Google had some interesting announcements for Android TV last week at their developer conference. So even though I did a post on TV and gaming a couple of weeks back, it’s worth an update.
Jill Lepore’s harsh critique of disruption theory hit a nerve because there’s a case to be made for Clayton Christensen’s theory as oversold. Which is where the resulting debate has focused. Fair enough. But since so many others have weighed in, I want to draw attention to a neglected subtext. Why did a critique of the rather arcane theory of technological disruption get featured in a literary magazine like the New Yorker in the first place? And what light does that shine on where internet technology companies are headed? I’ll argue the response to her essay is a sign they’re headed directly towards government regulation. Perhaps heavy handed regulation. To see why let’s walk down the path from disruptive startup to internet tech regs, taking it one step at a time.
Ben Thompson’s recent piece on how Apple TV might disrupt the console gaming industry was called a “tour de force” by New York Times technology columnist Farhad Manjoo. Well said. Pause to read it now if you haven’t already. I want to build on a couple of important threads from that piece and project them into the future.
Note: Also see my updated Windows 9 version of this graphic
For some reason I’ve always visualized the debacle of Microsoft Windows 8 with smiley faces and Venn diagrams. In particular I imagined a Venn diagram showing lots of unhappy regular users surrounding a tiny sliver of happy power users. So for this post I wanted to try something a bit more whimsical than usual by creating a series of panels leading up that image, plus a few going beyond it. Enjoy!
Over the decades I’ve used many different software development methodologies. So I enjoyed it when the excellent Accidental Tech Podcast had a couple of recent episodes (#55, #56) touching on this topic. My takeaway from their discussion was what works depends on the people, culture and project at hand. So most teams use an ad hoc mix of practices. Totally agree. But when Marco Arment (if I recall) criticized story points and some methodologies as process overkill, I couldn’t help but want to defend what these methodologies have in common. Namely, they all attempt to manage system complexity in light of human psychology. Understanding this commonality makes it easier to switch between approaches. Plus helps you avoid falling into the trap of believing any particular approach is a silver bullet.
Twitter is rolling out a new look for people’s profile page. The main complaint I saw in my twitter feed was it looks way too much like Facebook. True enough. Rather than copying Facebook’s old school website, I think twitter might be better served copying Facebook’s conglomerate approach. In particular by creating a second app for casual users along the lines of Facebook Paper.
Last year I argued voice interaction would become the “God particle” of mobile. And in 2012 that voice was a natural overlay to the phone/tablet touch interface, much as the graphical interface was a natural overlay to the command line. So a true believer. It’s worth taking a fresh look at voice interaction as wearables (fitness bands, smart watches, health monitor pendants, clip ons) come into the picture. How will voice interaction work with wearables? Who wins? Who loses?
Computers beating humans at chess is old news. But that’s precisely why it’s worth reviewing. Solved problems sometimes hold the best lessons. And the numerical chess rating system makes it particularly useful in quantifying some common assertions about the progress of technology.
This is part 2 of a two part series on Bitcoin. Part 1 here.
Just before the MtGox Bitcoin exchange went bankrupt I posted that “Bitcoin is a far better payment system than currency. And that’s just fine.” A lot has happened since. Not just the MtGox collapse, but also the contested Newsweek story claiming Dorian Nakamoto is the founder of Bitcoin. The reaction to these events has become a Bitcoin Rorschach test. Those who view Bitcoin as a flawed replacement for traditional currency doubled down on their hate. Those who view Bitcoin as a payments system, powered by a solution to the Byzantine Generals problem, doubled down on their love. While I’m in the Payments/Byzantine Generals camp, the currency camp has good points. So consider this part two of a series on Bitcoin. As such I’ll jump right in. If you need more background jump to links at bottom.