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.
THIS is a seriously astonishing little piece of information. Skype now carries enough international phone calls that its own traffic is equal to 40% of the entire international calling market. And there’s an important point here about why economic growth seems to be slowing too. Here’s the basic news in the WSJ:
More importantly, Skype’s traffic was almost 40% the size of the entire conventional international telecom market — that is, for every ten minutes spent making international phone calls on every mobile and landline network in the entire world, four minutes are spent on Skype. The service is gradually eating its industry.
YOU are looking at NASA’s picture of the “Typical ECG signal received during the Apollo 11 mission”:
Neil Armstrong was excited, but Michael Collins was…dead?
IN 1947, a flying car –a propellor-driven automobile that flies– took its first test in Rome, Italy. While cruising down the road, the vehicle’s wings stay folded and when its ready to soar, the “driver/pilot” stops and unfolds them. This newsreel by British Pathé, titled “The Flying Car”, shows this two-passenger hybrid vehicle in action, both on land and in the sky.
IF only the French could fight their wars as bravely as they fight against markets, eh?
The latest is that several Parisian taxi drivers have beaten up someone driving an Uber limo: this is even after the French Government just passed a, quite probably illegal, law to favour the taxis over the Uber drivers:
It seems that protest turned to guerrilla warfare this morning as one Uber driver, carrying Eventbrite CTO Renaud Visage & Kat Borlongan from the airport to Paris, was attacked by multiple assailants, who allegedly, after smashing one window and slashing two tires (as seen in the photo), as well as defacing one side of the car with glue, attempted to enter the vehicle. Borlongan says their Uber driver manoeuvered the two out of the situation before anything could happen, leaving the three stranded on the shoulder of the freeway.
OR rather Intel declares that its processors are now made without the use of conflict minerals. These so called “conflict minerals” are the stuff mined by the rapists and murderers out in Eastern Congo. With such names as “coltan” and “wolframite” they’re the sources of some of the metals (tantalum for example) that go into making all of our electronics.
And obviously it’s a good idea that people aren’t being enslaved to produce these minerals for us:
Did you know violent militias and rebel groups control many mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and surrounding countries, reaping millions of dollars from the sale of minerals extracted by exploited workers to fund conflict and human rights violations? With a firm conviction that a corporation can make a positive difference in the lives of global citizens by changing the way it does business, Intel is leading efforts to help address this problem by striving to eliminate these so-called “conflict minerals” from our supply chain. And today we are proud to offer the world’s first conflict-free1 microprocessors as one major step on this continuing journey.
GIVEN that some businesses are now successfully using 3 D printers there’s a bit of technophile crowing that the whole world is about to change. That we’ll all have one at home, producing anything and everything we want, and we’ll finally be clear of this capitalism shite and live forever in peace and harmony.
It’s true that certain businesses are indeed using them successfully:
British defence giant BAE Systems has become the latest company to take advantage of 3D printing technology to help manufacture components for fighter planes.
The company said on Sunday that a Tornado fighter jet fitted with parts that were printed in a machine, completed a successful test flight, potentially paving the way for the wider use of the technique in other manufacturing processes. The flight is significant as it is claimed to be the first made by a combat aircraft fitted with such parts.
Many experts are predicting that 3D printing will transform manufacturing and reduce the cost of making a range of products from advanced technology to plastic toys, with consumers able to make their own products at home on demand.
NOT that many of us know what a quantum computer is of course but if the Americans spies are trying to make one it must be evil, right? And yes, this is the latest revelation from the Edward Snowden papers about what complete, total and utter bastards the NSA is.
In room-size metal boxes secure against electromagnetic leaks, the National Security Agency is racing to build a computer that could break nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around the world.
According to documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the effort to build “a cryptologically useful quantum computer” — a machine exponentially faster than classical computers — is part of a $79.7 million research program titled “Penetrating Hard Targets.” Much of the work is hosted under classified contracts at a laboratory in College Park, Md.
IN September 1930, plans were created to increase the size of Europe by linking the British Isles to the Continent. The new one would be called…DOGGERLAND.
Make your own jokes.
ONE of the claims that was made over the break was that the NSA, the US crypto spies, could hack into anyone’s iPhone any time. This was all as a result of the Edward Snowden documents of course. The sad thing about this is that it was rather blown up out of proportion by one Jacob Appelbaum, one of the hangers on along with Glen Greenwald and Laura Poitras, around those Snowden documents.
Appelbaum went on to demand that Apple reveal which of the two dastardly things it had been doing: had it been cooperating with the NSA? Or had it just left the most appalling security breach open just for the hell of it?
MY Cloud Pal is Danielle Bruckman’s journey though the selfies of the man who has her iPhone.
On January 1, 2013 my phone escaped me and somehow fell into the hands of a man with a killer mustache. Thanks to Apple and some kinks in the cloud, I receive all of his pictures in my photo stream. Here are his selfies as re-enacted by yours truly.
THE Italians have got themselves all het up over the fact that Google doesn’t pay any tax in that country. Or at least one or two politicians have got het up about it. You know, Google sits in Ireland, selling all that advertising into Italy and the poor Italian politicians don’t get to confiscate one red euro of that river of cash. Boo hoo, eh?
In order to try and get a bit of that cash they’ve decided to pass a new law. And one incredible little piece of it is as follows:
The advertising spaces online and sponsored links that appear in the results pages of search engines ( search advertising services ) , viewable on the Italian territory during the visit of a website or the use of an online service through landline or network and mobile devices, must be purchased exclusively through entities , such as publishers, advertising agencies , search engines or other advertiser , registered for VAT issued by the Italian tax . This provision shall also apply in cases where the sales transaction has been carried out through media centers , operators and third parties advertisers.
IT BOGGLES the mind to think that computers which literally filled rooms a few decades ago couldn’t come close to the computers that easily fit in the palm of our hand today. That phone in your pocket can do much more than the giant whirring behemoths brought in on a wench in 1973… It’s an amazing advancement when you stop and think about it.
Old science fiction movies and television shows which attempted to depict the computers of tomorrow never predicted anything coming close the compactness of an iPad. They definitely overshot the artificial intelligence aspect [HAL from 2001:A Space Odyssey (1968), Colossus from Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970), Proteus from The Demon Seed (1977), etc.] but seemingly overlooked the possibility that these things might get small. In other words, we knew they’d get smarter, but we always assumed they’d stay big.
CAN sex sell anything? Yes. It can. The question was rhetorical. Anorak harks back to January 18, 1960, when Marion Liebig, Miss Hesse 1959, was keeping warm under the artificial sunshine of an bottled-gas-powered infra-red lamp in a snow-covered park in Wiesbaden, Germany, Jan. 18, 1960. The shivering bystander who forgot his swimwear and relying on the view to warm his cockles is unidentified.
ON Oct. 25, 1954, designer Jack Fletcher, 23, showed us around the 21st Century House in West Covina, Calif he shared with his wife, three-year-old daughter and twin baby sons.
FLASHBACK to September 3 1952: Magnetised soap is shown to visitors to the annual inventors’ fair in Cologne, Germany, by the inventor, Franz Fuehrer, left, of Grosshesselsche, Sept. 3, 1952. The soap is built around a magnet which makes it stick to metal. The same principal is applied also to other toilet articles.
CAN thoughts change your physical body? Michael Forrester looks at the work published on TunedBody:
With evidence growing that training the mind or inducing certain modes of consciousness can have positive health effects, researchers have sought to understand how these practices physically affect the body. A new study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France reports the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of intensive mindfulness practice.
The study investigated the effects of a day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After eight hours of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation.
THIS is a fairly strong prediction: that Facebook is actually dead and buried. At the same time as it manages to increase the number of users, increase the amount of time they spend on the site and also charge more money for each of the more ads they see. Sounds difficult that it could be dead as a result of all of that.
But the argument is actually a little different:
What appears to be the most seminal moment in a young person’s decision to leave Facebook was surely that dreaded day your mum sends you a friend request. You just can’t be young and free if you know your parents can access your every indiscretion. The desire for the new, also drives each new generation to find their own media and this is playing out now in social media. It is nothing new that young people care about style and status in relation to their peers, and Facebook is simply not cool anymore.
THE death of cool is when the establishment start to get it. The BBC appearing at Glastonbury marks the big summer festival out as horribly uncool. Uncool can also be the moment your mum pokes you on Facebook. It turns out that teens in Britain and the rest of Europedon’t rate Facebook. But their parents do. Facebook is a way to spy on the kids. Who needs the NSA when you have Facebook?
“HE went to play his games, not knowing anything was on it,” says Tom Mayhew of his eight-year-old son and his ‘new’ Nintendo 3DS, the one he’d been given for Christmas. “After a while, [the kids] took pictures of themselves and when the picture was taken it went to a file. When that file was opened, there were already pictures on it.”
Not any pictures – but a dozen pornographic pictures.
WE’VE entered a strange time for films. Films everyone can remember first time round are being remade, Ryan Reynolds is still getting work and, weirdest of all, films are being made based on toys.
Now, of course, action figures and the like have ended up on the silver screen, but the Rihanna-starring ‘Battleship’, based on a coordinates board game, flummoxed everyone. What next? Well, to save us all from a ‘what’s next – [insert ludicrous 'Monkey Tennis' idea here] joke’, we’ll cut to the chase.
Candy Crush, that’s what.
IN 1994, Dan Perkins, aka Tom Tomorrow, foresaw the NSA and the American elite’s plan to watch us all and record our movements on tapes in his work for Spin magazine.
THE financial markets have been waiting for this for some years: for Apple to sign up with China Mobile to take the iPhone. The importance of it is that China Mobile is the last major airtime provider around the world that doesn’t currently carry Apple’s products. And with 760 million subscribers that’s a hell of a market that Apple is missing out on. The deal has finally happened: