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Boot up: Samsung's fingerprint, no Office for iPad?, LINE's appeal, and more
[February 19, 2014]

Boot up: Samsung's fingerprint, no Office for iPad?, LINE's appeal, and more

(Guardian Web Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) A burst of 8 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team If a time traveller saw a smartphone >> The New Yorker Timothy Wu: A well-educated time traveller from 1914 enters a room divided in half by a curtain. A scientist tells him that his task is to ascertain the intelligence of whoever is on the other side of the curtain by asking whatever questions he pleases.

The traveller's queries are answered by a voice with an accent that he does not recognize (twenty-first-century American English). The woman on the other side of the curtain has an extraordinary memory. She can, without much delay, recite any passage from the Bible or Shakespeare. Her arithmetic skills are astonishing—difficult problems are solved in seconds. She is also able to speak many foreign languages, though her pronunciation is odd. Most impressive, perhaps, is her ability to describe almost any part of the Earth in great detail, as though she is viewing it from the sky. She is also proficient at connecting seemingly random concepts, and when the traveller asks her a question like "How can God be both good and omnipotent?" she can provide complex theoretical answers.

HG Wells didn't think of this.

Office on the iPad is a product absolutely nobody needs >> CITEworld Matt Rossoff: Yes, it's possible to use the iPad to get "serious" work done, but the apps used to complete that work will be different from traditional PC productivity apps -- simpler, with fewer functions.

  Seriously, try and think of a viable use case for a touch-screen version of Office on the iPad. Are financial wizards going to enter data and run macros by tapping on their screens from the bed? Are marketers going to create PowerPoint presentations on the train? Are execs going to fire up the iPad version of Word during meetings so they can take notes with pretty formatting and change-tracking? No. If you're a regular Office user, you already have a computer with a keyboard, probably a laptop. If you need to use Office, you're going to use that computer.

Explained: Samsung's implementation of the fingerprint sensor on the upcoming Galaxy S5 >> SamMobile Recently, most of the rumours pointed towards the fingerprint sensor being built into the actual display but that's not the case, because Samsung has implemented the sensor into the Galaxy S5's home button. Oh, we would also like to confirm that Samsung hasn't opted for on-screen buttons and is still using physical buttons, like it has been using in the past on all of its flagship devices. The sensor itself works in a swipe manner, which means that you would need to swipe the entire pad of your finger, from base to tip, across the home key to register your fingerprint properly. Also, you would need to keep your finger flat against the home key and swipe at a moderate speed or else it won't recognise your fingerprint. The fingerprint sensor is sensitive to moisture, as well. So, don't try to use it with wet fingers because it will, literally, give you an error and tell you to dry your fingers first.

Messaging: mobile's killer app >> stratechery Ben Thompson points to the evolution of messaging (and the intervention of the desktop, and then examines LINE - which many in the west won't have heard of or used: This [illustration] is a sticker set from Häagen-Dazs; they have paid LINE tens of thousands of dollars (varies by market) to make this set available for free. To get the stickers, users must follow the official Häagen-Dazs account.

Voilà, Häagen-Dazs now has a direct communications channel to millions of users.

Perhaps this summer, when it's particularly hot, Häagen-Dazs will send out a coupon to all those users for a discounted cup of ice cream. Many of those users will be out-and-about, likely in the vicinity of a Häagen-Dazs retail shop (they're all over the place in Asia). And just like that customers have been moved to action.

He also has an excellent explanation for why companies love to store credit card details, despite all the hacks.

October 2007: Why the iPhone will beat the Blackberry >> O'Reilly Radar Tim O'Reilly, in October 2007, making a point about what the BlackBerry could do that the iPhone couldn't: Get over it: power users are a minority, and while they point the way to the future, they tend to be disappointed when the rest of the market catches up with an inferior product that has a lower barrier to new users.

What's wrong with an insider? >> Hal's (Im)Perfect Vision Hal Berenson on the appointment of 'insider' Satya Nadella as Microsoft chief executive: I think Satya will make a lot of changes, though probably in a more gradual way than an outsider would have. In the questions on another of my posts I was asked about a lot of the processes used with Microsoft's sales force (or more generally, "the field"). Because Satya is not a sales guy I don't think shaking up sales governance practices is really on the top of his list. But he's going to start questioning some of the practices pretty quickly, especially with FY15 planning getting under way. And keep in mind he came out of the product groups, and particularly a product group that has long been frustrated over field practices that make it difficult to win large complex Enterprise deals. So I expect Satya to put a lot of pressure on the field model over time… Setting up a culture that encourages people to bring great ideas forward, gives them serious consideration, and then act on those ideas is what the CEO really does. And this is an area that I think Satya has already started to change. Much to the delight of a number of employees I've talked to.

A more effective Microsoft in field sales for cloud products would shake things up.

Graphene-coated heart valves could sidestep harmful drugs >> The Conversation Now researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Michigan report in Nature Communications that they have come up with a third way [other than blood-thinning drugs or animal tissue] which may allow long-lasting implants. They propose coating implants with a catalyst that uses the patient's own blood to make an anticoagulant called nitroxyl.

The coating catalyses – speeds up without participating in – two reactions in the blood near the implant. The catalysts are attached to a fragment of graphene – a single-atom layer of carbon – that holds the catalysts near each other. These catalysts convert glucose and an amino acid called L-arginine in the patient's blood to nitroxyl, which prevents clots from forming around the implant.

Side note: graphene was discovered at the University of Manchester.

How iTunes crushed music sales >> CNNMoney After Apple's iTunes Music Store debuted on April 28, 2003, sales of 99-cent digital singles surged. But that had a disastrous impact on overall music revenue.

Except the graph shows that sales value peaked in 1999, then fell. What happened in 1999? Napster. Fabulous piece of data collection, though.

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(c) 2014 Guardian Newspapers Limited.

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