Technology | Anorak - Part 27

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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.

Nuclear waste? Cancer? Shoot at it with the world’s biggest laser!

EVERYONE knows that laser beams are ace. They go PYOW! and ZZAP! and make things explode in a most entertaining manner.

And now, lasers are going to be aimed at things in real life thanks to the EU spending 700 million euros to build the world’s most powerful laser beam! So we’ll be seeing baddies and planets blown up, right? WRONG. This megalaser is going after nuclear waste and cancer!

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Posted: 29th, October 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

French want Google to pay to link to websites

THE latest installment of the Gallic incomprehension of the most basic pieces of economics is that they want to charge Google for indexing the French newspapers. Something that is really very absurd indeed.

France’s new government has been making noise about forcing Google to pay for the privilege of linking to French news sites.

Erm, what?

Google responded by threatening to remove all French news sites from its index, which would presumably eliminate the 4 billion clicks it sends to those sites every year.

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Posted: 27th, October 2012 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

Facebook has kidnapped your friends and put a price on their heads

FACEBOOK has been turning down the volume. Not all those followers who have taken the time to “like” your Facebook page are seeing all of your updates. You might not have noticed.

Anorak has a pretty modest Facebook following. We never paid much interest to it until recently. But the plan, as with all small and big publishers, is to spread the word and get as many people to like the site to follow our updates. The new Anorak site (a couple of weeks away) has ben designed to be more Facebook friendly.

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Posted: 27th, October 2012 | In: Key Posts, Technology | Comments (3)

Hear the one about WWII remote controlled bomb-pigeons?

THE thing that really defines Britishness, is the man tinkering around in a shed, coming up with hare-brained ideas. And so, in that spirit, British secret services considered sending “radio-controlled pigeons” on sensitive missions after World War II, according to a diary from a top intelligence officer, which has just been released.

Guy Liddell, then deputy director general of MI5, was briefed on how the flight pattern of pigeons might be controlled by Captain James Caiger, who oversaw the Army’s pigeon loft. Yes really. Liddell believed it might be possible to control pigeons with electric beams. Seriously.

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Posted: 26th, October 2012 | In: Flashback, Technology | Comment

Great ads: Mercedes radar-based technology

ADVERTISING cars is tricky. I once worked as a copywriter on a Mercedes campaign. The brief escaped me. It was just a car. They are all the same. Ford proves the point. But theses adverts for Mercedes’ radar-based technology are brilliant.

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Posted: 26th, October 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

The best creepy crawlies microscope photos

THESE are the best photographs from Nikon’s Small World microscope photography competition 2012. Unpleasant creepy-crawlies can be beautiful:


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Posted: 25th, October 2012 | In: Key Posts, Technology | Comments (2)

The Fujitsu computer for women comes in Feminine Pink with kitchen sink app.

HUZZAH! Fujitsu has invented a laptop computer just for women. And they’d named it after an air freshener. Floral Kiss is made by “female engineers…aiming to bring elegance to PCs”.

The press relsease is epic:

…Based upon the design concept of bringing elegance to PCs, Floral Kiss is a new series that was planned and developed primarily under the direction of female employees.

Number of women on the Fujitsu board of directors: one out of 12.

As the first PC to be released under the Floral Kiss brand, Fujitsu will be offering an Ultrabook™ developed in an all-out pursuit of elegance, from the size and design of the model to its accessories, mouse, AC adaptor and other peripheral devices, and even to the applications. Featuring the latest Windows 8 OS, a high-performance 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor, and 500GB of hard disk space, the new notebook PC’s specs are sure to make for a user-friendly experience. It also provides access to My Cloud, Fujitsu’s proprietary personal cloud service that will be available as a full-scale service from today.

Wow. Lots of technical spec there. And there is ends:

The new series also includes a model designed in collaboration with the jewelry brand “agete.” That model is scheduled to be exhibited at a number of agete’s shops.

It sparkles!

The Floral Kiss series features a unified design sensibility that has been developed for the female consumer—from the PC’s design to accessories, such as the mouse and case, and optional add-ons. Users can select their favorite color from among three variations: Elegant White, Feminine Pink and Luxury Brown.

Not Gay Pink. Not Estate Agent Shirt Pink. No. Thsi is Feminine pink.

The top casing has been constructed with an elegant and refined gradation with gold trim, and it features a flip latch that can easily open the display—even by users with long fingernails. The power button is adorned with a pearl-like accent, and the power status LED and Caps Lock key are decorated with diamond-cut stone for a sophisticated look. An exquisite gold ring frames each key on the transparent keyboard, highlighting its elegant style. In addition, the outtake and intake vents all feature a floral motif design.


The included AC adaptor and wireless mouse are compact and fit easily into the hands of all users. At the same time, zirconia adornments and other details that give them a stylish appeal.

Nothing screams class like zirconia.

What does it do?

SCRAPBOOK automatically stores and organizes pictures and URLs of the items, retail stores, recipes, and other content that users come across when they are casually browsing the web. The application also allows users to create theme-based collages for saved content such as web captures.

What about porn? Does it bookmark porn? Finance? Banking? Sport? Pictures of cats?

With “12 Horoscopes by Fortune@nifty,” users can check their horoscope every day for the present and following day.

Live the dream.

Spotter: Karen


Posted: 23rd, October 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

Outlawed by Amazon DRM: those Kindle books aren’t yours

WHO own your Kindle book? Martin Bekkelund has news:

A couple of days a go, my friend Linn sent me an e-mail, being very frustrated: Amazon just closed her account and wiped her Kindle. Without notice. Without explanation. This is DRM at it’s worst.

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Posted: 22nd, October 2012 | In: Technology, The Consumer | Comments (4)

Making petrol from air

I’VE no idea whether this is just a spoof story that’s been fed to the Telegraph or whether there really are some people sufficiently deluded to think that this is a good idea. But there’s a story today that you can make petrol from air. And this is how you do it:

A small company in the north of England has developed the “air capture” technology to create synthetic petrol using only air and electricity.

Experts tonight hailed the astonishing breakthrough as a potential “game-changer” in the battle against climate change and a saviour for the world’s energy crisis.

The technology, presented to a London engineering conference this week, removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The “petrol from air” technology involves taking sodium hydroxide and mixing it with carbon dioxide before “electrolysing” the sodium carbonate that it produces to form pure carbon dioxide.

Hydrogen is then produced by electrolysing water vapour captured with a dehumidifier.

The company, Air Fuel Syndication, then uses the carbon dioxide and hydrogen to produce methanol which in turn is passed through a gasoline fuel reactor, creating petrol.

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Posted: 20th, October 2012 | In: Money, Technology | Comment (1)

Help us choose what Apple will say in its Samsung ads

THIS is rather a fun little court ruling. After all the piling onto Samsung that Apple have done in courtrooms around the world now they’ve got to run ads in the UK praising them.

Well, Apple has just lost the High Court appeal to have that decision overturned, meaning that despite the backhanded compliment, it will still have to run adverts in the press stating that the Korean giant had not copied its tablet designs.

Most, most amusing.

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Posted: 19th, October 2012 | In: Money, Technology | Comments (3)

Reaction to Twitter’s block on German Neo-Nazi group

TWITTER has decided, for the first time, to block German’s access to the account of a neo-Nazi group. This is the first time Twitter has decided to act on a policy known as “country withheld content”.

“Never want to withhold content; good to have tools to do it narrowly & transparently,” said Alex MacGillivray, the company’s general counsel, posted on Twitter Thursday morning in Germany.

“It’s not a great thing, but it’s a way of minimizing censorship,” said Jillian C. York, director for international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group. “It’s better for Twitter if they can keep countries happy without having to take the whole thing down.”

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Posted: 18th, October 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

Twitter bans Nazi-group Besseres Hannover: we vill fight zem in 140 characters or fewer

TWITTER has banned Germany from reading the tweets from banned neo-Nazi group Besseres Hannover (Better Hanover). Why? Will reading their tweets create sympathy to their cause? Are Germans still so easily turned onto genocide and Uber Alles and all that? Sod Nuremberg rallies. You can whip the natives into a frenzy it 140 characters.

This is the first page Twitter has banned.

Fans and followers of @hannoverticker trying to view the page in Germany are met with the result: “Withheld account. @Hannover ticker’s account has been withheld in Germany.”

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Posted: 18th, October 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

Apple’s troubling relationsip with Foxconn

ARGUABLY, most technology firms use companies to make their components that aren’t exactly nice. Giant hangars of workers soldering away like battery hens enable us to have nice, tiny gadgets. However, Apple have a rather troubling relationship with a company called Foxconn, which has seen underage workers and suicide getting too many depressing column inches.

Foxconn are the world’s largest contract electronics maker, and they have admitted using students as interns as young as 14 in their Chinese factory. Workers have been pushed so hard that suicides have been alarmingly prevalent, to the point where Foxconn saw fit to install a net around the building to stop employees from throwing themselves off the top of the factory. Recently, there have been riotous breakouts.

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Posted: 17th, October 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

1960: Joseph W. Kittinger Jr leaps into the unknown

FELIX Baumgartner jumped to Earth from 128,000 feet. Before him, the highest jump has been performed by Joseph W. Kittinger Jr., who made the record jump from 102,800 ft in 1960. Kittinger, a Captain in the US Air Force, had no sponsor. His mission was to test the effectiveness of Francis F. Beaupre’s parachute. Supersonic flight at high altitude was great. But what if the pilot had to eject? Would the parachute work? The jump was part of Project Excelsior. Up Kittinger went in an open gondaler over Tularosa, New Mexico. And then…he jumped:


Posted: 17th, October 2012 | In: Flashback, Technology | Comment

How deaf quadriplegic David Rose duped twitter, Kim Kardashian and the press

REMEMBER Twitter’s David “Dave on Wheels” Rose, the 24-year-old, deaf quadriplegic with cerebral palsy? He composed tweets with his eyes..? Sure you do.

The Daily Mail wrote about Dave:

In a tragic turn of events a deaf quadriplegic who found internet fame with his touching, witty Facebook and Twitter posts has died. 24-year-old David Rose captured the hearts of thousands as he took to the web with his seemingly unfaltering positive attitude and love for life despite the odds. But on Thursday he lost his life-long battle against the severe cerebral palsy he was born with that had committed him to existence in a wheelchair. He succumbed to pneumonia after being admitted to hospital with a cold late last week.

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Posted: 16th, October 2012 | In: Celebrities, Technology | Comment

The Gary McKinnon extradition story: in photos

THE story of Gary McKinnon’s extradition to the USA is one of a man with a passion falling foul of the law. He hacked into scores of US State department computers. The man who has Asperger’s Syndrome was looking for evidence of alien life. The Americans wanted to interrogate the computer expert on their soil. The British dithered and then saved him. Others might want to admire his skills:


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File photo dated 20/01/09 of computer hacker Gary McKinnon, whose case returns to the High Court today.

Posted: 16th, October 2012 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment

Gary McKinnon gives a boost to compassionate Conservatives

GARY McKinnon, from Wood Green, north London, will not be heading to a concrete box in the United States. Home Secretary Teresa May has blocked his extradition. Gary McKinnon hacked into US military computers.

Mrs May told MPs:

”After careful consideration of all the relevant material I have concluded the Mr McKinnon extradition would give rise to such a risk of him ending his life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with his human rights”.

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Posted: 16th, October 2012 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comments (10)

Get your official Goatse gear – do not buy gimmick merchandise

BEFORE twitter and Facebook, there was Goatse. If you do not want to be mentally upset, do not look him up. If you know who he is and why he is famous, you may care to buy some hooky merchandise. But DON’T. As his website says:

IMPORTANT NOTE: There are many merchandising attempts for around the web– none of them are real, none of them are official. Do not buy this gimmick merchandise. The official merchandise is coming soon!

Got that. Stick to the real stuff, fans of the extreme battered anus:

Spotter: CaitlinMoran

Posted: 15th, October 2012 | In: Technology, The Consumer | Comment

Drawing Dicks on the Herald Sun: the best ones

NEWSPAPERS will not die out. Thanks to Facebook page Drawing Dicks on the Herald Sun, newspapers serve a purpose. All newspapers need do is give every reader a free biro:


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Posted: 15th, October 2012 | In: Technology, The Consumer | Comments (2)

Felix Baumgartner and the Red Bull Stratos epic c*nt typo

FELIX Baumgartner has jumped to Earth from the edge of space. The Red Bull Stratos team – his sponsors – take to Facebook to salute the “c*nt”:

“Congratulations to Felix in a successful landing. We knew we could cunt on you! You are a hero.”\

Only – yep – that’s a fake account. But it’s still amusing…


Posted: 14th, October 2012 | In: Technology | Comments (3)

Felix Baumgartner jumps from the edge of space – incredible photos

FELIX Baumgartner is high above Red Bull Mission Control Roswell New Mexico. Felix Baumgartner will rise 120,000 feet. He will then jump. He will break the speed of sound in freefall (an estimated 690 miles per hour):


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Felix Baumgartner, left, of Austria, celebrates with Art Thompson, Technical Project Director, after successfully jumping from a space capsule lifted by a helium balloon at a height of just over 128,000 feet above the Earth's surface, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Roswell, N.M. Baumgartner landed in the eastern New Mexico desert minutes after jumping from his capsule 28,000 feet (8,534 meters), or 24 miles (38.6-kilometer), above Earth (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Posted: 14th, October 2012 | In: Strange But True, Technology | Comments (5)

Felix Baumgartner falls 23 miles to Earth: the epic live feed

AT 9.31am local time, Austrian dare devil Feliz Baumgartner began his rise to 23 miles above planet Earth. He will then jump. In 1960, Joe Kittinger fell 19.5miles to Earth. That’s been the record ever since. The live feed:

Posted: 14th, October 2012 | In: Strange But True, Technology | Comment

Amanda Todd: Suicide becomes a whodunnit?

AMANDA Todd has died. The 15-year-old is thought to have killed herself. You might have seen the Candian’s video. In it, she holds up handwritten notes to tell her story of bullying. She says a stranger seduced her to show her breasts on camera online. The stranger took a picture and posted it online.  The stranger created a Facebook page and added Todd’s friends to it. That happened when Amanda Todd was 12.

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Posted: 14th, October 2012 | In: Key Posts, Reviews, Technology | Comments (2)

Space Shuttle Endeavour – the first and final photos

THE 75-tonne Space Shuttle Endeavour used to travel at 17,500mph. It took eight and a half minutes to reach that speed from zero on its 25 missions into space. It went a tad slower as it passed through Los Angeles on its way to the California Science Centre. Endeavour clocked up 123m miles in space. It never had to deal with LA’s roads:


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The U.S. and orbiter flags wave in the breeze as the space shuttle Endeavour sits on Launch Pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Sunday, May 15, 2011. Endeavour, and her crew of six astronauts, is scheduled to lift off Monday morning on a 16-day mission to the international space station. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)


Posted: 13th, October 2012 | In: Technology | Comment

Car park barrier attacks car (video)

WHEN car park barriers attack:

Posted: 12th, October 2012 | In: Technology | Comment (1)