Technology | Anorak - Part 22

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.

Gif inventor and inventor of letter ‘g’ in pedantic row

gif jif

HAVE you ever jiffawed at a jif? The inventor of the Gif says the thing should be pronounced Jif.  Gif stands for Graphics Interchange Format. That’s graphic not jraffic. But Steven Wilhite says the ‘G’ of Gif should be used like the G in Germany. Said Steven (pronounced. Ste-veen):

 “It is a soft ‘G’, pronounced ‘jif’. End of story.”

Of course jif is now known as cif.

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Posted: 23rd, May 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

Scooter rider has four accidents in a minute – video

IN this video, the hapless scooter boy suffers three accidents in a very short space of time.

I have no end of sympathy for him. The first time I ever drove a scooter was on a ‘fun’ track in Hampshire. I ended up wrapped around a fence in the car park. The next time I drove one was in Italy. As I headed towards the queue of terrified locals stood at the bus stop opposite the scooter hire shop, I knew that motorbikes and me made for an unhappy mix. Fortunately, I managed to twist the handlebars in time to slap into the bike renter’s car, which I then hired:

Posted: 23rd, May 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

Nintendo won’t brand you a criminal for making a video of your game – it will just take your money

nintendo youtube

WHO owns the videos you make and post on YouTube? Well, if you make one yourself playing a Nintendo video game, they do. Alan Wexelblat writes:

The basic idea is that if someone makes a video of themselves playing a Nintendo game and uploads it to YouTube any ads shown with that video will be of Nintendo’s choosing and revenue from it will flow to Nintendo. Ads may appear beside the videos or actually be inserted before and after the video when people go to play it.

The problem here is that “Let’s Play” style videos are a pervasive form of information and sharing throughout the industry. I did a quick YouTube search for “let’s play” for this blog post and got back over 9.1 million hits. People create these videos to show off their skills, to highlight interesting things they’ve seen such as game “easter eggs”, to provide guides or walk-throughs, or just to share a bit of fun with friends. There are a few professional or semi-professional games writers who use this style of video to promote themselves or their channels, but they are a tiny minority of that nine million.

Nintendo has positioned its action as a gentler approach; rather than trying to ban content related to Nintendo games, they just want to make money off it by changing the video that an individual uploaded. Yeah, um, guys that’s not a whole lot better. It also comes across as cheap and lazy – rather than creating content for YouTube that fans and players would want to watch, Nintendo is just taking over other peoples’ content.

Nintendo is not alone. Google is there to help:

Nintendo will accomplish this by using YouTube’s Content Match ID system, which allows publishers, television networks or record labels to identify if content being used in a video is something from their products. Those entities can then monetize those videos.

And lest you think Nintendo look like swine, they explain:

“We continually want our fans to enjoy sharing Nintendo content on YouTube. That is why, unlike other entertainment companies, we have chosen not to block people using our intellectual property.”

No, Instead of making you a criminal they will just take your money instead. Oh, the irony…

NOTE: In 2013, Nintendo made an annual profit of 7.1bn yen (£47m).

Posted: 20th, May 2013 | In: Technology | Comment (1)

1951 manual: How To Use a Dial Telephone

IN 1951: anyone uncertain of how to use a telephone was being educated:

1951 telephone

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Posted: 17th, May 2013 | In: Flashback, Technology | Comment

The Mickey Mouse gasmask was utterly terrifying in 1942 – and it still is

mickey mouse gas mask

WAR is utterly terrifying. It’s ugly. But in 1942, T.W. Smith, Jr., owner of the Sun Rubber Company, and designer, Dietrich Rempel, created something to give children nightmares: the Mickey Mouse gas mask, as approved by Walt Disney.

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Posted: 16th, May 2013 | In: Flashback, Technology | Comment

1936: How to die by electrocution in 30 pictures

AUSTRIAN physician Stefan Jellinek founded The Electro-Pathological Museum in 1936. Hr provided the content in Elektroschutz in 132 Bildern (Electrical Protection in 132 Pictures). DEath and electricity went hand-in-hand. But with this book, you would be forewarned.

If you can identify all the contraptions, let us know.

electrocution 30

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Posted: 16th, May 2013 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, Technology | Comment

The entirely insane new tax in France on smartphones, laptops, TVs and tablets

smartphone tax

THE French have decided it would be a good idea to tax all the smartphones, TVs, tablets and the rest in order to subsidise the creation of French movies n’ stuff that people can watch on their smartphones, tablets and TVs. This is truly insane:

The French government is considering creating a new tax on smartphones and tablets in a bid to raise millions to support the creation of digital cultural content inside France.

The proposal, handed to President Francois Hollande today, outlines a one per cent tax on the sale of Internet-compatible devices, targeting companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon.

The tax would yield about 86 million euros per year. The revenue would help cultural industries create French content such as music, images and videos.

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Posted: 15th, May 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment (1)

Things that existed: the Phone Relief Ultimate Hands-Free Headset

hands free phone relief
IN the early 1990s, the world was in peril. Telephones were falling into pies, to the floor from desks and very possibly being mistaken for carrots. But help was at hand. The Phone Relief Ultimate Hands-Free Headset was here.

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Posted: 13th, May 2013 | In: Flashback, Technology | Comment

Bang With Friends: the only people anonymous are the sex site’s creators

bang with friends

BANG WITH FRIENDS is a site that boasts:

The anonymous, simple, fun way to find  friends who are down for the night.

Your friends will never know you’re interested unless they are too!  (Completely private & discreet until both friends are down to bang!)  

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Posted: 12th, May 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

In 1981 technology stopped the ‘Arctic region becoming equatorial and the tropics suddenly changed to polar temperature’

IN 1881, the London St James’s Gazette reported on the end of life on Earth. The news was picked up by Australia’s Bendigo Advertiser:


The London St James’s Gazette writes :— 

” This planet, it seems, is threatened with serious changes by the extension of the telegraphic system. A timely note of warning to this effect is given by one of the American papers. Polarity, it observes, depends upon a current of electricity passing at right angles to the direction of the poles. The polarity of the earth depends upon the electric or heat currents of the sun, and it is highly probable that the earth’s inclination to the ecliptic is governed by its polarity. If, therefore, there were instantly established sufficient electrical connection by wires around the earth, with the earth itself, to instantly equalize the current and produce a complete reduction of all electrical excitement, what would be the effect on the polarity, and secondly on the inclination to the ecliptic ? May there not be a sudden change of polarities — the Arctic region becoming equatorial, and the tropics suddenly changed to polar temperature? The sudden melting of the vast ice fields would produce another glacial flood ; the present race would disappear, and the man of the quaternary would begin life ever again at the antipodes. All this is to be accomplished by the continuation of complete circuits for telegraphing around the globe. Of course tremendous earthquakes would follow, as the polar diameter is twenty-six miles too short and the equatorial twenty-six miles too long. Whether this theory prove correct or not, there cannot be a doubt that something has of late gone wrong with atmospherical arrangements, and perhaps the telegraph wires are not wholly blameless in the matter.”

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Posted: 12th, May 2013 | In: Flashback, Technology | Comment

78,000 apply to live and die on Mars, because they hate Earth, clearly


SOME people hate Earth so much that they’ve applied to live on Mars, even though Mars looks like an arid death hole. More than 78,000 people from 120 different countries have applied to leave Earth, which frankly makes them traitors and we should round them up and boo them into oblivion.

The openings come from a new reality TV series from Dutch non-profit organisation Mars One.

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Posted: 10th, May 2013 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment (1)

In 1967 The Muppets worked as IBM instructors (video)

IMB Muppet

IN 1967, IMB hired Jim Henson to educate their staff. His Muppets were here to help. Cue the Cookie Monster:




Posted: 6th, May 2013 | In: Celebrities, Flashback, Technology | Comment

The Liberator 3D gun secures victory for who owns the best printers

liberator gun

TEXAS University law student Cody Wilson has printed and fired a 3D gun. The gun was manufactured on a 3D printer that cost $8,000 (£5,140) from eBay.

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Posted: 6th, May 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

Using DNA to make portraits

heather-dewey-hagborg DNA

POLICE forces will be beating a path to Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s door. She collects stray hair, dropped chewing gum, and discarded cigarettes, extracts the DNA and constructs models of the faces of the comber, chewer and smoker. One say this technology will be used to identify the dog that dropped a packet in the wrong place, the Singaporean who defied the rules and chewed the Bazooka Joe and the man in the balaclava who held up the bank. 

From this sequence, Dewey-Hagborg gathers information about the person’s ancestry, gender, eye color, propensity to be overweight and other traits related to facial morphology, such as the space between one’s eyes. “I have a list of about 40 or 50 different traits that I have either successfully analyzed or I am in the process of working on right now,” she says.

Dewey-Hagborg then enters these parameters into a computer program to create a 3D model of the person’s face.” Ancestry gives you most of the generic picture of what someone is going to tend to look like. Then, the other traits point towards modifications on that kind of generic portrait,” she explains. The artist ultimately sends a file of the 3D model to a 3D printer on the campus of her alma mater, New York University, so that it can be transformed into sculpture.

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Posted: 6th, May 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

21 vintage camera adverts for your inner voyeur

BEFORE the age of digital cameras in everything, buying a snapper was a call to loins. Men needed cameras for one reason: to record women (and in one instance below, other men). We’ve compiled 21 great images of what photography looked like before self shots and the internet.

Michael Landon did it was “flash”. The star of Little House on the Prairie was the wholesome and good Charles Ingalls, creating a myriad children from God’s will and hearty woodland walks. Then in the 1980s he got a Kodak Ektralite camera and went to film girls in their swimmers doing onto varnished hardwood flooring.

vintage camera ads 24

Going Beyond subtle.

vintage camera ads 23

Whipped hair and soup strainer, Tamon man was a serious photographer. The Playgirl ideal never smiled.

vintage camera ads 22

She’s looking at you. He’s looking to steal her necklace.

 vintage camera ads 20

The name’s Bond. Basildon Bond. So shoot me!

vintage camera ads 18

Why flash at the beach? Because with brilliant light you can see through her swimsuit, that’s why. And you live in Bridlington.

avintage camera ads 17

It’s 1932. Women are free to watch.

vintage camera ads 16

The XL Addict has a raincoat and bins. He is a “man on the move”. He;’s looking at your “money maker”. He is the man your mother warned you about.

vintage camera ads 15

Five reasons. One… two… three… (or are they a pair?)… four…

vintage camera ads 14

Get a grip

vintage camera ads 13

An eyefull. Shoot.

vintage camera ads 12

Romance lives in upskirt shots.

vintage camera ads 11

Your Kodak dealer has lots of photos. You just need to aks the right questions.

vintage camera ads 10

That sort of man. And it’s not “small”, ok.

vintage camera ads 9

Also cooks, cleans, communicates with Mars and deflects Russian atom bombs. The camera is merely huge.

vintage camera ads 8

The man on the floor is a keen observer of the human condition.

vintage camera ads 7

The Nikkormat FTN is “bait”. Be the master of bait…

 vintage camera ads 5

See that girl in the distance? Now take a look through a Soligor 80-200. Yeah, she’s that close.

vintage camera ads 4

Camera woman wears ideal photography kit.

vintage camera ads 3

It’s just like being there.

vintage camera ads 2

With the Vivitar Super 8 women are easy meat.

vintage camera ads 1


vintage camera ads

Posted: 30th, April 2013 | In: Flashback, Technology, The Consumer | Comment

New Kalq keyboard streamlines English language into a few easy-to-text words


BEHOLD the two-thumb operated keyboard. Evolution rules. Scientists at the University of St Andrews, the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and Montana Tech have worked out what they say is the most efficient keyboard layout. It turns out that QWERTY is dead. On a tablet, the eight fingers are only useful for holding the device while the two thumbs type.

The boffins have called it Kalq, writing in a research paper:

 An error-correction algrithm was added to help address linguistic and motor errors. Users reached a rate of 37 words per minute – with a five per cent error rate – after a training program.

Words like “on, see, you, read, dear, based”, frequently used in texts, have to be typed on a split-QWERTY layout with a single thumb only. This makes the typing process cumbersome and slow. This insight initiated the process to develop a layout for two-thumb text entry that could speed up typing and minimise strain for the thumbs.

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

Patrick Kane’s remote control bionic hand can be programmed by a smart phone

Boy fitted with bionic hand

FACE of the day: Patrick Kane 16, has become the first person in the UK to receive a revolutionary bionic hand which can be manipulated by remote control. He can control it with a smart phone app, which programmes the hand into a raft of pre-set grips.

Patrick, from London, lost his hand when he was a young child. He was fitted with the i-limb ultra revolution yesterday and has described its functions as “priceless“. It costs around $50,000.

Says Patrick:

It’s the little things that are important, like being able to hold a glass while you pour into it, or being able to cut up the food on my plate, rather than having someone else do it for me.

Says the company behind the wonder, Livingston’s Touch Bionics:

Utilizing its pulsing and vari-grip features, the i-limb ultra is the only prosthetic hand with the ability to gradually increase the strength of its grip on an object. This can be very useful in situations where a firmer grasp is required, such as tying shoelaces tightly or holding a heavy bag more securely.

We’ve come a long way, baby:


These prosthetics made by Felix B. Weinberg, in Baltimore, Md., include a manÂ’s hand, a womanÂ’s hand, two eyes, and an ear, shown May 10, 1951. The lifelike portions of the body are made of soft pliable plastics for use by the patient.  Date: 10/05/1951

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

White House speechwriter William Safire’s letter to President Nixon on the failed moon landing of 1969

View of Astronaut Footprint in Lunar Soil

AS we in the know know, the 1969 moon landing never happened. But in case what never happened, never happend badly and the mission failed, speechwriter William Safire wrote to President Nixon’s Chief of Staff, H. R. Haldeman. He wanted to outline a plan should Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin reach the moon’s surface but fail to return home. Buzz had a prayer. But the US needed a statement.

man on moon disaster

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Posted: 22nd, April 2013 | In: Flashback, Technology | Comment

Woo Hoo! Apple’s new iPhone is coming!

China Foxconn

THE new iphone. It’s coming! Aren’t you excited too? I know I am because it’ll be just fabulous allowing me to pose even more effectively as a cool and in touch sort of person. You know, rather than the fat middle aged man I actually am.

The knowledge that the new iPhone is coming is revealed to us by the Wall Street Journal:

TAIPEI—Foxconn Technology Group has resumed hiring assembly-line workers in China after a postholiday freeze, in the latest sign that customer Apple Inc. is gearing up for production of a new iPhone.

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Posted: 16th, April 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

Every birthday celebrating on your Facebook Wall

YOU FACEBOOK friends want to wish you a happy birthday. Dan Hopper saves them the bother. This is what your Facebook wall looks like on your birthday:

facebook wall

Posted: 16th, April 2013 | In: Technology | Comment (1)

Big Brother: Tiny wireless injectable device shines light on brains to generate a reward


THIS can only go well for anyone interested in controlling human thoughts. Researchers, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created a tiny device for triggering happy thoughts. It’s a tiny wireless injectable LED device that shines light on mice brains to generate a reward.

“Using a miniature electronic device implanted in the brain, scientists have tapped into the internal reward system of mice, prodding neurons to release dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure.”

What could go wrong?

Posted: 13th, April 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

Kiwi Minister says 3D printers can produce drugs, planets and MPs

Maurice-Williamson 3d
3D printing is the new wonder what will turn your home into a factory. But New Zealand’s Customs Minister Maurice Williamson is gravely concerned. He says the average household printer will soon be printing contraband:
“If people could print off … sheets of Ecstasy tablets at the party they’re at at that time, that just completely takes away our border protection role in its known sense… In the near future we will need to protect a digital border instead of just locating physical objects as we do now. If it’s made of atoms, you’ll be able to print it… [it] will change the very existence of mankind beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations”
Beam, him up, Snotty:

Posted: 13th, April 2013 | In: Politicians, Technology | Comment

Your dead gran, recycled into road signs

metal hips mickey

PEOPLE who say old-folks are useless clearly are idiots aren’t they? For a start, old people are the main source of institutionalised racism and without pensioners, the makers of fig rolls would go out of business overnight. Pensioners are so useful that they even help us all when they’re dead.

The steel hips, plates and screws from legs and skulls can be collected after they’re cremated and the metal is sent off for recycling, used by automobile and aeronautical industries.

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Posted: 12th, April 2013 | In: Reviews, Strange But True, Technology | Comment

Time machine inventor frets about Chinese stealing his idea

Mideast Iran Ashoura
THERE have been some great inventions not yet made. The flying house. The singing aardvark. A machine that goes to the toilet for you, so preventing you missing bits of telly. And now Iranian inventor Ali Razeghi, 27, has invented a ‘time machine’ that can predict your person’s future.
He hasn’t made one yet because he’s worried that the Chinese will steal his idea. 

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Posted: 12th, April 2013 | In: Technology | Comment