Fun articles on technology change that caught my interest over the last few months:
- Yes, your color printer may very well be marking every printed page as belonging to you
- Not only are land lines disappearing, growing number of people won’t answer the doorbell unless you text first
- Dropping oil prices are a worry for central bankers, even as that saves consumers bunches of money
- Amazon is developing its own delivery system
- IBM has fewer employees in the US than in India
- Google drew a multi-billion dollar fine from the EU
6/7/17 – BBC – Why printers add secret tracking dots – A large portion of color laser printers add tiny yellow dots to the page in order to allow tracking of which specific printer was used to print a specific page.
This is handy for criminal or espionage investigations. A particular leaking case is in the news, with the perpetrator having been found using microdots.
Might be handy for tracking down whistle blowers.
The espionage angle isn’t of interest to anyone reading my blog.
If you every want to keep something you print really private, you might want to pay attention.
Electronic Frontier Foundation has a List of Printers Which Do or Do Not Display Tracking Dots. The HP printer I’ve used for many years does the microdot routine. The new printer I’ve had since May isn’t on the list, either as a ‘yes’ or ‘no.’
Interesting thought: if someone were to try fabricating an audit report using my name, the microdot thingie might provide an opportunity to prove the report was fake.
8/27/17 – Wall Street Journal – Ask Not for Whom the Doorbell Tolls. They Won’t Answer It. – Add this to the emerging trend of disappearing land lines. People are moving away from using or answering doorbells, at least younger people. Since eeeeeveryone has a smart phone, the new pattern is for people to send a text as they arrive at a friend’s place instead of ringing the doorbell. The next step in that sequence is when the doorbell rings without an advance text, it is obviously an outsider, so it is not a part of your circle of friends and therefore not someone you’re expecting. Thus, no need to open the door.
6/27/17 – Wall Street Journal – Why Central Banks Need to Worry About Falling Oil Prices – What a delightful problem – lower oil prices and the expectation of same or lower prices in the future are reducing inflation expectations, dropping market interest rates (raising bond prices), and flattening the yield curve. Oh, and that makes it more difficult for central bankers to reinflate the economy. Oh, price you pay at the pump will be the same or drop some more.
Upside not mentioned in the article is the massive savings to consumers from lower gas prices for their cars and reduced costs in every product bought at the store because of lower transportation costs.
Oh what a wonderful problem!
10/5/17 – Bloomberg – Amazon is Testing Its Own Deliver Service to Rival FedEx and UPS – Amazon has pilot program on the west coast to deliver products directly to customer. That last mile is usually handled by UPS and FedEx.
They already have sorting facilities that organize shipments by zip code and then carry items to individual post offices for the last few blocks. Now Amazon is working to develop its own final-mile delivery capacity.
Last time I drove past the two Amazon warehouses in Eastvale, I noticed a bunch of trailers with Amazon logos on the side. I’ll guess those would be the trucks being used for getting packages to local post office locations.
9/28/17 – New York Times – IBM Now Has More Employees in India Than in the U.S. – In the ancient days IBM owned the mainframe and minicomputer market. It was a serious competitor for a while in the operating system and PC market. For a very long time it has been out of the hardware world completely, providing only services.
Today IBM has about 130,000 staff in India, which is about one-third of its worldwide workforce. That 130K tally is larger than its number of staff in the U.S.
6/27/17 – Wall Street Journal – Google Slapped With $2.7 Billion EU Fine Over Search Results – Proposed fine from EU is because Google favors its own comparison shopping service over those of its rivals. Will take years in court to find out if the charge sticks.