Xiaomi Highlights China's Problem And Reputation As Second Rate Tech World

Source:  On Apple.

Here is yet another example of Chinese consumer tech companies demonstrating their inability to innovate and using government shields to copy Western companies like Apple.  Here is its Miui 6 skin that runs on top of its own Android variant (san Google apps) where it copied the look and feel of Apple's iOS.

What's worse as it has been reported previously by various media outlets is that it even copied the look and feel of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S.

However, don't look for Apple to do anything about this in China anyway. 

More at On Apple.

I'm A Zombie - Stomach Bacteria Controlling Your Appetite

Source:   CNET.

This is a different take on zombie and quite possibly look for Hollywood to get in on this as the virus-variant of zombies could be running out its course.  According to researchers, what we crave could be a result of the type of bacteria we have living in our stomach.

The biological term for these little guys is microbiome.  How do they do it?  One, they create cravings for certain types of food that would provide the best nutrients for itself or ones that would suppress the growth of competitors.  Second, create dysphoria (makes you feel crappy or less than optimal) until you eat it.

Boy, I know what that feels like.  At times, I eat food that I know just isn't that great for me but I do it anyway.  Maybe it might not be a certain type of microbiome but just what's in my head.  However, the possibility that my appetite is being controlled is fascinating.

Now that I know this is a possibility, I think I will definitely be more conscious about my food choice.

Of course, there is really nothing to worry about until you wake up in the middle of the night craving fresh meat or brains.

Social: The Purge Prank Instigated On Twitter

Source:  Wave 3, Uproxx.

We all know how powerful Twitter can be.  These days, it can topple governments, change society, and be used in more ways than what anyone ever imagined.  Even getting a midsize city official to believe that "a purge" was coming.

That's what one high school teen did to Louisville, Kentucky.  It got a football (American version) scrimmage to be moved.  Needless to say, the kid seemed apologetic.  And he was dismissed from his football team.

In case you didn't know, this Purge prank was based on a 2013 and its 2014 sequel called The Prank in which the government allows a 12-hour window in which any crime can be committed without legal consequences.

Seriously, right?  This is a teenager's wet dream.  Prank or otherwise.  And authorities will likely be on the lookout for more of these pranks and making sure no one out there thinks this is serious.  After all, The Purge did nearly $90 million at the box office costing only $3 million to make while its sequel, The Purge: Anarchy pulled on $96 million (Box Office Mojo).

Mobile Companies That Might Last The Decade

In the mobile market, a quarter can be a life time let alone a year.  So, why am I talking about the rest of the decade?  Frankly, a quarterly misstep or two could be enough for a company to start sliding but with all the corporate cash companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft have, any decline could be stave off for years.

Sure that could also mean that companies have a better chance to survive any downturn or misstep and maybe innovate its way out of corporate death much like Apple did.  However, there are a couple of companies that I think are not going to disappear within the year but could very likely be gone by 2020.

I'm talking about Blackberry and Yahoo.  Blackberry and Yahoo has 2.68 and 2.78 billions of cash on hand.  Blackberry has been bleeding money while Yahoo has managed to eek out some profit.  However, each of these two companies have critical decisions to make.

The decisions each of their respective CEOs make will determine whether they can innovate or reinvent their ways out of the bottom of the mobile market and come up stronger and continue to stay relevant.

Blackberries are not selling well even as Blackberry 10 has garnered raved reviews.  The company has a perception issue and attempting to match the iPhone and the hundreds of Android phone models just won't cut it.  Furthermore, Blackberry lack the ecosystem that Apple has, which is the same issue that plagues Microsoft's Windows Phone devices.

So far, Blackberry CEO John Chen has failed to make the hard calls.  Chen was brought in to cut costs and slow the bleeding just enough to make Blackberry attractive enough to be a takeover target and has even failed miserably at that task.  There was a glimmer of hope that perhaps the Blackberry Messenger could be the key to the company's turn around when Facebook bought Whatsapp, a popular iOS/Android messaging app, for $19 billion.  However, any hope there quickly fizzled as more attractive alternatives to BBM were already on the market.

As for Yahoo, Marissa Mayer brought a lot of hope and optimism when she took over as CEO back in the middle 2012.  I think it's still early.  However, the changes Mayer made seemed more like patchwork than actually swing for the fences.  A series of acquisitions like Tumblr, while made for interesting talk around the blogger water cooler, still has not demonstrated that it'll be better than past Yahoo acquisitions by former CEOs like Geocities or Broadcast.com.  Yahoo! Launchcast is interesting and this could be where Yahoo can become a viable niche player in original video content.

Still, it'll just be a niche in a submarket.  Hardly anything to write home about.

So, Blackberry and Yahoo are facing a lot of head winds.  They'll both be fine over the next year or two but as their competitors continue to forth, they could both be squeeze out of existence.

Space: The Beast That Was - Potential World Killer

Source: LA Times.

Because of the size of 2014 HQ124, coming in at a possible 1,300 feet, it is a potential devastating space rock that scientists as NASA have dubbed it "the Beast". With the Beast coming in at a close 770,000 miles of the only world we humans have, there is no worry that it will hit us this time around.

Nor will it strike us when it comes around for another round in 2200. Having said that, hopefully, we would still be around and we likely have some other similar encounters 180+ years. Plus, I hope by then, we would have the technology to deflector other potential world killers.

Sure, I don't expect our petty earthly conflicts and a propensity to ignore certain danger (like global warming) that would dramatically alter our way of life but not necessarily end it, a doomsday rock probably will not be ignored.

I hope.


World Cup: Pele Concerned About Brazilian Protests During Soccer Event

Source: BBC.

Pele, soccer legend (football for you folks outside of the United States), is concerned about protests flaring up during the World Cup this summer and would disrupt matches, causing some foreigners to cancel their trips. 

The truth of the matter is that some countries just are not fit or stable enough to host major international events like the Olympics and, in this post, the World Cup.  It's unlikely that Brazil will reap the financial benefits that a major event like this ought to bring.  Even now, there is chaos with hurried attempts to put as close as a finishing touch on venues.  Pele admitted that some stadiums have yet to be completed. 

The Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia served as a great reminder why the priorities of these sports and event committees are no longer about the spirits of the games, athletes, and fans but about politics.  Russia had no rights to be hosting Winters Olympics since it really could not afford to do it.  It's unlikely Brazil does either. 

Hence, the protests over the priorities of the Brazilian governments and elites over those of the average Brazilians.

Some time on the future, perhaps when Brazil is stronger economically and socially, it would make sense for the largest country in South America to host such events, at a more appropriate time when such events can be more inclusive of its people and truly proud of what the Brazilian people has been able to accomplish. 

Honestly, Pele as an advocate to bring the Cup to Brazil has done a disservice to millions of his fans at this time.