Saturday, September 15, 2012

Stories I Found Of Interest (weekly)

    • “N.F.C. employs lower-frequency operation than cellular, requiring a longer antenna,” Mr. Strauss said. “That antenna is often wrapped around the battery in some cellphones, but a metal back shields any radio waves from reaching a nearby data terminal. Only plastic, Kevlar or similar backings will allow the radio connection for mobile payments. Clearly, Apple chose beauty over functionality with its aluminum back.
      • Interesting macro philosophy
    • The modern consequence, he says, is a society that discourages curiosity, critique, challenge, commercialisation and collaborative technology
    • But there’s a strong view that China’s innovation and technology shortcomings are rooted in a socio-cultural system, and an incentive system that emphasises incremental over radical change, and quantity over quality and uniqueness
    • China’s technological cutting edge may forever lag behind that of its western competitors and rivals
    • Facebook has for most of 2012 been leading a hard-and-heavy campaign advocating for the mobile web. For developers, the company has said the platform-agnostic approach can lead to huge distribution benefits.
    • No one company can fix all of these, but we are very keen to work with the industry, browser vendors, OEMs, carriers, and developers themselves to smooth away those challenges,” said Facebooker James Pearce earlier this year.
    • The obvious enhancements went over well with iPhone users, who praised the new app for its functionality. But some early reviewers said the development choice “proves write-once-run-anywhere is and always will be impossible.”


    • And with Zuckerberg wanting Facebook to reach “everyone in the world,” the company said it’s not going to be native iOS apps or a speedy, HTML5 web app — it will have to be both.
    • A major reason FBX has thus far proved so successful is that Facebook is arguably the best site on which to retarget users. “Users are always on Facebook and always keep the Facebook page open,” Coelius said. In essence, Facebook is the anchor of peoples' online browsing habits: A user sees on Facebook that a friend is on vacation, opens a new tab to see where they might like to travel to, returns to the Facebook tab to see which friends might live there, opens another tab to check airfares and another to find a new swimsuit.
    • Just this past April, Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg announced that the world’s most visited social networking site had purchased wildly popular photo-sharing app Instagram for a measly $1 billion. Facebook finalized the purchase for the photo-sharing app this past week for roughly $715 million.

      It’s a not-too-shabby cash-in for Instagram, a 2-year-old startup with zero revenue that garnered its impressive status by enabling users a simple way to take photos, apply filters and share them with friends on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites.

      Gigaom’s Om Malik says Instagram “has created a platform built on emotion. It created not a social network, but instead built a beautiful social platform of shared experiences.” Instagram continued its growth and, shortly after Facebook’s acquisition, surpassed 50 million users while adding five million more each week.

    • Conceivably, video sharing apps should be right on the horizon, perhaps ready to flex their muscles and become the Instagram of Video.  S
    • Zuckerberg also signaled that Facebook might get into the search business, a move that would ratchet up competition with rival Google. He said that Facebook already processes about 1 billion search queries a day without “even trying.”

    • Zuckerberg also didn't comment on another ominous Facebook trend: The usage declines are most pronounced among those who were once Facebook's most devoted users: Young people.
    • Anecdotally, one of the services kids are flocking to at Facebook's expense is the new mobile photo network Instagram. Instagram was founded only a few years ago, and it's usage has already exploded to 100 million registered users (one-tenth of Facebook's global users). Instagram has yet to be "monetized," but given its emphasis on visual images, it's not hard to imagine that it could eventually be an effective advertising medium.


    • Apple Senior VP Phil Schiller said that Passbook alone does what most customers want and works without existing merchant payment systems.
    • With the rise of texting, instant chat and transcription apps, more people are ditching the venerable tool that once revolutionized the telephone business, displaced armies of secretaries and allowed us to eat dinner more or less in peace.

      The behavioral shift is occurring in tandem with the irreversible fading of voice calls in general, prompting more wireless carriers to offer unlimited voice minutes

    • In a must-read story, the Economist explains how cheap 3-D printers could one day let knock-off artists crank out shoes, gadgets, watches and any type of prized design. While counterfeiting is already wide-spread, it could increase dramatically with the machines:


      But while the [traditional] pirates’ labour rates and material costs may be far lower, the tools they use to make fakes are essentially the same as those used by the original manufacturers. Equipment costs alone have therefore limited the spread of the counterfeiting industry. But give every sweatshop around the world a cheap 3D printer coupled to a laser scanner, and pirated goods could well proliferate

    • It’s early days yet and, for now, the objects being replicated are dumb pieces of plastic. This means that, in the immediate future, it may only be firms like Lego or Oakley (not Apple or Porsche) that may have to worry.


      But if the “print-me-anything” devices take off as predicted, we will eventually be able to copy most things around us. When that happens,  the debates over copyright and the DMCA will look like a tea party

    • The US Defense Logistics Agency is confronting the counterfeit problem by implementing genetics-based validation
    • Contractors shall obtain the DNA marking material from Applied DNA sciences or an authorized licensee, and may contact them at
    • The DNA marking can be applied with an invisible DNA mark on the part, or the contractor’s ink utilized for part marking can be mixed with the DNA marking material. The authentication DNA used shall be unique to the contractor. Contractors will be required to retain traceability documentation that demonstrates the items provided under the contract have been marked with DNA material produced by Applied DNA Sciences or an authorized licensee, and that the DNA marking is unique to the contractor.
    • Applied DNA Sciences of Stony Brook unveiled its latest product Aug. 26, entitled Cashield.  Following up on its AZ Sure product, the new technology is designed to permanently stain cash that is stolen from ATMs or other systems that dispense money. Unlike AZ Sure, however, which only stained cash with a blue ink,
    • Applied DNA Sciences and Holliston are developing and testing DNA-coatings that essentially cannot be copied, and provide a means for customs and law enforcement
    • why did Google finally decide to pull the plug on the longstanding program? According to the official email, Google is sunsetting the prepaid program because it “recently launched the ability to use any debit or credit card in Google Wallet.
    • Following a day-long Domain Name Service server outage, web hosting provider GoDaddy is letting its competitor, VeriSign, host its DNS servers

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.