Alexagate device jams Echo’s microphones
For a mere $99, one can purchase an add-on device designed to sit atop one’s Amazon Echo in order to render the microphones ineffective by bombarding them with sound waves. To stop the blocking, one simply needs to clap (remind you of something else?) and then speak the watch word “Alexa…” TechCrunch
dis-rup-shun: The mere existence of this device raises some curious questions. Do owners of Amazon Echos not believe that the on-board mute button works? Do owners of Echos really fear that their privacy is being invaded? If yes to the above, do these owners get sufficient benefit from these devices that they don’t just turn them off to relieve their privacy concerns? As more and more devices come with voice control built-in, the question becomes more relevant: is the convenience greater than the perceived risk? Apparently the 30% of households that own one or more of these devices answered yes.
CES goes online
The Consumer Technology Association announced what we have all been expecting, CES 2021 must not be a live event, but a virtual gathering. Las Vegas will miss out on the 171,000 tech tourists that descend upon the city each year from around the globe. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: This is the right move — anything less would have put CTA in a bad light and would have led to many disappointed (and possibly infected) exhibitors. The blow to Las Vegas, the travel industry at large, and exhibit companies, still reeling from the cancellations of last spring, cannot be overstated. The economic superpower that is CES will be but a shadow of its normal self when presented online. Like many things impacted by Covid-19, CES is one that may have needed a reset. The event has become so enormous that it is difficult to manage from a visitor’s perspective. Perhaps the post-Covid-19 event will be more user friendly.
Apple vs. Google and the world in mobile app philosophy
It is important to understand the architectural tension between Apple and Google at this point in the evolution of mobile technology. Put simply, Apple wants to drive all users through its App Store, where it can not only maintain quality of experience, but control all app-based commerce. Google and a large number of large companies including Uber and Microsoft, are proponents of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) — apps that are in large part powered by the web, but continue to function even if not connected. PWAs drive commerce to the web, Apple apps keep commerce in the app store. CNET
dis-rup-shun: This mobile app philosophical difference is yet another example of closed versus open approaches, and Apple is one of the few companies that has thrived, over a long period of time, within a closed architecture. Android is the dominant global operating system because it enlisted the help of the non-IOS world and created strength in numbers. Just like mobile operating systems, one mobile app architecture will not win, but the ways of building and doing business on the two platforms will grow increasingly different.
Perseverance rover set to explore Mars in 2021
The Perseverance rover is NASA’s new self-driving Mars car, that includes its own helicopter, 24-camera array, and water well drilling apparatus. The device has unprecedented intelligence, battery power, and on-board capabilities, including instruments that will attempt to find oxygen in the Martian atmosphere. CNET
dis-rup-shun: Given the increased attention on the new space race, with countries and companies competing to get back to the Moon and to Mars, NASA has really upped its game and packed this mission with significant scientific capabilities. This mission will aggressively check Mars for water and for atmosphere — clearly seeking to discern how challenging it will be to, one day soon, colonize the planet.