Innovation isn’t always pretty in the beginning. Just ask Elon Musk. But he had a vision about electric cars and solar panels. In the early days of Tesla, there must have been many moments when he wondered if he would succeed. In particular, he sacrificed quality to achieve the quantity of cars. But now, even with the shutdown of the California factory, Tesla’s shipments were higher than expected.
Facebook’s antics have caught up with it. Facebook’s original objective was to connect individuals with each other. It was a computerized superset of what was known to college students of an earlier generation whose primary use was often to look at pictures of the opposite sex to see if they were attractive and of an appropriate height. It did have addresses but no telephone numbers. And, of course, no email address. As technology evolved, the information was put onto the Internet. And because of the large concentration of college students in the Boston, MA area who were tech-savvy, it was predictable that it would be where this would happen first. Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg co-founded Facebook, which initially dealt with interpersonal communications. And as it evolved people found it useful for communicating among groups of relatives or friends. And if it had continued to play this role, Facebook would not have run into the problems that have caused Zuckerberg to be forced to testify to the U.S. Congress in 2018. But in 2007 the company introduced Facebook Ads, which made the company a lot of money. However, some of the content posted on Facebook seriously offended the advertisers, who are giant corporations, and an increasing number have boycotted Facebook. Even though Facebook is losing these advertisers Zuckerberg cries all the way to the bank.
Anyone who has opened an account has run the gantlet of questions that are used in the event of entering its password incorrectly. (We deplore the use of passwords so when we are forced to create them we use some variation of “dumb idea” or “dongle” (a dongle is a small device able to be connected to and used with a computer, especially to allow access to wireless broadband or use of protected software).) In our case, we have had to provide the answers to such questions as “Who was your favorite elementary school teacher?”, “What was the model of your first car?”, or “What was your mother’s maiden name?” Most recently we had to provide several answers to such arcane questions that we laughed. Fortunately, this is such a widespread nuisance that it has resulted in some humorous suggestions.
It seems to us that the POTUS (the President of the United States) should be dealing with the affairs of the state rather than lobbing bombs of various sizes at social media, especially these days. Twitter was historically benefitted because Trump used it so frequently and thus publicized it. But social media is now lobbing their own bombs. Starting on Memorial Day (May 25), instead of inspiring unity, Twitter applied a fact-checking notice to Trump’s tweets on the subject of voter fraud, non-usage of masks, and other issues. Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg refused to take Trump to task, causing a bunch of Facebook employees to use Twitter to voice their objection. Some of Facebook’s larger advertisers, North Face and Patagonia in particular hit him where it hurts.
Apparently the US government is finally getting ready to sue Google for monopolizing online ads. Why is it taking so long? It’s because Google and other large high-technology companies deliver a lot of value-added in products and/or services. Google has been monopolizing the search business for years, and selling ads is how they monetize their search efforts.
Actually, they can count but they cheat. In the early days of our TechnologyBloopers website, we received an email from Google Analytics indicating that we had only 26 visitors during December 2017. But our hosting company Omnis tallied 2523. Why the difference? Might Google have been deliberately counting lower so they could sell us AdWords?
QuickBooks is a popular accounting app. We wonder why. Our better half is a financial professional with a CPA, and she is challenged to deposit funds because the process is so Byzantine. And a week ago QuickBooks let us write and print a check with a blank amount. Is that reasonable? We thought not. So we surfed the web with “problems with quickbooks” and found hundreds of items, including recommendations to convert QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Desktop and a bunch dealing with printing errors.
For at least the last two decades people (almost always male) have been tinkering with a wide variety of designs of self-driving cars that they have been dreaming of starting at least two decades earlier. The tinkering continues to be a very challenging pursuit. Finally, in early 2020 there was a modest step forward, in the form of autonomous grocery delivery vehicle from a low-profile company named Nuro that met the requirements of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But it will take a lot of time before there will be vehicles with performance and creature comforts similar to cars driven by human beings. Perhaps those vehicles will initially be permitted only on freeways or well-defined streets and roads.
It had to happen. As the tech giants continue to grow, they start to overlap each other, simply because there are just not that many giant markets that they can pursue. In this case, it is Facebook invading Amazon’s e-commerce territory with its new “Shops” e-commerce service. It is useful to remember that a big chunk of Amazon’s revenue comes from third-party sellers. These sellers are mostly small, and they can now set up their own e-commerce on Facebook or Instagram.
If you are old enough, you can remember the days before mobile phones. If you wanted to call someone, you had to find a telephone someplace, be it in a home or other building or a phone booth. The importance of the invention was underlined by the fact that two companies—Motorola and Bell Labs–were racing to be first. The first call was by the winner Motorola’s Martin Cooper to Bell Labs’ Joel Engel. Today no one would leave home without his/her mobile phone. Unfortunately, people pay more attention to their phones than to the people around them.