Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Rebooting Baghdad

by Warren

America’s finest nerds recently went to Iraq courtesy of the State Department to see what, if anything could be done to push Iraq from a failed state to something a little closer to a startup culture. Results were mixed. People in Iraq have been oppressed for 60-odd years, have no real tradition of free enterprise, and at any rate have just been through hell, so enthusiasm for open-source and blogging in unsurprisingly tempered. But in a bid for what wonks apparently call “21st century statecraft,” Silicon Valley is doing its best to lend a helping hand.

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Stewart Brand on the importance of cities

by Warren

Stewart Brand made a name for himself with the Whole Earth Catalog and the “back to the land” movement (though always with the caveat of networked communication and other high-tech innovation), but he’s now changed his opinions, and says that cities actually help the environment by reducing population (less kids born in cities than in the countryside) and letting subsistence-framed land go back to its natural state.

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Hollywood doesn’t get web video

by Warren

The LA Times is reporting that a lot of studio funded companies dedicated to creating web video are shutting down. Why this comes as a surprise to anyone is beyond me. It reminds me of the abortive attempts in the 90’s to merge Hollywood and video games, with predictably disastrous results.

Studios don’t like the short-form format prevalent on the web, and they’re used to pouring money at a problem, with webisodes costing anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000 per episode. That sort of thinking is patent madness, of course, and is currently being shown up by any number of people making shows in their basement for no money…and succeeding at it. Since I’ve got some skin in this game, I’m hoping Hollywood continues to stumble forward. THey should stick to what they do best, which is huge, effects-laden spectacles that no indie web creator could ever hope to mach.

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Is Japan’s tech industry a spent force?

by Warren

According to an article in the Independent, maybe. Recent losses posted by economic powerhouses like Sony and Panasonic bring the point home. And Apple is upending practically all of the rules with products like the iPhone (which isn’t popular in Japan, but changed the landscape everywhere else.), and many of Japan’s neighbours are catching up with better and cheaper hardware.

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

First impressions of iphone’s 2.2 update

by Warren

Apple updated the iPhone system software to 2.2 late this week, and so far I’m impressed. New features include street views (for some cities) in Google Maps, a redesigned Safari, and the absolutely welcomed ability to download podcasts directly into the iPhone from the iTunes store. Never mind that the process is a little clunky, just the fact that I can do it is pretty impressive. Equally cool, bit not as glitzy, is the fact that you can now hit “update all” to update your apps, and they’ll update all at once. More importantly, the icons now stay just where you left them, rather than you having to move them around every time a feature gets changed. Other than that…it’s the same iPhone as always. Apparently Apple has added a bunch of “emoji” icons, which is important to the Japanese market, but doesn’t do much for me.

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Why Flash will rock on the iPhone

by Warren

Yep, the other side of the coin has dropped and I’ve got another article up about Flash on the iPhone up at Mac | Life, this time accentuating the positives of Adobe’s graphical powerhouse on Apple’s iconic mobile device.

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Why Flash will suck on the iPhone

by Warren

…is the title of my latest article over at Mac | Life. It’s already getting some vigorous debate from Flash defenders and detractors, so join in with your two cents, wouldya?.

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Russia got cyberattacked before real war began

by Warren

Turns out all the hooey about “OMG HACKZ0RZ!” has at least a grain of truth to it. According to the New York Times, weeks before the “haha the Olympics are on and noone will notice” mini-war Russia just sprang on Georgia, the breakaway republic’s servers were being pelted by Cossack nerds aiming to humiliate them and take down their internet infrastructure. Besides the psychological benefits, cyberwar is also exceedingly cheap, costing much less than a tank full of soldiers to implement and maintain. Whether these cyberattacks are the work of the Russian government, intelligence agencies or criminal organizations (or all three) is unclear, but in a larger sense these incidents point to the way wars might be waged in future conflicts. Of course, the people with the most to lose aren’t the Third World powers but Western and Asian countries, where more infrastructure and economic muscle is tied into net connectivity. JUst like terrorism, cyberwarfare is essentially asymmetrical.

Friday, August 1st, 2008

MIT makes solar energy breakthrough

by Warren

First water on Mars, and now the brainy folks at MIT have figured out a way to make solar energy much more efficient and practical. I generally regard the words “solar” and “revolution” with some skepticism, since most of the time there’s more hope than facts being put on the table. But MIT isn’t known for either grandiose statements or stupidity, so I’m holding out some hope in this case.

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Linksys router review (now Mac compatible)

by Warren

So one of the benefits of doing “The Lab with Leo” was getting in contact with lots of people who ship out gadgets for review. Now I’m doing the odd review for Freyburg, the first of which is the Linksys WRT600-N. First things first….I have NEVER, until now, installed a router where everything just worked. Every single router I’ve used, whether from Linksys, D-Link, or otherwise, has given me some form of incompatibility grief. Even my dad’s Airport wouldn’t talk to both his new iMac and his old iMac. The 600N, however, had no problem finding my Macbook Pro, my girlfriend’s Macbook Pro, our Xbox 360 (a sticking point with many other routers) and even my iPhone (though even though it connects, it goes by the old name and not the assigned name I gave the router).

It works as advertised…it’s considerably faster than my old wireless G router, with streaming and downloaded video starting almost immediately and a noticeably faster browsing experience. You can attach a hard drive to it for network enabled storage, though I haven’t bothered to do so yet. Given how easy the rest of the routers functions were to set up, I’m assuming it’ll be pretty painless as well. Linksys also announced new Mac setup wizards for their routers, which should make things easier for the install-challenged. I didn’t have any trouble installing it by hand, but some Mac users might, so the new installation software is probably a wise move. The original price of the router was $279, but that price seems to have gone down to $150 to $180, depending on where you go online to find a unit. Overall….a win!