- For as much as people pretend to applaud "multi-tasking", you're better off focusing on what you're doing. We can't really multi-task; we can only switch our attention among different things...and that attention-division is what caused four people to die in a 2011 helicopter crash. The NTSB report says it wasn't even the texting in-flight that was truly to blame, but rather the pilot's inattention during the preflight checks. This is why it bothers me that Iowa law calls out texting while driving as an offense, but not distracted driving generally. A study by Erie Insurance says 62% of fatal accidents in 2010 and 2011 were due to daydreaming -- compared to 12% due to phone use or texting. Rubbernecking and other passengers in the car also turn out to be meaningful causes of crashes, too. What's important isn't the thing that's causing the distraction; it's the distracted behavior that matters. Singling out text messaging misses the point; some people can't handle driving and eating a hamburger at the same time.
- Samsung is introducing a giant smartphone. The Galaxy Mega is 6.3" diagonally -- meaningfully larger than the 5.5" Galaxy Note already on the market. You could use the giant new screens to read a lot of news, including that on Pulse, which LinkedIn just bought for $90 million in an apparent effort to pick up some of the slack left behind as Google Reader goes dark this summer.
- Bad ideas go viral much more effectively than good ones, thanks to social media. A public-health study found that people believe really inaccurate things about vaccines much more readily than they believe the truth. Considering the ever-growing influence of health on our economy (including massive government spending), this is a matter of public policy as well as public health.
- The President's digital-politics team missed an important lesson in registering domain names. They failed to reserve the dot-com name of their own organization and a court said they couldn't force the owner to turn it over. Domain names are cheap; if you don't own the ones that mean something to you, you're putting your reputation at risk.
- Would the major television networks really quit the broadcast airwaves? Maybe. Fox and Univision are threatening it, and NBC is probably looking at all of its options after falling into 5th place among young viewers. The truth is that they won't abandon the airwaves anytime soon, but it could happen over the next 15 to 20 years. There ought to be a lot more zero-TV households by then. By that time, it should also be expected that Facebook will be "that place everyone used to visit" -- Facebook has reportedly lost ten percentage points off its rating as "most important social-media site among teenagers in just the last 12 months.