Here is this week’s edition of meshedsociety.com weekly, loaded with thoughtful opinion pieces, interesting analyses and significant yet under-reported information bits from the digital and technology world. Published and annotated every Thursday (CET), just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend.
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- Are We at the Start of a Tech World War?
Whether exaggerated or not (hopefully it is): With massive changes happening in the geopolitical, social, economical and technological sphere all at once, 2016 certainly has brought up a whole new set of worries about the future.
- Behind Silicon Valley’s Latest Push: To Create A New Kind Of City
Ironically, the Silicon Valley with its urban sprawl and dull car culture must be one of the worst advisors when it comes to building livable, pleasant cities. And neighboring San Francisco doesn’t look like a role model either.
- How AWS came to be
Informative profile of Amazon’s cloud infrastructure division which nowadays is a world leader in its field, but which initially only was built for Amazon’s own scalability needs.
- A South Korean Copy of Snapchat Takes Off in Asia
Nobody should be surprised: No young tech company can focus on each market of this planet at once, and Asian users traditionally have particular needs which often are neglected by Western services – at least inititally.
- Ghost in the machine: Snapchat isn’t mobile-first — it’s something else entirely
Snapchat’s distinctive usability and functionality keeps astonishing the tech crowd and leads to all kind of almost philosophical analyses, circulating around the question: What is Snapchat? Indeed, it’s not easy to answer.
- Putting a finger on our phone obsession
Incredible numbers and statistics about people’s smartphone usage.
- The 16GB iPhone may finally be going away soon
This news appears two days after I decided to give up on my iPhone 6+ 16 Gigabyte and to purchase a 6S+ with 128 Gigabyte. After the release of the 6 I tried to save some money by getting the 16 Gig-version. Huge mistake. Apps are growing bigger and bigger and video and interactive content (like Snapchat) is requiring an increasing amount of cached space. Over the past weeks my iPhone couldn’t even hold my podcast library due to a lack of storage. I mean the meta data, not the audio files itself. The situation became so unbearable that it eventually chose to purchase an iPhone just months before the release of the next version – which I of course might hate myself for in a few weeks (and the WSJ really thinks it is a bad time to buy an iPhone but whatever). So yes, I agree with that the 16 Gigabyte version needs to go.
- Chinese smartphone brands are dying off fast as market consolidates
In China, 136 different Chinese smartphone brands died over the course of 2015. 309 have survived (but some of them are probably gone by now).
- Robot War and the Future of Perceptual Deception
After the fatal crash of a Tesla on active “Autopilot” feature (naming it like this probably was a mistake) most of the reactions have been predictive and uninspired, considering that something like this HAD to happen. However, this writer really found a clever angle: What if the software flaw that caused the crash could be turned into a feature to be utilized in a future scenario in which an hostile autonomous vehicle/machine needs to be deceived?
- Tesla Solar Wants to Be the Apple Store for Electricity
Tesla’s very exciting strategy behind the bid to buy the biggest U.S. rooftop solar installer, Solar City.
- Now that tech more or less owns the news distribution system
Thought-provoking short take: News publishers usually have a publication’s voice/an ideological stance. Today, tech company’s are pretty much owning news distribution. But they don’t have an editorial voice, so no one knows what they are standing for. That’s part purpose (“the algorithms decide”), but it also can lead to problems.
- Facebook tries to overcome language barriers with new multilingual composer tool
A fantastic initiative by Facebook: Trying to avoid situations in which a user sees a status update in a language he/she does not understand. As some one who alternates between posts in German, English and Swedish, I am longing for language-specific targeting. Not only on Facebook but also on Twitter.
- How Facebook Live Streams to 800,000 Simultaneous Viewers
This is heavy technical stuff but nonetheless pretty interesting.
- How Apple Music And Tidal Transformed Streaming (And Why Apple May Be Buying Tidal)
A knowledgeable look at Apple’s performance and strategy in the music subscription sector.
- Why this CEO is worth almost $1 billion but lives in a trailer park
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is undoubtedly a very special type of person.
- Twitch now lets you watch people eat
The South Korean trend of eating in front of a webcam and streaming this “experience” to the world is being picked up by Amazon’s live-video gaming streaming platform Twitch.
- 52% blamed EU for their problems, blame social media for yours
By now everyone interested in tech is aware of the theory of filter bubbles in social media which are said to lead to a perpetuating, reinforcing confirmation bias and make people completely blind for opposing perspectives. The dynamics of the Brexit referendum look like a giant show case for this issue.
- Why elections are bad for democracy
Reading this was eye-opening for me, which is why I link to it here even if it has little to do with technology. Or actually it does, because the Internet must be seen as one underlying cause for the growing issues with current election practices.
Recently published on meshedsociety.com
- Mobile platforms and retail – comparing Apple(s) with Oranges
The mobile platform market with its two sole global players Apple and Google (Android) is historically unique. That means that as tempting as they might be, analogies and comparisons to other sectors of commercial life will lead to wrong conclusions.
Podcast episode of the week
- Exponent Episode 85: Ballots Versus Guillotines
Brilliant, intelligent exchange between Ben Thompson & James Allworth about Brexit, Trump, inequality, the Internet and how everything is connected. Don’t get discouraged by the initial small talk about the weather.
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