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.

Facebook bans ‘juvenile boobies’ birds advert

FACEBOOK has banned an advert for Christmas Island’s Bird ‘n’ Nature Week. The call to see the imperilled “juvenile booby” birds breached the website’s decency guidelines.
juvenile boobies

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Posted: 7th, September 2013 | In: Technology, The Consumer | Comment

Adult American prisoners who has never seen the Internet before describe it

WHAT if you’re an adult American who has never seen the Internet before?

Justine Sharrock tells us that it is illegal in the United States for federal prisoners to go on the internet. So, longtime prisoners at San Quentin State Prison haven’t used the web. She asked some to describe the internet. One, Chrisfino Kenyatta Leal entered prison in 1994:

I envisioned the web to be like this infinite space filled with information about everything under the sun.

I was confused about how you got from one piece of info to the next and I was clueless in terms of the lingo used to describe it all…

The technical aspects of it make me go, Hmmmm? I realize everything is getting faster and moving toward mobile, so I often wonder about who’s doing all this stuff and where is it all taking place?

Tommy Winfrey entered prison in 1997

I’ve never seen the internet in person. I was locked up in 1997. CDs were a big deal. I knew the internet was called the information superhighway for a reason, but I had no idea how connected society really is through the internet.

I didn’t understand how big and new it is. It was a global name that has changed the world.

I could imagine the information that the internet provided when it came to research, and that is how it existed in my mind, just as a tool. If you had asked me what a URL was, I would have just looked at you.

I imagined an app was a button you pressed on your phone with no clear conceptualization of what it really did.

Prescient stuff…


Posted: 5th, September 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

LG tricks job applicants with a fake meteor apocalyse to promote new HD TV

THE MAKERS of the 84 inch Ultra HD TVLG came up with a wheeze to sell their product: show unsuspecting job applicants in Chile a meteor cashing into the planet:

When these unsuspecting individuals entered the office, they were nervous about a job interview, not about the end of the world. That is, until the end of the world happened right before their very eyes! The IPS screen, disguised as a window, was so high-def that people were — apparently — ready to run when they saw the meteor drop.

Whether or not the scene was staged, the tagline “Reality, or Ultra Reality?” gets the message across.


This might be scarier:

Spotters: Mundo LG ChileUPROXX and The Drum

Posted: 5th, September 2013 | In: Technology, The Consumer | Comment

Why Zuckerberg wants everyone to have the Internet as a ‘human right’

File photo dated 26/5/2011 of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has vowed to make internet access available around the globe by launching a new initiative to make getting online more affordable. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday August 21, 2013. Currently 2.7 billion people - just over a third of the world's population - have access to the web, but Mr Zuckerberg's goal is to make it possible for a further five billion. The Facebook chief executive is launching in partnership with other companies including Ericsson, Samsung and Nokia, which will develop joint projects and share knowledge to bring the world online. See PA story TECHNOLOGY Internet. Photo credit should read: Chris Ratcliffe/PA Wire

MARK Zuckerberg, the billionaire behind Facebook, has just announced that he’s joining forces with other tech firms in order to try and bring the internet to everyone. One the grounds that internet access for the 4 billion humans that don’t currently have it is akin to a human right:

Mark Zuckerberg’s altruistic finger is twitching just as usage of his free content ad network appears to have plateaued.

In a post on his personal Facebook account, Zuck asked: “Is connectivity a human right?”

An actual human right, no, that sounds a little too far. The right to free speech, to association, to a fair trial, yes, these are indeed human rights. But to an internet connection? No, I think not.

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Posted: 4th, September 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

Microsoft buys out Nokia’s handset business: market freezes

The Nokia brand name is displayed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced it would pay $7.2 billion to acquire Nokia's line-up of smartphones and a portfolio of patents and services. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

SO. Microsoft has taken the plunge and bought out Nokia’s handset business. They didn’t pay that much for it, under £5 billion all in, which is a good insight into what a parlous state the business is in. This leaves Nokia still making all the kit and towers and radio equipment etc that the handsets use to connect to the network, but they’re leaving the handset business altogether.

For Microsoft the deal looks rather different. They’ve been finding it very hard to get handset makers to start using Windows Phone (surprisingly, a rather good little operating system) and their market share is sputtering. Nokia were the only people who had committed to it in a large way. But there were still problems in integrating the software and the hardware. Buying the manufacturing operation now means that Microsoft can design the OS for the hardware and the hardware for the OS: essentially, starting to do what Apple has been doing all along.

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Posted: 3rd, September 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

In 1979 the British Cycling Bureau delivered these ‘Bikes of the future’

IN October 1979, the British Cycling Bureau invited designers to create the “Bike of the future”.


bike of the future


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Posted: 2nd, September 2013 | In: Flashback, Technology | Comment

New ankle tag device lets stressed parents watch their children breathing and not breathing

baby monitor

PARENTS not yet able to chip their children can invest in Owlet  “an innovative vitals monitor, using pulse oximetry to monitor blood oxygen levels and heart rate of babies. Owlet is a small bootie that the baby wears while sleeping. It signals heartrate and respiration and you can check in on your baby via a mobile device”.

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Posted: 30th, August 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

In 1977 JG Ballard predicted the dawn of social media in Vogue in 1977

JG Ballard

JG Ballard predicts the dawn of social media in Vogue in 1977:

jg ballard

Spotter: Brendan O’Neill


Posted: 30th, August 2013 | In: Flashback, Technology | Comment

The animated tattoo is a thing of wonder

SO.  You got the tramp stamp, the Hebrew script, the lyrics and the Chinese symbol. Your tattoos are on trend. Well, they were. The latest thing is the animated tattoo. No need to wait for gravity to turn that proud dragon into a flaccid blue worm:

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Posted: 24th, August 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

BT’s really screwing up this broadband, isn’t it?

THE Guardian is ranting and railing about how appallingly BT is rolling out fast broadband around the countryside. There’s a useful economic point to be made about this:

Given that everyone agrees that getting Britain online is a public good, what do those giants at the Department for Culture do? Why, award juicy subsidies to private companies to bribe them to do the work.

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Posted: 14th, August 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment (1)

Shropshire iPad scam ends pair in cold water

ELAIN Sloane, of Wellington Post Office, Shropshire tells the court:

“When the gentleman came to the counter and said he wanted to do a special delivery I did notice the package had damp patches on it and the front of his jacket had damp patches on it too. I just happened to say to the gentleman is it raining outside and he said yes but it seemed strange to me because I could see from where I was sitting it didn’t look like it was raining. I asked him what was inside and he said iPads. I said how much is it worth but he wanted to make a phone call. I asked him for a return address but he couldn’t remember the postcode.

“We had a little look and you could see all ice in there. We were shocked. He had sent it as iPads and I couldn’t believe it was all this water and the box was disintegrating.”

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Posted: 14th, August 2013 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment

Cameron supports tabloid Trolling: ‘We need solid, reliable dial-up and ASCII only services’



IN reaction to the news that trolls are murdering children on the internet, a reader replies:

It’s definitely time for David Cameron to take a stand. Personally I think his proposals don’t go far enough. The current “Plebernet” must be switched off completely, for good. Let’s face it, with BT in charge of most of it, it doesn’t work properly anyway. We need to go back to solid, reliable dial-up and ASCII only services. There will be legislation against Flash, embedded objects and the IMG tag. This new text only Internet will require every individual to hold a licence, at a cost of £500 per annum, that can only be obtained after three years of University level study. Fixed it for you all.

The only people with broadband should be those in Government.

Posted: 8th, August 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

Life mirrors the Skylarks of Space – military workers killed by telepathy

The Skylark of SpaceSUICIDE Watch: one theory is that telepathy caused four young Turkish engineers to kill themselves in 2006 and 2007. Some suspect foul play had a hand in the deaths ASELSAN engineers Hüseyin Başbilen, Halim Ünsem Ünal, Evrim Yançeken and Burhaneddin Volkan:

Inspection Board of the Prime Ministry recently completed on the mysterious deaths of some engineers working for a Turkish defense industry giant, ASELSAN, maintains that the young engineers may have been driven to commit suicide after being exposed to telepathic attacks aimed at destroying them psychologically.

Did telepathic attacks induce depression?

Neuropsychologist, Nevzat Tarhan, is cited in the report talking up the theory that brainwaves could have been transmitted to the men.

The Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office is looking at further investigations.
ASELSAN operates in the fields of the design, development, production, system integration, and after-sales services of Military Communications Systems, Radar Systems, Electronic Warfare Systems, Electro-Optic Systems, Navigation and Avionic Systems, Weapons Systems, Command Control Communication Computer Intelligence Reconnaissance and Surveillance Systems, Naval Systems, Unmanned Systems, and Traffic and Toll Collection Systems. 
 It specialises in communications systems, like soldiers’ radios.
Can telepathy be used to dictate instructions to soldiers in the field? Is that part of this alleged plot?
Discover Mag reported:
The mind reader is Gerwin Schalk, a 39-year-old biomedical scientist and a leading expert on brain-computer interfaces at the New York State Department of Health’s Wads­worth Center at Albany Medical College. The 
Austrian-born Schalk, along with a handful of other researchers, is part of a $6.3 million U.S. Army project to establish the basic science required to build a thought helmet—a device that can detect and transmit the unspoken speech of soldiers, allowing them to communicate with one another silently…
At Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, researchers have surgically implanted electrodes in the brains of monkeys and trained them to move robotic arms at MIT, hundreds of miles away, just by thinking. At Brown University, scientists are working on a similar implant they hope will allow paralyzed human subjects to control artificial limbs. And workers at Neural Signals Inc., outside Atlanta, have been able to extract vowels from the motor cortex of a paralyzed patient who lost the ability to talk by sinking electrodes into the area of his brain that controls his vocal cords.
Wired added:
Last year, the National Research Council and the Defense Intelligence Agency released a report suggesting that neuroscience might also be useful to “make the enemy obey our commands.” 
Minds turn to The Skylark of Space by Edward E. “Doc” Smith, as published in Amazing Stories, 1928:

Straightening abruptly, the slave clamped several electrodes upon his temples and motioned to Seaton and the others, speaking to Dorothy as he did so.

“He wants us to let him put those things on our heads,” she translated. “Shall we let him, Dick?”

“Yes,” he replied without hesitation. “I’ve got a real hunch that he’s our friend, and I’m not sure of Nalboon. He doesn’t act right.”

“I think so, too,” agreed the girl, and Crane added:

“I can’t say that I relish the idea, but since I know that you are a good poker player, Dick, I am willing to follow your hunch. How about you, DuQuesne?”

“Not I,” declared that worthy, emphatically. “Nobody wires me up to anything I can’t understand, and that machine is too deep for me.”

Margaret elected to follow Crane’s example, and, impressed by the need for haste evident in the slave’s bearing, the four walked up to the machine without further talk. The electrodes were clamped into place quickly and the slave pressed a lever. Instantly the four visitors felt that they had a complete understanding of the languages and customs of both Mardonale, the nation in which they now were, and of Kondal, to which nation the slaves belonged, the only two civilized nations upon Osnome. While the look of amazement at this method of receiving instruction was still upon their faces, the slave—or rather, as they now knew him, Dunark, the Kofedix or Crown Prince of the great nation of Kondal—began to disconnect the wires. He cut out the wires leading to the two girls and to Crane, and was reaching for Seaton’s, when there was a blinding flash, a crackling sound, the heavy smoke of burning metal and insulation, and both Dunark and Seaton fell to the floor.

Before Crane could reach them, however, they were upon their feet and the stranger said in his own[613] tongue, now understood by every one but DuQuesne:

“This machine is a mechanical educator, a thing entirely new, in our world at least. Although I have been working on it for a long time, it is still in a very crude form. I did not like to use it in its present state of development, but it was necessary in order to warn you of what Nalboon is going to do to you, and to convince you that the best way of saving your lives would save our lives as well. The machine worked perfectly until something, I don’t know what, went wrong. Instead of stopping, as it should have done, at teaching your party to speak our languages, it short-circuited us two completely, so that every convolution in each of our brains has been imprinted upon the brain of the other. It was the sudden formation of all the new convolutions that rendered us unconscious. I can only apologize for the break-down, and assure you that my intentions were of the best.”

“You needn’t apologize,” returned Seaton. “That was a wonderful performance, and we’re both gainers, anyway, aren’t we? It has taken us all our lives to learn what little we know, and now we each have the benefit of two lifetimes, spent upon different worlds! I must admit, though, that I have a whole lot of knowledge that I don’t know how to use.”

“I am glad you take it that way,” returned the other warmly, “for I am infinitely the better off for the exchange. The knowledge I imparted was nothing, compared to that which I received.

Knowledge is power…

Posted: 8th, August 2013 | In: Technology | Comments (4)

The media-stoked moral panic over suicides and Twitter hate

EMBARGOED UNTIL 0001 FRIDAY 22 FEBRUARY. Charity vInspired launches a ‘Trolls Under The Bridge’ installation to highlight the negative effects that internet trolling has on people, at the IMAX Underpass, Waterloo, London. The writing is genuine quotes from the internet.

TROLLING is big news. The latest story is that young people using the site are dying. This follows news that women are being subjected to vile abuse on Twitter. But only women to whom the mass media is sympathetic are featured as victims. And that is odd.

The Daily Mail delivers the case for the prosecution in bullet points.

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Posted: 7th, August 2013 | In: Key Posts, Reviews, Technology | Comment (1)

Michele Catalano: The backpack, the pressure cooker, the cops and the evolution of WTF really happened


PROCRASTINATION is usually a bad habit but occasionally it pays off. Like last week, when the American blogger (and professional writer) Michele Catalano had something terrifying happen to her family: six agents from a “joint terrorism task force” came to her house and spent 45 minutes questioning and searching after she did a Google search for “pressure cookers” and her husband searched for “backpacks,” both on the same computer. Catalano said the agents claimed to do a hundred such anti-terror searches per week.

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Posted: 5th, August 2013 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment

Revealed: The real cause of the great Twitter row, bomb threats and insults

THERE is currently mass outrage at how people are acting on Twitter. How could these gormless oiks be so rude and crude as to scream obscenities at Mary Beard and that bird who won the banknote thing?

And there’s an answer to this, one that’s really not all that flattering about us as a people but true all the same.

You might guess, then, that the current furore over Twitter doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Before Twitter got rid of the ability to watch the public Twitter timeline, I’d often sit and gaze the world’s tweets in real time. It’s no wonder they disabled that function because it didn’t take long before you would see how truly bestial we are as a species. I don’t even mean that small percentage of people who are, for want of a better word, ‘bad’. I mean huge segments of our population who demonstrated how illiteracy and stupidity prevail. I began using Twitter believing it a novel way to confine language, encourage pithy expression. I grew to realise that it’s actually the perfect way of expressing our piggish grunts, our infantile nature, our utter slavery to branding, marketing, and celebrity. Reading Twitter’s public timeline was like being trapped inside the mind of one enormous planet-sized imbecile.

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Posted: 5th, August 2013 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment

Apple’s still being complete bastards to the Chinese workers

APPLE’S being complete bastards to Chinese workers. Well, so says a new report out today from China Labor Watch: Apple’s still being entirely bastardly towards the workers in China that make so much of their kits. After all that stuff over the suicides at Foxconn a couple of years back, this new report insists that everything is still terrible at the new company, Pegatron, that Apple is using.

The heinous crimes against worker rights include:

For example, at AVY there are 10 showerheads for about 120 workers.

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Posted: 4th, August 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

Twitter troll apologises when someone threatens to tell his mum

MIGHT it be that all internet rolls are not being all that serious when they make threats? You just need to tell their mum:




Spotter: PopBitch


Posted: 29th, July 2013 | In: Strange But True, Technology | Comment

Mr Buss invents and rides the bubble wrap bike

bubble wrap bike


WITH a name that suggests a life on the move, Eric Buss has invented the Bubble Wrap Bike. Jealous, much?

Posted: 27th, July 2013 | In: Technology | Comment (1)

So what first attracted you to the multi-billionaire Eric Schmidt then?

THE Mail is reporting that Eric Schmidt, the multi-billionaire chairman of Google, has a penchant for shagging around a bit.

Yet today The Mail on Sunday can reveal that 58-year-old Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, does fiercely protect one thing: his own private life, which is as colourful and complex as the ever-changing ‘Google doodle’ which pops up each time the search engine is launched.

In the past few years, the unlikely sex symbol with thinning hair and pockmarked skin has embarked on a string of affairs with younger women, including a vivacious TV presenter who dubbed him ‘Dr Strangelove’, a leggy blonde public relations executive and a sexy Vietnamese concert pianist.

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Posted: 26th, July 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

Thom Yorke and Johnny Lynch entirely misunderstand Spotify and online music


THIS is one of those newspaper pieces where you have to check that the people are still living on the same planet as the rest of us. They’re talking about whether Spotify is paying enough in royalties to the musicians who produce the work. Yet they manage to miss the most basic point about the whole subject:

Spotify is selling a lie, though. In this post-Napster world, the pressure is on for new independent artists to have their music sit alongside massive acts – but we’re not getting anything back. We are told that it’s good exposure, and will lead to increased album and ticket sales, but this simply isn’t the case.

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Posted: 26th, July 2013 | In: Key Posts, Money, Music, Technology | Comments (3)

Take the Kaspersky Lab Protection Test to check your exposure to hackers

DAVID Cameron wants us to be safe online. Safe from whom? Them. The Others. Him?

Time to get your technology sorted out. Kaspersky Lab has produced  ‘Protection Tests’ challenge you to see how safe you are from cyber crime.

Take the test:

Posted: 25th, July 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

HD footage of plants and insects magnified thousands of times

WANT to see HD footage of plants and insects magnified thousands of times? That huge spider in the bath is far bigger than you ever thought. (Better with the volume down. The narrator is from the school of the bleedin’ obvious.)

Posted: 25th, July 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

David Cameron voter caught private browsing for pearl necklaces on the internet (video)

porn safeDAVID Cameron wants porn on the internet blocked. Even searching for porn will be banned. Well, the bad porn will be.

The goodporn, like ‘mommy porn’, is fine. But, of course, the internet has already catered for porn users.

On Internet Explorer you can opt for ‘private’ browsing. What’s that you say, Bill Gates? It’s not all about porn?

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Posted: 22nd, July 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

The pill that replaces going to the gym

OH, joy. They’re developing a pill in Florida to replace the gym:

The more encouraging of the new studies, which appears this week in Nature Medicine, expands on a major study published last year in Nature. In that study, researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Fla., reported that a compound they had created and injected into obese mice increased activation of a protein called REV-ERB, which is known to partially control animals’ circadian rhythms and internal biological clocks. The injected animals lost weight, even on a high-fat diet, and improved their cholesterol profiles.

Unexpectedly, the treated mice also began using more oxygen throughout the day and expending about 5 percent more energy than untreated mice, even though they were not moving about more than the other animals. In fact, in most cases, they were more physically lazy and inactive than they had been before the injections. The drug, it seemed, was providing them with a workout, minus the effort.

Richard Gunderman considers:

[W]e would recoup even more time than the two hours we actually spend on exercising. Think how many minutes we spend every week just talking ourselves into it, getting dressed for it, and driving to it. And what about all the after-exercise time – driving back home, showering, getting dressed again, and then sitting in the easy chair contemplating how tired and sore we feel or congratulating ourselves on what good care we take of ourselves.

Driving to the gym…

File that under first world problem, Richard.

Posted: 19th, July 2013 | In: Technology | Comment (1)