One of the most interesting things about the tablet market these days—besides the fact that Apple basically owns it—is that in the very near future, I believe there will be two very different business models that will drive tablets into the broader consumer market.
The first model, the one Apple uses today, is very traditional. In this case, Apple makes the iPad and then sells it through its retail stores, its online store, and various third-party resellers like Best Buy and Target. If the iPad has a 4G modem in it, it is also available through carriers like AT&T and Verizon. Samsung and other Android vendors also use this business model and whenWindows 8 tablets come out, most of them will sell those tablets in a similar way.
A second business model, called subsidization, is also unfolding and is already in use by the carriers to sell cell phones. Apple, for example, sells an iPhone to the carriers for somewhere around $600 but they in turn only charge the customer $200. They basically subsidize the upfront cost of the phone and earn back this cost by tying a user to a two-year service contract to amortize their cost of the iPhone to Apple. In fact, carriers have been using this subsidization model to sell phones for a long time and when the iPad came out, some customers expected the carriers to subsidize the iPad similarly. That did not happen, however, and customers basically buy the iPad at full retail price.
Remember how graphene, the single-atom thick layer of carbon was so slick it was
going to change everything? Well it looks like silicene is here to steal the spotlight. Researchers have just made the first sheet of single-atom thick silicon.
Silicene has been a work in progress for years, but they think they’ve finally got it down now, and it represents a tremendous breakthrough. Graphene is awesome, but it’s proven a bit tricky to work it into components. Because silicene is made of silicon, which most chips are already made of, the integration process could be much simpler.
Patrick Vogt of Berlin’s Technical University in Germany, along side researchers at Aix-Marseille University in France managed to create silicene by condensing silicon vapor onto a silver plate to form a single layer of atoms. They then tested the sheet and found that it closely matched the properties silicene was theorized to exhibit. The next (challenging) step will be to grow silicene on insulating substrates so that it can be fully tested and evaluated for potential future uses in electronics. Looking forward to see what they do with this stuff. [New Scientist]
“In a given day we translate roughly as much text as you’d find in 1 million books. To put it another way: what all the professional human translators in the world produce in a year, our system translates in roughly a single day. By this estimate, most of the translation on the planet is now done by Google Translate. (We can’t speak for the galaxy; Douglas Adams’s “Babel fish” probably has us beat there.) Of course, for nuanced or mission-critical translations, nothing beats a human translator—and we believe that as machine translation encourages people to speak their own languages more and carry on more global conversations, translation experts will be more crucial than ever.”—Breaking down the language barrier—six years in - Google Translate Blog (via infoneer-pulse)
By merging data from cars’ onboard computers and drivers’ smart phones, AT&T researchers have created a system that reports on drivers’ real-time behavior and long-term driving trends—and reveals whether a particular mistake might have been caused by phone use.
In the spring of 1997, during a presentation in Paris on IBM’s new e-business strategy, the CIO of a major European retail chain mentioned that his company had just spent a lot of money remodeling their stores. He was wondering if they had done the right thing, given all this new economy talk. We were in the middle of the dot-com frenzy, and the buzz in the air was that in the Internet-based new economy, brick-and-mortar businesses, like other businesses grounded in the physical world, could not possibly compete in this fast-moving digital space and were therefore headed for extinction.
Similar questions were being raised all around us. In my local library, in whose advisory council I have been serving since those days, we were making plans to leverage the new Internet capabilities, such as introducing an online catalog and providing wireless Internet access in the library building. But we were also wondering if a library building would be needed at all in the future, given the growing digitization of books, music, videos and just about all content.
The physical world continues to be alive and well. No one is asking questions about the viability of cities, given that people can now work and shop virtually. To the contrary, urbanization is one of the biggest trends of the 21st century. According to the UN Population Division, more people now live in urban areas than in rural areas. That proportion will rise to over over 60 percent by 2030, and close to 70 percent by 2050. Over the next four decades, all the world’s population growth will take place in urban areas, in addition to the continuing migration of the rural population to cities.
Furthermore, the Web has evolved toward its Web 2.0, social networking phase. And, these social networking capabilities have reminded us that humans are inherently social. We get together, establish communities and organize into a wide variety of institutions to get things done more effectively. We like to communicate, share ideas and learn from each other.
For all of their awesome applications — from portable navigation devices, to self-driving cars, to cruise missile targeting — the American Global Positioning System and its Russian cohort GLONASS have two fundamental flaws: They don’t work indoors, and they only really operate in two dimensions.
Now, these limitations are fair enough; we’re talking about an extremely weak signal that has traveled 20,200km (12,600mi), after all. Passing through concrete and other solid obstacles is hard enough for a strong, short-range cellular signal — you can’t seriously expect a 50-watt signal traveling 12,000 miles to do the same. Detecting a GPS signal on Earth is comparable to detecting the light from a 25-watt bulb from 10,000 miles.
The situation is a little more complex when it comes to detecting a change in altitude; GPS and GLONASS can measure altitude, but generally the data is inaccurate and too low-resolution (on the order of 10-25 meters) for everyday use. Even with these limitations, though, space-based satellite navigation systems have changed almost every aspect of society, from hardware hacking to farming to cartography to finding a girlfriend.
What if we had a navigation system that worked indoors, though? What if we had an Indoor Positioning System (IPS)? Believe it or not, we’re very nearly already there.
Tsubuyaku Sensor is a new wireless device from Japanese Ubiquitous Computing Technology that monitors conditions such as temperature, humidity and radiation levels and automatically tweets the resulting data via Twitter.
If Twitter can be used to broadcast recipes, school lunch menus and fresh bread alerts — to name just a few of the many examples we’ve covered — then why not environmental data as well? That, indeed, is just what’s possible with the Tsubuyaku Sensor, a new wireless device from Japanese Ubiquitous Computing Technology that monitors conditions such as temperature, humidity and radiation levels and automatically tweets the resulting data via Twitter.
Targeted primarily at applications including food warehouses and wine cellars, the Tsubuyaku Sensor measures data including temperature, humidity or radiation levels and can then automatically broadcast it to Twitter, according to a recent TechCrunch report. Boasting a battery life of about a year when posts are made every minute, the device features a range of about 40 meters, though a repeater option is available to extend that further. Twitter broadcasts can be set for public or private viewing. Pricing is USD 560 for the base unit and USD 286 for each sensor.
Is there any end to the remote monitoring possibilities? We’re thinking not. One for inspiration!
gh this is not the first time I heard/saw something on Watson, some things really became clear only at his keynote. Namely: what is really the central paradigm that made the question answering mechanism so successful in the case of Watson? Well… query answering in Watson is not some sort of a deterministic algorithm that turns a natural language question into a query into a huge set of data. This approach does not work.”
He continues, “Instead, a question is analyzed and, based on search in various set of data, a large set of possible answers is extracted. These ‘candidate’ answers are analyzed separately along a whole series of different dimensions (geographical or temporal dimensions, or, which I found the most interesting, putting back candidate answers into the original question and search that again against various sources of information to rank them again). The result is a vector of numerical values representing the results of the analysis along those different dimensions. That ‘vector’ is summed up into one final value using a weight values for each dimension. The weights themselves are obtained through a prior training process (in this case using a number of stored Jeopardy question/answers). Finally, the answer with the highest value (I presume over a certain threshold value) is returned.”
Striiv, a smart pedometer that uses game mechanics to motivate people, is getting updated Wednesday with a new personal wireless connection that lets users encourage and compete with each other. With the new Striiv Connected social component, Striiv is moving beyond a more solo experience and utilizing relationships to help further drive users.
With the updated Striiv, users will be able to connect over a personal wireless network that works over unlicensed spectrum for a short distance. When connected, users can exchange their personal best and averages and issue activity challenges with Striiv Energy or real prizes like chores or coffee awarded to the winner. The activities can be conducted together or separately with the winner determined when the two devices are synced. Users will also get bonus points or a trophy for that day when they beat a friends average or personal best. Striiv Connected will work with existing Striiv devices though at a shorter range.
WWW inventor: HTML5 will make Minority Report look like child’s play | Silicon Republic
Open data heralds the internet’s next exciting phase
Considered one of the pioneering fathers of the internet, Berners-Lee believes we are only at the dawn of an even more exciting era - the era of open data and the semantic web, where almost every feasible physical device or piece of data will be interlinked online.
“The semantic web vision has taken a long time to come to fruition because the web is so exciting in many other ways,” says Berners-Lee, who has been driving new metadata labelling formats to make everything linkable.
This brings us on to the next big revolution - open data - and he says governments and businesses are at the forefront of opening up datasets for individuals, citizens and other businesses to make more informed decisions.The future web we are about to see will be one in which data and devices everywhere will be interlinked and metadata is central to this - effectively who owns A or B in the same way individuals own the deeds to their homes but the difference is allowing this data to be usable and open.
He cites the corner boxes you see on Wikipedia, for example, as a case of how databases and datasets can be globally linked.
The iPad may only be two years old, but it’s already begun to change many things. Reading is one of them. Work is another. It is selling like crazy, but it will be some time before most of the people you know own a tablet.
The market for this type of device may only be in its infancy, but it’s already becoming clear how it will revolutionize certain aspects our lives. Education is a huge one, as recent developments have demonstrated.
In January, Apple made good on its late CEO’s vision to enter the digital textbook market with the launch of iBooks 2 and the iBooks Author production tool for e-books. That early effort was met with mixed reactions. While some were excited to see Apple move into a space that’s ripe for disruption, others pointed out the inherent limitations in Apple’s model, which for starters, will be cost-prohibitive for many school districts.
The iPad: An Obvious Use Case for Education
In a way, Apple didn’t enter the education market. Rather, it followed its customers there. By the time iBooks 2 landed in the App Store, many people had already seen the potential the iPad has to change education. A growing number of college students have, on their own accord, made the device a mainstay of their backpacks. More importantly, several school districts wasted no time launching pilot programs to use the iPad in the classroom in a more official way.
Chicago’s public school district was one of those early adopters, having brought iPads into a number of its classrooms and even allowing students to take them home. While programs like this can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to implement, they can ultimately save districts money on textbooks, since e-books are cheaper than their printed counterparts. And of course, an iPad is considerably lighter than a bag full of textbooks.
“It’s (Quantum Computing) one of our most significant fundamental research projects now, and may be one of the largest fundamental ones,”—Quote by Bill Gallagher, Senior Manager of Quantum Computing, IBM Research. Quote found in an online Computerworld article titled “IBM’s new future: Quantum computing”
Essess: Google Street View for building energy efficiency | GreenBiz.com
A Cambridge, Mass.-based startup, Essess, has found a novel way to spot energy leaks for residential and commercial buildings: drive-by energy audits. Equipped with multi-spectral thermal cameras mounted on top of vehicles, the company captures high-speed images to build a database of energy consumption for buildings, neighborhoods and cities.
The company analyzes the thermal image data to identify energy leakages and provides energy efficiency reports for building owners without ever setting foot on the property. It’s Google Street View meets Zillow for commercial and residential energy efficiency.
Essess CEO Storm Duncan sees “big data” as the great enabler to encourage energy efficiency for businesses and homeowners. “We can capture and zero-in on energy use for buildings down to individual windows and help building owners increase efficiency and reduce costs,” says Duncan.
Similarly, another cleantech startup, Sungevity, has leveraged big data and Google Earth-like tools for remote energy assessments to identify potential residential solar installations instead of having to send technicians to customers’ homes.
“We’re entering a world that is going to be so data-mined it will be unrecognizable to us in 20 years, the way our kids laugh at us for buying records,” said one panelist, Jose Ferreira, founder of the interactive-learning company Knewton. “What that means for education is profound, because education produces vastly more data than any other data industry.”—
A proposed high voltage electrical cable running across the floor of the North Atlantic Ocean to tap Iceland’s surplus volcanic geothermal energy would become the world’s longest underwater electrical cable, if it goes ahead. The cable would be a significant step towards a pan-European super grid, which may one day tap renewable sources as far afield as Scandinavia, North Africa and the Middle East. It’s argued that such a grid would be able to widely transmit energy surpluses from active renewable sources, thereby alleviating the need for countries to use (or build) back-up fossil fuel power stations to cater for peaks in demand when more local renewable sources aren’t particularly productive.
If a European super grid comes to fruition, energy surpluses will be big business. So it’s hardly surprising that both Germany and the United Kingdom are jostling for position at the other end of the Icelandic cable, with Norway and the Netherlands also having been mooted as potential connectees. That would necessitate a cable at least 745 miles (1198 km) in length, making it easily the longest electrical cable in the world.
“The resume of the future should enable candidates to tell their story without the limitations of a plain text document. Profiles will be an interactive experience with rich content that should adapt and dynamically direct viewers to relevant skills, strengths and accomplishments based on the viewers needs.”—