Start up: Doppler scrolling, Apple v record labels, the price of attention, where Google+ failed, and more

Photo of houses in Mexico by Oscar Ruiz. Follow the link and there’s a downloadable wallpaper. More details in the first link below.

A selection of 8 links for you. Contains no nuts or squirrels. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.

House Picture » National Geographic Photo of the Day

Oscar Ruiz:

A few years ago when I was working as a helicopter pilot for a local radio station, we were required to fly around all of Mexico City chasing news and traffic. I remember flying up to the highway that connects Mexico City with the neighboring state of Puebla, and on my way back this housing complex that seemed to go on forever caught my attention. I decided to circle around to observe from up close what I later found out was the recently built San Buenaventura complex, which is located in Ixtapaluca, on the eastern outskirts of Mexico City.

They’re real houses, real sized.

Fight between Apple and Spotify could change digital music; labels said to reject pricing below $9.99 » Billboard

Glenn Peoples:

Apple’s upcoming subscription service, slated for a June launch according to an industry source and media reports, will forego the freemium model for a paid-only approach. It’s an approach Beats Music co-founder Jimmy Iovine, an executive at Apple since the acquisition of Beats Electronics, has consistently favoured.

Negotiations for Apple’s upcoming subscription service are evidence labels are standing firm on pricing. Industry sources say Apple has backed down from its effort to lower monthly pricing for its subscription service to $7.99 from $9.99. Apple would have to absorb the loss if it sets a price lower than the standard $9.99…

…An industry source dismisses rumours that Apple will be able to outmanoeuvre and outbid its competitors on exclusives for most key releases. “Apple is one of the biggest companies in the world. If they want exclusive content, they’re going to have to get out the chequebook.”

Basic economic theory suggests that lowering the price of subscriptions could radically improve the number of subscribers, while also growing the revenue pie. Presently, subscription prices are too far to the right of the demand curve.

(I’ve anglicised the spelling of “favor” and “checkbook” and “outmaneuver”.)

We give the Apple Watch an A+ » BTIG Research

Walter Piecyk’s a fan, and reckons Apple could sell 30m if it can meet production demand:

At the Apple event yesterday, I was able to use and try on several different models of the Apple Watch, when I wasn’t getting shoved out of the way. The operation of the watch was smooth, easy to use and flawless, alleviating prior concerns. There was no lag or latency in its performance and while some of the icons were small on the wrist sized screen, my fat finger always seemed to find the correct button. None of the watches felt hot to the touch and the quality of the materials and feel of the watch lived up to Apple’s typical quality standards. I came in a skeptic and emerged pleasantly surprised buy the product.

Taptic is something different.

The taptic response on the Apple Watch is notable. I have never been a fan of haptics in the past. In my experience the vibration of haptics felt like you were getting an electric shock. But the tap that your wrist feels from an incoming message on the Apple Watch can only and simply be described as light tap. I actually didn’t even notice the tap the first time, it is so subtle. But it is clearly there and very unique.

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Calls to ban Minecraft in Turkey » Kotaku UK

Brian Ashcraft:

Last month, a Turkish ministry began a probe to investigate whether or not Minecraft should be banned for being “too violent”. Today, the results of the investigation were announced: Minecraft should be banned.

Turkish websites Hürriyet Daily News and LeaderGamer report that the country’s Family and Social Policies Ministry is now calling for Minecraft to be banned in the region. The ministry’s report has been sent to the legal affairs department, along with instructions for the legal process for the ban to begin. Ultimately, whether the game is banned or not will be decided in the Turkish courts…

…”Although the game can be seen as encouraging creativity in children by letting them build houses, farmlands and bridges, mobs [hostile creatures] must be killed in order to protect these structures. In short, the game is based on violence,” the report stated (via Hürriyet Daily News).

Unlike Turkey’s repression of its citizens, which is based on kittens.

Motion sensing using the doppler effect » Daniel Rapp

Recently I stumbled upon an interesting paper for implementing motion sensing requiring no special hardware, only a speaker and mic! Unfortunately the paper didn’t include code to test it, so I decided to reproduce it here on the web!

Amazingly cool:

Would love to see ideas that come out of this. Scrolling by waving your hand is smart enough.

The cost of paying attention »

Matthew Crawford:

A few years ago, in a supermarket, I swiped my bank card to pay for groceries. I watched the little screen, waiting for its prompts. During the intervals between swiping my card, confirming the amount and entering my PIN, I was shown advertisements. Clearly some genius had realized that a person in this situation is a captive audience.

Attention is a resource; a person has only so much of it. And yet we’ve auctioned off more and more of our public space to private commercial interests, with their constant demands on us to look at the products on display or simply absorb some bit of corporate messaging. Lately, our self-appointed disrupters have opened up a new frontier of capitalism, complete with its own frontier ethic: to boldly dig up and monetize every bit of private head space by appropriating our collective attention. In the process, we’ve sacrificed silence — the condition of not being addressed. And just as clean air makes it possible to breathe, silence makes it possible to think.

What if we saw attention in the same way that we saw air or water, as a valuable resource that we hold in common? Perhaps, if we could envision an “attentional commons,” then we could figure out how to protect it.

I’m constantly amazed by how much advertising Americans are willing to tolerate (and then try to export to everyone else). US TV is essentially unwatchable for anyone brought up in the UK because of the constant ad breaks, which are a form of attention deficit disorder in themselves.

iPhones will ship with Intel LTE chips inside in 2016 » VentureBeat

Mark Sullivan:

Intel will provide the fast wireless modem chip for a new Apple smartphone in 2016, VentureBeat has learned from two sources with knowledge of the companies’ plans.

Intel’s new 7360 LTE modem will occupy a socket on the new iPhone’s circuit board that’s long been reserved for Qualcomm chips.

Intel has been gunning hard during the past year for a place in the iPhone and now appears to have succeeded, at least partly. The 7360 chip will ship inside a special version of the iPhone that will be marketed to emerging markets in Asia and Latin America, the sources said.

First iPhone scoop of the year? A good one if so, and quite a coup for Intel.

What Google+ Should have been » Medium

Kunal Tandon:

I worked at Google when Google+ was in internal beta as the “Emerald Sea” project. I used it all the time. It was a wonderful internal communication, collaboration, and professional networking tool. ie Slack, long before Slack.

Google+ should have been part of, and deeply integrated into the Google Apps suite (email, calendar, drive, docs.) It would have increased the value of those apps dramatically! Google+ could have been the KILLER team collaboration app. And now it’s dead.