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.
IT’S 1983. The first video game “World Championship” is underway. Twin Galaxies remembers when it was all lacquered whipped hair and lettering ironed onto T-shirts. In the best traditions of US-based ‘World’ sporting event, only North Americans entered:
Twin Galaxies first Coronation Day Tournament is recognized as history’s first video game “World Championship”—held January 8-9, 1983 at the the Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard in Ottumwa, Iowa, USA.
Co-sponsored by Twin Galaxies and ABC-TV’s That’s Incredible, the event featured nineteen of North America’s top players competing on five current titles: Frogger, Millipede, Joust, Super Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong, Jr.
The top three finalists won complimentary subscriptions to Joystik, RePlay and Playmeter Magazine and were invited to compete on the “That’s Incredible” finals in Los Angeles.
The show was aired to an international TV audience on February 21, 1983.
NOKIA made the game, Snake, as popular as Tetris and infuriated mobile phone users the world over. Controlling the near formless blocky greedyguts was a nightmare once you got stuck into it for a couple of minutes, constantly chasing a lifeless square of food in a cold, desolate environment.
The snake, of course, wasn’t allowed to touch its own tail or it would die, so what happens when you complete the game? Once you run out of space, surely the only thing left for the snake to do, is to devour itself?
GAMERS are derided for their social skills, often depicted as lonely people, sat in their mum’s spare room, pale and wan. However, that’s a complete nonsense. That’s like saying movie fanatics are all 3 feet tall and live inside tinfoil pyramids eating socks.
People who play video games, believe it or not, have sex. But which gamers are the best in the bedroom? Well, thank god someone did a survey to find out exactly that!
IN space no-one can hear you scream. But can they see you sob? Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted it “hurts to cry” in space. Then he showed us why. The tears have nowhere to go. They just roll around your face.
IN Roadrage Instant Karma, the Volvo driver moves to undertake the bikers who are spread across the road. The Volvo ends up in a bad place. The bikers give him the finger and drive on. But karma is not about retribution and punishment. It’s about intention. The Volvo driver never meant to injure the bikers. He just wanted to get by. And they weren’t letting him pass. If the bikers’ brand of karma is right, it is they who’d best watch out:
IN London a Lamborghini Miura SV burns. The fire brigade were in no hurry. And no-one in London has a fire extinguisher:
GOOD new for women in Chennai, India, who have their knickers stolen to order by perverts. Scientists have placed GPS tracking devices in lingerie. Manisha Mohan, co-developer of Society Harnessing Equipment (SHE), says her gadget has other uses:
“The lingerie, laced with modules of global positioning system (GPS), global system for mobile communications (GSM) and also pressure sensors, is capable of sending shock waves of 3,800 kV as well as alerts to the girl’s parents and police.”
Touch her knickers and get a shock. And if she touches, them, say, to got to the toilet, she also gets a shock. Great idea, Mohan. But why no camera? She adds:
“The shocks can be emitted up to 82 times.”
ON the Guardian ‘s Comment Is Free site – oh, the irony – Bob Garfield says people who consume news for free on the web are “looters“.
Those consumers cheerfully using the web to sample content from all over the world via news websites, blogs and aggregators are essentially picking the inventory clean. Oh, and when they get the stuff home, the goods aren’t what they used to be. And some of the stuff has a sour smell to it.
Anyone who cares deeply about quality, independent journalism should pray for paywalls and other subscription models to take hold. Because in the world of the smart and the desperate, desperate always has the last word.
Because news is a commodity? Opinion is only worthwhile opinion if it is paid for and sanctioned by a big brand? So says the man in the Guardian, the paper that loses a fortune, supports State-control of the media, doesn’t pay its interns, wants to colonise the world, is confused about economics, and won an award when the profitable News of The World (Britain’s best-selling newspaper) died.
Now read on. Or don’t.
DILLON Marsh is a photographer.
Assimilation. In the vast barren landscapes of the southern Kalahari, Sociable Weaver Birds assume ownership of the telephone poles that cut across their habitat. Their burgeoning nests are at once inertly statuesque and teeming with life. The twigs and grass collected to build these nests combine to give strangely recognisable personalities to the otherwise inanimate poles.
BEHOLD! The “Protective Mechanism for an Electronic Device” will make it impossible for your iPhone, iPad or iPod to fall corner-first down and shatter the screen. It works on any device – including TVs in rock star’s hotel rooms.
Files at theU.S. Patent and Trademark Office illustrate a mechanism that shifts the centre of balance as the device falls. Before it hits the ground, the mechanism causes the product to twist in mid-air. The crash will result in minimum damage.
INVENTOR of the day is Sean O’Connor. He invented theBatter Blaster – the pancake / waffle mix in a can. He says:
“We’ve had quite a few emails from dads, divorced dads or single dads, that are like, ‘Hey Batter Blaster, I can make heart-shaped pancakes for my girls on the weekends and I’m a hero.'”
WE’VE featured those Russian dash cams on Anorak before. In this video of life on the open road, two Russian truckers exchange wing mirrors. As the camera moves away, the two drivers continue to row. They might well still be there, swapping and shredding each other’s stuff, the duo stood on a pile of ex-trucks and clothing, still fighting as the sun sets…
THE 25 most bizarrer and adventurous aircraft ever invented.
AN internet meme is based on a single photo. If that picture is of you, and you’re deemed to look like a douche, a good guy or a nutjob, then it’s hard cheese. Your internet persona is now set. Bad Luck Brian might win the lottery. But he’s till Bad Luck Brian. Success Kid has yet to sit any meaningful exams. Does everyone love Good Guy Greg? Is there no-one who has bad word to say about him? It’s a little known fact that Scumbag Steve has donated a kidney to Nelson Mandela, saved a bag of kittens from a canal and is working on a cure for cancer.
Here are the meme heroes in real life:. Featuring: Bad Luck Brian, Success Kid, Really High Guy, Hipster Barista, Sudden Clarity Clarence, Good Guy Greg, First World Problems, Overly Attached Girlfriend, Sheltering Suburban Mom and Scumbag Steve.
THIS should be a spoof but unfortunately it isn’t: they’ve managed to get the economics of this situation entirely the wrong way around:
As bidding topped £680m, the Czech regulator pulled the plug on the 4G auction, saying that to continue would risk pushing cripplingly high prices onto the winner’s customers as well as delaying deployments – both to the detriment of the country’s citizens.
The Czech Republic was hoping for a fast deployment, and the regulator had placed a reserve of 7.4bn Czech Koruna (£250m) on the bands being auctioned off, but with four operators determined to divide the bands into three bundles, the bidding got out of hand and the regulator decided to pull the plug rather than taking the money.
This is insane.
DON’T worry. The simple organisms from the great beyond are going to invade and tell us what to do. It will be okay:
“Researchers in the United Kingdom have found algae-like fossils in meteorite fragments that landed in Sri Lanka last year. This is the strongest evidence yet of cometary panspermia — that life on Earth began when a meteorite containing simple organisms landed here, billions of years ago — and, perhaps more importantly, that there’s life elsewhere in the universe.”
PHWAOR! Cop a load of that hard drive being loaded on a Pan American Airways jet. It’s as big as a car:
In September 1956 IBM launched the 305 RAMAC, the first ‘SUPER’ computer with a hard disk drive (HDD). The HDD weighed over a ton and stored 5 MB of data.
EVER seen a moon tower? In the 19th Century moon towers were “the future of municipal lighting was glowing orbs suspended high above cities”:
Aurora, Illinois — ironically named only in retrospect — was one of the early places to experiment with artificial moonlight. The town contracted with Charles Francis Brush, an inventor and an entrepreneur and one of Edison’s chief competitors in the race to electrify America. In his wonderful book The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America, Ernest Freeberg describes what it’s like to be a town lit, suddenly, by imitation moons. Brush installed his enormous lights, Freeberg notes, via six iron towers studded across Aurora — structures “rising like gigantic pencils over the city’s rooftops.” Stretching high above the skyline, Brush arc lamps provided intense light to the areas directly below them. They also, Freeberg writes, “bathed the surrounding fields and ‘lonely outskirts’ of the city with something like ‘full summer moonlight.’”
EVER been fraped? Galway Senator Fidelma Healy Eames has been highlighting the perils of fraping to the Oireachtas communications committee. She says:
“Take for example the form of fraping – where you’re raped on Facebook, where a youngster has their status open and another person puts a message on there as if they wrote it.”
MEANWHILE on Temperance Street, Manchester M126HR, the Google Street cam reveals locals going about their merry way. (Is she asking a young Rooney for directions?)
FLASHBACK to the Highway Hi-Fi Phonograph:
RIM shot! It’s not numbers one and two on the toilet any more, folks. Technology means you can play toielt basketball, toilet golf and toilet fishing – not as disgusting as it sounds:
HATS off to Kia, whose Provo car is available in orange. It aims to seduce both sides of the North Irish sectarian divide. Not everyone is pleased:
“Lawmakers from Northern Ireland formally appealed Tuesday for the South Korean carmaker to junk the name of its planned super-mini sports coupe because “Provo” is the nickname for the dominant branch of the outlawed Irish Republican Army, the Provisional IRA.”
Also available with black and tan interiors…
YES, we all know the complaints. That those Chinese workers assembling the Apple products are paid a pittance, it’s all a shame and the company are capitalist bastards for exploiting the poor so.
Or we could look at the actual facts and decide that Apple’s the best thing that’s ever happened to the denizens of the perfumed east. For it is exactly that Apple and other companies expanding their operations there that is pushing up wages. Which is, I hope we’d all agree, what we’d actually like to happen? That the poor get rich?
Wages in Sichuan and Henan have surged 120 percent in six years because of economic growth, increasing local competition for labor and slower population-growth nationwide.