A Blog by Jonathan Low


Sep 21, 2018

Why You're Probably Getting An Implant Some Day

Convenience and data rule. And over the past generation, everything from artificial knees and hips, to high tech hearing devices - and even piercings - have conditioned people to accept the merging of the technological and physical as normal. JL

Haley Weiss reports in The Atlantic, photo by Russell Boyce in Reuters:

As the technology is becoming more powerful, people are becoming more comfortable with implantables.. This is traceable from body modifications like tattoos and piercings to pacemakers. Plastic surgery is less taboo. Hundreds of thousands of American bodies now contain cochlear implants, IUDs, nerve stimulators, artificial joints, implantable birth-control rods. “There’s a trend towards putting devices inside the body, not just for life and death but for convenience such as contraceptives, menstrual aids, contact lenses.”

Nike's Jordan Brand Adds Self-Lacing 'Tech'

OK, with self-tightening laces that are similar to a car seat adjusting to your memory setting, have we taken this tech thing beyond utility. I mean, shoe laces? JL

Richard Lawler reports in Engadget:

It includes technology - the "FastFit" tightening system - that activates by tugging a strap on the forefoot. It's more accessible for people who may struggle with laces, and easier to adjust in-game for serious athletes. "We were inspired by how space suits look and function. It's very utilitarian. Thinking about this led us to highlight the pull cord, eject cord and the inner workings of FastFit, and make the function integral to the aesthetic and graphic integrity of the design."

IMAX Theaters May Soon Screen Netflix, Amazon Original Films

IMAX may be the only movie theater venue bold enough for streaming services to use as a means of promoting some of their original content without too much fear of cannibalizing their own platforms.

And it provides a means by which they can share some revenue with exhibition companies and traditional Hollywood that allows them to be seen as members of that industry rather than just disruptors and which may offer strategic advantages in the future. JL

Andrew Liptak reports in The Verge:

Last year, theater attendance fell to a 25-year low, due in part to the rise of streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix. Those companies have been focusing on producing their own original, exclusive content, from TV shows to their own blockbuster and prestige films. While services like Netflix are willing to screen their films in theaters, they’re not willing to do so before they’re released on their own platforms. But IMAX has a brand for turning movies into an experience that regular theaters can’t deliver.

Facebook's Dating Service Could Become Multi-Billion Dollar Business. And Launch Subscriptions?

Keeping its eye on the prize - which is growing demographics attractive to advertisers. JL

Kurt Wagner reports in Re/code:

Facebook doesn’t plan to make money from its new dating feature. (It) seems content to let Dating serve as a reason for young people to open the app and allow Facebook into their personal lives.But like everything Facebook launches, there is potential. There are 200 million people on Facebook who identify as “single.” That’s a  small percentage of Facebook’s 2.2 billion users, but an enormous audience for a dating service. The company will try to find a way to turn that audience into a business, and Tinder has proven that people will pay a fee for extra features that might help them find dates

Is Amazon's Future Dependent On the Bricks and Mortar It Worked So Hard To Destroy?

AWS's cloud storage business is becoming Amazon's Windows - if that is a fair comparison - so with Europe drawing a regulatory bead on its ecommerce business - with the US and other regions possibly to follow, growth may have to come from Whole Foods and cashierless Amazon Go stores. Ironies do abound. JL

Jamie Powell reports in FT Alphaville:

In 2019, Amazon Web Services may contribute over half of Amazon's operating profits despite its relatively small size compared to the retail segments — in the first half of this year AWS only contributed 11% to its net sales. With the news  Amazon is considering a 3,000 store roll out of its gee-whizz cashierless stores by 2021, it seems its all-in on the bricks and mortar sales which it once sought to undercut.

How Hackers Replace Software With Social Engineering To Target Organizational Vulnerabilities

Hacking is about exploiting whatever vulnerabilities are available. As awareness has grown and technological defenses have gotten stronger, psychological and social manipulation, often labelled social engineering, has grown.

Well managed organizations recognize that the testing of their cyber-defenses is not episodic, but chronic, and that any human who has a relationship a with the enterprise - employees, business partners, investors, customers - represents an opportunity to penetrate. But this knowledge also presents an opportunity to strengthen systems and processes. JL

Robert McMillan reports in the Wall Street Journal:

Social engineering is replacing malicious software as the weapon of choice for cybercriminals. Social engineering happens anytime hackers trick employees into sharing intelligence that helps the hackers find vulnerabilities in company systems. A third of all cyberattacks start with social engineering. Five years ago (it) was 19%. Companies have moved much of their data to cloud computing services, making conventional hacking less effective. These attacks use psychological authentication. “All social engineering is based on emotional response.”

Sep 20, 2018

Amazon Buys 17,000 Oculus Go VR Headsets To Train 1 Million Employees

The future gets virtual now. JL

Jeremy Horwitz reports in Venture Beat:

By year’s end, Walmart will distribute over 17,000 headsets to its U.S. stores: four per SuperCenter and two per Neighborhood Market and discount store. The headsets will reach a million employees across nearly 5,000 locations, and will get used primarily to brief associates on new technology, compliance, and “soft skills” including empathy and customer service.