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LanceList - Issue #31

Earth Day 2, Better Through Tech, Flickr Saved, Nintendo Labo


April 23 · Issue #31 · View online
Tech stories that matter, Gadget Quests, nerd pursuits, and other things you ought to know.

Earth Day 2, Better Through Tech, Flickr Saved, Nintendo Labo

Earth Day, the day after. Yesterday was Earth Day, the nearly-50-year-old celebration for our 4.5 Billion-year-old home. I’m talking about it today because, if you think about it, every day should be Earth Day. Unfortunately, we tend to stop thinking about our terra firma as soon as Google stops running inspiring doodles on the subject. Obviously, Earth’s environmental troubles are way too big to solve in a day. According to 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed worldwide every year, and then there’s the island-sized Great Pacific Garbage Patch. There is some good work being done to reduce or eliminate the garbage we dump on the Earth. Amazon is reducing packaging waste (they can start with all the empty Amazon boxes in my basement) and Apple just introduced a brand new iPhone recycling robot, Daisy. What are you doing?
To serve man. If somebody asked you, “Which of the following companies has the most positive impact on society today?” what company would you put at the top of the list? If you answered “Amazon,” then you agree with the majority of those surveyed by SurveyMonkey and Recode. Amazon came in ahead of Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft (yes, in that order). These results make some sense. Most people I know buy their stuff on Amazon. Many also own an Echo and are on a first-name-basis with Alexa. But does that add up to a “positive impact”? One wonders if people misread the question and skipped over “positive.” It’s also worth noting that 20% of the respondents didn’t even answer the question. That tells you something too, doesn’t it?
People think Amazon has the most positive impact on society out of any major tech company - Recode
Flicked. Ever since Yahoo began its death spiral, I’ve worried about what would happen to Flickr, my first online home for my photos and artwork. Granted, I barely use it today, but there are all those images that I still reference to this day. After Verizon bought Yahoo over the summer (and combined it with AOL to create Oath(!)), Flickr’s future became even more uncertain. Oath is a content brand, with little interest in services (which means Yahoo Mail is also at risk). Last week, picture and photo tchotchke company SmugMug announced their acquisition of Flickr. Our photos are saved.
Together, SmugMug+Flickr
Learning is Fun. I’ve seen dozens of STEM gadget-building kits that all promise to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. Some are quite good, but most of what you build is incredibly oddball or too esoteric to inspire youthful minds. Then there’s Nintendo Labo. It’s ostensibly not a STEM kit, but may ultimately serve the same purpose. Nintendo Labo are kits designed specifically for the Nintendo Switch gaming system. Each set of cardboard cutouts, rubber bands and other various parts transforms the Switch into something new. There’s a fishing rod kit, a piano kit, a motorbike and more. A Variety Kit costs roughly $70, which sounds like a lot for mostly cardboard, but early reviews I’ve read say it’s worth it. 
Nintendo Labo: The Kotaku Review
Apple’s AR. Everyone knows that Apple is more interested in augmented reality (enhancing your real world) than they are in virtual reality (immersive experiences that cut you off from the real world). However, one analyst, longtime Apple watcher and my friend Tim Bajarin, thinks recent patents indicate that Apple will build its own AR googles that rely heavily on the technology inside your iPhone. So, no clunky headgear, just a lightweight translucent display, battery power, and WiFi or Bluetooth. That might work, but I’m betting Apple won’t touch this idea until its convinced that the eye wear can look exactly like normal glasses.
How Apple Will Use AR To Reinvent The Human-Computer Interface
P.S. I love it when a brand makes good use of a platform.
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