December 14, 2013

China lands rover on the Moon

China has landed its first robotic lander on the moon, a historic lunar arrival that makes the country only the third nation to make a soft-landing on Earth’s celestial neighbor.

The “Jade Rabbit” is a very luckily named rover. It’s exciting because it’s the first time in my life time that humans landed something on the surface of the moon. Hopefully a new manned mission isn’t too far behind.

Tesla Motors plans to debut cheaper car in early 2015

Tesla Motors plans to unveil an electric car in early 2015 that could sell in the $40,000 range, a mainstream offering that could be key to the automaker’s future growth.

This is fantastic news. While many still think the $40,000 USD mark is still high, I agree with their long-term business strategy. The innovation and technological development needs to be funded from the top-end first. And from there it can be trickled down to the mass produced vehicles. Hopefully a $25,000 USD ranged model is in the not so distant roadmap.

Google adds to its menagerie or robots

It is the eighth robotics company that Google has acquired in the last half-year. Executives at the Internet giant are circumspect about what exactly they plan to do with their robot collection.

The acquisition of Boston Dynamics is intriguing. They make high end research robots for the Pentagon to mechanical dinosaurs for theme parks. Who knows what they are planning.


A Glimpse of the Future by Apple

The contextual awakening: How sensors are making mobile truly brilliant

Right now our phones, tablets, and other mobile devices are still struggling as they awaken and drag themselves towards awareness. It’s a slow process, partially because we’re pushing the limits of technology, but also because we’re pushing the limits of comfort as well. Security will be important, privacy will be important, humanity will be important. If Apple has had one single, relentless purpose over the years, however, it’s been to make technology ever more personal, ever more accessible, and so very much more human.

It’s well documented that pretty much nothing gets leaked from Apple Inc. They love the element of surprise. And it pays off. However, this doesn’t mean they have their heads in the sand. Google for example are slowly showing us what they want to create in the future with Google Glass, blimps with wifi and affordable gigabit internet connections.

This article by Rene Ritchie is fantastic. We know that the folk at Apple do indeed have a grand vision of the future. And Rene tries his very best using the information and trends we have in the past and now to foresee what they have in store. It’s a beautiful world. It’s not of android like robots, but the marriage of us, humans with devices and services that are a part of us. The human element is never tripped away but only enhanced.

Security and privacy have always been critical points for Apple and they nail it all the time. Software such as OSX, iOS, iCloud Keychain, FaceTime and iMessage are notorious for not getting viruses and highly secure with constant updates. Safe hardware features such as Touch ID along with 64-bit processors keep our unique finger print data locked to the A7 chip enclave it self.

Any company can throw all the sensors they want into their next device, but if its not secure, well-designed, seamless and user-friendly, its not worth anything.

And this is where Apple succeeds.


December 11, 2013

Pope Francis, the People’s Pope

What makes this Pope so important is the speed with which he has captured the imaginations of millions who had given up on hoping for the church at all. People weary of the endless parsing of sexual ethics, the buck-passing infighting over lines of authority when all the while (to borrow from Milton), “the hungry Sheep look up, and are not fed.” In a matter of months, Francis has elevated the healing mission of the church—the church as servant and comforter of hurting people in an often harsh world—above the doctrinal police work so important to his recent predecessors. John Paul II and Benedict XVI were professors of theology. Francis is a former janitor, nightclub bouncer, chemical technician and literature teacher.

Congrats Pope Francis It’s good to see TIME name someone that goes over and beyond in their role as the 2013 “Person of the Year”.

Norway is digitizing all its books and making them free to read online

It’s similar to the mass digitization efforts in the UK and Finland, but Norway has taken the extra step of making agreements with many publishers to allow anyone with a Norway IP address to access copyrighted material.

I absolutely applaud Norway for leading the way with this procedure.


December 9, 2013

Edward Snowden voted Guardian person of the year

“He gave his future for the sake of democratic values, transparency, and freedom,” said Miriam Bergholz. Colin Walker wrote: “We need people like him to have the courage to forget about their own life in the cause of other people’s freedom. Let’s face it, his life is over as even if he goes back to the US he will face decades in prison and the personal sacrifice he has made is immense.” One commenter, identifying themselves as “irememberamerica”, said he voted for Snowden “for his extraordinary and exemplary courage, and the historic value of his daring act. At every step, he has displayed an astonishing integrity and presence of mind. He is a great American and international patriot.”

Well deserved Snowden. I salute you.

Icelanders Overthrow Government and Rewrite Constitution After Banking-Fraud – No Word from US Media

Besides CNN Europe’s own coverage of the scandal, the events in Iceland were widely covered by international media and are easily verified by a simple search on Google which leads to a variety of reputable international news sources that ran numerous stories on the Icelandic revolution.

Wow, I didn’t know or even hear an ounce of this revolution. It’s amazing how distorted the US media can be. What is the US Government so scared of??…

Here is the full documentary of the change called “Pots, Pans and Other Solutions”. Very inspiriting. The Western world needs this.

Samsung tells customer to shut up about Galaxy S4 fire

Samsung saw the video and instead of rushing to rectify the situation and let it blow over, as everything on the Internet does, the company sent the user a letter. In this letter, Samsung reportedly stated that it would swap out the man’s charred and now useless Galaxy S4 — which was still under warranty, mind you — only if he removed his video discussing the matter from YouTube.

More rubbish from Samsung. Go figure.

The Sad Story of the Battery Breakthrough that Proved too Good to be True

[B]y spring 2013, it started to become clear that Envia could not replicate the 400 wh/kg technology and turn it into a product. Samsung, LG and Asahi Kasei declined to buy the company because it found problems with the technology, according to the court documents … When the technology was not recreated for GM by summer 2013, GM eventually cancelled the deal.

This is rather unfortunate for everyone because batteries seem like the technology that isn’t progressing exponentially.