13 years after Intel’s iPhone mistake, it might take the biggest ever tech deal to resolve it

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Some 13 years after Intel turned down the opportunity to make the CPU for the upcoming iPhone, is it now considering the world’s biggest ever tech acquisition to deal with the threat that decision continues to pose today.

In 2005, when Apple was working on the first-generation iPhone to be launched in 2007, Steve Jobs invited Intel to pitch for the CPU business for the planned smartphone. Not believing Apple’s sales projections, and not seeing any way to make money from it, Intel turned him down …



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WhatsApp messages can now be deleted an hour after you sent them by mistake

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND


WhatsApp has quietly changed the way its message deletion feature works. Originally introduced in October, the WhatsApp “delete for everyone” used to only allow you to delete messages up to seven minutes after you sent them. WABetaInfo has noticed that the latest version of WhatsApp extends that time limit significantly to one hour, eight minutes, and 16 seconds.

It’s not clear why the limit is now so specific, apart from being 2^12, and the WhatsApp support pages don’t provide any additional info on the time limit. An hour means you now have far longer to delete messages sent by mistake, or can wipe out entire conversations from a friend’s phone. WhatsApp doesn’t have a secret conversations option like rivals where it creates a…

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Code mistake freezes up to $280 million in digital currency

Imagine if one person's code error deprived you of a pile of money, and there was no guarantee you'd get your funds back. Wouldn't you be hopping mad? That's how many cryptocurrency owners are feeling right now. The digital wallet company Parity i…
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Sony’s Foolish Failure to Learn From Microsoft’s Mistake

Microsoft has learned a lot of very hard lessons over the last couple of decades, and it continues to surprise and annoy me that other firms seem to have the suicidal tendency to learn the same lessons the hard way. My view is that it is far better and cheaper to avoid the mistakes of others, but firms like Apple, Google and, most recently, Sony seem to want to cherry-pick past Microsoft disasters and experience them first hand. The latest issue has to do with interoperability and millennials.

The popularity of zombies is due to one mistake in Night of the Living Dead

Zombies are everywhere, with blockbuster TV shows like The Walking Dead and in Game of Thrones, and films such as 28 Days Later, World War Z, Zombieland, and many others. That popularity stems directly from George R. Romero’s 1968 film Night of the Living Dead. A new video essay from Kristian Williams delves into how one mistake with the film’s release led to the renaissance of zombie stories that terrify and entertain us.

That popularity is due in part to the fact that when Night of the Living Dead was released, its distributor forgot to place a copyright indicator when it changed the title from Night of the Flesh Eaters to its current moniker. According to copyright law at the time, leaving that symbol and the year off meant that it…

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Andy Rubin apologizes for Essential’s massive privacy mistake

The suspicious email some people who pre-ordered the Essential phone received wasn't a scam or a phishing attempt at all. Andy Rubin, the company's founder, has apologized and revealed that it was a legit email from an account that's gone rogue. In a…
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Blizzard revives Battle.net and admits it made a mistake with rebranding

Blizzard Entertainment’s meandering approach to rebranding its well-known Battle.net service has taken another turn, as the company now plans to revive the name and attach the word “Blizzard” to it. Yes, that’s right — the game company’s storied online platform and storefront shall henceforth be known as “Blizzard Battle.net.” The company says this move should help respect the “shared history” of the service while also allowing Blizzard to align its corporate marketing and branding under a unified name.

“Battle.net is the central nervous system for Blizzard games and the connective tissue that has brought Blizzard players together since 1996,” reads the company’s statement, which was posted this afternoon to the company’s blog. “The…

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IoT developers can learn from America’s smart meter mistake

In 2009, experts thought they had the solution to America’s household energy waste: smart meters.

“Smart meters will allow you to actually monitor how much energy your family is using by the month, by the week, by the day, or even by the hour,” President Barack Obama proclaimed that same year, heralding the U.S. government’s $ 3.4 billion Smart Grid grants.

Now, nearly a decade later, if you judged smart meters by their ubiquity, you’d think the initiative was a success. More than half of American homes now have smart meters, with deployments set to top 70 million by the end of 2016. But household energy use trends tell a different story. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential energy consumption has remained roughly unchanged since 2009.

So why haven’t smart meters cut consumption? The reason becomes rather obvious when you look at these early-bird Internet of Things products. They offer up useful information — but only if the user actually goes looking for it. And the problem is that users simply aren’t: The Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative found just 8 percent of Americans use their energy company’s online energy analysis tools.

A Smarter Meter Needs a Smarter Roadmap

To understand the smart meter situation, think about a different energy transaction: purchasing fuel for your car. Gas pumps provide in-your-face, real-time information about energy use, causing customers to care quite a bit about their gasoline expenditures.

Smart meters may be more high-tech than gas pumps, but their problem is not the technology itself. While working with EKM Metering on Encompass, we realized that the issue is an out-of-sight, out-of-mind interface that’s engineered without users in mind. And the problem isn’t limited to smart meters; rather, it keeps the IoT industry as a whole from gaining traction.

If IoT brands are to electrify the consumer market, they’ll need to follow the steps of brands like Fitbit, which creates connected fitness trackers famous for their seamless interoperability. Using If This Then That (IFTTT), users can hook their Fitbits to hundreds of other products and services, then interact with those third-party products and services from their very wrists.

Unlike past tech products, nothing about IoT devices works in isolation. IoT devices like smart meters interoperate with other devices to deliver a service that no single device could. It’s that interconnectedness — along with the necessary unification of the user experience — that requires IoT product developers to put additional effort into their product roadmaps.

Respecting the User Step-by-Step

Because the IoT universe is so vast, no one approach to product road-mapping works for all designers. The important part is understanding where IoT roadmaps require additional planning compared with their peers. So if you’re about to create a product roadmap for a new or existing IoT device, take care to follow these steps:

1. Establish a problem statement. If a connected device can’t solve one or more specific problems for its users, then it won’t ever succeed. Figure out what those problems are at the start so that every subsequent decision you make works toward connecting users with actionable solutions.

2. Define user personas. Do you know exactly who is likely to use your IoT product? Don’t speculate: Develop nuanced user personas, test assumptions with a prototype, and ensure every choice you make during development serves those specific users. The main reason products fail is a lack of product-market fit, so don’t sink millions into development before you’ve found it.

3. Create empathy maps.Imagine how the user you defined in the prior step might interact with your IoT product. Use sticky notes and a large sheet of butcher paper to map out what your customer is seeing, thinking, hearing, and doing while using your product.

4. Generate solutions. Only once you understand what your target users need should you begin brainstorming solutions to those needs. Remember that not all exciting or innovative ideas actually benefit the user, and sometimes boring ones — like the gas pump’s price display — actually do more good than high-tech alternatives.

5. Create epics. After you’ve prescribed an answer to target users’ problems, start thinking about the major features and functions of your solution. Separate these into epics — larger chunks of work with many user stories — and write them on sticky notes so they can by physically moved around and grouped together. Color code them by project themes such as “onboarding flow” or “user interface.”

6. Prioritize epics. With product stakeholders, sort epics according to feasibility, desirability, and viability. Designers, in particular, must consider the user’s needs, while developers can speak on features’ technical challenges. Remember that with IoT products, the device’s connectivity, hardware, and user interface should receive the most attention.

Getting IoT roadmaps right is all about the pre-work. Smart meters haven’t taken off as expected because their interfaces just don’t reflect how users think about household energy. Had their creators introduced the meters with intuitive home energy apps that provide push notifications during energy surges or outages, the outcome could have been very different.

Don’t make the same mistake. When you’re road-mapping your IoT product, take special care to understand the problem you’re trying to solve, know your target user, and get the product into the hands of real users to guide development decisions. Then, once your IoT product hits the shelves, it’ll connect with customers right out of the box.

Do you have any further advice for IoT developers? Let us know in the comments.

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