Facebook Really Is Building The Metaverse
MARK WILSON, fastcodesign.com
Facebook paid $2 billion for a virtual-reality headset maker. Now we learn why: The social network wants to build the first billion-person game.A few months ago, jaws dropped as Face­book shelled out $2 bil­lion to pur­chase Ocu­lus VR, a…


It makes sense that the company which had no qualms about rewiring our expectations of privacy online would jump headfirst into creating the dystopian world that everybody wants to avoid. They may even succeed in making us like it.

But unlike in an SF novel, a virtual reality metaverse is not going to pop up out of nowhere someday from a small garage of hackers. It will take a Facebook to do, and it will change commerce, the web, and everything. Are they in a hurry or willing to play the long game on this? I don’t think they have any competition.

Facebook Really Is Building The Metaverse
MARK WILSON, fastcodesign.com

Facebook paid $2 billion for a virtual-reality headset maker. Now we learn why: The social network wants to build the first billion-person game.

A few months ago, jaws dropped as Face­book shelled out $2 bil­lion to pur­chase Ocu­lus VR, a…

It makes sense that the company which had no qualms about rewiring our expectations of privacy online would jump headfirst into creating the dystopian world that everybody wants to avoid. They may even succeed in making us like it. But unlike in an SF novel, a virtual reality metaverse is not going to pop up out of nowhere someday from a small garage of hackers. It will take a Facebook to do, and it will change commerce, the web, and everything. Are they in a hurry or willing to play the long game on this? I don’t think they have any competition.

Mind-controlled prosthetic arm from Segway inventor gets FDA approval
By Dante D’Orazio, theverge.com
Near­ly eight years ago, DARPA, the US Defense Depart­ment’s advanced research agency, set out to find a bet­ter solu­tion for amputees than the metal hooks still wide­ly used today. Now, the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion (FDA) has grant­ed its…

Four decades after television audiences were treated to a bionic man and woman, we finally have the technology to replace lost arms with something more human and natural than the crude poles many have to use today. In the opening credits to a movie where soldiers spend days instead of years recovering from injuries, and society comes to terms with its members turning part machine, and an internet of limbs becomes a ripe battlefield for cyberwarfare, this development begins the spinning newspaper montage.

Mind-controlled prosthetic arm from Segway inventor gets FDA approval
By Dante D’Orazio, theverge.com

Near­ly eight years ago, DARPA, the US Defense Depart­ment’s advanced research agency, set out to find a bet­ter solu­tion for amputees than the metal hooks still wide­ly used today. Now, the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion (FDA) has grant­ed its…

Four decades after television audiences were treated to a bionic man and woman, we finally have the technology to replace lost arms with something more human and natural than the crude poles many have to use today. In the opening credits to a movie where soldiers spend days instead of years recovering from injuries, and society comes to terms with its members turning part machine, and an internet of limbs becomes a ripe battlefield for cyberwarfare, this development begins the spinning newspaper montage.

The Woman Who Figured Out How To 3-D Print Makeup Explains How It Works
Jillian D’Onfro Tech May. 10, 2014, 2:31 AM, businessinsider.sg
Screen­shot / TechCrunch Mink CEO Grace Choi­Imag­ine being able to make your own gor­geous, high-quality make­up at home, using any col­ors you choose. 


She’s being deceptively conservative when she says this product would be targeted at teenaged girls; it has far larger implications for the beauty industry.

If every shade and the chemically simple products that allow people to sport them are fully open and commoditized, and large brands have few qualities to offer beyond “packaging”, and the customer knows it, what will happen? Will advertising continue to be able to sustain them by selling a lifestyle, or will the images of beauty grow wider in scope and fragment as new tastemakers emerge from online communities, e.g. YouTube stars? Sure they exist now, but the collapse of beauty brands as a chief influence for consumers would create a vacuum for new ideas to take hold.

What happens in societies where billions of advertising dollars currently spent by a few large entities, to push narrowly defined images of beauty, just evaporates?

The Woman Who Figured Out How To 3-D Print Makeup Explains How It Works
Jillian D’Onfro Tech May. 10, 2014, 2:31 AM, businessinsider.sg

Screen­shot / TechCrunch Mink CEO Grace Choi­Imag­ine being able to make your own gor­geous, high-quality make­up at home, using any col­ors you choose.

She’s being deceptively conservative when she says this product would be targeted at teenaged girls; it has far larger implications for the beauty industry.

If every shade and the chemically simple products that allow people to sport them are fully open and commoditized, and large brands have few qualities to offer beyond “packaging”, and the customer knows it, what will happen? Will advertising continue to be able to sustain them by selling a lifestyle, or will the images of beauty grow wider in scope and fragment as new tastemakers emerge from online communities, e.g. YouTube stars? Sure they exist now, but the collapse of beauty brands as a chief influence for consumers would create a vacuum for new ideas to take hold.

What happens in societies where billions of advertising dollars currently spent by a few large entities, to push narrowly defined images of beauty, just evaporates?

Apple’s Pursuit of Beats May Foretell a Shift
By BEN SISARIO, nytimes.com
Has stream­ing music’s moment in the main­stream final­ly come? Or is it here already, and has Apple — once the great inno­va­tor of music tech­nol­o­gy — final­ly caught on?Those are some of the ques­tions echo­ing through the music indus­try…


Apple entering the streaming music market (virtually overnight) with the clout and installed user base of iTunes would be massive, and it’s probably not an exaggeration to say Spotify’s days as currently structured would be numbered. Looks like we’re in for the next phase of music industry economics.

Since the rumor surfaced a couple of days ago, people have tried to rationalize why Apple would buy the headphone and services company. Some good theories and analyses of both brands have resulted; I think it’s fantastic to have lots of smart people simultaneously indulge in a thought exercise, the answers to which we will probably have in the near future.

My resistance to the idea has largely been because I’ve heard several pairs of Beats headphones myself, and haven’t been impressed. It’s not about being overpriced, but being bad experiences, functionally. A pair of BeoPlay H6 headphones at S$700 is subject to many of the same criticisms one might use against Beats: they’re too expensive, they’re made in China, the margins are criminally high, you’re paying for the brand, and so on — except the H6s really do deliver on the music experience. I suppose many Beats owners will say the same, but there are an awful lot of people with taste who disagree. Apple’s brand, to me, has always been on the opposite end of that spectrum. Perhaps this is an effort to change who we currently think of as their customers.

The Beats Music service, on the other hand, has been really impressive in my short time testing it out. There’s a feature called “The Sentence”, where you fill in a statement that defines the mood and situation you’re in, and Beats Music provides the appropriate soundtrack. I wish Spotify had something like it. I said in a tweet the other day that $3.2bn was the complacency tax of being asleep at the wheel of the world’s largest digital music store, and @craigmod noted that it was a rather low price to pay, in that case. Quite true.

The iTunes reluctance to play the streaming library game appears to be a legacy of Steve Jobs’s (and the senior executive team’s) approach to music as a tangible possession. He used to rationalize the download model by explaining how people prefer to own their music, and have collections, possibly informed by his own experiences with vinyls and CDs and so on. While it may have been true in the early days of the iTunes Store, I’ve observed even in my own listening habits as an older person that it’s no longer true. Collections matter, but song access is becoming ubiquitous and hence irrelevant. In a world where everyone pays $10/mo for music, we can build all the collections we want, without having to think about first buying a digital copy or worry about losing access. Why should you? It’s $10/mo for the rest of your life and everybody stays afloat and happy. Sold.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Beats Music became the backbone of a new iTunes Unlimited offering, and the headphones remained a standalone brand, sold prominently (as ever) in Apple retail locations.

Apple’s Pursuit of Beats May Foretell a Shift
By BEN SISARIO, nytimes.com

Has stream­ing music’s moment in the main­stream final­ly come? Or is it here already, and has Apple — once the great inno­va­tor of music tech­nol­o­gy — final­ly caught on?

Those are some of the ques­tions echo­ing through the music indus­try…

Apple entering the streaming music market (virtually overnight) with the clout and installed user base of iTunes would be massive, and it’s probably not an exaggeration to say Spotify’s days as currently structured would be numbered. Looks like we’re in for the next phase of music industry economics.

Since the rumor surfaced a couple of days ago, people have tried to rationalize why Apple would buy the headphone and services company. Some good theories and analyses of both brands have resulted; I think it’s fantastic to have lots of smart people simultaneously indulge in a thought exercise, the answers to which we will probably have in the near future.

My resistance to the idea has largely been because I’ve heard several pairs of Beats headphones myself, and haven’t been impressed. It’s not about being overpriced, but being bad experiences, functionally. A pair of BeoPlay H6 headphones at S$700 is subject to many of the same criticisms one might use against Beats: they’re too expensive, they’re made in China, the margins are criminally high, you’re paying for the brand, and so on — except the H6s really do deliver on the music experience. I suppose many Beats owners will say the same, but there are an awful lot of people with taste who disagree. Apple’s brand, to me, has always been on the opposite end of that spectrum. Perhaps this is an effort to change who we currently think of as their customers.

The Beats Music service, on the other hand, has been really impressive in my short time testing it out. There’s a feature called “The Sentence”, where you fill in a statement that defines the mood and situation you’re in, and Beats Music provides the appropriate soundtrack. I wish Spotify had something like it. I said in a tweet the other day that $3.2bn was the complacency tax of being asleep at the wheel of the world’s largest digital music store, and @craigmod noted that it was a rather low price to pay, in that case. Quite true.

The iTunes reluctance to play the streaming library game appears to be a legacy of Steve Jobs’s (and the senior executive team’s) approach to music as a tangible possession. He used to rationalize the download model by explaining how people prefer to own their music, and have collections, possibly informed by his own experiences with vinyls and CDs and so on. While it may have been true in the early days of the iTunes Store, I’ve observed even in my own listening habits as an older person that it’s no longer true. Collections matter, but song access is becoming ubiquitous and hence irrelevant. In a world where everyone pays $10/mo for music, we can build all the collections we want, without having to think about first buying a digital copy or worry about losing access. Why should you? It’s $10/mo for the rest of your life and everybody stays afloat and happy. Sold.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Beats Music became the backbone of a new iTunes Unlimited offering, and the headphones remained a standalone brand, sold prominently (as ever) in Apple retail locations.

From Paper to iPad, Pixel Press Turns Drawings Into Videogames
Bonnie Cha, recode.net
I loved play­ing videogames as a kid, but I can’t say that I ever spent any time sketch­ing out ideas for my own games like my broth­er and his friends did. (My doo­dles usu­al­ly involved cute ani­mals or spelling out my crush’s name in bub­ble…

The core concept is every kid’s dream: designing their own games for friends to play through, or just for the heck of it. But without some serious inspiration, what you can do in a short platformer level is very limited. I remember a D&D game maker tool for PCs in the 90s; that was infinitely better because you could create a STORY, and set up narrative funnels for your players. 20 years later, our idea of imaginative play can’t be restricted to letting kids carve out crude worlds in 3D chunks and 2D lines.

From Paper to iPad, Pixel Press Turns Drawings Into Videogames
Bonnie Cha, recode.net

I loved play­ing videogames as a kid, but I can’t say that I ever spent any time sketch­ing out ideas for my own games like my broth­er and his friends did. (My doo­dles usu­al­ly involved cute ani­mals or spelling out my crush’s name in bub­ble…

The core concept is every kid’s dream: designing their own games for friends to play through, or just for the heck of it. But without some serious inspiration, what you can do in a short platformer level is very limited. I remember a D&D game maker tool for PCs in the 90s; that was infinitely better because you could create a STORY, and set up narrative funnels for your players. 20 years later, our idea of imaginative play can’t be restricted to letting kids carve out crude worlds in 3D chunks and 2D lines.