The word of the year is “uncertainty”

More than two years into the pandemic, technology is more popular, stronger, and richer than ever before. Or that?

This year – and especially the last few weeks – has complicated what was a fairly simple understanding of how much of the tech industry and America’s digital superstars are doing.

Repeatedly over the past year or so, my colleagues and i have written this technology was undeniable winner strange pandemic economy. People and companies wanted what tech companies were selling, and this growing dependency caused tech stars to grow faster and become far more profitable than Silicon Valley nerds ever imagined. Crazy dollars. A+.

Now I think that the assessment should be revised to incomplete. Some of the trends of 2020 and 2021, including more work, shopping, product marketing, entertainment, and online communication, have begun to recede. In retrospect, it is now unclear how much of the digital surge of those years was a surge, and how much was an acceleration of long-term technological transformation.

This uncertainty, along with inflation as well as weakening economy, make it difficult to understand what is happening in technology today, or even to assess the past few years. We may be on the cusp of a great time for technology or the beginning of a turbulent period for their products and finances. Pay attention to me repetition What should be the mantra of 2022: Nobody knows anything.

Some tech executives mostly exude confidence in their future, while others exude an anxious sweat. It’s like they live in two different realities. And maybe they do.

In one realm is the land of big tech, with emperors like Microsoft, Google, Amazon (perhaps), Apple (perhaps) and a few others in fortresses looking down on our little ones.

Google and Microsoft’s revenue continued to rise due to what appeared to be exorbitant sales of digital ads and software in 2021. Both companies said this week that they feel good about their prospects, but also warned or trouble ahead.

On Tuesday, Google executives used the word “uncertainty” or a variant of it 13 times in a conference call with investors. The company said it will become apparent in 2023 that Google is slowing down recruitment. Planning a budget diet months in advance is a sign that the company is not looking to overcome what could be a recession in the United States and other global issues.

Several winners of the pandemic’s worst phase are also struggling, questioning whether their turbulent 2020 days were partly a mirage.

Netflix lost subscribers in the US and Canada in two quarters. This made some experts doubt whether online streaming as a whole could become as big, fast, and profitable as the optimists believed. Snap, which owns the Snapchat app, saw it fortunes and usage take off in 2020 before going back to what it was before: A not a very successful company with an uncertain future.

Shopify, whose software helps private companies build online stores, said This week, the company believes the pandemic hasn’t had a lasting impact on people transitioning from in-person shopping to the internet. If Shopify is right, the whole idea that the pandemic has led to a change in shopping habits will collapse. This will be a temporary increase in sugar levels.

Amazon has not been as straightforward, but the company recognized that the company has overestimated the growth rate of e-commerce sales and is cutting some costs. (Amazon and Apple disclose quarterly financial results later Thursday.)

And Meta… ugh. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a company switch so quickly from swagger to clumsy Mr. White. Magu.

The company’s revenue has fallen for the first time, and its Instagram app is suffering personality crisis. But I can’t tell if this is the beginning of the end for the Meta as a dominant digital force, or a temporary lull due to a combination of inflation, Apple’s privacy changes, and an ugliness compared to the pandemic-related growth in ad sales. and the profits he once reported. Meta’s annual revenue is nearly double what it was at the time in 2019. This is not a sign (yet) of the company’s permanent decline.

from USA and other major economies growing weaker, it is possible that digital superstars will take advantage of the moment of uncertainty to penetrate new areas and expand their dominance. It’s also possible that even the giants won’t be able to stay strong if their lucrative markets—including premium smartphones, online advertising, e-commerce, and enterprise software—grow slower or shrink over the next few years.

Technology wins or not? Can I take a long vacation and come back to this issue in 2023?

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tip of the week

Brian H. Chenconsumer technology columnist at The New York Times, published a helpful list default settings we need to change for iPhone, the Facebook app, and other technologies to link the data we share with digital companies. Brian is here with some of his other favorite tweaks to make our devices more fun (or less annoying):

  • Max video resolution on iPhone: On an iPhone, open Settings, select Camera, and click Record Video. Choose from 4K options. (I’m using 30 fps.) This ensures that your camera is recording video at the highest resolution possible. The downside is that your recordings will take up more of your phone’s digital memory. But if you paid for 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 for messaging and workout apps. To do this, open the Watch app on your iPhone, tap Notifications, and turn off notifications for each app. (Also, I always turn off the clock sounds.)

  • Your favorite features are always at your fingertips: On Android phones, you can customize the “quick settings” menu for quick access to frequently used features. Swipe down from the top of your smartphone screen and swipe down again. If you tap the pencil-like icon, you can add tiles that let you, for example, turn on your phone’s flashlight or go into airplane mode from your phone’s home screen. You can also rearrange these function shortcuts to suit your preferences.

  • Congress moves closer to funding U.S. chip factories: It looks like the US government is doing something relatively rare and using taxpayer money to subsidize an industry – in this case it pay computer chip manufacturers to manufacture certain products in the United States. My colleague Cathy Edmondson told me that the purpose of this funding, which also includes a lot of money to support American scientific and technological research, is to counter China. Also have long list of other missionssome of which are more confusing.

    From the opinion of The New York Times: US dominance in important technology areas such as chips requires America to do more to create a flow of talent both in the United States and abroad.

  • Two historians found medical records of people in mental institutions for sale on eBay. They are wrote in Slate that e-commerce sites should take more responsibility for what they sell, and they are concerned that the public treats mental illness and disability as entertainment.

  • A video game that is both a rescue from the disease and a reminder of it: The Washington Post writer Gene Park was recently diagnosed with cancer and became addicted to Cyberpunk 2077, a video game about coping with a terminal illness. “I’m not much closer to understanding my sudden infatuation with the title given my current predicament,” Park said. wrote.

Look at these little jacana chicks! (Jacans are tropical wading birds with very long legs and toes.)

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