What Should We Think About Albert Einstein's Racism?

No scientist in modern history looms larger in the public consciousness than Albert Einstein. Almost everyone knows who he was and what he looked like, at least toward the end of his life, when he entirely abandoned combing his hair. He is the poster example of genius for many. We all know E=mc2, even if most of us can’t really say what it means. It’s easy to forget that there was a real human being with that name, someone with a personality shaped by his culture and prejudices. In short, someone who could simultaneously be a noted humanitarian and hold racist opinions.

The Guardian published a summary of a new translation of the diary Einstein kept while traveling through Asia in the early 1920s. This was in the period after he won his Nobel Prize in physics, when his fame was reaching its first peak. As a result, he was in demand, and spent a lot of time traveling the world.

He enjoyed visiting Japan, but other countries — notably China and Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon) — he described with very racist language. “It would be a pity if these Chinese supplant all other races,” he wrote in one passage. “For the likes of us the mere thought is unspeakably dreary.”

Bettmann / Getty Images

Albert Einstein (center) with civil rights activist Paul Robeson (far right), along with former Vice President Henry Wallace (left). Einstein’s civil rights activism is at odds with the racist language he used to write about Asian people in a newly published travel diary.

For those who know something about Einstein, these racist statements are all the more disturbing. Prior to relocating to the United States in 1933 and even more so after, Einstein was active in anti-racist organizations, speaking out against the mistreatment of African-Americans. He lent his name and reputation to a number of causes led by prominent black leaders, including W.E.B. DuBois and Paul Robeson. As I wrote for Smithsonian Magazine,

Einstein saw racism as a fundamental stumbling block to freedom. In both his science and his politics, Einstein believed in the need for individual liberty: the ability to follow ideas and life paths without fear of oppression. And he knew from his experiences as a Jewish scientist in Germany how easily that freedom could be destroyed in the name of nationalism and patriotism. In a 1946 commencement speech at Lincoln University, the oldest black college in the U.S., Einstein decried American racism in no uncertain terms.

“There is separation of colored people from white people in the United States,” said the renowned physicist, using the common term in the day. “That separation is not a disease of colored people. It is a disease of white people. I do not intend to be quiet about it.”

The contrast is stark between his strong social justice advocacy for African-Americans and his earlier words about Chinese and Sri Lankan people.

All the more worrisome about these newly translated diaries is that apart from them, Einstein said almost nothing about Asia and those of Asian descent. I spent quite a bit of time digging through the Einstein biographies and commentaries I own, along with his own essays, and there’s very little about China in any of them. The book Einstein on Race and Racism by Fred Jerome and Rodger Taylor doesn’t discuss Einstein’s attitudes about Asia, even as they describe the civil wars and anticolonialist revolutions happening at that time. (Einstein did admire Mahatma Gandhi and his passive resistance strategy, though Gandhi’s own attitudes about black Africans were troubling.) As far as I can tell, Einstein never commented on — much less opposed — the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

This is troubling because Einstein wasn’t one to be quiet about matters he thought were important. He saw parallels between black Americans’ civil rights struggles and the plight of Jewish people in Nazi Germany, and built his compassion for African-Americans on that foundation. His anti-lynching activism in the 1940s was done in full public view, drawing the ire of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI.

As a diary, Einstein’s 1920s travel writings weren’t meant for publication and apart from some letters also printed in the book, what he wrote likely wasn’t intended for others to read. But those words combined with his silence on internment and other social justice issues in Asia — even as he was a loud activist in other areas — tells us a lot. At the very least, it’s very revealing about his priorities.

Where does that leave us? To me, it highlights a point made by many others: “racist” isn’t something you are, it’s something you do. Einstein could be racist about Chinese and Sri Lankan people, while being anti-racist with regards to black Americans. His work with African-Americans civil rights activists isn’t undone by his lack of compassion for Asia, any more than his anti-lynching advocacy wipes out his racist words about Chinese people.

Additionally, this just highlights the need to avoid idol-worship. Einstein wasn’t a perfect being, flawless in every way. He was complicated. We can admit he was contradictory: racist and anti-racist, just as we exist in a racist society and deal with internalized racism in ourselves. As with anyone, we should praise what is praiseworthy and condemn what isn’t. In that way, we respect Einstein fully, even if he failed to extend that respect to all people.

Samsung QLED Takes On An OLED Army At Key TV Shootout

After something of a ‘no contest’ victory for OLED in 2017, the battle between LED and OLED televisions is well and truly back on. Thanks to Samsung massively upping its game with its spectacular new Q9FN flagship ‘QLED’ TVs, AV enthusiasts are once again faced with a tough choice over which way to turn as they try to find their perfect home entertainment centerpiece.

To try and find an answer to this latest QLED/OLED conundrum, respected British website HDTVTest and UK-based retailer Crampton & Moore will be joining forces next month to hold a four-way public TV shootout.

This will pit 2018’s very best TVs against each other in a direct head to head format, and allow an assembled audience of AV enthusiasts to have the final say on how they think each screen does across a series of different picture quality criteria.

Photo: Samsung

Can Samsung’s brilliant 65Q9FN QLED TV see off a trio of OLED rivals?

The four 65-inch TVs involved in the shoot out will be the LG OLED65C8 OLED TV, the Panasonic 65FZ800 or 65FZ950 OLED TV, the 65-inch Samsung Q9FN LED TV (reviewed here), and the Sony 65A8F OLED TV (55-inch model reviewed here).

These four premium 2018 TVs won’t only be facing off against each other, though. The shootout is also hoping to include two Sony BVM-X300 professional broadcast monitors, so that attendees can compare the TVs against Sony’s reference display for color accuracy, shadow detail and the rendering of peak highlights in HDR footage.

All four TVs will be ‘run in’ before the tests start, and then calibrated to the common standards used within the broadcast industry for day, night, game, HDR and (where available) Dolby Vision modes.

This calibration will be done by HDTVTest with the assistance of two experts from Portrait Displays, developer of the acclaimed CalMAN calibration software.

The tests themselves will allow attendees to watch a selection of content – including 4K Blu-rays, Blu-rays, recorded terrestrial broadcasts, and HDR games – distributed simultaneously to each set using an HDMI distributor.

Attendees will then be asked to rate the TVs out of five on their contrast, colour accuracy, motion, video processing, uniformity, HDR performance, bright room performance and Gaming capabilities.

Photo: Sony

The Sony 65A8F will be one of the trio of OLED contenders.

The TV which bags the highest score across all categories will be crowned the Best TV of 2018, but there will also be awards for Best Home Theater TV, Best Living Room TV, Best HDR TV and Best Gaming TV.

The Crampton & Moore/ HDTVTest 2018 TV shootout event will take place on Sunday July 15th from 10.30am to 3.30pm at Harefield Academy, UB9 6ET, United Kingdom. Attendance is free, but registration is required, and places are limited to 50 seats on a first come, first served basis. To register, fill in the form provided on this link.

Naturally I’ll bring you details of how the shootout goes as soon as the results are in.

If you found this story interesting, you might also enjoy these:

Samsung QN65Q9FN TV Review: QLED Fights Back. With A Vengeance

LG OLED65E8 OLED TV Review: What A Difference A Brain Makes

LG OLED E8 Vs Samsung Q9FN – Clash Of The TV Titans

Sony XBR-55A8F OLED TV Review

Amazfit Bip Smartwatch Review: Taking The Casio Approach to Beating The Apple Watch

I received the Amazfit Bip smartwatch to review at the start of March. On opening the retail packing, i charged the wearable up. Near the end of the April I gave it a second full charge. Last week the lightweight peripheral picked up its third charge, and is currently on 81 percent charge as I write this review.

If you are looking for one of the key selling points, then having a battery life measured in weeks has to be first on your list, unlike the hungry Apple Watch and Wear OS (nee Android Wear) smartwatches, Even the 5 day battery life of the Pebble family still left a little tickle in my brain of ‘where/when is the next charging point’. The Bip is one of the first smartwatches where I can effectively forget about charging. It’s there, it works, end of discussion.

The second key selling point is price. Launched in the US at $99, the Amazfit Bip has had a number of offers and voucher deals, so it’s possible to pick it up with a bit of hunting as low as $69,

Ewan Spence

Amazfit Bip Smartwatch (Ewan Spence)

Of course there are compromises to get to that price. How these will impact on your experience comes down to what you want from your smartwatch. If you are looking for a huge amount of information, wrist-based applications, and the ability to control multiple areas of the paired smartphone, then the Bip is not for you. That means that one of the features that I have enjoyed in other smartwatches – controlling the music player on the smartphone in my pocket – isn’t part of the built-in software.

This year I’ve had to rely on certain functions of the smartphone toolbox more than others. The need for leisure activities (such as media control) have lessened, while monitoring my sleep, exercise levels, and tracking other movement-based activities has increased. The Bip fits in wonderfully with my new requirements; it doesn’t have to be charged up every night (so sleep ca be tracked), I don’t have to consciously take it on or off so it’s always there for exercise, and the regular alarms to take my medication are always at my wrist.

The Bip comes with three main sensors – the obvious motion sensor to track step counts and movement during exercise; a heart rate sensor; and a GPS to track your location through the day (or switched on for an exercise session) if you wish. Of course measuring full body activities from a wrist can never be completely accurate, there will be some extrapolation involved – especially in terms of step counting. My view is not to trust the number as gospel, but to trust the trend that I can see developing over time.

I have a similar thinking regarding the heart rate monitor. When i head into the gym I’m going to tighten the strap around my wrist for a more accurate reading, but in everyday use I open the wrist strap out a notch. It’s still firmly in place but the heart rate can be a little more variable. I like that you can keep track of your heart rate through the day – I’ve almost set up a confidence ‘’record every thirty minutes’ but of course when you start an exercise session (something that needs done manually) that sample rate increases.

Again it’s all about compromise. If you want a perfect instrument you are going to pay a lot more – and for those looking for an accurate fitness tracker there are more precise (and more expensive) options. For those like me who need tracking but with a little bit more margin for error, then I’m happy with that compromise.

Ewan Spence

Amazfit Bip Smartwatch (Ewan Spence)

The same can be said of the Amazfit Bip itself. The screen is color and always on,runs at 176×176 pixels, and is a 1.28 inch LCD display. The backlight stays off almost all of the time, but can be set to switch on if you raise the watch. Neither does the touchscreen stay active – in general you need to tap the crown button to activate the backlight on the screen and to have the Bip look for touch input. That touch input is more about swipes left and right, using the crown as a back button, and the occasional (Yes/Cancel) dialog popping up. Again a higher resolution screen or always on user interface has been put aside to focus on battery endurance.

And once you realise that your watch needs a tap before you can use the extra features, it’s something that becomes habit. Thanks to the reflective LCD screen, even without the backlight coming on you can make out the time in anything except the darkest of conditions.

I also appreciate that the watch works with standard 20mm straps, and the spring-loaded bar connectors seen across the industry. Although I’ve no issues with the enclosed silicone strap, the ability to switch it out for an alternative is welcome.

Ewan Spence

Amazfit Bip Smartwatch (Ewan Spence)

Let’s be honest here, if you’re going to try to use the Amazfit Bip with an iOS device you are going to have a poor experience. You can record your activity and have it uploaded to your iPhone or iPad, but so much of the app ecosystem is locked down by Apple by design that the whole package is very awkward.

This is much improved when you look at the Bip with an Android device. The companion app is Xiaomi’s MiFit – which shouldn’t come as a surprise given Amazfit is a subsidiary of Xiaomi. The UI will be familiar to those who have worked with Xiaomi’s MIUI variant of Android. That means a large colourful key graphic at the top of the screen, and boxed out numbers in the bottom half. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you get the principle of how the UI layout works, it’s surprisingly efficient – but there’s no concession to Apple’s iOS UI or Google’s Material Design.

Your data also syncs to the cloud through an Xiaomi account, so it’s easy enough to move between two Amazfit devices, or two smartphones, or even move over from Android to iOS and back again. It also syncs data to Google Fit and Apple Health, so if you want to test the watch and not carry two trackers, you’ll not lose any tracking data.

Ewan Spence

Amazfit Bip Smartwatch (Ewan Spence)

One thing I appreciate is the granular control you have over every aspect. The time between recording your heart rate is one example. Another is the ability to switch on or off any smartphone application’s ability to send a notification to your watch. You can strip back the constant low of alerts to just those vital to you. Of course there’s no interaction with the notifications as you have with Wear OS or WatchOS, but that once more reflects the philosophy of the Bip – it is there to record information and to let you know when something is happening on your phone… and that’s it.

This is a subordinate companion to your smartphone. That clearly defined approach makes for a product that knows exactly what it wants to deliver, and it delivers everything it promises. Can it rival the more expensive smartwatches on the market? That depends what you are looking for. Personally the Amazfit is very close to my ‘ideal smartwatch deliverables’ that it has won me over, but your decision will be different.

What I can say is that the Amazfit delivers what it promises – and is clear about what it does not deliver. If you need a long-lived smartwatch, with solid tracking, and simple notifications from your smartphone, I’d definitely recommend you have the Bip on your shortlist.

Let’s put it another way. There are fashionable smartwatches, there are stylish smartwatches, there are sportscar-esque smartwatches. The Amazfit Bip is the indestructible Casio F-91W of smartwatches.

Disclaimer: Huami provided an Amazfit Bip for review purposes

China's Huawei goes on offensive as exclusion from Australia 5G deal looms

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] has gone on the offensive against Australian claims it poses a security risk, issuing an open letter to the government saying that view was “ill-informed.”

The Huawei logo is seen during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman

There has been much speculation about Huawei in recent weeks as Australia prepares to announce a tender for its massive 5G mobile telecommunications rollout, with local media reporting the country’s spy agencies have advised against including the company.

Australia, like the United States, worries Huawei is de facto controlled by China, raising fears that sensitive infrastructure will fall into the hands of Beijing.

“Recent public commentary around China has referenced Huawei and its role in Australia and prompted some observations around security concerns,” Huawei’s chairman and two board directors wrote in a letter to government that the company released to the media on Monday. “Many of these comments are ill-informed and not based on facts.”

The public letter from Huawei executives, which was accompanied by a fact sheet, comes as Australia’s relationship with top trading partner China faces a testing two weeks. Canberra is preparing to pass laws designed to limit Beijing’s influence in domestic affairs amid pressure on some of its fastest growing exports, a stance that has led to deteriorating relations between the two countries.

Huawei has repeatedly denied the allegations of Beijing control, and in the letter, dated Friday, again insisted it is an independent company.

“In each of the 170 countries where we operate, we abide by the national laws and guidelines,” Chairman John Lord and board directors John Brumby and Lance Hockridge wrote in the letter. “To do otherwise would end our business overnight.”

The executives noted the company’s 5G investments in Britain, Canada and New Zealand where it said the respective governments had taken up its offer to evaluate the company’s technology to make sure it abided by cybersecurity protocols.

They said the company has offered to build an evaluation and testing center as part of its Australia 5G proposal “to ensure independent verification of our equipment right here in Australia.”

Huawei was banned in 2012 from supplying Australia’s massive National Broadband Network, and in May, Australia committed millions of dollars to ensure Huawei did not build an internet cable between Australia and the Solomon Islands.

Australia has not publicly explained its objection, but a source familiar with the Solomon Islands deal said Canberra was concerned that China could jeopardize its national security by having access to Australian telecommunications infrastructure.

Reporting By Jane Wardell; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

How To Transform Marketing Into A Revenue-Generating Accountability Function

Progress

Melissa Puls, former CMO Progress

“It’s a wonderful time to be a CMO in the B2B world,” suggested Margaret Molloy, in a recent Forbes article. The role is rapidly changing and those marketers who can lead the change are poised to have significant impact. Prior to joining Optanix as CMO, Melissa Puls, as CMO of Progress, helped generate more than 75,000 new qualified leads, resulting in $35M incremental pipeline creation and $17M new revenue for the company. I was fascinated by the degree of specificity with which she could articulate her department’s top- and bottom-line impact. Below is an excerpt from the interview with Puls regarding how she transformed marketing at Progress to create a more accountable function.

Kimberly Whitler: The leads / revenue increases you helped generate at Progress are impressive. Can you elaborate on what you did, how you measured the impact, and the results you’ve achieved?

Melissa Puls: Essentially, I changed the systems and processes by which we marketed. I worked with key peers (e.g., Sales, GMs, etc.) to create a whole new process to drive accountability by function and individual. To do this, we had to put a more rigorous process in place. I’ll explain how the process works now. The very first thing that we do as a team is to break down the firm-level objectives to assign quotas by function. This is then broken down and assigned to individuals within functions. We sync these quotas up to specific sales objectives by product line and project. The objective is to align the sales objectives with marketing and to ensure that we are working together to achieve company goals.

As an example, for one new product introduction, marketing had 100% of the lead/conversion goal and had a specific revenue target to hit. On another product, the focus was on relationship development so the sales team had more responsibility for generating the revenue. We essentially work together to figure out how to disaggregate the macro financial goals into specific deliverables by function, individual, and product. Once this is done, we then assign based on these goals. For example, let’s assume that a marketer has a business development target and that they have to deliver $30M of new bookings. We then determine the budget that is required to generate the leads, nurture, and convert into the revenue target.

Once we identified exactly who and which function will generate specific sales and what the budgets are, we then create “waterfalls” (i.e., specific targets for generating website traffic and then converting into marketing leads and then converting through engagement process and then scoring leads to determine the level of qualification and then converting through to trial). At this point, the salesperson will look at the marketing qualified leads and will they have a certain amount of time to convert to sales qualified lead and they are working to close the lead. We have service level agreements (SLAs) that have been developed with the sales reps; these agreements detail how quickly sales will respond to the leads sent. This creates standards against which we “toss the baton” from marketing to sales to ensure that there aren’t any drops in the handoff.

Then, every week, marketing meets with sales, the Chief Revenue Officer, the GMs, and the Chief of Demand Generation to through all of the performance metrics we defined. We go through each stage of the conversion process and waterfall to identify opportunities for improvement. Every percent you can improve your conversion throughout the waterfall drops directly to revenue generation.

Whitler: What are the key attributes of the transformation?

Puls:

1. Standardized the system: Before this, we had a number of different systems that different people used. The key to working together was to ensure that we all worked off of the same core systems. So we converted to one system for marketing automation (Eloqua), one for sales force management (salesforce.com), one dashboard system (Tableau), and then we implemented the best-in-class benchmarking (waterfall) that SiriusDecisions created.

2. Aligned the organization: We centralized the demand center and responsibility for performance in one marketing team (before it had been distributed to more). We focused on implementing best practices within demand gen based on prior research and white papers. This created a unification that had been missing..

3. We incorporated our own content management system. We have a product that enables real-time content management through an app-like product on a remote computer or even phone. This enabled us to become more agile, more responsive, and more efficient

4. Identify goals by person/function: Allocated responsible to not only the functional level but to individual level and ensured clear, single-point accountability.

5. Create a regular process for meeting, reviewing, adapting, and reporting.

6. Align the budget to the target to the individual/function.

Whitler: What advice would you give to B2B Marketers who are trying to drive lead gen that connects to measureable business results?

Puls:

1. Don’t be afraid to take on a quota. I’m talking about impact to revenue. You have to have a specific target and know how your function will contribute to the firm’s financial performance.

2. Put a target out there so that you can measure your team against it.

3. What is really is challenging is to convert the macro goal into individual level measures. This takes discussion and deliberation. It’s not critical that you get the target perfect in the beginning. There has to be room to miss the target and to adjust the system and learn. Over time, however, the team should get better at setting targets and hitting them.

4. Remember, although marketing may hit its target, there is no celebration until all of the units are hitting their targets. It’s a partnership. If we hit our target but pass the baton and the next group is struggling, we have to ask what we can do differently to help them achieve their targets. business results to drive success. It works best when all functions hit their goals.

Join the Discussion: @KimWhitler

My Beef With XR

When Venture Capitalist, AR thought leader, and Executive Producer of Augmented World Expo (AWE) Ori Inbar kicked off the event on May 29th with the phrase: “Go XR or go extinct!” I knew it was over. I had officially lost the war of words. As my old boss Ted Leonsis used to say, “it is better to win than to be right.” So, to the winners, I say I am dropping my objection to the use of “XR”, or “X-Reality”. I was even wearing my XR t-shirt the last day of the AWE Conference. But I still think XR is an annoying made up word that conveys only the agony of our confusion.

Michael O’Donnell

Ori Inbar’s opening of AWE 18, the 9th annual conference, at the Santa Clara Convention Center of May 29th. “Go XR or Go Extinct!”

Making a counterpoint to Stephanie Llamas, VP of XR for Superdata Research, who wrote the first chapter of my book, Charlie Fink’s Metaverse, An AR Enabled Guide to VR & AR, I objected to the new acronym “XR” then, which has replaced “MR” as the umbrella term for immersive computing, including mobile AR, MR, and VR. I’m not exactly sure who is to blame for all this confusion but my top suspects are Microsoft and Qualcomm, which actually sought to trademark XR last fall. Microsoft is guilty of an earlier sin, torturing the word hologram, which by definition must be seen with the naked eye (look it up). It is quite a stretch to call The HoloLens a Holographic Computing. My friends at Microsoft are slightly embarrassed when I explain this because the people I interact with are basically nice, guileless people. Still. Who owns the unintended consequences of decisions made by the marketing department?

Richard Cray

In my “I [heart] XR” T-shirt on June 1st, the last day of AWE.

Llamas correctly pointed out in the book that consists of language is critical in the developing consumer market for VR in my book about VR and AR, to which she contributed the first of several chapters. We have to agree on what to call things. Microsoft put MR out there as the name for the concept in 2016, appropriating the Milgram scale, created in 1994 by two academics, Paul Milgram and Fumio Kishino. Convenietly, on either side of the new “Microsoft Mixed Reality Spectrum”, where the company’s HoloLens and fully occluded Windows MR VR device. Microsoft was immediately accused of seeking to brand the VR world with WindowsMR. Since WindowsMR headsets are not exactly flying off the shelves, despite attractive pricing, it doesn’t really matter anymore. That was almost ten months ago, for god’s sake.

Charlie Fink

Created in 1994 by two academics, the Milgram Mixed Reality Spectrum sought to explain the relationship of Virtual and Augmented Reality. By conflating VR and AR, they failed. Miserably.

My objections to the appropriation and misuse of the of the words MR and XR are well known. Until my formal surrender today, I insisted on using the more cumbersome AR and VR, keeping them separate. One of the key points of my book is that AR and VR do not belong on a spectrum of immersion. While VR is for immersion. AR is a tool, like the club and the wheel and the steam engine, that makes humankind better, faster and stronger. Both the quest for immersion and the need for augmentation are deeply rooted in humans. VR is spiritual and experiential. It demands a willing suspension of disbelief, while AR needs the real world to exist, otherwise, there would be nothing to augment. It is true both run on computers and require optics, bandwidth, and storage, but computers do a lot of things. Also, this doesn’t account for the vast majority of AR today, which is Heads Up Displays, mobile phones, and monocular microdisplays. My biggest complaint at about XR is that it conflates AR and VR.

“It’s just too nuanced not to combine VR and AR into one term. Consumers just will not understand those differences,” Llamas says. “We need to have a unifying terminology that makes it easy for consumers to understand. Until the separations are clearer, X (standing in for an unknown, or variety of variables) Reality serves as a simple way to encompass everything that digitally alters reality.”

Manomotion

Thanks to Manomotion and others, we can interact with AR objects inside the camera in real time for a true MR experience in AR

Second, both MR and XR redefine important terms. MR previously referred to mixing reality, so when your hand hits a virtual ball, it has real physics and bounces, or when, in VR, smell, heat, smoke or other elements are added, mixing reality. XR has long referred to bio-augmentation, which is the sort of thing Patti Maes does at the MIT Media Lab. What are we to call these now? So. Objection #2: Redefinition and Appropriation.

Objection #3, Dishonesty. In January, 2017, the companies discussed in this story approved a press release from the technology committee of the Consumer Technology Association, which provided definitions of AR, VR, and MR, and accounted for their distinctions. These definitions have been ignored since the day they were was released, with Microsoft almost immediately following with an announcement that appropriated Windows MR. Which is a fully occluded VR headset. Raise your hand if you are not confused.

Taeyeon Kim/Behance

Consumers are going to be talking about iGlass, not XR or AR, says Writer & Producer Michael Eichenseer.

Finally, Objection #4: Market confusion. Since there’s no real consumer market here to confuse, we’re mainly still talking to ourselves. “While there are benefits to unifying definitions, I’m not convinced the benefits would be noticed as the market develops. It’ll be brands that mold the minds of consumers,” said writer and producer Michael Eichenseer. “It won’t be Apple’s AR/MR/XR Glasses, it’ll be iGlass. User’s won’t refer to iGlass’s AR/MR/XR display, it’ll be iGlassOS.” Eichenseer is right, of course, but what about the hundreds, maybe millions of people who are studying what we do. This is the Internet in 1993. What we call things is going to matter, and soon. Maybe they are the most important audience now.

“What I have noticed is that those of us in the industry are using XR, but I see very few people outside of our industry using XR. Whenever I bring up the term XR at a marketing conference (most often than not), I would say 90% of folks have never heard the term,” Says Kathy Hackl, Futurist at You Are Here Labs and co-author of Marketing New Realities. “I’m all for using XR within our industry, but I’ not sure the mass market is ready for XR as a term. While it provides clarity for our industry, I worry it might make it harder to comprehend for the mass market.”

Bring on the XR!

You see my point? XR is the devil. It should never have been invented. Long live XR.

Therefore, this is the June 2018 Fink “official” definitions of XR, AR, MR, VR, and bioaugmentation. I reserve the right to be defeated again in the future.  

Virtual Reality – A fully occluded world in which the digital completely replaces the physical world.

Augmented Reality – Any technology that adds digital content to the physical world. There are many modes of AR. Some of them are Heads Up Displays (HUDs), Reflective AR (Lenovo/Disney Jedi Challenge, Mira Prism), Mobile (ARKit and AR Core), Monocular Microdisplays (Glass, Kopin, RealWear, Toshiba), Waveguide (HoloLens, ODG, Vuzix)) and Lightfield (Magic Leap) devices. Sound plays a role as well. Vuzix and ODG incorporate Alexa.

Mixed Reality – Any virtual or augmented reality where the real and digital worlds interact. Example 1: through the camera, on your cell phone you see a ball. You hit it with your free hand, and it appears to bounce off the real wall. Example 2: when temperature changes, wind, smell, touch and/or physical props are incorporated into full occluded VR experience, usually in a public installation like The Void, Zero Latency, and Dreamscape.

XR – The VR and AR industry, taken as a whole, including research into wearables, bioaugmentation, and invisible computing.

Bio and Experimental Augmentation (BA and EA) are not yet widely known outside academia but will probably replace the previous uses of XR.

Senate panel to call key Cambridge Analytica figure to testify

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Senate Commerce Committee panel plans to call a former Cambridge Analytica contractor at the center of a scandal involving the use of data from millions of Facebook users, a committee source told Reuters on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO – Aleksandr Kogan, a researcher at Cambridge University who created a personality quiz to collect users data on Facebook, gives evidence to Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committe in Westminster, London, Britain, April 24, 2018. Parliament TV handout via REUTERS

The panel’s subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security will hold a hearing next Tuesday on data privacy risks focusing on Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy, and other Facebook Inc (FB.O) partners, the committee announced Wednesday.

The session follows hearings in April with Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and will focus “on the collection and use of social media data, the privacy concerns raised in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal, and potential steps to protect consumers,” the committee said.

The committee will call Aleksandr Kogan, a contractor for Cambridge Analytica, to testify, a source briefed on the matter said. A lawyer for Kogan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Facebook said in April that the personal information of up to 87 million users, mostly in the United States, may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica. The London-based consultancy’s clients included President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

Facebook says Kogan harvested the data by creating an app on the social media network that was downloaded by 270,000 people, providing access not only to their own personal data but also data from their friends. Facebook said Kogan then violated its policies by passing the data to Cambridge Analytica.

Cambridge Analytica disputed Facebook’s estimate of how many users were affected.

Cambridge Analytica and its British parent, SCL Elections Ltd, said in May that they would shut down immediately and begin bankruptcy proceedings in both the United Kingdom and the United States after suffering a sharp drop in business. Cambridge Analytica filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New York last month.

In April, Kogan, who worked for the University of Cambridge, told British lawmakers that all the data he collected had, to the best of his knowledge, been deleted. He said he would double-check that none remained.

“This has been a very painful experience, because, when I entered into all of this, Facebook was a close ally,” Kogan said. “I was thinking this would be helpful to my academic career and my relationship with Facebook. It has very clearly done the complete opposite.”

Also expected to appear at next week’s hearing are John Battelle, who helped found Wired Magazine and is a board member of database marketing company Acxiom Corp (ACXM.O), and Ashkan Soltani, who was former chief technologist for the Federal Trade Commission during the administration of President Barack Obama.

Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Jonathan Oatis

Etsy raises 2018 revenue growth forecast, shares hit record

(Reuters) – Etsy Inc on Thursday raised its full-year revenue growth forecast, boosted by an increase in its transaction fee for sellers, sending shares of the company surging 35 percent to a record high.

FILE PHOTO – A sign advertising the online seller Etsy Inc. is seen outside the Nasdaq market site in Times Square following Etsy’s initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq in New York April 16, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

The share jump pushed up the company’s market cap by $1.4 billion.

The site for handmade goods, which struggled after its initial public offering in 2015, began its turnaround effort after board member and former eBay executive Josh Silverman took charge as chief executive officer in May last year after ex-CEO Chad Dickerson stepped down.

Silverman came to Etsy amid concerns about slowing growth, poor functionality of the company’s website and the specter of competition from Amazon.com Inc, which launched a marketplace for handmade goods in 2015.

The company now expects revenue growth of 32 percent to 34 percent in 2018, up from its previous forecast of 22 percent to 24 percent. It also raised the higher end of its gross merchandise sales growth range.

Etsy’s share movement was in contrast to arts and crafts specialty retailer Michaels Cos Inc, which dropped 15 percent after it expected flat comparable sales in the second quarter and comparable sales growth of up to 1.5 percent in fiscal 2018.

Etsy, however has beaten average analysts’ estimates in every quarter since Silverman’s appointment to the helm. It missed estimates in the four quarters prior to his arrival.

The company’s shares have more than doubled in the last 12 months.

“Etsy management has improved its merchandising, which in turn has led to stronger merchant sales. As Etsy is doing more for the merchants, Etsy is able to charge more, especially since the fees were relatively cheaper than competitors,” analyst Ronald Bookbinder of IFS Securities said.

Etsy said it would increase the transaction fee it charges when a seller makes a sale to 5 percent from 3.5 percent. The new fee would apply to the cost of shipping.

The company said it plans to increase direct marketing spending by at least 40 percent in 2018 and revamp community platforms.

Etsy has shifted its focus to areas that are showing the most growth for the handmade marketplace, particularly on its core e-commerce site.

The company has improved its website’s search function and uses artificial intelligence to provide better product recommendations for customers. In 2017 the company also ran holiday promotions for the first time.

“They took that really good business model and fine tuned the engine and now they have got that engine firing on all cylinders,” D.A. Davidson & Co. analyst Tom Forte said.

Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Shounak Dasgupta

Didi Chuxing tightens car-pooling rules after murder threatens to dent image

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s biggest ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing said on Wednesday its car-pooling service drivers can only pick up passengers of the same sex in early morning and late evening, part of an on-going effort to regain trust following a murder of a female passenger earlier this year.

A man is seen in front of a Didi sign before a promotional event of its Hitch service for the Spring festival travel rush, in Beijing, China January 24, 2018. Picture taken January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

After the murder, which was reported and discussed widely on social media, Didi limited the car pooling’s service hours to 6am to 10pm, and took other measures. With the new policy taking effect on June 15, Didi has decided to expand the service hours from 5am to 12pm.

But between 5am and 6am and between 10pm and 12pm, car-pooling service drivers can only pick up passengers of the same sex, Didi said in the statement.

The moves follow the murder in May of a 21-year-old female passenger, a flight attendant, while traveling from an airport hotel to Zhengzhou’s downtown area, allegedly by her Didi driver who bypassed defective safety controls in the app.

As part of the new measures, Didi said in the statement on Wednesday it planned to test an “escort mode” on its app in a small-scale pilot program starting on June 22. With the escort mode open on the Didi app, passengers can share their routes and destinations with their emergency contacts.

The ride-sharing firm in May apologized for the death of the passenger. Didi said at the time its facial recognition mechanism was defective and had failed to verify the driver who allegedly killed the passenger.

The male suspect had used a driver account that belonged to his father, contrary to Didi’s policy, it said at the time.

Didi Chuxing – which is valued at $50 billion and counts SoftBank Group Corp as a major investor – is expanding heavily overseas, targeting new markets in Mexico, Brazil and Australia, where it will come head-to-head with Uber.

Reporting By Lusha Zhang and Norihiko Shirouzu; editing by David Evans

Acacia says ZTE business to remain suspended until ban lifted

(Reuters) – Acacia Communications Inc’s supply agreement with ZTE Corp will remain suspended until the U.S. Department of Commerce implements its recent settlement with the Chinese firm, the U.S. company said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO – Visitors pass in front of the Chinese telecoms equipment group ZTE Corp booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Picture

The settlement, which was made public on Monday, would allow China’s No. 2 telecommunications equipment maker to resume business with U.S. suppliers.

But the ban on buying U.S. parts, imposed by the department in April, will not be lifted until ZTE pays fines and places $400 million more in an escrow account in a U.S.-approved bank.

Acacia said the settlement may ultimately allow it to resume ties with ZTE.

The company’s shares have fallen 13 percent since the ban was imposed in April.

Reporting by Sonam Rai in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty