and everyone else. Should national health systems provide augmentations for those unable to afford them? An NHS leg, perhaps? I’ll go private... http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-09/10/societal-risk-of-super-race

Akamai were once the darling of the Web... and they’re still around. Their tech wizard answers 7 questions: http://allthingsd.com/20120910/seven-questions-for-tom-leighton-chief-scientist-of-akamai/

The FBI has launched a nationwide face recognition system – scary, but it’s got to be great for law enforcement. http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/135665-fbi-launches-1-billion-nationwide-facial-recognition-system

Although I still think that the greatest improvement in greenhouse emissions can be had at the power plant end, it certainly makes a lot of sense to improve home efficiency. This house in Maryland has zero net emissions. Given the US’ share of emissions, it could be massive. http://www.gizmag.com/net-zero-energy-residential-test-facility-nzertf/24138/

Emerging markets

Tao Bao – China’s eBay, if you like – are taking steps to crack down on sales of pirated content. Interesting in that China has typically turned a blind eye to content piracy. I’m suspicious since China’s domestic industry is of pretty low quality and the MPA has no actual means to enforce copyright inside the great firewall there’s no real need to provide this protection unless there’s an ulterior motive. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/10/baidu_alibaba_taobao_piracy_deal_mpa/

Kenya has struck gas... Elections in March... Expect instability on Silicon Savannah. http://af.reuters.com/article/investingNews/idAFJOE88901720120910

In more positive news, here’s an article on the road signs on Kenya’s Thika Road: a vital infrastructure project for the country as it moves slowly towards being a developed market. The signs aren’t great. http://www.arkafrica.com/projects/thika-road-signage-re-design

Superpower politics

It looks like we’ll soon be seeing a refresh to the iMac range. I reckon an October announcement alongside a 7” iPad Mini. http://www.macrumors.com/2012/09/07/updates-to-apples-imac-line-reportedly-imminent/

Ah, it’s forecast time for iPhone 5. A starter for ten... million units this quarter. http://www.asymco.com/2012/09/13/how-many-iphone-5s-will-sell-in-the-opening-weekend/

They’ve already sold out in the US – pre-order period now 2 weeks. http://www.slashgear.com/us-iphone-5-shipping-slips-to-2-weeks-after-just-an-hours-presales-14247554/

No wireless charging this time for the iPhone because it’s not actually any more convenient than http://www.businessinsider.com/ng-2012-9

Just for fun

Star Wars tech versus Star Trek tech... who wins? http://anewdomain.net/2012/09/03/star-wars-vs-star-trek-infographic/

Awesome concept art from Borderlands 2. http://penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/borderlands-2-concept-art

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