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Archive for January, 2013

Time firing, Facebook hiring

Thursday, 31 January, 2013 0 Comments

Yesterday, Laura Lang, the CEO of Time Inc. announced that the company is cutting 500 jobs. In the nine months ended in September, Time revenues fell by six percent, and operating profit dropped a stunning 38 percent.

Facebook was in the news yesterday as well as it announced $1.58 billion in revenue for its fourth quarter, beating analyst estimates. The company also saw a serious rise in mobile advertising revenue, which made up 23 percent of its total ad income in the fourth quarter, compared to 14 percent in the third quarter. “Facebook is a mobile company,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced yesterday. He also pointed out that the social network added 1,419 employees last year to reach a total staff of 4,619 worldwide. That’s a 44 percent jump, and he said that hiring will continue to grow in 2013.

Mobile and social. That’s the future of the media industry.

The beauty of the free market

Wednesday, 30 January, 2013 0 Comments

Bought some Faber-Castell 2½-HB pencils recently. The feel of the company’s Grip 2001 line is unique and scribbling is all the more enjoyable as a result. That the humble pencil might be a powerful expression of the free market at work may appear as a bit of a non sequitur, so listen up. Then, check out the pencil work of Kelvin Okafor.

Federico Pistono talks fact and science fiction

Tuesday, 29 January, 2013
Federico Pistono talks fact and science fiction

Federico Pistono is a young Renaissance Man whose formal education has taken him from studying science and technology in the ancient Italian city of Verona to an immersion in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at the ultra-modern Singularity University in California. A thinker, a social entrepreneur and an aspiring filmmaker, he is also the author […]

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RIM has gone south and will go East

Monday, 28 January, 2013 0 Comments

On Wednesday, in New York City, Research in Motion (RIM) will present the first phones based on its all-new BlackBerry 10 operating system (OS). Given the company’s near-death experience in recent years, these devices will be RIM’s most important products since the first BlackBerry was released in 1999. Since then, 200 million of the devices have been shipped. So Wednesday is a now-or-never moment for “Canada’s signature technology company“, as The Globe and Mail calls it.

Those who know the mobile business say that RIM has left it too late. Its tragedy was the complete denial of the need for a new OS following the introduction of the iPhone in 2007. Six years on, all is changed, “changed utterly“, as the poet said, and the real story now is about who’ll get which cut when the cooked Canadian goose is carved up.

“We are looking at all opportunities — RIM and many others,” Lenovo chief financial officer Wong Wai Ming told Bloomberg. “We’ll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along that could benefit us and shareholders.”

But maybe Samsung will pounce. The Koreans have shiploads of money and by buying RIM they’d acquire useful patents and, critically, a foot in the door of the enterprise market. However, if BlackBerry 10 turns out to be good, Sony, which makes excellent hardware, might be keen to get the kind of software that would allow it to become a serious player in the mobile business. RIM has gone south and the prediction here is that it will go East.

What is a snail’s fury?

Sunday, 27 January, 2013 0 Comments

Considering the Snail The snail pushes through a green night, for the grass is heavy with water and meets over the bright path he makes, where rain has darkened the earth’s dark. He moves in a wood of desire, pale antlers barely stirring as he hunts. I cannot tell what power is at work, drenched […]

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Lucinda Williams at 60

Saturday, 26 January, 2013 0 Comments

Born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the great Lucinda Williams summed of the joy and the sorrow of life in Copenhagen: “Thundering news hits me like a snowball / I’m 57 but I could be seven years old / Cause I will be able to comprehend the expansiveness of what I’ve just learned.” That was three years ago. Lucinda Williams is 60 today.

Warhol upgraded from 15 minutes to 6 seconds

Friday, 25 January, 2013 0 Comments

In 1968, Andy Warhol said that “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” The prediction was an immediate hit as it hit the nail of the nascent celebrity culture right on the head. But that was then and in 2013 the Zeitgeist has sped up to the point where 15 minutes feels like an eternity. Enter Vine, which is based on a tweeted version of the Warholian concept that now reads, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 6 seconds.” And that fame will loop eternally.

But isn’t six seconds an absurdly short time frame for anything? To even ask the question is to misunderstand the nature of sharing online. According to Wired: “It’s clear that Vine’s unique recording process, and specific six-second time limitation, is what will spark creative videos.”

Europe of the Concilium Plebis

Thursday, 24 January, 2013 0 Comments

The day in Europe begins with the news that Spain’s unemployment rate has hit the highest level since measurements began in the 1970s. At the end of last year, the jobless rate was a frightening 26 percent, while unemployment for people under 25 years old reached an off-the-scale 60 percent. Clearly, some parts of Europe are not working. And David Cameron will, no doubt, allude to this when he addresses the World Economic Forum this morning in Davos.

As the European north-south divide gets larger and the suffering of those yoked to the common currency becomes more visible, it’s time to talk about the future of the continent. Or, at least, the entity known as the European Union. Unless it manages to create some kind of accountable, democratic institutions, the outlook is grim. The Roman way For the Brussels bureaucrats, European democracy means minimizing the role of the nation state, a form of governance they see as outmoded. In their vision, the European Council would be abolished and the EU Commission would be directly elected by the EU Parliament. This post-national system would represent democracy.

The problem with this scenario is that most Europeans don’t want it. They wish to keep the democracy they have right now. The one thing they do want, however, is increased use of the plebiscite, a concept that dates back to the Concilium Plebis, the popular assembly of the Roman Republic. The problem with referendums, though, is that there’s no knowing what the people would decide. The reintroduction of the death penalty? The deportation of illegal immigrants? The scrapping of student fees in Bavaria? The list is long.

Cameron: It will be in-out

Wednesday, 23 January, 2013 0 Comments

“The next Conservative Manifesto in 2015 will ask for a mandate from the British people for a Conservative Government to negotiate a new settlement with our European partners in the next Parliament. It will be a relationship with the Single Market at its heart. And when we have negotiated that new settlement, we will give […]

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The European NIGHTVISION of Luke Shepard

Tuesday, 22 January, 2013 0 Comments

Click on the arrow or thumbnail of the NIGHTVISION navigation to experience some memorable photos of Europe’s cities. It’s all the work of Luke Shepard, a student at the American University of Paris. His after-dark video exploration of Paris, Le Flâneur, was so well received two years ago that he decided to crowd-source funds on Kickstarter to bring the NIGHTVISION concept to to Valencia, Prague, Budapest, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rome, Athens, Barcelona and Brussels. The modest estimate for the job was $17,000, and the project closed at the end of September last year with a total of $19,446 pledged.

[iframe src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/17894033″ width=”100%” height=”480″]

To make Le Flâneur, Luke Shepard used a Nikon SLR D90 camera and a tripod. Unlike typical time-lapse video, however, he shot 2,000 images a short distance apart and put them together using Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro.

Islamist terror. What would Machiavelli do?

Monday, 21 January, 2013 0 Comments
Islamist terror. What would Machiavelli do?

The death toll of hostages following the end of the four-day siege of the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria now stands at 57. Today, Reuters is reporting that at least nine Japanese people were killed, while yesterday Algerian troops found the bodies of 25 more hostages. There has been some criticism of the Algerian […]

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