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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Glimpses of China’s parallel tech universe

What can we learn from DETECTIVE CHINATOWN 2? Quite a lot, actually. The 11th biggest box-office hit of the year, it vastly outgrossed the likes of SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY, A STAR IS BORN, and CRAZY RICH ASIANS. You may never have heard of it, though; like OPERATION RED SEA, the 10th biggest hit of the year, it made all of its money in China.

What can a slapstick-meets-Sherlock-Holmes comedy tell us about technology? Quite a lot, if we read its subtext. One striking thing: it’s hard to think of any big recent American movie in which smartphone apps are so woven into the plot. The movie’s characters are brought together, and constantly reference, are brought together by one smartphone app; when imprisoned, our young genius Chinese detective laments, most of all, the loss of his phone; and when its blue-haired woman hacker asks the protagonist, “add me on WeChat?” early on, it seems like a cute throwaway line, but their WeChat conversations are fundamental to the plot as the movie progresses.

It’s also striking that Western tech has become so hegemonic that it actually seems slightly jarring to see characters using a chat app which is not iMessage / FB Messenger / WhatsApp. The Internet proper may be globally pervasive, at the TCP/IP level, but we live in two different online worlds; one of Facebook / Google / Amazon, and one of Tencent / Baidu / Alibaba, with Apple as the only company which seems to be bridge both worlds. This extends to payments, too; I was in China earlier this year, and was struck by in how many places — including McDonald’s! — Visa and Mastercard were useless, and the only viable Western-origin payment method was Apple Pay.

It’s easy and obviously somewhat correct to blame the Great Firewall for this. (Although the West is not without its own firewalls; I’m in Paris as I write this, and my attempt to read some back-home San Francisco news was just met with the “451 Unavailable for Legal Reasons” response pictured above, presumably courtesy of the GDPR.) But Chinese apps, and Chinese hardware, have long since transcended being knockoff copies of Western technology; they do their own things now, and they often do them better.

It’s been a remarkable rise. Back in 2011, while traveling in Ethiopia, I noticed with surprised curiosity that my hotel’s wi-fi was all run by a stack of Chinese hardware and software; seven years later, here in Paris, I keep passing glittering posters twenty feet tall extolling Huawei’s latest smartphone.

As China rises in power, it and America seem to increasingly see one another as a threat. (Again, it’s just a movie, but you can learn a lot about default cultural assumptions from movies, and OPERATION RED SEA, which is basically “BLACK HAWK DOWN meets chest-beating hagiography of the Chinese military,” ends with a cliffhanger standoff between the Chinese and American navies.) And certainly China’s government does horrifying things beyond its infamous censorship, such as interning an estimated million Muslims essentially because they are Muslim.

But from a purely technical point of view, Western online technology has — unexpectedly — become so hegemonic itself that the rampant growth of a whole different stack of apps and services is an interesting development in and of itself. For now, China’s parallel universe exists primarily within China, and doesn’t affect the rest of the world — but that’s already beginning to change, as this WeChat-in-San-Francisco-politics story indicates. As China engages more and more with the West, we’re going to see its tech overlap with ours in curious ways. May you live in interesting times, indeed.


Source: TechCrunch

Ivanka Trump's Emails Top This Week's Internet News Roundup

What had the internet talking last week? Jim Acosta’s press pass, Matthew Whitaker, and Ivanka Trump’s emails.
Source: Wired

The Government's Role in the Rise of Lab-Grown Meat

The FDA ought to embrace cultured meat, not over-regulate it.
Source: Wired

You Can Pry My Air Fryer Out of My Cold, Greasy Hands

Do air-fried foods taste as good as their fat-bathed analogues? No. But an air fryer can provide comfort food on demand.
Source: Wired

Best Cyber Monday Laptop Deals

After an October packed with fresh new laptops and device reveals, now is the right time to shop. We checked out all hottest sales from all the major retailers and have collected the best laptop Cyber Monday deals right here.

The post Best Cyber Monday Laptop Deals appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Galaxy X: Specs, price, rumored March release date for Samsung's foldable phone – CNET

We answer your burning questions here.
Source: CNET

Unexpectedly Vanishing Quasars Are Mystifying Scientists

Some quasars, powered by supermassive black holes, have been shutting down ahead of schedule. A sort of “murder-suicide pact” could explain it.
Source: Wired

Ralph Breaks the Internet review: Wreck-It Ralph 2's a wild web ride – CNET

The Wreck-It Ralph sequel is a hilarious story about friendship that just happens to take place online.
Source: CNET

Bitcoin sinks below $4,000 as the crypto market takes another hefty beating

As we hang out with family and friends this holiday season, it’s interesting to look back on the Bitcoin mania that we endured one Thanksgiving ago. Aunts and uncles asking about internet money as you passed the mashed potatoes while trying to explain the concept of decentralization in a way that made it seem like you knew your stuff.

Well, as we near a year since many of the top tokens hit their all-time-highs, we’ve seen the prices come crashing down as more manageable expectations of the crypto market have seemed to prevail. You probably didn’t have quite as many relatives picking your brain this year for crypto investment tips.

Today, we saw another hit to the market. All but 8 of the top 100 cryptocurrency tokens are down for the 24-hour period with most losses averaging around 13 or 14 percent.

Notably, Bitcoin has now fallen beneath the $4,000 threshold, a number it reached in August of last year as its trajectory pointed sharply upward. Ethereum is trading just over $111, while Litecoin has fallen below $30, far cries from their former glory.

The cryptocurrency space is a volatile one but the year-long downward trend has been consistent and unrelenting leaving many to wonder where and when some of these top tokens settle down.


Source: TechCrunch

No escaping the notch: 13 phones with screen notches – CNET

This little black cut-out on top of the screen may look like an eyesore, but more and more phones are jumping on this trend.
Source: CNET

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