I always think a little historical perspective is good in a fast-moving industry like tech. So when Facebook released Paper this week, I did what any decent tech journalist would do — I visited the website of the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum at Georgia Tech. Unfortunately, the only thing I could find about the social networking company was the museum’s Facebook page, which at 573 likes, is apparently showing greater user growth these days than Twitter.
But I digress. In making paper – the original Chinese tablet – cool again, Facebook may have done the impossible this week. This is really something when you consider the U.S. had an opera singer on national television who was not underwritten by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Ellis Hamburger, the Verge’s consumer app and vegan diet reviewer, sung its praises, calling it “the best Facebook app ever,” although it was hard to fail our expectations considering the company’s last app launch was Facebook Poke.
Of course, the app is not without its flaws. For instance, the Glow news section. “Style, substance, and beauty that’s more than skin deep,” is how Facebook describes it, which raises the question that if the glow is more than skin deep, what is irradiating these people? Also, the app is US-only, since the rest of the world remains mired in the mainframe era. But the rest of the world is used to being forgotten.
The same cannot not be said of FiftyThree, who wanted anything but to be forgotten this week. The drawing-app company filed for a trademark on the word “Paper” the day Facebook announced their own Paper. Note to entrepreneurs: It is best to trademark names at least 24 hours before one of the largest tech companies in the world uses your name. It’s one of my startup secrets.
Secret! If you thought Facebook and Paper brought you too close to your friends, here is an app that allows you to understand all of your friends’ inner-most thoughts. My friends are a brilliant bunch, but really “I think $9 juice is overpriced but I still swipe my credit card” may be just the kind of thing that should remain between you and your brain. Also, please don’t mention this juice to those Mission people, because the last time, we had to philosophize about $4 toast.
Quite frankly, it is harder to succeed at Flappy Bird than getting the North and South Koreans in a room.
Of course, some apps should just remain secret. Flappy Bird comes to mind. This app has 628,410 all-time reviews on the App Store right now, which again proves that the end of the world is near as humans lose all sense of reality. Quite frankly, it is harder to succeed at Flappy Bird than getting the North and South Koreans in a room.
Now here is a digression — did you know that Microsoft’s Kinect is now protecting South Korea’s border with North Korea? From Kotaku: “‘I’ve never even thought of a game system performing national defense tasks,’ Ko is quoted as saying.” Neither have I. That’s not all: “In the future, Ko says the sensor will detect heart rates and heat — which sounds like the DMZ’s Kinect guard will be upgraded to the Xbox One version.” Well, let’s just hope those XBox One crashes are gone.
Then again, it shouldn’t be surprising that South Korea is using Microsoft products these days. North Korea just moved to an OS X-inspired theme in the new version of Red Star Linux released this week. Put this in the iOS vs. Android debate war book – when it comes to the North Koreans, they choose “walled garden.”
And about Microsoft – Gates is back! I’ve been told that this is coincidental to the changing aesthetics of North Korean software products, but one can never know for sure. The press release from Microsoft said that he “will devote more time to the company,” so expect Malaria rates to decrease in Redmond in the near future.
We had almost forgotten Gates, but how could anyone forget Eric Schmidt? Schmidt, chairman of Google, will receive a compensation package worth $100 million above a previous $100 million compensation package awarded in 2011. So finally, we know who has been buying that $9 juice! The company wrote that Schmidt received the award “in recognition of his contributions to Google’s performance in fiscal year 2013,” which is too bad, because I hear 2014 is going to be terrible for stock compensation expenses.
We also saw major Silicon Valley companies get in the business of buying dying businesses, with Google potentially building up a stake in Lenovo and Apple buying shares of itself.
That stock wasn’t the only thing Google wanted the public to forget this week. The company was ordered by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission to move its floating barge near Treasure Island, due to a lack of relevant permits. Which seems unfair, since the company has never faced issues stemming from transportation and permits before.
We also saw major Silicon Valley companies get in the business of buying dying businesses, with Google potentially building up a stake in Lenovo and Apple buying shares of itself. Google’s stake in Lenovo will be worth seven Eric Schmidts, and Apple’s stock buyback program will amount to a whooping 140 Eric Schmidts. For Apple, this makes sense – the company is apparently adding a CDN to its services, so expect profits to soar as people quickly download episodes of Selfie.
Speaking of streaming content, we learned this week that Netflix’s revenue is now neck-and-neck with HBO, although HBO remains a far more profitable venture, even discounting for the SF-obsessed show Looking. Sometimes, you just wish Forgotify didn’t find content, but rather eliminated it in a moment of immediate amnesia.
Forgotify also describes the earnings results of Twitter and LinkedIn this week. Both stocks were hit pretty hard by investors for showing slowing user growth, but really, how can they hope to fight back against Flappy Bird?
In the end, though, perhaps the best stock was that of our own photography. Facebook created a beautiful custom-made video featuring all of your major life events and photos encapsulated into a minute-long “Lookback” video to commemorate its tenth anniversary. There was plenty of joy, but as one of my friends said, “why do all of these photos have to do with my ex?”
Then again, if you don’t like your Lookback, that’s okay. You’ll be able to edit it soon. So let’s just forget everything, really. Except Flappy Bird. Dong Nguyen, you have ruined my life, and that can never be forgotten.
Image via Shutterstock