Race or income: which matters more when you’re accused in the state of Virginia? Photo by karen_neoh on Flickr.
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A selection of 12 links for you. May contain nuts. I’m charlesarthur on Twitter. Observations and links welcome.
New Whitepaper on 3D Scanning and (the Lack of) Copyright • Shapeways Blog
»We are excited to announce a new whitepaper, 3D Scanning: A World Without Copyright*. As the name suggests, the paper examines how 3D scanning intersects with copyright law. We are big fans of 3D scanning here at Shapeways, and so we thought it was important to start a discussion around how copyright might impact all of the scans that are coming into the world.
It may come as a surprise, but in many cases 3D scans will not be protected by copyright. That does not mean that scans are not important, but it does mean that people making and distributing scans should understand what rights they do – and do not – have in those scans.
Why aren’t the scans protected by copyright? One of the key requirements for copyright in the United States is originality. Even if it takes a large amount of skill to create a scan, if making the scan does not involve originality it is simply not eligible for copyright protection.
The vast majority of scans fall squarely in that category. By definition, most 3D scans attempt to create a perfect digital replica of the model being scanned. Injecting “original” content that deviates from the object being scanned into that digital file would undermine the purpose of the scan.
Wonder where this puts the Nefertiti 3D Scan which was nicked from a museum’s server.
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Uncovering big bias with big data • Lawyerist
»A while back, two of my colleagues were arguing about which is a bigger problem in the criminal justice system: bias against defendants of color or bias against poor defendants. My first inclination was to suggest we could settle the dispute if we had the right dataset. (I’m an attorney turned data scientist, so yes, that really was my first thought.1) That being said, the right dataset magically appeared in a tweet from Ben Schoenfeld.
What follows is the story of how I used those cases to discover what best predicts defendant outcomes: race or income. This post is not a summary of my findings, though you will find them in this article. It is a look behind the curtain of data science, a how to cast as case study. Yes, there will be a few equations. But you can safely skim over them without missing much. Just pay particular attention to the graphs.
Graphs like this:
It’s a terrific walk through how to deal with a big dataset and draw conclusions from them. No, I’m not going to skip to the end; read it.
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2016 Internet Trends Report • Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers
»The 2016 edition of Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends report covers today’s Internet growth and an in-depth look at the following:
Global Internet users have surpassed 3B; India has supplanted the US as the world’s second-largest Internet market.
• Internet user growth remains consistent (led by acceleration in India), while smartphone user and shipment growth have slowed.
• In the face of a slowing global economy, key macro growth drivers from the past 2 decades are less certain.
• Internet advertising (particularly via mobile) continues to grow, but so does ad-blocking, pushing the envelope on development of more innovative ad formats.
• New online-first brands have rapidly grown in popularity for the millennial generation with their focus on omni-channel and personalized distribution strategies.
• In communication, video and images shared are growing as a means of storytelling; creators, consumers, and advertisers are taking part.
• Messaging has evolved from simple, expressive conversation to business-focused use cases, with Asian platforms often leading the way.
• More efficient and often more convenient than typing, voice-based interfaces are ramping quickly and creating a new paradigm for human-computer interaction.
And much more. You might take issue with some of the detail (it overstates the iPhone’s ASP, but the general direction is right) but it’s a reference, as usual. Question is, is it predicting the future or just setting up how the past looked? Anyway, here’s the whole 213 pages, if you have a spare five minutes.
The End of Scale • rafat.org
Rafat Ali was the founder of PaidContent (which he sold to the Guardian Media Group; it later sold it at a loss) and more recently of Skift, a travel intelligence company:
»2016 is a seminal moment in media business history. The year where digital scale finally got exposed as a false proxy to actually building a real business.
The promise of trillion device universe, the promise of infinite distribution.
The promise of infinite user time. What were we thinking?
The tyranny of scale.
Time, attention, value, real tangible utility value to the daily lives of people. We all got fooled into thinking those could be replaced by tonnage of shares/views/interactions, forgetting there were humans on the other end, who at some point would get tired of the distraction and deception. We all got fooled by the startup ecosystem, by the investors drunk of dreams of unicorns (in media, of all places!), by the media who were covering all of this, desperate to look relevant and cool.
If you are the type that sees analogies everywhere – I am one of them – then you can see a lot of parallels among this the rise and crash of media scale chasing era with the bundling and rebundling of crappy mortgages and passing them onwards to be rebundled and sold to the gullible, only to come crashing down only seven years ago. Chasing scale in finance, at any cost, same as chasing scale in media businesses, at any cost…
…Who were we trying to fool?
Therein comes the biggest lie in all this, now exposed: There is no secret sauce in media.
There is no outside savior coming to rescue.
It is all you. The value you build with your editorial. The value you can create by being focused on doing a few things very very well.
Quite scary, in its way.
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AMD prices 3D tech to spur virtual reality market • WSJ
Don Clark on AMD’s release of its new Polaris-based graphics cards:
»the need for a PC with an add-in card that includes a beefy 3-D graphics chip is another barrier that stands in the way of widespread adoption of VR. An online survey conducted in April by the Advanced Imaging Society found that 68% of respondents said VR equipment was too expensive.
“Less than 1% of PC users have systems that are capable of doing VR,” said Raja Koduri, senior vice president and chief architect of AMD’s Radeon technologies group. “The entry point is very, very high.”
AMD said its new Radeon RX cards, certified for use in VR by HTC and Oculus VR, deliver performance equivalent to that of $500 graphics cards used for VR.
Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy briefed on AMD’s strategy, estimated that the current minimum price on cards comparable to AMD’s new models is $399. He said the $199 pricing comes as a surprise.
“It’s great for getting more people into VR,” said Kelt Reeves, president of Falcon Northwest Computer Systems Inc., a boutique maker of gaming PCs that serves the market.
Except that would require people to upgrade their PC to one capable of doing it. More likely they’ll do it via their smartphone, surely.
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Worldwide smartphone growth forecast to slow to 3.1% in 2016 as focus shifts to device lifecycles • IDC
»According to a forecast update from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone shipments are expected to grow 3.1% in 2016, which is a substantial slowdown from the 10.5% growth in 2015 and 27.8% in 2014. Shipments are expected to hit 1.48 billion in 2016 and grow to 1.84 billion in 2020. The new forecast is 2.6 percentage points lower than IDC’s previous forecast for 2016 on the basis of the continued slowdown in mature markets and China.
IDC expects large markets like the United States, Western Europe, and China to see low single digit growth rates in 2016 while Japan and Canada are expected to contract by 6.4% and 6.9%, respectively. In all these markets, smartphone buying behavior is changing in many ways. In operator-driven markets the transition away from two year subsidized contracts toward monthly installment plans are slowly taking place. Meanwhile, many retail heavy markets are seeing a surge in the eTailer channel, better known as online marketplaces.
“Consumers everywhere are getting savvy about how and where they buy their smartphones, and this is opening up new doors for OEMs and causing some traditional channels to lose some control of the hardware flow,” said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “Smartphones sold into eTailer channels grew 65% in 2015 and are expected to account for roughly 12% of smartphone shipments in 2016, up from just 4% in 2013. Consumers are having more say over which brands they want and at the same time able to bargain shop.”
Phablets will do well, Windows Phone won’t, iPhones to see slight drop from 232m in 2015 to 227m in 2016, BlackBerry to.. fade to black, probably.
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Apple Watch 2 wishlist • Hypergeusia
Ryan Considine’s list (faster, better app launcher, ambient display and more) is right on the spot. And I have to agree with him on this wish:
That passcode screen is miserable.
I have to do the passcode first thing every morning. It’s not a great experience.
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We’re still committed • The Jawbone Blog
Hosain Rahman is CEO of Jawbone:
»As some of you may have recently seen, there have been a few incorrect media reports that Jawbone is exiting the wearables business or going out of business altogether. These reports are unequivocally false. This speculation appears to emanate from wrongful insinuations made in a blog post in which the particular digital publication has since made a “Correction.” Jawbone was not contacted on the specific insinuations prior to the post and other media picked them up before the digital publication posted a correction, further spreading this false information.
To be clear, Jawbone remains wholly committed to innovating in and building great wearables products. We have never been more excited about our pipeline of technology and products and look forward to sharing them with the world when ready.
We have always managed our inventory positions according to internal business processes and strategic product lifecycle objectives. This situation is no different and we will continue to support all of our products. UP2, UP3 and UP4 are still hugely popular and continue to sell well. We’re also continually inspired by stories of how our UP® community is using our products to live better.
The “particular digital publication” appears to be Tech Insider (aka Business Insider), where the story from Friday May 27 has been seamlessly updated to include this denial from June 1.
I’m not quite getting an unequivocal feeling that Jawbone is feeling strong. But it also shows how the world of zero-deadline digital can lead to messups; at least with a print deadline, you know when you need to answer. (That didn’t stop screwups, but it gave you a time by which to prevent them.)
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From $4.5bn to nothing: Forbes revises estimated net worth of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes • Forbes
»Theranos has been hit with allegations that its tests are inaccurate and is being investigated by an alphabet soup of federal agencies. That, plus new information indicating Theranos’ annual revenues are less than $100m, has led FORBES to come up with a new, lower estimate of Theranos’ value.
FORBES spoke to a dozen venture capitalists, analysts and industry experts and concluded that a more realistic value for Theranos is $800m, rather than $9bn. That gives the company credit for its intellectual property and the $724m that it has raised, according to VC Experts, a venture capital research firm. It also represents a generous multiple of the company’s sales, which FORBES learned about from a person familiar with Theranos’ finances.
At such a low valuation, Holmes’ [50%] stake is essentially worth nothing. Theranos investors own preferred shares, which means they get paid back before Holmes, who owns common stock.
If that’s the case about Holmes’s stock, she was poorly advised. Forbes also thinks she won’t raise money at a higher valuation again, has too many unknowns, hasn’t delivered on promises (or threats), and might not have a target market.
Apart from that, Ms Holmes, how was the play?
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Twitter is betting everything on Jack Dorsey. Will it work? • Vanity Fair
Nick Bilton, who has been a splendid biographer of the Borgia-style goings-on at the top of Twitter, updates his book with the latest:
»I have been told by people close to the company that, in the face of mounting pressure from Wall Street, Twitter occasionally resorted to what most start-ups do when they need to goose the numbers: they kind of faked it. This happens at virtually all social networks; the company sends an e-mail to inactive users who haven’t been on the service in a few months, informing them there is a problem with their username or account, which leads people to log in to fix the situation. Magically, those people become monthly active users even if they were not.
And while Dorsey wasn’t employing that trick, his magic was not yet apparent to investors on Wall Street. Months into his turnaround campaign, user growth was relatively flat and Twitter’s stock was now down nearly 60% from where it had stood when Costolo was convening his staff in [the meeting room called] Waterthrush. Twitter, which once had a market valuation of nearly $40bn, was now worth about half that…
…There are few things about Twitter’s future that anyone can say for certain, but I’ll offer one prediction with absolute assuredness: there will not be a fourth Jack Dorsey era. Recently, when I met with executives at the company—including the executive chairman of the board, the chief financial officer, and the director of communications—there was one query that seemed to catch everyone off guard. What was Plan B, I asked, if Dorsey couldn’t turn the company around? “There is no Plan B,” I was told. “This is it.”
The solution to Twitter’s problems, they all reiterated, along with Dorsey, is that word “live.” “We now know what inhibits usage, and what doesn’t,” Dorsey explained to me. He said he has a slew of new features—including hosting live video from the N.F.L., where people can talk about the game as they watch it—that will grow the audience and focus on that single, live strategy.
Twitter is betting a lot on this relatively simple notion.
2016 Mobile Adblocking Report • PageFair
• At least 419 million people (22% of the world’s 1.9bn smartphone users) are blocking ads on the mobile web.
• Both mobile web and in-app ads can now be blocked.
• As of March 2016 an estimated 408 million people are actively using mobile adblocking browsers (i.e., a mobile browser that blocks ads by default).
• As of March 2016 there are 159 million users of mobile adblocking browsers in China, 122 million in India, and 38 million in Indonesia.
• As of March 2016 in Europe and North America there were 14 million monthly active users of mobile adblocking browsers.
• A further 4.9 million content blocking and in-app adblocking apps were downloaded from the app stores in Europe and North America since September 2014.
• Adblocking is now the most hotly discussed topic in the digital media industry.
Those figures for China, India and Indonesia add up to 319 million – leaving about 111 million outside those three countries. Adblocking is most prevalent (ie most urgent to users) where data is expensive and phones are slow(er).
Here’s the presentation:
There’s a PDF report too.
Delaware court finds Dell’s $24bn buyout underpaid investors • FT.com
James Fontanella-Khan and Leslie Hook:
»“The sale process functioned imperfectly as a price discovery tool, both during the pre-signing and post-signing phases,” said Travis Laster, vice-chancellor of Delaware’s special corporate court.
The ruling is a black eye for Mr Dell and Silver Lake, which were attacked at the time for underpaying and then changing the voting rules to prevent the offer being blocked.
Magnetar Capital, a hedge fund, could net about $15m as it has legal rights to about 3.8m shares.
Dell’s $24bn sale to its founder came under scrutiny as many investors believed Mr Dell was conflicted: playing seller and buyer at the same time. A spokesperson for Dell declined to comment on Tuesday’s ruling.
In the wake of the financial crisis, Dell’s PC sales had slipped, causing share prices to fall — and presenting Mr Dell with an opportunity.
The efforts by Mr Dell and Silver Lake to take Dell private were contested by shareholders from the beginning. Shareholders who opposed the deal included billionaire activist Carl Icahn as well as T Rowe Price, which believed the market was underpricing Dell.
In total, it’s about $20m in extra payments. Not huge, but it’s the principle: how can it be right for Dell to be both seller and buyer? Here’s the ruling.
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Errata, corrigenda and ai no corrida: none notified.