A publication of Conde Naste
May 2016 issue
Last updated: SUN May 22 2016 6:32 PM
By: Glenda MacDonald
Ready to crack open the May edition!
As I read the May issue I’ll share my observations and some links to those stories I find most interesting via Twitter, updating this review as I go. (In case you missed it see also MAGAZINE REVIEW: Wired – April 2016 issue )
The cover story for this issue is about mixed reality: “A Mysterious Startup, A Mountain of Money, and The Quest to Create A New Kind of Reality.” By Kevin Kelly, the founding executive editor of Wired, founded in 1992… But I’ll get back to his later..
American Greetings double page spread extols the virtues of an analog world
I was quite surprised to see up front in the magazine a native advertising DPS extolling the virtues of an analog world, sponsored by American Greetings. The piece mentions an Analog festival that was held at the “world’s largest digital festival” in Austin, Texas and talks in very reverent reminiscent tones, citing the “260 percent increase in vinyl record sales in the U.S. since 2009″. In a world where so much of our communication is digital it’s not surprising that a greeting card publisher would embrace the analog world as I suspect the e-greeting card market may not be that lucrative compared to the three to eight dollars each we may willingly shell out for greeting cards. “We traveled all the way to Austin, Texas, to discuss the resurgence of vinyl, the value of paper, the beauty of film photography, and most importantly, real human connections.” I’m not sure it’s possible to put the digital genie back in the bottle in a significant way but I’m old enough to wax nostalgic as I sort through and scan my old family photos, listen to my granny’s 78 and 33 rpm records (and some new vinyl I’ve recently purchased). I spent money on and mailed a Mother’s Day card to my mom, though it was one from Carleton Cards. I’m curious enough to check out the Analog festival and will follow the above link later to investigate further.
My Twitter Poll to see if my followers read Wired
I did a little market research on my Twitter followers asking them to respond to a simple poll..and only one of my usually responsive four thousand plus followers completed the survey – one who has never read Wired! Hopefully my tweeting has piqued some additional interest and gained Wired a new reader. I know based on the demographics of my followers that a high percentage are likely to be regular Wired readers, and I often get likes and retweets for my insights. So for now I will continue sharing my thoughts since I will be reading it anyway!
The scourge of Twitterbots
Pg. 17-19 “Twitterbots United: Fake Followers Could Wreck the Election”:
Howard and Wooley cited research about the pervasiveness of bots and how social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, while they would have the capability to do so, do not flag bot accounts. Some bots have been used for positive advocacy, art projects, etc., but there is a growing use of them to undermine campaigns like #blacklivesmatter with racist hate tweets. It’s very disturbing to read that according to TwitterAudit, “one in four of Trump’s followers is fake, and similar ratios run through the accounts of the other presidential hopefuls.”
Just to keep it all real at my end I decided to use the TwitterAudit tool and be transparent about my own Twitter followers. I was pleased to discover that
If you are curious about the percentage of real followers you or another account has just head to their site and plug in the Twitter handle. You get an instant tweetable summary based on a sample of tweets and their own algorithm for determining if a follower is likely to be real. It’s a free service from two busy guys with very important other day jobs.
#SunkenCities exhibit at the British Museum May 2016
I’ve always been an avid fan of Egyptian archaeology. There’s a short article in the May issue about the archaeologist Franck Goddio who discovered two sunken Egyptian cities. The finds will be on display @britishmuseum in London in May 2016. The British Museum already has a fabulous Egypt exhibit so I wish I could go back there and see the #SunkenCities one as well. Maybe some of the exhibit will eventually travel to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, where I saw my first mummy at age of 12 on a trip to Toronto.
Tips for evaluating opportunities for investment in equity crowdfunding portals
I’m doing some work with the four-year-old National Crowdfunding Association (NCFA) in Toronto and have live-tweeted two of their recent conferences. Canada is making great strides with various forms of crowdfunding and I found this article very timely and informative.
Email Newsletter resurgence
Clive Thompson’s article Newsletter Time: The Rise of the Slow Words Movement is worth a read if you are debating whether or not to produce and share a newsletter, as I am.
Clive talks about newsletters in the same way that proponents of the ‘slow food movement’ extol the virtues of a more mindful approach to dining and eating. He notes that our world of social media communication is so fast-paced that having a newsletter you’ve opted-into arrive in your inbox and taking the time to stop and read it at your own pace creates a more intimate relationship with the producer. He outlines a few of his favourite reads and now I have to add them to my own list to check out! He talks about how the content is often quirky an innovative, partly because the readers have opted-in and don’t have to be sold to open the message.
I agree with Clive in principle. But in my case I have an inbox overflowing with good reads I hope to someday get around to reading. I opt-in to many newsletters, partly because I’m studying how different people do them while deciding if I’ll produce one of my own. Currently I use Twitter like a mini-newsletter. I’m an affiliate for Small Today and am reviewing the interviews with email marketing exerts from the recent Email Success Summit so if you’d like to learn more about email marketing and newsletters, check out my reviewsl
Wired Business Conference June 16 2016 NYC
I’ve reviewed their ad to see which organizations are speaking and I’ve added this info to my Upcoming Events list. A number of these speakers have been featured in recent issues of WIRED.
THURS June 16 2016 Wired Business Conference, Spring Studios, New York City, NY USA. Featuring the following organizations and individuals: BBG Ventures: Susan Lyne; Cuse Productions: Carlton Cuse; Crisis Text Line: Nancy Lublin; Facebook: Yann Lecun & David Marcus;; Funny or Die D.C.: Brad Jenkins; General Motors Company: Mary Barra; Google: Diane Greene; IBM Research: Arvind Krishna; Joyus & theBoardlist: Sukinder Singh Cassidy; Magic Leap: Rony Abovitz; Slack: Erica Baker; and That Dragon, Cancer: Ryan Green. According to the fine print on the website the vent is by invitation only, seating is limited, advance registration is required, and all registrations are screened.
Shooting video on your smart phone
This is a short article by Paula Chowles. Even though it refers to videos shot on iPhone it recommends some apps that work with both iOS and Android. There are some really useful tips that amateurs like me can put to use right away! I use my HTCOne Android smartphone when live-tweeting events because of the handy size and like Paula says it is unobtrusive. I find people are quite generous about sharing their image onscreen if you are using something small. If I need longer video and don’t need to upload it to the internet right away I use my Canon Powershot Digital Elph, also compact, but it has a 16GB removable SD card and can shoot continuously without interruption. I often edit in-camera using the built-in app with HTC. If I’m uploading to my laptop I edit in iMovie.
25 Geniuses “Next List 2016” – second annual feature on visionaries
I’m reading through the list and sharing WIRED’s profile tweets for the ones I find most interesting.
I’m very interested in virtual reality and augmented reality and am following tech developments and how the leading firms are dealing with issues of how people can use headsets, tethered or untethered, the data resources and other equipment needed and their practical accessibility, and how people physically and cognitively experience these tools. I’m particularly interested in the content side and the challenges of writing for and producing the experiences. I’ve not yet had the opportunity to test virtual or augmented reality tools but am looking forward to doing so and reporting further on my experiences.
I’m a longtime customer and fan of Netflix and am a big consumer of their documentaries. As a reviewer I find a goldmine of stories to watch and report on. The profile mentioned the Nina Simone documentary which Lisa Nishimura was instrumental in making available. I watched that documentary and found it very enlightening. I’m so pleased to read about Lisa’s mission to make documentaries widely available based on global tastes.
I’ve written a fair bit of ad copy over the many years I’ve worked in marketing and advertising. Trying to get inside the mind of the audience and potential customer has always been a key goal in writing ad copy that speaks to their unmet needs. Having studied social psychology and with an MBA in marketing I’m fascinated by the way that big data analytics are being applied to audience psychographics.
I was not aware of the strides Google is making in enterprise cloud computing.
I do some work as a transcriber. Even with the best tools available human intervention is still needed to have even close to 100% accuracy in the translation of speech to text. Huang predicts that within two to three years and with advances in deep learning and AI perfect machine speech to text will be a reality. So there goes another skill and industry that may be adversely affected by technological developments – transcription services.
This is the first time I have read about blockchain technology offering opportunities for tracking other types of financial values beyond Bitcoin.
I was one of the ‘resister’s that Jesse Hempel refers to in her bit on David Marcus regarding initial resistance of Facebook users to having to use a separate Messenger app. But I got used to it and it became indispensible to me. Then when they upgraded the app a while back and we were all concerned about privacy issues I resisted again. But I got over myself and again love the Messenger app. I love direct messaging because unlike email it keeps that conversation flowing sequentially and easily and you can embed media. This article notes that Facebook has intentions to offer more concierge services in the way WeChat does in China, allowing users to do things like order tickets directly from the Messenger app. I suspect I will resist at first but again they will win me over!
I’m a big supporter of indie film production, primarily documentaries. I’ve worked with film producers in Toronto, New York City, and England in the early stages of film production and release to help them spread the word about their ouevres. I also review indie films. I’ve watched as the documentary Alive Inside continues to gain worldwide recognition for its work in raising awareness of the value of music in awakening memories in Alzheimer’s survivors and attending the Canadian and NYC premiere showings. When I watch films on Netflix I always check for the latest independent works. I ‘m thrilled to see that Amazon also sees the value in sharing stories we might otherwise not get to see due to their lower production and promotion budgets. Through their offerings through Amazon Prime perhaps more indie producers will be given the respect and recognition they deserve.
I am a big supporter of #STEM – Science Technology Engineering Math – and love sharing news about successful women scientists. Jesse Hempel writes about some of the emerging applications for facial recognition technology, nothing that Apple recently purchased Emotient . Advertisers and manufacturers are licensing technologies for market research to understand how customers react to their messages and products, based on the subtle facial expressions associated with a range of emotions that the algorithms have been trained to recognize.
Cade Metz tells us about the moves by Facebook and OpenAI to make most if not all their Artificial Intelligence research open source to advance the technology faster and also keep it in as many scientists’ hands as possible to hopefully prevent an “AI apocalypse” due to nefarious developments by those with evil intent.
The untold story of virtual reality startup MagicLeap
This article by Kevin Kelly starts off with a very descriptive introduction about his experience testing Magic Leap’s prototype transparent goggles in which virtual reality is overlaid on your real surroundings effectively creating a mixed reality. He talks about knowing that the objects and action figures he is seeing are not real despite their photographic realism but nevertheless impart a real “presence” to the observer/interactor.
This pretty much sums up Kevin’s efforts to understand where Magic Leap fits in the industry and why it has had so much investor interest. “To fully appreciate Magic Leap’s gravitational pull, you really must see this emerging industry—every virtual-reality and mixed-reality headset, every VR camera technique, all the novel VR applications, beta-version VR games, every prototype VR social world. ….. Like I did—over the past five months.” Now that’s dedication to story research!
The following video by WIRED gives us the first real understanding about what Magic Leap’s secretive prototype is able to do.
I don’t listen to many podcasts though I listen to a lot of live radio and sometimes catch up on missed stories via podcasts. But this is a podcast I think I will check out further “Voices of VR”. They were mentioned in the article and according to their Twitter they just celebrated their two year anniversary earlier this month. They have done interviews with all the major players in the VR field so definitely worth a listen!
This article has opened my eyes to what disruptive technology virtual reality could potentially be. It was suggested that not only could VR/AR/MixedReality replace the technology of desktop computing, but it could also upend the whole market for smart phones and televisions.
I also want to know more about the process of creating these VR “experiences” and how writing for VR differs than writing for print and film. I want to learn about how the brain processes this multimedia approach. I enjoy watching 3D films at the theatre but the experience is less than ideal. The technology is changing so quickly that the impediments in the “chain of persuasion” needed to ‘fool’ your brain into believing that what you are experiencing is real are falling away.
Some of the VR companies are in the process already of replacing their desktop screens with VR screens projected virtually through wearable devices.
I am so used to having multiple Firefox tabs open and using multi-screens with my laptop, external monitor, smartphone and sometimes also a TV and iPad etc. all at once. I think I will be in virtual heaven once the technology allows me to really interact with my software and social media and files.
As a marketing professional I am excited about the potential for mixed reality, augmented reality and virtual reality. As a writer and tech researcher I am itching to get first hand experience. I want to join the party!
I love some of the convenience you get from enabling browser cookies and don’t mind that much when I am pushed ad messages because often they do address products and services that I might consider purchasing. I like how I am training the Netflix user viewing behavior algorithm so it suggests great films for me to watch. We give up more and more of our privacy as we take advantage of the time-saving aspects of having information fed to us. Once you enter an immersive environment though when your body’s reactions to the environment are also tracked we’re entering some new territory. The article notes that the data needs are currently so high to just produce the virtual experience that the actual user data is not being stored beyond the session. It is surmised though that at some point the big data associated with our choices and preferences will be commercially valuable, stored, and sold. I’m not sure I want virtual popup ads in my VR world.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art redesign includes immersive audio tour app
I love visiting art galleries and museums. The only kind of audio guides I have experienced are the ones that tie into your smart phone or you carry a wand and in both cases you have to manually enter a number corresponding to the exhibit to hear the audio tour message. Many years ago I was a distributor for “Magic Message” which used the glass of windows and display cases to transmit audio messages when activated by a touch of the glass. But still, deliberate human action was needed to interact with the exhibit. I’m quite intrigued by the new app designed by Detour and Apple for SFMOMA which allows the visitor to choose from a variety of voice artists and toned experiences to guide them through their earbuds using their iPhone through the museum, sensing where they are and where they are headed. Watch the video linked from the above tweet for a short film about the app and how it is used. The museum is working on a version that allows more flexibility so that the visitor doesn’t have to be guided and can wander but still receive the information they need.
I also enjoyed articles on Eastern European hacker informants to the FBI and Sweden’s movement toward being a cashless society. My husband just informed me that he got an email that he can read the online version of the June issue now. But I am happy to wait a few days until our hard copy arrives and I crack it open, sip my coffee, and start my next review!