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Word of the Year is “uncertainty”

More than two years into the pandemic era, technology is more prevalent, powerful, and richer than ever. Or is it?

This year—especially the past few weeks—has complicated an immediate understanding of how much of the tech industry and America’s superstar digital companies are doing.

Over the past year or so, my colleagues and I have repeatedly written that tech is the clear winner of the odd pop economy. People and businesses need what tech companies sell, and this increased reliance has allowed tech stars to grow faster and become much taller than Silicon Valley nerds can imagine. Crazy dollars. a +.

Now I feel that this level should be revised to incomplete. Some of the trends for 2020 and 2021—including more work, shopping, product marketing, entertainment, and social networking shifts—have started to reverse. In hindsight, it’s unclear how much of those years’ digital waves were short-lived and how much was an acceleration of lasting technological transformation.

This uncertainty, combined with inflation and a weak economy, makes it hard to figure out what’s going on in the tech industry today, or even assess what’s been going on in the past few years. We may be on the cusp of a great time for technology, or the beginning of a tough time for their product and financials. Let me repeat the 2022 mantra: no one knows anything.

Some tech executives are mostly confident about their future, while others sweat in anxiety. It’s as if they live in two different realities. Maybe they will.

In one area is the land of big tech, like Microsoft, Google, Amazon (maybe), Apple (maybe) and some other emperors who look down on us little brats in a fortress.

Google and Microsoft’s revenues continue to grow from huge sales of digital advertising and software in 2021. Both companies said this week that they feel good about their prospects, but also warned of trouble ahead.

On Tuesday, Google executives mentioned the word “uncertainty” or its variants 13 times during a call with investors. By 2023, Google is slowing hiring will start to become apparent, the company said. Planning to consume meals so many months in advance shows the company doesn’t expect to easily overcome a possible recession in the U.S. and other global problems.

Several winners from the scariest phase of the pandemic are also struggling, questioning whether their heady days in 2020 are partly a mirage.

Netflix has lost subscribers in the U.S. and Canada for two consecutive quarters. That has some experts wondering whether online streaming as a whole can be as big, fast and profitable as optimists believe.Snap with the Snapchat app saw Wealth and usage soar 2020, and then back to what it was before: a less successful company with an uncertain future.

Shopify, whose software helps brick-and-mortar businesses build online storefronts, Say This week, it argued that the pandemic has had no lasting impact on people switching from in-person shopping to the internet. If Shopify is right, the whole idea that the pandemic has accelerated changing shopping habits will fall apart. This will be a temporary high sugar.

Amazon isn’t that direct, but the company admits it overestimates the growth of e-commerce sales and is cutting some spending. (Amazon and Apple will report quarterly financial results later on Thursday.)

And Meta…bah. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a company go from swagger to bumbling Mr. Magoo so quickly.

The company’s revenue fell for the first time, its Instagram app identity crisis. But I can’t say if this is the beginning of the end of Meta as a dominant digital force, or a temporary lull due to a combination of inflation, privacy changes Apple made, and ugliness compared to the pandemic-related uptick in ad sales and what it once was. reported profit. Meta’s annual revenue is almost double what it was at this time in 2019. This is not (yet) a sign of the company’s permanent decline.

As the U.S. and other large economies falter, digital superstars may use this moment of uncertainty to enter new territory and extend their dominance. Even the giants may not be able to stay strong if growth in lucrative markets including high-end smartphones, online advertising, e-commerce and enterprise software slows or shrinks in the coming years.

Tech to win or not to win? Can I take a long vacation and revisit this issue in 2023?

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Tips of the week

Brian X. Chena consumer technology columnist for The New York Times, published a helpful list Standard settings we should change Used in iPhones, Facebook apps and other technologies to reduce the data we share with digital companies. Brian makes some more of his favorite settings tweaks here to make our device more fun (or less annoying):

  • Maximize video resolution on iPhone: On iPhone, open Settings, select Camera, and tap Record Video. Choose one of the 4K options. (I’m at 30 frames per second.) This will ensure your camera records video at the highest possible resolution. The downside is that your recordings clog up more of your phone’s digital storage. But if you bought a fancy camera, why not use it?

  • Minimize distractions on your wrist: On the Apple Watch, I prefer to turn off notifications for all apps except the messaging and exercise apps. To do this, open the Watch app on your iPhone, tap Notifications and turn off notifications for each app. (Plus, I always keep the watch on mute.)

  • Put your favorite features at your fingertips: On an Android phone, you can customize the Quick Settings menu to get shortcuts to frequently used functions. Swipe down from the top of the smartphone screen, then swipe down again. If you tap the icon that looks like a pencil, you can choose to add a tile, for example, to turn on your phone’s flashlight or enter airplane mode from your phone’s home screen. You can also rearrange the order of these function shortcuts to your liking.

  • Congress moves closer to funding U.S. chip factories: It seems likely that the U.S. government will do something rarer by subsidizing an industry with taxpayer dollars — in this case, paying computer chip makers to make some of their products in the U.S. My colleague Catie Edmondson reports that the funding is aimed at countering China, and it also includes a large chunk of funding to support U.S. technology research. There is a long list of other tasks, some of which are more confusing.

    View from the New York Times: U.S. dominance in vital tech areas like chips requires the U.S. to do more and build talent pipelines in the U.S. and abroad.

  • Two historians found psychiatric hospital medical records for sale on eBay. them wrote In Slate, e-commerce sites should take more responsibility for the products they sell, and they worry that the public sees mental illness and disability as entertainment.

  • A video game that is both a disease escape and a disease reminder: A Washington Post writer, Gene Parker, was recently diagnosed with cancer and found himself hooked on “Cyberpunk 2077,” a video game about how to deal with a terminal illness. “I don’t know much about my sudden infatuation with the title given my current predicament,” Park said. wrote.

look at these little baby jacana bird! (Jacanas are tropical wading birds with long legs and toes.)

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