What we read this week (3 Aug)

In this week’s reads: what factors determine the success of wearable technologies, proposed legislation that could help repair the patent system, the success of the New York Times’ subscription strategy, geographical discrimination on the internet, and college degree programs steered by big data.

Quotes of the week

In the US it is rightly illegal to refuse service on the basis of race or gender. It is time that we add geography to this for Internet based services.

Albert Wenger

If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.

Carl Sagan

Articles of the week

  • Artefact: Is Technology Ready-to-Wear?
    Wearable technology is a strong trend these days. But how does technology best integrate with our clothes? “Just put an Arduino on it!” is an old joke among those in the Internet of Things industry. Not so, says Artefact, and gives an overview of the most important factors for a successful wearable technology product.
  • EFF: Can You Believe It? Legislation that Would Actually Help Fix the Patent System
    Finally. The SHIELD Act, proposed by a democratic and a republican representative is aiming to regulate the way how patent trolls can attack innovators. It’s about time. Read this write up from the EFF on the matter.
  • New York Magazine: The New York Times Is Now Supported by Readers, Not Advertisers
    A historical moment: The New York Times now earns more from readers than through advertising. And it’s not just that ad revenues are down. No, readership, and the readers’ willingness to pay for access and content, is up. This might shake up the news industry.
  • Albert Wenger: The Internet, Tape Delay, Proxies and Civil Disobedience
    Discussing the lack of live streams of the Olympic Games and the restrictions of the corresponding broadcasts, VC and Union Square partner Albert Wenger proposes a new right for the citizens of the internet: In the US it’s illegal to refuse service on the basis of race or gender. Let’s add geography for internet-based services to that list.
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education: College Degrees, Designed by the Numbers
    This article takes a long and detailed look at how some American universities are using big data in an attempt to improve their systems. The projects described are interesting, but frightening – the approaches seek to improve pass rates, but should students really be directed towards courses where they’ll earn better grades? And should this be how the school’s success is measured?