My latest Locus Magazine column is "Disruption for Thee, But Not for Me," and it analyzes how Big Tech has been able to "disrupt" incumbent industries, but has repurposed obscure technology regulations to prevent anyone from meting out the same treatment to their new digital monopolies.
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Tired of ordinary, janky water guns?
Well, inventor Sebastian Walter of Munich, Germany has made something for you. He's shaking up the water gun industry with his high-tech Spyra One. He and his team's $133 water gun isn't exactly for child's play though.
The Spyra One doesn’t shoot a stream of water; it shoots precisely measured bursts of “water bullets” that the company claims can clearly and accurately hit targets up to 25 feet away.
There’s an integrated pump that lets you refill the tank just by dunking the front of the Spyra One into a pool, lake, or bucket of water. It takes about 14 seconds to refill. There’s no pumping, either. That same pump keeps the tank pressurized so you’re able to start spraying water. But things get truly ridiculous with my favorite feature: a display that features a digital ammo counter that feels more at home on a futuristic rifle from Halo than an actual water gun.
...the Spyra One also features a rechargeable battery, which the company says should last for around 45 fill cycles before you’ll need to recharge.
When you do need to juice up the Spyra One, you’ll do so by plugging in a — wait, that can’t be right — a standard USB-C cable...
The Spyra One isn't available in stores, only through Kickstarter. So far, over 2,000 backers are willing to wait until August 2019 (or longer) for their fancy high-tech water gun, well surpassing the original $58,050 goal. Read the rest
Five years ago, Steve Ballmer said "we can make Windows devices once again the devices to own." Last week, Microsoft announced that Windows will no longer be a standalone unit at Microsoft, ending a division dedicated to personal OS that started in 1980. Via Ben Thompson at Stratechery: Read the rest
Way back in 2011, major American automakers were slow to realize that "companies in Silicon Valley have for some time been looking at cars just like another mobile device or app." When the disruption, hit, it hit hard, writes Nick Bilton: Read the rest
From the CEO of Palm predicting that Apple would fail at making phones to IBM's chairman predicting that Walmart would crush Amazon, the history of technological upheaval is littered with the ironic dismissals of establishment executives predicting it would all amount to nothing. Read the rest
Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical Hamilton is arguably the most successful Broadway show of the century (deservedly so -- the soundtrack is practically all I've listened to for the past month) but good luck if you want to get a ticket. Read the rest
Jerktech is the very apt epithet for the class of "disruptive" startups that sell things that don't belong to them, like parking spots and restaurant reservations, simply raising the prices of them and making access to public resources a factor of your disposable income. Read the rest
It takes more than videos on the Internet to get kids engaged in learning to code, writes Mimi Ito.