Using an iPhone to check in and ket a key at Hilton

Family at the hotel check in 

Hilton hotels to let you use your iPhone as your hotel key from next year
[Via 9to5Mac]

Queuing up at a hotel check-in desk is often the last thing you want to do after a long flight. Starting next year, you’ll be able to bypass the front desk altogether in Hilton hotels, your iPhone serving as as your hotel room key.

We’ve seen the same thing in smaller hotel groups, but Hilton’s adoption of the technology moves it very much into the mainstream. The group told the WSJ that it will begin introducing the new door locks next year, and expects to complete the global roll-out by the end of 2016.

The Hilton app already allows you to check-in electronically, but currently you still need to collect your room key from the front desk – which kind of defeats the object. With the new system, iPhone check-in will send a key code to your phone which can then be used to unlock your door.

[More]

 So hotels will need fewer people at the front desk now. Throw in iBeacons and the bell hops will know when you arrive and will be ready to gather your luggage as you simply go to your room.

Would be nice.

SpaceX on path to save government huge pile of dough

SpaceX Falcon 9 1.1 Launch Sequence at Vandenberg AFB 

SpaceX wins intermediate victory over US in launch contract case
[Via Ars Technica]

The United States government has lost its bid to toss SpaceX’s lawsuit over lucrative national security-related launch contracts.

In two orders issued on Thursday, the US Court of Federal Claims said that the two parties have been ordered to seek mediation as a way to resolve their ongoing dispute.

Three months ago, the private space firm sued after learning that the Air Force had entered into exclusive agreements with government contractors that locked out private companies from competing for the launch contracts without providing suitable justification. As of now, the only authorized contractor to send up Air Force payloads is United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

[More]

The Air Force essentially rushed through a no-bid contract just a few weeks before SpaceX would have been approved to compete for the contract.

The Boeing-Lockheed company, ULA, has had a monopoly on government contracts and these actions smell of sweetheart deals that come from the corporate welfare of government cost-plus contracts. These often become huge boondoggles that cost the taxpayer more than it should.

SpaceX has shown it can produce rockets every bit as safe as ULA and for perhaps half the price, if not much, much lower. Their disruptive impact on the space industry is sending huge ripples. 

Ripples that Boeing and Lockheed hoped to avoid by the rushed contract.

We are on the cusp of a new space race and the ripples cannot be avoided.


Coning this Fall – the end of credit cards?

 Leather Wallet

 

Apple’s e-wallet could debut as soon as this fall, possibly with ‘iPhone 6′
[Via AppleInsider]

A report on Wednesday claims Apple is accelerating work on a mobile payments system, or digital wallet, that could be ready by this fall, allowing customers to pay for physical goods with their iPhone instead of a credit card or cash.

[More]

I’ve written before about how Apple will change the whole idea of a credit card transaction, through the use of an iPhone and iBeacons. And how Apple made some basic changes in its networking protocols to sent encrypted data.

Now it looks like it might come here this Fall. Never have to remove your credit card. Use your iPhone to transit all the necessary data and encrpted for protection. Now you don’t have to worry about a waiter running your card twice, or copying the number or using their own software to copy the card.

In fact, with an iWatch, you might not even need to remove your iPhone from your pocket.

So now think if Apple receives a small percentage of every Visa transaction? Thiunk that might enhance their bottom line?

If I had spare money, I;d be buying Apple stock.

In reality, few geniuses did it alone. Perhaps none.

Genius

[Via Dave Winer's linkblog feed]

The End of ‘Genius‘.

[More]

Edison was wrong. Or at least the picture is. He was not a solitary genius working by himself, alone in the lab. He had the help of many, many others.

The perspiration did not come only from Edison. It came from over 200 researchers working on his ideas. The number should be 0.5% inspiration (his) and 99.5% perspiration (theirs).

One of the great debates between those who are of the Age of Reason and those of the Romantic: does genius come from the friction between individual drive and social requirements or does it come fully formed from the natural state of a solitary human?

Data supports the former view.

We all live in a social setting and almost all the things we call genius came about through discussions, debates and simple interactions in a community. Even if that community is a simple pair of people.

The idea of a solitary genius was  a construct of the romantics, an authoritarian group that arose as a reaction from the distributed democracy of the Age of Reason. The latter based itself on logical actions of the head – that Nature could be understood – giving us social changes embodied in things like the Declaration of Independence and the Industrial Revolution

The former based itself on the emotional affairs of the heart – that Nature could simply be observed, never understood – giving us artistic changes embodied in people such as Coleridge and Beethoven. The latter championed the connectedness of people, while the former championed the uniqueness of a solitary genius.

Recent research suggests the view of the romantic does not actually match reality; that every genius stood on the shoulders of giants; that social interaction drove and modified the results of a genius; that we often only know of genius because of the very same social interactions that romantics try to pretend are not there.

So why do we continue to support, if not actually require, a view that a single person can drive creativity by themselves, that they  can innovate alone?

I would suggest that we seek a balance – the fame of the individual against the anonymity of the group.. While we value the importance of community, we desire to be seen as more than a node in a network. Things move ahead because a small group (perhaps staring with a single person) change the way a community acts. It is the friction of the individual drives and the community needs that produce the best solutions.

A creative individual alone does nothing. A community without creativity  does nothing. A successful society requite both innovative individuals and communities that value innovation. They need both the head of Reason and the heart of Romantics.

In the end, though, we are social animals and everything needs to be seen through the prism of communities of humans.

As the article states: 

This is just one piece of an impressive body of research in social psychology and the new field of social neuroscience, which contends that individual agency often pales next to the imperatives of a collective.

Or, writing at the beginning of the Age of Enlightenment, from Thomas Done:

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

[…]

If a man carry treasure in bullion, or in a wedge of gold, and have none coined into current money, his treasure will not defray him as he travels. Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our home, heaven, by it. Another man may be sick too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a mine, and be of no use to him; but this bell, that tells me of his affliction, digs out and applies that gold to me: 

 We are all connected. No one does everything by themselves.

A treasure that exists only for one person has no value. What a genius provides must be valued by a community, otherwise it is no treasure.

 



Could iBeacons be coming for hoime use?

Recone-Electro-Voice-Speakers-_22890-480x360

Apple could make a killing with this little-known device
[Via MacDailyNews]

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“Unless consumers start carrying around two iPhones, investors are still waiting for Apple to come up with the next profit-driving monster,” Dan Newman writes for The Motley Fool.

“Many think this might be a role for the rumored iWatch. However, at an estimated selling price at half of an iPhone, around $300, and a consumer interest yet to be confirmed,” Newman writes. “But, one device that links up with iThings anywhere just might give Apple an iPhone-sized financial boost: an iBeacon transmitter for every home and business.”

“Imagine walking past the grocery store and receiving a notification of a sale on your favorite brand of cereal. Or, after sitting at a bar for an hour, receiving a coupon for your next round of drinks. Or, leaving a clothing store and automatically being charged for the items that you ordered to fit. iBeacon can do these things with low-energy Bluetooth technology, or BLE,” Newman writes. “Apple introduced iBeacon in 2013, and recently came out with standards needed to earn consent for use of the trademark. There are many variations of iBeacons that third-party manufacturers have designed, like Estimote’s rock-shaped transmitter, or the more utilitarian AIRcable USB dongle. However, a more Apple-esque design might come from the company. According to FCC filings, Apple has tested an iBeacon transmitter that it would manufacture itself.”

[More]

We keep hearing about all these business uses for iBeacons -“Have coupons sent to your iPhone as you walk around.”

People will only use this if it is useful FOR THEM, not if it makes life easier for businesses. I’ve already written about how this technology could be useful for people – like making paying for meals at restaurants so much easier.

What happens at home when you have iBeacons from Apple available? First, combine them with Apple’s HomeKit. So your computer/iOS device knows where you are.

HomeKit will be designed to connect apps and home devices. Add some iBeacons and these devices will turn on or off depending on where you are.

So, as you walk around the house, it can do things, like turn on the light or open the garage door when you need it.

Or a home speaker system that not only plays music you want to hear as you move through the house but plays different music on different speakers depending on where people are in the house.

I’ll bet there are more.

Uselss app finds usefulness in warning Israelis of rocket attacks

 Bomb Shelter in the Golan Heights, Israel

Pointless Yo app now alerts Israelis to rocket attacks
[Via Ars Technica]

An app that became infamous for its astounding lack of utility has found a purpose: warning Israeli citizens about rocket strikes. As reported by the Times of Israel (via Valleywag), Israelis have been using the app Yo to subscribe to alerts from Red Alert: Israel about incoming attacks during the Hamas-Israel conflict.

Yo was roundly mocked when it secured $1.2 million in funding and again when it was shown to have gaping security holes. It does almost nothing; tapping a contact’s name within the app sends a push notification to that person’s phone and makes it say “yo.” That’s… it.

Now Yo has partnered with Red Alert: Israel, an app that shows users “where the rockets fired at Israel by Gaza terrorists are aimed,” according to the Times of Israel. Red Alert: Israel’s app sounds an alarm during attacks, and it’s meant to work as a backup for the sirens that sound to alert residents. Users who so choose can now receive a “yo” when rockets have been launched.

[More]

I love this.  The developers of Yo are nothing if not adaptable. Eight hours of work to create an app that could save lives. From a totally useless app to a reasonably valuable one. Who is laughing now?

Distributed approaches again succeed over hierarchical.

Unbelievable, Google Wear bug prevents paid apps to be used. QA fail?

 Fossil's concept watches (next to a Nexus S phone)

Google DRM bug blocks paid Android Wear apps
[Via Ars Technica]

With smartwatches running Android Wear slowly starting to trickle out into the world, developers are coming to grips with Google’s new wearable platform. In doing so, they have found one of its first big bugs: paid apps don’t work.

Currently, there’s no such thing as a “standalone Wear app.” Watch apps must be downloaded by a phone using the Play Store and include an Android Wear component. After installing the phone app locally, the phone sends the Wear component to the watch over a Bluetooth connection.

Paid Android apps are encrypted, with the encryption key obtained from the Play Store and passed to the phone. But according to a report from Android Police, the key does not currently get passed to the watch. With no way to decrypt the packages, the watch fails to install encrypted wearable apps. The only current workaround is not to charge for the app, which removes the Play Store’s encryption.

[More]

So, you pay for an app. install it as expected and it refuses to work.

How was this missed in any sort of quality control? Google encourages developers to make paid apps but then only allows free apps on their wearable stuff.

How in the world did this get out?

Foxconn preparing robots to replace people

FANUC Robot Assembly Demo

 

Foxconn prepares to replace workers with robots in iPhone 6 assembly process
[Via 9to5Mac]

Foxconn is preparing to enhance its assembly process with a new line of robots, the CEO of the iPhone manufacturer’s parent company said during a shareholder meeting. According to the executive, Apple will be the first company to reap the benefits of the new process, likely indicating that the iPhone 6 will be the first phone to be produced by the new machines.

Each of the planned 10,000 robots will cost the company between $20,000 and $25,000, and will be capable of churning out 300,000 smartphones on average. The machines, which are said to be in the final testing stages now, won’t be available for sale to other companies, according to CEO Terry Gou, as Foxconn will likely not have enough to meet its own needs.

Foxconn recently went on a hiring spree in preparation for the upcoming Apple smartphone, reportedly hiring as many as 100,000 new workers. There’s no word yet on how (or if) the decision to implement a mechanical solution on the assembly line will affect those jobs.

[More]

This has been coming on for some time. I expect in a few years, Foxconn will have far fewer human employees. Then what will all those people do?

An important book on innovation from Pixar

Incredible Bokeh 

[Crossposted at SpreadingScience]

GM and Philips nearly bought Pixar, but deal’s collapse allowed Steve Jobs to invest
[Via AppleInsider]

Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull reveals in a new book that the now-legendary animation company was nearly sold to General Motors and Philips for its technology, but the deal fell through just before it could be signed.

[More]

What happened at Pixar not only serves as an example of an innovative business but may also help explain one of the great transformations in recent history – Steve Jobs from his original Apple incarnation to his modern Apple incarnation.

He gained much better understanding of what worked with creative solutions and how to positively destroy things in order to move on to new areas.

Things would be so much different today if GM and Philips had gotten Pixar.

It could happen: “Next on Fox – Start-up Battlefield”

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument II

[Via Dave Winer's linkblog feed]

The whole idea of a battlefield for startups is ridiculous. Have a love-in for startups. A be-in.

[More]

Gack! It’s like making starting up a company into a reality show.

I agree with Dave Winer.

Make it a win-win proposition not a zero sum. That is the 21st century approach.

The company has to destroy itself, in order to save itself

Mac Keyboard 

Apple: Lessons in Self-Destruction. Richard Gutjahr’s blog
[Via asymco]

My thanks to Richard Gutjahr for taking time to talk about self-disruption. I met Richard as the Master of Ceremonies at the Censhare FutureDays event in Munich. He interviewed me for his blog and posted the results as a video and sound file. Richard is a journalist (Berliner Tagesspiegel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) and TV personality (news presenter for Rundschau night).

Horace and I have met at a conference in Germany a few weeks ago. During a break, we were talking about the future of Apple. Horace made a statement, which I found quite intriguing: In order to remain innovative, it is not enough to reinvent yourself again and again. Apple must be the one to destroy its own business.

Hour-long conversation including audio and video: Apple: Lessons in Self-Destruction.

[More]

“In order to remain innovative, it is not enough to reinvent yourself again and again. Apple must be the one to destroy its own business.”

That is what a 21st century company has to do. Google keeps re-inventing itself. Apple tries to destroy itself. The Mac destroyed the Apple II. The iPod destroyed the Mac. The iPhone destroyed the iPod.

What will destroy the iPhone?

(And by destroy, I don’t mean make vanish. Just toppled as the company’s lead money maker.)

Your iPhone will make a better, more secure wallet than your wallet

 iPhone 5S

Mobile money services on the rise worldwide as Apple eyes Touch ID payment system
[Via AppleInsider]

If Apple is able to drive adoption of its rumored iTunes-backed mobile payment system among wealthy consumers at the same pace as similar systems in the developing world, it could be one of the company’s most important — and profitable — strategic moves.

[More]

I’ve written about the effect the iPhone will have on credit cards before. I think this will be a key aspect of the new iPhone coming out (Apple will have had over a year to work out all the needed aspects of TouchId).

You iPhone will be more secure than the wallet you have. Only Apple will have the secure enclave that protects your data. Even losing your iPhone will not allow anyone access to the credit card numbers, like losing your wallet.

Combine this with iBeacons and Apple will control it all. I would not be surprised to see Google and the DOJ  go after Apple in a few years for their emerging monopoly in this area ;-)

Amazon using Walmart tactics

Books 

Amazon said to be ‘increasingly ruthless’ in negotiations with UK publishers
[Via AppleInsider]

Hachette is not the only imprint to find itself under Amazon’s thumb as the online retailing giant has begun turning the heat up on smaller publishers in the U.K., demanding terms that one publishing executive likened to a “form of assisted suicide for the industry.”

[More]

WalMart has been famous for squeezing its suppliers to the bone. Abusing a monopsony (where there is only 1 buyer) is not illegal because it keeps prices lower for the customer.

Abuse of a monopoly (where there is only 1 seller) is illegal but both WalMart and Amazon do not run afoul of this. 

The reason Apple lost against the DOJ was because of this – it is not illegal to abuse a monopsony but it is illegal to collude to keep prices high.

I think this can only end with the destruction of the current business models of book publishers, which will have a large impact on authors.

But this is just a continuing change in many creative industries. Before, the filtering to identify commercial works took place BEFORE publication, resulting in book  and music publishers providing editorial oversight.

Now, this editorial oversight will happen AFTER publication. It may not be pretty.

How to get money in the app economy

IMGP3962 

[Via Dave Winer's linkblog feed]

The Inside Story Of Yo: There Isn’t Actually $1 Million In The Bank.

[More]

An example of the app economy.Two guys, less than 4 hours of work, over $1 million in investment.

And perhaps a future.

“Nice online store you got here. Be a shame for it to disappear from search rankings.”

DSCF0012 

Before Google penalized eBay’s search standing, eBay authored a study claiming Google Search ads are useless
[Via PandoDaily]

Before Google penalized eBay’s search standing, eBay authored a study claiming Google Search ads are useless

[More]

Two things: it appears that Google Ads provide little of value; and, it you point that out, Google appears to do the equivalent of ‘burning down the house’ in order require the use of ads, even if they provide no value. It changes its ranking algorithm to remove your links from the top searches.

Looks like buying Google Ads is more a form of tribute than a benefit. Google gets paid in order to keep an online company’s search rankings high. A zero-sum approach rather than a win-win.

So besides grabbing all our data to sell without recompense, Google requires tribute from online companies. More and more they are degrading the usefulness of their main purpose to exist – search. I routinely now get highly ranked pages that do not have my search terms anywhere on the page. Totally useless.

Perhaps time to check out Duck, Duck, Go.

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