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Apple punches Fitbit in the kidneys

$FIT is off almost 10% on news that Aetna is reimbursing policy holders for purchasing Apple Watches due to studies showing owning an Apple Watch improves health.

“Beginning this fall, Aetna will make Apple Watch available to select large employers and individual customers during open enrollment season, and Aetna will be the first major health care company to subsidize a significant portion of the Apple Watch cost, offering monthly payroll deductions to make covering the remaining cost easier.”

EDIT: As I published this OA posted $FIT as a buy.

Maybe this was a masterstroke by Apple to jump ahead in the health wearables game. The Apple Watch has not exactly been flying off the shelves. With Apple’s cash hoard they can easily put down a competitor like Fitbit and this would be a way that is aligned with Apple’s culture of not competing on price. The price of the watch to Aetna is not disclosed. Apples gains a huge user base for their ailing product and now they can push out a competitor.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Fitbit. They have an agreement to supply watches to Target:

The difference? Target and its employees are funding their purchases. Aetna is the first major U.S. insurer to pick up the tab, turning it into a big win for Apple. And, if this becomes the new norm, it’s going to turn into an even bigger win for the consumer-tech company.

Again, pointing to Apple subsidizing the Watch to Aetna to secure the win over Fitbit. Aetna is not picking the most expensive wearable in this race.

And then there’s this:

Why would Aetna opt for novelty technology that also performs some basic health-related functions over a more cost-effective tool built from the ground up to monitor and improve health? It simply looks bad.

The answer is apps.

The Apple watch, when in sync with an iPhone, can provide several tools, all aimed at assisting users to live healthier. In so doing, one of the biggest flaws of the Fitbit wearable (and hurdle for FIT stock) comes to light. That is, at the end of the day it’s just an activity tracker, whereas Apple’s smart device is a true assistant that can improve outcomes even beyond monitoring.


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Brave Browser is tits

I downloaded the Brave Browser and I am impressed. Sites are loading faster than Chrome and all the annoying ads are gone. Brave also has a built in Bitcoin wallet to reward sites I visit most via micropayments.

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As an example, CNN is a pig of a site that takes 5-10 seconds to fully load in Chrome. That extra time between when the first images appear and the site is fully displayed is the loading of the different ads, site trackers, Facebook plug ins and complete crap snooping your personal information. In Brave CNN loads almost instantly. A peek at the Brave settings shows the following for CNN:

Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 10.51.47 AM

From Cointelegraph:

On the desktop, Brave provides a 40% to 60% speed increase and a 2-4x speed increase on mobile devices. Mobile users see a direct reduction in both battery and data plan consumption. Brave also protects users with leading privacy and security features such as HTTPS Everywhere (encrypted data traffic), fingerprinting shields, phishing protection, malware filtering, and script blocking.


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We’ve reached peak Facebook, YouTube etc.

Le Fly posted about YouTube blocking certain content creators. Reminds me of Twitter and Facebook “curating” their users’ newsfeeds.

Should we be surprised? No. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

This type of subjective censorship won’t last on the Internet. There are now decentralized competitors popping up in many areas: Arcade City vs Uber, Steemit vs Reddit, YouTube vs ????.

An example of a shift against monopolistic control driven by ad revenue is a new browser on the market called Brave. Their Mission:

….to save the web by increasing browsing speed and safety for users, while growing ad revenue share for content creators.

The Brave Browser team are removing the middle man and enabling payments to content creators directly in the browser. Sounds like YouTube/Facebook’s worst nightmare.

Introducing Brave Payments

As part of our 0.11.6 release of Brave for desktop today, we are pleased to announce the beta version of Brave Payments, our Bitcoin-based micropayments system that can automatically and privately pay your favorite websites.

For the first time in the history of web browsers, people can now seamlessly reward the sites whose content they value and wish to support, while remaining untracked by anyone, including us at Brave Software, Inc. This removes the need for intermediaries who may overwhelm web pages with invasive trackers and ads (and sometimes even malware). It also avoids centrally managed “feed” algorithms that may or may not value your idea of content quality.

Decentralized mircopayments to content creators cut out the middle man. Add in privacy and an open system…what’s not to like?

This concept is in pre early adopter phase but it’s happening in many industries. Most projects will fail, but new projects will take their place.

So while YouTube, Twitter and Facebook pick and choose what is good for their users the Internet is striving to be free (from censorship) again.

The question is, does Joe Public care about monopolistic entities censoring the Internet for them or have we given up those rights for the easiest possible access to cat videos?

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