Microsoft Between A Rock And A Lumia

Microsoft Between A Rock And A Lumia

An Activist and a Scientist Break Ground in the G.M.O. Debate

newyorker:

image

Amanda Little writes about a recent debate between Michael Pollan and Pamela Ronald, a prominent plant geneticist and a professor at U.C.-Davis, over G.M.O. foods: http://nyr.kr/1rrzURm

“It’s not easy for anyone, let alone a plant geneticist who spends fifty hours a week directing a large laboratory, to persuade a crowd of young activists to shift their thinking on one of the most contentious environmental debates of our time.”

Photograph of Pamela Ronald by Roy Kaltschmidt.

Buried toward the end is perhaps the most sensible way I frame my modest and still-questioning concerns around GMOs.

“ “I haven’t read anything to convince me that there are inherent problems with the technology. I think most of the problems arise from the way we’re choosing to apply it, what we’re using it for, and how we’re framing the problems that it is being used to solve,” he said.”


stoweboyd:

The Emerging Foundation For The Future Of Work

Benedict Evans has a great piece that confirms what many have been saying: smartphone adoption is an enormous game changer:

Benedict Evans, iPads and tablet growth

[…] the smartphone explosion is putting the internet into the hands of far more people than ever before, and it’s alway there. If you’re watching TV and want to know about an actor or a product, do you go upstairs and turn on your PC, walk across the room to pick up a tablet, or just pull a smartphone out of your pocket? The declining relative utility of the PC is reflected in a slowing replacement cycle (you don’t replace the one you have) – the tablet has yet to make the sale in the first place, outside the initial wave of adopters. 

Compounding this, the smartphone explosion is accompanied by an apps explosion. There are thousands of amazing apps on iPad (and very few on Android tablets, which is why the balance of use between the two is so skewed), but the smartphone opportunity is so much bigger that it attracts much more attention: there are more of these devices, some use cases make much more sense on them (such as Instagram) and some only make sense on them (such as Uber, Hailo or Lyft). So the smartphone experience now is very rich. 

The charts say it all. We are in a smartphone world, and it will change everything from top to bottom, and those impacts are only being hinted at, with the first changes showing up in the decline of the old ways: PC sales and desktop software sales, including use of web-based apps that are designed for browser use. We are starting to see the rise of the new ways, like the explosion of phone-friendly messaging apps, for personal and work use.

There is a revolution about to happen, a new era of computing based on increasingly powerful smartphones, ubiquitous connectivity, and context-driven apps that leverage the information latent in our actions and connections. 

Expect that 50% of existing enterprise software companies will not be able to make this transition, despite being well-capitalized and running on millions of computers. At least half of the winners in the next 10 years will be startups, many that don’t exist yet.

Context-driven cooperative work tools on smartphones is the emerging foundation for the future of work.

Seems obvious and yet there aren’t enough options out there for truly collaborative phone apps. Too many try to solve things the same way as we did on the PC. The lesson should be that it’s different, it’s not just a tiny PC.

Enterprise software sucks.

We don’t talk about it much here at hn, but think about it. Every man-made object you encounter every day was manufactured somewhere. And moved, more than once. Now add in all the sales, marketing, customer service, operations, accounting, finance, human resources, etc., etc., etc. needed to support that manufacturing and distribution. Next, add financial markets, healthcare, energy, entertainment, etc., etc., etc. and you have tons of stuff. But you don’t see it and rarely think about it. Kinda like most of the iceberg being underwater.

And all of this needs software. And most of what they have sucks. I mean really sucks. Enterprise software is so bad that there are multi-billion dollar industries devoted to consulting on how to use it, how to share it, and how to store it in data warehouses and harvest it. It’s so bad that lots of people have to dump the data out of their enterprise systems and into Microsoft Excel just to get anything done.

When Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, he said because that’s where the money is.

What banks were in the 1930’s, enterprise IT is in the 21st century.

via Hacker News

In our ongoing theme around the challenges of enterprise tech (to put it mildly), we found this classic thread from Hacker News from a few years back.  Guess what?  Nothing much as changed.

At Enhatch, we are doing our very best to rethink the way business apps get created and deployed to users.  For one, we believe most needs in the enterprise could easily be handled by elegantly crafted apps that are available on mobile devices.  That is where employees are spending more and more of their day doing work and the device they are most comfortable with.  But more importantly, why are we not giving business users the ability to create their own apps and their own processes that conform to the way they work?  Maybe users, and not IT department or outside consultants, know best as to what they want and when they need it and how to get it done.

It is time we rob the enterprise IT vendors and raid the armies of the systems integrators, and like Robin Hood bring joy, riches, and freedom to the users from the tyranny of bad technology.

(via enhatch)

Absolutely right. Enterprise software is terrible and years behind what consumers use. Some of it is embarrassingly bad, eg every corporate travel site.

There are two ways to deal with this. One, software companies could focus on enterprise. Two, enterprise companies could embrace what is out there for consumers.

I’d bet on the latter.

These 8 Depressing Bike Theft Statistics Show Just How Bad the Problem Is
Eric Jaffe, theatlanticcities.com

One of the biggest prob­lems with stop­ping city bike theft is that cities don’t even under­stand the extent of the prob­lem. Police depart­ments often con­sid­er the inci­dents a low pri­or­i­ty and fail to pur­sue thieves, which in turn…

The question one needs to ask: who buys these stolen bikes? If there wasn’t a market then there would be no value in stealing them. How much focus is there on the end game?

Why Wearables Like Nike’s FuelBand Aren’t Working | Re/code

Why Wearables Like Nike’s FuelBand Aren’t Working | Re/code

The Pinnacle of Fitness Failure: Samsung’s Gear Fit Activity Tracker
Rainmaker, dcrainmaker.com

On Friday I unboxed and got all set Samsung’s Gear Fit activity tracker. This is the company’s first direct attempt at competing with activity monitors from the likes of traditional players like Nike and FitBit, as well as newer entrants such as…

Sounds like a fitness tracker designed by committee rather than having honest to goodness people use it.

I wonder who will get this right first? Misfit Shine has been pretty good so far but the lack of a robust watch band is limiting.


npr:

Photos: Casey Paige/Billings Gazette

Springtime in Yellowstone Lake, WY: The sun comes out, the temperatures rise and the 20-ton bulldozers start plowing.

Yellowstone National Park has a team of 14 people who work for about three months to clear the roads of snow and ice for visitors. One thousand gallons of fuel are used daily to clear the park’s 466 miles of roads. 

This job is not for the faint of heart. Conditions can be tough, with temperatures reaching 20 below zero, and storms and wind blowing snow onto cleared paths. 

“The most ground I’ve ever covered in a day in 10 miles,” plow crew Kenny Whitman told the Billings Gazette. “The least is seven-tenths of a mile. You get in snow 14-feet deep, and you stay all day long.”

One reason this veteran crew keeps coming back? 

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” snowplow worker Lance Tyson told the Gazette. “There’s no tourists, nobody bothers us and the buffalo and elk calves are being born." 

— Lauren (via @BrettBFrench/Billings Gazette)

Does it seem strange to burn 1000 gallons of fuel in a national park?