Start up: more iPhone rumours, tablet use falls, six useful algorithms, and more


TV in the US is losing its audience, and especially its paying audience. Photo by quinn.anya on Flickr.

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A selection of 12 links for you. Yes they are. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

Introducing comment moderation for Periscope • Medium

»Dear Periscope Community,

We’ve seen incredible communities and real-life friendships form on Periscope because it’s live, unfiltered and open. We’ve also seen broadcasters get discovered and quickly grow a large, public following. But with this openness comes an increased risk for spam and abuse, and this is something that we take seriously.

Above all, we want our community to be safe on Periscope. Comments are a vital part of the experience and we’ve been working hard on a system that still feels true to the live and unfiltered nature of our platform. Specifically, we want to develop a system that is: transparent, community-led, and live.

«

It was inevitable. Let’s see how this goes.
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Apple moving to 3-year ‘major’ iPhone cycle, adding complex vibrations to 2017 model – report • Apple Insider

Roger Fingas:

»Apple will likely be waiting until next year to debut its next major iPhone refresh, treating this year’s “iPhone 7” as yet another interim upgrade, a Japanese report said on Tuesday.

The 2017 iPhone is expected to make the switch to OLED, among other important design changes, Nikkei said. While that would support recent rumors, the business publication also made an original claim that the device will have a new vibration motor, capable of producing more complex patterns than earlier iPhones.

That could indicate that Apple will use an evolved version of its “Taptic Engine,” found in devices like the Apple Watch and the iPhone 6s. The technology lets devices produce different, subtle responses to user actions and notifications.

The “iPhone 7” is likely to stay mostly the same, Nikkei said, the most noticeable difference being the removal of the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack. Camera, water resistance, and battery technology should be improved, the paper continued, also mentioning that “a high-end version of the model will give users better-quality photo capabilities via correction functions.”

Rumors have suggested that the standard iPhone 7 might gain optical image stabilization, while a “7 Plus” will have a dual-lens camera.

«

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Tablet usage declines • Global Web Index

Katie Young:

»Certainly, tablets have enjoyed healthy growth in recent years; since 2011, the numbers getting online via these devices have more than trebled – jumping from just 10% at the start of the decade to more than 1 in 3 in 2016.

However, from market to market, region to region, a closer look at these figures reveals that the boom days for tablets appear to be over. The speed of the increases slowed dramatically during 2015 and, in the first quarters of 2016, tablets have now started to decline. What’s more, 16-24s now lag behind virtually all other age groups in terms of usage.

Clearly, these devices are struggling to convince many that they are must-have rather than just nice-to-have devices. So, unless tablets can provide a level of functionality sufficiently higher than mobiles to warrant the expense, we can expect this trend to continue.

«

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Nearly 1 in 4 people abandon mobile apps after only one use • TechCrunch

Sarah Perez:

»Based on data from analytics firm Localytics, and its user base of 37,000 applications, user retention has seen a slight increase year-over-year from 34% in 2015 to 38% in 2016.

However, just because this figure has recovered a bit, that doesn’t mean the numbers are good. Instead, what this indicates is that 62 percent of users will use an app less than 11 times.

Says the report, “this is not a sustainable business model.”

These days, 23% launch an app only once – an improvement over last year, but only slightly. For comparison’s sake, only 20% of users were abandoning apps in 2014.

On iOS, user retention saw some slight improvements. The percentage of those only opening apps once fell to 24% from 26% last year, and those who return to apps 11 times or more grew to 36% from 32% in 2015.

«

That seems depressing. Then again, thinking of my own use, I tend to install apps, and not use them for ages; then I’ll suddenly discover a use, and go with it. It’s not quite “abandonment”. There aren’t that many apps that I have to use every day, or even every month. But there are lots that I might use once a year. (And there’s no particular distinction between mobile and desktop in that regard.)
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The TV industry will unravel faster than you think — Lightspeed Venture Partners • Medium

Alex Taussig says it’s all going to go bad for the big networks:

»The most obvious beneficiaries of the decline of old TV media will be the dominant social networks who nail video: Facebook, Snapchat,* and perhaps Twitter, if the whole Periscope thing works out. (A new social network built natively with video could also be a contender. Email me if that’s what you’re working on!) They each have their own power law dynamics and, by most measures, are significantly larger and more global than the TV networks. Their data allows them to target videos more precisely; so, despite larger quantities of social video in the world, the odds of a specific consumer engaging with a given video are (in theory) much higher. If properly executed, they could expand the $73bn TV advertising market today by transforming it from an audience-based to a performance-based medium.

The second group of beneficiaries will be the new stream aggregators: Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Twitch, and the like. These streams will continue to aggregate and package long tail content and form direct relationships with consumers. Again, there will only be a few winners here.

«

Taussig points to two key bits of data: US pay TV penetration rates are falling

and only those aged over 65 now watch more TV than they did five years ago:

Hard to argue with his reasoning.
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Dell reveals industry’s first 17in 2-In-1 laptop • Twice

Joseph Palenchar:

»The PC industry’s first 17-inch two-in-one convertible Windows laptop is among six new Inspiron two-in-one laptops unveiled by Dell at Computex in Taiwan, Microsoft announced.

All six of the convertible two-in-ones come with touchscreen display and secure Windows Hello login via optional or standard built-in infrared cameras. A 360-degree hinge delivers four modes: laptop mode, tent mode for presentations, stand mode for playing movies, and tablet mode.

«

OK, that’s too big. Thanks, Dell, for showing us the limit, beyond which you’ve gone.
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Six algorithms that can improve your life • WNYC

Manoush Zomorodi:

»There’s been a lot of negative press lately about algorithms (Facebook, Snapchat, the prison system). But this week we’re exploring ways that mathematical and scientific algorithms can actually help improve how we live.

Brian Christian co-wrote the book “Algorithms to Live By” with his friend, Tom Griffiths, a psychology and cognitive science professor at UC Berkeley. Brian is all about the intersection of technology and humanity, and figuring out how to use data to help people optimize their lives.

In their book, Brian and Tom offer really practical applications for scientific principles, which we’ll get to in a minute. But first, here’s the catch: There’s no formula for perfection. Even if you apply these algorithms to your life, things will go wrong. But by trying out these algorithms, you can statistically give it your best shot.

«

Includes: how to find stuff on your desk, stop tagging/filing your emails, arrange appointments faster, and more. Also with audio.
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Economist editor: ‘We don’t want to be the grandpa at the disco’ • The Guardian

Mark Sweney interviews Zanny Milton Beddoes, editor of The Economist:

»Despite this success, as at other publishers print sales at the Economist have fallen across the globe, although the circulation still stands at 1.25m copies a week. Digital edition sales have broken through the 300,000 mark, up by 50% or more year-on-year in most markets, including the UK but not North and South America. Minton Beddoes says the print decline is in part to do with a “drive to quality” – getting rid of bulk copies and converting readers to paid subscribers.

“The overall circulation is slightly down but the profitability of our circulation is rising and print is still holding up remarkably well,” she says. “I’m completely agnostic [about whether] people read print or digital, I really want them to have a premium subscription giving them access to both.” The Economist is still willing to embrace the potential of print, as is shown by it launching 1843, a bi-monthly magazine (which replaced Intelligent Life) aimed at the “globally curious” which aims to speak to them “when they have their feet up, on a weekend break, on holiday”.

Minton Beddoes says the Economist is not feeling the same extreme pressure as advertising-reliant newspaper publishers. “I’m very simple about this. You make money out of things people pay for,” she says. “Subscriptions is the bulk of our business, ads are nice to have on top of that. We are in the midst of a massively changing disrupted industry and that is incredibly exciting but it is also challenging. There are going to be winners in that and losers. It is foolish for anyone to be complacent. I am confident and hopeful and paranoid at the same time.”

«

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Are Trump hotels taking a ‘yuge’ hit? • Tailwind by Hipmunk

Kelly Soderlund on data from hotel-booking system Hipmunk:

»The Trump brand is associated with a variety of hotels, apartments, and products. On one hand, a growing number of political supporters could boost sales of Trump products; on the other, a growing number political detractors could lead people to avoid his brand. So which of these two forces is stronger?

We set out to answer this question by comparing the number of bookings at Trump Hotels’ most-booked locations this year on Hipmunk to bookings in the same locations the year prior (before he attracted national political attention).

The results? The share of bookings at Trump Hotels on Hipmunk as a percent of total hotel bookings are down, decreasing 59% compared to the same period last year.

While overall Hipmunk hotel bookings have been on the rise year-over-year, that has not been the case with bookings of Trump Hotels.

«

You could think of all sorts of possible reasons, but just not wanting to put any money into Trump’s pockets, and instead favouring Any Other Hotel Chain, seems like the immediately most plausible.
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Forced Windows 10 upgrades push users to dangerously disable Windows Update • PC World

Brad Chacos:

»Ironically, improved security is one of Windows 10’s selling points. But by pushing it on users in such a heavy-handed way, Microsoft is encouraging users who have very valid reasons to stick with Windows 7/8 to perform actions that leave their machines open to attack. That’s bad. Very bad.

For the record: Don’t disable Windows Updates unless you’re an advanced user who wants to parse and manually install Windows patches. Instead, leave them active but also install GWX Control Panel or Never10, free tools that block the Get Windows 10 pop-ups and behavior. Microsoft’s been known to push out new patches that work around those tools in the past, however—again, violating Windows Update’s sanctity to push its new OS. Be sure to read the fine print if a GWX pop-up does appear in order to avoid being tricked into Windows 10.

«

Coming to something when people complain of feeling “tricked” into getting an operating system for free that they would have been queueing around the block to pay for a few years ago. Well, 20 years ago.
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How big an issue is the nausea problem for virtual reality products? • Quora

Steve Baker is ex-Rediffusion Simulation, Hughes Aircraft, L3 Simulation:

»I’ve been working with helmet mounted displays in military flight simulation for several decades – I am an expert in the field.

IMHO – these devices should be banned – but that may not be necessary because after the first wave of early adopters I think it’ll go the way of 3D televisions. But that’s just my opinion. Let me explain why.

Everyone thinks these things are new and revolutionary…but they really aren’t. All that’s happened is that they dropped in price from $80,000 to $500…and many corners have been cut along the way.

There are several claims that the nausea problem has either been fixed, or will soon be fixed, or that application design can be used to work-around the problem.

The claims that it’s been fixed are based on the theory that the nausea is caused by latency/lag in the system, or by low resolution displays or by inaccurate head motion tracking…all of which can (and are) being fixed by obvious improvements to the system. Sadly, the $80,000 googles we made for the US military had less latency, higher resolution displays, and more accurate head tracking than any of the current round of civilian VR goggles…and they definitely made people sick – so this seems unlikely.

«

He has plenty more to say too about focal lengths and depth perception, and aftereffects. Worth considering. Of course, you could always assume that your users are going to be confused to begin with…
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VR Party Game is a ridiculously confusing virtual reality experience for Cardboard • Android Police

Rita El Khoury:

»What if virtual reality was just reality, with a small asterisk? What if you could strap on your VR headset, regardless of the brand or technology behind them, and see the same thing that’s in front of you… but mirrored? Or upside down? Or delayed by 2 seconds? Ha, what a novel idea!

VR Party Game does just that. It’s a Cardboard app/game that transmits your smartphone’s rear camera view onto the screen, but applies one of three special effects to confuse you. It can delay the view by 2 seconds, mirror it, or flip it upside down. The idea is to use it as a party game with friends, asking each other to complete a few tasks while wearing the Cardboard headset…

…VR Party Game is just mindless fun and as such, you may find the price a little steep. The app costs $0.99 but that only gives you the delay and mirror modes. Upside down is another $0.99 IAP.

«

OH NO. A WHOLE $1.98??
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Errata, corrigenda and ai no corrida: none notified.

One thought on “Start up: more iPhone rumours, tablet use falls, six useful algorithms, and more

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