Sunday, August 6, 2017

View of the Week (Special W-End Edition): On Smart Watches/Etc

For this special weekend edition of "View of the Week", our team chose this from Fortune that reflects upon the evolution of Smart Devices--as a member of our team took a recent quiz on career development courtesy of AT&T that he was good enough to share with us.  It is an implicit mission of our "Visions" Property here.

What was written courtesy of the team at Fortune is about the art of the possible as we should all take note of: 
The Download on Technology

The Download on TechnologyThe Download on Technology

AUGUST 4, 2017
Hi, Aaron in for Adam for the last time this week. The essay will be back in Mr. Lashinsky’s capable hands on Monday.

Do you wear a wearable? By that I mean anything from the cute, plastic Fitbit Flex wristband you picked up a few years ago for $50 to a ceramic-cased Apple Watch Series 2 you got for Christmas that cost the giver $1,300. Maybe you’re a real watch fiend and you’ve gone even more upscale, say, for the almost $9,000 titanium Exospace B55 Connected from Breitling? No, not your style?

While I bet a solid proportion of Data Sheet readers do have a smart device strapped on, in the wider world, the wearable movement seems to have reached a plateau—or maybe even a dead end. The market trackers at Strategy Analytics say 21.1 million smartwatches shipped last year, barely more than 2015’s total of 20.8 million. Wednesday, we heard about slipping sales from Fitbit and Garmin. And we learned yesterday that, so far this year,the market has resembled a barbell. Growing sales of cheap bands from Xiaomi in Asia and higher-end watches from Apple offset massively lower tracker sales from Fitbit, Garmin, and others stuck in the middle. Net-net, the market grew a mediocre 8%.
The key question for the future, of course, is one of utility. How truly useful is a smartwatch or tracker? And does it retain that usefulness after the novelty wears off?
I used to wear a standard watch every day and for the past few years I’ve been wearing an Apple Watch (though also with experimental periods of various Fitbits and a Samsung Gear). I appreciate some of the little bits of info I receive with just a flick of the wrist, as well as the tracking and prompts for my exercising. And the app called Round—it reminds me which medication to take when—is, almost literally, a lifesaver. And, yes, I like the way it looks with my daily choice of strap options. But I know not everyone wants more interruptions, and the battery life remains pathetic.
Apple and its competitors are hard at work on making better, thinner, more capable watches and so maybe the market does keep growing. But as I was reading last week about the Wisconsin company that was seeking employee volunteers for an embedded smart chip, I thought maybe the future won’t be on the wrist. Some combination of smart chips, contact lenses or glasses, projections of augmented reality, and smart devices scattered around the home could make smartwatches—and maybe even smartphones—seem like quaint relics. But I’ll still miss my rainbow striped nylon watch band.
Aaron Pressman

AUGUST 5, 2017
Here we go again. The FBI arrested a prominent hacker in Las Vegas this week, and the Internet is in an uproar. There’s talk of malicious prosecution and fear the arrest will chill security research.
Well maybe. But first we should figure out what happened.
If you missed it, the hacker in question is a young Brit named Marcus Hutchins. He became famous this year after stopping a wave of ransomware, known as WannaCry, that was spreading across the globe. His action helped halt attacks that froze millions of computers, including those at schools and hospitals.
Hutchins is considered a hero for that. But here’s the thing: In 2014 and 2015, prior to his WannaCry heroics, the FBI says Hutchins created and sold a notorious piece of malware, known as Kronos, designed to steal people’s banking information. If the accusations are true, Hutchins engaged in some serious criminal behavior.
Nonetheless, many on Twitter and in the media see the arrest as a case of injustice. Some have pounced on a legal analysis of the indictment to say the charges are unfair or overreaching. Others allege this wouldn’t have happened if he was back in Britain. And so on.
All of this has a familiar ring to it, and stems in part from past injustice against hackers: Who can forget the Justice Department’s cruel prosecution of Aaron Swartz, which drove the young genius to suicide in 2013? Critics also rightfully worry about the feds’ use of vague and outdated hacking laws.
Unfortunately, the tech and hacker community is also quick to cry injustice every time a popular Internet figure is arrested—even if they’ve done very bad things. Examples include ongoing sympathy for Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht (aka the Dread Pirate Roberts) and Kim Dotcom, a gangster-like figure who engaged in massive copyright theft and is attempting to use a cult-of-personality to avoid extradition.
In the case of Marcus Hutchins, it’s too soon to pass judgment. We don’t know all the facts yet. But just because he stopped WannaCry doesn’t give him a free pass to commit bank fraud (if that’s what he did) any more than a heroic deed will excuse a gunman from robbing a convenience store.
The hacker community needs to take a breath. Some prosecutions may be unjustified but that doesn’t mean hackers should never go to jail.
Jeff John Roberts

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