Wednesday 17 September 2014

Play To Win ; Disappearing updates, Bad ideas made good & Computer gaming on a printer.

Years ago, I used to have a flutter on the coin operated fruit machines when I'd be out and about in bars, pubs and more themed sort of places like bowling alleys and so on. I used to win a lot on a regular sort of basis and sometimes lose, too. I'd believed somewhere in my mind, that there was some kind of system that had to be beaten.

For example, if the machine said '72% payout on average' and each game was 10p or 20p ( now you can pay a lot more per game, and I tend to steer clear as it's out of my league and interest these days), I had some rough or odd calculation that £5.80 worth of credit may kick the machine into payout repeat mode and I might get some of what the previous players may have put into it as well. An odd and naieve way to spend a couple of hours at times, but it used to bear fruit. I have no idea wether it was just pure luck that eventually ran out and/or so my interest in all that just fizzled out, too.

But I'm still of the belief that the odd calculated risk, can work wonders. I put that down to some sort of 'hunch' or instinctive thing, where you just get a feel for a situation or what have you. Some have had careers out of just gambling and upping the ante all the way, but that's as far away from what I'm saying here, as geneva is from my house, on foot.

Speaking of gambles, the most popular social networking site in the world is trying another innovation to keep ahead ( or abreast) of current social media trends :-

Disappearing Status Updates Might Be Coming To Facebook

On the one hand I found this to be a real gamble, in terms of any potential metrics and stats that a lot of companies using analytics may be currently using, because  if status updates disappear, then the main emotive core of interactivity on facebook, will rapidly disintegrate.

As a result, any corporation following a cluster of fan based updates, for example, would be less able to track them away from the fan page, for example, and be solely reliant on fan page based activity. That's going to be interesting for the companies involved with huge fan list pages on there, who may now have to come up with ever newer and innovative ways to keep interaction with their customer base, so to speak, fresh and keep them coming back for more.

On the other hand, this is great  news from a security perspective and enters into a sort of 'neutraility' paradigm, where the individual's 'net based footprint will now rapidly start to disintegrate, making facebook a very 'happening now' social media tool. Of course, all of this is on the assumption that the 'disappearing' algorithim can be manually tweaked to some degree by all end users.

I can't help but suspect that some of this may also be driven from some kind of economic viewpoint, insofar that the volume of stored data  per profile and group account, for example, is now heading into gigabytes as a minimum . I downloaded all my data from my own profile almost a year ago, and I think it came to about 300 megabytes, and that was after some prior judicious trimming down across the board. I can hazard that it might be another 100 or so megabytes larger, at a push ( I hardly use it these days, as mentioned in an earlier article here ), which may be all photgraphs and responses to posts and so on.

But my point is, that all that data for over a billion profiles has to be stored somewhere, and all that storage costs money. If facebook has or is starting to plateau out from a commercial perspective, then apart from generating more interest for it in terms of a medium and ultimately a product, ways have to be found to keep the bottom line buoyant too, so to speak. In this instance, I have to commend them for taking this step, cause that's not an easy thing to do when your product is potentially reaching the mature phase of it's lifecycle, which in my mind facebook is now heading towards

Speaking of  maturity phases and changes to the product, apple's new watch has created a lot of hubub, which is to be expected, with a lot of rhetoric and analysis on the topic. What was a bit surprising for me, was noticing that there was either thinly veiled irritation, more hardended 'is that it?' style basherama with comic overtones, or just a general sense of apathy towards the whole keynote.

But this article, takes a refreshingly different approach :-

The Secret to Apple’s Innovation? Bad Ideas

Apple's widely mooted 'since jobs has gone, it's all over for them now' predictions are now reaching their third year, and whilst the launch of the new Apple watch will stymie that for a while, as already mentioned, the link to the article illustrates that Steve Jobs' raison d'etre was NOT doing what others think or thought they should do.

If the articles and various interviews are to be believed wholesale, Jobs was a mercurial and quite temperamental man, with flashes of belligerence interspersed with an amazing intellect and an ability to pick the right thing at the right time. Whilst Tim Cook seems to be a more even keeled leader, it's still early days in my mind, to write a huge pioneering company - especially in the last twelve years - such as Apple, off within a few years of the leadership passing on to Cook.

Ironically, I don't own any Apple products at all, because I've always had an issue with a locked-in  hardware and software ecosystem, which is the ethos behind the entire range of products. I just don't see it as absolutely beneficial to the end user, particularly in terms of freedom of hardware peripheral choice and price competitiveness.

But then I've come from an I.T. background which was primarily windows related, which has ultimately influenced me at numerous levels. I can see the benefits to those who just want to take it out of the box, plug it in, switch it on and not have to faff around with the odd tweak here and there, which may well be the majority of it's customers, but for me, there now needs to be something more than just another iphone 'redux', and a watch that needs the iphone to get the best out of it.

Speaking of tweaks, I'll end this lunchbreak of thoughts and opinions with this :-

Clever hackers put Doom and Donkey Kong where they don’t belong

If only just once, I'd love to play DOOM on a printer user interface screen. Who knows..maybe someone will put out a downloadable version for all sorts of devices, including a monochrome version for the digital controls on central heating systems. You never know what people can come up with, when bored and thinking out of the box.

And it's on that note, that I'm off to have my own lunch. I always make sure there's more than one flavour of something going on. Eg, even if it was cheese sandwiches, then apart from pickle and onion, i might even go for a bit of grape in one of them, and then have two flavours of crisps or potato chips as accompanyment.

You can't beat a bit of pandemonium for the tastebuds. But I draw the line at fish flavoured ice cream, which is something I spotted at a place in California. 

But that's for another time and place.

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