Category: Technology

3-D Printing is On the Near Horizon and Here are Seven Good Reaons Why

An HP 3D Printer Available Now

An HP 3D Printer Available Now

Well, six reasons really. The seventh is a little frivolous but that doesn’t make it less a profitable idea.

This article contains seven pretty intriguing, potentially practical applications for this new technology. Several of my friends are paying close attention to this market. It’s clearly filled with promise.

The possibilities of this technology advance are infinite and a dedicated hobbyist interested in getting started can do so for under $500.


Still Messin’ With My Passwords

Big Brother is bugging me. Again.

Programs and Web sites that treat you as if you were too lazy or stupid or unconscious to take good care of yourself online and try to proactively help you get better at it are incredibly annoying. I’ve written here before about the idiotic requirements various Web sites place on passwords.

This afternoon a colleague sent me a document via his Dropbox link to it. I clicked the link in the email and was given the option of directly downloading it or logging in with my own Dropbox account to have it stored online. I chose the latter.

Up pops a page that says my password on Dropbox has expired because I haven’t changed it for a while. WTF?! Where do you get off expiring my password, you busy-bodies?! I mean, suggesting that I change it because I haven’t for a while is one thing, but just flat-out barring my access because you don’t like how long it’s been since I changed my password? Out-freaking-rageous.

And what about any apps I have that are interconnected with Dropbox? Are they now going to stop working and require me to update passwords as well? Why should I do that if I’m perfectly confident in the security of my password and my data?

Sometimes, doing things just because you can isn’t a great idea. This is one of those times. Stop “helping” me.

LinkedIn’s New Content Strategy is Very Smart

LinkedIn has recently unveiled a new content strategy that I think shows someone at that social networking company is thinking.

It started a few weeks ago when I began noticing a new type of email showing up in my InBox from the folks at LinkedIn. These were news teasers pointing me to informative posts made by people on the site to whom I was not necessarily yet linked. Thought leaders, they are called. I didn’t see any major press about the new feature (though I could well have simply missed it) but I was intrigued enough to open and read the email. Then I started clicking on the links in some of the emails. Now I’ve come to believe that LinkedIn may have hit a real sweet spot here.

Their news updates combine two things: commentary on topics of current interest or import (most of the time) and at least seemingly authoritative writers. This is quite intriguing to me because it is an attempt, at one level, to bridge the gap between information overload and insufficient use of credibility or reputation to filter the news flow. I’m monitoring carefully.

But I am concerned about one prospect I read. It seems LinkedIn sees this use of thought leaders (chosen by what means is not clear to me) as a sort of pilot project. They plan to open it up to more people and, according to at least one account, all LinkedIn users at some point. I hope they don’t do that, at least not without some way to separate wheat from chaff, or they will have usurped one of this new idea’s primary uses for me: filtering out the BS.

Microsoft’s Lost Decade and Apple’s Coming Days in the Desert

My buddy George Sidman shared this lengthy article on the decline and fall of Microsoft with me this morning. It’s a great read, if a bit wordy, and though it takes a while to get to the real point, it is nonetheless a very insightful bit of thinking.

Here’s what I wrote in response, edited to remove personal material.

I see this as a continuation or fulfillment of my long-held Saturation Theory. When a company that holds a dominant share of a market reaches the point where there are few if any new outlets for its products, it hunkers down and becomes an uninspired and uninspiring plodder more interested in managing its treasury and avoiding mistakes than in leading a charge that could cost it existing customers. What was the last innovative product Microsoft ever made? (For that matter, what was the first, but I digress.)
Apple is beginning to show the very first signs of this calcification. As it morphs from being a computer company to being a technology company to being a consumer electronics company, it begins to horde and defend. iPhone 5 and iOS6 are the first symptoms of this disease. Incremental improvements (200 of them but none of them world-changing) and poorly executed innovation (which way did they go?) combine to create a head-scratcher for which the Not-Steve rightfully and smartly apologizes. I fully expect to see the day — within five years tops — when Apple will sell its computer line to a company like a Lenovo that is great at commoditizing and carving pennies of profits out of tiny changes.
With Linux floundering on the shoals of Android’s fragmented universe, the most important technology question of the next few years is whether the Web (which is merely a loose collection of protocols) can grow up and become the new OS or whether something radically rethought will emerge and rock the industry the way IBM, Microsoft, Apple and Linux did in their now-fading days.