After 18 years in operation, after a federal law mandating that hospitals work to prevent needle-stick, and after two successful lawsuits resulting in BD paying more than $400 million for violating anti-monopoly statutes, Retractable Technologies made only $34 million in global sales last year. BD, with an inferior, more expensive product, sold $8.4 billion, the payouts to its competitor serving only as the cost of doing business. In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control estimated 380,000 needle-sticks at hospitals every year. Today, they estimate 385,000. “You turn on the TV and watch politicians talk about unleashing the power of the free market, that’s absurd,” Shaw says. “The American public is being denied a free market, being denied competition.”We need a new antitrust for a new predatory era.
Arika Okrent (previously and previously and previously) is known here as MentalFloss.com's language maven, usually looking at linguistic history, like English language words that only survive as parts of idioms and a group trying to revive the Lakota language. But her latest short piece clearly deals with the Future of Language: Emojis. And how the depiction of emojis for certain emotions vary between different devices/systems, sppecifically Apple/iOS, Google/Android and Samsung's proprietary sub-system for the Galaxy S5. [more inside]
The 'hamburger' icon is over 30 years old, and it's still a mystery to many users. Unlike the magnifying glass skeuomorph, which most people recognise as meaning 'search', the three horizontal bars used to represent 'menu' (or 'there's more stuff under here that you're less likely to need') is one of the most debated UX choices in web design. [more inside]
Apple's WWDC keynote showcased some of the upcoming advancement in their platform, but let's take time to reflect on The future that everyone forgot. Chris DeSalvo, formerly of Danger, talks about the Hiptop/Sidekick and what they did. Such as in 2004 they created a GameBoy Advance + Hiptop phone that never shipped. Chris also went onto Google, worked on Android, and penned another piece of phone-lore: The Day Google Had to 'Start Over' on Android
Mark Ames follows up on The Techtopus (previously) with a new report showing a much larger conspiracy than has been previously reported: [more inside]
Do not play this game. You will be dead in seconds. Did it get popular using sneaky tactics? Probably not. But do you want it to haunt your dreams? No, you don't. Stave off your existential despair in some other way. I repeat, do not play this game.
Mark Ames on Silicon Valley's conspiracy to drive down workers' wages:
In early 2005, as demand for Silicon Valley engineers began booming, Apple’s Steve Jobs sealed a secret and illegal pact with Google’s Eric Schmidt to artificially push their workers wages lower by agreeing not to recruit each other’s employees, sharing wage scale information, and punishing violators.... The secret wage-theft agreements between Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, and Pixar (now owned by Disney) are described in court papers obtained by PandoDaily as “an overarching conspiracy” in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act....[more inside]
How Silicon Valley Became The Man The Harvard Business Review's Justin Fox interviews Stanford historian Fred Turner about how the New Communalists molded the Valley in their image.
Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, LinkedIn and Aol have all teamed up to oppose widespread government surveillance. In an open letter to the US president and members of congress, the companies urge the government to reform its digital spy apparatus. Live reactions at the Guardian.
It begins. A consortium of mobile phone makers including Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericsson and Sony have launched a barrage of patent suits against Google and major Android handset makers such as Samsung, Huawei and HTC. Unlike previous patent suits from the major shareholders, these suits are on the rocket docket of Eastern Texas.
Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple are being monitored by the FBI and NSA, with Dropbox "coming soon." So what can you do? Use some alternatives. As Gabriel Weinberg, founder of DuckDuckGo, told NPR: "we made the choice to just not track people so there is nothing to turn over."
Does Big Data Mean The Demise Of The Expert - And Intuition? - "Data-driven decisions are poised to augment or overrule human judgment." What Is Big Data? [more inside]
Rebecca Solnit on how Silicon Valley corporations are transforming San Francisco: I weathered the dot-com boom of the late 1990s as an observer, but I sold my apartment to a Google engineer last year and ventured out into both the rental market (for the short term) and home buying market (for the long term) with confidence that my long standing in this city and respectable finances would open a path. That confidence got crushed fast. It turned out that the competition for any apartment in San Francisco was so intense that you had to respond to the listings – all on San Francisco-based Craigslist of course, the classifieds website that whittled away newspaper ad revenue nationally – within a few hours of their posting to receive a reply from the landlord or agency. The listings for both rentals and homes for sale often mentioned their proximity to the Google or Apple bus stops. [more inside]
The International Consumer Electronics Show has been hosted in some form or fashion since 1967. But with the absence of Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, journalists are asking if the show is still relevant.
Google Maps App by Google for Apple's iOS is now available. It features turn-by-turn voice navigation and streetview. It's a welcome end to "Map-gate". [more inside]
“These companies are willing to shove 1,000 attorneys down your throat if you share music, but won’t even respond to a legal order about actual music theft and piracy.” -Benn Jordan [via] [more inside]
The iEconomy: Apple and Technology Manufacturing. Since January, the New York Times has been running a series of articles "examining the challenges posed by increasingly globalized high-tech industries," with a focus on Apple's business practices. The seventh article in the series was published today: In Technology Wars, Using the Patent as a Sword. Related: For Software, Cracks in the Patent System and Fighters in the Patent War. [more inside]
Google makes great maps. But Apple and Google aren't getting along well. So in its new iOS 6, Apple dropped all Google mapping tech in favor of its own Maps app that it promised would "blow your head off". Some people like it. Others don't. But the numbers are that 63 countries with a combined population of 4.5 billion people will lose at least one of the traffic, transit, or street views they had before. And even arch-supporter John Gruber acknowledges " the maps experience in iOS 6 is a downgrade". Google may produce an official Google Maps app for iOS. Then again, they may not.
How Google and Apple's digital mapping is mapping us "Digital maps on smartphones are brilliantly useful tools, but what sort of information do they gather about us – and how do they shape the way we look at the world?"
David Lowery, of Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven has an interesting argument for why the new Internet-based music-publishing industry may actually not be great for the artists: Meet The New Boss [more inside]
Is Webkit, the web browser engine used by Safari and Chrome, turning into IE6? Concern is growing that reliance on proprietry CSS features marked by vendor prefixes could be breaking the web.
Google, Apple, Intel, Adobe, Disney, Pixar, Intuit and Lucasfilm are facing a lawsuit for their for their "no poaching" agreements (Bloomberg, TechCrunch). [more inside]
The Great Tech War of 2012: Apple v. Google v. Amazon v. Facebook
Suck on it Applesoft. "Everyone was baffled when Google made those crazy bids for the Nortel patents last month. Remember? They bid things like the distance from the earth to the sun, the number pi, and some other wacky numbers from mathematics." [more inside]
Mozilla's HTML 5 Circus rolls into town. The emergence of HTML 5 is marked by, among others, emerging browsers (or browser versions). The soon to be released Firefox 4, often delayed, mirrors the slow march to an HTML 5 Flash reduced web. Like others, Mozilla feels the need to sell HTML 5. We also have Chrome Experiments, Canvas Demos, IE HTML 5 demos and Never Mind the Bullets, and Apple's (warning: sniffer protected) HTML 5 showcase. [more inside]
We expect even more rapid innovation in the web media platform in the coming year and are focusing our investments in those technologies that are developed and licensed based on open web principles. To that end, we are changing Chrome’s HTML5 <video> support to make it consistent with the codecs already supported by the open Chromium project. Specifically, we are supporting the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs, and will consider adding support for other high-quality open codecs in the future. Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies. - Google's Chrome is will be joining Firefox in no longer licensing the MPEG-LA H.264 video codec favoured by Apple and Microsoft for use in the HTML5 <video> tag (previously). Not everyone is seeing this as a good thing.
Google's sheer size and power is staggering - and of course a little disconcerting. But ultimately are they ensuring the internet remains open and user friendly? CBC Radio had a great piece on the Algorithm That Changed World on how Google has helped keep the internet useful and spammers at bay. As a user, I have not found any other search engine that come close in giving me useful results. Intelligent Life's take on Apple vs Google, shows how this open system vs closed system philosophical differences plays itself out with product strategy. Of course, Google's user-centric world can suck if you have ever written a book.
Wikileaks may have been the big news, but there were numerous other data breaches in 2010. [more inside]
With the unveiling of the BlackBerry Playbook, a 7" iPad competitor solidly aimed at business, are the tablet wars heating up?
This is the biggest ego battle in history. It looked like the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Today, such warmth is in short supply. One well-connected Silicon Valley investor, who did not want to be identified talking about the Google-Apple feud, says he is stunned by the level of rancor he’s witnessed. “It’s World War III. Amazing animosity is motivating two of the most powerful people in the industry,” he says. “This is emotional. This is the biggest ego battle in history. It’s incendiary.”
The internet is atwitter over Apple's decision to block the Google Voice app from their App Store, and remove all existing apps that facilitate its use. Fingers are pointing at AT&T, but the app is blocked globally.
Surprise, Surprise. The big guys of the computer world get anti-competitive when some one gets to close to their turf.
"A look at the average number of page views per title reveals that Microsoft gets about half as many page views per title as compared to Google and Apple" a strong indication of where reader interest actually resides." - ZDNet. Intelliseek's Blogpulse reveals similar numbers: #1 Google: 473K, #2 Apple: 381K, #3 Microsoft: 262K. Venture capitalist, Ed Sim, says: "While the OS is important, Microsoft has lost its complete and utter dominance as we move to a service-oriented world where broadband is everywhere, apps are in the cloud, and the browser becomes king."
Microsoft wipes Apple from the face of the Earth. Virtual Earth, that is. A search for "1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA" renders only an empty field and some sort of barn. This is what it really looks like. Finding that other microcomputer company is obviously not a problem. Microsoft blames old photographs (from 1991) for the omission, but copyright notices on the images go only as far back as last year.