October 1, 2013

Rewired nerves control robotic leg

The major advance is that the man does not have to use a remote-control switch or exaggerated muscle movements to tell the robotic leg to switch between types of movements, and he does not have to reposition the leg with his hands when seated.

Another step to cyborgism. But seriously, this is breakthrough technology that is enhancing the lives of the many disabled people.

John McAfee reveals details on gadget to thwart NSA

McAfee said the idea for the device came to him well before computer analyst and whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked National Security Agency documents that exposed widespread monitoring of U.S. citizens’ phone calls and Internet communications.

Mr. McAfee might be a bit “crazy” at times, but he’s a genius at all times. “There will be no way (for the government) to tell who you are or where you are.” he says. I can’t wait to see what this device actually is or how it works.

Nikon files patents for an interchangeable sensor camera

Of course, this isn’t a new idea. Medium format cameras have allowed photographers to switch out backs since the film days.

It will just be amazing to see all the choices consumers will be able to configure in the future.

Facebook admits its ads are too annoying

Why Facebook isn’t already paying attention to such feedback from the people it supposedly runs its service for isn’t explained. It may be deduced from the way Ge’s post carefully balances promises to both ad-beseiged users of Facebook and the companies paying Facebook to besiege them.

You don’t say?

After 13-year ban, China to allow game console sales

China’s State Council, the country’s top decision maker, announced on Friday that companies could eventually start selling game consoles across China. In order to get the hardware on store shelves, however, the companies would need to have their devices approved by the Ministry of Culture. It’s not clear what might cause a particular console to be banned from sale.

Great. Just what the world needs. A billion-or-so more Asian gamers.

Bunnies can fly…proof

The above is cynically tragic.


The Fall Of BlackBerry

Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail published an article yesterday entitled “How BlackBerry blew it: The Inside Story“.

This is quite an extensive inside look at the demise of this former tech giant. 9 pages in total. It tells a story of how divided focus among executives is extremely hurtful to a company. The best summary of the struggle of power I found was by a commenter koolrosh at CrackBerry.

The way I see it, they all had good strategies, but because they were so divided, they didn’t do anything right. It took them forever to execute on one thing, but did not follow a clear cut strategy.

Lasaridis=> Wanted to focus on Enterprise. Understood that they needed a better OS, but wanted to build a keyboard device only. Wanted to launch BB10 first with keyboard device.

Balsillie=> Saw the smartphone market as commoditised, so wanted to focus on services and cross-platform BBM. He also wanted Blackberry to start offering other services through Carriers, like cloud storage.

Thorsten=> Saw BB10 as the only way to save Blackberry and put all his focus on the launch. Cancelled all other projects and focused on delivering BB10. Wanted to launch with a touch screen first because he thought keyboard phones were dead and there was money to be made selling a superior touchscreen OS.

I think if any one of them was able to execute on their strategy from the beginning, BlackBerry would be in a better situation.

After reading this article, I was actually surprised. I was in shock of how wrong most people are about Jim Balsillie. Everyone, their mothers and even CrackBerry it self seemed to always make Balsillie look to be the rotten egg in the management team. However, I personally feel that he had right ideas. It turns out he had a better vision of the future of BlackBerry than the others.

I think that SMS 2.0 might have been a real game changer for them. Oh wait, Thorsten Heins is just realizing the significance of this now and failed again. One can actually see the huge difference in execution here. Balsillie wanted to make BBM into a service seamless and on the back-end via the carriers making it an industry standard, hence SMS 2.0. Heins on the other hand wanted to distribute it as an app for free many years too late. It’s all in the execution.

Also, I found Apple’s exclusive deal with AT&T in the early days noteworthy. This is because it made Verizon worry and they quickly approached BlackBerry to create an “iPhone killer” in retaliation. The result was a rushed and half-baked BlackBerry Storm which failed in many ways including its awkward SureType touch screen. This poor product launch forced Verizon to see out another company to build the ‘iPhone killer”, Google. In essence, BlackBerry’s failure led to a brand new competition in the Android operating system. Which went on to dominate the low-end market, hurting BlackBerry, Nokia, Palm and Microsoft.

If one thing is for certain, it’s that BlackBerry will be forever remembered in case studies at business schools all over the world in the future.


Celebrating iTunes Festival 2013

Yesterday, Apple released a short video highlighting their annual iTunes Festival event at the Roundhouse in the UK. They again have solidified their passion for great music. Perhaps it is another way of complimenting the launch of iTunes Radio (only in the US initially).

This year saw the likes of Lady Gaga, Elton John, Paramore, Arctic Monkeys and Bastille with Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry coming up. Essentially, it is a 30 day event (all of September) featuring 60 of the best acts in the world. And the best thing is that tickets are free via the iTunes Festival lottery system and can be watched online on iTunes.

It would be an absolute dream to attend all 30 days!


Smartphone OS Shootout

Which mobile OS is the biggest productivity booster?

“Apple has managed to create a new operating system that looks from any other on the market, and that is immediately easy and intuitive to use — and that is identical on any iOS device the company produces. In terms of user experience, iOS 7 clearly remains the market leader.”

Pfeiffer’s report is extensive and thoroughly compares iOS 7, iOS 6, Android, BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone 8. It is fascinating to see all of the pros and cons for each platform. This is a must read.