The Latest Jesus-Phone Rises

Another year, another iPhone. But this year at the WWDC Steve Jobs’ presented something unexpectedly expected, the iPhone 4, and boy is it cute.

The ‘traditional’ iPhone front aspect is still relatively intact, but the new side bezel of aluminium is something very new, and indeed very ingenious as it incorporates an antenna. The latest iPhone also features something Apple calls a ‘retina screen’, a screen with resolution so high that your eye cannot perceive the different pixels. A screen the same size as the older iPhones, but with roughly 75% of the pixels of the iPad. That is stunning, and it’s a technology I can’t wait to see on any laptop screen. Twin cameras, front and rear facing, are now present – one replete with LED flash & full HD recording plus the ability to edit movies in situe via a cut down version of iMovie (available at a premium from the App Store), the other camera is set to let you video conference face to face (for now only over wireless). Then there’s the built-in gyroscope, that detects movement in three directions. What the what!

Having not held it in my hand, and only from the pre-emptive looks from Gizmodo amongst others, I can only guess how amazing it feels to the touch. Yes, unfortunately, I want one. Will this gadget-lust cost me? Yes, it will. Thankfully I won’t have to wait too long to be parted from my money, as it rolls onto UK shelves on 24th June.

Plus ça Change (Blogger: 10 years on)

Many, many years ago I signed up for a young web service to host this blog. In fact it was almost ten years ago – or will be in a week. This service, Blogger, was the de-facto standard for web-log (or ‘blog’) hosting at the time – far and away the leader in a young market. A few years later Google bought them out, and the team who created it went on to other things. Wow. Time flies.

Now Google has decided that they can no longer afford the development effort to support how I, and I assume at least a few other people, and FTP publishing of blogs is being discontinued as of March 26th this year. Bugger. So this means at some point in the nearish future this blog will be moving over to a new platform, most likely WordPress. Yes, I could magically host the domain on Google’s hosting but part of me doesn’t like the thought of everything I do being on one, increasingly monolithic provider (Microsoft, anyone?). That and I prefer to maintain more control over what I can and can’t do with my blog and self-hosting WordPress is a way to do that. For now at least.

So it’s with a slight tear in my eye I big ‘adieu’ to Blogger. You’ve served me well for many, many years and for that I thank you.

New Job

I’ve been pretty quiet blogging recently, and most of that has been down to being back in the daily 9 to 5 of a full-time position again. The lucky folks to have the pleasure of my company are Mkodo – who make one of the best mobile platforms in the biz, ready to provide all your SMS, WAP and other mobile delivery needs as and when you want. All very exciting, and only a short(ish) scenic walk from home in the center of happening Shoreditch. Splendid news indeed for all fans of Nathan Barley such as I.

RFID Tag Technology Suffering from Excessive ‘Cute’

The BBC has an article today about the evolution of RFID tags. They can now hold more complex information than simple product bar codes and people are doing increasingly clever things to enable normal household goods to interact over the internet. One example of this is Nabaztag wi-fi rabbit, a cute gizmo that can read RFID tags and communicate with the internet. Now some book publishers are adding RFID tags to their books, so that when the book is waved in front of the rabbit it starts to ‘read’ the book out loud – well, stream a recording of it being read from the internet anyway. Cute. But that’s not all. It seems the Rabbit, which according to the website is ‘good for lovers’ (coff), has a PR guy whose last name is Kitten. Maybe this is just a coincidence, or maybe the sinister Rabbit Corp forces every staff member to change their names to be cute just like their product… Hmm… if I ever join them I’d be Mr Fluffy.

Yeah, I’m on the plane.. ON. THE. PLANE!

There is some movement across the EU to allow in-flight calls from mobile phones. At the moment this discussion is in its early stages, as all the national air regulators need to approve it, but the very fact that it is even being discussed seriously worries the hell out of me.

Even ignoring the possibility of remote triggering of terrorist devices, my vote is firmly against allowing in-flight mobile phone calls purely for social reasons. Smoking, that most anti-social of social behaviours, has already been banned on the grounds of safety but people of my age may well remember the frustration of being on a long haul journey when smoking was allowed. So instead of that pervasive stench, imagine the constant nattering of people on seats all around you loudly talking into their phones, or the beeping of text messages arriving. Argh! It’s already making me feel tense and I’m on the ground right now. Innovation in communication is a wonderful thing, but sometimes common and social sense should win out.

Happy Birthday Google!

Today is Google’s 9th birthday – hence the natty pinata design they have on their home page. In some ways it surprises me that they’re that old, and then it feels like I can’t remember what life was like without being able to ‘Google’ anything. I’m sure even Larry & Sergey didn’t envision that it would turn out like this. Here’s to another interesting nine years…

Today’s Horoscope: Communication is Less Blocked

Well after almost a full day of no Skype, the wonder peer to peer telephone app, after their mysterious unexplained outage it looks like most people can now log on again. It’s slow to sign on right now though and it’s not letting me make some profile changes, so guess not all is good in the woods. However this whole event means we now know more about the Skype ‘heartbeat’ page.

In most likely unrelated news, my website host is having their own issues, so at the moment Matt Hobbs is fine (ie, here) but is Useful is unavailable. They claim it will be back up soon, but it’s already been down since 9pm last night so that’s now 12 hours.

Hmm… maybe the whole internet just has a 12 hour cold or something. Makes you appreciate the value of a good sysadmin person!

Infinite Energy Eternally Delayed?

The Kinetica Museum, slated to be the site of the first demonstration of the Orbo perpetual energy device from Steorn, has now announced that the opening of this exhibit has been “postponed until further notice”...

Not only has Steorn failed to get their alleged invention working in the real world, but Kinetica themselves are now staying closed until this exhibition is working. Could be a long wait, and makes me feel that Kinetica has no viability as an entity outside of Steorn’s marketing.

The current full noticed from Kinetica’s site follows:

“KINETICA OPENING DELAYED: Due to technical difficulties the planned demonstration of Steorn’s ‘Orbo’ free energy technology has been postponed until further notice. As a consequence, Kinetica Museum will not be open to the public during this period. A technical assessment is currently underway and information regarding the rescheduling of this demonstration will be posted on the websites of Steorn and Kinetica as soon as it becomes available. We apologise for this delay and appreciate your patience.”

Orbo Free Energy Demo – Not Yet Working…

Today at the Kinetica Museum in London, Steorn are supposed to be demonstrating their new Orbo technology – a technology they claim offers free energy, or perpetual motion as it’s also known. As of now, July 5th 3pm BST, the demo is not working – with the following explanation:

“We are experiencing some technical difficulties with the demo unit in London. Our initial assessment indicates that this is probably due to the intense heat from the camera lighting. We have commenced a technical assessment and will provide an update later today. As a consequence, Kinetica will not be open to the public today (5th July). We apologise for this delay and appreciate your patience.”

Hmm.. Note the use of the word ‘assessment’ twice – is this th pseudo-scientific equivalent of multiple exclamation marks???

Yes, as someone with a Physics degree and aware of the laws of energy conservation & entropy, I’m highly sceptical of free energy – highly efficient maybe, free no. That said I’d love to be proved wrong, as would many people, and I suspect that’s why Steorn has so much hype.

[UPDATE: It’s now Saturday 7th July, and the opening of the Orbo ‘demonstration’ has been delayed indefinitely pending further investiations. Going directly to Orbo’s site gives a “Virtual Folder Unavailable” error, and Kinetica themselves have delayed their opening. Hmm. The plot thickens.]