Even though it’s only April, it’s already clear 2015 will be looked back on as the year cord cutting (replacing cable TV with internet streaming) started going mainstream. HBO is finally allowing non-cable customers to stream HBO content without requiring a cable subscription. Apple is expected to launch a TV streaming service later this year. Existing internet streaming… Continue reading Cord Cutting: You know it’s all about UX, ’bout UX. No savings.
I’m a sucker for year-end lists and predictions. So here’s 5 for 2015 that I’ll scorecard next December.
I’ve always liked year-end lists and predictions. They help highlight where we’ve been, and where we might be going. That said, I consider tech predictions as fundamentally problematic, and not to be taken too seriously. In that spirit, I’m grading my predictions from last year.
This week CVS and Rite-Aid turned off Apple’s mobile phone payment system in their stores. Apparently this was because of contractual obligations to support a yet to be released mobile payments competitor called CurrentC, created by a consortium led by Walmart. The reaction to CurrentC from tech blogs and twitter has been brutal.
Update: Stephen Ballot pointed out on twitter this post should refer to “user input method” rather than “user interface”. Great point. With this clarification I’ll leave the rest of the post as originally published. Thanks for reading. If you analyze computing eras by circuit type you might get: vacuum tubes, transistors, ICs, microprocessors. By architecture: mainframes, minicomputers, microcomputers. By networking: ethernet, TCP/IP. That’s… Continue reading There’s a lot to be said for analyzing tech eras by user interface: Gaming, Oculus, Apple Watch.
Identification using fingerprints dates to the 1890’s. But automated commercial biometric identification is much more recent. Some dates: automated fingerprint recognition (1969), hand geometry (1974), iris (1995), face (2000), vascular (2000). That last one is vein pattern recognition, typically done using IR sensors on the back of the hand. Continuing the trend, IBM put a fingerprint reader in… Continue reading Apple is taking biometrics mainstream. Watch out as software eats identity and payments.
Celebrity nude photos pilfered from iPhone accounts. Ferguson. Body cameras. Deemed the surveillance society or the transparent society, the rise of camera surveillance seems unstoppable. The parallel I’d like to draw is to the rise of equality, as observed by Alexis de Tocqueville in his 1835 classic Democracy in America. From Tocqueville’s introduction:
Everyone loves a sure thing. And for Wall Street a sure thing is a monopoly. I’ve written about this before, e.g., The stock market blindly lusts after exploitative monopolies. But the siren call of monopoly is an evergreen topic. Especially as software eats the world, and natural monopolies become more common. So it’s worth a quick revisit.
One angle of attack on Clayton Christensen’s disruption theory is that it’s often stretched beyond it’s range of applicability, to the point of becoming unfalsifiable. For example, Benedict Evans tweeted: “‘Disruption’ Christensen reminds me a little of Marxist historians. Over-enamoured of the One True Theory, tempted to make the facts fit it.” And more recently: “Popper’s notes… Continue reading Disruption theory’s ultimate ironic success would be falsifying itself. Plus Newton, Popper and Darwin duke it out.
Long time Microsoft analyst Mary Jo Foley says the next release of Microsoft’s Windows operating system will “try to undo the usability mistakes made with Windows 8.” The release, currently code named “Threshold”, is likely to come out in Spring 2015 as Windows 9. As you’re undoubtedly aware, Windows 8 has a hybrid user interface that switches back and… Continue reading Windows 9 explained with smiley faces and Venn diagrams. An emoji update to my Win8 post.