Page 2 – News Debris For The Week Of April 10th
The Evolution of Technologies Over the Years
Remember Virtual Reality Markup Language (VRML) from the 1990s? I do. Well, maybe some of the younger readers won’t. VRML was way ahead of its time. But now pure VR is in vogue. What happened along the way? This article at Motherboard tells the story. “VR Was the ‘Next Big Thing’ 20 Years Ago. What’s Different Now?”
Plus, from the next article, comes a new concept (for me anyway). Diminished realty.
Augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality are three realities that exist on the reality-virtuality continuum—and they are probably the three terms you have heard again and again. However, there is a fourth reality you probably haven’t heard of—diminished reality.
For the details, see: “New opportunities for augmented reality.”
Over at 9to5Mac Zac Hall lays it out: “WWDC Wishlist: How Apple TV could improve with tvOS 11 this year.” He covers it all, and there’s more opportunity for tvOS than you may have thought about. A good read.
Human beings just aren’t designed for boring, repetitive, strenuous jobs. But we’ve pressed them into service for that kind thing for centuries because there was no other recourse. So when you see videos like this, you may think, robots will put us all out of work! But that’s also a good thing. Humans should be freed up to do much more interesting, creative things. That’s what my wife tells her college students. (Some aren’t yet listening.) Anyway, for a tasty, intriguing video (reminiscent of an ant farm), see: “Good news: the robot that takes your job might be cute enough to go viral.”
Next. We haven’t heard much about Apple’s car project. The wind seemed to go out of those sails when we learned that Apple likely wouldn’t elect to go toe-to-toe with Tesla. Instead, Apple may be looking at designing the software for an autonomous system, a system that Apple would market to other car companies. Personally, I don’t think that’s going to work out because car companies want ownership/control and transparency into this kind of software. Even so, Apple seems to be moving forward. “Apple Receives Permit From California DMV to Test Self-Driving Cars.”
We often hear about how Apple may have peaked. Claims are made that Apple is now substituting extracted revenue for innovation. In any case, companies struggle to become large and powerful—at which point a whole new set of problems arise. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, is aware of that. Here’s how he intends to avoid the fate of a big company gone wrong. “This is the Jeff Bezos playbook for preventing Amazon’s demise.” As an exercise, read the article a second time and replace “Amazon” with “Apple.” See how it works.
Finally, remember when Google was going to scan every book in print and make them all available on the Internet? The project was Google Book Search. Backchannel tells the story about lawsuits stalled Google’s early efforts. Fifteen years later, the momentum and passion is gone.
Google Book Search is amazing that way. When it started almost 15 years ago, it also seemed impossibly ambitious: An upstart tech company that had just tamed and organized the vast informational jungle of the web would now extend the reach of its search box into the offline world. By scanning millions of printed books from the libraries with which it partnered, it would import the entire body of pre-internet writing into its database.
The article goes on to explain how this project foundered a bit.
Yet the Books fight was never as central to Google’s corporate being as that kind of all-consuming conflict. And it wasn’t all a waste, either. It taught Google something valuable.
It’s easy in this age of the fiber Internet, exabyte storage, and supercomputers to conceive of grand plans. But whether a tech giant can stay with the vision, retain its key people, deal with legalities, implement the plan soundly, scale it, and extract long term value, before the technology landscape changes, is another thing altogether. This article is an excellent case in point.
Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed on page two by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the tmo headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.