Monday, 18 November 2013

What I've been reading this week

I’ve had another week of travelling so a slightly truncated reading list again today, nevertheless, this week: Under Armor connects, Xbox One is watching you, weaponised Internet and psychedelic techno speakers.

Business models

All this outrage about the NSA weaponising the Internet is stupid. It’s like complaining that in order to provide security they’ve invested in secret weapons they’ve not told anyone about in case they really need to defend us. When the US reveals a new spy plane we all go: cool! When it turns out they’re using the Internet to spy on people and developing digital weapons we get our underwear all twisted. If they weren’t doing it, they’d be failing in their duty. Anyway, here’s what the (digitally) smoking gun looks like. And the spy plane. http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/11/this-is-how-the-internet-backbone-has-been-turned-into-a-weapon/

Everyone is getting into the technology incubator game these days. Here’s Mexico City’s third batch of start ups. My observation is that none of these businesses represent new ideas, just international ones localised for Mexico. There’s been a fashionable idea for years that the developing world will be the experimental centre of the world for tech and business models but the reality is that it’s a hell of a lot easier to start off repurposing other people’s ideas… which is why I still hear about M-PESA all the time… http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/14/500-mexico-city-batch-3/

Apparently climbing stairs counts as vigorous exercise, which begs the question what running a marathon is. In any case, Step Jockey is getting companies to install little QR Code placards at the bottom and top of their stairs to gamify the activity. Boris Johnson thinks it’s a good idea. I think it’ll last six months. Insanely niche. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-24933090

Someone else who’s clocked that digitally quantifying fitness is a potentially lucrative market is everybody. US sportswear brand Under Armor has chosen to start competing with Nike and Adidas’ connected fitness solutions by buying mapmyfitness for $150 million. Good investment in my book as UA are a challenger brand and need to do something a bit more open than their larger rivals’ end to end systems. http://gigaom.com/2013/11/14/under-armor-buys-mapmyfitness-in-150m-deal/

Microsoft launches a cybercrime centre. Do we approve of web vigilantes? Not sure, is the answer in my case, as we seem to be heading in a worryingly Gibson-esque direction. http://thenextweb.com/microsoft/2013/11/14/microsoft-opens-stunning-cybercrime-center-redmond-tackle-botnets-malware-ip-theft/

Technology

On British Airways they make you turn your phone off during take-off and landing – presumably the EM output of an iPhone is too much for the over-worked computers of their ancient fleet to cope with. In more sensible news, the European Union has finally realised that having communications devices on during take-off and landing isn’t in any way dangerous and is thinking about un-banning them. Hopefully they’ll now retrospectively apologise for being such pricks about it for the last decade? http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/europe-to-remove-gadgets-restrictions-on-flights-by-the-end-of-november-14-11-2013/

Psychedelic Jean Michel Jarre-designed BlueTooth speaker? So much want. http://www.damngeeky.com/2013/11/09/15371/doughnut-shaped-aerotwist-bluetooth-speaker-comes-nfc.html

iPad Air scores a perfect review on Wired UK. I was impressed by the Air and very nearly bought one, then realised that since my iPad 3 never leaves the living room, the benefits of light weight and quick charging are not worth the money… http://www.wired.co.uk/reviews/tablets/2013-11/apple-ipad-air-review

Microsoft are desperate to demonstrate that they haven’t dropped the ball on Xbox One tech’ specs. Here’s a video of it switching on, using Kinect to identify you and getting to the home screen. For reference, the Xbox 360 takes about a minute to do the same and you have to press buttons and stuff… http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-11-14-this-is-how-long-it-takes-xbox-one-to-switch-on

…And I couldn’t care less about that difference, since the Xbox One seems to lag PS4 terribly in terms of frame rate and resolution. Should have got the basics right before spending time fiddling. Having had both generations of Xbox, I have a PS4 on pre-order this time around. Gamers first… http://www.videogamer.com/ps4/call_of_duty_ghosts/news/sony_wasnt_expecting_resolution_differences_between_xbox_one_and_ps4.html

IBM has made near-artificial intelligence Watson available through the cloud, so developers can make applications for it. How long before this is being used in a spooky predictive Siri? http://www-03.ibm.com/innovation/us/watson/watson_ecosystem.shtml

Oh lordy, now Cisco are suffering because they can’t be trusted. Scary times. No Internet of Things for you naughty Americans, unless you invent it all. Oh yes, there’s that. http://qz.com/147313/ciscos-disastrous-quarter-shows-how-nsa-spying-could-freeze-us-companies-out-of-a-trillion-dollar-opportunity/

Media

Roku provides news to connected TV customers via AOL. I don’t know what to make of this as I’m unclear about the benefit of full screen connected news over broadcast. Oh, and how used is Roku these days, anyway? Not much outside of the US. http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/14/roku-aol-news/


Ad recall for Millenials is highest when they watch smartphone video ads. I guess that’s no surprise given it’s at the core of their media consumption experience. http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/online/video-ads-on-smartphones-seen-positively-influencing-millennials-brand-perceptions-38145/

…and sort of just for fun, you can see a snippet of me at News Xchange, talking incoherently about the future of news. http://vimeo.com/79471336

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