The inside story of Instagram

I have just finished reading ‘No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram’ by Sarah Frier.

I strongly recommend the book to anyone interested in social media and the impact it has on our lives.

It chronicles the genesis and rise of Instagram from a simple app to the cultural juggernaut that it is today.

What adds a further layer of intrigue is the relationship between Instagram and Facebook after the acquisition of the former by the latter.

Not only that, the relationship between two very different founders and two very different company cultures.

It’s a story of conflict and compromises between idealistic beginnings and the gritty reality of belonging to a public company.

With material sourced from hundreds of interviews, it’s a fascinating insight into the inner workings of Silicon Valley.

Must read.

No Filter, the unfiltered story of instagram

Microsoft and NBA teaming up

Advertising Age reports that Microsoft and the NBA are getting together to enhance the UX of fans.

Microsoft will provide its cloud computing and artificial intelligence capabilities while the NBA will provide the content.

The aim of the partnership is to deliver a superior and more personalized user experience.

The remarkable aspect of the announcement is the quoting of both Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, and Adam Silver, NBA commissioner.

Such caliber indicates the importance of the deal.

Microsoft Azure will be used to apply machine learning to NBA content in order to deliver a more personalized experience to global fans.

As Silver noted, most global NBA fans will never attend a game in person.

Delivering the next best experience is paramount for the league’s long-term global future.

In essence, a fan in Indonesia will be served a stream of content dependent on his preferences in terms of teams and players.

Artificial intelligence will learn what the fan responds to and deliver more of what increases the fan’s engagement with the NBA digital content.

Is my privacy worth more than your health?

I am writing this in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At present, there are more than 1 million known cases of infection and the death toll has passed 64,000.

There are some faint glimmers of hope with some countries recording a slowdown in the rate of infection.

While there are going to be some very difficult days/weeks/months ahead.

Once we get to the other side, many things will have changed and will change further.

One aspect I think we will need to consider is our approach to privacy and how we balance this with the need for protecting people’s health.

Technology assists with better understanding and monitoring the spread of diseases.

Contact tracing is a term that few of us had heard a few weeks ago.

Now it’s one of the main tools for reducing the exponential growth of COVID-19.

Contact tracing is the process of identifying, diagnosing and treating people that have come into contact with known cases of a disease.

In other words, health authorities will try to find all the people that you, positive case of COVID-19, have been in contact recently.

They will try to get in touch with them, tell them of the risk they might have been exposed to, potentially test them for this type of coronavirus and advise them on their self-isolation obligations.

The clearer the picture of who might have been exposed, the better chances of containing the spread.

Remembering everything you have done over the last, for instance, 14 days requires a good memory.

In my case, as memory is not my greatest asset, I would be relying on the Google Maps app and the fact that I have location tracking always on.

By letting authorities know where I have been, I would be hoping they would have a better chance to identify who was there at the same time as me.

As an example of technology assisting further, authorities in Singapore have launched TraceTogether.

This mobile app uses bluetooth to track other users of the app that have come in close contact with you.

The use of the app and the sharing of data by the user is voluntary.

The ‘lifespan’ of the app is closely linked to the length of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Once the latter is over, the app will stop working.

Privacy concerns are addressed by the Singapore government as follows:

  • the app does not track location or contacts
  • data is stored for only 21 days and will not be accessed unless you have been identified as a close contact
  • your mobile phone number is paired with a random ID and only the random ID is exchanged between users’ phones

Some of us might be skeptical of privacy guarantees made by governments, authorities and tech companies.

Many have been burned once too many times by placing their trust in these institutions.

There are also a large variety of individual stances with regards to technology and privacy.

I have many friends whose opinion I value very much that are much more concerned than myself when it comes to the balance between privacy and the benefit of technology.

Bottom line is, each one of us will have to answer the question: is my privacy worth more than your health?

Culture will also play a huge part on the shifting, or otherwise, of attitudes.

The magnitude of loss of life and the emotional, psychological, economic impact of COVID-19 will determine how we, humanity, will want to manage this issue in the future.

I think that some loss of privacy for the greater good will be inevitable.

How much only time will tell.

Nreal Light Augmented Reality Glasses Review

Augmented reality is likely to become more pervasive as time goes by.

This will have massive implications for the future of marketing and advertising.

The technology can disrupt the existing framework of the advertising insutry by providing a more direct link between products and consumers.

Then again, this might providing great opportunities for advertisers that embrace this emerging platform.

Improvements in the underlying technology and in people’s acceptance should accelerate its adoption.

It is important to understand what products are available today and how fast their performance is advancing.

Nreal Light Augmented Reality glasses are one such product.

The people at Adam Savage’s Tested have kindly reviewed them.

These glasses weigh 88 grams. Slightly more than a normal pair of glasses.

The consumer kit has a cable connecting the glasses to your smartphone. In this configuration the smartphone acts as the computing unit.

The smartphone also provides power to the glasses and it acts as the controller.

For those of us wearing prescription glasses, prescription lenses are provided featuring a magnet that allows the user to clip them onto the frame.

In this way the user does not have to wear two frames.

Good:

  • amount of image squeezed in little space
  • first AR glasses that look like glasses
  • vividness of the image colours

Not quite there yet:

“These are the first AR glasses that actually look like glasses” – Jeremy Williams

Tested reviewers: Norman Chan & Jeremy Williams