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Innovation is never a neutral quantity. Technologies and artifacts are shaped by the values, priorities, and assumptions of their developers, and often their users as well. Of course, many technologies are designed or refined with particular goals in mind, but here I am referring to a different and less deliberate shaping process, through which artifacts come to reflect and reproduce beliefs about the types of functions and ways of living and working that are important.

Julie Cohen, What is privacy for

@congressedits is a bot shadowing Wikipedia editing in the US Congress

Ed Summers set up @congressedits to surface what the Congress is doing on Wkipedia, because internet, and people are following:

In less than 48 hours the @congressedits Twitter account had more than 3,000 followers. My friend Nick set up gccaedits for Canada using the same software … and @wikiAssemblee (France) and @RiksdagWikiEdit (Sweden) were quick to follow.

Watching the followers rise, and the flood of tweets from them brought home something that I believed intellectually, but hadn’t felt quite so viscerally before. There is an incredible yearning in this country and around the world for using technology to provide more transparency about our democracies.

Sure, there were tweets and media stories that belittled the few edits that have been found so far. But by and large people on Twitter have been encouraging, supportive and above all interested in what their elected representatives are doing. Despite historically low approval ratings for Congress, people still care deeply about our democracies, our principles and dreams of a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Just like Aaron we desperately want to be part of a more informed citizenry, that engages with our local communities, sees the world as our stage, and the World Wide Web as our medium.

Chance favors the connected mind.

Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From

Arik Hesseldahl, PCs Back From the Dead? Not So Fast. →

Buried at the end of piece that debunks the notion that PC sales are climbing — was really a tiny 0.1% twinkle caused by the end-of-life for XP in April - June causing companies to upgrade — was the real news: PC sales will fall like a rock in Asia.

Phablets and tablets are killing PCs, and fast.

The truth is that in a society as unequal and polarized as ours has become, almost everything is political. Get used to it.

Paul Krugman, Who Wants a Depression? 

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see.

Arthur Schopenauer

Ben Thompson on Why Samsung Will Fall

Thompson has a great post cataloging why Samsung is stuck in the pincers between sustainable high-end smartphones (Apple), and the inexorable appeal of lower-cost smartphones to those who are price conscious. Read the whole thing.

But I thought this one section — about the stupidity of analysts — is dead on:

Software Matters – For years analysts treated all computers the same, regardless of operating system, and too many do the same thing for phones. I personally find this absolutely baffling; you cannot do any serious sort of analysis about Apple specifically without appreciating how they use software to differentiate their hardware. The fact is that many people buy iPhones (and Macs) because of the operating system that they run; moreover, that operating system only runs on products made by Apple. Not grokking this fact is at the root of almost all of the Apple-is-doomed narrative (which, by the way, is hardly new).

Software-based differentiation extends to apps. While a fully-fleshed out app store is table-stakes, for the high end buyer app quality matters as well, and here iOS remains far ahead of Android. I suspect this is for three reasons:

  1. The app store still monetizes better, especially in non-game categories
  2. iOS is easier to develop for due to decreased fragmentation
  3. Most developers and designers with the aptitude to create great apps are more likely to use iOS personally

None of these factors are likely to go away, even as Android catches up with game-based in-app purchases and as iOS increases in screen size complexity.

[…]

Ultimately, though, Samsung’s fundamental problem is that they have no software-based differentiation, which means in the long run all they can do is compete on price. Perhaps they should ask HP or Dell how that goes.

In fact, it turns out that smartphones really are just like PCs: it’s the hardware maker with its own operating system that is dominating profits, while everyone else eats themselves alive to the benefit of their software master.

Maybe Tizen is the shovel that Samsung could use to dig themselves out of the hole?


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