October 8, 2013

The Nobel Prize in Physics

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2013 was awarded jointly to François Englert and Peter W. Higgs “for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider”

Congrats to both Mr. Englert and Mr. Higgs for their contributions to science and mankind. I’ve been following news on the Higgs Boson particle for many years and this in a way completes it.

Nest Smoke and Carbon monoxide detector

There’s no ambiguous beeping or mysterious blinking LED on the Protect — the entire product is designed to more clearly communicate what’s actually wrong. When it senses rising levels of smoke, heat, or carbon monoxide, it simply says “heads up,” and tell you what’s wrong — Fadell says they picked a neutral phrase to avoid panic if you’re just burning the toast. If there’s something more serious going on, the Protect gets straight to the point and says “emergency” while sounding a horn. Voices include British, Canadian, and US English, as well as Canadian French and US Spanish, and they’re localized: the “heads up” warning is “please be aware” for the British voice, and “attention” in French.

This looks like an amazing product that majority of the population overlook. I need to pick up a couple of theses Nest Protect devices soon.

Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

The BBC understands that during an experiment in late September, the amount of energy released through the fusion reaction exceeded the amount of energy being absorbed by the fuel – the first time this had been achieved at any fusion facility in the world.

Here’s to hoping for sustainable and affordable energy for all.

Why tablet magazines are a failure

When a magazine is organized as an app rather than as a website, its articles can neither be indexed or searched on the web. And even if they could, clicking the link in Google at best takes readers to an app store, not to the article itself — cutting the magazine out of the greatest traffic driver in today’s world.

The pattern is the same on social media. When you can’t link directly to an article, the urge to tweet or tell your friends about it drastically shrinks. And curators like Flipboard and Zite can’t look into, link or grab content from within magazine apps.

Also, each issue of a tablet magazine can be fairly large and bandwidth consuming. Most of the time, they are around 80-120MB.


Remembering Steve

Sometimes I still can’t believe it happened. But today marks the second anniversary of the passing of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Inc. No one can ever replace someone like Steve and my Thank You continues forward.

Steve appointed Tim Cook as Apple CEO shortly before his death. Since then, the leadership team at Apple has brought forth iOS 7, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPad mini and record breaking sales. Yesterday Cook issued the following letter to his staff:

Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of Steve’s death. I hope everyone will reflect on what he meant to all of us and to the world. Steve was an amazing human being and left the world a better place. I think of him often and find enormous strength in memories of his friendship, vision and leadership. He left behind a company that only he could have built and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. We will continue to honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to the work he loved so much. There is no higher tribute to his memory. I know that he would be proud of all of you.

Also, The New York Times published a piece regarding the time leading up to the famous introduction of the original iPhone back at MacWorld 2007.

The impact has been not only economic but also cultural. Apple’s innovations have set off an entire rethinking of how humans interact with machines. It’s not simply that we use our fingers now instead of a mouse. Smartphones, in particular, have become extensions of our brains. They have fundamentally changed the way people receive and process information. Ponder the individual impacts of the book, the newspaper, the telephone, the radio, the tape recorder, the camera, the video camera, the compass, the television, the VCR and the DVD, the personal computer, the cellphone, the video game and the iPod. The smartphone is all those things, and it fits in your pocket. Its technology is changing the way we learn in school, the way doctors treat patients, the way we travel and explore. Entertainment and media are accessed and experienced in entirely new ways.

I wanted to find something special that showed off the genius of Jobs. And I ended up watching a clip I’ve never seen before. This is a 20-minute documentary-style video observing how Jobs brainstormed with his team at NeXT, the company he started after getting fired from Apple.

And what surprised me was that under his light blue untucked dress shirt lies the notorious black turtleneck. In this video, I was intrigued at the 17:40 mark when he talks about not looking too much at the “smaller battles”, but to focus on the war at large.

Personally, Apple made an impact on my life as I clearly remember the first video game that I ever loved. It was a game called Treasure Mountain that I played on a Macintosh in grade school.

Again, thanks for everything you contributed to us Steve.


October 3, 2013

Amy Webb: How I Hacked Online Dating

I better get started on some spreadsheets.

Twitter discloses its I.P.O. plans

Potential buyers aren’t the only firms eager for a piece of Twitter’s offering. Wall Street banks have battled for months for the privilege of leading the stock sale, which will bestow prestige and bragging rights. Goldman Sachs won that fight and is serving as lead underwriter along with with Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Allen & Company and Code Advisors are joining as additional advisers.

I’m hesitant in invest in most “social media” companies such as Facebook and LinkedIn. However, I find Twitter to be exceptionally useful for breaking news.

Obamacare vs. Canada: Five key differences

Obamacare is a huge step in American health reform and, if it seen to improve the system, will represent a major victory for Democrats. Like other major reforms of the past, however, it will entrench the private nature of the system, and likely render national health insurance, or anything remotely like “Canadian-style” health care, impossible to attain.

There are certainly pros and cons for the US to adapt the Affordable Healthcare Act aka “Obamacare”. The transition won’t be easy, but he wants to extend medical coverage to the 15-20% of America that does not have it.

Samsung may have spied on sealed Apple-Nokia documents to aid patent deals

The company’s legal negotiator, Dr. Seungho Ahn, apparently told Nokia that its terms with Apple “were known to him,” despite the fact they were marked “highly confidential — attorneys’ eyes only.” This means they should have been for Samsung’s outside counsel only, and strictly off-limits for gaining leverage in any negotiations. Court documents show that up to 50 Samsung employees were given non-redacted copies of Apple agreements with not only Nokia, but Ericsson, Sharp and Philips, too.

This has been a terrible week for Samsung thus far.

Adobe gets hacked compromising 2.9 million users

From what Adobe has shared so far, it sounds like the hackers had access to encrypted data for as many as 2.9 million customers. While Adobe stresses that the data is encrypted and that they “do not believe the attackers removed decrypted credit or debit card numbers”, that data — encrypted or not — is definitely notsomething they want out in the wild.

No Creative Cloud for me…Oh, and they took the source code as well.

Lorde: Pure Heroine

She gets so caught up in the feeling that she lets herself blurt something truly vulnerable: “I’ve never felt more alone/ It feels so scary, getting old.” Lorde’s music is quietly wise to a particular modern irony: Beneath every #DGAF there’s a person who secretly gives a fuck about something, and behind every anti-pop song there’s a singer who—just likeeverybody else—knows what it’s like to feel happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time.

Most of the time I can understand the fine folks over at Pitchfork. But in this instance, I have to say that the 16-year old New Zealander deserves at least an 8.0/10 on her debut album.

Technology, Uncategorized

Android Shenanigans

They’re (almost) all dirty: The state of cheating in Android benchmarks

We started piecing this data together back in July, and even had conversations with both silicon vendors and OEMs about getting it to stop. With the exception of Apple and Motorola, literally every single OEM we’ve worked with ships (or has shipped) at least one device that runs this silly CPU optimization. It’s possible that older Motorola devices might’ve done the same thing, but none of the newer devices we have on hand exhibited the behavior. It’s a systemic problem that seems to have surfaced over the last two years, and one that extends far beyond Samsung.

Pretty sad.

Note 3’s benchmarking “adjustments” inflate scores by up to 20%

After a good bit of sleuthing, we can confidently say Samsung appears to be artificially boosting the US Note 3’s benchmark scores with a special, high-power CPU mode that kicks in when the device runs a large number of popular benchmarking apps. Samsung did something similar with the international Galaxy S 4’s GPU, but this is the first time we’ve seen the boost on a US device.

It’s not surprising to see Samsung pulling a Samsung again. Even Phil Schiller outed them call this stunt shenanigans.

The Galaxy Note 3 comes with a “tiny screen” mode that enables one hand usages

When you enable a buried option in the one-hand operating menu, you can enable a “tiny screen” mode with a simple swipe gesture. Like Alice in Wonderland, what you see on your Note 3?s display suddenly becomes smaller and you’re effectively using Android as if it were a windowed application on your desktop computer.

So, this is innovation by Samsung eh? Great. Make gigantic devices that don’t fit in anyones pocket. And then lets make it have a one-handed mode.

Internet can be “100x more affordable” 

Zuckerberg explains a few of the methods that the tech companies involved are looking into. For instance, by extending the range of antennas and relays, infrastructure builders can reach distant areas with fewer towers (and less cost). And by using compression algorithms on everyday data, the amount of bits and bytes needed to watch a video or download an article can be reduced

And Zuck can make Internet even more affordable if we give him all of our personal data as well?