Random: Better bend than break
SABEW "Best in Business" Finalist
The reporter excels at research and went beyond the call to get information required to answer the question of how much Google Glass could cost the average consumer. The result was an innovative story that surely was devoured by tech geeks.
I was humbled to learn that my story on the cost of Google Glass was named a finalist for the Society of American Business Editors and Writers "Best in Business 2013" award ("Student - Professional publications" category)!!!
Thanks to all of my wonderful colleagues at Minyanville Media and to my awesome business journalism professor Chris Roush for all their help and support along the way.
More Tech Fun from Sochi
If you read my recent story in Ars, you know what's the tech and surveillance in Sochi like, how about more tech-related quirks from the Olympics? Here you go.
Sponsors and partners fuel Olympic tech hype in strange (and awesome) ways. For instance, in the Megafon pavilion, you can have your mugshot posted on a wall. We’re talking, of course, about a 3D-photo visualized on a 3D-crazy-looking-pinscreen facade of Megafon’s exhibition pavilion:
Photo: Asif Khan
Kudos to Asif Khan, a London-based superstar architect.
It’s all about official sponsors and partners at the Olympics. What happens if your company is not a sponsor? Well, sorry, HP, but we’ll have to tape your logo:
Photo: Sergey Dolya
Some palm trees in the Olympic Village look strange – that’s because they are actually retrofitted with mobile network antennas:
Photo: Danil Dekhkanov
You may encounter similar ones in the States too, though these trees are generally higher:
Olympic athletes received a nice gift pack from Samsung, the Official Smartphone Olympic Partner. The pack includes the “official handset” of the Games, Samsung Galaxy Note 3. The matryoshka doll is actually a USB-dock; it has another smaller flash drive matroyshka nested inside.
More pics: 1, 2 and 3.
If you’re not an athlete, you may still get the same set for 29990 rubles (about $855) in Samsung’s brick and mortar stores, subject to availability.
If you watched the opening ceremony, you might recall how bleachers “changed color,” orchestrated by organizers. Each spectator received a medal with five super bright LEDs inside. Following the “commands” delivered by the IR-interface (think of it as a giant remote control), medals changed their colors, producing spectacular effects. One of the spectators posted the "teardown" photos and the video of the medal:
Photo and video: vanatka
It turned out the devices were created by Montreal-based PixMob, the company that specializes in such "technology for togetherness."
For some reason, To ensure proper functioning of Olympic Wi-Fi spots, tethering is prohibited at the venues:
Photo: Danil Dekhkanov
They say there are plenty of official Wi-Fi spots around and LTE coverage inside is seamless.
Said all that, the most advanced technology does not necessarily translate into the best Olympic results. Team USA dumped Under Armour speedskating suits, dubbed “the fastest in the world,” amid perceptions that they’ve slowed American athletes down, a report shows.
How much is a user worth?
When a company buys another company, it might be interested in a bunch of things: expertise, patents, products, talented engineers/developers. Or, most obviously, user base.
User valuation varied hugely in recent tech mergers and acquisitions. Let's take a look:
|Company (Buyer`year)||User base||Cost||Cost (per user)|
Notes: acquisition costs shown as at the time of announcement. Numbers reflect total registered active users at the closest date to the announcement as available, numbers reported by companies. Tumblr user base number is an estimate.
The Map: Belarusian Software Companies Worldwide
Software companies founded by Belarusians provide services to the world's largest corporations. I've compiled a beta map of these companies' offices outside of Belarus/CIS: check it out.
Google's latest moon shot is smart contact lenses for people with diabetes:
Thoughts of Google merging that with Glass one day just keep creeping me out.
That's How it Was Made
Chewbacca tweets backstage photos from the Star Wars IV-VI filmings. TONS OF GREAT STUFF!
[np: Star Wars Theme]
[Team SW fans]
[Team Fans of $27bn brands]
HP ElitePad 900 (in Belarus)
So you're planning to buy the HP ElitePad 900, which is "not a consumer tablet—it is part of the HP Elite family of enterprise-class PCs, which is synonymous in the industry for trusted security, military-grade durability, IT-friendly manageability and consistent, global service and support."
Just keep in mind that it might easily break down (unable to boot) in two months and won't be replaced for months (since late October 2013, in my friend's case). That's how HP "consistent, global service and support" works for ElitePads in Belarus.
My friend shared his experience recently and it's horrible.
Monica Lewinsky, it turned out, was "proficient in Macintosh for Microsoft Word 6.0":
Yes, you're right, it should be "Microsoft Word 6.0 for Macintosh."
An (Almost) Ideal Airfare Search Tool
Throw away your Expedia-Kayak-whatever-else-you-use, because here's simply the best airfare search engine. ITA Matrix displays a calendar (!) with best prices. You cannot beat it if you have a flexible schedule. The system is incredibly powerful and offers a vast set of options. I highly recommend it.
The only drawback I found – no discounters (Ryanair, Wizzair, Easyjet) are supported, so you'll have to do some additional manual planning in Europe. AirBaltic is supported, though. Looks like Google (ITA Matrix's owner) will roll out something impressive with Ryanair support fairly soon.
Oh yes, and you cannot book directly through ITA Matrix, but that shouldn't be a big deal.
P.S. Also to bookmark: Momondo.com (flexible and nice UI), ExpertFlyer (cool tools for mile spenders), Aviasales.ru (sometimes offers even cheaper tickets).
Happy New Year!
College Education: US vs Belarus
A lot of folks in Belarus seem to think that the country has way too many citizens with university diplomas. And of course, there is a widespread stereotype of “these stupid Americans.”
Well, according to census data (2009), only 16% percent* of Belarusians had a university degree. In the US, the percent of bachelors and advanced degree holders reached 29.5 in 2009.
And we’re not even talking about the quality of education.
* It'll be 21% age normalized for Belarus.