What It Feels Like to Jump Off a Virtual Cliff

Images: Project Tango When I strapped Google’s Tango gadget on my head, a device designed to virtually replicate reality, I found myself standing on a platform overlooking a chasm that felt thousands of feet deep. I took a virtual step off. Up until that point it felt real enough to generate some feelings of nausea while peering into the abyss, but with the background chatter from crowds of people milling around Google’s I/O conference, the experience of virtually diving off a cliff didn’t feel quite the way I’d expect it would in reality. Still, after messing around with one of the Tango developer units, I couldn’t help think their tagline “we like epic shit” sounded accurate. Project Tango is the brainchild of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects division. The device itself looks like a generic, small-sized tablet. And Google had an optional Oculus Rift-like apparatus to strap it to your head so you can experience […] Read More

Momentum Stock Fiasco Already Pricked San Francisco Housing Bubble

Wolf Richter   www.testosteronepit.com   www.amazon.com/author/wolfrichter San Francisco is unique in many ways, and not only because it gets cold in the summer. Wild boom-and-bust cycles rule the city, and right now we’re in a boom cycle. Medium-rise and high-rise buildings for offices and apartments are sprouting like mushrooms. Cranes dot the skyline. Construction sites are everywhere. Streets are even more congested than usual, with concrete pumps blocking three of the four lanes. Tax revenues are flooding city coffers. Money grows on trees. Rents are soaring. People are getting evicted. And home prices, oh my…. By February, the median home in San Francisco changed hands at $945,000, according to DataQuick (now a division of CoreLogic). That was up a screaming 35% year over year, and 16% higher than the peak of the prior bubble. That peak was in November 2007, the craziest time when nothing could go wrong because stocks were […] Read More

2014: The Market Is Not The Economy And The Winner-Takes-All Society

You hear that old saw that “the market is not the economy,” a lot these days, and for good reason. As ConvergEx’s Nick Colas notes, the S&P 500 breaks to record highs – but U.S. labor markets remain sluggish; investor portfolios do well – but over 47 million Americans (more than 15% of the population) are still in U.S. food stamp program – the same as August 2012. The important question now is: “Is the market TOO different from the economy?” Record corporate profits – the reason for all-time highs in U.S. equities – come with little hiring or wage gains.  The hottest growth stories are business models with lots of customers but very few employees. The recently purchased WhatsApp – for $19 billion – has 55 employees. Investment payoffs – and increasingly social outcomes as well – are technology-enabled, asymmetric and sporadic. How soon before we reach a […] Read More

2014: D.C. Insider: There’s a Shadow Govt. Running the Country, and It’s Not Up for Re-Election

Power centers in DC and the corporate corridors of Manhattan and Silicon Valley are calling the shots. Rome lived upon its principal till ruin stared it in the face. Industry is the only true source of wealth, and there was no industry in Rome. By day the Ostia road was crowded with carts and muleteers, carrying to the great city the silks and spices of the East, the marble of Asia Minor, the timber of the Atlas, the grain of Africa and Egypt; and the carts brought out nothing but loads of dung. That was their return cargo.—“The Martyrdom of Man” by Winwood Reade (1871) There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington […] Read More

Adobe hacked, millions of customers’ data compromised

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images / AFP A security breach targeting the source code used by software giant Adobe has compromised the information of nearly three million customers, the company confirmed this week. Brad Arkin, Adobe’s chief security officer, announced in a blog post Thursday that a sophisticated cyber attack on the company’s network caused the source code for numerous programs to be illegally accessed by hackers, as well as the personal information of millions of Adobe users. Founded in 1982, the Silicon Valley company is known for an array of products, including the PhotoShop editing software and the PDF, SWF and FLV file formats. According to Arkin, Adobe believes the attackers pilfered customer names, encrypted credit and debit card numbers, expiration dates, and other information related to customer orders pertaining to roughly 2.9 million Adobe clients. Arkin said the company does not believe the attackers accessed decrypted information, […] Read More