Technology | Anorak - Part 24

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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.

Company says it invented podcasting before podcasting was possible

CAN you claim to have invented something that technology enabled you to do? Did the first person to pilot a car invent driving? Sure you made the world’s first pencil, but he drew with it. That makes the artist the inventor, right? This is, of course, bonkers, but in the USA such things are debated in courts of law.

This month, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced that it is to take on the genius who invented podcasting. Texas-based outfit Personal Audio LLC is suing a few big-name podcasts for breach of patent.

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Posted: 28th, February 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

Taliban now endorse TVs – what programmes won them over?

BETTER known for endorsing holy war and the death penalty for rape victims, the Taleban have taken to giving their stamp of approval to consumer electronic products.

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Posted: 27th, February 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

Google Maps grasses up man cheating on fiance

THE internet has done wonders for people’s sex lives, enabling them to flirt more confidently and meet other people without having to brave a bar filled with stouty burps first. However, with every silver lining is a dirty great raincloud, as one Russian lothario soon discovered.

While browsing Google Maps, a Russian lady found that her other-half was having it away with someone else. Marina Voinova, from Perm (where everyone looks like the Liverpool FC squad in the early ’80s), was looking for an address online and, when switching to the Street View feature, she saw an image of her fiance cuddling up to another woman.

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Posted: 26th, February 2013 | In: Strange But True, Technology | Comment

Scientists make suit that give you Spidey Sense!

GREETINGS web-slingers! You may look good in lycra and have a boss that shouts at you all the time, but that’s where you and Spiderman’s similarities end… UNTIL NOW!

Clever science sods have made a suit which, sadly, doesn’t enable you to climb walls and snog Mary Jane, but probably more impressively, actually gives you Spidey Sense. That’s right – you’ll tingle at danger!

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

The 10 best premium-rate phone lines of the 1980s

IN the 1980s, fans could get close to the stars on telephone chatlines. The messages were pre-recorded. But the billing was live.

The New Kid On The Block had a message for you:

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Posted: 24th, February 2013 | In: Celebrities, Flashback, Technology | Comment

Apple and Microsoft gadgets are more expensive in Australia because of politicians and their taxes

THE Aussie politicians are getting all angry at the tech companies because Australians have to pay more for their shiny shiny tech than do Americans. But you would think that someone devious enough to actually get elected would have the brains to work this out, wouldn’t you?

The IT Pricing Inquiry being conducted by Australia’s House Committee on Infrastructure and Communications has issued summons to Apple, Microsoft and Adobe.

The inquiry kicked off in 2012 and is investigating why Australians pay more for hardware and software than those overseas.

At current exchange rate one Australian dollar buys $US1.03. Yet Australians often pay more in Australian dollars than Americans are charged in their currency.

An example of the discrepancy can be seen in the price of a 16GB WiFi iPad with Retina Display. In the USA the fondleslab costs $US499. In Australia it’s $AUD539.

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Posted: 22nd, February 2013 | In: Money, Technology, The Consumer | Comment

Facebook fail: New York dentist invites dead football star to open offices

FACEBOOK is a great way to connect your business to its customers. Lalor Creekside Dental asked its Facebook followers to help pick a celebrity to be there for its new office grand opening in April. Who would go to Binghamton, New York, to see Dr Teeth and the gang? The star selection box included such notable faces as: Oprah Winfrey, Jim Carey, Robin Williams, Meatloaf and Steve McNair. Who? Steve McNair, the American football star who made a name with the Tennessee Titans.Well, pick him if you want to see something amazing. He died in 2009.

Spotter: June

Posted: 21st, February 2013 | In: Sports, Technology, The Consumer | Comment

Whinging about salaries at tech companies is plain stupid

THIS does get depressing, vaunted media experts pronouncing on matters economic without actually understanding anything about economics. The Observer’s John Naughton wants us to get all upset about the way that these vast fortunes being made in hte tech comapniues only go to the entrepreneurs and the engineers. The average staff doing the average jobs just get the usual crap.

Well, yes, that’s how the system is supposed to work:

These vast revenues, however, are not being widely shared. Instead, they are mostly enriching the founders and shareholders of Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook et al. Of course, those who work at the heart of these organisations – the engineers, developers and the executives who manage them, for example – are richly rewarded in salaries, stock options and lavish perks. But these gilded employees constitute only a minority of the workforces of the big tech companies and most of their colleagues have decidedly more mundane terms of employment – and remuneration.

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Posted: 19th, February 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

Driving in Russia: Dash-cam captured madness

THE meteor that hit the Urals was recorded by a car’s dashboard camera. Many Russian cars have them. It’s about insurance. Can you prove that the man whose car you drove into the back of stopped very suddenly, as if  – as if… – he wanted you to damage his broken old wreck? Sure, witnesses emerge from all sides to back up his claim of your recklessness, but with dash-cam you can argue your case.

Also, Russian driving is nuts. It’s not just about insurance. It’s about capturing those magic moments for posterity.

Things to looks out for:

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Posted: 19th, February 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

Dell does go private – but why?

IT’S been announced that Michael Dell is going to buy back his company and take it private. The buyout price is $13.65 a share for a total just north of $24 billion. The big questions is: why?

Clearly, the obvious answer is that they think the company is worth more than the stock market thinks the company is worth. That’s why you buy things: because other people value them at a lower price than you do. But why do they think this?

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Posted: 18th, February 2013 | In: Money, Technology, The Consumer | Comment

Road rage in Taiwan

TO Taiwan, to see the road rager and his magnificent gloves:

Posted: 18th, February 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

Business fashions do move in cycles: Another World on BB 10

THAT old DOS computer game, Another World. has just been ported over to the new BlackBerry operating system, BB 10. Which just goes to show that fashions in the business world really do go in cycles.

Eric Chahi’s seminal game work, Another World, is now available on BlackBerry 10 devices (so … uh, those of you with a Z10, though it also works on PlayBook). And not just any version, but the 20th Anniversary Edition, which adds updated graphics, a remastered soundtrack, and some gesture controls. The game’s one of several titles that publisher DotEmu is bringing to BB10, including notoriously difficult shooter R-Type.

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Posted: 15th, February 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

83 per cent of radiologists can’t see a gorilla in this CT scan

CAN you see the gorilla? CBS news reports that 83 per cent of radiologists didn’t see the beast.

The 24 qualified radiologists were given lung CT scans, which each had about 10 nodules (abnormal spots), and were asked to find anything strange on the scans. On the last one, the dancing gorilla – about 48 times the size of an average nodule – was placed in the scan. The radiologists found the correct nodules 55 per cent of the time. But only 20 of them saw the gorilla, despite scrolling past it 4.3 times, on average.

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Posted: 14th, February 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

Consumerism, Eh? The £7,000 mobile phone

THIS did rather make me giggle. A company that makes outrageously expensive mobile phones. Their latest model costing £7,000.

The Vertu Ti costs 7,900 euros (£6,994) and is made at the firm’s headquarters in Church Crookham, Hampshire.

The device had a titanium frame and sapphire screen but was not 4G-enabled, said its designer Hutch Hutchison.

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Posted: 13th, February 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

Is Microsoft’s Excel the most dangerous software in the world?

IS Microsoft’s Excel the most dangerous software in thewWorld? It could be actually. That is, that the very existence of Excel itself makes it the most dangerous software in the world.

There’s two parts to this. One is that we’ve got the regulators trying to warn banks on the dangers of using it badly.

Both the Switzerland-based Basel Committee on Banking Supervision1 (BCBS) and the Financial Services Authority2 (FSA) in the UK have recently made it clear that when relying on manual processes, desktop applications or key internal data flow systems such as spreadsheets, banks and insurers should have effective controls in place that are consistently applied to manage risks around incorrect, false or even fraudulent data. The citation by the BCBS is the first time that spreadsheet management has ever been specifically referenced at such a high level, a watermark in the approach to spreadsheet risk.

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Posted: 13th, February 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

Robert Crumb predicted twitter and the internet (photo)

DECADES before it went live, Robert Crumb predicted Twitter and the internet:

“Everyone will be tuned into everything that’s happening all the time! No-one will be left out. We’ll all be normal!”

Crumb – a life in photos; the Crumb Bible; the Crumb rejected.

Posted: 10th, February 2013 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, Technology, The Consumer | Comment

Cosmos watch: Earth like planet spotted but Apophis is going to blow us up

FIRST the good news:

“Using publicly available data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have found that six percent of red dwarf stars have habitable, Earth-sized planets. Since red dwarfs are the most common stars in our galaxy, the closest Earth-like planet could be just 13 light-years away.”

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Posted: 7th, February 2013 | In: Technology | Comment

Naples driver’s U-turn meets Monty Python (video)

TO Naples, where a man in a small car is attempting to execute a U-turn in a narrow street. The action heats up at the 1:30 mark when the cast of local Monty Python Appreciation Society arrives:

Posted: 7th, February 2013 | In: Technology | Comment (1)

1976: the Star Trek cast meet the Space Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise

IT was no coincidence that the first Space Shuttle Orbiter was called Enterprise. Originally named Constitution (in honor of the U.S. Constitution’s Bicentennial), Star Trek fans wrote to President Gerald Ford suggesting an alternative name: Enterprise. The vehicle debuted  at Palmdale California on Sept. 17, 1976. Many from the cast of Star Trek were there to see it.

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Posted: 6th, February 2013 | In: Flashback, Technology, TV & Radio | Comment

France bans lights at night

THE Dark Ages are returning to France. French environment minister Delphine Batho says that from July 1, all non-residential buildings will have to switch off interior lights one hour after the last worker leaves the premises. The outside lights must all be extinguished by 1 am.

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Posted: 5th, February 2013 | In: Technology | Comments (2)

No, really, Apple still isn’t avoiding UK tax

THE Sunday Times has done yet another of its pieces on how tech comapnies are avoiding tax in the UK. Given that that paper’s gated, here’s the Telegraph telling us all about it. The real problem here is that Apple just isn’t indulging in tax avoidance: this is what the system is set up to encourage it to do

Apple is estimated to have avoided more than £550m in tax in Britain in 2011. Its latest accounts show UK turnover at just over £1bn and profit at £81.3m, generating a tax bill of £14.4m.

However, analysis of its filings in America suggest a more realistic figure for UK turnover is £6.7bn. This would imply an estimated profit of £2.2bn and, at the then corporation tax rate of 26pc, a £570m tax bill, the Sunday Times reports.

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Posted: 5th, February 2013 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad goes looking for gays in space

HAS Iran run out of monkeys to fire into space? News is that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is ready and willing to be the first Iranian to orbit the Earth in space. As he says:

“I am ready to be the first human to be sent to space by Iranian scientists. Sending living things into space is the result of Iranian efforts and the dedication of thousands of Iranian scientists.”

To say nothing of reading textbooks of what the Russians did in the 1960s.

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Posted: 4th, February 2013 | In: Politicians, Technology | Comment

Iran’s space monkey was faked: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad invents cheesecloth pantaloons

IRAN did not fire a monkey into space. When Anorak read the news that Iran had done what the USA had done in 1961, we feared that before long Iran’s go-ahead leaders would be wearing cheesecloth pantaloons, reinventing the TV dinner and invents computer smaller than a one-bedroom flat.

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Posted: 1st, February 2013 | In: Technology | Comment