All posts by Jonathan Greene

Defending Liberal Arts

Campus (aerial view), Hamilton College

Andrew Bennett, the CEO of Havas has a great piece in Fast Company that I fully agree with based on my own direct experiences. His thesis is essentially that while we place such enormous attention on STEM education we might be losing sight of the value in a proper liberal arts degree.

At my college there was just a single degree to earn, a Bachelor of Arts. I could have chosen to major in Chemistry, Physics or Computer Science and still left with a BA. Instead I chose Comparative Literature and while that might seem limiting if you can only draw linear conclusions, the foundation my education provided is something I use all day, every day. My job involves continuous critical thinking, synthesis and analysis and clear communication whether written or through public speaking. It’s hard to say whether I would have had a similar exposure or rigueur had I focused on business or marketing or even engineering (at a different school) but I believe and would advise my kids to think broadly to ensure they are comfortable with the pretty steady change that life offers.

There’s always time to specialize and go deep in a particular area. I still feel like I’ve managed to be a bit of a generalist and consume an intense information diet to ensure my continued relevance and importantly interest in learning so I can continue to grow.

Hacking the Tesla … or any car?

Screenshot_4_5_14_9_08_AM

So apparently and not surprisingly the Tesla has a computer network running inside … Dragtimes reports how a user noticed what they believed to be an ethernet jack and decided to connect their computer for a port scan.

Some tech savvy Model S owners have located a 4 pin connector (HSD 4 pole M12) on the left side of the Tesla Model S dashboard that turns out to be a disguised ethernet networking port.  After taking apart one end of an ethernet patch cable and trying different pin combinations to connect with the Tesla’s port, a networking connection was established between the Model S and a laptop computer.  This connection allowed for port scanning and data sniffing to explore  how the Tesla Model S systems communicate with each other and what services are running and used.

The car’s internal 100 Mbps, full duplex ethernet network consists of 3 devices with assiged IP addresses in the 192.168.90.0 subnet, the center console, dashboard/nav screen and one more unknown device.  via DragTimes.com.

This raises an interesting question … would you hack or jailbreak your car?  Unlike the typical computer a car has a pretty large set of safety responsibilities and I personally think it’s a bad idea.  Trying to get a custom app on there outside of provided and approved platform could lead to trouble.  It doesn’t seem worth the risk …

The Tribe of Solitaire Riders

riding alone

Just read this great piece on Bicycling and the following quote sums up exactly why I enjoy solo riding.  There are absolutely times when it’s fantastic to have a friend or two, but the solo escape, mind flushing capability, mental reset is strong medicine.  Maybe it was years in the pool where you really only hear your own breathing that led me here … or perhaps it’s just the perfect zen quality of an early morning on the road.

Some of us ride to be alone, and others only pedal among others. I’ve never questioned which category I belong to. In the past few years, as I’ve sunk deeper into the regimens of work and family, I’ve come to depend on the freedom of riding alone, the respite from the social world, the thicket of obligations, the anxiety of being observed. If I want to talk when I’m out on the road, it’s only to myself, and I trust the power of exertion and repetition—the spinning of wheels, the steady climb—to push me deeper into that interior conversation. 

Now and then I ride with a friend and value­ the companionship and the break from what can occasionally be a lonely routine. Changing a flat by myself in a cloud of gnats 30 miles from home is more solitude than I’m looking for—but it’s a fair price for the lessons in stamina, patience, will, and clarity that solo riding provides. I’m not alone in my preference for aloneness. I’ve crossed paths with enough riders in the middle of nowhere—always the quick nod, the wrist flick of mutual recognition—to suspect the existence of a tribe of solitaires. – Bicycling – Playing Solitaire

Nintendo

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Everything You’re Thinking About Nintendo Is Totally Wrong | Game|Life | Wired.com.

Interesting read.

I agree … more, easily accessible content would only make my kids want more not less Nintendo.  They (all three) are very happy to play games on our Wii U and generally do together while they play games on mobile alone, but nearby.  They seem to get more fun naturally out of the shared experience and Nintendo needs to work a bit more to deliver this consistently — and at a price that parents like me would want to continuously pay.  $5 for Rayman Fiesta on Mobile and $60 for the Wii U DLC is a pretty massive disparity for starters … but importantly more easy to download games for their 3DS and easier cheaper, but strong historical (and even new) content on the Wii U could be killer.

Sunday’s Recommended Reads

Some recent saved favorites from Pocket:

Facebook’s New Offline Sales Measurement Trick Could Make Ad Clicks Obsolete: Facebook is launching a new way for brick-and-mortar business owners to measure if their Facebook ads drove in-store sales, even if customers never clicked. – by Josh Constine – http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/13/facebook-custom-audiences-measurement/

What Tech Hasn’t Learned From Urban Planning: SAN FRANCISCO — The tech sector is, increasingly, embracing the language of urban planning — town hall, public square, civic hackathons, community engagement. So why are tech companies such bad urbanists? – by Allison Arieff – http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/14/opinion/what-tech-hasnt-learned-from-urban-planning.html

14 ways Google gets it right even after 15 years: Earlier this fall, Google wished itself a happy 15th birthday. There was pomp, circumstance, and of course, a Google doodle. And the company has every right — if there ever was any doubt about its dominance, it’s gone now. – by Scott Gerber – http://thenextweb.com/entrepreneur/2013/12/14/14-ways-google-gets-right-even-15-years/#!pWAwr

T-Mobile’s self-defeating resurgence: It’s a standard part of flying, these days: the minute you touch down, you pull out your phone and get back up to speed with the world — especially if you’ve been on a long flight without wifi. And then there’s the standard exception: when you’re flying internationally, you don’t. – by Felix Salmon – Tags: telecommunications – http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2013/12/15/t-mobiles-self-defeating-resurgence/

Chromecast in 2014: an open SDK, big international plans and maybe even new devices: Google landed a bit of a coup with Chromecast this year, launching a device that no one saw coming but that has proven to be very popular. – by Janko Roettgers – Tags: Chromecast,Dial,Google Cast,Mario Queiroz,multiscreen technology,Smart TV – http://gigaom.com/2013/12/13/chromecast-in-2014-an-open-sdk-big-international-plans-and-maybe-even-new-devices/

Samsung: Uneasy in the Lead: Lee Kun-hee, the man who built the most successful, most admired and most feared business in Asia — a $288 billion behemoth that is among the most profitable in the world — had a message for his employees this year: You must do better. – by ERIC PFANNER, BRIAN X. CHEN – http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/technology/samsung-uneasy-in-the-lead.html

A Message That Tries to Blend In: AS Madison Avenue continues debating the pros and cons of a hot trend in marketing known as native advertising — digital pitches styled to look like the editorial content of the publications in which they run — Vanity Fair magazine is voting “aye” by bringing out its first such effort, for – by STUART ELLIOTT – http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/13/business/media/a-message-that-tries-to-blend-in.html

Ford Unveils Its First Autonomous Vehicle Prototype: Ford has thrown its hat into autonomous car ring with the debut of its Automated Fusion Hybrid Research Vehicle, the latest in a series of steps the automaker is taking to realize its grand vision of transportation in 2025. – by Damon Lavrinc – http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/12/ford-fusion-hybrid-autonomous/

Snowy Saturday Recommended Reads

Another bit of a catch up …

How many Americans will be using an iPhone when the US smartphone market saturates?: As previously noted, the US smartphone market has followed an almost perfectly logistic growth. The measured data (via comScore, in green below) follows a predictive logistic function (thin blue whose formula is discussed here). – by Horace Dediu – http://www.asymco.com/2013/12/13/how-many-americans-will-be-using-an-iphone/

Today In Dystopian War Robots That Will Harvest Us For Our Organs: You’re in luck today, true believers! We have four exciting robots that will eventually enslave and/or eat us. – by JOHN BIGGS – http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/13/today-in-dystopian-war-robots-that-will-harvest-us-for-our-organs-9/

An Introvert’s Guide to Better Presentations: I am an introvert and I have always feared public speaking, and despite having given an industry conference presentation every year for the last fourteen years, it’s only gotten marginally easier for me. – by Gene Driskell – https://medium.com/what-im-reading-on-medium/be7e772b2cb5

Google Adds to Its Menagerie of Robots: SAN FRANCISCO — BigDog, Cheetah, WildCat and Atlas have joined Google’s growing robot menagerie. Google confirmed on Friday that it had completed the acquisition of Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that has designed mobile research robots for the Pentagon. – by JOHN MARKOFF – http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/14/technology/google-adds-to-its-menagerie-of-robots.html

Facebook self-censorship : What happens to the posts you don’t publish?: A couple of months ago, a friend of mine asked on Facebook: Do you think that facebook tracks the stuff that people type and then erase before hitting ? (or the “post” button) Good question. We spend a lot of time thinking about what to post on Facebook. – by Jennifer Golbeck – http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2013/12/facebook_self_censorship_what_happens_to_the_posts_you_don_t_publish.single.html

Big Idea 2014: Predictions from PayPal: This post is part of a series in which LinkedIn Influencers pick one big idea that will shape 2014.See all the ideas here. Prediction lists are everywhere this time of year and they often have more to do with sounding clever than sharing insight. – http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20131211235041-356899-paypal-looks-ahead-six-predictions-for-2014

Why cab drivers should love Uber: Last month the city of New York raised more than $200 million by auctioning off 200 new taxi medallions — essentially, the right to operate a yellow cab in the city. – by Felix Salmon – Tags: economics – http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2013/12/11/why-cab-drivers-should-love-uber/

John Doerr’s last stand: Can a dramatic shakeup save Kleiner Perkins?: Jesus Christ, Kleiner Perkins just can’t catch a break. The latest news – in a year-long deluge of mea culpas, nasty lawsuits, and admissions of strategic missteps – is that the firm is retrenching, refocusing on the consumer Web, and cutting its early stage investment staff. – by Michael Carney, Sarah Lacy – http://pando.com/2013/12/11/john-doerrs-last-stand-can-a-dramatic-shakeup-save-kleiner-perkins/

We who spoke LOLcat now speak Doge: In the internet meme war between cats and dogs, the dogs are currently winning. The “doge” meme features an image (often of an adorable shiba dog), annotated with distinctive phrases representing the thoughts of the dog — or the dragon, or whatever is being depicted. – by Annalee Newitz, on io9 – http://io9.com/we-who-spoke-lolcat-now-speak-doge-1481243678

Amazon said to launch Pantry to take on Costco, Sam’s: SAN FRANCISCO — Amazon.com is working on a new business called Pantry that will help it expand further into the giant consumer package goods market and take on warehouse club stores Costco and Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club, according to three people familiar with the effort. – by Alistair Barr, USA TODAY – http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/12/12/amazon-pantry/4001707/

Twitter’s Latest Partnership, With Truecaller In India, Links Phone Number Look-Ups With Tweeting: Twitter has been inking deals with third parties outside of the U.S. to drive more international usage, both in emerging and mature markets. Today comes news of yet another deal that it hopes will expand its presence in one country in particular: India. – by Ingrid Lunden – http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/12/twitters-latest-partnership-with-truecaller-in-india-links-phone-number-look-ups-with-twitter-accounts/

The case for a six-hour workday: Today, workers are putting in increasingly more hours—so much so that the 40-hour week has become a relic of the past. But pushing employees to clock up those extra hours is bad for their well-being and detrimental to your company. – by Lauren Davidson – http://qz.com/157092/the-case-for-a-six-hour-workday/

Gmail blows up e-mail marketing by caching all images on Google servers: Ever wonder why most e-mail clients hide images by default? The reason for the “display images” button is because images in an e-mail must be loaded from a third-party server. For promotional e-mails and spam, usually this server is operated by the entity that sent the e-mail. – by Ron Amadeo – http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/12/gmail-blows-up-e-mail-marketing-by-caching-all-images-on-google-servers/

Wearables, ubiquity and the future of the smartphone, part I: The smartphone is in for a radical change, not only in its function, but also in the way it looks and is carried. And it will spin off its functions to other devices, creating a vast and vibrant electronic ecosystem. In the first of a two-part series, Siegfried Mortkowitz reports. It’s 7.02 a.m. – Tags: Apps & Mobile Tech, smartwatch – http://analysis.openmobilemedia.com/apps-mobile-tech/wearables-ubiquity-and-future-smartphone-part-i

Bitcoin’s Biggest Bet: Andreessen Horowitz Leads $25 Million Investment in Coinbase: If you’re a bitcoin doubter, you might want to turn away. The doors to venture funding in bitcoin startups are about to swing wide open. – by Jason Del Rey – Tags: commerce, general, news, andreessen horowitz, bitpay, chris dixon, coinbase, featured post, founders fund, fred wilson, ribbit capital, union square ventures, usv – http://allthingsd.com/20131212/bitcoins-biggest-bet-andreessen-horowitz-leads-25-million-investment-in-coinbase/

Science Says Art Will Make Your Kids Better Thinkers (and Nicer People): Those who would consider themselves part of the creative class would probably agree that art is an important part of primary school education. – http://m.fastcocreate.com/3023094/science-says-art-will-make-your-kids-better-thinkers-and-nicer-people

First Lasing Nanofibres Open The Way For Cheap, Soft Laser Textiles: There was a time, not so long ago, when lasers were exotic devices that lived in specialist labs and relied on a team of experts to keep them going. – http://www.technologyreview.com/view/522561/first-lasing-nanofibres-open-the-way-for-cheap-soft-laser-textiles/

4 Reasons Why Apple’s iBeacon Is About to Disrupt Interaction Design: You step inside Walmart and your shopping list is transformed into a personalized map, showing you the deals that’ll appeal to you most. You pause in front of a concert poster on the street, pull out your phone, and you’re greeted with an option to buy tickets with a single tap. – by Kyle VanHemert – http://www.wired.com/design/2013/12/4-use-cases-for-ibeacon-the-most-exciting-tech-you-havent-heard-of/