Weekend tech reading: Understanding Amazon's "profitless" business model

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amazon, jeff bezos, bezos

Amazon and the "profitless business model" fallacy With every quarterly earnings call, my Twitter feed lights up with jokes about how Amazon continues to grow its revenue and make no profits and how trusting investors continue to rewards the company for it. The apotheosis of that line of thoughts is a quote from Slate's Matthew Yglesias earlier this year: "Amazon, as best I can tell, is a charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers." Eugene Wei

AT&T's plan revamp signals the end of voice minutes The days of worrying about minutes ticking away on your cell phone plan are nearly gone. As of today, is dropping the availability of its old plans for new smartphone subscribers, and all of the remaining plans include unlimited calling and texting with the exception of one. The three other major U.S. carriers -- Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile -- now only offer unlimited voice and messaging to new customers. The era of the minute was a long one. The WSJ

The man who would teach machines to think "It depends on what you mean by artificial intelligence." Douglas Hofstadter is in a grocery store in Bloomington, Indiana, picking out salad ingredients. "If somebody meant by artificial intelligence the attempt to understand the mind, or to create something human-like, they might say -- maybe they wouldn't go this far -- but they might say this is some of the only good work that's ever been done." Hofstadter says this with an easy deliberateness... The Atlantic

The decline of Wikipedia The sixth most widely used website in the world is not run anything like the others in the top 10. It is not operated by a sophisticated corporation but by a leaderless collection of volunteers who generally work under pseudonyms and habitually bicker with each other. It rarely tries new things in the hope of luring visitors; in fact, it has changed little in a decade. And yet every month 10 billion pages are viewed on the English version of Wikipedia alone. MIT Technology Review

Introducing games of the generation We're nearly there. Since Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 at the end of 2005, it's been a long and often fascinating journey through what's loosely defined as the seventh generation of consoles. There's been high drama -- the meltdown of both the Xbox 360's innards and Sony's PlayStation Network spring immediately to mind, but it's Mr. Caffeine's own breakdown in front of a bemused E3 crowd that still wins out for me -- as well as, most importantly, nearly eight years' worth of outstanding games. Eurogamer (their PC section currently lists Fallout 3 and Portal -- early trailers for which are below)


Retina, round two: Apple's 15-inch 2013 Retina MacBook Pro reviewed 2013 is bringing the Retina MacBook Pro to the mainstream. Well, as mainstream as high-end Macs can be, anyway. When the first Retina MacBook Pro was released back in 2012, it came with great hardware and a beautiful screen, but only Apple’s applications had been upgraded to really take advantage of it. Ars Technica

A few thoughts on Nvidia's G-Sync On the plane home, I started to write up a few impressions of the new G-Sync display technology that Nvidia introduced on Friday. However, that attempt pretty quickly turned into a detailed explanation of refresh rates and display technology. Realistically, I'll have to finish that at a later date, because I have another big graphics-related project hogging my time this week. The Tech Report

Microsoft, it's time to get serious about devices In the summer of this year, Microsoft announced -- ultimately to the surprise of no-one -- its intentions to purchase Nokia’s device business in a move that, when it is completed next year, will see Microsoft effectively become a smartphone manufacturer with the kind of product integration of software and hardware that only Apple has managed to make a lasting success. Neowin

A quick look at Blackberry 10.2 and web browsing performance on Z10 Blackberry has started rolling out OS 10.2 to BB10 devices such as Z10, Q10 and Q5. Update appears to be available in Canada and UK for a start. The OS update is quite a major one. The android runtime has been updated to 4.2 Jelly Bean from the previous Gingerbread based version and its performance has improved significantly. AnandTech

How Google Glass will usher in an era of superhuman vision Stanford professor Marc Levoy, fresh off a two-year leave to work on Google Glass, recently spoke to a packed house at Stanford’s Center for Image Engineering (SCIEN) about the new era of photography that Glass, and other increasingly powerful wearable cameras, have begun to usher in. ExtremeTech

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