We are all trapped in the “Feed”

Every afternoon, during lunch, I open up YouTube, and I find myself marveling at the sheer dumbness of its recommendations. Despite having all this viewing data of mine, world’s second most popular search engine is dumb as a brick. It shows me propaganda channels from two ends of the political spectrum. It surfaces some inane celebrity videos. It dredges up the worst material for me — considering I usually like watch science videos, long conversations and interviews, and photography-focused educational videos.

May 25: Worth Reading

WorthReading

  • Remember GoTV? Or the Verizon’s much talked about the acquisition of once-very-hot Vessel? And all those press releases from Verizon where it talked up its dreams of being an OTT video giant. All those have resulted in nothing, and The company has called it quits and is now looking to partner with former competitors. The latest retreat is not a surprise – it is hard to be anything but a telecom. (LightReading)
  • Talking about Verizon. As a long time customer, I discovered that for a while my wireless network was slower than it used to be. It felt even slower when I used a T-Mobile connection. Well, now I know why. The unlimited data-plans pushed into the market by T-Mobile put Verizon on the back foot. Lately, Verizon LTE has got a spring in its step. My former colleague Kevin Fitchard breaks down the state of mobile broadband in the US. (OpenSignal)
  • News reporting is a tough, but ultimately a simple job. You have to ask questions. You have to dig deeper. And when something seems too good to be true, it usually isn’t true. Or at least that is what I think and followed that approach when I was an active journalist. These basics are old-school, as you will learn in this beautiful interview with the Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou, who uncovered the Elizabeth Holmes & Theranos scam and now has written a book about it. (The Ringer)
  • “Thinking about artificial intelligence can help clarify what makes us human—for better and for worse,” writes Tad Friend in his insightful piece, I liked it because it is thoughtful and considered writing about a topic that gets everyone’s blood boiling. (The New Yorker)
  • Apps, or rather the business of being an independent app developer is fraught with a lot of stress and tension, even when you are making a mindfulness app. After reading this essay by Rohan Rohan Gunatillake, creator of Buddhify, I have a new respect for app developers. (Buddhify)

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What really is longevity?

For some odd reason, I have been thinking about, mortality and frailty of life. Some of it is with the passing of icons of my youth — Prince and Tom Wolfe, for example. The other is just because I can’t stop asking the question: but, why?

Blockchain Phones? Really!

It seems a whole new slew of phones that are optimized for blockchain applications are currently under development. Sirin Labs is going to debut its Finney phone in October 2018 which runs a custom Android OS. The phone will have built-in crypto wallets and will allow seamless behind-the-scenes conversions between different types of tokens. Blacture is also working on the Motif phone, which is supposed to launch in Fall 2018.

These are exciting developments, for sure. And while they might not make sense now, but don’t be surprised to see phone makers such as Apple start to incorporate chips and OS level integration for seamless behind the scenes conversions. For me, this is a trend to watch.