Dallas Redux…

Dallas Redux
Dallas Redux

We once used film cameras, drove manual transmission cars and read paper books. Ah the old days...

For those old enough to remember the Dallas TV series and the year the writers could not figure out how to end the season so they just made a “dream” sequence washing away the meaning of the entire season and pissing off the entire series viewership because it was if they wasted their time. This alone was interesting as this in the end as, hey Dallas was fictional.  So why where so many people upset when they were hood winked by the writers as isn’t this what fiction is about [make believe]?  However that isn’t what we are here to wax about  as it’s about what happened in 2007 around  Google’s legal dispute with a coalition of authors and publishers over Google Books which was put on the shelf while the parties hashed out a settlement agreement which was later announced in 2008.  However the settlement seemed to be anything but settled as  it attracted  a massive backlash which convinced Judge Denny Chin to reject the settlement earlier this year.

So here we sit after three years of pretending to work together to try and get the settlement approved, all parties are now back in courts and guess what?  Yes you won’t be surprised to know at each others’ throats as that’s why we pay lawyers right? However yet again, we aren’t here today to wax Family Feud style over this basic nonsense which this represents, however to discuss what it means to create “intellectual property” and release it into the wilds of the world if you will.

As at the heart of this is the fact Google scanned books (which they believed where copyright orphaned) and made the contents available on the internet.  As the one thing you will note that I’ve stayed away from is the commercially of this as Google didn’t place a price on this by asking for money, however they are in the advertizing business and need content to drive visitors and one could see how this could be win/win as there is a problem out there that people are refusing to see.

This problem is that the printed book is dead done and over and the generations coming up will not know how to use them.  Laugh will you, feel free to however set your 16 year old behind the wheel of a manual gearshift car [if you live in the US] and bet dollars to donuts you get an interesting stare.  Second is hand them a roll of film and ask them to do something with it.  Least I also need to point you to the viral you-tube video of the young girl frustrated with the printed magazine as she tried to swipe its page to no avail.

It’s here in a world of unlimited search now powered by things such as Siri which knows better than me, that my two-year old grandson will never know what that funny section [index] in the back of what was those wasteful single use devices which cost the life of many life-giving trees just to end up in a landfill.  So the question begets us as do we allow many lifetimes of information to simply lay waste because of our jurisprudence, or is information really free…

3.4 Billion…

Images flow as if grains of sand through our fingers as we attempt to steal a moment in time.

While there are by some estimates (note I use the term “estimates” as rest assured no one has undertaken a formal head count) over 7 billion people on earth so it’s not this.  However what “this” is, is the number of pictures uploaded to Google+ in only its first 100 days of operation.  It also goes without saying that this is an amazing number even compared to the a fore mentioned 7 billion [people] as it would (by stealing a bit of statistical liberty) mean that half of the worlds populous have taken then uploaded a picture to Google+.

The question is what does all this mean anthropologically as one could only guess how many “images” of the past exist if we were to add up all the photo sites, cloud storage and so on.  However a key clue is the word “past” as an image is the closest thing we have to a time machine, as in the fraction of a second used to capture those fleeting rays of light, we are looking at the past.  As what was “now” has just become “then” as we look backwards to what once was yet is no longer.

As we human animals tend to yearn for the ability to hold onto time as it slips through our fingers like sands passing in an hour glass.  As unlike other species, we are the only one to realize an important fact in that the grains of sand as they are pulled downward by gravity are in fact finite in nature.

In turn as the grains fall one by one, we have also the urge to “share” our time as well as to assume a bystander role in others moments.  As when we indulge in the photographs of others, we are stealing our way into their “moments” of time in a voyeuristic way.

As one also has to wonder just as with the growth of the world’s population is crowding out the natural resources, will the photograph (including video which is nothing more than a bunch of still images sown together)  will also “crowd” out the digital landscape? As for each picture, there must be somewhere to store it as think about it back in the day (for those old enough to remember the “film” days) of the shoe box under grand mamma’s bed stuffed with aging photographs of uncle George (who she never liked) and Aunt Rose?

As how big would the box have to be to hold 3.4 billion photographs and growing?  Also what is the value to hold that moment in time, as with everything there is a cost be it an actual  one of paying a regular fee or implied as in “eyeball” time (ad sponsored).  As we find cameras springing up in more and more places (I think my new toaster even has one) how many of these can we hold on to before we are buried alive in our memories…

Google Gives Thumbs Down to the Sun…

Fact, fiction, future or just plain folly?

In the past the venerable search engine giant Google has been known to put its money where  its mouth was with a significant financial commitment to efficiency and renewable energy.  Here in what was referred to  as it’s  “RE < C” initiative it invested in  various forms of wind power projects and US’s geothermal resources.  Yet with an itch to be a self innovator, it took part of the RE < C work in house as a Google initiative.  Yet it seems that as they cut back, wait the giant Google now cutting back?  Yes it seems reality has set in and they can’t operate on love after all and hey Microsoft makes more off Android then they do.  However as part of its claimed general cutbacks, the company has announced that all internal renewable energy work will stop.  Now in fairness it also did point out that outside investments will continue yet didn’t state at what levels.

As while Google’s intent in this arena  were probably well thought out when  they launched the program, it appears they might have ended up betting on the wrong technology in what some consider a fast moving and dynamic  market if you will. As their biggest bet was that concentrated solar power (do you recall the movie Sahara) would end up being the top dog in the renewable energy arena, and therefore it should be a key focus area for investment.

To build upon this concept they took to working on heliostats which allow mirrors to track the sun, along with the development of a solar-driven hot air turbine engine. In short neither of these tracks saw much sun light (pun intended) .  It also appears as if a number of renewable energy companies had already achieved a reasonable level of success of extracting savings as Google was quoted as saying “Our cost analysis projected that our heliostat field would be only modestly less expensive than previous approaches,” Google concluded.

In addition it appears that the entire renewably energy field seems has moved beyond the need for a solar driven turbine engine too. As photovoltaic systems have now dropped considerably in price at a clip faster than most had figured would happen, thus making their economics far more attractive over concentrated solar.  With this said , Google is sensing the light is dimming on concentrated solar with a quick shift toward technologies which can continue releasing electricity well after the sun has set, which are based upon designs which incorporate converting electricity into heat for storage in molten salt.

Yet my point here is not so much to pick on Google as I like them in a way, however as with all iconoclastic companies, reality one day does set in and here it seems two fold.  The first being cut backs and assuredly the second and just speculation on my part is at least business casual dress (save for Fridays).  Yet second and more importantly this non-sense about renewable energy being a savor both economically and environmentally as neither sorry to say is a reality.

Keep in mind that the laws of physics clearly state there isn’t a free lunch or perpetual motion would be a reality so what makes people think that all this renewable nonsense is anything but?  Now don’t get me wrong, there are concepts in the renewable field (such as photovoltaic) which make sense because their application is of value and the economy of the idea isn’t based solely upon “concept” as in the Google example.  So as Anne was fond of saying “The Sun will come up tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar”…

Google Gives Thumbs Down to the Sun…

Fact, fiction, future or just plain folly?

In the past the venerable search engine giant Google has been known to put its money where  its mouth was with a significant financial commitment to efficiency and renewable energy.  Here in what was referred to  as it’s  “RE < C” initiative it invested in  various forms of wind power projects and US’s geothermal resources.  Yet with an itch to be a self innovator, it took part of the RE < C work in house as a Google initiative.  Yet it seems that as they cut back, wait the giant Google now cutting back?  Yes it seems reality has set in and they can’t operate on love after all and hey Microsoft makes more off Android then they do.  However as part of its claimed general cutbacks, the company has announced that all internal renewable energy work will stop.  Now in fairness it also did point out that outside investments will continue yet didn’t state at what levels.

As while Google’s intent in this arena  were probably well thought out when  they launched the program, it appears they might have ended up betting on the wrong technology in what some consider a fast moving and dynamic  market if you will. As their biggest bet was that concentrated solar power (do you recall the movie Sahara) would end up being the top dog in the renewable energy arena, and therefore it should be a key focus area for investment.

To build upon this concept they took to working on heliostats which allow mirrors to track the sun, along with the development of a solar-driven hot air turbine engine. In short neither of these tracks saw much sun light (pun intended) .  It also appears as if a number of renewable energy companies had already achieved a reasonable level of success of extracting savings as Google was quoted as saying “Our cost analysis projected that our heliostat field would be only modestly less expensive than previous approaches,” Google concluded.

In addition it appears that the entire renewably energy field seems has moved beyond the need for a solar driven turbine engine too. As photovoltaic systems have now dropped considerably in price at a clip faster than most had figured would happen, thus making their economics far more attractive over concentrated solar.  With this said , Google is sensing the light is dimming on concentrated solar with a quick shift toward technologies which can continue releasing electricity well after the sun has set, which are based upon designs which incorporate converting electricity into heat for storage in molten salt.

Yet my point here is not so much to pick on Google as I like them in a way, however as with all iconoclastic companies, reality one day does set in and here it seems two fold.  The first being cut backs and assuredly the second and just speculation on my part is at least business casual dress (save for Fridays).  Yet second and more importantly this non-sense about renewable energy being a savor both economically and environmentally as neither sorry to say is a reality.

Keep in mind that the laws of physics clearly state there isn’t a free lunch or perpetual motion would be a reality so what makes people think that all this renewable nonsense is anything but?  Now don’t get me wrong, there are concepts in the renewable field (such as photovoltaic) which make sense because their application is of value and the economy of the idea isn’t based solely upon “concept” as in the Google example.  So as Anne was fond of saying “The Sun will come up tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar”…

1984 Has Come, But Not Gone…

America, home of the free and snooped upon...

As for the last two years, search giant Google has released comprehensive reports twice yearly regarding the frequency of take-down requests along with government data requests it has received in the various countries around the world. Here the latest data, released this week provides us with insight to the first half of 2011.  Well the results were surprising as the statistics showed that the United States continues to lead the rest of the world in spying on Google users.

According to the released documents, US law enforcement agencies made 5,950 separate requests for user data from 11,057 separate user accounts. In addition, also Google reported that it complied with the these requests 93 percent of the time and was almost a 40 percent increase in the number of requests compared to the same period one year earlier. For comparison on a per capita basis, France weighed in with a mere 1,300 request followed up by the United Kingdom with only 1,273.  Outside of these three, other nations remained far behind, however who was really left?  China?

For takedowns, both Brazil and Germany were the leaders primarily due to the popularity of Orkut in Brazil, were Google has addressed 224 requests to “takedown” 689 various items from Google services in Brazil. Whereas in Germany they received a total of 125 request’s for the removal of 2,405 various items.  Interestingly enough 1,585 were related to allegedly defamatory search results, which leads one to wonder about the freedom of speech in the farther land.

However what was of greater interest is this gives us a peek into how Google deals with censorious issues around the globe. For example here at home in the United States, Google received many requests from [unnamed] law enforcement agencies to remove videos which allegedly depicted police brutality taking place or the defamation of police officers. Here Google claims that it declined these requests.

Yet on the down side in India, Google was pressured to remove YouTube videos which “displayed protests against social leaders or used offensive language in reference to religious leaders.” Per Google, they declined to remove the majority of the videos, however agreed to blocked access within India based upon cases where local law requires it.

One of the countries which I found interesting was Japan as being a nation of 127 million, Google fielded only a microscopic 75 user data requests and no takedown requests.  However what drives this difference is Google just not as popular in the land of the rising sun, or does it simply reflect legal and cultural differences between Japan and Western nations…

Paperback Pirating…

One Mans Book is another Mans Information and it wishes to be free...

While there is a planned settlement between Google and the book publishers has been placed on indefinite hold, another legal battle by proxy has started in its place. As Google has partnered with many libraries at US universities in order to gain access to various works it wishes to digitize. However, several groups representing book “authors” have now filed suit against those universities, attempting to block both the act of digital lending and the orphaned Google project.

Here the suit is being brought by the Authors’ Guild, along with its equivalents in Australia, Quebec, and the UK, in addition to a large group of individual authors.  In its sites are some major US universities, including Michigan, the University of California system, and Cornell to name a few. As it seems these libraries partnered with Google to get their book digitization programs up and running, where in return, Google has provided them with digital copies of the works.

Here is the interesting part as the suit seeks to block two separate efforts. In the first case, the universities in question have created a pooled digital archive of the contents of their libraries, maintained by the Hathitrust.  From this trust, no one contests the idea that these works remain in copyright, or that the universities have rights to the non-digital forms of these books. However what the authors do object to is that the digital works are derived from an “unauthorized” scan, which will be stored in a single archive that is no longer under the control of the university from which the scan was derived. The suit also goes on to suggest that the security of this archive may also be suspect, and without care may allow the mass release of copyrighted work.

Yet a separate piece of the suit is a left over works project started by the trust which focuses on some of the tombs within this archive. As the group is trying to identify out-of-copyright books, and those where the ownership of copyright cannot be confirmed.  Here, if they fail to locate and contact any copyright holders, and the work is no longer commercially available, the trust plans to provide digital copies to students without restrictions.  As you might have guessed, this idea has not gone over well leading the executive director of the Australian Society of Authors, Angelo Loukakis, to say, “This group of American universities has no authority to decide whether, when or how authors forfeit their copyright protection. These aren’t orphaned books, they’re abducted books.

While the authors’ coalition is pushing to see everything grind to a halt, keeping both Google and the libraries from any further scanning, along with ending the Trust’s orphaned works project and sizing the currently scanned works  to “impound” it.   However the question as to be asked is what we are losing by doing this, as while one can appreciate the concern of the creators of this work.  There is still a significant body of work out there which maybe lost to time should this happen so is the devil you know or the devil that you don’t the best option.

The other big question is who owns the work, as in the person possessing the book, owned the “book” and had title (sort of) to do with what they wished with it.  As let me ask you this, how many sales did an author lose to a library over the years?  Or, how many times have you loaned a copy of one of your books to someone else to read stealing a sale and taking part in paperback pirating…

Search Results and Wiretapping, a Match made in Heaven…

Ignore the man behind the curtain...

There is an interesting story about a company named Paxfire which has been accused of “hijacking” search results by placing a proxy server between users and major search engines and modifying some responses.   However once discovered, Paxfire and one of its customers, RCN, were soon hit with a class-action lawsuit claiming that the use of search hijacking violated the “Wiretap Act”, as well as the consumer protection laws, and RCN’s own contractual obligations.

As here is something to think about as more and more of life is based upon Google ™ there  appears to be a growing risk we may not be getting the real McCoy as how do you know that your search results are actually reasonably unbiased.  As even Google weights the responses so you will never fully see an unbiased list, yet in fairness you know this is the case when you press the search button,   however what if you didn’t?

As internet search shapes our life with the likes of Google ™, Yahoo ™ and others  entering the lexicon of not only Americana, however a lexicon on a global scale.  As could you even imagine trying to find something on the internet without one of these indexing giants to assist you? Wow those where the days of t old with “gopher” and the like which people type command line code into a console screen somewhat a kin to a voodoo doctor tossing the ashes of a dead chicken and chanting.

However Paxfire has fired back with a countersuit, charging the lead plaintiff, Betsy Feist, with slander, libel, and tortious interference with its business relationships. Here Paxfire strenuously attempts to deny that it shares user information with third parties. It argues that its actions don’t constitute interception of user communications under wiretapping law (interesting) and that users consented to Paxfire’s activities when they signed RCN’s acceptable use policy. With all of that said, Paxfire asked the court to award it compensatory and punitive damages of at least $50 million from Mrs. Feist.  Wow isn’t the legal system a great thing?

Yet folks joking aside this is  one case to watch as if Paxfire wins, it will open the flood gates for phony proxies and the like to snag your traffic as this will mean your searches are basically fair game.  As what is at issue is that firstly someone is looking at what your sending, secondly someone is now shaping your “response” which is double scary as pointed out they have had to look at it to determine how to shape it and third the response is a fake.  I guess if you can’t trust your internet search provider, then who can you trust…

Google to buy Motorola and Why…

Is this how attorneys compare stacks of patents?

While maybe a bit of old new market wise, the concept of  Google’s bid of $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility, better known as a troubled American maker of mobile phones (remember the razor) is still worth waining about.  Because should the purchase actually happen, it will be Google’s largest ever acquisition for the search giant as it will almost double the size of its workforce.

However we have to ask ourselves, as “self” what is the attraction for an internet search and ad giant logic to make them want to take on the handset-maker’s 19,000 employees along with its rip-snorting 11% share of America’s Smartphone market? That’s right Virginia, none however lets now talk about its portfolio of some 17,000 patents.  Ok not enough for you, well how about the fact they have yet another 7,500 in the pipeline?

So you ask how many [patents] does Google have today?  Well let’s say their arsenal of around 2,000 patents would be considered Andy of Mayberry grade firepower wise. As this one move will hugely strengthen their position in current and future legal battles with its more heavily armed industry rivals like that Cupertino darning which goes by the name of Apple. As they are still smarting from their recent slap down in being defeated in auction for patents belonging to Nortel that now defunct Canadian telecoms firm who made hardware once upon a time.

It’s here we see Google is clearly desperate to win and what better way to show the world  than to acquire Motorola’s portfolio: as it went so far as to offer the company a price that was a 63% premium over their closing price at the time of the offer.  However what about the [Motorola] people you have to ask?  You guessed it, betting dollars to donuts out on the street, the future of the product line, gone.  So what does this all mean?  Yes we’ve entered an economic environment where aggregated human capital is now a liability to be dealt with as surplus cord wood, as the driving value is the ability to either strong arm or avoid being strong armed in court.

However is this where we want to be, as is this the value proposition we as America want to hold out to the world? As while yes we are a capitalistic economy and driven as such, the end goal still needs to be the construction of social affluence as this is what keeps the economic engine turning and not patent attorney’s comparing their stacks of “patents” like some male phallic competition as in mine is bigger than yours…

Who Owns Your Face…

Click for a larger image as this is the output of the SnythCam App and notice the tracking map in the corner which followed this couple

This is a big question today as today it seems to me the venerable Facebook and Google are the leading owners of this followed up by the many dating sites.  However you’re saying so what they have a picture of my face, what does this mean to me?  Basically everything, as this is the most unique public asset which you own.  Ok, you’re asking about the term “public” and my use of it, while some of the most unique aspects of our bodies are our finger prints and retinas.  Yet it’s difficult read these attributes at a distance with a camera, however your face isn’t.

So what if someone referenced your public picture on Facebook, then ran a Google image search with facial recognition software to seek out and map all information about you?  Well look no further as this August at Black Hat, the world wide recognized security conference in Las Vegas researchers Alessandro Acquisti, Ralph Gross and Fred Stutzman, all at Carnegie Mellon University will report on their results of doing just this.

If you haven’t guessed it, they were successful in using off the shelf technology to make this all happen.  In that they were able to identify 10 percent of the sample set, along with the first five numbers of their social security numbers and many other data points which one would think private.  However with cheap cloud computing power what once appeared to be only noise now is turned into meaningful data.  It’s worth noting that things like social security and driver’s license numbers are created with publicly known algorithms so it is a simple process if you have part of the number and part of the data, you can recreate the numbers in whole.

So as waxed in this blog before, privacy only existed because of cost, yes the cost was the only thing holding the damn back and with technology breaking those barriers, it’s now a thing of the past.  However for grins and giggled I decided to experiment with this myself using an iPod Touch and a free application named SynthCam.  Now the purpose this [app] was for photographic effect yet it does something neat in that it locks on to a unique object which it tracks then adds up the images with a tracking map showing the movement of the target.

So while at Schiphol Airport waiting for a flight back home, I visited the McDonalds which sits upon a cross walk with seating.  Here one could see quite a ways down the wing.  So here I sat  pointing the camera (with no modification) at a person walking down the way you know what, it worked in tracking their movements including the shop windows they peered in, as well as the people they walked around to avoid.  All of this as it was able to lock onto their face and use that as a unique target at a distance.

While not as sophisticated as the work of the Carnegie Mellon University researchers, it does show the practicality of recognition software deployed on (economical) consumer equipment.  As the other interesting thing is the McDonald’s I was dinning at also offered free internet access (which was a deciding factor to dine there) so it would be easy to link to the unlimited processing power of the cloud via this readily available connection.

Guess it now goes without saying, the next time you look in the mirror, you will be looking at your most valuable asset in today’s new world order…

Google, To Big to Fail…

Friend or Foe, you decide...

Well it looks like its Googles turn in the barrel as its been subpoenaed to show up in front of Congress to discuss it’s business practices as there is a feeling as the search giant expands, that some of its new ventures my cross the line. The question is what line and second is the line outdated as it was created in the age of industrialization when “iron” ruled the world in the manufacture of trains and automobiles.  A brilliant age when the “iron horse” was king and the iconic industrial robber barons such as Carnegie, Rockefeller and Sloan held the reins of Americas industrial might close to their chest and even closer to their pocket book.

However it wasn’t until the hey-day of “Ma Bell” where we see the first casualty of an industrial rule of law applied to the “information age” sending pieces  of the once iconoclastic giant to the four winds in the form of a ritualistic Tibetan air burial.  Was this a good thing or not is the question we must ask ourself as would we as Americans have been better off in a one wire world or not?  As one of the interesting facts to come from non-monopolistic actions is what I’ve referred to as “growth by cannibalism”, as yes it’s a rather grotesque  visual however appropriate in what happens is a feeding cycle which creates the likes of “World Com” who rose from the case of monopolistic disassembly only to fail themselves and their pieces are then consumed for pennies on the dollars by others who mutate the asset into there own value proposition.

This cannibalistic  cycle is what makes me scratch my head with wonder as we doing the right thing in tearing down our giants or should we be supporting them?  If we look to the east at China, we will quickly see that the government has one foot in every business.  While social control of a capitalistic enterprise is not something which I can or would support, however that doesn’t mean we should accept business and legal models which are over a century old as companies such as Google and Microsoft have options as unlike their brick and mortar forefathers who where constrained by physical ties due to customer and resource bound logics.  Here in there world they can exist anywhere the electron can travel as it knows no geographic boundaries.

Maybe it’s time we dust off Congress along with the existing set of laws which have come from the days of Carnegie to what can we do to promote competitive growth of the likes of Google, Microsoft and the like as in the new information based world order the business model has changed.  Let’s take for example the former browser wars as what did this get “us” the consumer along with Microsoft?  Yes Virginia really nothing as Netscape is gone, and Google Chrome is kicking Microsofts butt in the browser space.  So did Microsoft win the war in the end as the reality is the best product will win and frankly Netscape didn’t have it.  Yet who pocketed the value out of all of this as it surely wasn’t the two companies.

In the end it was personal political agendas rallying against greater goals which implied a bureaucratic tax for the simple sake there maybe a fox scouting out the hen house.  While competition is good, this must also be in the context of creating over all value rather then taking a short sighted approach as our economic systems are no longer closed as they are now global and subject to differing conditions as we can no longer view the world only in Sepia tones…

Your World Isn’t My World or Is It…

The responsibility to understand the world around us remains solely our responsibility...

Here is an experiment for you and a couple colleagues as your sitting welling away the hours serving out your time of indentured servitude while chained to your cubicles. As the idea is a simple one, just choose a topic and type it into Google and compare the results. Ok, you’ve had a few minutes to do this, so what did you and your enlisted cohorts come up with? My bet is most [of you] if not all came up with different results as Google uses over 50 different base criterion such as your location (gained from your IP address), to the type of browser your using, to operating system and so on all without you even being logged on to “Google“. As it’s here we see what Eli Pariser calls “Filter Bubbles” forming in our day to day life’s as the autonomous world around decides on its own “what we should see” based upon “what it thinks we want to see”. In a away when watching Eli’s TED presentation, chills when up my back as Well’s production of Citizen Kane and the power of the press creeped forward from the dark recesses of my mind only to meet a benevolent version of the terminator. Here the machine can and will isolate us as maybe it thinks we are too squeamish to deal with the genocide in Darfur, so it filters it for a local baseball game where little Timmy hit his first home run, yet people are being slaughtered. Here the Internet is only providing a hand in delivering us “Pleasant Valley Sundays” where the lawn is always green and the world is viewed through rose colored glasses. When in reality a view of the virtual world is being over laid upon our physical one leaving us with a distorted perspective of the world. As think about this one, what if you went into a store that only had products which aligned with items you purchased in the past? As you ponder this and Charles Darwin turns over in his Westminster Abby grave, ask yourself where has “natural selection” gone? Yes my friends, while we would like to think we can live out our life’s in of the absents of diversity or adversity, both are core requirements of our survival. As with diversity we lose our evolutionally ability which bought us to landing a man upon the moon and returning him home safely. As what would have happen if half the American people did not hear John F. Kennedy’s now famous words which achieved this in lue of some sports scores just because a filter didn’t think you liked space topics? What about knowing “adversity” as those who where around to remember the 60’s have the images of the young Vietnamese child running down the road naked after a napalm attack, or when General Ngoc Loan placed his pistol to the head of a Vietcong prisoner and pulled the trigger while the photographer snaps the shutter as the bullet entered the man’s brain ending his life all in the time of a camera click. While there are more “pleasant” things out there, these are also the realities which when shown we could not turn away from and therefore had to do something about. These my friends are the things we need to make us not only human, however better humans and while services like Google, Yahoo News and so on are all great things. Let’s insure we never forget that the responsibility to understand the world around us remains as it should be, solely our responsibility…

Android & Ink, What Do They Have In Common…

A Trojan Horse or the Future?

For those which may not have noticed, the great (computer) printer manufactures like Hewlett Packard, Epson, Canon and the like will basically give a printer away for free and in some cases pay you to take it.  Why you ask, simple they want you to buy their ink and buy lots of it as it’s an annuity based business that creates repeat sales month over month yielding far better margins and volumes then semi-durable printers which can last many years (I personally had an HP for 10 years till it gave up the ghost).

However this still doesn’t explain the Android link as what does a “mobile” operating system have to do with printer ink?  Well let’s look at something; Cisco says that there will be a mind numbing 788 million mobile-only Internet users by 2015 carrying a smartphone in their hand.  Here the leader of the pack has been the venerable Apple ™ iPhone  and while sole sourced on the AT&T network it has now spread to the CDMA arena to continue its upward push.  However with its aging “radio” limiting it to the 3G bands and Apple ™ strangle hold on the App Store ™ again further controlling the “user”, what else remains for its future?

Enter the Android Operating System by Google which is finding its way into almost every nook and cranny of the mobile device world which is exploding around us be it big or small smart phones, to the new range of iPad ™ competitive tablets.  However Google ™ basically licenses this for free making it the Linux of the mobile world if you will and if you look at the sheer volume of the iPhone ™ and Android ™ handset market, it has exploded by 70 percent in 2010 bringing their united share of the smartphone market to 23 percent which is over double what it was in 2009 of only 11 percent.

However when we break out Android ™, Cisco reports that in 2010  use of the Google ™ OS dramatically catching up with the front running iPhone™. As at the start of 2010 iPhone ™ data consumption exceeded Android’s by a factor of four (4), however by only the end of the year, the iPhone ™ was only outpacing devices using open source operating systems like Android ™  by a mere 1.75.  Meaning the gap between the two rivals has been split in less than half, however again what does this have to do with ink?

In short, Google ™ is creating a means to drive a feeding frenzy for its on-line services to increase the potential of content delivery to you the mobile consumer as Google ™ themselves reported that the number of just YouTube videos delivered to mobile devices around the world tripled in 2010, to over 200 million video views each day.  Again, this reported volume was only to the “mobile user” community, so what better way to drive further consumption then steal a page from the printer manufactures play book and just give it away?  As the easier you make the data to access, the natural course of events will follow the path of least resistance and before you know it there are 788 million people on your door step…