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 1977, Stevie Wonder advertised Atari Video games:
“If I could play video games, you bet it would be an Atari”
WHEN eight-track tapes hit the shelves in the latter part of the Sixties, it was seen as a godsend. All of a sudden, you could listen to your music collection in your car, or out-and-about with the new boom-boxes. There were even rumors it would completely replace the vinyl record. Yet, just over a decade later, the humble cassette tape was able to drive it to extinction. Its heyday lasted from 1968-1975, and by 1980 the poor eight-track was in history’s dustbin, a sort-of laughable derelict from the Seventies.
So what happened? Here are 8 reasons for its untimely demise.
EVER looked at Steve Jobs and thought: “There’s a guy I’d like to watch a film about!” Imagine the thrills and spills as Jobs goes to the bank to get a loan! Gasp as Jobs does some soldering on a motherboard! Swoon as he buys 30,000 black turtle neck sweaters!
Good news! Danny Boyle and Leonardo DiCaprio could well be working together on a biopic of the Apple Honcho.
The film will be based on the biography by Walter Isaacson about Jobs, which was released in 2011. It follows on from the film ‘Jobs’, which starred Ashton Kutcher, which no-one watched.
YOU may or may not worry very much about some of the richest workers on the planet getting screwed over by the companies they work for. We tend to worry more about the poor getting so screwed. But Google, Apple, Intel and a number of other big Silicon Valley firms are getting sued by their engineers for the way in which they’ve screwed them over in recent years.
But next month, Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe will be in the dock to face the same opponent.
A group of technology executives is suing the companies for alleged collusion to suppress their wages, after they signed a series of “no-poach” pacts barring them from recruiting each other’s staff.
The companies, whose collective value tops $890bn (£530bn), could be forced to pay handsomely to compensate them for the losses, but they are likely to be far more worried about the details the case will expose.
AS two different people have now noted, Matt Yglesias and Matt Levine, Yahoo is now officially valued at less than nothing. Which, for a company that has a $40 billion price tag on the markets is a pretty strange thing to try and say. But it also happens to be true.
The conundrum is explained by the fact that there are really two different things here. One is the business that makes up Yahoo, the other the company that owns that business. And that company owns not just the business Yahoo but also good sized chunks of two other businesses, Yahoo Japan and Alibaba, a Chinese internet company (not unlike Amazon). If we take the value of Yahoo the company and subtract from it the value of the stake in Alibaba then we get a negative number. Take away the value of that stake in Yahoo Japan and it becomes even larger.
PSST! Want to buy a vagina? Four women born with an underdeveloped or absent vagina have been living with artificial ones for the past four years. The women suffer from Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome (MRKH).
* Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome is a disorder that occurs in females and mainly affects the reproductive system. This condition causes the vagina and uterus to be underdeveloped or absent. Affected women usually do not have menstrual periods due to the absent uterus. Often, the first noticeable sign of MRKH syndrome is that menstruation does not begin by age 16…
THE Evinrude Fishing Saucer concept boat designed by Brooks Stevens and made for the 1957 New York Boat Show.
THERE”S always a good time to be had touring through old computer books, especially if there’s lots to point at and laugh condescendingly. Technology has advanced so exponentially that a 1980s computer textbook may as well be ancient Sanskrit written on palm leaves. Suffice it to say, things have come a long way in just a short amount of time, and it’s a lot of fun to look back. So, let’s jump into Living With Computers by Patrick G. McKeown (1986).
“A complete computer system – user, software, CPU, internal memory, secondary storage, keyboard, monitor, and printer – is shown here.”
LANGTON’S Ant is a story of habit. Scientist Chris Langton discovered the phenomenon in 1986.
If you were to put an ant down on a grid of squares and ask the ant to follow two rules something odd would happen.
STUART Meloy is the surgeon at Piedmont Anesthesia and Pain Consultants in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who when experimenting with pain relief discovered the orgasm pill. He recalled the Eureka moment:
“I was placing the electrodes and suddenly the woman started exclaiming emphatically. I asked her what was up and she said, `You’re going to have to teach my husband to do that.'”
THIS is an interesting little calculation that’s been made about how many people you would need on your spaceship if you were to set off and try to colonise the next star system over. Well, OK, it’s interesting to me as someone who imbibed so much SF and Fantasy stuff when in my long ago youth at least. And the answer is a very much larger number of people than you might think.
Here’s what the problem is:
Entire generations of people would be born, live, and die before the ship reached its destination. This brings up the question of how many people you need to send on a hypothetical interstellar mission to sustain sufficient genetic diversity. And a new study sets the bar much higher than Moore’s 150 people.
According to Portland State University anthropologist Cameron Smith, any such starship would have to carry a minimum of 10,000 people to secure the success of the endeavor. And a starting population of 40,000 would be even better, in case a large percentage of the population died during during the journey.
THE Wound Man is a compendium of all the injuries that a body in the Middle Ages might sustain.
The Wellcome Library advises:
Captions beside the stoic figure describe the injuries and sometimes give prognoses: often precise distinctions are drawn between types of injuries, such as whether an arrow has embedded itself in a muscle or shot right through. (The latter is better – the arrowhead can be cut away and the shaft withdrawn smoothly, whilst the embedded arrow will tear the muscle with its barbs when pulled out.)
IN 1958 New Haven-based toymaker A.C. Gilbert Company turned youngsters onto science with a new kit. The LAB TECHNICIAN SET was a “CAREER BUILDING SCIENCE” kit.
And it was got Girls.
How was it different for girls?
WHEN mankind emerged from the primordial ooze that was that was the 1940s, homes began a rapid upgrade. The Western nations’ economies grew in tandem with technology, and the benefits began to enter the home in the form of appliances that promised to transform the household. Now you could own a toaster – oh, the possibilities!
Forget Google Glass, Android Wear, Smartwatches or contact lenses that give you night vision. Instead let’s talk about the awesomeness that is this 17th century Chinese abacus ring. It’s wearable tech from the Qing Dynasty, perhaps the world’s oldest smart ring.
Measuring a mere 1.2 centimeter-long by 0.7 centimeter-wide, the miniature abacus is a fully functional counting tool, but it’s so tiny that using it requires an equally dainty tool, such as a pin, to manipulate the beads, which are each less than one millimeter long.
“However, this is no problem for this abacus’s primary user—the ancient Chinese lady, for she only needs to pick one from her many hairpins.”
Spotter: Endless Geyser of Awesome
FLASHBACK to 1983: The Atari 2600 machine feature the Moses ‘Red Sea Crossing’ Bible story video game.
If you saved hard to buy this gem, then the good news is that the thing is worth a bomb. In 2012, one copy was sold for $10,400.
FLASHBACK to 1951:
The electronic Morale Raiser was invented in 1951 to boost men’s confidence. For reasons unknown it never really took off.
YOU’D think that people would have worked out about these internet things by now but apparently there are none so dumb as politicians:
Shortly after the Twitter ban came into effect around midnight, the micro-blogging company tweeted instructions to users in Turkey on how to circumvent it using text messaging services in Turkish and English. Turkish tweeters were quick to share other methods of tiptoeing around the ban, using “virtual private networks” (VPN) – which allow internet users to connect to the web undetected – or changing the domain name settings on computers and mobile devices to conceal their geographic whereabouts.
Some large Turkish news websites also published step-by-step instructions on how to change DNS settings.
On Friday morning, Turkey woke up to lively birdsong: according to the alternative online news site Zete.com, almost 2.5m tweets – or 17,000 tweets a minute – have been posted from Turkey since the Twitter ban went into effect, thus setting new records for Twitter use in the country.
The ban came from the Prime Minister, pissed off that people were disagreeing with him in public. One of the first people to breach the ban on using Twitter was the Turkish President.
We might have to start saying that there’s a Turkish variant of the Streisand Effect.
The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.
THE smartphone is really only just under 7 years old: that’s right, we’re just coming up to hte 7 th anniversary of the release of the Apple iPhone. And this smartphone is now the fastest adopted technology of all time: there were a billion of the damn things made and sold last year. But the truly remarkable thing is that while Apple only has around 10% of this market they have been able to capture 60% of all of the profits of the entire sector.
Which is, when you think about it, pretty remarkable:
Indeed, since the launch of the iPhone the net profits earned by the collection of protagonists shown was $215 billion. 60% has been earned by Apple, a newcomer to the market. That figure is also consistent on an ongoing basis, having reached 60% as early as 2011 and remained in a band around that figure since.