Seating upgrades using iBeacon


Apple’s iBeacon used to push seat upgrades in nosebleeds at sporting events
[Via AppleInsider]

Some U.S. sports arenas have begun pushing ticket upgrades to fans in the cheap seats through Apple’s iBeacon technology for iPhone, offering users the ability to upgrade their seats quickly and easily.


Nice win-win. The team gets some money for a seat that would already be empty and gets to make sure that the staium looks fuller.

The fans get to experience the game in a much better location. All because they had an iPhone.

An iPad, a couple of mikes and a mixer – Musical magic

Inside the iPad rig Jimmy Fallon used to duet with Billy Joel on ‘The Tonight Show’
[Via AppleInsider]

Apple’s iPad was the centerpiece of a live performance this week featuring the legendary Billy Joel and “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, and AppleInsider has learned exactly what hardware and software producers utilized to make the memorable duet happen.


Another demonstration of how technology can create magical moment.s Those who thought an iPad was just for consuming content were just plain wrong.

Here we see two very talented gentlemen creating an entire do-wap group with just some software and some hardware.

No need for a recording studio. Just a demonstration of sheer talent.

Disruptive? One woman brilliantly doing the work of tens, if not hundreds

Doing the entire band, recording, producing, filming (by her husband, Paul), distribution and marketing. Paying for it all by using crowdfunding approaches.

Here is how she describes the creation on her Facebook page:

You know, I was just sitting at the table, practicing my live set for Austin next week, having a glass of wine (or five) and Paul came in and decided to break out his new Black Magic Design Cinema Camera and test it while I was testing this song out, figuring out how to loop it live….I got drunk and we ordered pizza and the next day we put this up. No tricks, just a girl making live music. 

It took about 2 weeks for it to break out like this (and she did one performance at a bar during SXSW.

She is in control of virtually all elements of her art.

All from Kansas!

Kawehi raised almost $30,000 on the Kickstarter project for this. From just 407 people. 

I bet she has a lot more for the next one. She doubled her Facebook likes in one day because of Esquire’s article.

She may never have the millions of sales that big music stars get but she does not need to support the hundreds required for that business model.

She is using technology in a way to sustain he own livelihood. All in her own control.

This is a perfect example of how technology destroys authoritarian hierarchies. No studio manager telling her what she can and cannot sing, who her producer is or where she  will perform.

She connects directly with the people who like her music and will support her as an artist.

The authoritarians are on their way out and they are scared.

$90 accessory for iPhone demonstrates disruption of medicine


Stanford University develops $90 iPhone accessory to replace ophthalmology kit costing tens of thousands
[Via 9to5Mac]

Researchers at Stanford University’s School of Medicine have developed two low-cost iPhone adapters that provide images of the eye that usually require specialist ophthalmology equipment costing tens of thousands of dollars. The university hopes that it will be useful both for primary care physicians in the U.S. as well as rural medical centres in developing countries.

The adapters make it easy for anyone with minimal training to take a picture of the eye and share it securely with other health practitioners or store it in the patient’s electronic record.

“Think Instagram for the eye,” said one of the developers, assistant professor of ophthalmology Robert Chang, MD … 


Software and hardware that puts a $10,000 device in the hands of anyone with a cell phone. Now EMT or emergency room doctors can do a quick scan of the eye, when needed, and send the pictures on to the ophthalmologists, instead of just describing what the eye looks like.

We will see a lot more of these sorts of accessories applied to smartphones.

Could Healthbook change everything, once again?

Blood Pressure Monitor 

This is Healthbook, Apple’s major first step into health & fitness tracking
[Via 9to5Mac]

Seven years out from the original iPhone’s introduction, and four years past the iPad’s launch, Apple has found its next market ripe for reinvention: the mobile healthcare and fitness-tracking industry. Apple’s interest in healthcare and fitness tracking will be displayed in an iOS application codenamed Healthbook. I first wrote about Apple’s plans for Healthbook in January, and multiple sources working directly on the initiative’s development have since provided new details and images of Healthbook that provide a clearer view of Apple’s plans for dramatically transforming the mobile healthcare and fitness-tracking space…


Personalized health is one of the changing aspect of medicine. For example, being able to test blood sugar before and after every meal can provide data regarding exactly which foods are a problem or not for the individual.

Now, Apple needs to sell hardware ot really make its profits so I expect the Healthbook to work with products Apple will sell – like a wristband that provides much of the physical data.

I know just having a lot of data showing how my weight fluctuates has helped me understand my metabolism more.

Having more data could tell us each a lot more about ourselves.

Of course, the FDA will have something to say about al this.

An iPhone case that measures your health – HP, BP, lung fucnton, temperature, EKG

Wello brings health data to the humble iPhone case
[Via PandoDaily]

Health monitoring is leaving the doctor’s office and heading to the smartphone.

Azoi today announced an iPhone case that can measure its owner’s blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature after just a few seconds of contact. The device will also ship with a free peripheral that allows owners to measure their lung functions. It’s called Wello, and it’s now available for pre-order in the United States, China, Canada, and other countries.

Wello is the latest example of the shrinkage of health monitoring. Companies like Jawbone and Fitbit are turning their wrist-born fitness trackers into intelligent health monitors. Scanadu is trying to condense the equipment found in a doctor’s office into a thumb-sized device.

Health monitoring is getting easier than ever. Now we’ll just have to see if that makes people care more about their well-being or if these devices will receive about the same amount of attention as the decades’ worth of fitness tools collecting dust in closets around the world.


We will see many more of these soon. Assuming the FDA can deal with the deluge.

This will be out “pending FDA approval.” Hope it is soon (they say Fall 2014) because it is really kinda cool.

Check out the video.

I want one. Or maybe Apple will be making a purchase  soon.

Interesting coincidence between Apple’s vulnerability and the NSA

sunset from airplane

★ On the Timing of iOS’s SSL Vulnerability and Apple’s ‘Addition’ to the NSA’s PRISM Program
[Via Daring Fireball]

Jeffrey Grossman, on Twitter:

I have confirmed that the SSL vulnerability was introduced in iOS 6.0. It is not present in 5.1.1 and is in 6.0.

iOS 6.0 shipped on 24 September 2012.

According to slide 6 in the leaked PowerPoint deck on NSA’s PRISM program, Apple was “added” in October 2012.

These three facts prove nothing; it’s purely circumstantial. But the shoe fits.

Sure would be interesting to know who added that spurious line of code to the file. Conspiratorially, one could suppose the NSA planted the bug, through an employee mole, perhaps. Innocuously, the Occam’s Razor explanation would be that this was an inadvertent error on the part of an Apple engineer. It looks like the sort of bug that could result from a merge gone bad, duplicating the goto fail; line.

Once in place, the NSA wouldn’t even have needed to find the bug by manually reading the source code. All they would need are automated tests using spoofed certificates that they run against each new release of every OS. Apple releases iOS, the NSA’s automated spoofed certificate testing finds the vulnerability, and boom, Apple gets “added” to PRISM. (Wasn’t even necessarily a fast turnaround — the NSA could have discovered the vulnerability over the summer, while iOS 6 was in developer program beta testing.)

Or, maybe nothing, and this is all a coincidence.

I see five levels of paranoia:

  1. Nothing. The NSA was not aware of this vulnerability.
  2. The NSA knew about it, but never exploited it.
  3. The NSA knew about it, and exploited it.
  4. NSA itself planted it surreptitiously.
  5. Apple, complicit with the NSA, added it.

Me, I’ll go as far as #3.1 In fact, I think that’s actually the optimistic scenario — because we know from the PRISM slides that the NSA claims some ability to do what this vulnerability would allow. So if this bug, now closed, is not what the NSA was exploiting, it means there might exist some other vulnerability that remains open.

  1. “Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.” —Napoleon Bonaparte 


Best conspiracy theory that might actually have some basis in reality. Apple might owe Snowden a hearty pat on the back, He revealedthe fact that the NSA was hacking Apple.

Apple was added to the PRISM program only a couple of months after the vulnerability first appeared. And this vulnerability allowed exactly the sort of thing that the NSA said it could do.

Now the paranoid thing is to think that the NSA used a mole to place the vulnerability there. I’d hate to think that the Security State would purposefully undercut a UScompanyto feed its needs.

If it did, heads need to roll.

But, what this does suggest is that Apple has been working overtime to figure out just how the NSA was hacking Apple.

Now Apple has fixed this. Wonder how the NSA feels about it?

Apple and medical devices – a new App store?



Apple secretly met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk; also working on tech to predict heart attacks
[Via AppleInsider]

Apple over the past 18 months has been in aggressive pursuit of new technologies in potential growth markets that have reportedly seen the company orchestrate closed-door meetings with the nation’s top electric car manufacturer while also trying its hand at developing technology that could help predict heart attacks.


Much has been made about the Tesla link but I am more interested in the medical device approach.

One big hangup for any medical device is the need for FDA approval. You simply cannot make a blood pressure reader on a smartwatch. The FDA wants to make sure that it provides accurate measurements.

And the FDA comes down hard on anyone who does not follow its procedures.

So, Apple had a high level meeting with the FDA in January. We have a good idea that its smartwatch may have health monitors in it, along the line of Fitbit or the Nike band.

But, I think it will be set up for something more – as the nexus for a whole constellation of medical devices which connect to it. 

Like the app store, Apple will not build all these devices itself. It will provide the opportunity for others to make the apps and hardware, perhaps even working with the FDA to facilitate the process. And take a cut.

How about an oximeter that already connects to a wrist bound display? Or an ambulatory blood pressure monitor? It would be easy to modify this to a Thunderbolt connection.

Right now, ophthalmologists are using handheld ultrasound wands that attach via USB to a labtop. How about if the wand connected to a smartwatch which then transmitted the information to the laptop?

I don’t think Apple will be making the medical devices itself. It will simply create a medical app store.

Apple and Tesla -I say no merger but collaboraton

Tesla Roadster-4 

Report: Apple talking to Tesla
[Via Macworld]

Adrian Perica is a very busy man. Over the past 18 months, the mergers and acquisitions chief at Apple has been scouring the globe looking for deals, snatching up everything from search engines and data analytics to mapping software and motion tracking chips.

Such a buying spree has ignited fierce speculation in tech circles and on Wall Street about Apple’s future ambitions, especially as smartphone and tablet sales start to slow. Most of that speculation has centered on wearable technology or perhaps a souped-up upgrade of Apple TV.


The media simply can only see things as huge megadeals. The classic zero sum – one company grows while the other disappears.

Thuis Google spending and losing tens of billions on Motorola is simply good business. But Apple spending $500 million shows how desperate they are.

Look, Apple is developing the iOS in a  car. A strategic collaboration between Appke and Tesla would benefit both.

A buyout really does neither.

Both Cook and Musk are smarter than that.

This is how the future happens – teleteaching because of a freeway pileup


Hun School teacher holds class via tablet as she sits in Pa. turnpike gridlock |

After missing multiple school days because of snow this winter, Hun School history teacher Lynn McNulty wasn’t going to let a series of chain-reaction car crashes and a miles-long traffic jam on the Pennsylvania Turnpike yesterday keep her from school another day.

“I was probably about two miles back from the big, serious pileup, but there were accidents all around,” McNulty said yesterday. “And I was like, ‘Oh this is bad.’”

After sitting in the stand-still for about an hour at the Willow Grove exit on the turnpike and live-streaming a news program on her cell phone, McNulty realized her chances of getting to school in time to teach her advanced placement European history class were not good. So she posted a message to her class through the school’s internal communications system, telling them to contact her via video chat when they got in.


She, and the school’s support team, taught the class from her car while stuck on the freeway. Without any preparation before hand, simply using what was freely available to them.

No need to ask permission to transmit over the web, no need for huge timeframes to put this together.

Simply make it happen by mashing up the tools already available. Instead of sitting with a substitute, the class learned its lesson for the day. She accomplished her mission, even when stuck on the freeway miles from the classroom.

The future is here.

When doing right for your users loses you money, time to do something else

 1906 Newspaper Ad

The Graph That Changed Jon Bell
[Via Daring Fireball]

Jon Bell of UX Launchpad, on his time at Real Networks a decade ago:

One day my manager showed me a horrible graph. It was pretty simple: the graph was steady, then it dropped straight down, then after a short period, the line shot straight back up and stayed level again.

“That’s what happens when we do the right thing”, he said while pointing at the drop, “and that’s how much money we lose. We tried it just to see how bad it was for our bottom line. And this is what the data tells us.”

“Wow,” I said, taken aback. My employer clearly had two options: “do the right thing” or “be profitable”. That was the position they had maneuvered themselves into through a series of bad management decisions.

Once you’re backed into a corner like this, where your users’ happiness and satisfaction are no longer aligned with your revenue, you’ve already lost. It’s like the dark side of the Force — you should never even start down that path, or you’ll be corrupted.


The problem  with too may companies, especially ones based on ad revenue, is that the needs of their users do not always align with its customers- – those who [ay the bills.

Because at some point the company will likely have to choose. And it will have to choose the customer’s needs which will cause users to leave, starting the death spiral that kills the company.

Can this be beaten? Probably not very often.

The app economy changes everything, even for young farmers


Young farmers win award for cows app
[Via BBC News | Science/Nature | World Edition]

The app keeping tabs on farm herds


Turns out that, at least in England, there is a lot of paperwork reqired for small farms raising cattle. Now they have an easy app that coordinates the paperwork and ceates a useful database on each cow.

Now just addGPS on each cow and they can track exactly where they are next.

Clay Shirkey: The plight of American colleges – disruptive change and the loss of the Golden AGe

University of Oregon 

There isn’t enough money to keep educating adults the way we’re doing it
[Via Clay Shirky]

Interest in using the internet to slash the price of higher education is being driven in part by hope for new methods of teaching, but also by frustration with the existing system. The biggest threat those of us working in colleges and universities face isn’t video lectures or online tests. It’s the fact that we live in institutions perfectly adapted to an environment that no longer exists.

In the first half of the 20th century, higher education was a luxury and a rarity in the US. Only 5% or so of adults, overwhelmingly drawn from well-off families, had attended college. That changed with the end of WWII. Waves of discharged soldiers subsidized by the GI Bill, joined by the children of the expanding middle class, wanted or needed a college degree. From 1945 to 1975, the number of undergraduates increased five-fold, and graduate students nine-fold. PhDs graduating one year got jobs teaching the ever-larger cohort of freshman arriving the next.

This growth was enthusiastically subsidized. Between 1960 and 1975, states more than doubled their rate of appropriations for higher education, from four dollars per thousand in state revenue to ten. Post-secondary education extended its previous mission—liberal arts education for elites—to include both more basic research from faculty and more job-specific training for students. Federal research grants quadrupled; at the same time, a Bachelors degree became an entry-level certificate for an increasing number of jobs.

This expansion created tensions among the goals of open-ended exploration, training for the workplace, and research, but these tensions were masked by new income. Decades of rising revenue meant we could simultaneously become the research arm of the Federal government, the training ground for a rapidly professionalizing workforce, and the preservers of the liberal arts tradition. Even better, we could do all of this while increasing faculty ranks and reducing the time senior professors spent in the classroom. This was the Golden Age of American academia.


I think Clay hits the historical perspective right on the nose. Higher education as we used to know it is long gone and the edifices standing now are living on borrowed time if they think they can ever restore it.

They need to be focussing on how to replace them using the disruptive technologies available. because the need is still there, just a different mode of operation will be required.

But the problem of the Innovator’s Dilemma –  even when an organization knows it must change, it often fails to do so productively because it is imbedded in the infrastructure of the previous incarnation – hits colleges just as much as it does corporations.

Colleges are based on a 150 year old German model. It appears the usefulness of that model is at an end.

Any dscussion on what that model will be?

WSJ catches up with me – Apple going into mobile payments with iPhone


WSJ: Apple ‘laying groundwork’ for mobile payments system
[Via AppleInsider]

A report on Friday claims Apple has expressed interest in handling payments for physical goods and services on its iDevices, suggesting a branded mobile payment solution is in the offing.


I’ve been writing about this since September. It will change things.

Why the Secure Enclave could change credit card transactions forever

Could the iWatch also be a wallet on your wrist? Apple may be about to disrupt retail transactions

Apple enhances TCP. Could tcpcrypt be far behind?

How Apple will make your iphone act like the best smartcard for transactions

How corporations control government – If you do it, you pay $271. If Google does it, they pay $1.

 Google Maps

When companies break the law and people pay: The scary lesson of the Google Bus –
[Via Salon]

Ever since Rebecca Solnit took to the London Review of Books  to ruminate on the meaning of the private chartered buses that transport tech industry workers around the San Francisco Bay Area (she called them, among other things, “the spaceships on which our alien overlords have landed to rule us,”) the Google Bus has become the go-to symbol for discord in Silicon Valley.  First a Google Bus piñata was smashed to pieces at a rally in San Francisco’s Mission district last May.  Then protesters drove a fake Google Bus in the annual Pride Parade with props linking the shuttles to gentrification, eviction and displacement.  By December, when activists blockaded an actual Google bus on the street, the city and media were primed for the street theater stunt heard round the world. This frenzy seemingly culminated yesterday when, following another morning blockade and protest and several hours of contentious public comment, San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Authority unanimously approved a plan to begin regulating the shuttles by requiring them to obtain a permit and pay a $1 per stop fee.


Doesn’t seem quire right. Wonder what will happen next.


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