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August 25, 2017 - Comments Off on Pentagram Redesigns Penn Station

Pentagram Redesigns Penn Station

It's amazing how using a "clean" design that focuses on information clearly displayed, with pops of color for energy & vitality can make a world of difference. Its also amazing how hard it is to convince people of that fact sometimes until they see it in action.

And even though design is a big part, let's not forget that lighting, cleanliness, and certain materials contribute significantly as well.

Pentagram Takes On Its Biggest Challenge Yet: Making Penn Station Less Awful

January 27, 2016 - Comments Off on One Box To Rule Them All

One Box To Rule Them All

Today, 99 percent of pay-TV customers lease set-top boxes from their cable, satellite or telco providers. Pay-TV subscribers spend an average of $231 a year to rent these boxes, because there are few meaningful alternatives.

As a consequence, consumers have limited choices for commercially available set-top boxes, so an overwhelming majority of consumers lease a box from their pay-TV service that doesn’t interface well with the wealth of video content online. To receive streaming Internet video, it is necessary to have a smart TV, or to watch it on a tablet or laptop computer that, similarly, do not have access to the channels and content that pay-TV subscribers pay for. The result is multiple devices and controllers, constrained program choice and higher costs.

Decades ago, if you wanted to have a landline in your home, you had to lease your phone from Ma Bell. There was little choice in telephones, and prices were high. The FCC unlocked competition and empowered consumers with a simple but powerful rule — consumers could connect the telephones and modems of their choice to the telephone network. Competition and game-changing innovation followed, from lower-priced phones to answering machines to technology that is the foundation of the Internet.

WOW. His article doesn't link to an actual proposal so it's hard to know if this is real or just hard talk, but it's very promising. This, "unlocking", would give outside companies access to cable company data they've never had before. Think about Apple creating 1 box that is your AppleTV & cable box. Or, better yet, Sony creating a Playstation, online video player, and cable box - all in one device. There'd be huge innovations in your cable interface and how you search for things to watch. Google w/YouTube and AndroidTV as well as Amazon with it's FireTV might be real players as well.

UPDATE: Jean-louis Gassée has an excellent post on this whole situation. I've also updated the post with the link to the actual proposal.

Source: It’s Time to Unlock the Set-Top Box Market | Re/code

FCC Proposal: http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2016/db0127/DOC-337449A1.pdf

January 4, 2016 - Comments Off on PayPal Hacked!

PayPal Hacked!

A well known Security expert had his PayPal account hacked over the holidays. I've been mad at PayPal ever since they caused me so much grief in getting a simple refund when I used them to pay for some clothes at a local retailer, so this doesn't surprise me. What everyone should take away from this is how easy it really is to gain access to what you think are your secure accounts.

In my second call to PayPal, I insisted on speaking with a supervisor. That person was able to tell me that, as I suspected, my (very long and complex) password was never really compromised. The attacker had merely called in to PayPal’s customer support, pretended to be me and was able to reset my password by providing nothing more than the last four digits of my Social Security number and the last four numbers of an old credit card account.

Any company that authenticates customers with nothing more than static identifiers — address, SSN, DOB, phone number, credit card number, etc. — is vulnerable to these takeover attempts.

This is an article you can actually share with the title, "must read" and it not be a Snopes.com fakery.

Source: 2016 Reality: Lazy Authentication Still the Norm — Krebs on Security

December 31, 2015 - Comments Off on Why ESPN Isn’t Worried About New Year’s Eve Competition for the College Football Playoff

Why ESPN Isn’t Worried About New Year’s Eve Competition for the College Football Playoff

Holding the semifinals on New Year's Eve is something ESPN is simply going to have to get used to. Between now and the end of the sports network's 12-year contract to air the College Football Playoff, the semis are scheduled for Dec. 31 seven more times.

I don't understand why ESPN made this deal. With competition from it's own new year's eve show on ABC, not to mention the other 3 broadcast networks, I'm really curious to see what the ratings are for the 8pm game. Especially if…

Alabama and Michigan State are locked in an epic, multiple-overtime battle that stretches past midnight on the East Coast? …ESPN [will] come up with something—perhaps with some help from corporate sibling ABC, which will be set up in Times Square

Source: Why ESPN Isn't Worried About New Year's Eve Competition for the College Football Playoff

May 13, 2015 - Comments Off on I was an undercover Uber driver

I was an undercover Uber driver

I talked to lots of drivers. But few kept a meticulous enough log of hours worked, miles driven and expenses paid that I felt comfortable using their data alone. Many drivers worried about getting in trouble, too — Uber can "deactivate" a driver for any reason. I needed someone on the record, someone whose data I knew I could trust.

So, in January, I applied to be an UberX driver myself.

Fascinating read about a disruptor who is ripe for disruption itself.

Source: I was an undercover Uber driver

April 29, 2015 - Comments Off on Adobe Kickbox

Adobe Kickbox

Kickbox is a new innovation process that Adobe developed for its own use and then open-sourced so everyone can use it. It is both a process for individuals and a system for deploying that process across an organization at scale. It’s designed to increase innovator effectiveness, accelerate innovation velocity, and measurably improve innovation outcomes. It can also optimize innovation investments by reducing costs compared to traditional approaches.

That's a bunch of marketing speak for the fact that Adobe gives each person in the Kickbox system $1000 to develop their own idea - not Adobe's and not their manager's - their own idea. That's pretty empowering.

Source: Adobe Kickbox

April 21, 2015 - Comments Off on How To Create A Culture of Execution In Your Business

How To Create A Culture of Execution In Your Business

Cross-functionality must be not only encouraged but also expected

A common theme in large companies is the politics around “roles” and “silos”. An engineer with an idea for a sales demo at a normal company would keep his/her ideas to him/herself. This is unacceptable. The dependencies between teams are too massive at a startup for the communication architecture between them to be managed solely by managers.

via TNW

April 15, 2015 - Comments Off on Netflix to improve it’s TV UI

Netflix to improve it’s TV UI

We plan to roll out an improvement to our TV UI in the second half of 2015. The enhancement will bring video playback forward into the browse experience. We are also developing improved ways to promote Netflix originals to our members, using our data to help identify which members would be most likely to enjoy each original title.

Interesting. Since what Netflix does, others tend to copy.

In the US, HBO began offering its $15 per month “HBO Now” service last week. As we have said in the past, Netflix and HBO are not substitutes for one another given differing content. We think both will continue to be successful in the marketplace, as illustrated by the fact that HBO has continued to grow globally and domestically as we have rapidly grown over the past 5 years.

We view “Internet MVPD” offerings like the rumored Apple offering, Sony’s Playstation Vue and Dish’s Sling TV as more competitive to the current pay TV bundle than to Netflix which is lower cost, has exclusive and original content, and is not focused on live television.

Piracy remains a considerable long-term threat, mostly outside the US.

I think both will be successful as well. In fact, I'm really curious to see which one flinches first in the price department. Will Netflix increase it's price if HBO NOW is successful at $15/month? Or with HBO reduce it's price to compete better with Netflix's $8/month?

via: Netflix