John's Newsletter Blurbs
Yesterday I got out of the shop to get some Christmas shopping started. I found myself on Queen Street West in the hip quarter of Toronto and discovered (for the first time) an independent bookshop called TYPE. The shop has a beautiful yellow hue for lighting, wide plank floorboards, soft jazz music at an ambient volume and an impressive selection of art and design books, notebooks and biographies. I stuck around flipping through titles for about 40 minutes, eavesdropping on conversations, getting a sense of what people were seeking and taking in the fashion sense of a crowd easily twenty years my junior. A great reprieve from my usual routine.
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According to IBM, every single day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data that arrive from everything from our social media activity, digital pictures, purchase transaction records, cell phone GPS records and even sensors that collect climate information. We create so much data that IBM estimates that 90% of all the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This is what is called Big Data.
I had a great experience last week that I'd like to share. Next month I will be attending a Global Press Conference in Lisbon and seeing that I am flying so far to attend, and never having been to Lisbon, I have opted to tack a couple of days at the end of the conference for sightseeing.
Approximately 80,000 new businesses start every year in Canada of which half never see their fifth anniversary. Of those business start-ups, the backbone to the Canadian economy is what would be called micro businesses that employ between 1 and 19 employees. There are over one million micro businesses in Canada compared to what would be called an enterprise business that employs over 500 people. In Canada there are only 25,000 businesses that employee more than 100 people, according to a recent study by Google.
On two occasions this past weekend I sat down and listened to vinyl. I mean really listened. Friday night was U2's Joshua Tree from start to finish; all four sides, in order, and not while doing something else. I just sat down and listened. On Sunday the experience was duplicated while listening to the Grateful Dead's Reckoning on 200-gram vinyl and again all four sides with no distractions. On both occasions it was magnificent. Why did I allow myself to stop doing this?
Yesterday, WikiLeaks released more than 8,000 alleged official documents detailing how the products we love and sell have become incubators for government spying. The Wiki documents show that Apple's iPhone, Google's Android, Microsoft's Windows and Samsung smart TVs were among CIA targets, where owners of such products falsely believe their devices are off when they are in fact recording conversations.
WiFi HiFi has opened a small shop in downtown Oakville. Last summer we ran a feature in the magazine titled "The Store of the Future," where we discussed trends in store layout and design, documented advances in point-of-sale systems, and mapped out strategies for aligning an online and physical presence.
Some of you picked up on a tone from last week's missive that I am getting a bit grumpy with products that are joining the connected bandwagon when they have no need to be "connected" in the first place. For 2017 I plan to ask myself "how does this improve my life?" each time I see a new product. A few of you put me to task last week not only for spelling ‘lose' incorrectly, but also for not including examples of gadgets from CES that I believe do indeed provide value, of which there were many.
When Dr. Gordon Moore was making transistors at Fairchild Semiconductor in 1965, a single transistor would sell for $150.00. According to Intel, the cost of each transistor for Intel's Core i5 processor in 2015 was around $0.000000.14, which translates to about 70,000 iCore transistors for around the cost of a penny.
Live long enough and you will read reports stating that eggs are bad for you, followed by another saying they're good for you, and then another reverting to eggs being bad. Then finally (for now) a definitive report proves there is no correlation between eggs and cholesterol, and they're a great source of protein. That's good!
I am having a hard time finding anyone who would categorize 2016 as a great year. In fact most people I know, say it may have been one of their worst years ever. I spent the first four months of 2016 in a cast after breaking my leg skiing, two days after turning 50. Then I gained 12 pounds from sitting on the sofa feeling sorry for myself! However, had I not broken my leg, chances are I would not have found the time to finish restoring my 1967 Airstream trailer since I would have been on the slopes every weekend, so that's a nice silver lining.