Do we have a new tech bubble?

man using smartphone

There’s been plenty of hot air lately over the notion of whether we have another tech bubble on our hands. Like most topics these days, much of this is driven by the need to talk about something to fill airtime and drive clicks.

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Proliferation of daily fantasy sports games

Brandon Weeden_IMG_8207

Did you capitalize on Brian Hoyer starting for the Cleveland Browns once Brandon Weeden got hurt? Or have you been riding Peyton Manning’s incredible performances so far this season. You might think I’m referring to typical conversations for fantasy football, but with the explosion of daily fantasy sports games, millions of dollars are legally changing hands as websites and now even apps try to capitalize on these games of skill. This has completely changed the landscape of sports betting as players now have the option of risking cash on daily fantasy games as opposed to the traditional method of picking games against the spread. Now with SideDraft being added to the Apple app store we might see the games become even more popular.

The key revolves around the notion that picking lineups in a fantasy game makes these games “skill” games that are not prohibited by various state and federal laws. With the popularity of fantasy football and other sports, these new sites just add the cash element and suddenly we have a new niche exploding around the web. The key difference from a game point of view is that you pick different players each week, so you’re not stuck with a crappy like regular fantasy football if you have a bad draft or have key injuries on your roster.

Most of these games have salary cap of course, so you’ll pay a price for using Manning or someone like Adrian Peterson. The key is finding cheap bargains who can have big games, like Hoyer of course. Even veterans like Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers can help you win, as he’s having a huge year but wasn’t in great demand in typical fantasy leagues.

These games can be just as addicting as regular gambling or regular fantasy football, so the popularity isn’t surprising. I am surprised however that some lawmakers have tried to stop everyone from having so much fun.

  

Facebook phone finally announced

Mark Zuckerberg has announced the new Facebook phone as you can see in the video above. The phone will be based on Android but it will be laid out differently with the home page of the phone being devoted to people rather than apps.

Let’s see if this takes off. Not everyone wants the world to see who is on their Facebook “favorites” list on their phone home page. I can see plenty of drama with girlfriends, etc.

  

Google Glass Revolution

I have to admit that I finally saw this promo video today, but it now appears that Google Glass will cost less than $1,500, so expect to see these things everywhere. It’s a pretty fair price for what looks like a revolutionary gadget. I think Steve Jobs would be proud, and of course pissed that Apple didn’t come up with this.

  

Be careful about diagnostic health apps

There is tremendous potential with using apps and connectivity to improve health care. We can now accomplish incredible things using today’s technology, but there will be limits.

Here’s an article about how four new apps for skin care fared when tested to identify melanoma. Three of the four had very poor ratings, but the reason is very interesting.

Here’s the important thing: The three apps that failed to spot melanomas 30% of the time all use digital image analysis techniques. Computers decide whether a mole is cancerous or not. The fourth app actually sends images to a dermatologist, who replies with an evaluation in 24 hours. That fourth app correctly identified 52 out of 53 melanomas that researchers sent along. Such accuracy doesn’t come cheap–the app charges $5 per image, which is enough to drive many people towards the cheaper digital image analysis apps (they ranged from free to $4.99, with no individual charge per lesion).

The key here is that software and machines can only take us so far, at least with today’s technology. Apps like this work best when there is a human component. I suspect that the machine can handle the very easy cases, but then we need an expert to make the tough calls.

So get excited, but stay wary when you hear some of these claims.

  

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