Weekly Links & Thoughts #43

Here is a weekly selection of thoughtful opinion pieces, interesting analyses and significant yet under-reported information bits from the digital and technology world. Published and commented every Thursday (sorry for being late this time), just in time so you have something good to read during the weekend.

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  • Why Twitter’s Dying (And What You Can Learn From It)
    Let me state first that I am not sure if Twitter really is dying. That being said, this is a brilliant piece pointing out what might turn out to be the biggest weakness the social web ever had: abusive users. The term “abusive” includes all kinds of behaviors that create negativity, and there for sure is a lot of negativity going on on Twitter (more than on Facebook or Instagram). Even the nicest people can become somewhat abusive if participating in a toxic, abusive environment. Read this essay, which not only is about Twitter, but about the social web and our digital society in general.
  • Why the future doesn’t need us
    Are you in the mood to immerse yourself in an an extensive, pessimistic read about a future filled with technology-related risks? Then this essay by Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy is for you. It will take about an hour to read, and it will get you worried. By the way, it has been published 15 years ago, but does not feel a bit outdated.
  • In China, Your Credit Score Is Now Affected By Your Political Opinions – And Your Friends’ Political Opinions
    Speaking of pessimism: It is hard to see how this path taken by China won’t end up being extremely harmful for citizens in the mid and long-term. And I am doubtful that other countries, even democratic ones, will managed to avoid following along this dangerous route. The temptations and the possibilities of the digital age are just too big.
  • How is NSA breaking so much crypto?
    Probably with a machine that cost a few hundred million dollars to build, as these computer scientists speculate.
  • Dell. EMC. HP. Cisco. These Tech Giants Are the Walking Dead
    Catchy headline which is one of the reasons why this article has been shared widely over the past days. If you have not read it yet, do it, it makes some good points about the possible fate of many enterprise IT giants.
  • Against The Singularity
    Jon Evans compares the belief in singularity with religious beliefs. Thought-provoking.
  • Will You Ever Be Able to Upload Your Brain?
    Related to the previous link and an interesting read.
  • Marketers thought the Web would allow perfectly targeted ads. Hasn’t worked out that way.
    A long piece about the major issue of fake traffic intended to generate online ad revenue and the companies involved in this.
  • AMP and Incentives
    An intriguing analysis of Google’s new AMP initiative to boost the loading speed of mobile websites.
  • Pragmatic app pricing
    Marco Arment, developer of the podcasting app Overcast, explains why he decided to go with a “everything is free, pay what you want” model instead of charging for the app or specific features of it: “Podcasts are hot right now. Big Money is coming” – which is why he does not want to put up unnecessary barriers to entry to remain competitive. I see the logic.
  • Autopilot for the Tesla Model S is here, but it’s part of a $2,500 package
    If there were any doubts left about that cars are being turned into software products and car companies into software companies, they should be dissolved now. While it is unclear how many owners of Teslas will purchase this update, the possibility to sell software updates over the air opens up a completely new revenue stream for a car manufacturer. This new income source could eventually reduce incentives to push customers into buying a new car every few years. Instead, a car company could actively focus on building cars with a longer shelf-life that are frequently being made smarter and better through (paid) software upgrades.
  • How is the world’s first solar powered airport faring?
    I do not know a lot about the economics of solar power, but my hope is that one day, it will be feasibly to satisfy a large amount of the world’s energy needs through solar power.
  • The Case for Getting Rid of Borders—Completely
    This obviously is utopia right now. But so were many things a 100 years ago that are considered self-evident today.
  • Don’t even think of being a tech VC if you’re over age 48
    While there for sure are exceptions, it is no surprise in my eyes that it gets harder for people to successfully single out the next big thing when they get older and their capability of out-of-the-box thinking decreases.
  • Mobile is not a neutral platform
    Benedict Evans explains why on mobile devices, the operating system itself is the internet services platform, far more than the browser, and examines the implications.
  • Just say no to Facebook’s Internet.org, says inventor of World Wide Web
    Usually I am a big fan of looking at an issue from different perspective, trying to take different angles. But in this case, I find Tim Berners-Lee’s rule of thumb appealing: “When it comes to compromising on net neutrality, I tend to say ‘just say no'”.

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