Technology | Anorak - Part 30

Technology Category

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.

10 Pi Day-themed items

HAPPY Pi Day!  It’s March 14 – 4.14. How can you celebrate? Why, with Pi merchandise.  It’s also Albert Einstein’s Birthday. Here’s the the hairy Pi:





Posted: 14th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

iPhone 4S owner sues Apple for false advertising over too-intelligent Siri

IS the Apple iPhone 4S a dud? Siri is the “intelligent assistant”, there to command with the power of your voice. Frank M. Fazio, of New Yorker, says it’s rubbish. So bad is it that he’s suing Apple for false advertising. He doe snot only want his money back. He wants to make a point. It is – as fee-hungry lawyers would like it to be – a matter of principle.

Mr Fazio’s lawsuits claim the iPhone 4s Siri is not like it promises to be in the telly adverts. Fazio says the ads are “fundamentally and designedly false and misleading”.

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Posted: 13th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Tramps are now made useful by being turned into WiFi hotspots

TRAMPS. They’ve got an awful life. When the weather’s bad, they feel it most. The die in doorways and have septic extremities. And to think, they’ve got the paucity to actually ask you for money while you’re throwing a sandwich in the bin because it was a ‘bit dry’.

Either way, vagrants are being put to good use as a New York ad agency has decided to turn them into walking WiFi aerials.

Bartle, Bogle and Hegarty (BBH) handed out free MiFi gadgets to the panhandlers along with t-shirts sporting their names alongside the words “I’m a 4G hotspot”. The hobos will be bothering people with their excellent connective properties at hipsterfest, SXSW.

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Posted: 13th, March 2012 | In: Key Posts, Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

How the QWERTY Effect alters the words we type

WHY do we choose to use certain words over other when we type?:

“We know how a word is spoken can affect its meaning. So can how it’s typed,” said cognitive scientist Kyle Jasmin of the University of College London, co-author of a study about the so-called “QWERTY effect” in Psychonomic Bulletin and Review. “As we filter language, hundreds or thousands of words, through our fingers, we seem to be connecting the meanings of the words with the physical way they’re typed on the keyboard.” The effect may arise from the fact that letter combinations that fall on the right side of the keyboard tend to be easier to type than those on the left. “If it’s easy, it tends to lend a positive meaning. If it’s harder, it can go the other way,” Jasmin said.

Change the keyboard and improve your English.

Posted: 12th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Tumblr site of the day – Batman Running Away From Sh*t

BATMAN Running Away From Shit is our Tumblr site of the day:



Posted: 12th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Daily Express readers live 20 year longer (and so do their mice)

IN “PILL TO EXTEND LIFE BY 20 YEARS”, the Daily Express has news of a life-extending “gene“. Given the title’s demographic, that pill might soon be administered free at the point to sale to all Express readers.

Lucy Johnston takes up the story:

A GENE that could hold the key to extending life by up to two decades has been identified.


Scientists hope the discovery will lead to the creation of a pill to help older people stay fitter, healthier and live longer – a breakthrough akin to finding “the fountain of youth”.


The gene is found in all mammals and is known to protect against age-related cell damage. Scientists manipulated the gene, SIRT6, in laboratory mice and found it extended their lifespan by up to 15 per cent.

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Posted: 11th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Origami: Art + Mathematics – Between The Folds

ORIGAMI is impressive, isn’t it. Hell, a swan made from towel sat on a bed aboard a Nile cruise junk is impressive. A paper hat is impressive. The stuff David Huffman “UCSC computer scientist and a pioneer of mathematical origami” produced is incredible. You can see his work at the “Origami: Art + Mathematics,” an exhibit at UC Santa Cruz from April 8, at the Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery, Cowell College.

“This type of origami is not your father’s origami. This is computational origami, and it will blow your mind,” said Linda Pope, director and curator of the Smith Gallery.

Here’s a taster:


Posted: 8th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Can Propranolol cure racism?

CAN Propranolol, a beta blocker, prevents/ cure racism? In tests, those given the drug scored lower when tested for “implicit” racist prejudices and fears. The Telegraph reports:

Scientists believe the discovery can be explained by the fact that racism is fundamentally founded on fear.

Propranolol acts both on nerve circuits that govern automatic functions such as heart rate, and the part of the brain involved in fear and emotional responses. The drug is also used to treat anxiety and panic.

Experimental psychologist Dr Sylvia Terbeck, from Oxford University, who led the study published in the journal Psychopharmacology, said: “Our results offer new evidence about the processes in the brain that shape implicit racial bias. Implicit racial bias can occur even in people with a sincere belief in equality. Given the key role that such implicit attitudes appear to play in discrimination against other ethnic groups, and the widespread use of propranolol for medical purposes, our findings are also of considerable ethical interest.”

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Posted: 8th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Moon sank the Titanic (global warming too)

ACCORDING to the boffins – Donald Olson and Russell Doescher – of the Texas State University-San Marcos, the moon caused the Titanic to sink. The report in Sky & Telescopestates:

One question, however, has often been overlooked: Where did the killer iceberg come from, and could the moon have helped set the stage for disaster?

Says Olson:

“Of course, the ultimate cause of the accident was that the ship struck an iceberg. The Titanic failed to slow down, even after having received several wireless messages warning of ice ahead. They went full speed into a region with icebergs—that’s really what sank the ship, but the lunar connection may explain how an unusually large number of icebergs got into the path of the Titanic.”

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Posted: 7th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Mobile trade show seduces customers with Russian escorts

WERE you one of the executives offered an escort at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona by CBOSS? The incentive for doing business was “champagne, caviar and a beautiful girl”.

CBOSS, a Russian telecoms operator offered visitors a “romantic dinner” with one of the women during which they could conduct a “deep market inspection [of] telecommunications business trends”.

To raise its profile, CBOSS hosted a big stand festooned with dancing girls who perform on the hour.

The aim, of course, is to rise CBOSS’s profile.

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Posted: 6th, March 2012 | In: Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Step It Up: The dance like a Jew dance game

STEP It Up let’s you dance like a Jew. Yes, finally you too can dance like a Jew.  Includes such songs as: Schlep it up, grandma – Dance til you plotz!  – Are you Daven a good time? – and many, many more…

Posted: 28th, February 2012 | In: Technology | Comments (3) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Is sex with a robot adultery?

IS having sex with a sex robot adultery? As David Levy reported:

Upmarket sex dolls were introduced to the Korean public at the Sexpo exposition in Seoul in August 2005, and were immediately seen as a possible antidote to Korea’s Special Law on Prostitution that had been placed on the statute books the previous year. Before long, hotels in Korea were hiring out “doll experience rooms” for around 25,000 won per hour ($25)…. This initiative quickly became so successful at plugging the gap created by the antiprostituion law that, before long, establishments were opening up that were dedicated solely to the use of sex dolls… These hotels assumed, quite reasonably, that there was no question of them running foul of the law, since their dolls were not human. But the Korean police were not so sure. The news website… reported, in October 2006, that the police in Gyeonggi Province were “looking into whether these businesses violate the law . . . Since the sex acts are occurring with a doll and not a human being, it is unclear whether the Special Law on Prostitution applies.”

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Posted: 26th, February 2012 | In: Technology | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

#RIPGreggJevin – twitter grieves for man

ON Twitter #RIPGreggJevin is trending. Gregg Jevin has died. Only, he hasn’t. He’s been made up. The knowing gather for the dumb show. (Anorak will have photos of Gregg Jevin’s death shed soon). Michael Legge broke the news:

@WstonesOxfordSt#RIPGreggJevin Eighteen very well researched and not at all rushed biographies of Gregg Jevin have already been commissioned.

 @michaellegge: Sad to say that Gregg Jevin, a man I just made up, has died.#RIPGreggJevin

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Posted: 24th, February 2012 | In: Technology | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Facebook secret content rules – the full Abuse Standards Violations document

AMINE Derkauoui has shown the world the secret Facebook rules governing what content the site’s owners let the site’s 800million plus customers see. Content can be “flagged” by users as inappropriate. Staff at outsourced companies – paid as little as $1 an hour – then investigate. Derkauoui, a Moroccan employee, has leaked the Abuse Standards Violations (ASV) document. Facebook does not like sex. It bans breastfeeding photos. But hurting is ok:

“Deep flesh wounds are ok to show; excessive blood is ok to show. Crushed heads, limbs, etc, are ok as long as no insides are showing.”

Same-sex kissing is allowed. But “so long as no part of the [female] nipple is showing”. “Snot” is ok. Ear wax is banned.

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Posted: 21st, February 2012 | In: Key Posts, Technology | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Wikipedia rejects expert and keeps the untruth

HOW does Wikipedia work? Timothy Messer-Kruse had a got at updating the Wiki  page on the 1886 Haymarket riot. He’s written two books on the Riot. You might say he’s an expert. Messer-Kruse wanted to make a correction. Only, he’s not a Wikipedia expert. So. His update was erased. The error stays.

I had cited the documents that proved my point, including verbatim testimony from the trial published online by the Library of Congress. I also noted one of my own peer-reviewed articles. One of the people who had assumed the role of keeper of this bit of history for Wikipedia quoted the Web site’s “undue weight” policy, which states that “articles should not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views.” He then scolded me. “You should not delete information supported by the majority of sources to replace it with a minority view.”

The “undue weight” policy posed a problem. Scholars have been publishing the same ideas about the Haymarket case for more than a century. The last published bibliography of titles on the subject has 1,530 entries. “Explain to me, then, how a ‘minority’ source with facts on its side would ever appear against a wrong ‘majority’ one?” I asked the Wiki-gatekeeper. …  Another editor cheerfully tutored me in what this means: “Wikipedia is not ‘truth,’ Wikipedia is ‘verifiability’ of reliable sources. Hence, if most secondary sources which are taken as reliable happen to repeat a flawed account or description of something, Wikipedia will echo that.”

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Posted: 20th, February 2012 | In: Technology | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Eternal Copyright: Adrian Hon’s argument is for his use only

WHO’s for eternal copyright? Adrian Hon writes in the Telegraph:

On Tuesday 14th, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) posted a message on, stating: “If you have downloaded music using this website you may have committed a criminal offence which carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine under UK law.”

SOCA’s threat is a stirring defence of what we hold dear in this country – the right of a creator to benefit from their intellectual property, whether it be a song, book, film, or game. Without this assurance of compensation, we might not see any new creative works being produced at all, and so it’s for this reason that we’ve continually lengthened copyright terms from 14-28 years as set out by the Statue of Anne in 1710 to “lifetime plus 70 years” today.

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Posted: 20th, February 2012 | In: Technology | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Tumblr of The Day – WonderTonic (with free Facebook TSA body scanner App)

TUMBLR of the Day is Mike Lacher’s WonderTonic. It’s collection of mash-ups like Muppets with People Eyes and The Broadway Audience Soundboard – Now you can simulate the most frequently-whispered phrases by audience members of Broadway musicals. Also:

TSA Announces Facebook Integration For Full Body Scanners:

John Pistole, the head of the Transportation Security Administration, announced yesterday that full body scanners at airports across the nation will be seamlessly integrated with Facebook next month, allowing travelers to save, tag, and share their near-naked security photos with friends, family, and co-workers through the popular social networking site. Immediately after being subjected to a scan, the traveler’s photo will be automatically uploaded to a public album on Facebook and tagged accordingly. According to Pistole, this cutting-edge integration will allow travelers to stay more connected than ever with their social networks, letting Facebook users know when their friends have made it through airport security and if they are smuggling weapons in their rectums in real time.

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Posted: 17th, February 2012 | In: Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Social media experts explained – with donuts

HOW can you be an expert at social media. Well, let’s start by explaining what being an expert in social media is:

Spotter: Charlotte Cramer

Posted: 17th, February 2012 | In: Technology | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Apple’s Chinese factories: they’re grrreeat!

APPLE’S Chinese factors are great. Really. You’d really have to have a heart of stone not to laugh over this. Various idiot and weepy lefty types over in the US have been decrying the labour conditions at the Foxconn factories in China where so much of Apple’s gear is made.

Petitions flying around, My God, it’s appalling, they only make $17 a day, they’re slaves, immoral capitalist bastards and….well, you get the picture.

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Posted: 16th, February 2012 | In: Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

How twitter caused Whitney Houston’s death

DID Whitney Houston die first on twitter? Everyone likes to be first with the news, and it loks like twitter user @AjaDiorNavy scooped the world:

omgg , my aunt tiffany who work for whitney houston just found whitney houston dead in the tub . such ashame & sad 🙁

Of course, her aunty got their first.

The Associated Press was the first mainstream source to make the announcement about Houston’s death, sending out at tweet at 1657 PST.

But hold on! Was @BarBeeBritt, the first when she (Brittany J pullard) enquired at 1602 PST on February 11.

“Is Whitney Houston really dead?”

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Posted: 15th, February 2012 | In: Technology | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Man adds Wood burning stove to his Volvo

SWISS Volvo owner Pascal Prokop has built a wood-burning stove in his car. The Swiss Technical Inspection Authority gave him a pass, making it perfectly legal to operate. Does a wood burning stove go with a Volvo, car for the safety minded? Surely water bottles strapped to the interior would be the way to go. The wood-burning stove is a bit, well, Skoda. ..

YouTube link.

Mr Prokop lives in the town of Mettmenstetten, 25 km south of Zurich. Apparently the Swiss Technical Inspection Authority had no problem with a car that has a fireplace instead of a passenger seat.

Posted: 12th, February 2012 | In: Technology | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Tumblr of the day – the trippy gifs

TUMBLR of the day is DVDP:


Posted: 8th, February 2012 | In: Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Can the virtual reality Snow World video game give pain relief by distraction?

CAN video games reduce pain? Pain sufferers in the US military are testing out a video game called SnowWorld to see if it can reduce pain by distracting them:

[A]fter Hoffman became director of the Virtual Reality Analgesia Research Center at the University of Washington Human Interface Technology Laboratory, or HITLab, he had some remarkable success. ..

If distraction was the key, why not just use over-the-counter video games for a fraction of the cost? To answer that question, Hoffman had run a control experiment. In his first case study, he had a teenager with a severe flash burn play Nintendo Mario Kart while having five staples removed from a skin graft. The data showed that in terms of reducing pain, anxiety about pain, and time spent thinking about pain, playing Nintendo Mario Kart compared poorly to SpiderWorld. The reason VR was so much more effective than a regular video game came down to a quality called “presence”—that sense of being immersed inside an artificial world.

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Posted: 5th, February 2012 | In: Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Met and FBI keen to advertise the skills and power of Anonymous

ANONYMOUS, the hactivist collective, have posted an audio on YouTube of the Metropolitan Police’s e-crime unit talking with the FBI. The tape, called “Fuck FBI Friday”, claims to feature a 16 minute phone call. The call is said to have taken place on January 17. It features the two law enforcement agencies discussing what crap hole Sheffield is and…Anonymous.

Furthermore, Anonymous apparently have access to FBI’s email, posting an email between agents and tweeting:

“The #FBI might be curious how we’re able to continuously read their internal comms for some time now.”

Says a Met spokesman:

“We are aware of the video which relates to an FBI conference call involving a PCeU representative. The matter is being investigated by the FBI.”

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Posted: 3rd, February 2012 | In: Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

A Google search for ‘Define An English Person’ produces the C-Word – Germans are ‘Evil Nazis’

IF you type “Define an English person” into the Google search engine you get the result for the Wikipedia page for “C*NT”.

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Posted: 2nd, February 2012 | In: Technology | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0