Saturday, March 30, 2013

Stories I Found Of Interest (weekly)

    • The world is currently witnessing a paradigm shift in mobility. Car companies are increasingly labelling themselves as mobility service providers, getting into new business models such as car sharing and providing on-demand solutions.
    • technological advancements lead to increasingly smart, integrated, intelligent transport networks, aimed at reducing emissions, accidents, and congestion in particular, while the automotive industry witnesses considerable growth regarding the connectivity of cars
    • In the past three decades, the number of Americans who are on disability has skyrocketed. The rise has come even as medical advances have allowed many more people to remain on the job, and new laws have banned workplace discrimination against the disabled.
    • There's no diagnosis called disability.
    • back pain, mental illness -- are among the fastest growing causes of disability.
    • Part of the reason our unemployment rates have been low, until recently, is that a lot of people who would have trouble finding jobs are on a different program."
    • Once people go onto disability, they almost never go back to work
    • Two-thirds of all kids on the program today have been diagnosed with mental or intellectual problems
    • Daytime TV in many places is full of ads from lawyers who promise to fight the government and win the disability benefits you deserve
    • Somewhere around 30 years ago, the economy started changing in some fundamental ways. There are now millions of Americans who do not have the skills or education to make it in this country.
    • The federal government spends more money each year on cash payments for disabled former workers than it does on food stamps and welfare combined; America’s two largest disability programs, including health care for disabled workers, costs taxpayers $260 billion a year
    • As of 2011, 33.8% of newly diagnosed disabled workers cited “back pain and other musculoskeletal problems” as their reason for being unable to work.  In 1961, the top reason for being disabled was “heart disease, stroke”
    • Joffe-Walt says disability has “become a de facto welfare program for people without a lot of education or job skills.”
    • his week the folks at Engadget dug up a patent around Google Glass using wireless connectivity to control connected devices in your home. The glasses could use any number of wireless methods — from RFID, to infrared, to Bluetooth to QR codes — to identify a connected device that could be manipulated, and then, presumably, to manipulate it
    • Essentially you’d just be moving the control function from the cell phone touch screen and your fingertips to the screen in front of your eye and either a facial gesture or hand movement
    • The typical accuracy of GPS when it’s performing well is around 10 meters, points out Huang. This means almost nothing when it comes to traveling down a road in a car, but 10 meters vertically in a building could mean a difference of 6 floors.
    • WiFiSLAM uses a combination of various methods to get better indoor locations. Obviously, WiFi and cell tower trilateration doesn’t work indoors. Instead, WiFi signals can be measured by any device to get an approximate location. In order for that location to be accurate, though, you have to use WiFi fingerprinting to get an idea of what the materials and construction of a particular building are going to do to WiFi signals. Enough scans in one place and you’ll have an accurate profile of a building that can be used to make a map.
    • The SLAM acronym? That stands for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping. This encompasses WiFiSLAM’s way of gathering location and mapping information without recording any data at all and pairing with more traditional methods. To do this they record ‘trajectories’ from sensors on the phone including the accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers.
    • for the first time in a decade Apple (AAPL) will report that its income this quarter was lower than the same quarter the year before
    • it's what analysts call a "tough compare" in terms of gross margins -- a measure of the efficiency with which a company turns revenue into profits.
    • An Internet sales tax is inching its way closer to being the law of the land: The U.S. Senate supported a non-binding vote of approval, 75-to-24, for a law that would allow states to collect taxes from Internet retailers. If enacted as is, it would allow states to levy taxes on some online retail purchases from businesses with over $1 million in gross receipts.
    • worth noting that Vevo, an on-demand music video site, is the top video publisher on the web behind YouTube and Facebook
    • The record companies did not yet have systems in place to reliably distribute digital music files and metadata
    • The buzz is that Apple will soon introduce an on-demand music streaming service as will Google and other major media and electronics companies
    • Apple is looking to beef up the iPhone’s indoor location capabilities by acquiring WiFiSlam.
    • Using Wi-Fi signals, WiFiSlam determines a user’s location within buildings, which has implications for shopping, advertising and social networking. According to WiFiSlam, its technology can pinpoint a smartphone with 2.5 accuracy
    • Oracle is among the world's most savvy acquirers. Its 2005 takeout of PeopleSoft was the first in a wave of financially-motivated deals focused on recurring revenue.
    • we expect the other tech giants to begin accelerating their M&A activities. Accordingly, we believe the time has come for investors to reset their sights on attractive candidates.

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

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Stories I Found Of Interest (weekly)

    • Thanks to a tiny new medical implant, doctors of the future might be just fine with that.


      A team of scientists from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne(EPFL) have developed a miniature electronic device that can be implanted under the skin to provide immediate analysis of substances found in blood.

    • NFC is available on only a few dozen phones—meaning it is in few consumer hands—and it is not on iPhone," reports "Nor is it, as far as anyone knows, on the iPhone roadmap for near-term deployment. Merchant adoption of NFC readers also has lagged, with only a handful of national retailers (and few local stores) offering the capability. Even if you have an NFC phone, there is nowhere to use it to pay." This prompted Doug Aamoth of TIME to suggest "the true power of NFC lies in its ability to unlock doors without using traditional keys
    • All of a sudden the mobile phone is about to be transformed beyond a spy in your pocket to your bank, your mortgage lender and your landlord,"
    • In a way, it's kind of a privacy tipping point, because one single device knows wherever you go, your geographic history, your social media connections and your financial behaviors,
    • half  of the Harris poll respondents said they don’t want to store sensitive information on their phone, and 40% don’t want to transmit sensitive information to a merchant’s device. One preferred solution among consumers is using a PIN or password.
    • the chatter that the new iPhone model would include fingerprint recognition technology that Apple acquired when it bought AuthenTec last year. If that turns out to be true, Apple would be able to leverage it’s growing Passbook ecosystem along with its more than 500 million iTunes account that have a credit card on file to jumpstart the mobile payments in an easy to use and secure way.
    • Odds are if Apple does introduce an iPhone model that includes fingerprint recognition technology either as a general security function, for mobile payment safety or both, others will follow suit.


      Apple is not the only company that recognizes the use of fingerprint and biometric interfaces in device security and mobile payments. Several weeks ago, 3G, 4G and LTE licensing and technology company InterDigital (IDCC) entered into a R&D collaboration agreement with BIO-key International (BKYI), a leader in fingerprint biometric identification solutions and advanced mobile credentialing and identity verification technologies.

    • the Google Reader decision is going to cause ripples down the line. The number of influencers online is not a huge number and their support of a new project can be vital to a start-up launching a new app or to an existing company with a new product to promote
    • 2013 is shaping up to be an inflection point in the smartphone space
    • But 2013 is not just a tipping point for smartphones. It’s also one for the Connected Car, a part of the machine to machine or M2M space being targeted by mobile carriers
    • it can turn the car into a 4G LTE hot spot for tablets, smartphones and other devices
    • Connecting the dots among these relationships — GM, AT&T and Apple for example — make for solid prospects for the Connected Car in the coming years, just in time as smartphone shipment grow starts to really slowdown
    • All of them see a viable music streaming and subscription service as crucial to growing their presence in an exploding mobile environment. For Google and Apple, it is critical in ensuring users remain loyal to their mobile products.
    • Now, as smartphones and tablets supplant PCs and virtual storage replaces songs on devices, mobile players from handset makers to social networks realize they must stake out a place or risk ceding control of one of the largest components of mobile device usage.
    • By analyzing Tweets about live TV, the study confirmed a relationship between Twitter and TV ratings. It also identified Twitter as one of three statistically significant variables (in addition to prior-year rating and advertising spend) to align with TV ratings
    • How well does Twitter align with TV program ratings? The recent Nielsen/SocialGuide study confirmed that increases in Twitter volume correlate to increases in TV ratings for varying age groups, revealing a stronger correlation for younger audiences.
    • The TV industry is dynamic and it was important for us to analyze multiple variables to truly understand Twitter’s impact on TV ratings,
    • The signs point to an arms race among online music services
    • Here it is: In 2012, newspapers lost $16 in print ads for every $1 earned in digital ads. And it's getting worse, according to a new report by Pew. In 2011, the ratio was just 10-to-1.
    • Since 2003, print ads have fallen from $45 billion to $19 billion. Online ads have only grown from $1.2 to $3.3 billion.
    • Who killed newspapers? The classic response is the classifieds,
    • The app will live stream ABC programming to the phones and tablets of cable and satellite subscribers, allowing those subscribers to watch “Good Morning America” on a tablet while standing in line at Starbucks, for instance, or watch “Nashville” on a smartphone while riding a bus home from work
    • With the app, ABC, a subsidiary of Disney, will become the first of the American broadcasters to provide a live Internet stream of national and local programming to people who pay for cable or satellite. The subscriber-only arrangement, sometimes called TV Everywhere in industry circles, preserves the cable business model that is crucial to the bottom lines of broadcasters, while giving subscribers more of what they seem to want — mobile access to TV shows. The arrangement could extend the reach of ads that appear on ABC as well.
    • The swelling cash reserves of Apple and a handful of other technology companies have raised the overall liquidity of corporate America to record levels, data revealed on Monday.


      Around $6 out of every $10 added to the corporate sector’s cash mountain over the past three years has come from tech companies,

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

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Stories I Found Of Interest (weekly)

    • This small group of video enthusiasts is tuning out traditional TV—and the trend is growing. This “Zero-TV” group, which makes up less than 5 percent of U.S. households, has bucked tradition by opting to get the information they need and want from non-traditional TV devices and services
    • According to Nielsen’s Fourth-Quarter 2012 Cross-Platform Report, the U.S. had more than five million Zero-TV households in 2013, up from just over 2 million in 2007
    • 5 Trends That Will Drive The Future Of Technology
    • Samsung's new Galaxy S4 is one feature that emulates some decidedly old-school technology: the bar code. Thanks to "light-based communications" technology from a company called Mobeam, the Galaxy S4 uses pulses of infrared light to essentially fool traditional scanners into thinking the light represents a barocde. While the utility of such a feature might feel limited at first, Mobeam is convinced its technology will help smartphones interact with the millions of point-of-sale systems around the country that use traditional barcode scanners. At its core, it seem Mobeam is just the latest in a long line of attempts to make smartphones useful at the cash register — with NFC-based payment systems not exactly widespread, alternate tools like Apple's Passbook and now Mobeam are getting more of a shot.
    • The real draw for Mobeam over something like Passbook is the fact that no new equipment is needed — the Galaxy S4 will be able to beam coupons, tickets, or anything else with a barcode to the estimated 165 million standard scanners around the world.
    • Plant-based vaccines, however, are developed using “virus-like particles,” which consist solely of protein and are non-infectious. They can’t spread between people, and they help produce anti-viral antibodies. To produce the particles, scientists synthesize the DNA of the flu virus, combine the flu DNA with bacteria, and then soak the plants with it. After soaking for a few minutes, the plants then start producing the flu-fighting particles. The DNA stays in the plant. The protein is then extracted and becomes the basis for a vaccine.


      The most popular plant? Tobacco, as it grows relatively fast. The U.S. is also estimated to produce a heaping 450 metric tons of tobacco per year. And the whole process of turning tobacco into vaccines only takes a matter of weeks to complete. On a large enough scale, plant-based vaccines could be conceivably produced at 100 million vaccines a month. Egg-based vaccines, though, can take months just to develop.

    • Apple and Google spend more money on patent acquisition and defense now than they do on research and development.
    • The incredible growth of the $142 billion global nutraceuticals industry   has been driven by any number of medicinal herbs over the years, and   that trend appears to be continuing in 2013
    • the biggest story in nutraceuticals this year will stem   from one of the world’s most popular medicinal herbs: Cannabis.
    • Medical marijuana is already big business. Prescription cannabis is now   available in 18 states and Washington, D.C., with 11 more states   considering legislation to legalize the drug for medical use. Currently,   the medical marijuana market in the U.S. is worth $1.7 billion, with   that figure expected to rise as more and more markets open up across the   country
    • nutraceutical companies, the changing laws represent   a huge opportunity
    • New technologies capable of extracting medically useful Cannabidoil   (CBD) from cannabis and hemp are the future of nutraceuticals,
    • Spotify has more than five million paying subscribers, proving that customers will pay rather than pirate every month for a rich library of music if it's inexpensive and available everywhere
    • The growth of ad-supported and subscription services alone simply hasn't been enough to change the fundamentals of the business.
    • Everyone wants streaming music to be cheap or free for listeners, offer every song ever recorded, be made available on every device, be consistently lucrative for the industry, and give new and established artists robust support for new music.
    • online music distribution will be controlled by a small number of corporate powerhouses that will use songs as a loss leader, the way that Wal-Mart stores once did for CDs
    • They don't care if they make money," Pakman said, "because they make a bunch of money elsewhere on music
    • The junior league of smartphone operating systems is getting more competitive. Phones from yet another contender - Tizen - will go on sale this year with a view to eventually competing with the industry leaders, Apple's iOS and Google's Android.

      For now, Tizen will compete with another newcomer, Firefox OS, as well as Microsoft's Windows Phone and a revamped BlackBerry operating system.

      Most of the impetus behind Tizen comes from cellphone carriers, which want a successful counterweight to the clout of Google and Apple. Samsung has become the world's largest maker of smartphones in large part through its embrace of Android.

      Tizen has a powerful backer in Samsung Electronics Co.

    • Over the weekend, Senator Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said that the Obama administration is encouraging growth in the food stamps program as a way to stimulate the economy
    • We spend a trillion dollars each year on federal poverty programs. That’s more than the budget for Social Security or Defense. But poverty seems only to increase. Something is wrong.
    • Drugs that could combat ageing and help people to live to 150-years-old may be available within five years, following landmark research.

      The new drugs are synthetic versions of resveratrol which is found in red wine and is believed to have an anti-ageing effect as it boosts activity of a protein called SIRT1.

      Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has been testing the medications on patients suffering with medical conditions including cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

    • The target enzyme, SIRT1, is switched on naturally by calorie restriction and exercise, but it can also be enhanced through activators.

      The most common naturally-occurring activator is resveratrol, which is found in small quantities in red wine, but synthetic activators with much stronger activity are already being developed.

    • a health advocate is asking Parliament to consider another pioneering initiative - non-addictive cigarettes. 


         Murray Laugesen, chairman of End Smoking New Zealand, said cheap tobacco with very low nicotine content could provide an alternative to smokers over normal-strength brands

    • Laugesen said very low nicotine cigarettes, currently unavailable here but sold in the United States
    • smokers will find it easier and more will successfully kick the habit. 


         Laugesen said a body of research, done in New Zealand and abroad, proved just that

    • It's one that's difficult for health people to get their head around - the idea that we should be allowing people to continue smoking, but they're already smoking the addictive cigarettes like crazy
    • He also believed lower levels of nicotine in products on the market could defer or prevent new smokers from forming a habit

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

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Stories I Found Of Interest (weekly)

    • According to the U.S. State Department, an all-time record of more than 6 million Americans are now working or studying overseas.  Of course many of those that have left the country do not believe that the U.S. economy is going to collapse, but without a doubt there are an increasing number of preppers that believe that now is the time to “escape from America” while they still can.  And certainly there are a lot of reasons why the U.S. is becoming less appealing with each passing day.  In addition to our economic problems, crime is on the rise in our cities, our liberties and freedoms are being eroded at a frightening pace, political correctness is wildly out of control, and our corrupt politicians continue to make things even worse.
    • The companies are, in effect, creating new networks for television through broadband pipes and also giving rise to new rivalries — among one another, as between Amazon and Netflix
    • But the trend may inflame cable companies’ concerns about cord-cutting by subscribers who decide there’s enough to watch online.
    • a New York court is poised to rule on whether a start-up that created a way for people to buy and sell iTunes songs is breaking copyright law. A victory for the company would mean that consumers would not need either Apple’s or Amazon’s exchange to resell their digital items. Electronic bazaars would spring up instantly
    • The technology to allow the resale of digital goods is now in place, and it will cause a dramatic upheaval,
    • The resale of e-books would send the price of new books crashing
    • Amazon’s patent envisions a book or movie or song being kept in a customer’s personalized “data store.” When an item is no longer wanted, the user could sell or trade it to another user, an action that would automatically delete the item from the first user’s store
    • The patent describes what is essentially a gigantic swap meet
    • BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Florida could be the next state to legalize marijuana for medicinal use.

      It's estimated seven out of 10 people polled would support a recent bill proposed in the State Senate

    • The explosion of the student loan bubble could lead to the next financial crisis in the United States, says a new federal report -which highlights the growing problem in these alarming new charts.
    • As of 2012, about $1 trillion was tied up in student loans – more than the total amount of credit card debt in the nation,
    • No longer does a bachelor’s degree guarantee a secure job, enough income to buy a house or the opportunity to advance in a career
    • We’re in the midst of the greatest investing boom in almost 60 years. And rest assured – this boom is not about to end anytime soon. You see, the flattening of the world continues to spawn new markets worth trillions of dollars; new customers that measure in the billions; an insatiable global demand for basic resources that’s growing exponentially ; and a technological revolution even in the most distant markets on the planet
    • The process uses a specialised 3D printer made by Stratasys that can create multi-layered materials.


      It combines a strand of standard plastic with a layer made from a "smart" material that can absorb water.


      The water acts as an energy source for the material to expand once it is printed.


      "The rigid material becomes a structure and the other layer is the force that can start bending and twisting it," said Mr Tibbits.


      "Essentially the printing is nothing new, it is about what happens after," he added.


      Such a process could in future be used to build furniture, bikes, cars and even buildings, he thinks.


      For the time being he is seeking a manufacturing partner to explore the innovation.

    • Engineering software developer Autodesk, which collaborated on the project, is looking even further into the future.


      "Imagine a scenario where you go to Ikea and buy a chair, put it in your room and it self-assembles," said Carlo Olguin, principal research scientist at the software firm.


      The 4D printing concept draws inspiration from nature which already has the ability to self-replicate.

    • "Citi basically thinks demand for Apple products has reached a peak. Incremental products will be a snooze. No new product categories.
    • U.S. consumers spent more on mobile data than on voice for the first time in 2012
    • Wireless carriers must improve network efficiency to accommodate the growing demand for data services
    • ABC is making the biggest leap: its "ABC Unified" campaign sells programs to advertisers across all platforms, from TVs to computers, tablets, and smartphones.
    • If a show's audience is measured and ads are sold in a single buy across all platforms, that creates a tremendous incentive for a network to maximize the number of platforms where its shows are available. It also makes it more likely that networks will push toward parity across those platforms
    • Google is planning to roll out a music streaming service to capitalize on the power of YouTube
    • YouTube is already one of the most heavily used music services in the world, but it hasn't yet charged users. Instead, it sells ads against its music videos; a cut goes back to the record companies. Of the ways music is consumed today, spending on subscription-based streaming ("renting" music rather than "owning" it) is a fraction of what spending on digital purchases on stores like Amazon (AMZN) or Apple's (AAPL) iTunes store can reach. Fewer people subscribe, and of those, the spending per month is generally lower
    • major music labels have found that there is money to be made via streaming music services. The Warner Music Group, which, sources say, has partnered with YouTube and Google on the new ventures,
    • Content ID is another notable partnership: a bit of backend software YouTube runs to match videos with their "audio fingerprints," then tags uploaded videos and ensures royalties go to the copyright holders.
    • The theme behind a crop of new products is technology becoming more intuitive rather than requiring people to adapt to it. Gesture control, for instance, feels more natural than operating a mouse.
    • Apple and others are pursuing intuitive 3D interfaces using, a new Java-based framework
    • claims it will “bring about the next big change in the way we interact with computers and other devices and systems
    • Things are fuzzier for some of YouTube’s biggest programming partners. Their views are also increasing. But the ad revenue YouTube generates for their stuff isn’t keeping pace
    • that’s pushing many big YouTube networks and partners to look hard for new sources of revenue.
    • “Every single person in the entertainment group complained to [YouTube content executive] Alex Carloss: ‘We’re not making enough money,’”
    • Maker Studios, another big “multichannel network,” is looking to boost revenue via alternate streams like iTunes soundtrack sales, among other strategies.
    • Many big programmers are also concentrating on selling their own “integrations” with advertisers
    • Others are working to direct traffic from YouTube to their own sites.
    • Video makers who control their own sites say they are often able to generate much bigger payouts than YouTube provides

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

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Stories I Found Of Interest (weekly)

    • Getting fewer than six hours' sleep per night deactivates genes which play a   key role in the body's constant process of self-repair and replenishment,   according to a new study.
    • The Copyright Alert System, organized by the recording and film industry, is being activated this week to target consumers using peer-to-peer software.
    • Internet users who illegally share music, movies or television shows online could soon receive warning notices from the nation's five major Internet service providers.
    • The Copyright Alert System, organized by the recording and film industry, is being activated this week to target consumers using peer-to-peer software.
    • Flanked by more than 150 advocates from around the country, Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer on Monday put forward his legislation allowing states to legalize medical marijuana in an effort to end the confusion surrounding federal pot policy.

      Blumeanuer’s legislation, which has 13 co-sponsors — including GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California — would create a framework for the FDA to eventually legalize medicinal marijuana. It would also block the feds from interfering in any of the 19 states where medical marijuana is legal.

    • On the heels of successful referendums legalizing marijuana in both Colorado and Washington state, Blumenauer and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) introduced legislation to end federal marijuana prohibition and set up a scheme to tax the drug
    • Some other Business Insider folks tried out the Logic too and here is what they had to say:


      Money Game Editor, Sam Ro said, "You get a nice thick cloud of smoke, which is great if you like blowing smoke rings. But it doesn't taste like tobacco, and you really don't get the nicotine fix."

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