“It’s still a very profitable company thanks to its enormous strengths in the enterprise market. But enterprises are made of people. If nobody wants to buy Microsoft’s stuff, that will trickle up into the enterprise.”
Kyle Vanhemert for Wired takes a look at the process for making Square’s card reader even better—thinner, no battery, and more reliable:
The Square Reader has one job: swiping credit cards. Any new version of the device, then, had to improve on that single, simple function. We might take a card swipe for granted, but getting every detail right takes extreme care. You have to make the swipe feel satisfying; you have to make it ready accurately enough that it works the first, every time. Those two factors help convey something in the moment about Square itself: That the company is trust worthy, rock solid, and easy.
Although I think the now-prior card reader was pretty amazing for what it did with Square’s service, the attention to detail and drive to improve on arguably a “good enough” product really makes Square a fun company to watch.
Alice Truong writes for Fast Company (via John Gruber):
The Android app Brightest Flashlight has been installed between 50 million and 100 million times, averaging a 4.8 rating from more than 1 million reviews. Yet its customers might not be so happy to learn the app has been secretly recording and sharing their location and device ID information…
…”When consumers are given a real, informed choice, they can decide for themselves whether the benefit of a service is worth the information they must share to use it,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement. “But this flashlight app left them in the dark about how their information was going to be used.”
Safe and secure indeed. I also would like to think that Jessica Rich was pleased with her pun.
“Do I really think Nintendo is doomed? No. But they—and their fans—need to come to grips with the truth that what they’re doing right now is not working.”
The USB-IF/USB 3.0 Promoter Group (link is a PDF):
The USB 3.0 Promoter Group today announced that the development of the next generation of USB connector has begun. The new USB Type-C connector, built initially on existing USB 3.1 and USB 2.0 technologies, is being developed to help enable thinner and sleeker product designs, enhance usability and provide a growth path for performance enhancements for future versions of USB. This supplement to the USB 3.1 specification is anticipated to be completed by the middle of next year.
Key characteristics of the USB Type-C connector and cable solution include:
- An entirely new design tailored to work well with emerging product designs
- New smaller size – similar in size to the existing USB 2.0 Micro-B
- Usability enhancements – users will no longer need to be concerned with plug orientation/cable direction, making it easier to plug in
- The Type-C connector and cable will support scalable power charging
- Scalability – the connector design will scale for future USB bus performance
As the new USB Type-C plug and receptacle will not directly mate with existing USB plugs and receptacles (Type-A, Type-B, Micro-B, etc.), the Type-C specification will define passive new-to-existing cables and adapters to allow users to use their existing products.
This sounds Lightning Connector-esque to me. I don’t think the old connector was necessarily terrible or dated, although it’s nice to see some progress. I’m glad they’ll make adapters for the new type of connector, although I do wonder how many PCs will come with a USB 2 Type-A port, a USB 3 Type-A port, and a new Type-C port. Apple will probably wait awhile to implement it, but will do it completely.
Just last month, the NBA signed a $100 million deal with Samsung to utilize tablets court-side for instant replays. Turn the clock forward to this month, and Bloomberg has an extensive video interview with a company called Sportstec. Sportec provides 28 out of 30 of the NBA teams with iPads equipped with special software to analyze players, shots, and spots on the court. The software is exclusive to iOS devices. Players and coaches on these teams are all given iPads to improve their performance.
Samsung-bashing aside, this software is pretty fascinating—although I wonder what software the Pacers are using, especially this season…