Recently in Technology Category
Whilst it's slightly early for the prediction season, I thought I'd put forward a few possibilities, based on some digital crystal gazing, some wistful looking off into space, a finger in the air and some personal perspective. Some of these may even come true.
Nokia released their latest Lumina smartphone to the most desultory of audience applause - but is it good or bad? Actually, I'm not going to discuss that - it has it's good points, in terms of wireless charging and camera technology, and it's bad ones - poor PR in faking its performance in an advert, for example. But are these the factors that will make buy it, or not?
Facebook was offered to investors at $38/share - and at the time, I commented that I'd love to be able to short the stock. It's now at about $21, so I'd have made a killing. Mind you, I'd have made a killing if I'd have sold my shares in Psion years ago when I'd bought them for pence and they reached the heights of pounds. I event told my sister to sell when she asked for my view - but I didn't follow it myself, and now they're worth.....less.
Reports suggest that many investors who got in early enough can still make a lot from selling Facebook shares now that they are able to, but for the standard investor, it's not an obvious share to make a quick buck on.
Fusion Reactors are about 40 years away! When I first heard this, I thought it was a reasonable and uncharacteristically honest estimate of the time it will take to develop an as yet untested technology into a reliable energy source for the future. As the discussion developed though, it became apparent that this was an in-joke amongst fusion scientists - the joke being that fusion reactors have always been and will always continue to be 40 years away!
The internet is wonderful - I can use it to find out how to mend my tumble drier, choose between different cameras and buy one, look at where to go on holiday and, keeping an eye on the changing prices, pick a time to buy a flight/book a ferry; I can search for a good hotel and book that, and can find out what others are reading and order my books as well. Life couldn't be better.
The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, warned at the beginning of this week's Earth Summit in Rio, "if we really do not take firm actions [on climate change], we may be heading towards the end - the end of our future".
It shouldn't surprise us that hundreds of bigwigs and politicians from around the world cannot agree on anything. Radical change doesn't happen through consensus, it happens through a few informed very smart people deciding to do something different.
It has been a strange week here at Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum. Without necessarily planning it this way, I seem to have spent a significant amount of time working with neuroscientists and psychologists, which inevitably leads to lots of discussions about the human brain. I have also been electrocuted and attacked by a giant millipede but it is the neuroscience that is actually more interesting.
I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, on a heavy diet of carefully crafted and thoughtfully produced educational tv programmes that even Lord Reith would've been proud of; from The Ascent of Man through to Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World. Last year, I bumped into the tv presenter Johnny Ball (oh, how even his name evokes fond memories in seventies-kids like me) on a cruise ship, where he told me how he had liked my lectures. I gushed in response, that the educational programmes he made during my childhood where the reasons why and how I became an academic who enjoys a good lecture. How quickly then, that the conversation turned to the demise of good "educational science" on tv. As a result of the impressive nature of educational tv in my childhood, I grew up firmly believing that tv should always be made by people who are cleverer than me. There's a lot to be said for that - although some will no doubt debate what "cleverer" really means.
Recent rulings by a US Judge that Apple's approach to keeping its software locked onto its hardware are not actually secrets have taken an unexpected turn. Recent prototypes by a French company show the iPhone OS running on a Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
The Digital Economy is our saviour, according to the government. It's not just them: the Boston Consulting Group said, in 2010, that the UK internet economy is larger, per head, than in any other country, and is forecast to grow by 10% a year.