Nexus 7 Tablet Reviews & Teardown • Netflix Beats Cable • Yahoo Facebook Make Up • Amazon Smartphone? • Amazon Web Service Outage • RIM Mismanagement • Microsoft Mismanagement • Windows 8 Upgrades • 3D Printing Breakout • Art and Mathematics
Nexus 7 Tablet Gets Good Marks
Engadget says the new Google Nexus 7 is the best $200 tablet you can buy.
New York Times tech columnist David Pogue says the Nexus 7 surpasses the Amazon Kindle and in some respects rivals Apple’s iPad.
Whenever a new high profile electronic gadget comes out, you can be sure that iFixit will be first in line to buy it and tear it apart. They rate repair-ability as 7 out of 10—beats the heck out of the MacBook Pro’s recent zero rating!
Netflix Beats Cable
CEO Reed Hastings posted that Netflix subscribers watched more than one billion hours of streaming video in June. Perhaps the most significant implication of the milestone is, that based on historical numbers, it gives Netflix a higher viewing volume than any U.S. cable channel as well as broadcast networks ABC and CBS.
Yahoo, Facebook Kiss and Make Up
Sanity has finally prevailed as Yahoo and Facebook settled their patent dispute (started by ousted Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson) and agreed to work on new joint initiatives.
Rumor: Amazon to Launch Its Own Smartphone
The world’s largest online retailer is reported to be working with Chinese manufacturer Foxconn on a new Android powered phone. It will be interesting to see what Amazon thinks it can offer that established players in the market aren’t already offering. My speculation would be a device that’s closely tied to Amazon’s content and cloud service offerings.
Bugs Prolonged Amazon Web Services Outage
Amazon Web Services bugs prolonged an outage that was triggered by lightning strikes in the eastern U.S. The outage began at 8:04 PM PDT and some systems were not fully restored until six or more hours later. Although it was much shorter in duration, the bugs uncovered by this outage were reminiscent of some experienced in a major outage that occurred in April 2011.
The stock of Blackberry maker Research In Motion is now worth less than one-twentieth of its peak value in 2008. RIM’s shares are now below its book value—the value of its individual assets if they were to be sold off separately.
Vanity Fair comments on Microsoft’s stack rank reviews and the perverse effects that arise from it. Stack ranking is Microsoft’s insistence on grading every employee’s performance on a curve, sometimes in small groups where such curve fitting is statistically inept. I observed more harm than benefit due to stack ranking in my 5+ years at Microsoft. It motivates some employees to put their own welfare ahead of their team’s and the company’s success. I saw employees refuse to take on tasks necessary to the success of the team because they didn’t want anything to endanger the perception that they were brilliant overachievers with respect to their documented personal goals.
Further commentary on the Vanity Fair Article:
Windows 8 Upgrades
Microsoft has announced that consumers with licenses for windows XP and later will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 for just $39.99.
3D Printing About to Break Out
This article from a 3D printing VC investor explains why 3D printing is about to break out.
Just One More: At the Intersection of Art and Mathematics
Bathsheba Grossman uses art, mathematics, 3D printing and Laser etching to create beautiful objects that could not have been produced a few short years ago. From the artist’s website:
I’m an artist exploring the region between art and mathematics. My work is about life in three dimensions: working with symmetry and balance, getting from the origin to infinity, and always finding beauty in geometry.
And I approve of her business philosophy:
I have a grass-roots business model. I don’t limit editions, I price as low as costs permit, and most of my selling is direct to you, by way of this site. My plan is to make these designs available, rather than restrict the supply. It’s more like publishing than like gallery-based art marketing: we don’t feel that a book has lost anything because many people have read it. In fact it becomes more valuable as it gains readership and currency. With the advent of 3D printing, this is the first moment in art history when sculpture can be, in this sense, published.
Browse her website and see the beauty at the intersection of art and mathematics. Maybe you’ll even want to buy a piece.