By now, Taylor Swift's 1989 has become inescapable - and so, too, have the reports of its remarkable sales numbers. Yes, sales - as in real money paid for music.
Plenty of these were digital copies on iTunes, of course, so we can't go so far as saying that Swift has revived the CD, but this instance nevertheless stands as a profound anomaly in the music world. In its first week, 1989 sold 1.287 million units - a number that would have made it a hit even in the heady days of the 1990s.
With all of the hype around mobile apps, virtual reality and live media streaming, it can seem like today's internet has little in common with the "information highway" many of us remember from the days of AOL and Netscape Navigator. And yet, behind the scenes, the more traditional side of the web has been growing rapidly.
Remember e-ink? For a moment around 2010, it looked poised to take the world by storm. While Amazon continues to use it for some Kindles - and some would say it still makes for the most readable display - it never really caught on in broader applications. But it's not dead; it remains perhaps the most power-efficient way to run a digital screen, and that feature means e-ink is showing up in some unexpected places.
While the efforts to purge BPA from plastic bottles are well known, there are still some unexpected places where the chemical can show up. Earlier this year, it was revealed that the thermal paper used in receipts can actually transfer a measurable amount of BPA through the skin, and the race was on to find a suitable replacement.
Digital Rights Management, or DRM, has long been a hot-button issue in the digital realm; it may not have begun with Napster, but in the post-Napster era we've watched a constant race between users attempting to open up information to the world and content owners trying to keep it locked down. And as our everyday objects become more technologically advanced, we've seen a trend toward DRM popping up in some unexpected places.
We decided to mark the Dog Days of summer by shining a spotlight on man’s best friend. And what we noticed is that technology is really stepping it up this year to help bring people and pups together.
Date A Dog?
Between Quirky, Nest and Google's new Android L operating system, the idea of the connected home has picked up a lot of steam over the last few months. But what about expanding that to the garden? A startup called Edyn has already tripled their fundraising goal on Kickstarter with a solar-powered, networked sensor that can give you real-time updates about your garden's humidity, temperature, soil nutrition and light.
We can all identify with the impulse to capture an image for posterity; in the era of the smartphone, that urge to preserve and share has become an overwhelming part of many people's lives. But it increasingly appears that we're on the edge of an exponential boom in our ability to record and experience images.
A little over a month ago, we sent out an Eyesighting on the current trend toward privacy and anonymity in social media. The trend continues to grow, and today looks to be a major milestone - June 5th is Reset the Net, a global day of pro-privacy action organized by a wide range of web entities and civil liberties groups.
You may remember that a few months ago, we welcomed IBM's Watson, the artificial intelligence that dominated Jeopardy, to our little corner of NYC. Now, it looks like he's edging into our industry, too – IBM has just sent out samples of Bengali Butternut BBQ Sauce, a condiment created entirely by Watson.