Go to blog home page

Archive for January, 2011


January 28th, 2011

The Tech of the POTUS’ SOTU Address

The Tech of the POTUS’ SOTU Address

This week the President of these great United States of America held his annual State of the Union Address. It’s the only time of the year where we get articles dissecting the politics of applause or screengrabs of politicians simultaneously approving and disapproving a comment. While there were plenty of worthwhile topics President Obama covered, I have neither the inclination nor the forum to discuss most of them.

via AP

What did pique my interest during his speech however, were the comments about, and implementation of technology. Utilizing Web 2.0 features, the Office of the White House broadcast his speech simultaneously online with enhanced features. Charts and information were uploaded in real time designed to enhance the president’s speech. After the speech, senior administration officials fielded questions both on Twitter and the presidents Facebook fan page.

His comments about technology were more enlightening and promising, if a little farfetched. Currently the US ranks 18th in global broadband speeds and in five years he wants to see the United States with 98 percent coverage of high speed internet access at or near the speeds currently enjoyed by those in South Korea, the world’s number one in access speed. Doing so as Obama pointed out, allowed a multitude of possibilities to take place such as children carrying digital notebooks doctors meeting with patients via teleconferencing.

Speaking of science he takes that to task by saying: “We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair”. Being a bit of a geek myself, I respect that but realize that’s a pipe dream. He’s also claiming a high speed rail access will be available to at least 80 percent of Americans within 25 years which also comes with the promise of faster speeds in some instances than planes.

Certainly there’s a lot to be hopefully for and he has a way of making you believe it’s possible. But I’ll need to see my torrents that I download not be throttled by my internet provider, and a full scale impromptu sing along welcoming rail access before I’m a believer.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Tech of the POTUS’ SOTU Address



January 25th, 2011

Smart phones are out of this world

Smart phones are out of this world

A new perspective for smart phones

What is the true value of ubiquity, standardisation, commonality? In journalism and copywriting, we tend to throw the phrase ‘ubiquitous technology’ around with careless abandon, when in reality it’s usually nothing of the sort.

Social media platforms are just the latest recipients of such plaudits – Facebook and Twitter, we hear, are ubiquitous. Some commentators have even gone as far as to say that those without a Facebook account these days are somehow deviant.

But you don’t have to leave the industrialised world to witness a dramatic drop-off in the aura of social networking – there are thousands of communities across the UK in which tweets remain strictly for the birds. The editor of Wired UK, the screenwriter behind film ‘The Social Network’ and um, the Pope might all agree.

But what about mobile phones, then? Surely there’s no argument there? Even I’ve seen people from eight to 80 wrestling with their mobiles from Norfolk to the Ngorongoro Crater, across hugely diverse economic and social landscapes. But when can we truly class this technology as ubiquitous (without any fear of contradiction from, say, Hollywood or the Vatican)?

Well, here’s something to throw into the mix. According to the BBC, British engineers are planning to put a mobile phone in space. A team at SSTL and the Surrey Space Centre in Guildford want to see if the smarts of today’s phones will function in the most challenging environment of all. The mobile will run on Google’s open source Android OS and will be used to control a 30cm-long satellite to take pictures of the Earth in the mission later this year.

Of course this mission doesn’t really further the penetration of mobile phone technology. We all know that many people still can’t get a signal on the train let alone a rocket. But what it does perhaps demonstrate, is that there is a true value to ubiquity and economy of scale when coupled successfully with open standards and collaborative development. This venture is actually part of a serious quest to find more inexpensive, off-the-shelf electronics that can be used to lower the cost of space explorations.

As Chris Bridges from SSC told the BBC: “If a smartphone can be proved to work in space, it opens up lots of new technologies to a multitude of people and companies for space who usually can’t afford it. It’s a real game-changer for the industry.”

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Smart phones are out of this world



January 10th, 2011

Jigsaw falling into place for Radiohead Haiti Benefit

Jigsaw falling into place for Radiohead Haiti Benefit

Radiohead's crowd-sourced Haiti Benefit download gathers momentum and dollars

A new ‘official bootleg’ video of a 2010 Radiohead concert staged to raise money and awareness for the Haiti Earthquake and Recovery fund must surely be the most literal example of crowd-sourcing to date.

Made available for download in return for a plea for donations to Oxfam’s Haiti fund, the video of Radiohead’s 24 January 2010 gig at Hollywood’s Henry Ford Theatre was stitched together from footage taken by 14 fans in the 1,400-strong crowd.

The project, masterminded by three Radiohead fans who have never met, has been given full backing by the band. Over $10,000 has been raised to this point, with far more donations expected as mainstream publicity for the admirable crowd-sourced initiative gains momentum this week.

Listen to an interview with the prime movers behind the project on BBC 6Music, visit Oxfam’s Haiti Benefit page to donate today, or grab the video yourself whether you are a fan of the band, an advocate of collaborative development, or just excited by the new charitable methods being thrown up by modern technology.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Jigsaw falling into place for Radiohead Haiti Benefit



January 4th, 2011

Prompt is ready for twenty-eleven!

Prompt is ready for twenty-eleven!

After digging out of over a foot of snow in the northeast United States, and watching our London counterparts get an extended holiday, we can finally say that we’re back and ready for 2011.

My New Years resolution is to understand and be able to produce this:

What about you? Happy New Year everyone!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Prompt is ready for twenty-eleven!