EDITORIAL

Random Thoughts This Week

Random Thoughts This Week

Written by: Jack Lau

What a week! Rather than going for a lengthy single subject this week, let’s talk about a few things just recently happened, and gauge their significance, for fun….

 

1. Tesla Completes $2.35 Billion Stock and Bond Sale

https://www.wsj.com/articles/tesla-seeks-raise-as-much-as-2-7-billion-up-from-2-3-billion-11556886130

Despite a rather disastrous production delay (where is our US$30,000 Tesla ???), and a CEO who got into trouble with the SEC, Tesla gets a much needed boost in capital.

But, one must wonder, what is Tesla’s future? Almost all major car companies are catching up with electric car. Nissan, Hyundai, General Motor….. All offering pretty cool and budget electric cars….

Or is it the self-driving vehicle…. But, a confession here. We did play with a Tesla and try the auto-parking feature. At least in Hong Kong, frankly it has never succeeded in our parking lot. Maybe the parking space in Hong Kong is too tight. But, if auto-parking, which is much simpler than self-driving, what are the chances of complete self-driving? Maybe we will need to create special road for that to happen… Don’t know enough about that…

2. Microsoft hit a Trillion dollar market capitalization

https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/25/18515623/microsoft-worth-1-trillion-dollars-stock-price-value

5 years ago if you have bought a share of Microsoft, it would have appreciated nearly 3 times. That is an annual growth of 25%! Incredible.

Sometimes, we wonder, why are we paying so much overhead to our retirement fund manager. Hmm….

3. Nokia 9 PureView Phone: 5 cameras with Zeiss optics

So much has been talked about the camera capabilities of the smart phone over the past year. We are not saying that this phone is the best or anything like that. Rather we are merely stating that given that this is a mid-price phone, it can add in tremendous photo taking capabilities. With 5 cameras and nice optics, it can do a number of photo taking features previously not possible.

Photo from Nokia website

*Just a short note, when you take a picture with this new Nokia phone, all 5 cameras take a picture (so 5 shots per picture). Some of the cameras are monochrome, while some are color. (Monochrome allows more light in.) And, then there are a number of possibilities with clever digital processing to create much better photos.

Check this review out to get a feel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2k0bPEyLDA4

While some argue that this is like what happen in the disposable razor business in which manufacturer just keep adding more blades, phones with more cameras do make sense.

5 blades razor… Hmm… They all do the same thing, don’t they?  But 5 cameras all do somewhat different functions.

We get a feeling that this has to be the trend.  Who does not want to brag about the photos they take on their phones?  Many of us are not even taking ANY cameras other than that of a phone when we go on a trip now….

P.S.  We have even seen a 16 camera version!  Yes, no kidding.  And, if the trend is right, the big chunky lens camera may face a completely different kind of competition.  Check out this 16 lens camera.  (The company which provides this is a startup called Light. https://light.co/camera)

Photo from Light website

4. UV-C for germ killing

This is more obscure and probably not talked about by most folks. Amongst all technologies, probably health related ones are most indisputably interested by all parties.

Given that Hong Kong has gone through SARS not so many years ago, and today, we still worry about killer germs that may get too close to us, naturally technologies which help us live in a safe environment should be of interest.

Some years ago, we came across the use of ultra-violet light to kill virus. Some hospitals actually have big machines to help disinfect a room. At certain wavelength of the Ultra-violet light, it breaks down a bacteria cell and literally kills it. Usage of this for disinfecting drinking water is a great usage.

Imagine in the future of a simple home robot that helps you disinfect the whole house while you are gone.

The problem with UV-C light, though is that, it may hurt your eyes, and cause serious skin problem. Not only that the machine to make true and effective UV-C light is bulky, LED for the longest time cannot do a good job in emitting UV-C light. (For my engineering friend, it is about 220 nm wavelength).

But, apparently, people are succeeding in making UV-C light now with LED light. A number of companies from Japan, Korea and Taiwan have made headways in lowering the cost of UV-C light. That will be a major game changer.

Someone with a flu at home? No problem, flip a switch in the room and it will be disinfected! Schools, hospitals…… Hmmm. Interesting, urh…

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