Thursday, 30 March 2006

A Brief History of Microsoft FUD

This article is a well-researched piece about Microsoft's various attempts to unseat Linux. What better proof that MS are a bigoted monopoly, than the fact that their only serious OS competitors in the last 10 years give their products away for free?

Thursday, 23 March 2006

Speed Camera Map

Another handy map here, this time for UK speed cameras.

UK traffic info map

Here's a nice mash-up website: it takes BBC traffic news and x-refs it with Google Maps. Grouped by county & very clean looking. Not sure how up to date it is, though.

Thursday, 16 March 2006

Amphibious Snake-Like Robot

This is incredible: versatile and very lifelike.

Idea: camera for Video iPod

WHile reading this article, particularly the specs of the Broadcom chip, I was struck by the prospect of a camera for the Vipod. It could simply be a scaled-down version of the iSight that attaches to the port at the bottom of the Vipod and runs width-wise along the bottom of it.


Video podcast-tastic, eh?

Wednesday, 15 March 2006

MacIntel... MacInDell?

My first thought on news of the Intel-based MacBook was that this might be a tacit swipe at Microsoft's Windows market. Sure, it's a nice new Apple laptop, but the argument for Intel chips seemed a little, well, technical for Steve Jobs. Better chip efficiency?? You could hardly imagine the world's graphic designers salivating in anticipation. I thought it was either a consolidation move, after IBM managed to woo Xbox and Playstation with their new Core chips (afer all, what priority would they give Apple after megadeals like that?), or maybe the chip efficiency was important for a possible expansion into more mobile technologies.


This article (extremetech.com) puts an interesting angle on the OS competition, although I'm not sure if Dell have the clout, or the legal leeway to be able to offer other competing OSes. I hope they do, though, if only to sharpen Microsoft up a bit.

Friday, 10 March 2006

A definite glimpse of Web 2.0: Zoho Writer & Pageflakes

I keep seeing articles about "Web 2.0" and people waxing lyrical about AJAX. While the examples always impressed (Google Maps being the most obvious), I couldn't help feeling that we should have had this all along; that the early HTML, static web was a regression in UI standards for the sake of connectivity. I mean, people have been enjoying incredible shared worlds online in games like Unreal Tournament for years now, so why all this fuss because finally some web pages can handle ansynchronicity? While the examples are whizzy, they've hardly been "every day" practical, unless you're a geography teacher or a news hound.


Until now. I spotted a simple, plain ad for Pageflakes on Digg, and was intrigued enough by the beautifully simple interface and lack of bandwidth-sucking ads to try it. Verrry nice, and with the decent array of widgets, lots of potential. But while those widgets were neat, they weren't, again, productive. A news reader (got one), an addressbook (got several), a clock (??) etc. So, demo stuff, essentially.


Then today I spot a new widget: Zoho Writer - the online word processor. Yet another WYSIWYG 'inline' text editor? Well, yes. And much, much more. Going to the homepage, I tried the demo user. Import your Word docs, export Word, PDF, HTML, to your blog, to email friends (as link or shared doc that they can edit too). Save docs online, save templates online. And all integrated into Pageflakes, making the latter, with my iCal widget and my Gmail widget, start to look like a handy, access-anywhere desktop.


Google, buy these. NOW.


Update (3rd April): It appears Google have already bought one!

Thursday, 9 March 2006

Boffins produce plasma at two billion kelvins | The Register

Any facility with a remit of (deep breath)"new experimental environments to help validate computer codes responsible for maintaining a reliable nuclear weapons stockpile safely and securely" sounds suspiciously like a stupidly expensive boffins' dosshouse. Sure enough, look what crazy science they've managed this week. And, like reality TV wannabes, they seem to have stumbled into some kind of breakthrough. Crazy...

Wednesday, 8 March 2006

Text messaging discovered in US!

This is a question I've often pondered myself, having received quizzical looks from Americans in the past regarding the topic of text messaging. Why don't they get it / use it / exploit it like they relentlessly exploit every other communication medium? Finally, this article (Economist.com) explains why.


I wonder how long before they're touting their "new discovery" to the rest of the world..!

Sunday, 5 March 2006

E-Ink - the Tablet Revolution

E-Ink, I predict, will be one of those inventions that will just invade everyone's life eventually, as mobile phones have done. It consists of microscopic black beads of ink suspended in a white liquid which rise to the surface when a current is passed through them - only when the current is switched off, the image remains. This has the added effect of producing something readable in any light and using no power except to change the image.

Seiko, the inventors, will initally launch a watch with the technology, but soon it will extend to book readers (backed by such authors as Dan Brown) and even bill boards and price tags in supermarkets (Tesco has plans to use it). Imagine passing down an isle with your (RFID'd) Clubcard in your pocket and watching the prices change just for you!

Once colour is introduced, it's only a matter of time before all printed material is superceded by this technology, with editions wirelessly downloaded and pages changed at the touch of a button.