The Growing Luddite Cacophany

The Luddite movement in the 19th century was targeted specifically against creeping industrialization and the effect it was seen to be having on society. The concern was legitimate because the Industrial Revolution did massively change things  and particularly in the short term there were negative consequences. But the Luddite response was narrow minded, short sighted and a classic mob mentality. Welcome to the 21st century. And on the internet (somewhat ironically) it's becoming increasingly common to see reactionary screeds about the evils of technology. Whether it's spy satellites, spy glasses, being too connected, runaway Artificial Intelligence, or cancer from wifi, there's an awful lot of noise being made about how …Read more  »

Google Unveils Self-Driving Car Prototype

Obviously Google has been working at the whole self-driving car thing for some time now. But the vehicles they've had on the road previously have simply been existing cars that have been modified as needed. What they are unveiling here is a car that has been designed from the ground up with the idea that it's going to drive itself. So no steering wheel and no pedals. Which, it turns out, gives you a lot of extra leg room. As someone who spends about 2 hours (and 80 miles) a day driving, I'm very keen to see further progress with this technology. I can see that the complete absence of …Read more  »

Celebrating BASIC’s 50th Anniversary

Over at Technologizer, Harry McCracken has written a great piece about the creation and evolution of the programming language BASIC. For people like me who were introduced to computers back in the early 80s this is a wonderful trip down memory lane. Admittedly over the years I went on to learn much more sophisticated languages and programming techniques that BASIC would never support, but still my interest in computers and programming really wouldn't exist at all without BASIC. Like McCracken I also think the lack of a simple language like BASIC front and center on modern computers is bad thing. Source: Technologizer

Google+ Is Walking Dead (Or How To Troll For Clicks If You’re A Tech Blog)

In that past I have been... critical... of the standards of technology journalism on the web. There's a reason for that. It's shit. It's so bad it's an insult to my and your intelligence. It panders to partisan fanboys and trades in gossip. It passes off opinion as fact and flashy emotional language for actual content. It is the very definition of hackwork. And that's a criticism that applies broadly across many websites many of whom are supposedly "big" names in the industry. The quality and standard of tech journalism is so low it's just laughable. And what brings on my latest rant on this topic? Well there's an article …Read more  »

Do Consumers Actually Want Modular Phones?

The Verge has an excellent article on Google's Project Ara. The concept of a truly modular phone sounds like the holy grail to many tech enthusiasts. Instead of having to pay $600 an replace your entire phone every 6 months to keep up with the latest and greatest, you will be able to just swap out a module (CPU or screen or something else) and update your existing phone. Project Ara isn't a hack either. They're thinking through all the elements quite carefully including the ability to hot swap modules and using magnets to hold everything in place tightly. It's bold and ambitious and runs directly contrary to the move …Read more  »

WTF Is Wrong With You People?

This could probably be a daily segment, but here's the quote that made me think this: "We expected a negative reaction from people in the short term, [but] we did not expect to be getting so many death threats and harassing phone calls that extended to our families," Oculus Founder Palmer Luckey Really? You're so upset about the fact that Facebook bought a company that not only do you threaten the owners with death... but you call and harass their families too? When is this ever acceptable behavior? I thought the people whining about not getting equity from their Kickstarter contribution (the one that specifically doesn't give them equity) were …Read more  »

Rumored Specs For Google Smart Watch

Wearable computing is the big thing these days and several companies have released a smartwatch but no one has really gotten it right yet. Most of us have been waiting for the two big players to give it their shot. Apple as always are tight lipped. Unusually Google have been as well though. But if these rumors are to be believed we may be about to see something from them:  1.65" IPS LCD @ 280x280, 512MB RAM, 4GB internal storage, processor TBD 280x280 LCD seems small when you compare to smart phones but it does have to fit on your wrist after all. The bigger question comes down to …Read more  »

PageFair — Using And Ad Blocker? How About  A Donation Then?So I stumbled upon PageFair entirely a…

PageFair - Using And Ad Blocker? How About  A Donation Then? So I stumbled upon PageFair entirely accidentally. AdBlockers are very common these days. I use one. I'm willing to bet the majority of people who read this use one. The reasons for using them vary, some people just hate advertising on principle. Some are okay with ads but find that on many sites it's overwhelming and intrusive (I'm thinking of those bloody flash adverts that float in front of things and play video!). But there's a catch. A significant number of websites rely on advertising in order to pay the bills. So if you actually like what you're getting …Read more  »

PlayStation 4 Sells Over 1 Million Units In One Day

And that's just the US/Canadian market which should make Sony pretty happy. It's also another blow to the struggling Wii U which has only managed 3.91 million units in a year despite a significant head start over the other next-gen consoles and comes in at $100 less than its competition. It's not all good news for Sony though. If you look at the page for the PS4 launch edition you'll see a lot of negative reviews: It seems that a significant percentage of PS4s are experiencing a hardware issue making them essentially bricked on arrival. It's hard to gauge the scale of the issue off internet reports and Sony …Read more  »

Optimal Viewing Distance Or Do You Need A 4K TV

So the prices for 4K or Ultra HD tvs are finally starting to come down from Tony Stark levels and the question becomes should you get one? Well my general answer is not until your current tv breaks unless you're actually unhappy with what you have. But more specifically there are good reasons to not rush to 4K. The first being content. Anyone remember when 3D TV was going to be everywhere? There is very little in the way of 4K content actually available right now. It will come (unlike 3D) but it's years away from mass penetration. So there's no reason to rush to 4K yet. Another big reason …Read more  »

Chromecast — Bought One

So yes I've bought one of these already. Now normally I'm a wait, see the reviews, make a careful judgement and then find it cheaply sort of person. But at $35 it's already bargain price and with 3 months of free Netflix (which I use) the price comes down to $11 plus shipping and tax. That doesn't require a lot of thought on my part. It helps of course that I'm already committed to the Google ecosystem and the apps they showed are the ones I use the most. so it fits well for me. Right now I'm getting a basic cable package with no DVR or OnDemand service and …Read more  »

Amazon Sale: Remote Controlled UFO

I don't believe in alien visitations, but I do believe in UFOs. LIke this rather excellent remote controlled one which Amazon is selling today for only $25. The advantage of these sorts of flyers is unlike the traditional helicopters and planes, they don't break easily and they're much more stable. So incompetents like you and me can fly them.

No DVRs For The First Time In 10 Years

The switch to Comcast from Dish is complete and along with it a major downshift in what we're subscribing to. We've gone for such a low service level that it doesn't include DVR functionality or even OnDemand. We do get the regular network channels and a some basic cable but we're starting a shift towards using Netflix and Hulu+ more heavily as tv sources and our laptops as a backup. Will I miss a minute of my favorite shows? And if I do will I notice?

Cheap PC Boxes Are The New Black

This latest ARM based PC isn't quite as cheap as the ubiquitous Raspberry PI, but at $99 it's not a budget breaker either. And it can apparently run either Ubuntu or Android. Which immediately has me thinking Media Server. And with up to 4GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage the Utilite has plenty of room for whatever you want to run on it. The cheap PC box is an interesting market segment. It's mainly been aimed at the hobbyist so far, but I figure someone will break out eventually.

Immersion Maps Your GMail Meta Data

So there's been lots of talk lately about big data and what you can learn from tracking people's meta-data. Immersion applies this (with your permission) to your own GMail account. Now with 6 years worth of data in my account I thought I would give you an illustration of how connections can be identified. But it turns out that I'm something of an abnormal use case. There's almost no connections to be found in my data at all beyond my core family. :D It turns out that I send very few emails and reply to even less. Other than that the only thing that stands out (by virtue of the size …Read more  »

Firefox OS Strategy — Aim For Budget Phones

So we all know the Smart Phone market is dominated by iOS and Android. And which one is number one depends on the metrics you care about. Meanwhile the fight is on for third place. Microsoft and Blackberry are both targeting the same market that the big boys are. Firefox OS has a different approach. They want to score in the budget/feature phone category. Their claim being that Android is too heavy an operating system to work in that market I'm not sure I buy that claim and I'm pretty dubious about aiming exclusively at the budget end of the market, but it's certainly not going to work if the …Read more  »

So… PRISM… Probably Doesn’t Work The Way People Think It Does

To be honest the only thing that really interesting me about the PRIMS fiasco was how exactly the NSA were doing what they were doing (I had assumed they were doing it anyway). It became obvious pretty quickly that neither the journalists or the leaker/traitor/hero (take your pick) even vaguely understood the actually process. But little bits and pieces have continued to leak out over the subsequent days and it starts to make sense. The NSA Do NOT Tap Google Or Microsoft To Get Your Data They don't need to. Back pre-internet in the UK GC HQ would monitor all incoming and outgoing signals from the country. It was easy …Read more  »

Time To Put BlackBerry On Death Watch?

Well honestly I've had them on there for a while. But I thought BB10 was their last real chance at resurrection and... well they lost money and underperformed market expectations.Wall Street will punish them for that (rightly or wrongly) and what else do they really have to offer at this point? BB10 fails to turn a profit for BlackBerry in first full quarter of availability After two quarters of meager profits, BlackBerry has posted its Q1 2014 results (for the three-month period ending June 1st 2013), revealing an $84 million loss from $3.1 billion revenue. Compared...

Why Smart Watches Haven’t Taken Off

We've been told (and I believe) that wearable computing is the next big thing. But if that's the case why have none of the so called smart watches taken off? Sony has just announced it's Smart Watch 2 and it shows the same problems as all the previous ones. -The 1.6" touch screen is too small to actually display much information in a readable format - Its going to be hard to read in sunlight (even with the auto brightness) - The battery will last four days at best Compared to a traditional watch, none of those are appealing features. Yes it is touch sensitive and the blue tooth paring …Read more  »

Digg’s RSS Reader Will Launch June 26

Which is only a few days before Google Reader shuts down. Expect the servers to be slammed.Apparently the focus is on a direct Google Reader replacement with iPhone and Android apps. Google login will be available and keyboard shortcuts will be there (based off Vim's key bindings!) Digg Reader to launch just days before Google Reader shutdown - Liliputing Tweet. The Google Reader shutdown is imminent, but don't fret! The team of engineers at Digg has been slaving away to make sure that Digg Reader will be ready to rock a few days before Google pulls the plug. Digg Reader. Digg's crack unit consists of just five individuals and …Read more  »

Intel Will Overpay For Streaming Content

Or at least so say Reuters who think that they may actually be overpaying by a whopping 75%. Although who decides what the correct rate for streaming tv shows is, I'm not sure. And we should keep in mind that if anyone can afford to overpay, it's Intel who allegedly might have as much as $2 billion set aside for this effort. If they want to be a player they've got to lock in some deals against dominant players like Amazon and Netflix as well as Apple. On a more negative note it seems they may be offering the inability to skip ads on a first run as a way …Read more  »