Morning Memo – 5/14

John Moe May 14, 2010

Cell phones now used more for data than for calls.
The New York Times reports that for the first time, actual phone calls make up a minority of network traffic coming from cell phones:

The number of text messages sent per user increased by nearly 50 percent nationwide last year, according to the CTIA, the wireless industry association. And for the first time in the United States, the amount of data in text, e-mail messages, streaming video, music and other services on mobile devices in 2009 surpassed the amount of voice data in cellphone calls, industry executives and analysts say.

It makes you wonder where that trend is going. When you factor in social media, it seems we’re in an era where people want to publish more than converse.

Video Game sales fall 26%
That’s the steepest drop since last July, according to the WSJ. Console sales are down as well. Meanwhile, free and cheap games for portable devices and Facebook are thriving.

We’ve been hearing for a long time about how video games are a huge and growing industry and soon everyone’s mom will be playing them. Well, maybe it’s happening but in kind of an unexpected way: Mom is unlikely to drop $50 on Call of Duty or Madden, but she’ll take up a casual social game for up to a buck or two. The market expands but the economy shifts radically.

Mobile payments will show huge growth.
People making payments through mobile devices made for 68.7 billion dollars in 2009 but that number is expected to rise to over 633 billion by 2014. Several US companies are trying to take advantage of this market (including Square) but it’s been going on in Africa for a while where mobile payments are sometimes more popular than cash.

Welcome! You’ve got problems!
Aol. reported earnings that were even lower than the low ball expectations, according to All Things D. They sold about 60% of the ads that they did last year. But CEO Tim Armstrong says that a recovery, albeit slow, is on the way and things will gradually improve. It’s certainly not the hip, sexy tech company but there are a TON of people who still use Aol regularly.

Hackers can disable your brakes, engine
So cars that are being made today are pretty much run on internal computers. But according to a recent report by the University of Washington and UC San Diego, the security on those computers is pretty bad and can be hacked in to if some enterprising creep set out to do so.

Online suicide pacts
A Minnesota Man portrayed himself as a young, female nurse and used online conversations to tell people who were thinking about suicide that it was ok to go.  He’s now going to court on charges connected to the death of someone in Britain and someone in Canada, but according to the New York Times, the man “told investigators that he had most likely encouraged dozens of people to kill themselves.” 

Can your Facebook info be any more public?  Yes.  Yes it can.
There’s now a website that will search for your info on Facebook OUTSIDE of Facebook.  The search setting defaults to “playing hooky.”  Now, if I want to know who’s playing hooky, or who’s talking about their “stupid boss” or “rectal exam” (other suggested search terms), it’s all on this site.

Hello again, Hotmail
On Monday, Microsoft will unveil an updated Hotmail designed to go after Gmail users.  The new version will have message threading and tagging, social network integration, mobile access and more.  This comes just after Microsoft released its new version of Microsoft Office, which includes the free Office Web Apps. 

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