Sunday, May 30, 2010

Kindle's future? E Ink shows off color and flexible displays

Kindle's future? E Ink shows off color and flexible displays: "Kindle's future? E Ink shows off color and flexible displays
Eric Engleman on Thursday, May 27, 2010, 1:03pm PDT
| Permalink | Devices | Electronic books | Google | Kindle CEO Jeff Bezos told shareholders this week that color-screen Kindles are still 'some ways out.' But E Ink, the provider of e-paper display technology for the Kindle readers on the market today, is giving a glimpse of what that future might look like at the Society for Information Display Symposium in Seattle this week. Pictured here is a research prototype color e-reader that E Ink featured at the exhibition.

That research version is still about two years away, according to E Ink, but the company is planning to release a version of color screen later this year, and is also working on a flexible plastic display (video below). Will these be part of future Kindles? E Ink staff wouldn't say.

Interestingly, two Google employees, one of them a hardware engineer, were engaged in detailed discussions at the E Ink booth today, taking measurements of some of the displays and asking about the touchscreen features. They declined to discuss their interest in the technology.

E Ink product director Lawrence Schwartz walked through some of the new E Ink technologies coming to market (sorry for the intermittent glare from the lights above):

- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Buzz by John Hardy

Buzz by John Hardy: "Gmail Calendar Documents Web Reader more ▼
Photos Sites Groups YouTube
Images Videos Maps News Books Translate Scholar Blogs
even more » | My Profile | Help | My Account | Sign out
May 29

John Hardy - Buzz - Public - Muted
So. fucking. naive.

Taylor: 'Personally — and these are my own personal beliefs, not those of the company — I believe our society is becoming more open and accepting. I would never want to work for an employer who found my personal identity unappealing. I think that’s an antiquated notion. I hope our culture changes so that people become accepting both on the inside and outside.'
Reshared post from Michael Sean Wright.
Q & A: Bret Taylor on his impact at Facebook, post FriendFeed-acquisition - VentureBeat

It’s been 10 months since Facebook bought FriendFeed, which arguably was its most significant acquisition since the company was founded. (Parakey was the other influential acquisition.)

The deal brought several senior hands on-board including Gmail creator Paul Buchheit and Bret Taylor, who shepherded a number of significant products through Google including Maps. Since then, both of them have taken very visible roles at Facebook with Taylor launching the company’s social plug-ins last month at the company’s f8 developer conference.

We caught up with Taylor to get his take on how he’s fit in with the company so far:

VentureBeat: How do you think you’ve influenced Mark’s thinking and the trajectory of the company?

Taylor: One the reasons we decided to join was we actually had a shared vision of how we wanted these social services to be integrated across the web. As for my own personal impact, it’s hard to say. In all of our conversations, it just became clear how our visions basically dovetailed. You could say I was in violent agreement with Mark.

On a practical level, I came in thinking the Facebook platform was too complex. There were too many application programming interface calls needed to accomplish basic social functionality. I thought the APIs had to be much simpler, and it turned out that a lot of my personal concerns about the product were shared. The product and platform have grown enormously and there’s been a need to simplify things, whether that’s fixing privacy controls or the API. So the simpler API is what we built and shipped at f8.

VB: How would you say Mark and Facebook’s culture has changed your thinking about the social web?

Taylor: One thing that Mark and I have talked a lot about is how the services that will be the most successful in the future will be ones that are built with social functionality in mind from day one. That’s what we’ve seen with the gaming industry. My favorite game growing up was Sim City. If you were to build that socially, you’d make all these changes — neighbors would make a difference, you’d build cities that are competitive to your friends’ cities. Social experiences in products can create an immense amount of value. Products like the Wii took something that was previously solitary and made it fun by involving family.

If you look at the partners we launched with at f8 like the Washington Post, we gave them plug-ins that would let you see articles your friends have liked. It gave your friends an editorial voice that wasn’t there before. If you build products with social connections in mind from day one, you’ll produce much better and more genuine experiences for users.

VB: What do you think is preventing Google, where you worked before, from launching more successful and mainstream social products?

Taylor: I left just before Google’s social efforts really began. I don’t have any personal insight into what is going on. When we develop products at Facebook, we don’t really focus on what our competitors are building. I can tell you that the reason why Facebook builds good social products is that this is just culturally what we do. It is our first order of business. And in general, it’s hard for companies to be successful at anything that’s not their core focus.

I will also say that you are ultimately a product of your surroundings. I was at Google for most of my career and the culture was very academic. We were focused on infrastructure and scalability. Facebook, from day 1, has been about social interactions, which has definitely colored the way I think.

My favorite example, which you already know about, was Facebook Photos. It was not a great photo product by any standard measure. There were no original-sized photos. There was no printing. It wasn’t developed like a traditional photo service. It just had this core piece of functionality — tagging– that made it the biggest photo product on the web.

VB: With the “like” buttons and the social plug-ins that you helped launch at f8, you’ll suddenly be collecting an immense amount of data — both explicit and implicit — on how people use the web –

Taylor: Let me clear something up. We are 100 percent focused on explicit data. We have pretty strict data retention policies. The implicit data is anonymized after 90 days. We use it to measure something called “like-through” rate so we understand how the buttons and plug-ins are used and how we can improve them.

VB: Are the “likes” factoring into ad targeting now?

Taylor: I don’t know. That’s not my area of expertise.

VB: Where do you think behavioral norms around privacy are heading over the next 10 years?

Taylor: In general, I think if you look at many products that are being developed in Silicon Valley right now, they’re all very disruptive to the way that people think about sharing. They’re disruptive in the way that the Internet was very disruptive to journalism or in the way that the printing press affected how people consumed information. These products are changing peoples’ expectations and they inherently create tension in the way we think about openness and privacy. I think it’s a very healthy dialogue we’re having as a culture.

One of the things we learned from this is that we have to be very good about offering controls. But because we built so many controls, actual control was lost in the complexity.

VB: But the defaults you’ve established over time have become more public. There was this viral infographic showing the defaults making basic information becoming ever more public over time….

Taylor: We’re trying to make our settings reflect behavioral norms. I don’t think the graphic reflects reality for most of our user base. The majority of our users have customized their privacy settings.

If you think about Mark’s talk, when we first went international, people joined regional networks. And that meant that for Turkish users, their network was the entire country. So all Facebook users in that country could see their information. We had to change that. Furthermore, most of our users have signed up in the past year. People have signed up in vastly different environments with vastly different expectations. We’ve attempted to have our defaults reflect the norms of usage of the product.

VB: Mark has said in the past that people have a single identity no matter where they are, whether they’re with their friends or in the workplace. Can you elaborate on that?

Taylor: We’ve made this commitment to have one single real identity in the product and I think our long-term success will bear that idea out. Some people use it as a professional network; others use it for their friends.

Personally — and these are my own personal beliefs, not those of the company — I believe our society is becoming more open and accepting. I would never want to work for an employer who found my personal identity unappealing. I think that’s an antiquated notion. I hope our culture changes so that people become accepting both on the inside and outside.

VB: If you take the way space in the physical world is divided as a metaphor for online space, in the real world, there are very overt visual cues for where you are and who you’re communicating with.

The furniture and look of your office tells you to behave one way and the coffee shop where you’re talking to your best friend tells you behave another way. But on Facebook, all of that space is compressed to a single white status update bar and the only visual cue a user has that tells them who they’re communicating with is the tiny image of a lock.

Taylor: That’s an insightful way of looking at it. We have different communication channels on Facebook.

Your inbox might be your coffee shop and your wall is the place where your friends can reach out to you and instigate serendipitous communication with others.

We’ve talked about communication channels a lot and we’ve tried friend lists. Honestly, they’re not perfect but we’ll definitely get there.

Companies: Facebook

People: Bret Taylor

2 people publicly reshared this - ShowSadagopan S and Stefan Ålund
6 people liked this - =GoogleBuzzMan=Y.Shintaro=Jsonicboom =, Feng David, Marko Škember, Sigi Mueller, Yoav Givati and tima vida
Marko Škember - Taylor seems like a very bright person.May 29DeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Alex Covic - VB: Are the “likes” factoring into ad targeting now?
Taylor: I don’t know. That’s not my area of expertise.

Bret Taylor sure is a great engineer (never met him - only know him from his blog, speeches). Building Friendfeed in 6 weeks time - that's impressive.

I was naive too, thinking, he could help swing FB to the better. He's helping FB become faster, bigger, more connected (not just what we users see, but the partner-servers/ad-services in the background).

Reminds me of the physicists & engineers in the beginning of the 20th century. I know, it's a far stretch comparison. All engineers think they are building these amazing new things for the better of humanity. But in the end, all technology is and will be used as weapons, eventually. Today's weapons are virtual and API based and I am glad less likely to kill people. Still, they don't see the bigger picture?May 29DeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Marko Škember - I don't care about Facebook, I don't use it but Taylor seems to be o.k.May 29DeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
John Hardy - yes Bret Taylor is certainly a talented guy and certainly worth listening to. I just think that his view of everybody knowing everything about everybody is not going to work. people are only just starting to realise that they need to start thinking about protecting themselves from data mining, exploitation and identity theft. Taylor's hope for a change of culture is hopelessly utopian and naive. Either that or I don't think he is being completely honest with us.May 29DeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Marko Škember - What's the big deal about privacy and identity? If you don't have nothing to hide, you don't need to fear.May 29DeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Michael Silverton - I had the privilege of meeting Bret very briefly at an MIT/Stanford VLAB (pre-FB) and he seemed sincere and authentic. At that same event, it was Leah Culver (Pownce, Six Apart, and secret alpha IRC-powered who most 'stood up to the man' (The Man being represented by WSJ's Kara Swisher) at that event. It's a huge task and responsibility to lead these social companies. To my mind, it's all back to Qui Bono? To what degree? By what means? WE are the content on all these networks, yet the platforms aggregate all the economic returns. There's something just fundamentally out of whack about that, IMHO [ |], yet nobody seems to want to talk about where the money goes.

This ambivalence strikes me as beyond peculiar in the context of our society. But then, consensus ambivalence over the fundamental enabling role of internet bandwidth in the access network during the 1990's puzzled me, too.

The Skember Curriculum:

Leadership can and does change over time; hopefully for the better in this case. Check out The Social Developer Summit, June 29, San Francisco. 29DeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Sean Brady - People need to realize that a) not everything they put on FB is kept private and b) not everything they do should be public. I agree with Bret that society has changed, and what is now considered public information about me is different that it was 5 years ago. As long as people are allowed to set their own level of privacy, and they understand what can be done with the information they make public, I think this increased level of information acceptance is fine.May 29DeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Marko Škember - All information should be public and universally accessible. That is crucial for benefit of society and human kind.May 29DeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
John Hardy - lovely and idealistic.

which is why i maintain several identities online and will continue to do so and will probably add more over time.12:27 amDeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Dan Morrill - Wait, are you saying this isn't the REAL John Hardy?! I feel so cheated.1:02 amDeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Marko Škember - Why are people so paranoid? Unfounded fear only produces more fear and confusion.1:08 amDeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
John Hardy - Yes these words are the true utterances of the entity whose personal brand is 'John Hardy'.

It's not paranoia, Marko, a better question is why all the trust? Has there even been an instance where credulity has been justified when it comes to the interests of big corporations?

There are strong reasons to protect one's privacy however you are welcome to live as publicly as Robert Scoble if you wish. Scoble however has an advantage of being a celebrity in the tech world so for him its a trade off against the benefits he receives. That's a luxury that not everyone shares.1:18 amDeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
John Baker - @Marko Škember Sorry must disagree.

ALL information can by definition ever be public, and that is not what people in Zuck's camp want. They want All marketable information they can get from their customers.

People in, say, financial market makers, governments, and large-scale investors really do want ALL information which has value only if it is exclusive. People of this bent will sell 'open' with intent to get as much as possible, and be 'open' with a subset of that.

Users who say they want to share all information are and I say this charitably, naive and have not thought this through fully.

@Sean Brady - @John Hardy - and of course @Alex Covic - +11:32 amDeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Marko Škember - I am willing to give plenty of information, I don't care about that. To me, knowledge and truth are way more important than a bunch of data.2:05 amDeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Gord Wait - Call me a cynic, but I don't believe the Facebook team are naive, I think they are sociopathic, and after the usual - almighty dollar and power. I think this 'gee whiz everyone should accept Zuckerberg's Law' is just smoke and mirrors.

Marko - study history and you will find there are lots of reasons to be careful. No point in going to extremes, but one thing new with the internet age is that it can bring both new friends and new enemies within your social circle at light speed.

In the real geographical world I'm surrounded by people in approximately the same culture, who all have to live in the same cultural and legal environment, 'on average'.
On the internet you can easily come into contact with people who would so disagree with any single aspect of your own world view, that they would want to cause you harm, or kill you for your beliefs to silence your opposing view.

The internet can (and probably is to some extent) turn into a giant melting pot of world culture (limited by how much information individuals can ever consume) , but there will be lots of turbulence as barriers come down. No point in getting smashed on the rocks by pursuing an ideal of complete openness.2:10 amDeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Kathi [d/b/a fuzzyscorpio] - +10 @Gord Wait. Zuck's Law is nothing more than fabricated rationale for the pursuit of profit and world domination. :)2:25 amDeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Marko Škember - Facebook will not dominate the world. It is just another social network just like Myspace or Orkut, nothing special.2:46 amDeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Gord Wait - Facebook's page views already exceed Google search itself. I think it's now the #1 web site. Their new 'Facebook Likes Everywhere' extends their reach more.
Sounds dominant to me..

Agreed Kathi, but I also think it's the perfect meme to describe Facebook's corporate culture. Facebook will have you believe they do this for the benefit of the world :)

I realize I may be sounding confrontational, (not trying to be) - I'm not worried that Facebook are some sort of cultural or techno threat, I think they will (and already are) have some serious issues with the good old 'unintended consequences' problem and fall flat in a couple years, then everyone will be on to the next big thing (See the articles of fundamentalist Muslims tracking down non believers for persecution using the new open Facebook as a resource for example).

Their user interface is actually quite bad, and randomly changes every few months to add more confusion. In short (I believe) the only thing Facebook has going for it is that 'everyone uses it'. All these new issues which seem to show a callous disregard for their users show that they don't agree. They have the user base, it's theirs to loose..

Personally I will keep my Facebook account open, so people can find me, but even before this latest round I wasn't really engaged on there. Now I take a look about once a week, and occasionally post a Buzz link for fun..3:05 amDeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Marko Škember - Facebook is way behind Google. It cannot even be compared to Google. I even like Twitter more than Facebook.3:21 amDeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Kathi [d/b/a fuzzyscorpio] - @Gord Wait 'I think they will (and already are) have some serious issues with the good old 'unintended consequences' problem and fall flat in a couple years, then everyone will be on to the next big thing'
I hope and believe you're right.

'Their user interface is actually quite bad, and randomly changes every few months to add more confusion. In short (I believe) the only thing Facebook has going for it is that 'everyone uses it'.'
Couldn't agree more.3:23 amDeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Marko Škember - Facebook has only managed to create a mass hysteria.3:39 amDeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Michael Silverton - canofworms.is_open();

Scenario: Imagine you woke up one morning and some guy was sleeping in a car just outside your house.

Maybe he's just a harmless homeless guy, down on his luck, (maybe just like you might have once been) living in his car, looking for a quiet place to sleep for a few hours. Maybe he's casing your neighborhood. Maybe he stole the car last night and just fell asleep exhausted right there. Maybe he's a P.I. keeping an eye on the wayward desperate housewife five doors down.

In any case, being a conscientious member of your Neighborhood Watch group and active citizen, you decide to call the police and alert the neighborhood with a Buzz on the map, something like

Now, imagine this bad guy also has Buzz on his smart phone. He also sees that you just announced his location. He clicks over to your Profile, over to your Facebook, finds out where you kids go to school, where your wife or husband works, etc.

So, yeah. Can you say use case for Accountable Anonymity Can you say citizen-enforcement extensions to where a picture of the license plate brings back a 'stolen' or 'no data' status -- with zero personally identifying information about the vehicle owner -- and immediately alerts local police with (your previously opted-in) GPS location of your device?

I knew you could.5:29 amDeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Yoav Givati - The issue with Facebook is not that any app or 3rd party site can access all your private data regardless of privacy settings and control your profile without consent, which they can, and have, and do.

The issue with Facebook is that Facebook takes perpetual ownership of your identity and likeness, and they abuse those rights. Signing up for Facebook is like giving them power of attorney over your identity, and the right to pass those rights on to whoever they want with no obligation to tell you who, forever, without any way to opt out or cancel your agreement with Facebook to take those actions in the future.

Facebook scams people out of controlling their identity. They lock you in, and take the digital 'you' hostage. They flat out lie about what's private and what's not, and they profit off divulging your data and personal information to unknown unnamed 3rd parties.6:26 amDeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
John Hardy - OK it's only one incident but it happened only a few weeks ago in my country during the middle of the initial Facebook furore

As Yoav says people are losing the ability to control their identity and this can have unfortunate consequences in terms of identity theft, fraud and exploitation. I'm going to say it again: Learn whatever it takes to protect your identity online and teach your kids how to be aware. It's not just Facebook that is the problem here.9:06 amDeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
Michael Silverton - A fundamental problem is that there are absolutely no pedestrian or retail measures available to people to protect themselves against someone or group that becomes determined to do harm. We can take all the preventative measures we'd like; there are simply no 100% effective identity or personal safety measures.

Informed by that awareness, advocating for more openness and transparency in both software and society need not be synonymous with gullibility and naivete.

Number of simple, straightforward, and effective domestic intelligence solutions == 0.

Our perpetual challenges is to engage with the world as it is, while working to shape environments, norms, and institutions toward practical sustainability and security while maximizing individual and collective liberty.

If adaptive futuretechture were easy, perhaps everyone would do it.

I find myself asking, 'What if best practices were at least teachable for a mass audience?'9:41 amDeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
John Hardy - I agree with this @Michael Silverton .

At the moment I think we are all just starting to learn and as you say this situation is in a continual state of flux. I imagine different sections of society will react in different ways ranging ranging from open acceptance of all things regardless of risk through to building high protective walls and locking themselves away.

My personal favourite coping strategy is to try to subvert the machine but the machine itself is subversive of the status quo so wish me luck on that one.11:07 amDeleteUndo deleteReport spamNot spam
John Hardy has disabled comments on this post
Google Buzz
Report spam and abuse

- Sent using Google Toolbar"