Weekly Links & Thoughts #94

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. Usually published and annotated every Thursday (CET), just in time so you have something good to read over the weekend – this time a bit delayed, sorry for that.

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Length indicator: 1 = short, 2 = medium, 3 = long

  • Why Tim Cook is Steve Ballmer and Why He Still Has His Job at Apple (3)
  • Admit it: Microsoft is now a braver, more innovative company than Apple (2)
    The past week (week 43 of the year 2016) was to some degree an historic one: For the first time in – probably decades – a (still timid) narrative emerged focusing on the idea that Microsoft might actually have turned into the more innovative company than Apple. Read those two pieces to understand why. Whether this claim is true or not can be debated, but the fact itself that you won’t get laughed at anymore if stating this among a crowd of tech savvy people is quite a sensation.
  • What Will Break People’s Addictions to Their Phones? (3)
    This is the best thing I have read so far about the addictive qualities of smartphones and the industry that has established itself on top of it – thoughtful, critical but without the otherwise all too common, generalizing “tech is bad and everything before was better” flavor.
  • Inside The Strange, Paranoid World Of Julian Assange (3)
    I learned quite a few things about Assange and Wikileaks while reading this.
  • Apple Strategy 2017. Very important change to iPhone coming (2)
    A typical Robert Scoble post, filled with enthusiastic predictions that might or might not become true. But also thought-provoking. Scoble thinks that Facebook-owned Oculus should pivot to “Mixed Reality”, which is a combination of AR and VR, and he also predicts (claims to know) that Apple will do the same. That actually might be smart idea. In fact, every time I see someone wearing a VR headset, I realize that people look far more silly than when they wore Google Glass. And we know how Glass ended. There is a chance that VR will remain a technology which the majority of people would only dare to use when being completely alone, but not in social or public settings.
  • Artificial Intelligence Natives (1)
    Hard to imagine for us right now, but future generations will indeed grow up side-by-side with AI and (voice-controlled) bots. That will change the way they think and behave.
  • The Problems with EULAs are Infecting Hardware: What Will it Mean to “Own” Your Car? (1)
    Since software is eating the world, EULAs (software enduser license agreements) will control increasingly how people are allowed to use the products they thought they owned.
  • Hardware is sexy, but it’s software that matters (1)
    Following the logic of Seth Godin, Apple is facing a troubled future because of its continued focus on hardware as core area of excellence.
  • Bill Gates: He eats Big Macs for lunch and schedules every minute of his day – meet the man worth $80 billion (2)
    Informative profile, even though I struggle with taking the claim seriously that Bill Gates would be eating burgers from McDonalds on most lunches. Although I’m sure that the fast food giant will be happy about it.
  • What is internet culture? (2)
    A well-informed classification of the various shapes and forms of internet culture.
  • Pretty much no one thinks that social media improves our political discussions (1)
    I agree. Social media might actually be one of the worst things that has happened to politics for a while. At least, that’s my short-term view. Hard to know how one will think if one gets to see the bigger picture. Maybe it’ll eventually destroy old-school politics for good and what comes after will be better.
  • Why Spotify’s Discover Weekly is getting really boring (1)
    What’s described here is the lack of the special ingredient to personalization called serendipity. Spotify should be able to add that one too.
  • Humanity’s war on latency: Semaphore to silicon photonics and beyond (2)
    Latency is something the average Internet user never thinks about. Traditionally, only gamers really cared about it. But this is changing as tech integrates with society and our bodies.
  • Five myths about genius (2)
    Some myth-busting worth checking out, such as that those usually labeled genius hardly ever had extraordinary high IQs.
  • Uber’s new Driver API gives developers access to Uber’s other user pool (1)
    Uber says there are 1.5 million drivers worldwide. That’s enough people to form its own target group for service providers and apps that cater to drivers and their needs. Uber has understood that and is now providing an API to third party developers who want to build stuff specifically for Uber drivers. It’s the platform within the platform.
  • The Platform Stack (3)
    Apropos “platform”. This common term is being used in various contexts. Different people mean vastly different things when they use the word “platform”. This thourough, analytical piece intends to resolve the ambiguities.
  • Fixing the IoT isn’t going to be easy (1)
    After the major DDoS attack against Dyn last week the already intensively debated issue of insufficient security of Internet of Things gadgets has been moving even more into the spotlight. Unfortunately, there is not a lot that realistically can be done to prevent badly secured IoT gadgets from being misused for botnet attacks.
  • I Was Wrong About Offline (1)
    It’s easy to dismiss “offline” functionality in apps as a relict of the past. But to generalize like that is a mistake, as this developer explains.
  • Basic Income Could Be The Moonshot Of Our Generation (1)
    Intriguing analogy. Particularly this paragraph made me think: “Moonshot was never about getting to the moon. There was nothing on the moon. Kennedy and his administration knew that. The point is that each generation must have their mission, something that encapsulates their vision. The outcome of the moonshot was not a rocket that could fly humans to the moon. Far from that. The outcome of the moonshot was legitimizing the unforeseen public investments into science and technology”.

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