Digitally Literate #200


It goes on.
Digitally Lit #200 – 6/8/2019

Hi all, my name is Ian O’Byrne and welcome to Digitally Literate. Welcome to issue #200!!!

I started this newsletter several years ago with in the intention of curating during the week and distilling this down into an easy-to-read source for you to quickly consume. My goal was to provide the information & details you need to be digitally literate. I hope you enjoy…and thank you for reading. Please subscribe if you haven’t already.

You may also be reading this newsletter on the website. The website will share all of the stories I’ve followed during the week…and then some. Not everything will make it into the weekly dispatch that I send out.

This week I posted the following things elsewhere online:


Futurecraft 4D in partnership with Carbon and Adidas (1:34)

I’m super excited about the possibilities of 3D printing in our lives. In fact, next week I’ll be helping a group of elementary students as they print out their own 3D art pieces. The problem is that 3D printing always has questions about feasibility on a large scale.

That was until I watched this video from Unbox Therapy about a new Adidas sneaker and the “Futurecraft 4D” printing process used to create the sole. Imagine being able to scan your sole with your mobile device, and have a custom-fit show printed up for you. 🙂


Facebook’s cryptocurrency will reportedly be announced this month

Social media giant Facebook is reportedly planning to announce its cryptocurrency later this month. Facebook also indicated they could even allow employees working on the project to accept payment in the cryptocurrency, which is said to be a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar.

According to The Information (via CNBC), the company will let users trade, store, and exchange its cryptocurrency for fiat currency through Facebook’s apps, including messaging platforms Messenger and WhatsApp.

Facebook has been moving from scandal to scandal over the last couple of years. Cryptocurrencies and alt-coins are built on foundations of trust. It will be interesting to see if this initiative takes off. Read here for the full story up to this point.

Facebook shareholders try and fail to limit Mark Zuckerberg’s power

Facebook is a publicly traded company, of which Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, owns a majority of the stock. This helps him control the actions of the company…and the other platforms owned by Facebook.

It appears that the board of investors has has enough, and tried to make some changes and weaken the power of Mark Zuckerberg. Shareholders are furious at the way Zuckerberg has handled a series of Facebook scandals, including election interference on the social network in 2016 and the giant Cambridge Analytica data breach last year. They think the company would benefit from an independent chairman holding Zuckerberg and his top team accountable.

The investment options at Facebook are structured so Zuckerberg owns a majority of the votes, and will always control the destiny of the company. This news makes the earlier story about Facebook launching their own coin even more interesting.

A festive mood at Apple’s conference for app makers, even as storm clouds gather

Apple held their yearly developer’s conference this week in San Jose, California. They introduced a ton of new product news, including an awesome Mac Pro and Pro XDR display, iOS 13, iPadOS, new Apple Watch featuresand more.

The products look interesting to me. The Mac Pro looks awesome, but wayyy out of my budget. iPadOS looks cool as well, but I never end up using an iPad in the ways that they describe.

I’m most intrigued by the news about Apple killing off iTunes, and their plans to have you sign in with Apple. There is no way that I’m using the Apple authentication process. They indicate that this is a safer alternative to a social sign-on with Facebook, Google, or Twitter. The difference is that it is their system, and is tied to Face ID. No thanks.

Breaking up Big Tech will be really hard to do—here’s why

Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook are facing unprecedented scrutiny in their own backyard. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are preparing antitrust investigations into the companies, and plan to divvy up the work.

Martin Giles indicates that while regulators in the US have taken a big step toward bringing antitrust suits against American tech giants, they face a long road ahead for three reasons:

  • Big tech firms have generally made their services available for free.
  • They aren’t “natural monopolies.”
  • Big tech firms dominate data gathering and use insights to provide even more free services.

It will be interesting to see how this proceeds.

The Lost Common Spaces of Our Hyper-Segmented Lives

Last week I went on a vacation with the family and friends to Disney World. As always, I was examining the ways in which we socialize and commune in common spaces. Disney has numerous people that are paid to engage with you as you walk through the parks.

This struck a tone with me as I read the Ranjan Roy essay on The Sweetgreen-ification of Society and how technology and customer segmentation have separated us into disparate groups.

While I think about how our devices are forcing us to be social in only digital spaces, check out this video about how/why Disney has gotten to be so expensive.


88 books to enjoy this summer: the TED reading list

If you’re wrapping up a school year, taking a vacation, or it’s just another week…pick up a new book to capture your imagination and perhaps inspire you.

This list of book recommendations comes from a group of TED speakers and contains guidance for all moods, activities, and tastes.

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In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.

Robert Frost

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My colleague and friend Nenad Radakovic recommended that I start listening to Black Midi when we met up this week. Their music (IMHO) is a mix of Helmet, Rage Against the Machine, The Police, while being remixed with vintage video games.

Start here with their live performance on KEXP. You won’t regret it.

Digitally Literate is a summary of all the great stuff from the Internet this week in technology, education, & literacy. Follow along here.

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