📨 Newley’s Notes 94: Ambient Computing; Drones for Dummies; Dogs in Pools

2017 05 31blades

Edition 94 of my email newsletter, Newley’s Notes, went out on Saturday.

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Hi, I’m Newley Purnell. Welcome to the latest issue of Newley’s Notes, where I share my Wall Street Journal stories, posts from by blog, and various links about technology, business and life.

💬 What I Wrote at Newley.com

📲 5 Must-Reads in Tech

1. On the internet (or lack thereof) in rural India. The New York Times’s Ellen Barry reports on how people in central India’s Madhya Pradesh state, like in many parts of India outside large cities, remain largely disconnected from the web.

2. Walt Mossberg’s final column. Mossberg, whose impending retirement I mentioned in NN88, looks to the future in his last dispatch at Recode and says we’re entering an era of ambient computing. Advances in fields like AI, VR/AR, robotics, drones and more mean tech will become ever more pervasive, rather than just sitting in front of us in the form of a PC or in our pockets, like smartphones:

I expect that one end result of all this work will be that the technology, the computer inside all these things, will fade into the background. In some cases, it may entirely disappear, waiting to be activated by a voice command, a person entering the room, a change in blood chemistry, a shift in temperature, a motion. Maybe even just a thought.
Your whole home, office and car will be packed with these waiting computers and sensors. But they won’t be in your way, or perhaps even distinguishable as tech devices.
This is ambient computing, the transformation of the environment all around us with intelligence and capabilities that don’t seem to be there at all.

3. DJI’s new drone for dummies. Speaking of drones, the Chinese powerhouse is launching a new $499 model, the Spark, that can be controlled with hand gestures. This could be a killer feature, since anyone who’s flown a traditional drone can tell you how hard they can be to keep aloft. (Yes, the new model can also snap selfies for you.)

4. Pics of Amazon’s new bookstore in NYC. Some have said the shop, in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle, looks like it was designed by people who hate books. What do you think? Say what you will about the toll the e-commerce titan has taken on book publishers and stores, but it’s interesting see their push into physical retail.

5. Why Google’s gobbling up your photos. In this piece at Medium, Victor Luckerson says the popular Google Photos product is all about gathering more and more of our data:

While we allow the company to passively track us through platforms like Chrome and Maps, Google Photos may be the first Google product that persuades people to actively share their personal information with the company en masse since Gmail.

💫 1 Fun Thing

1. Video: Cody the Labrador stands in the pool. Not a new video, but new to me. Why dog paddle when you can just stand up?

What’d I miss? Just hit reply to send me links, rants, raves, juicy news scoops and anything else.

Thanks for reading.


Published by Newley

Hi. I'm Newley Purnell. I cover technology and business for The Wall Street Journal, based in New Delhi. I use this site to share my stories and often blog about the books I read, tech trends, sports, travel, and our dog Ginger. Join the growing group of readers who get my weekly email newsletter.

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