The future where people would not move from their chairs, spending lives in virtual reality seems to be just around the corner. Social Media are becoming increasingly more popular and, thus, important. The number of tweets posted daily has tripled in a year. French rockers have played live on Twitter- what would Keith Richards think of that, I wonder. Facebook has over 250 m mobile users. A few weeks ago, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced plans to issue some public alerts via Facebook and Twitter. So charge your smartphones and monitor the Wall: not being on social platforms is not just passé anymore, but a token of civic responsibility.
April is by far my favourite month. It makes the world around me greener, warmer, happier, more alive and optimistic. Starting this wonderful time with a prank is just good manners- here are some played by consumer facing brands. If you do not have time to go through them all, watch the Nike one- the work of pure genius.
Hunch.com has put together an infographic shedding light on the ultimate social battle of our times. Are Mac users a more liberal, urban, slightly better educated people, whose vegetarian parties never end, or a bunch of snobby know-it-alls dying to get wasted on Chianti while watching The Office? A survey answered by almost 400,000 Mac and PC users offers some interesting insights that go beyond the trivial jeans vs. suit comparison.
Reading about successful wunderkinds, I always have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I am glad and generally optimistic about the fact that some nipper managed to invent a magic wand, on the other, their ideas are sometimes so simple- why haven’t I…? Brian Wong, the 19-year-old Digg drop out seems to have succeeded where many of his more experienced colleagues have failed – conceiving an effective form of in-game advertising.
I do not have children. However, when I think of having one, I cannot help but wonder how I would raise a child that knows nothing and trusts everything in a world full of sex, violence and obscenity. Most of my DVDs are at least 12-rated, but we could watch something family oriented in a cinema. Contemporary music… can be ignored for a decade or two. Television is reasonably regulated; books and magazines- not as graphic. And just when I thought I had it covered, I stumbled upon word clouds of American toy advertising. In short, whilst the archetypical girl is groomed to be all about love, magic and babies (odd but passable) the boy is doomed to become a cross between Patrick Bateman and Lord Megatron.
HTC has surpassed Nokia in market capitalisation. Grown over 30 times in five years, the Taiwanese smartphone maker, has beaten the unbeatable Finns, who have ruled the industry for decades. Although Gartner expects the Nokia-Microsoft alliance to control around 11% of the mobile OS market in 2012, it is hardly comparable to previous years when the might of the smart, avant-garde and reliable Vikings was undisputed.
Facebook has been quite busy this month. From the conformist strategy of opening the politically correct Chinese version of the resource to the 40% increase in ad prices- the company has arched quite a few eyebrows. At the end of the month a group of shareholders tried to offload $1 billion worth of shares, valuing the whole company at over $70 billion. Too much? Not for Facebook- the self-estimate is down from $90 billion, more than the combined value of Time Warner Inc. and News Corp., due to lack of buyer interest. Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch is trying to sell the previous Social Media hit, MySpace, for just over 17% of what the platform cost him six years ago.
Mélomanes around the world were united in mourning upon hearing the news of Spotify, the European music streaming service, halving its free service to 10 hours a month. In his blog, Michael Humphrey of Forbes takes a closer look at the successful service and its evolution in time.
At the beginning of the month, Dell announced plans to invest $1 billion this fiscal year in the company’s Cloud computing capabilities. The round sum will be spent on building technically advanced data centres and opening 22 customer centres in the next 18 months. The initiative is part of a plan to move the company beyond its PC niche by doubling its data centre business to $30 billion within 3 years.
Apple is a phenomenally reliable newsmaker. For instance, should one Google “apple lawsuit”, one would get 7,270,000 results for the last month alone; truly remarkable. Patent wars with Samsung aside, in April Apple got sued over location tracking and in-app purchases. On a more positive note, the first authorised biography of Apple’s spiritual leader, modestly entitled “iSteve: The Book of Jobs” has been announced and should be available to mortals next year. Last but not least, the iPhone 5 (or 4S- depending on the source) rumours are creating a wonderfully exciting aura. In the blind hope not to follow the fate of Kurt Westergaard, I give you “Steve Jobs and the Apple Factory”
Whilst humble earthlings like myself still watch the dark skies contemplating the is-there-anybody-out-there dilemma, the more capable members of the society are looking for ways of calling the neighbour galaxies. This beautifully crisp piece from The Economist looks into the new idea of interstellar communications.
IBM has been applauded twice this month. First and foremost, at the presentation of the commuter app that predicts traffic jams based on live information. However, the true breakthrough came on the first of the month when the company’s scientists unveiled “biodegradable nanoparticles that make antibiotics physically attracted to infected cells.” This design may become the long sought solution to the problem of drug-resistant bacteria.
This McKinsey Quarterly report offers a comprehensive insight into the world of HTML5, portraying it as a possible unifying standard able to give the mobile revolution a long awaited adrenaline shot. Including brief analysis of both the consumer and industry impact, the piece ends with a few action points recommended to senior executives. Requires free registration but certainly worth the time.
If a few months ago someone told me that a machine could print an edible cake or a functional violin, I would take it as a prank. This piece on the evolution of 3D printing opens a series of my own pop science reviews of technogenic breakthroughs quintessential to our times.
Sharp, mildly insulting and thoroughly entertaining- Morgan Spurlock delivers the greatest TED talk on brand marketing and product placement ever.
In the sea of popular TV dramas, Mad Men has always stood aside. Not as abrasive as Californication, not as brutal as Dexter, not nearly as popular as Glee. For better or worse, the melancholic musings over way too many Gimlets and Lucky Strikes, to the tunes of Shahdaroba are special. The New York Times writes expansive opuses on the show despite the reasonably modest, albeit vocal, number of its adherents. The retro-loving mac-using home noir community has got another reason to raise the transparent coni- a tad shorter and with more commercials, the show will go on.