The Too Late, Right On Time Predictions For 2020

Sorry all, I have not been writing but I will get my podcast and write more in the upcoming year. Hope to see and collaborate with more of you in the upcoming months.

First lets I would like to reflect on my predictions that I had for 2019:

There will be an alternative to passwords

While this may not have happened, passwords are more and more being looked down upon and it is heavily suggested you have two-factor with a Key. Microsoft and Google are pining that you do this for their services. There has to be a way for all people to get a Yubikey or another form to access all sites.

Snapchat will go under

I thought Instagram would eat Snapchats lunch but that didn’t happen. Snapchat isn’t exactly thriving but its not dying off either. I thought the Snapchat spectacles were a desperate attempt to pivot for the company. Keep in mind that Snapchat sees itself as a camera company.

5G won’t take off

This didn’t happen no matter what AT&T puts in their ads. There is 5Ge which is a point five release of 4g. Then there’s the 5G that will only work with certain phones, it won’t work under heavy foundations and has a weak millimeter wave that won’t scale in dense urban areas. It is a very niche technology that should be used for electric cars and tech that can’t afford low-latency that 4G does.

Something like GDPR will come to USA

congress is too busy fighting among itself that it can’t focus to get something like GDPR in place. To my knowledge, nothing like GDPR has been proposed but Facebook and Twitter having to go in front of congress for data reasons is a good start to cracking down on them for their ulterior motive how they use data.

 

I’ll give myself one out of four.

 

Netflix will pivot into another product

The streaming bubble has begun. Companies as small as NBC which have had The Office and Parks Rec on Netflix for a long time, have had their shows on Netflix. Netflix will always be seen as a platform that has a show from some other studios/Networks. The problem that hurts my case is they have successful shows like The Witcher. Is it enough to keep people on or stay subscribed?

Mark Zuckerberg will be out as Facebook CEO

Mark and Facebook, in general, have too bad of an image that they need someone in the driver’s seat that knows how to run a business like Facebook. This may be wishful thinking as I think there is plenty right with Facebook, just the people in charge need to be held more accountable or be ousted.

 

There will be a universal standard charging cable

The lightning, USB-C are a pain to manage. Samsung and Microsoft devices had their own proprietary charger, but have since used USB-C type. The problem comes with Apple who started the lightning connector before USB-C even came into the picture and it was a good solution.

Google will release a Pixel type watch.

WearOS has become so inferior to WatchOS which is a disappointment since it arrived first. Google buying Fitbit kind of makes this pick a softball pitch as that makes it more clear of what they have in store. WearOS doesn’t take advantage of the hardware nor software and I really don’t know who to blame.  Google for not putting out a good OS.Or Qualcomm for not putting out a SOC. For the past couple of years people have been pining for a good Android watch and the best one (Galaxy Watch) is above average and can’t recommend because of the software limitations.

Well, these are my picks. I’m only confident in two and one has rumblings of already possibly happening with the EU wanting a universal charger.

(How I am) Learning To Program

Over the course of the next couple months or however it takes, I will try to learn Python. I got the idea from @Ihnatko on Twitter giving someone advice on how he should go about coding. My coding experience stems from my front end web design experience; HTML, CSS and some Javascript. Mostly design stuff and not the nitty-gritty coding. 

Python is a general-purpose coding based language that can be used for just about anything; web development, data analysis, artificial intelligence, and scientific computing.

I have tried using Codeacademy before and I just never stuck through with it because I would get impatient and give up when things got hard. I’ll be sure and take my time with this book method. Also, coding is just math in disguise and I am the worst at math.

That being the case, if I can do it, anyone can. I may do the Swift playground after I get the hang of Python so we’ll see how that goes.

I like writing about technology or at least how we consume media which requires technology and coding is something that is a big part of it.

I bought this book after hearing about it on Daily Tech News Show from a listener who also gave advice on how he got into coding.

I don’t see myself making a living on coding. It’ll be more for hobby reasons.  Maybe tinker with Rasberry Pi.

So far I have done 7 lessons in the book. I had a hard time dealing with Powershell. After that, I have gotten the hang of it. Printing is something that has become a big deal with Python.

I have moved and been settling down in the Austin area. Along with my computer doing this:

screen

I had fallen off the book for a month. Now I have gotten back into will be learning. I am currently on exercise 10.

Contact me on Twitter on my progress (@fka_dan), this will be the only time I write about my learning of Python.

 

 

 

Is Game Of Thrones The End Of “water cooler talk” Around TV shows?

We are approaching a streaming bubble with every network/company thinking they have to put a streaming service. It diversifies people’s taste and people’s wallet. We don’t know yet who will come out on top as the best streaming service. As far as content is concerned, HBO is king. Netflix started this revolution so we can see them as a pioneer for this kind of trend. Disney+ is the one that’ll peak with all this. After they get all their subscribers, then the dominoes will fall and you’ll see services cave. They are doing it right as well. They have announced a plethora amount of content along with all the back catalog that they will have from the past.

Game of Thrones is a staple of this generation in terms of TV shows. It’s up there with Seinfeld, The Sopranos, Friends, etc. It’s sad that the writers botched the last couple of seasons, but that’s another article for another day. It’s the most popular show on right now and you can hardly find anyone who hasn’t seen it. Networks are trying to find the next Game Of Throne whether it be Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings Prequel or HBO repeating and making adapting Watchmen into a great series. The problem is, with every company coming out with their streaming service, how can they know which show is the best one? No matter how good a show is, people wouldn’t subscribe to the service just for that one show. HBO loses subscribers after Game Of Thrones ends, but people who subscribe regularly to HBO will tell to keep subscribing because of shows like Barry and Silicon Valley.

So with every network coming out with their own streaming service, it will be interesting to see if there is THAT SHOW to heavily discuss with everyone not having to subscribe to each service.

 

Media Literacy

It’s been going on for too long about “Fake News”. But what is being done to stop the fake news? Have Facebook implement people to monitor what is fake? Blame Donald Trump for the term? No and no. Facebook can’t be monitored at the scale that it is at which is 1.5+ billion plus people. The people running Facebook can be held more accountable but they are not solely the problem. Even one percent of that is hard to monitor. Donald Trump didn’t coin the term “fake news”. Fake News has always been around. He simply popularized it by being a person who is in the spotlight of being president. Using it to get where he is today has made that popularization even worse because other people have dismissed facts as being fake news.

What needs to be done is training the people who read the stuff to be better aware of the content that is going on. To be able to recognize the fake from the real. To be more…media literate. The only question that comes from this is, how important is media literacy. Well, it expands beyond just recognizing fake news. People complain too much these days about others being on their phone too much or they put in front of a tablet/phone too young. Parents can’t be held accountable. Throwing blame at one person or another is throwing the baby out with the bath water. Good has come from Facebook that you simply can’t dismiss them altogether. The same can’t be said for Trump but you can say that he has brought this awareness to people and that something should be done about all this. We as humans are wired to dismiss/throw away anything that we deem dangerous or when change has happened upon us. It’s part of the reason we have survived this long. You regulate the technology, not throw it out.

Have you ever considered switching?

 

Have you ever considered switching phone OS’? I currently own an Android device. I would like to switch with my friend who says he “wants” to switch to a Pixel but I tell him not to. Not because he wouldn’t like it, but because he should stick to what he knows. He has had an Apple device since forever and switching to something like an Android is taxing to learn since Android is complex (not on purpose) and Apple is simple by design. I’m biased against Apple and I’ll admit but it is because I want to stay platform agnostic and Apple doesn’t allow that with its products. You have to buy an iPhone to work an Apple TV. What if I wanted an Apple watch for my Android phone…HA! not in a million years.

Microsoft is seen as a services company. So it’s easy to be pro -Microsoft and have an Android device because they (Microsoft) make a lot of apps that help be comfortable in the Microsoft ecosystem. The most I have ever seen customizable on an iDevice is Microsofts keyboard and it worked well. I only used it when I had an iPhone SE so it may be different by now but it did make texting with one hand a breeze with the curved keyboard so you could reach across all letters with ease.

So is there any benefit to switching if you are accustomed to an ecosystem? Only if you are tired of what you have and want change. I can’t see any real benefit. You got what wanted in the first place because that’s what drew you to that platform. For iOS it may be iMessage and Android, it may be that you are able to customize your device.

 

The Twilight of Cryptocurrency

The idea of cryptocurrency has intrigued me. I thought by now that we would be on the fast track of having a tap to pay like we do with Apple or Google pay but on a permanent digital basis with blockchain being the universal standard. I know, blockchain is part of everything these days, but the promise of having the ledger that is readable from being passed hand to hand is the most valuable thing blockchain has to offer. Money has had the social illusion of having a value, its what the digital number in your account that matters. People use less and less cash these days and some countries don’t even accept cash.

So imagine having a device like they did on the show “Almost Human”. They carried around a device that they just tap to pay for everything. Passing money, transactions, etc. Very simple and convenient.

Like everything else, maybe bitcoin and this notion of cryptocurrency is just the start of what is to come later down the road. Railroad companies went bankrupt at first building railroads around the country.

What makes Bitcoin attractive, is not Bitcoin itself but the underlying technology, Blockchain. If you do a search of Blockchain, you will see tons of uses and forced uses for it. Other countries are starting to adopt the idea of blockchain for their currency. I wouldn’t expect the US to give this a chance, since we have valued the dollar for so long, and like I have said before in my previous posts’, the US government is slow to adapt to the digital world. Heck the US is still slow to adapt with the chip and pin at the register that other countries have adopted for years.

So the problem with all this is the privacy and the security of it. Blockchain is very hard to hack but any security expert will tell that anything can be hacked in due time. When blockchain is able to prove itself and be secure, I think it will be a cornerstone for better currency.

 

What is the future of music?

A problem I find today with technology is the silos that tech companies have created. An example of this is me buying a lot of apps on one platform (Android) and not switching properly to another platformif I please like iOS because of all the apps that I have purchased.

That is a topic as a whole is for another day, but to get specific, what is the future of music? As much “digital” as we have gotten, vinyl has made a comeback. This is for the music enthusiast and there is something about owning a physical copy that makes it better. The early days of Pandora seemed promising with curated radio. I remember being on stumbleupon and coming across Spotify before it came to US. Now with every company having its own service (Apple Music, Google Play Music, Amazon Music, and now dead, Microsoft’s “Groove” service). One has to wonder what is the future of Music?

But how did we get here? Back in the Napster days, when all the musicians were having a fit over pirated music, they thought what Napster was doing was hurting the music industry. But others that I agree with will say that this helped the music industry grow. It helped with music discovery. Rhapsody tried to do it the legal way but ultimately failed because there was no incentive to fully pay for an album at the time. The music business needed innovation. Then there were two pioneers. Pandora for free listeners and iTunes for the ninety-nine cent per song model. The rest is history and here we are with a plathora of choice with music listening.

There was a streaming bubble for a while. Services like Tydal and Pono were good attempts but they didn’t catch on because they weren’t tied into your OS or have the same or better service that Spotify does. They tried to get people with exclusives and sound quality.

You have to keep in mind that these music streaming services are a money loss. The music labels can raise the streaming prices that these companies have. For companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon which music streaming isn’t their main business, they can afford to lose money from these streaming services. Spotify has had to slightly pivot by buying podcasting media companies and having celebs host podcasts on their platform.

So what are the problems that we face today in music? One I would say is music sharing caused by the silos. Youtube seems to be the middle ground to share a song. If you can think of any others, write a comment or let me know what streaming service you use and why?

 

 

What Would an Ideal Social Network Be?

We can all agree that at some point Facebook was an ideal social network and some might say that it still is by definition; it’s where all your friends and family can be contacted. There have been other social networks that are “better” but didn’t top Facebook in users because the people you know aren’t on it. Facebook lost it’s way because, like any business, it has stockholders to appease. They’ve had to pivot in ways by copying technology from other tech companies (which didn’t work) or acquire companies and integrate them into Facebook (which has worked). Then you have the multiple data scandals. Instagram brought promise at first of people being more visual and telling more stories with pictures and photos, but it too has its way with Instagram influencers and the celebs selling teas via the platform. A proper social network would have a good way to communicate via text as well, which Instagram doesn’t.

Twitter is a viable option but just like Facebook, the people who run it have no good standing in the eyes of the public. As often as Donald Trump tweets, if he were to violate the TOS, I doubt Twitter would shut down his account because he brings so much traffic to the service. There are others I could go on that shortchange the meaning of an ideal social media platform but I digress.

There are too many problems when curating a good social network. You have to monitor technology properly. Facebook as of right now, has over two billion users, almost 2.5. It’s impossible to police that many people. Even 1% of that I would say is hard to keep track of. When Google+ was at its peak, I thought it was great. The conversations I had were better than the ones I had on Facebook. My friends and family weren’t on it but that wasn’t a bad thing in my opinion. For a network to thrive it has to maximize userbase.  The problem with the “Facebook effect” is that a network gets too many users and it becomes toxic.

For now, something like Mastodon would be ideal. Mastodon itself has a complex learning curve and would never catch on to the masses but having an open source network that connects people in some way is the way to go. How would it be monetizable? We tried the Facebook way. A company can be as transparent as the public wants, but without proper data laws, that won’t fly. Once online ads become better and they show what people actually want, then use that strategy. People will not mind if it’s products they want to use.

Theoretically, I think an ideal social network is going to be something innovative. Facebook wasn’t innovative, it rode on the coattails of Myspace and became bigger. At its core, Facebook is just a glorified forum. Whether it be a new technology, a new internet, or a new system of operations, it hasn’t been thought of yet. I just know that it’s business and underlying tech will have to be more open than the ones in the past.

 

The Internet is 30!

This week marks the 30th birthday for the world wide web. We have come a long way, but still have a lot more to go to get where we want with the problems surrounding the internet. Problems such as regulation; regulating the internet properly both the business side and the content itself. Giving access to all people because it has become something that someone cannot live without or they will get left behind.

For a good history on the internet, check out Brian McCullough’s How The Internet Happened: From Netscape To The iPhone.  The internet has gone through a lot: the dotcom boom, web 2.0 and I would say that we are in a web 3.0 transition with IoT and 5G emerging. The people who made the internet didn’t have anything in mind for it as it was used by the military then unis before going to the masses. It was at this point that there was a vision that could be used for something great.

Regulating the Internet

Internet regulation is a current problem along with others but this is the top priority. There is not fast internet everywhere for everyone and that’s because the wrong people are in place to provide these services. There is no proper way to regulate the internet. It was made to connect people to everyone with nothing hindering that. This has caused a lot of problems such as what the dark web can bring, cyberbullying, along with should it be regulated at the government level? Should a company make another internet? an internet 2.0 with proper security, rule and right people in place. Companies like AT&T feel since they own the pipes that produce the internet, they should own the content that runs through it.

The Internet going forward

In 1996, John Perry Barlow wrote a Declaration of The Independence of Cyberspace. Even though it is nothing official, as companies, governments, and others try to get a foothold on the internet, they have to keep this in mind that it shouldn’t belong to anyone, but everyone. A decentralized internet would essentially do that. There is a plot on the show Silicon Valley about this. This Wired article explains a decentralized internet that basically comes down to not having a middle man for people to have internet, but to have peer to peer networks. This more recent article also gives more insight into the matter. I am sure if this would come to fruition, it would raise more questions.

I am not sure what a perfect vision for the internet would be. I know that it is not perfect now. As I have stated in other blogs, my master’s thesis is “is the internet a human right”. I think right now it is, but there are too many barriers preventing it from it truly being a right that everyone can see that it should be one.

 

The Bureaucracy of Technology (part 2)

Back in the spring of 2018, when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was in front of Congress and they questioned him about the ethics that Facebook, the questions they asked did no phase Zuckerberg. The only thing that made him look bad, was his demeanor during the hearing, the memes that made him look bad, and his notes that he had which would throw other companies under the bus if the opportunity presented itself.

Also, when Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai was in front of Congress and the questions they asked him about Google’s algorithm of “why is it, when I Google idiot, pictures of the president come up?” Having a career politician if important, but at least have people

When the San Bernadino case happened, the shooter had an iPhone. People in government wanted Apple to decode the shooters iPhone but it’s not that simple. If Apple were to decode the shooters iPhone then that makes cracks in iOS for hackers to get into anyone’s iPhone. There are no exceptions for 0s’ and 1s’.

There’s a fine line in properly attacking these companies for the good of the consumer, and not just attacking them because we felt they didn’t do enough in a course of action.

Apple isn’t much at fault for monopolies or violating consumers in any way, but they have abused patent laws in the past and their own lightning port instead of a standard USB-C which other companies have, does abuse consumers.

Microsoft learned their lesson in the 90s when they bundled Internet Explorer with windows and essentially having a monopoly in more than one market. Most believe this led to Microsoft giving Apple money so they could stay afloat and stay competitive.

What’s to be done about the regulation?

What’s to be done about the big tech companies? Even if you don’t find what I have written a concern, we can agree that we value technology more and more each day that it’s near impossible not to use the big 5 tech companies (Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Apple). As demonstrated by Kashmir Hill, as she tried not to use the big 5 and it was impossible for her to do. I thought not using AWS supported sites was a bit extreme but that’s really sticking to the tech cleanse. One thing that the video pointed out that was interesting was that Mina Khan said that these companies need to stop stifling innovation. Facebook buys its competitors or they copy their competitor’s technology or implement it as their own, Amazon stifles retail growth, Google owning both Google search and YouTube does cause some conflict of interest to me.

People smarter than me don’t know how to properly regulate these Silicon Valley giants. Government can start by enforcing more antitrust regulations against these companies. It’s in these companies rights to buy companies but before every purchase, a committee should form to come to the conclusion to see if it’s in the best interest of companies that company A buys company B.

It’s hard to say for sure what can be done. There’s no right way to do this but since there’s nothing being done now, a simple step like regulation can be done.  It’s more than a simple grey area of a solution of sanctioning their business models; data for Google and Facebook, retail for Amazon, and Hardware for Apple.

I feel two, three or four parts isn’t enough to properly write about this topic so I’ll have to come back in the future when something is to be done about this.