Can Streaming Really Save The Music Industry?

156635555The following is a guest post.

Streaming services like Spotify have largely circumvented the problem of music piracy, however, big-name artists like Thom Yorke and, more recently, Taylor Swift, have removed portions, if not the entirety, of their catalogues from the service, prompting others to do the same. What’s their problem? Continue reading

Kings of Social Media: How the Los Angeles Kings Director of Social Media is Revolutionizing Social Media Engagement


Twitter Kings

The following is a guest post.

Before the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs began in 2012, the LA Kings had around 70,000 followers. After two rounds, they almost doubled the number. By the end of the playoffs, the Kings had gained 87,358 new followers. While the Kings dominated the field, taking home the Cup for the first time in 45 years, their performance was only half the reason for the sudden 224% increase in Twitter fans.

The secret? Continue reading

Tech Giants Join Fight Against Mass Surveillance, Telcos Remain Indifferent


The following is a guest post.

With the cat out of the bag, courtesy of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, mass surveillance has become a popular debate on all forums. Questions are being raised about the legality and extend of snooping by the government security agencies. Furthermore, the trust that the general populace had in Google, Facebook, Apple and the likes has been eroding ever since reports about major companies being contacted by NSA surfaced. The 2013 mass surveillance disclosures have turned out to be nothing short of a storm, one that doesn’t look like it’d die anytime soon. Continue reading

Garmin Vevofit – Where Tech & Tastes Diverge


By Dwayne De Freitas

If there’s one site I really enjoy, it’s The Wirecutter.


What makes them different from other technology sites is the way they use the “meta review” (A review of a product with significant findings based on other people’s opinions of a product) to determine what the “best” item of a particular segment is.

The idea’s great if you’re looking for something simple, The Wirecutter can save you a lot of time and energy researching one item or another. But every once in a while it’s clear that the people that they’re working with to write the reviews of products are out of touch with my opinions (happens all the time) along with the opinions of many of my colleagues.

Such is the case with the Garmin Vivofit fitness tracker. For The Wirecutter, Garmin’s new fitness tracker unseated the Fitbit One device they once called “The Best Fitness Tracker” because :

“There’s also a “move bar” that flashes red anytime you’ve been inactive for too long—a feature we, along with other reviewers, found highly motivating. It is currently the only fitness tracker that combines these features with the added benefit of never having to be hooked up to charger. Unfortunately, since the Vivofit relies on disposable battery power, the display is not LED or backlit for low-light conditions and the current mobile app/desktop software is still pretty basic. But we have four words for you: one-year battery life.”

This is a description of a device that I would never want. We’ll go from the bottom up–

1. Battery Life. A year is great. But having to:
  • Go to a jeweler to get the device re-sealed after you’ve replaced the battery isn’t worth it.
  • Find the exact-right battery to replace the current battery with isn’t worth it.
  • Pay a high premium for that via Garmin’s site (or anyone else’s site since they know it’s the only batt to work with the device) isn’t worth it.

Where those hassles are concerned I’m OK with needing to charge my Fitbit One every now and then. Especially because I don’t think the fact that I have to charge the device every two weeks makes it a hassle.

2. Software. I don’t want basic software. Fitbit gives me an excellent desktop (Web) and mobile (app) experience. It’s robust, functional and far from basic. In a world where Google Fit and Apple’s Health Kit API suite and Health app are showing the mainstream just how sophisticated wellness software can be, taking a step back on the software side doesn’t make great sense. Ecosystem is everything and Fitbit’s built a pretty good one. On the other hand, Garmin’s disappointed. Garmin should have been a leader in this space and on both the software and hardware side they’ve been consistently behind. Their track record doesn’t give me a lot of confidence that they’ll ever get the software right.


3. The display is not LED or backlit for low-light conditions. Huh? How can a technology enthusiast, who’s bent on using the wrist-based wearable device want to lose ground in this category. The lack of low-light access means that yes, you might be able to wear it inside of a movie theatre without bothering someone else, but other than that, I’d like to see my data anytime I want.*


4. The move-bar seems interesting. But honestly, if I’m locked in thought or otherwise focused elsewhere, a vibration would be best. Fitbit doesn’t provide a random vibration but others do. A flashing bar? That’s just not good advice!
Now the Wirecutter does include an honorable mention for the Fitbit One, but given the hyperbole about the Vivofit being “he Best” from The Wirecutter, a brand that’s so quickly become esteemed, I’m left confused. It’s either the dreaded Clickbait or just bad advice. Either way, I’m left feeling disappointed. Especially since this Garmin device, at $130 is nearly a third more expensive than the well thought out Fitbit One’s $100 price.


When I joined The Drilldown it was because Andy offered me an opportunity to get to the truth of the matter about the day’s tech. And since its launch, I’d always thought that The Wirecutter was on the same mission. Now I’m forced to re-think that. It’s a little like losing trust in a close friend.


*One might remark “Well, the Jawbone UP doesn’t include any display!.” The difference here is that Jawbone made a distinct stylistic choice, paired to a fantastic piece of mobile software. If I’m going to wear something with the visual heft of providing me (and apparently anyone else next to me) with a readout, then it better provide that information on request – regardless of whatever light I’m in.

Continue reading

Five High-end Gadgets You Cannot Avoid


The following is a guest post.

During the last decade or so, innovations in the field of supposedly “user-friendly”* gadgets have hit the public awareness at a pace that makes Moore’s Law seem glacial by comparison. And as would be expected, most of these gadgets are considered “high-end” – the technical term for things that you and I and most of the rest of the world’s population will never be able to afford, at least for the few months it takes for third-world geniuses to reverse-engineer them, copy them, and sell them for pennies on the dollar on eBay. At that point, some of them are elevated to the status of essential tools. Here are a few that started out being pretty exclusive, but which have since weaseled their way into the life of everyday folks like us. After all, why should wealthy first adopters be the only ones who get to be miserable? Continue reading

EU Court Rules Google Should Edit History


By Dwayne De Freitas

Today the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that if someone searches your name, and the results that show up list information that you don’t care to be remembered, you can request that the search engine company posting those results, remove those links or otherwise remove the data.

The Ruling that could change the face of the Web

The Court ruled this way using the principle of “right to be forgotten.” RTBF, as we’ll call it, means that when it comes to search engine results about individual people (in this case, EU citizens), those people now have the ability to request that certain bits of information about their lives be removed since they believe those results are no longer relevant. Continue reading

Turn the Beat around! Why Apple buying Beats for $3.2 billion makes sense


By Dwayne DeFreitas

Yesterday the Financial Times broke news that Apple, Inc, was in talks to acquire Beats Electronics, AKA Beats by Dre (“Beats”), a trendy music brand that’s recently added streaming music software to its high-end listening hardware business. Forbes says that a person close to the matter, Dr. Dre confirmed it this morning.

From a technophile perspective, Beats has never really been that exciting. The over-the-ear headphones that they’re widely known for are not cheap and the reviews say they only excel with certain types of music. As a marketer, however, I find the reach and penetration of Beats pretty fascinating. With their flagship headphones pulling users away from the convenience of earbuds and branding that’s bold and powerful, Beats has managed to revive “Bling” from the 90s rap scene that its namesake (rapper Dr. Dre helped to create) and bring it into the 21st century– leveraging the same tween and teen demographic that used to save their lunch money for fancy sneakers and Guess jeans. Continue reading