1. Since its public debut in February, Slack has been growing at a rate of 5 to 10 percent a week and now has more than 120,000 daily users. Fully 38,000 people from 2000 different organizations pay for the full-featured version of the service. It has so far pocketed $1.5 million in revenue. If just those subscribers keep paying, Slack would pull in $3.5 million a year. But it is adding so many subscribers so fast, that the annual billing projections are growing by $1 million every six weeks. And people do tend to stick around at an astonishing rate: 93 percent of people who try Slack keep using it.
     
  2. growing potential of this anti-wearables approach of invisibly embedding sensors into objects with which humans interact.

    So instead of having our bodies cluttered with electronic bangles that continuously quantify our existence, there’s an opportunity for more targeted applications of sensor technology, based on locating it in proximity to us — within objects we use, handle and interact with for specific purposes

     
  3. image: Download

    (via xkcd: Universal Converter Box)
     
  4. (via xkcd: Loop)
     
  5. 11:27

    Notes: 1

    Tags: predictionshistory

    This explains why prophecy in 1929 is bound to be different from prophecy in 1879. We don’t look into our hearts or read old books or go into trances, to prophesy, nowadays. We observe what is being done, and push the idea further. In the case of science, this is a little dull: you simply say, “More electricity! More radium! More atoms!” You can’t go wrong
     
  6. 11:26

    Tags: history

    the Hartford Woman’s Friday Club, who in 1878 decided that “electricity was too uncertain and dangerous to be put to any practical use
     
  7. For decades we fought to try to get technology adopted in classrooms,” says Doerr. “While no one was looking, it walked into the classroom in the pockets of all the kids.
     
  8. ATAP has emerged as something of a counterpart to Google X… ATAP’s projects are more narrowly focused on mobile, but they, too, could easily land a leading role in a sci-fi movie script. There’s a digital tattoo that you can paste onto your forearm and use to unlock your smartphone. There’s Ara, a project to reinvent the smartphone so that it can be assembled on the fly to a customer’s specs. It would give users the ability to choose hardware components to fit their needs—a camera, sensor, battery, or, say, an oximeter that measures pulse rates and blood oxygen levels—just as they choose apps. There’s Tango, a prototype tablet that can see the world around itself in 3-D to map the inside of your home, for instance, or help a blind person navigate. The most whimsical—or perhaps Googley—ATAP project is Spotlight Stories, an exploration of how smartphones can help rewrite the rules of animation and storytelling.
     
  9. Eventually, swarming robots could even lead to what’s called programmable matter. Imagine thousands of tiny robots forming whatever three-dimensional structure you want, whether it’s a hammer or a cell phone—a kind of 3-D printing that works like programmable, self-molding clay. … It could assume the shape of a snake to slither across sand, form legs to crawl over rock, or even a wheel to roll up and down a hill. … And, these collective robots would be easily fixed, since ideally every one of the tiny robots would be cheap and replaceable.
     
  10. the automobile, also known as “the machine that changed the world.” Cars succeeded through the widespread construction of highways and gas stations. Those things created a global supply chain of steel plants and refineries. Seemingly unrelated things, including suburbs, fast food and drive-time talk radio, arose in the success
     
  11. General Electric plans to announce Monday that it has created a “data lake” method of analyzing sensor information from industrial machinery in places like railroads, airlines, hospitals and utilities. G.E. has been putting sensors on everything it can for a couple of years, and now it is out to read all that information quickly.

    The company, working with an outfit called Pivotal, said that in the last three months it has looked at information from 3.4 million miles of flights by 24 airlines using G.E. jet engines. G.E. said it figured out things like possible defects 2,000 times as fast as it could before.

     
  12. image: Download

    (From September 2014 edition of Prospect magazine)

    (From September 2014 edition of Prospect magazine)

     
  13. Breakthroughs in the nascent field of soft robotics, in which steel skeletons and power-hungry motors make way for textiles, are beginning to move from the laboratory to the startup world. Imagine an octopuslike robot that can squirm through rubble at a disaster site but has the strength to pull bricks off an injured person. Or a machine that can safely place an elderly person in bed… “Soft robotics has the potential to influence all kinds of robotic and machine design,” says Gerald Van Hoy, an analyst at market research firm Gartner. “It’s a key development in the evolution of robotics.”
     
  14. Nobel laureate François Jacob described evolution as a tinkerer, not an engineer. Engineers know where they’re going—they have an aim, a plan. Tinkerers are just fastening parts together, sticking this bit onto that in an ongoing exploration of functional possibilities, with no goal in mind
     
  15. The problem with technological evolution is that it is under our control and, unfortunately, we don’t always make the best decisions