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Category Archives: Social Media

Once-revolutionary smartphone is losing its power to amaze and maybe its singular hold on our lives

WSJ [paywall] The Big Hangup: Why the Future Is Not Just Your Phone The once-revolutionary smartphone is losing its power to amaze—and maybe its singular hold on our live: “Steve Jobs took to a stage a dozen years ago this week to introduce a revolutionary new product to the world: the first Apple iPhone. That groundbreaking device, and the competitors that followed, changed the way people communicated, ordered dinner and hailed a taxi. The technology world reoriented around the smartphone, supplanting the personal computer, MP3 players, the digital camera and maps. And the mobile economy was born. Today, it looks like the era of smartphone supremacy is starting to wane. The devices aren’t going away any time soon, but their grip on the consumer is weakening. A global sales slump and a lack of hit new advancements has underlined a painful reality for the matured industry: smartphones don’t look so singularly smart anymore. While once smartphones were like a centripetal force sucking up tools from dozens of devices, from flashlights to calculators to game consoles, functions are now flying out of phones and onto other products with their own embedded smart connections. Wristwatches can now text emojis. Televisions can talk and listen. Voice-activated speakers can order diapers. The number of “connected” devices in use that can stream music, clock mileage or download apps has more than doubled to 14.2 billion in the past three years, according to market researcher Gartner Inc. The total excludes smartphones.

What’s shifted most is the smartphone’s monolithic status as the device that software companies and businesses needed to reach mobile users—and for consumers to access their services. Now the universe has expanded to voice apps, car infotainment centers and wearable devices…Twelve years after the iPhone’s debut, more than half of the world’s population owns a smartphone. While that leaves billions of potential first-time buyers in countries from Indonesia to Brazil, they reside in poorer areas, offering lower profits. Meanwhile, the market in wealthier countries such as the U.S. has become saturated, as the improvements in the devices become more incremental and many consumers have decided they don’t need to get each new upgrade.

  • As recently as 2015, annual smartphone shipments grew at a double-digit clip. Those days are over: The industry saw its first declines at the end of 2017 and remained negative all last year. A major driver was China, the world’s largest smartphone market, where annual shipments sank 16%, according to government data…”

 

Excessive social media use is comparable to drug addiction

Michigan State University: “Bad decision-making is a trait oftentimes associated with drug addicts and pathological gamblers, but what about people who excessively use social media? New research from Michigan State University shows a connection between social media use and impaired risky decision-making, which is commonly deficient in substance addiction. “Around one-third of humans on the… Continue Reading

Why the PDF Is Secretly the World’s Most Important File Format

Motherboard – The story of the PDF, the file format that’s become one of the internet’s defining information tools. It’ll be with us after we’re long gone. “The Portable Document Format, or PDF, is everywhere. But it’s still a format that causes headaches for the average person. Just take former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort,… Continue Reading

The internet feeds on its own dying dreams

The Baffler: “I’m a digital native, older than most. Because my father worked for the federal government, our household was an early adopter of the internet. As I grew up, so did it. When I was a child, for example, the internet was still indexable; you generally found websites through directories and webrings. Favorites meant… Continue Reading

Please Forget Where I Was Last Summer: The Privacy Risks of Public Location (Meta)Data

Via arXiv – Please Forget Where I Was Last Summer: The Privacy Risks of Public Location (Meta)Data. [This is an extended version of our paper that will appear at NDSS 2019] “The exposure of location data constitutes a significant privacy risk to users as it can lead to de-anonymization, the inference of sensitive information, and… Continue Reading

Devices That Will Invade Your Life in 2019 (and What’s Overhyped)

The New York Times – A.I. that responds to your voice. Next-generation wireless networks. If this year’s biggest consumer technology trends have a familiar ring, there’s a reason for that. “But as is often the case, there will also be plenty of talk in the coming week about overly optimistic tech that you would do… Continue Reading

Searching for images of CEOs or managers? The results almost always show men.

Washington Post: “Men dominate Google image searches for most jobs — even for bartender, probation officer and medical scientist, roles in which women outnumber men. In 57 percent of occupations, image searches indicate the jobs are more male-dominated than they actually are. There’s evidence this skewed picture discourages women from aspiring to dozens of careers… Continue Reading

Economists calculate the true value of Facebook to its users in new study

Corrigan JR, Alhabash S, Rousu M, Cash SB (2018) How much is social media worth? Estimating the value of Facebook by paying users to stop using it. PLoS ONE 13(12): e0207101. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0207101 “Facebook, the online social network, has more than 2 billion global users. Because those users do not pay for the service, its benefits… Continue Reading

How Apps on Android Share Data with Facebook – Report

Privacy International: “Previous research has shown how 42.55 percent of free apps on the Google Play store could share data with Facebook, making Facebook the second most prevalent third-party tracker after Google’s parent company Alphabet. In this report, Privacy International illustrates what this data sharing looks like in practice, particularly for people who do not… Continue Reading

Measuring the “Filter Bubble”: How Google is influencing what you click

DuckDuckGo Blog: “Over the years, there has been considerable discussion of Google’s “filter bubble” problem. Put simply, it’s the manipulation of your search results based on your personal data. In practice this means links are moved up or down or added to your Google search results, necessitating the filtering of other search results altogether. These… Continue Reading

How to Delete Online Accounts You No Longer Need

Consumer Reports – Having too many digital accounts raises your risk of data being misused or stolen. Here’s how to clean house. By Thomas Germain. December 27, 2018 [h/t Pete Weiss] “Deleting online accounts is one of the best ways to protect your data security and privacy. The less data you have stored on corporate databases… Continue Reading