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Hack’n’play: 13 March 2015

Here’s the fifth hack’n’play post for you to enjoy! Read the first hack’n’play post to learn what this is about.

The links in these posts do not in any way reflect the opinion or endorsement of Jolla, indicate any kind of future or directions of Jolla products, except to summarise more or less interesting happenings in the industry, tools or websites.

Android is ready for work
“For many, these phones have become essential tools to help us complete important work tasks like checking email, editing documents, reviewing sales pipelines and approving deals. But for the majority of workers, smartphones and tablets are underutilized in the workplace. Their business and innovation potential remain largely untapped. Today we’re announcing the Android for Work program to tap into that potential. With a group of partners, we’re helping businesses bring more devices to work by securing, managing and innovating on the Android platform.”

Lab In Berkeley Accidentally Discovers Solution To Fix Color Blindness
“Correcting color blindness wasn’t McPherson’s original experiment. “This happened almost by mistake,” he recalled. The glasses were designed as protective eyewear for doctors during surgery. But one day he wore them with a curious friend who happened to be color blind.”

Bug finding is slow in spite of many eyeballs
“The saying (also known as Linus’ law) doesn’t say that the bugs are found fast and neither does it say who finds them. My version of the law would be much more cynical, something like: “eventually, bugs are found“, emphasizing the ‘eventually’ part.”

Why do we care about Xiaomi?
“The Android smartphone business can feel like it’s a rerun of the PC business, but compressed into 5 years instead of 20 or 30. The component layer is mostly a commodity, especially below the high end, and so is the operating system layer, and manufacturers are stuck in the middle, all of them using the same basic components and the same software (Windows for PCs, Android for phones), and so unable to differentiate on much beyond than price. The result is a race to the bottom with distribution, marketing and manufacturing scale the bases of competition.”

Apple Watch Prelude
“I realize there’s little point to further Apple Watch speculation at this point — in two days, we’ll know most of the answers. But there is one good reason for last-minute speculation: this is fun. Apple tends to be such a predictable company that we often know the basic gist of what to expect before one of their media events. Not this time. The many unknowns surrounding the watch are what makes it so fun to ponder prior to next week’s event. So let’s have some fun.”

The Cost of Paying Attention
“Attention is a resource; a person has only so much of it. And yet we’ve auctioned off more and more of our public space to private commercial interests, with their constant demands on us to look at the products on display or simply absorb some bit of corporate messaging.”

The Great SIM Heist - a must read
“AMERICAN AND BRITISH spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.”. This article is a must-read for anybody who is working with anything security sensitive.

Video: castAR – Share your 3D world as it springs to life
“With castAR, you and your friends can share a Mixed Reality experience that blends a virtual world into the real world. Move around naturally as you work or play together. Register for the castAR developer program and download these demos to see for yourself.”

How LINE is turning Instagram into an ecommerce app in Thailand
“On a recent exploratory visit to Bangkok, I witnessed first-hand a consumer shopping behavior that absolutely blew my mind and underscored how the West does not have a monopoly on business model innovation. Incidentally, my secret for glimpsing generalized consumer behaviors in a foreign country is to eschew the convenience of taxis or Uber in favor of public transportation whenever I can. In this case, I observed an intriguing pattern on the trains, and then began actively querying random people about it.”

Computers Are Brain Amplifiers
“The lever, the transistor, the vacuum tube and the computer all have something in common. They’re amplifiers, they allow a relatively small change or capability in a domain to have a much larger effect.”

Amazon throws in the towel and opens a store on Alibaba
“Chinese e-commerce is getting real meta these days. Amazon.com just launched a store on Tmall, the business-to-consumer retail site run by Alibaba Group, as the Wall Street Journal recently noticed. Here’s what that looks like:”

11 Company Culture Hacks for Happy Employees and Customers
“Company culture is as top of mind and important as ever. An attractive company culture aids in hiring the best people, helps create and retain happy team members, and can even translate into happier customers and overall company growth.”

Microsoft’s Band update puts an itty bitty keyboard on your wrist
“Microsoft has been experimenting with smartwatch keyboards for Android Wear, and now the company is bringing a similar concept to its own Band hardware. In its first major update, Microsoft’s Band has become a lot more useful for Windows Phone users, thanks to a new Cortana-powered dictation mode for replying to texts and the addition of a virtual keyboard. It works like a standard QWERTY keyboard, but Microsoft is using its Word Flow software from Windows Phone to detect letters and words correctly”

Google’s new CAPTCHA security login raises ‘legitimate privacy concerns’
“But device recognition company AdTruth believes it has found evidence Google’s CAPTCHA killer is collecting far more information than mouse coordinates alone, and that it could use the security tool to inform its advertising services too. The new tool isn’t overtly labeled as a Google service, yet anyone clicking through it “consents” to be tracked by Google’s cookies, AdTruth found. And while the service is intended to do only one thing — determine whether you are a human or not — it is also able to identify a lot more information about which specific human you are.”

The Untapped $140 Trillion Innovation For Jobs Market
“It’s a popular sport nowadays, discussing if tech is going to kill or create jobs. The answer is simple if you ask me. If we care more about tasks than about people, then tech will replace people. If we care more about people than about tasks, then tech will leverage people.”

WebOS: Latest LG smartwatch comes with LTE, but shuns Android Wear
“LG has already announced the Watch Urbane, a restyled version of the G Watch R, and now it has come out with another version of the Urbane. What’s changed? It has an LTE modem built-in, so it can be used to make and receive VoLTE calls, send messages, and take advantage of the fastest data network speeds. Yes, all that on a watch.”

Spark goes cellular with the Electron
“A few years ago, small and cheap WiFi modules burst onto the scene and with that the Spark was born. It’s a tiny dev board with a TI CC3000 WiFi module, capable of turning any device into an Internet-connected device. It’s only the very beginning of the Internet of Things, yes, but an important step in the right direction. Now, Spark is unshackling itself from WiFi networks with the Spark Electron, a dev kit that comes with a cellular radio and data plan.”

Microsoft shares its vision of the future with thinner displays and cool gadgets
“Microsoft has released a new video on its work oriented account to share its vision of the future. It’s all about massive, thin displays, holograms and cool, connected gadgets. There’s even a tablet device shaped like a book.”

Gyrophone: Recognizing Speech From Gyroscope Signals
“We show that the MEMS gyroscopes found on modern smart phones are sufficiently sensitive to measure acoustic signals in the vicinity of the phone. The resulting signals contain only very low-frequency information (<200Hz). Nevertheless we show, using signal processing and machine learning, that this information is sufficient to identify speaker information and even parse speech. Since iOS and Android require no special permissions to access the gyro, our results show that apps and active web content that cannot access the microphone can nevertheless eavesdrop on speech in the vicinity of the phone.”

The truly personal computer
“THE Ood are an odd bunch. Among the more enigmatic of the aliens regularly encountered in “Doctor Who”, a television series about a traveller in time and space, they are mostly silent—though sometimes given to song—and disconcertingly squid-like. What is more, evolution has equipped them with two brains—one in their heads, the other carried around in their hand.”

The future of consumer tech is about making you forget it’s there
“Microsoft, Samsung, GoPro and others take their best guesses at the next five years of consumer electronics”

This is a battery. Yes, we’re serious
“Jenax’s battery – dubbed J.Flex, which sounds like a middlingly successful hip-hop MC – can be scrunched up, twisted, flattened and rolled up, and perhaps even folded neatly into an origami swan. Jenax designed it specfically to meet the needs of the rapidly expanding wearables market for 2015 and beyond.” See video here:

Why I’m Saying Goodbye to Apple, Google and Microsoft
“When I became a technology columnist in the mid-1990s, the public Internet was just beginning its first big surge. Back then, I advised my readers to avoid the semi-political, even religious battles that advocates of this or that technology platform seemed to enjoy. Appreciate technology, I urged, for what it is — a tool — and use what works best. So why am I typing this on a laptop running GNU/Linux, the free software operating system, not an Apple or Windows machine? And why are my phones and tablets running a privacy-enhanced offshoot of Android called Cyanogenmod, not Apple’s iOS or standard Android?”

All the feels – How a bunch of YouTubers discovered a tingling sensation nobody knew existed
“For the next 13 minutes and 41 seconds, Ally, who you are hearing right now, will talk you through a role play procedure meant to test the nerves that attach to the brain. I’ve watched the entire thing and videos like it hundreds of times, almost every day, for years. I do this because I have autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR). Only, I have no real idea what it is, and neither does anybody else. The only thing I really know about it is that until a few years ago, I thought I was the only one.”

Ikea launches wireless charging furniture range
“Ikea is to launch a range of furniture complete with inbuilt wireless charging spots in a bid to create the ultimate connected home. The range integrates subtle white charging pads into lamps for the floor and table, two desks and two bedside tables. Alternatively, the Jyssen wireless charger can be attached to any flat surface to recharge enabled smartphones, bypassing the need for unsightly cables.”

NXP and Freescale Announce $40 Billion Merger
“EINDHOVEN, The Netherlands and AUSTIN, Texas, March 2, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NXPI) and Freescale Semiconductor, Ltd. (FSL) today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which NXP will merge with Freescale in a transaction which values the combined enterprise at just over $40 billion”

Cyanogen and Qualcomm Collaborate to Raise the Bar on User Experience
“At Mobile World Congress today, Cyanogen Inc. and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, announced details of a collaboration that will provide support for the best features and UI enhancements of the Cyanogen Operating System on certain Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ processors. This will be available for the upcoming release of Qualcomm Reference Design (QRD) planned for April.”

Google quietly backs away from encrypting new Lollipop devices by default
“But we’re starting to see new Lollipop phones from Google’s partners, and they aren’t encrypted by default, contradicting Google’s previous statements. At some point between the original announcement in September of 2014 and the publication of the Android 5.0 hardware requirements in January of 2015, Google apparently decided to relax the requirement, pushing it off to some future version of Android. Here’s the timeline of events.”

Mozilla just announced flip and slider phones at a press event in 2015
“In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s 2015. Every day we’re swarmed with stories that still sound like they’re from some far-off future: self-driving cars, virtual reality, and holograms. So you can imagine my surprise when I just heard the words “flip phone” and “slider phone” alongside the word “announcement.””

 

Carsten Munk

Carsten Munk

Chief Research Engineer at Jolla. Works with all sorts of strange things to bring you future SailfishOS devices and innovation for them. Passionate about open source and transparency in development.

1 Comment

  1. > So you can imagine my surprise when I just heard the words “flip phone” and “slider phone” alongside the word “announcement.”

    I still have an old Nokia (some series) slide phone, and liked it almost as much as my company 3210, that I had to return after I quit the job I had back in 2001 :(

    Inspired from the article, I picked it out of the phone drawer, and was amazed of how small it is.

    Actually I think small phones will be revived in the not so distant future. People will be getting carpal tunnel syndrome from holding the phablets up to their ears, and we will go back to phones that fits easily in the front pocket combined with a tablet of some sort. Smartwatches? Nah, I don’t think so.

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