Is wearable tech dead?

Nike just announced that it is exiting its FuelBand fitness tracker business.

Another article claims that “it’s only a matter of time until [Google Glass] joins devices such as the Zune, the Kin, the PlayBook, and the Xoom in tech hell.”

Despite musings that wearable tech is dead and dying, these are just growing pains.

Wearable devices are still in an early bleeding edge phase where manufacturers and users are trying to figure out what works, what users want, what users find creepy, and what users are willing to pay for.

Take Google Glass, for instance.  I have no doubt that there is a future for head mounted display devices.  The unknown is how popular they will be beyond niche uses for things like surgeons, mechanics or others needing to see and send information while they use their hands.

Fitness trackers have been compared to January gym memberships – many tend to use them for only a short time before abandoning them.  There may be a limit to sales of one function devices, but there is more promise to multifunction devices.  One potentially interesting market is for wearable devices that stretch beyond fitness tracking to medical tracking.

Wearables are not dead – but perhaps are in the “trough of disillusionment” in the Gartner Hype Cycle.

hype cycle

Cross posted on Slaw

Spam now so you can Spam later

CASL - the new Canadian anti-spam act - comes into force July 1.  It contains extensive, complex provisions that apply to the sending of any email that has a hint of a commercial purpose (a “CEM”).  In the short term it may increase the amount of email we get.  We have all received emails from mail lists we are on asking us to confirm our consent.  But there is another reason we may get more.  The reason goes like this:

CASL requires express or implied consent from the recipient before a CEM can be sent.

The act contains a transitional provision that gives up to 3 years to get express consent. (The section is below.) To take advantage of that, there must be a current or prior business or non-business relationship with the recipient AND that relationship must include communication of CEM.

Couple that with the fact that after July 1 you can’t send an email to request consent (unless there is implied consent).

So to pull as many email addresses as possible into the transition provision, maximize express consents, and give the longest possible time to obtain them, the tactic is …?

Before July 1, pull together every email address you can get from every person that you can fit into the business or non-business relationship category, and send CEM to them.

The transition section:

66. A person’s consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from another person is implied until the person gives notification that they no longer consent to receiving such messages from that other person or until three years after the day on which section 6 comes into force, whichever is earlier, if, when that section comes into force,

(a) those persons have an existing business relationship or an existing non-business relationship, as defined in subsection 10(10) or (13), respectively, without regard to the period mentioned in that subsection; and

(b) the relationship includes the communication between them of commercial electronic messages.

Cross posted to Slaw.

http://harrisonpensa.com/lawyers/david-canton

Are you vulnerable to Heartbleed?

A serious flaw has been discovered in OpenSSL - the browser encryption standard used by an estimated two-thirds of the servers on the internet.  This flaw has been there for a couple of years, and allows hackers to read data stored in memory.  That gives hackers access to anything in memory, including security keys, user names and passwords, emails and documents.  More detail is on Gigaom and Schneier on Security.

An update to OpenSSL fixes the flaw.  Anyone who has a website should ask their service provider if it affects their site, and have it updated immediately.

And for those of you still using Windows XP or Office 2003 – upgrade that immediately as well.  I was surprised to read this morning that as many as 30% of Windows based computers still use XP.  As of today, Microsoft is no longer supporting them.

[cross-posted on Slaw]

Office for iPad – there’s a catch

Microsoft released office for iPad last week. They have promised to release Office for Android soon as well.

The good news is that it is free to download. The bad news is that it can only be used as a reader. If you want to create or edit documents, you need an Office 365 account. And if you have a personal Office 365 account, the terms don’t let you use it for commercial purposes.

Office 365 is Microsoft’s cloud based service that is purchased for an annual fee.

Even if your office has one of the many flavours of Microsoft corporate licenses, you probably don’t have Office 365 access. That means that to use iPad or Android Office, there is a significant extra cost.

Frankly, while a usable Office on a tablet would be marvelous to have, the price is far too high.

Microsoft has been getting some flak over this. Hopefully they will come up with an alternate way of giving access to those of us who already use Office.

In the meantime, free alternatives such as Google’s Quickoffice work well enough.

[cross-posted on Slaw]

The value of a brand

Today’s Slaw post:

We all know that brand logos and names can be valuable assets and powerful promotional tools. Research has shown that children as young as 2 years old can recognize certain logos.

Some are created by company founders on their own, and some are the result of intensive work by advertising agencies. Pepsi spent a million dollars on its latest logo redesign. Nike paid a graphic design student $35 for its swoosh design.

These, and other interesting facts on designs are on this infographic published by FinancesOnline.com.

 

Review of Famous Business Logos: From Firefox To Apple
Prepared by financesonline.com | Author: Alex Hillsberg | See our Facebook

Is custom satellite imagery or crowdsourcing in your future?

Todays Slaw post:

Digital Globe, a commercial satellite image company, has started a crowdsourcing campaign to help find the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.  You can go to their Tomnod site, look at satellite imagery of where the plane might be, and tag anything that may look like wreckage or life rafts.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that satellite imagery, especially high resolution near real time imagery, was exclusively for government spy agencies.

Now anyone can obtain up to date satellite imagery with remarkable resolution. (The best resolution is still reserved for government use.)  If a recent image is not available to suit your needs, you can actually request a custom image of the location you are interested in – satellite tasking options  are available to order a specific image that will be taken within hours.  Another option is to use your own drone, or hire someone with a drone, to take aerial images.

Are there situations where lawyers might want to obtain or use this kind of imagery?

Are there situations where lawyers might use crowdsourcing to help find evidence within satellite imagery or other large volumes of public data?

Legal thought leaders needed for only $15,000

Today’s Slaw post

A few months ago I questioned whether there was any worth in a lawyer paying for an enhanced profile on legal lists.

I got a call recently that topped that concept.

The call was from a publisher in England. They started off by talking about their publication read by thousands of CEOs around the world. And an upcoming edition that was going to feature a global CEO survey on social media risk from a major accounting firm. They did their best to promote this as a high profile publication.

Then they said they wanted to do a companion article to get a perspective from a lawyer with social media experience, and asked if their writer could contact me to ask some questions.

So the wheels start turning. Is this for real or a scam? Is there any reason I should / should not do this? Might this be a good promo opportunity? Might this be a good investment of my time?

Then reality hits – and the answers become clear. For the privilege of being interviewed, I have to pay a fee of 7900 pounds – about $15,000!!!

Really? Are lawyers and other professionals that gullible that they will actually pay that kind of money to be featured in an article? And the publication actually expects an expert to pay them to give their article credibility?

Sadly the fact that these types of businesses exist tells me that lawyers and other professionals are indeed that gullible.

Is being an expert or thought leader not something one earns, rather than purchasing for a price approaching a small car?

Forget earning your place as a thought leader – for the price of a small car, you too can find your place among them.

Have you ever suffered from Formitis?

Today’s Slaw post:

Formitis [form – eye – tis] To cling blindly and unwaveringly to a document while ignoring reality.

OK – I made that up – but lawyers and clients often get frustrated when the other party to a document steadfastly refuses to change something that makes no sense.  It may be presented as a standard form they can’t change, or that their corporate policy dictates that form be used, or they may be reluctant to get legal or senior business advice.  On the other hand, the person resisting the change may just be lazy and not want to deal with it.

I’m talking about substantive terms that clearly don’t belong in the context of the actual business arrangement.  For example, a US buyer who refuses to remove a clause requiring a Canadian manufacturer to comply with US labour and environmental laws.

Forms and standard contracts are great tools – but don’t be a slave to them.

Some CASL Clarification

Todays Slaw post.

CRTC and Industry Canada representatives provided some insight into their thoughts on CASL (the new anti-spam law that kicks in July 1) in an IT-Can forum on Monday.

To come under the complex CASL rules, the email must be a “commercial electronic message” or CEM.  It does not take much to cross that threshold.  An example of a law firm emailing details about a new court decision was discussed.  If a pure case summary was part of or attached to an email (eg The Supreme Court of Canada today released a decision that decided…), and the email had a standard footer that includes a logo and link to the law firm’s web site, then the wording of the act is broad enough that the mere link makes it a CEM.

The regulator’s view was that while technically you could interpret that as a CEM under CASL because of the link, they would not consider that of a commercial nature. But all it takes to turn that into a CEM is any hint of a promotion of the law firm’s services, such as a sentence that says “We can help…”

In practice, mass emailings may be the easiest type to deal with, as CRM and mailing tools are available to manage the process and track permissions.

The daily emails that employees of organizations send will be more difficult to deal with.  Knowing the difference between sending an email that is OK to send because it is not a CEM or is a routine customer interaction, one that requires some sort of consent and an unsubscribe mechanism, and one that you simply can’t send at all, will not be easy for the average person doing their jobs.

http://harrisonpensa.com/lawyers/david-canton

Sochi Olympics – Social Media for Personal Use Only

Today’s Slaw post:

The limitations and restrictions regarding social media use during the 2014 Winter Olympics Games continue to be controversial.  While the International Olympic Committee (“IOC”) has eased up on their social media restrictions over the years, the IOC guidelines are fairly similar to the guidelines provided for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

(So no apparent extra control over social media as compared to prior Olympics – unlike allegations that participants and athletes will face the most invasive and massive surveillance ever, including monitoring of all communications, and allegations that it is the most corrupt Olympics in history. )

Take a look at the IOC guidelines for participants.

The IOC states that it: “Actively encourages and supports athletes and other accredited persons at the Olympic Games to take part in social media and to post, blog and tweet their experiences.”

At first glance the IOC, and in turn the Canadian Olympic Committee which follows the IOC guidelines, support the use of social media.  However the guidelines state that neither an athlete nor an accredited person can act as a journalist during the games, unless they are at games as an official journalist.

The guidelines make it clear that they cannot make any commercial use of social media, images or video taken at the games.

Nor can they use professional equipment to record images or video, which includes a ban on the use of tripods and monopods.  While they are allowed to post photographs they take at Olympic venues on social media, any video must be for personal use only and is not to be posted on social media.

Even accredited print journalists are prohibited from using professional video equipment and posting video.

Spectators are subject to similar restrictions as athletes.  The 23 page Ticketing Terms and Conditions (pdf) state:

Still images taken by spectator may be shared privately and are exclusively for personal, non-commercial purposes. Video recording can be made only with the use of domestic handheld cameras.  Images, videos and sound recordings of the Games taken by a spectator cannot be used for any purpose other than for private, personal, archival, non-commercial purposes i.e the Spectator may not license, broadcast or publish video and/or sound recordings, including on social networking websites and the internet more generally, and may not exploit images, video and/or sound recordings for commercial purposes under any circumstances, whether on the internet or otherwise, or make them available to third parties.

The hype of the Olympic Games, these limitations, and the controversy surrounding social media use in the past (two athletes were expelled from the 2012 London Games for social media faux pas) will no doubt add to various controversial aspects of the games this February.