Logic Gates Under (Air) Pressure | Hackaday – I remember seeing fluidic logic on a packaging production line for motor oil back when I was a teenager. By this time the line was reasonably old, micro-processor controls were becoming the norm, and it broke down on a regular basis. The owners knew my Dad which is how I got to see it. They used to pack small volume SKUs for Shell at their own factory; when the oil company pulled the contract their business closed
Apple’s Secure Enclave Processor (SEP) Firmware Decrypted | Hackaday – “Imagine the Secure Enclave as a vault. Apple hung a big, dark curtain over it to prevent anyone from even seeing the vault. Now, that curtain has been opened and people can see the vault. The vault, however, is still locked as securely as ever.” However we don’t know who else has got this far already, and we certainly don’t know if other actors have managed to find vulnerabilities in the code.
China Tech Workers Wanted: Women Need Not Apply – WSJ – Parents often tell their daughters they won’t be good at math or physics or coding. And just like in the U.S., some Chinese companies are reluctant to hire or promote women because of concerns about pregnancy and child rearing, employee advocates say. About 20% of engineers in China’s internet and telecommunications industries are women, according to Boss Zhipin, a Beijing-based online recruiting company. And there’s a pay gap as well. Women were paid 30% less than men in China’s internet industry last year, ranking among the most discriminatory lines of work with medicine, media and entertainment, according to Boss Zhipin, which surveyed more than 365,000 pay samples nationwide – (paywall)
Interim Report Q2 2017 (OMX:MAERSKA) – In the last week of the quarter we were hit by a cyber-attack, which mainly impacted Maersk Line, APM Terminals and Damco. Business volumes were negatively affected for a couple of weeks in July and as a consequence, our Q3 results will be impacted. We expect that the cyber-attack will impact results negatively by USD 200-300m.” – shipping titan Maersk talks about how malware has affected its business
The First True Multi-User Holographic Table Has Been Built – ExtremeTech – cool as fuck
Producers, Songwriters on How Pop Songs Got So Slow – Rolling Stone – Paul Oakenfold et al who tried unsuccessfully to slow acid house down to 98bpm was just 3 decades too early
Things that made my day this week:
I’ve mostly been listening to a mix by UNKLE (James Lavelle) for Dazed & Confused magazine
…. and the Zhou Family weddings and funeral band
Continuing the China music theme, there is a great documentary on hip hop in Chengdu in Sichuan province – Hip-Hop in the Home of Hot Pot | Sixth Tone – the tension between the underground and sell-out reality TV version of Chinese hip hop comes across really well in this film.
Great interview by Pharrell Williams of Henry Rollins
Maserati Owner Found Fake Version of His Car with the Same License and Registration | Jing Daily – it looks as if registration plate cloning is being used in China to sell illegally imported (probably stolen or crashed vehicles) – but I can’t work out how the driver managed to pay so little for his illegal ride. It would be worth more as scrap
Booking.com’s global PR head on Japan, data, and the fallacy of awards | PR Week – For Cafferty, no outside party can understand a business as well as the people who work in it. Indeed, she sees the key attribute of an in-house PR person as knowing every facet, from “fun stuff” like brand and product to tax laws. She sees the value of PR agencies as being strong media contacts and local understanding, and less about strategy or creativity – a very traditional view of PR as media relations and a disconcerting read for agencies given the lack of receptiveness to higher value service aspects
McSuicide? Twitter hoax affects McDonald’s Hong Kong | PR Week – probably because Twitter doesn’t have traction in Hong Kong
What Brands Are Actually Behind Trader Joe’s Snacks? – Eater – it reminds me student jobs that I had in factories making breakfast cereals, frozen cakes and frozen meals respectively – we would change brand boxes on the line but the product remained the same
iOS 10 Quietly Deprecated A Crucial API For VoIP and Communication Apps – Slashdot
Ships fooled in GPS spoofing attack suggest Russian cyberweapon | New Scientist – what would have seemed like a straight-up Bond villain pot, now seems to be the new normal
Great interview with Henry Rollins with BBC Hard Talk from January 2016. The interesting bit after 6:00 is how Rollins talks about his stage image that evolved from the rudimentary circumstances of being on the road.
The gym shorts and torso look was to cut down on the washing he needed to do in restaurant sinks post-concert.
I noticed that Whiskas had upped its packaging game. They added a bit of personality to the container design with ears. It cut through the tins, oval plastic trays and aluminium trays usual in cat food packaging. It acts as great brand signage.
Tencent, Baidu and Sina investigated by Beijing for their content | CNBC – likely to keep things buttoned up during the forthcoming party congress
Uber’s new in-app chat will help you avoid exchanging creepy texts with your driver – The Verge – interesting move – unfortunately treating the symptom of a problem
The Guardian reimagines media planning as a B2B bed-time story | The Drum – Attracting more media planners like Claire would be the ideal scenario for Guardian Media Group right now, as it looks to balance the books by 2019. It reported a 2% rise in revenue last month, largely due to a climb in the amount of paying members and a 15% boost in digital spend. Meanwhile the Guardian’s print newspaper sales declined by 7.4% year-on-year in June to a circulation of 159,007, while its Sunday paper the Observer declined by 5.9% to 192,889, according to the latest ABCs. This is presumably why Claire is seen cutting deals in virtual reality and mobile, rather than in print.
Inside Facebook’s Institutional Policy of Copying Competitors | WSJ – pretty all encompassing embrace of user data – I wonder what Apple thinks about it given the privacy positioning of the iPhone?
Andy Rubin’s Essential phone startup gains backing from Amazon, Tencent – CNET – interesting that Tencent got onboard
Why Google can’t compete with what Apple is doing with ARKit – BGR – however if AR is going to take off cross-platform development is what’s really needed since the iPhone is a small (but lucrative part of the market)
One in three marketers believe ad tech “is broken beyond repair” | Marketing Interactive – quite possibly when also thinks that 85% of online advertising growth in Mann markets is split between Google
Buzzfeed and Breitbart at bottom of media trust list as Americans place trust in British outlets | The Drum – I do wonder about the methodology
WSJ City – Abu Dhabi Sovereign Fund Extends 1MDB Deadline – they really think that they’ll be getting that back?
Mirage World on the App Store – allows you to do ‘briefing’ but in the real world
Things that have made my day this week:
Guardians of The Galaxy went post-disco with this video to promote the release of Volume 2 on Blu-Ray and DVD (presumably in the US).
DJ Pierre’s classic Generate Power has been given a remix, which isn’t half bad
In terms of listening materials, I have been celebrating Kurtis Mantronix’ return to hiphop style beat-making. It’s like 1985 called and decided to bring back the golden age of hip hop production.
Chinese internet celebrity Ms Yeah’s content is like a Chinese adaption of The Office with a healthy dose of MacGyver. It captures the slightly listless feeling you tend to get in mainland Chinese office environments and throws in some surreal elements. Anyway, don’t listen to me check it out
Christel pointed me in the direction of the new Singapore Airlines safety video. It doesn’t play for laughs like Delta or Air New Zealand have. Instead it embodies the brands values. I guess it fits into the genre of ambient television and there are some really nice transition edits.
How This U.S. Tech Giant Is Backing China’s Tech Ambitions – The New York Times – the tricky path taken by Qualcomm (and Intel), what happens when China feels it can move forward without them?
Misunderstanding Apple Services – Monday Note – more clear-eyed view on Apple services than many people drinking the kool-aid
Fiction: Who Killed Windows Phone? – Monday Note – Microsoft culture did it. Culture is dangerous; under our field of consciousness, it sneakily filters and shapes perceptions, it’s a system of permissions to emote, think, speak, and do.
CTA – Social Media Plays Crucial Role in Chinese Consumers’ Personal – But Not Professional – Lives, Finds New CTA Study – quite surprised by this, having worked with Chinese clients and colleagues where the main channel of contact was WeChat
Financial Times Returns to Apple’s App Store After Six-Year Hiatus – WSJ – HTML versus native app; HTML lost
This fast robot will make Adidas shirts cheaper – and kill hundreds of jobs | The Next Web – this pulls a drawbridge up on countries looking to industrialise and move from the 3rd world into the 2nd world
Harrods Bank sold to digital challenger Tandem | City A.M. – I guess that’s one way to get a banking licence
A Google employee’s viral anti-diversity memo shows America’s political divide has spread to Silicon Valley — Quartz – lack of dialogue in political and social life
YouTube in China is hard – Steemit may save my career — Steemit – interesting comments on the effect of the adpocalypse on YouTube creators
The Kronos indictment: Is it a crime to create and sell malware? – The Washington Post – interesting analysis of the charges agains Marcus Hutchins in terms of intent and level of proof required
The Secret Life of the City Banana – NYTimes.com – amazing complexity in the supply chain
My exposure to electronic cigarettes (or vapes) was with seasoned smokers looking for a healthier opportunity, or a path to help wean themselves off nicotine all together. I had seen some research that suggested teen trial of vaping was growing – this was from E-Cigarettes: Youth and Trends in Vaping – Journal of Pediatric Health Care, volume 29, issue 6, pages 555 – 557 (November – December 2015)
Among youth in the United States, e-cigarette use rose from 3.3% in 2011 to 6.8% in 2012 (Grana, Benowitz, & Glantz., 2014). This increase resulted in an estimated 1.78 million middle and high school students having used e-cigarettes (CDC, 2013). The trial and use of e-cigarettes have been higher among youth in Europe and Asia. A recent study on Korean youth found the trial use of e-cigarettes rose from 0.5% in 2008 to 9.4% in 2011 (Lee, Grana, & Glantz., 2014), and among youth 10 to 15 years of age in Poland the rate of those who had ever used e-cigarettes was 62% in 2014 (Hanewinkel & Isensee, 2015).
Now what I don’t know is how good the research quoted actually was, or the factors in ‘trialling’.
You also have to remember that there is a big health research grant eco-system that depends on tobacco control which has sprung up over the past 40 years which will affect the framing of the data.
I am not saying tobacco isn’t harmful, but it is useful to understand the likely factors framing the presentation of information.
I was surprised by this video from the Shanghai Vap Expo in China. It was more like going to a skateboarding convention back in the day:
- Lots of independent resellers from around the world for vaping liquid – mirroring the variety of skateboard parts makers. Many of the formulations on sale had no tobacco
- Vaping tricks and demonstrations
- Clear tying of vaping to sub-cultures: hip-hop, race-girl type outfits. Pretty much any ancillary activity would expect around a Red Bull event or the X-Games
Vaping is clearly being positioned as a central part of a youth sub-culture in China.
What the Apple store has to teach us about the miserable future of the electric car — Quartz – I don’t even think Apple’s inshore customer service is a good model for Tesla
Jon Ronson on bespoke porn: ‘Nothing is too weird. We consider all requests’ | The Guardian – much of it isn’t ‘porn’ but ways of working through issues
Chinese tourists are everywhere, but why are foreign visitors shunning China? | South China Morning Post – would the Chinese government really want a tourist number increase? Also Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan give you everything the mainland can and more with less downsides. Finally I do think the country has an external image problem as being difficult to travel in
The China Startup Report — The Information – interesting reading (paywall)
I’ve been a big fan of Christina’s work for a while and this presentation is a great example of his work. Bookmark it; watch it during your lunch break its well worthwhile.
Great examples of online to offline (O2O) interaction in processes and services that are continually expanding. Interesting points about the lack of social norms or boundaries on the usage of online / mobile service in the real world. I’ve seen people live their online life in the cinema there are NO boundaries as Christina says.
Two China Tech Titans Wrestle Over User Data – WSJ – WeChat owner Tencent Holdings Ltd. contends that Huawei is effectively taking Tencent’s data and violating the privacy of WeChat users, according to people familiar with the situation. It has asked the Chinese government to intervene, these people say – I have to wonder what they are doing to their western customers or what might happen to AT&T subscribers ‘lucky enough’ next year to have a Huawei handset (paywall)
Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? – The Atlantic – technology demonised for behavioural disfunction. Some of the statistics are interesting, but the conclusions aren’t
Adidas has found that models and bloggers, not athletes, are the key to selling sportswear to women – this could have a huge impact on its sponsorship programme, which might be bad for top level women in sport
China holds drill to shut down ‘harmful’ websites | Reuters – interesting implications beyond censorship of illegal content. Could also have implications for command-and-control servers for malware etc
Digital listening surges closer to 50% | Digital Radio – interesting RAJAR data
Things that made my day this week:
It’s quite rare for someone who has had as as long a career as Mick Jagger to still do relevant material. His double A side single featuring England’s Lost is an exceptionally political track featuring Skepta. The last track from similar artist would likely be Pink Floyd’s The Wall. It wouldn’t sound out of step with The Stone Roses or The Charlatans and the video with Luke Evans performance is amazing.
Omega seem to have spent most of the summer dwelling on the NASA Apollo programme heritage of the Omega Speedmaster with launches happening around the world including PR people in faux spacesuits for photo shoots and socialite cocktail parties. The excuse is the 60th anniversary of the Omega Speedmaster’s launch in 1957. They’ve supported it with a scripted film using brand spokesperson George Clooney talking with Buzz Aldrin. Aldrin as ever is awesome.
60 years of production makes the Speedmaster a design classic. At the time of the Speedmaster’s launch Omega would have been a more bankable name than Rolex. That seems surprising now given Omega’s move more towards the fashion end of the market. There is a great interview at The Peak Magazine; with Peter Chow the recently retired veteran salesman at The Hour Glass in Singapore. The Hour Glass is a famous watch retailer that has attracted the world’s richest customers.
“You could buy a manual mechanical watch with a fine Swiss movement for S$20 plus,” Mr Chong says. The well-known brands then were Titoni, Titus, Movado and Cyma. “Omega was the best, not Rolex.” Mr Chong quit his job in 1959 and with S$6000 from savings and loans, opened a shop in Bukit Panjang. But within three years, poor sales drove him out of business.
It was something I heard from my parents, though I had partly put this down to both of them having had Omegas – which they bought for each other when they got married.
Northampton’s most famous son, author Alan Moore Interviewed by Greg Wilson and Kermit – real name Paul Leveridge from the Ruthless Rap Assassins and Black Grape. Interesting dissection of modern counterculture and the general sense of ennui.
I am addicted to videos about mesmerising manufacturing processes and vinyl records. This video combines both of them. The hipster movement has done more than drive up the cost of avocados and gentrification. We’ve seen vinyl manufacturing plants revived and thrive. Over time the machinery has needed to be modernised, this has meant modern manufacturing techniques (like SCADA controllers) have been melted to post-war industrial technology. Anyway enough of my blathering check it out.
My week was soundtracked by this epic mix of Herbie Hancock tracks.
Line Again Tries to Crack U.S. Messaging… With a Times Square Store for Plush Toys? – this isn’t about LINE trying to crack the US market its about reaching an international audience for Brown and Co. Think of LINE as a ‘Sanrio’ analogue with a technology company attached when it comes to markets like the US. Think about the amount of Asian tourist footfall…
China’s newest trend: mini karaoke booths at shopping malls | South China Morning Post – Li said that at traditional karaoke bars, users have to reserve rooms in advance and there were usually extra charges such as service charge and for beverages and fruit served. – interesting because it moves KTV into a more family orientated area with no room for the ‘added services’ including drink and company at the shadier end of the sector
Ad Tech Firm Criteo to Launch Data Cooperative to Help Retailers Take On Amazon – WSJ – a combination of actors here. Criteo’s business is threatened by the all encompassing ad tech stacks of Google and Facebook – who between account for 85% of online advertising growth. The main insurgent online adverting provider is Amazon… E-tailers in many product categories are now dealing with Amazon as the number one product search engine and e-tailer. This won’t address the challenge of breaking consumer habit of ‘let’s hit Amazon and eBay first to see if I can get it’
Under Armour’s sneaker business has cratered | Quartz – not terribly surprised – when you think about how their basketball business relied on Curry, their football boots have entered a hyper competitive market and the brands historic relationships with college sports
WeChat Vs. LINE Battle Of the Merchadise Stores | China Channel – really interesting battle LINE sometimes looks as much like Sanrio as a technology firm, its character Brown is popular merchandise
The UK home secretary is wrong: ‘real people’ need end-to-end encryption | TheNextWeb – probably won’t help digital start-ups either
UK home secretary Amber Rudd says ‘real people’ don’t need end-to-end encryption | BusinessInsider – what would Amber Rudd know about ‘real’ people
Shanghai to build ‘brand economy’ | Shanghai Daily – really interesting. In general China isn’t the most marketing orientated business culture so having them talk about brand rejuvenation and brand building is a step change. Shanghai makes the most sense as historically it was the commercial centre of China. In the longer term this is a big move against global brands currently there. There has already been a move towards local FMCG despite past security scares, this seems to consolidate that move further
Fox Will Bring 6-Second Ads To TV During Teen Choice Awards | Media – AdAge – it will be interesting to see the efficacy of these ads as will have implications for online brand advertising moving forwards (paywall)
Google’s Push for Dominance Brings Big Change to YouTube | Digital – AdAge – working on media partnerships (paywall)
Tesla Model 3 Buzz Belies Tiny Electric Vehicle Market | CMO Strategy – AdAge – (paywall)
Fendi taps Hong Kong millennial consumers by featuring Taeyang and Asian hip-hop acts | Style Magazine | South China Morning Post – interesting that Fendi is further blurring the lines between streetwear and luxury
LVMH Tests the Notion That Brand Trumps Traffic in China – Bloomberg – going it alone in e-commerce in China rather than being on Jd.com or Alibaba
Whilst looking for the BBC’s new ‘Reith’ font – which they’ve done in-house to update Gills Sans and not pay licence fees, I came across this interesting specification on global web page design by the BBC.
Mark Ovenden talks about the new font as part of a wider appreciation of Gill Sans and Johnston (the London Underground font) in a BBC 4 documentary. It was interesting to hear how Neville Brody used it in City Limits magazine and the challenges these fonts faced in the move to digital – first of all for graphic design and then for online consumption.
Finally, from a font perspective, I found this video from Apple WWDC 2015 that Apple used to introduce its San Francisco family of typefaces as its system font (they also use it as their corporate font now). This was the first font designed in-house at Apple in 20 years. Apple keeps it tightly controlled and restricts access to it.
I looked back on Apple’s website from 10 years ago following the launch of the iPhone I realised how fad driven web design could be.