Friday, November 29, 2013
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
This is America! Wait, what? (Confusing to Europeans)
OK, it's not really "confusing" to Europeans, but it is funny how many people are taught that "The Americas" is one continent. Oh, and some people are bugged by the "arrogance" that Americans have for being the only people to call themselves "American" when there is a whole bunch of other countries here too.
Tuesday Two: Tracking balls
The aptly name Bounce Imaging Explorer is a throwable camera that allows you to see around corners simply by rolling or throwing it into the area. Great for cops, firefighters, and military.
You can track yourself, your kids, your phone and your car. Now you track your luggage with Trakdot. This device can send text messages, emails or updates to an app. This allows you to know where luggage is, even if the airline doesn't.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Who needs privacy?
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Yahoo's Blunder with unnecessary changes to their services is well explained on slashdot.org
If you have no userbase, the Agile concept of ship (garbage) early and ship (garbage) often even before you really have an MVP actually makes some sense. If you have a 6-month runway of capital before you go belly-up and start over (oh, I'm sorry, "pivot"), there's no point in wasting another month to get it right.
But if you already have a userbase, the developer-centric attitude of leaving what, to users, is core functionality in the backlog while you release half-assed stuff that merely shows off how good you are with AJAX, or how quickly your UX people can change the design from one week to the next, doesn't work. It's bad for your customer base, it alienates them, and it eventually drives them to your competitors.
Senseless Sunday: Mort fog tail
- Micromort is the unit of measure assigned to determining the risk of mortality in terms of one-in-a-million chance of dying.
- The invention of the toothbrush has no well defined origin, but the first bristle toothbrush has been discovered in China from the Tang Dynasty (circa A.D. 619–907). It used hog bristle. Not quite the same as brushing your teeth with bacon flavored toothpaste, but close.
- A cubic mile of fog is made up of 56,000 gallons of water.
- The word coward original comes from Latin word couda, meaning "tail".
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Monday, November 04, 2013
Stupid press and their stupid ways (Facebook haters)
Vine is not used instead of Facebook. Vine is used instead of Youtube. It's a video app.
Snapchat is only being used for sending sexy videos that cannot be stored. Again, not something that was ever really Facebook's thing. Facebook might be losing some use to Snapchat, but I don't think it's much. Youtube is losing more than Facebook.
Ask.fm is really competition for Reddit and Yahoo! Answers rather than Facebook. Maybe Reddit is stealing time away from Facebook, but ultimately, even these individuals end up on Facebook for social networking (even as they pretend to hate it). Reddit doesn't have a strong social interaction and is mostly just strangers posting for strangers.
What about Instagram? People use Instagram instead of older services like Flickr and Photobucket. It's a photo app. There is a stronger social aspect, but photos aren't really a replacement for communicating on Facebook. It's more like one-way bragging, which ultimately doesn't promote long and engaging interaction. When people respond to someone else's brags, they are trying to make themselves relative in the context of the braggartry, and that's what tends to happen on Facebook. That's something that just isn't possible on Instagram.
You know what kids are using instead of Facebook? Nothing, ...kinda. They are using text messaging. Texting is why Facebook is seeing a small decline in usage in the younger demographics. Aggressive use of texting is temporary for people, though. Textings doesn't grow as your network grows. There's a certain point where texting becomes intrusive. When that happens, people move their social networking to a more broad service. When they do, that service still tends to be Facebook.
I'm not a Facebook pumper. I can live with or without it. I do know it is the most convenient service right now. There is just something about it that makes it more usable than Google+. Anyone that thinks that Facebook will go the way of Myspace and Friendster just isn't paying attention or only seeing what they want to see. Until something that is actually better comes around, Facebook isn't going to die from a supposed mass migration of its user base.
There is merit to all the services mentioned above. Some services appeal to certain people more than others. Facebook's success is that it is a generalist that covers all the bases.
Friday, November 01, 2013
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Amazon.com's double-whammy for Massachusetts comes in one more day (Nov 1)
Whammy #1Despite the illegality of applying a state tax (of any kind) to an interstate purchase (in direct violation of U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause found at Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3), Amazon.com has capitulated to Massachusetts' harassment. As of November 1, 2013, Amazon.com will begin collecting the state's sales tax on purchases sold by Amazon.com. This does not include third party vendors which sell their product through Amazon.com's website, who are responsible to handle their own taxation (if any).
The problem I have with this is that is really is illegal. Until such a time that Congress actually passes a law granting states the authority to apply their intrastate taxes to interstate sales, these states are in willful violation of our Constitution. There are exceptions this that have been allowed by Federal Courts, but Amazon.com (nor most online retailers) does not have a business that operates in such as way as to fall under these exceptions. Besides that, there are ambiguities that Congress needs to resolve. Allowing taxation of purchases that do not originate within the state may be an open door for states to outright tax purchases that have no origin or destination within their own territory, but are rather just passing through.
There are a lot of nonsensical justifications for taxation of interstate sales, and there are a lot of good reasons to not allow such taxation. I would go into detail here as to why, but I've actually covered this pretty well in a previous article about California's similar attempts to harass Amazon.com and other online retailers.