The Quantum Graph

Month: August, 2012

A Sad, Telling & Hopeful Tale: Apple vs Samsung

Apple stock rallied while Samsung slipped after Friday’s US court ruling that the latter must pay the former in the amount of $1.05b for patent infringement. The essence of Apple’s argument is that it holds a patent on thin rectangular devices with rounded corners (Design Patent 504,889).

  • This story is sad because a company has successfully enforced a claim that it ‘invented’ rounded rectangles.
  • It’s telling of how the patent system simply does not fit this century.
  • It’s hopeful as it points to the future of hardware — open source hardware.

Like software, hardware has an open movement too. It’s younger and more obscure but a growing movement nonetheless. It operates on the same principles of sharing explicitly documented designs and encouraging interoperability of parts. Developers can buy cheap, generic components, build robust devices and publish schematics and firmware code.

All these ingredients (cheapness, robustness, extensibility) make a potent mix for the hardware industry. Samsung already makes use of open source software (Android). It’s a matter of time before open hardware reaches critical mass and brutally disrupts the way we manufacture, use and distribute devices.

The world may marvel at Apple’s $633b market cap, but brilliant mobile technology is only now leaving the infant stages.


Classical Cat, Quantum Mouse

(12:15:11 PM) bradass87: hypothetical question: if you had free reign [sic] over classified networks for long periods of time … say, 8–9 months … and you saw incredible things, awful things … things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC … what would you do? […]

With the UK threatening to forcibly extricate Wikileaks‘ Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, its plain to see governments get… concerned, if state secrets become public domain.

When it comes to sensitive digital information, the world has relied on encryption for keeping secrets. The dominant encryption scheme is RSA, first made public in 1977. It relies on a hard problem: the fact that there is no known classical way to efficiently factor numbers. In other words, despite knowing how to do it, cracking RSA can take thousands of years with the current technique. However, in 1994, MIT mathematician/physicist Peter Shor showed that a quantum computer could factor numbers in polynomial time (milliseconds instead of millennia).

Lucky for the entities that use RSA to shield their data from prying eyes, there has yet to be a practical, scalable quantum computer and thus their data is safe for the time being.

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your side of the fence, it is only a matter of innovation (creativity + effort + time) before quantum computing is scalable and the world’s encrypted info is completely naked. Of course, the twist is that far stronger means of keeping data private have emerged in the quantum research space.

Whether you’re an individual who just wants their online activity to remain anonymous, or an agency with hard intelligence on a pending Martian invasion — don’t be too paranoid, but don’t delude yourself into believing security is forever.

How Does Noospheer Make Money?

Here’s how:



Models & Bottlenecks

The mostly downward direction of $FB since its infamous IPO shows the true colours of global markets. They react mostly to the emotional drive of mass human action based on incomplete data (such as Friday’s false positive on the US July jobs report). Never mind that the service has close to 2 billion eyeballs linked up (October update: over 2 billion eyeballs), Z wears a hoodie!

If the big F wants to shirk its shakiness in front of the suits, it needs a new revenue model. Advertising is so Madison Avenue, not Information Superhighway (no offense; love New York). I’m not saying they should ditch ads, but look for something additional. What that something is is for them to ideate, create and iterate.

The point is: simply divulging a half-original revenue concept on Bloomberg will send every kind of trader – human and bot – into a friendzy. Like?