This is my dumping ground for quotes and other stuff relating to the wonderful world of digital & communications.
When the centers opened in the 1990s as quaintly termed “Internet hotels,” the tenants paid for space to plug in their servers with a proviso that electricity would be available. As computing power has soared, so has the need for power, turning that relationship on its head: electrical capacity is often the central element of lease agreements, and space is secondary.
A result, an examination shows, is that the industry has evolved from a purveyor of space to an energy broker — making tremendous profits by reselling access to electrical power, and in some cases raising questions of whether the industry has become a kind of wildcat power utility
the Royal Shakespeare Company will present A Midsummer Night’s Dream to a global audience over three days via the magic of the internet…. the project, called Midsummer Night’s Dreaming… will unfold in real time. The production will use a number of online formats, from live-streaming to written blogs, all shared through the social network Google+ over the Midsummer weekend, from 21 June.
One million songs were downloaded in the store’s first week, 25 million by the end of 2003, and one billion by February of 2006. iPod sales responded in kind, jumping from under one million in 2003 to over four million in 2004 to a staggering 22.5 million in 2005. By the time iPod sales reached their peak at nearly 55 million in 2008, the iTunes Store had supplanted Best Buy as the number one music retailer in the US. Less than two years later, in February of 2010, iTunes became the number one music retailer on the planet
For more than thirty years, computers have mostly just been about tasks, and they had to be–they were too expensive and clunky and hard to use, so you wouldn’t really want to use them for anything else. But the modern computing device has a very different place in our lives. It’s not just for productivity and business, although it’s great for that too. It’s for making us more connected, more social, more aware.
Home, by putting people first, and then apps–by just flipping the order–is one of many small but meaningful changes in our relationship with technology over time.
It is easy to write off Grindr as a hookup application… But the company, which is approaching its fourth anniversary, has amassed more than five million users who spend on average 90 minutes each day using the application.
Today, Google is arguably one of the most influential nonstate actors in international affairs… It tracks the global arms trade, spends millions creating crisis-alert tools to inform the public about looming natural disasters, monitors the spread of the flu, and acts as a global censor to protect American interests abroad. Google has even intervened into land disputes, one of the most fraught and universal security issues facing states today, siding with an indigenous group in the Brazilian Amazon to help the tribe document and post evidence about intrusions on its land through Google Earth.
In a new form of digital statecraft, Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt has traveled to North Korea against State Department wishes.
The group who chooses to turn Facebook off permanently is relatively small, but there’s a larger set of people who will deactivate their account for a day or two because they want to focus and study for a test—it’s the equivalent of locking yourself in the library. It’s actually a very popular feature
when you unlock your phone, you’re presented with the “home screen”—the interface that shows off all your apps. If you install Facebook Home, both those screens will immediately be replaced by Facebook’s new interface. After that, every time you turn on your phone you’ll see a feed of photos and updates from your friends. You can flip through the pictures, Like them, and even comment on things without ever unlocking your device. To get to your apps, you’ve got to tap a little bubble to bring up a new menu. Facebook Home inserts itself between you and every non-Facebook thing you might want to do with your phone. The effect is one of parasitic invasion: In the past, your Android phone did everything, including Facebook. Now it’s a Facebook machine first.
Worldwide crowdfunding volumes reached $2.66 billion in 2012, up from $1.47 billion the previous year… North America accounts for the bulk of activity, with $1.6 billion raised there last year
G.E. announced a partnership with Quirky, a New York-based start-up that is a kind of social network for inventors, helping turn vague ideas into marketable items, manufacturing them, and distributing them through stores like Best Buy and Target. G.E. is licensing hundreds of its patents to the company’s community and working directly to help identify particularly promising consumer uses of these patents.
About 1,500 cities, including Chicago and, last year, New York, have also enlisted the public in setting budgeting priorities. In 2012 around a million citizens took part in the annual budgeting process in Rio Grande do Sul, the Brazilian state which also hosted the first such event, in the town of Porto Alegre, in 1989. In 2011 the state governor collected 1,300 ideas for improving local health care, and then let citizens vote for their 50 favourites; 120,000 people took part. The voting software presented ideas in pairs; users could pick the one they preferred.
What does it mean that Google really is trying to build the Star Trek computer? I take it as a cue to stop thinking about Google as a “search engine.” That term conjures a staid image: a small box on a page in which you type keywords. A search engine has several key problems. First, most of the time it doesn’t give you an answer—it gives you links to an answer. Second, it doesn’t understand natural language; when you search, you’ve got to adopt the search engine’s curious, keyword-laden patois. Third, and perhaps most importantly, a search engine needs for you to ask it questions—it doesn’t pipe in with information when you need it, without your having to ask.
The Star Trek computer worked completely differently. It understood language and was conversational, it gave you answers instead of references to answers, and it anticipated your needs. “It was the perfect search engine,” Singhal said. “You could ask it a question and it would tell you exactly the right answer, one right answer—and sometimes it would tell you things you needed to know in advance, before you could ask it.
European buyers of the Ford Focus, a mid-sized car, can now leave it to drive itself and maintain a safe distance in steady traffic. The car can measure a parking space and steer itself into it. It reads road signs and admonishes the driver if he breaks the speed limit. Such gadgetry also increasingly makes decisions on the driver’s behalf and overrules him in an emergency, for instance, braking to avoid a crash.