Ideas Matter




NFC Smart Locks

NFC(Near Field Communication) will enable our phones to talk with things such as gas pumps, vending machines and cash registers, basically anything you might want to transfer money to.

NFC could also allow our phones to interact in new ways with old objects, like say, a door lock. You would hold your phone close to the lock while turning the knob. An electromechanical power circuit converts that turning force into enough energy for about about 300 miliseconds, or about 1/3 of a second processing time. A low power microcontroller within the lock accesses a connected NFC chip containing the locked/unlocked status of the lock. This NFC chip would receive it's power over the air through the short range RF interface with the phone's corresponding NFC device, relaying the unlock code to the lock's microcontroller. The balance of the doorknob turning force would then be used to mechanically move the bolt, opening the door. 


Microsoft and Phone 7 Fragmentation

An article over at TechCrunch by MG Siegler delves into Microsoft's approach to Phone 7 and how updates will deploy. Microsoft got the control they wanted with constrained spec's for manufacturers, but this also places the burden on them for tactical leadership in a way WinMobile never did. 

MSFT will have to get the balance between new features and filling in missing pieces by pulling actionable signal from all the market noise, not easy to do when you are not actually building devices yourself. The timing for something like cut/paste has to be balanced with a differentiating new feature. Android does this with many eyes and many ears, a cross manufacturer, continuous snap to OS tip revision grind that aint pretty. The end result being consumers find at their semi-annual refresh window, the top couple Android fragments that are actually competitive with iOS.

MSFT has deep pockets and can spend time building up the OS feature set, but really has to break new ground to thrust forward and catch up in ways not yet seen from them in mobile. 


Sand Atom Browser Concept(update)








Robert Scoble has an interesting post on content curation and the tools needed to allow users to more easily package stuff both in real time and in a meaningful way. It inspired me to think about how one could visualize relationships between content atoms(see Roberts link above). At the risk of stretching Robert's chemistry analogy, you could consider bonds between various content atoms to exist at different energy levels, with tweets being more real time or at higher energy levels vs blog posts at lower energy levels, not nearly as timely. 

The browser depicted above would visualize content atoms and molecules and the relationships between them in real time. The colored blocks represent different atoms, each of which would receive a share of web crawler time which helps to determine the attraction and placement relative to other blocks. The bonds formed are based on location, time, and subject, along with direct user drag and drop.


RIM Tablet: Rush To Judgement?


TechCrunch Clowns RIM for an unreleased product. They make the comparison to the Blackberry Storm debacle, but should RIM be slammed for gear in a different category that has not even hit the street yet? Sometimes I think these kinds of articles are self fulfilling. Yeah, trying to release their slate device to a theoretically friendly business user base, when they really need to make an initial splash with the consumer segment ala Apple could possibly be a mistake. This strategic placement stuff is interesting, but does not speak to the quality of the product. I'd like to reserve judgement until we at least see the thing running. A misstep in launch audience could be overcome by a device that delivers enough of what people want, enough of the time.


Facebook & Privacy, Timing Is Everything

You know how in the lifecycle of a political campaign, candidates speak mostly to their base, say whatever is necessary to get through the primaries, then course correct somewhere around the center as the general election campaign begins? You could view Facebook's explosive growth in a similar way with respect to the timeline of changes to their privacy policies.

Facebook started out as a university student site, pretty locked down privacy wise. Each time they became less restrictive, be it allowing in non-college students, using profiles to attract outsiders into the service, etc., they grew exponentially. The timing of policy changes probably contributed as much to the success of Facebook as the utility of the site.

The last batch of controversial default privacy settings, biased towards exposing user information in ways they may not understand caused quite an uproar, at least in some circles. Facebook responded by changing certain aspects of it's privacy defaults and opt in/out settings. It seems going forward that there will need to be finely timed thrusts towards growth friendly privacy policies, knowing that there will be backtracking in response to user complaints. At the end of each cycle, they will end up with more control & access than the last move. Touchpoints of innovation will have to outweigh privacy concerns for enough of the people enough of the time.