Business, Technology

Danielle Fong of LightSail Energy Fights to Get Past the Clean-Energy Startup Pinch | MIT Technology Review.

Danielle Fong, Co-founder and Chief Scientist of LightSail Energy, Inc. says

I will admit a fair amount of frustration. There are a dozen venture-funded apps to pick up your dry cleaning.

The basic story is that research and development costs money, yet, there (arguably) might not be enough funding. What comes to mind is that the capitalist market is driven by the forces of, “buying a better version of myself”, rather than “buying a better planet”.

Link
Technology

How the 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2015 Advanced in the Past Year | MIT Technology Review

MIT Technology Review has helpfully put together a list that summarises some technology milestones of 2015, and where they are today.

As with the slowing economy and looming recession, mobile payments (Apple Pay) wasn’t exactly the game changer as predicted, but in developing countries, exciting developments in food production (supercharged photosynthesis), water production (megascale desalination) and internet access (Project Loon).

Link
Technology

Small Data: Why Tinder-like apps are the way of the future via Janel Torkington

Two words: anticipatory computing.

That your device can predict what you want to do better than you can might seem like futuristic fantasy, but Foursquare already does this.

This is true. Swiping on cards is a great way to make a yes/no decision NOW.

Now, imagine if each card was packed with data that would advise your learning algorithm on why the card was swiped yes or no, especially when based on the user’s previous data. This future does not seem too far away.

Ironic that computers become smarter as humans distill their behaviours to simple binaries.

Link
Technology

Google’s Quantum Computer Just Got a Big Upgrade via WIRED

But in a world where classical computers are approaching their limits, it at least provides some hope that the trend can be reversed.

Jumping from 512 qubits to 1,000 qubits is a pretty big leap. And while still early in the realm of quantum computing, this is a pretty significant breakthrough for computer engineering, and perhaps one step closer toward the singularity. I wonder if I’ll see it in my lifetime.

Link
Technology

Tech media is ablaze with news about Apple’s new iPhone 6 and Apple Watch. Screen sizes and other wanky tech specs aside, the Apple Wallet (to be released with iOS 8 in October), Near Field Communications (NFC) enabled devices and Touch ID fingerprint scanning for security are why the mobile payments industry is poised for big changes.

More on the iPhone 6 announcement via Quartz

List of Apple Watch features via ReadWriteWeb

Mobile payments was the main star at Apple’s Event

Aside
music-collaboration
Business, Technology

Amidst streaming, possible ways for musicians to monetize

Almost every modern musician knows the arguments for and against music streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer… etc. It’s pretty much common talk amongst independent musicians that without millions of people streaming our songs, we’d hardly make any sort of sustainable revenue. Here’s where things could get interesting.

Streaming levels the playing field

I’m definitely more in support of streaming services as a consumer, because it really is a better product. Rather than being subject to the recommendations of traditional DJs or terrestrial radio stations, I get to listen to the songs I want on-demand. This isn’t for the mainstream, but the artists who are at least on independent labels and their catalogs are included on streaming services.

Streaming services have allowed consumer behavior to move in this direction, and whether you’re a mainstream listener, or purveyor of the niche, chances are you can find what you’re looking for online.

But that makes the musical product disposable

This is my key concern. Culturally, we are becoming bankrupt because within a day, there will be something new to listen to, and creating playlist after playlist gets old really fast. In any case, streaming services have probably played a big role in making the musical product disposable. The MP3 is dead to almost anyone who is subscribed to a streaming service and can even listen to that music offline.

But how dead is the MP3?

To the consumer, the MP3 is dead. I’ll go out there and say it. Streaming services makes it redundant to manage MP3s via your desktop synced to your mobile and what not. You don’t even need to be concerned about how much space you have in your cloud service to store your MP3s. As long as you maintain your subscription, you won’t lose your music. It is nestled comfortably in the service of your choice.

But there is a whole segment of the consumer that the MP3 isn’t dead. And I’m not talking about people who have not jumped onto streaming services. I’m talking about those who still need MP3s to create.

Harnessing the market of creators

Here’s where I think it starts to make sense. DJs, Samplists, Filmmakers, Vodcasters, Game Studios and the whole lot out there need access to MP3s, or high quality audio files if they’re going to continue their craft. Now more than ever, music creators should make it easier for the pro-sumer and professional market to easily purchase MP3s or HQ audio files so that they can continue creating as well.

Indie musicians will have to re-look their pricing and product models to cater to this growing segment of people. And I believe they will be growing, because technology is definitely making it easier for other creators to create. As the consumer tech market matures, the creative market will grow along as well.

So streaming services are a great way to appear in the peripheral of content creators, who are always on the lookout for music that fits their pursuits. But I don’t think there is any self-serve model out there now that caters to this new marketplace.

For further reading, Disaster Peace shared a postmortem that inspire this post.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Standard