Monthly Archives

November 2013


November 29, 2013

Privacy And Why It Really Matters

United States President Barack Obama is tragically mistaken with his “we need to find a balance between security and privacy” rhetoric. Let me quote Benjamin Franklin who makes my point more eloquently than I ever could: “they who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”. President Obama, or anybody else for that matter, can’t guarantee your safety – sadly nobody can. The only way to guarantee our safety is to find an equilibrium with foreign societies where they have no incentive to harm us. We have all the tools but the will is missing.


November 28, 2013

The Inequality We Don’t Talk About

Upper-middle-class two-parent families can invest far more time and resources in their children than lower-middle-class single mothers can, no matter how good their intentions. But the impact of family structure on children goes far beyond money. Kids from lone-parent families do worse on many measures. And the marriage gap is reducing upward mobility and sharpening the class divide. “Because the breakdown of the traditional family is overwhelmingly occurring among working-class Americans of all races, these trends threaten to make the U.S. a much more class-based society over time,” writes Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution.

This is a serious issue that is steadily increasing with time. Is it a problem? Yes. Is there a solution to fix it? I don’t know. However, a comment made on the article by Greggore says:

“Solution – wait until you are married to have children and then try to stick it out with the marriage. Also, choose your partner wisely.”

That makes sense. But another comment by Atlas is Struggling says:

“Declining marriage rates exist because it is a garbage deal for men. Men would have to be insane to marry in a climate where a woman could destroy him financially and rob him of his children simply because she isn’t haaaaappy!”

This is also kind of true.

Plastic “ninjas” take on deadly bacteria

The mechanism through which [these polymers] fight bacteria is very different from the way an antibiotic works,” explains Jim Hedrick, a polymer chemist in IBM Research. “They try to mimic what the immune system does: the polymer attaches to the bacteria’s membrane and then facilitates destabilization of the membrane. It falls apart, everything falls out and there’s little opportunity for it to develop resistance to these polymers.”

This is some pretty remarkable progress in the fight against bad bacteria.

Searching for Harddrive with $7.5 Million worth of Bitcoins

James Howells’s hard drive contains 7,500 bitcoins – which is a virtual form of currency for use online.

It had sat in a drawer for years and he had forgotten it contained the bitcoins, which he obtained in 2009 for almost nothing, when he threw it out.

But this week, a single bitcoin’s value hit $1,000 (£613) for the first time.

It means Mr Howells’s collection is now worth $7.5m (£4.6m).

A few years ago Mr Howells, who works in IT, had dismantled his computer after spilling a drink on it.

Oh dear, he must be really kicking himself in the butt. I hope he finds it soon!

Nikon Stock Down Almost 24% Year to Date

This doesn’t come altogether as a surprise, given that Nikon has had to adjust its financial forecast down more than once in recent months. But, surprise or not, it certainly isn’t a headline we relished writing.

As a Nikon photographer, this makes me very sad. They need to really released the successor to the D700 and a make a new D400.


November 27, 2013

Microsoft Enlists Pawn Stars to Mock Google Chromebook

Microsoft’s anti-Google Scroogled campaign is showing no signs of slowing down. Its latest target is Google’s Chromebook. Microsoft has enlisted the stars of the successful reality TV series Pawn Stars to lampoon what it wants you to perceive as the Chromebook’s limitations (“It’s not a real laptop!”).

Oh Microsoft. You and your “Scroogled” anti-Google marketing strategy. Who wants to buy a t-shirt that says Chrome sucks? You should be giving them out for free at least. However, this ad with the Pawn Stars is pretty funny and somewhat accurate. Give it a watch.

Microsoft Confirms Xbox Live bans for “excessive profanity”

Microsoft has clarified to Ars Technica that clips uploaded to Xbox Live through Upload Studio are subject to the same Code of Conduct that governs activity elsewhere on the service, such as when playing in online matches. That means “excessive profanity as well as other Code of Conduct violations will be enforced upon and result in suspension of some or all privileges on Xbox Live,”

Isn’t flaming supposed to be one of the key features of online gaming?

Amazon is Crushing IBM, Microsoft and Google in Cloud Computing

For the last quarter of this year, Synergy estimates that Amazon had cloud revenues of over $US700 million. That makes Amazon bigger than all the other major players combined including Microsoft, IBM, Google and … by 15%, Synergy finds.

Beware, the online shopping mall is about to score a big one.


November 25, 2013

Why Apple Bought PrimeSense

Very obviously, Apple has plans to for a stronger living room presence itself, with its plans for an Apple TV. Picture a device that watches you as you watch it. It can see how your heart throbs when certain shows or celebrities or sporting events go on the air. Based on that, it will be able to customize what content it offers up to you.

Yes, this is the same company that help make the Xbox Kinect peripheral. And I think that this is an amazing acquisition for Apple. Expect to see motion sensors in an Apple TV in the future.

A Framework for Building a Design Practice

Said another way, having a strong practice (and in turn, a healthy culture) breeds resilience. And in my opinion, the teams that come out on top are the ones that measure their success not by how often they’re right, but by how resilient they can be when they’re wrong.

Verne Ho lays out a great “step by step” methodology for starting up a design practice. I highly recommend reading it.

The Period is Pissed

I’ve noticed it in my text messages and online chats, where people use the period not simply to conclude a sentence, but to announce “I am not happy about the sentence I just concluded.”

This is an unlikely heel turn in linguistics.

I’ve been noticing this trend as well. However, not so much as aggression, but more in a serious tone. Mean something? End it with a period.