Independent news, views, opinions and reviews on the latest gadgets, games, science, technology and research from Apple and more. It’s about the technologies that change the way we live, work, love and behave.
IN the 1980s, fans could get close to the stars on telephone chatlines. The messages were pre-recorded. But the billing was live.
The New Kid On The Block had a message for you:
MARGARET Thatcher’s 28-tonne ‘battle bus’ used for her Northern Ireland tour has sold for £16,940 at auction. The bus weighs 38 tons, seats 32 passengers and can survice a 7.62 bullet / handbag-encased brick.
THE Aussie politicians are getting all angry at the tech companies because Australians have to pay more for their shiny shiny tech than do Americans. But you would think that someone devious enough to actually get elected would have the brains to work this out, wouldn’t you?
The IT Pricing Inquiry being conducted by Australia’s House Committee on Infrastructure and Communications has issued summons to Apple, Microsoft and Adobe.
The inquiry kicked off in 2012 and is investigating why Australians pay more for hardware and software than those overseas.
At current exchange rate one Australian dollar buys $US1.03. Yet Australians often pay more in Australian dollars than Americans are charged in their currency.
An example of the discrepancy can be seen in the price of a 16GB WiFi iPad with Retina Display. In the USA the fondleslab costs $US499. In Australia it’s $AUD539.
FACEBOOK is a great way to connect your business to its customers. Lalor Creekside Dental asked its Facebook followers to help pick a celebrity to be there for its new office grand opening in April. Who would go to Binghamton, New York, to see Dr Teeth and the gang? The star selection box included such notable faces as: Oprah Winfrey, Jim Carey, Robin Williams, Meatloaf and Steve McNair. Who? Steve McNair, the American football star who made a name with the Tennessee Titans.Well, pick him if you want to see something amazing. He died in 2009.
THIS does get depressing, vaunted media experts pronouncing on matters economic without actually understanding anything about economics. The Observer’s John Naughton wants us to get all upset about the way that these vast fortunes being made in hte tech comapniues only go to the entrepreneurs and the engineers. The average staff doing the average jobs just get the usual crap.
Well, yes, that’s how the system is supposed to work:
These vast revenues, however, are not being widely shared. Instead, they are mostly enriching the founders and shareholders of Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook et al. Of course, those who work at the heart of these organisations – the engineers, developers and the executives who manage them, for example – are richly rewarded in salaries, stock options and lavish perks. But these gilded employees constitute only a minority of the workforces of the big tech companies and most of their colleagues have decidedly more mundane terms of employment – and remuneration.
EVER put the wrong fuel into an engine, unleaded into the diesel? The owner of this motorcycle saw a cow making a wrong turn:
THE meteor that hit the Urals was recorded by a car’s dashboard camera. Many Russian cars have them. It’s about insurance. Can you prove that the man whose car you drove into the back of stopped very suddenly, as if - as if… – he wanted you to damage his broken old wreck? Sure, witnesses emerge from all sides to back up his claim of your recklessness, but with dash-cam you can argue your case.
Also, Russian driving is nuts. It’s not just about insurance. It’s about capturing those magic moments for posterity.
Things to looks out for:
IT’S been announced that Michael Dell is going to buy back his company and take it private. The buyout price is $13.65 a share for a total just north of $24 billion. The big questions is: why?
Clearly, the obvious answer is that they think the company is worth more than the stock market thinks the company is worth. That’s why you buy things: because other people value them at a lower price than you do. But why do they think this?
TO Taiwan, to see the road rager and his magnificent gloves:
THAT old DOS computer game, Another World. has just been ported over to the new BlackBerry operating system, BB 10. Which just goes to show that fashions in the business world really do go in cycles.
Eric Chahi’s seminal game work, Another World, is now available on BlackBerry 10 devices (so … uh, those of you with a Z10, though it also works on PlayBook). And not just any version, but the 20th Anniversary Edition, which adds updated graphics, a remastered soundtrack, and some gesture controls. The game’s one of several titles that publisher DotEmu is bringing to BB10, including notoriously difficult shooter R-Type.
CAN you see the gorilla? CBS news reports that 83 per cent of radiologists didn’t see the beast.
The 24 qualified radiologists were given lung CT scans, which each had about 10 nodules (abnormal spots), and were asked to find anything strange on the scans. On the last one, the dancing gorilla – about 48 times the size of an average nodule – was placed in the scan. The radiologists found the correct nodules 55 per cent of the time. But only 20 of them saw the gorilla, despite scrolling past it 4.3 times, on average.
FRANK Lecerf’s car wanted to go Belgium. Quickly. His adapted Renault Laguna stuck at 125mph. (Mr Lecerf is a registered epileptic.) The brakes failed. Whenever he braked, the car sped up. Mr Lecerf kept going until the petrol ran out. It turns out like most things – wine, mussels, celebrities, politicians and buter, which all have silos and lakes based in Belgium - cars also like to die there.
THIS did rather make me giggle. A company that makes outrageously expensive mobile phones. Their latest model costing £7,000.
The Vertu Ti costs 7,900 euros (£6,994) and is made at the firm’s headquarters in Church Crookham, Hampshire.
The device had a titanium frame and sapphire screen but was not 4G-enabled, said its designer Hutch Hutchison.
There’s two parts to this. One is that we’ve got the regulators trying to warn banks on the dangers of using it badly.
Both the Switzerland-based Basel Committee on Banking Supervision1 (BCBS) and the Financial Services Authority2 (FSA) in the UK have recently made it clear that when relying on manual processes, desktop applications or key internal data flow systems such as spreadsheets, banks and insurers should have effective controls in place that are consistently applied to manage risks around incorrect, false or even fraudulent data. The citation by the BCBS is the first time that spreadsheet management has ever been specifically referenced at such a high level, a watermark in the approach to spreadsheet risk.
DECADES before it went live, Robert Crumb predicted Twitter and the internet:
“Everyone will be tuned into everything that’s happening all the time! No-one will be left out. We’ll all be normal!”
FIRST the good news:
“Using publicly available data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have found that six percent of red dwarf stars have habitable, Earth-sized planets. Since red dwarfs are the most common stars in our galaxy, the closest Earth-like planet could be just 13 light-years away.”
TO Canberra, Australia, now twinned with Darwin. A joy rider is on the police radar:
On Monday January 21, police received a complaint of a red Holden Commodore performing burnouts in the Gungahlin area. Later that day, police viewed footage of a vehicle matching the description performing a burnout in Baillieu Court, Mitchell.
The footage had been posted by the registered owner of the vehicle to his Facebook account.
TO Naples, where a man in a small car is attempting to execute a U-turn in a narrow street. The action heats up at the 1:30 mark when the cast of local Monty Python Appreciation Society arrives:
IT was no coincidence that the first Space Shuttle Orbiter was called Enterprise. Originally named Constitution (in honor of the U.S. Constitution’s Bicentennial), Star Trek fans wrote to President Gerald Ford suggesting an alternative name: Enterprise. The vehicle debuted at Palmdale California on Sept. 17, 1976. Many from the cast of Star Trek were there to see it.
THE Dark Ages are returning to France. French environment minister Delphine Batho says that from July 1, all non-residential buildings will have to switch off interior lights one hour after the last worker leaves the premises. The outside lights must all be extinguished by 1 am.
THE Sunday Times has done yet another of its pieces on how tech comapnies are avoiding tax in the UK. Given that that paper’s gated, here’s the Telegraph telling us all about it. The real problem here is that Apple just isn’t indulging in tax avoidance: this is what the system is set up to encourage it to do
Apple is estimated to have avoided more than £550m in tax in Britain in 2011. Its latest accounts show UK turnover at just over £1bn and profit at £81.3m, generating a tax bill of £14.4m.
However, analysis of its filings in America suggest a more realistic figure for UK turnover is £6.7bn. This would imply an estimated profit of £2.2bn and, at the then corporation tax rate of 26pc, a £570m tax bill, the Sunday Times reports.
HAS Iran run out of monkeys to fire into space? News is that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is ready and willing to be the first Iranian to orbit the Earth in space. As he says:
“I am ready to be the first human to be sent to space by Iranian scientists. Sending living things into space is the result of Iranian efforts and the dedication of thousands of Iranian scientists.”
To say nothing of reading textbooks of what the Russians did in the 1960s.
IRAN did not fire a monkey into space. When Anorak read the news that Iran had done what the USA had done in 1961, we feared that before long Iran’s go-ahead leaders would be wearing cheesecloth pantaloons, reinventing the TV dinner and invents computer smaller than a one-bedroom flat.