Friday, October 28, 2011

Will Facebook & Twitter fade away?

At breakfast today whilst reading the Guardian I read a blog piece called Time to cut the Facebook and Twitter clutter, says AOL's 'digital prophet'. The basic premise of this piece is that we are being overwhelmed by digital messages from Facebook, Twitter and any other social media we use (along with news media) and that we need to declutter our digital lifes by unfriending and unfollowing people. David Shing, AOL's digital prophet predicts Facebook and Twitter will wither away like MySpace is.
    The reader comments section was full of the predictable "who'd listen to AOL's digital prophet" jokes and comments by people who say Facebook and Twitter suck and comments that say the converse. 
I think, as becomes obvious if you read just a few of the comments, that people use Facebook and Twitter in different ways and for different reasons. For some Facebook is a place for online communication between people they know and meet f2f. For others a way of keeping in touch with similar people whom they've never met and never will. For some Twitter is a way of keeping up with the minutia of what friends are doing, for some it's for following their idols (e.g., Steven Fry). For me Twitter is about getting a weird interesting newsfeed suggested by a group of people most of whom I don't know but who seem to have similar interests. It's rather random hence its benefit - it surprises often. Facebook I use just to keep in touch with real friends (I have about 35).
   There's no single use for any of these services and that's their strength. I don't see them going away anytime soon. MySpace is declining because it never really was about friends. It didn't really provide a social network; it was more an ego thing: "look at me," "listen to my band," "watch my fab video," "aren't I cool and wonderful." Great for bands to publicise themselves to their fans, but not so useful to keep in touch with a good friend who has moved to a different city. Facebook and Twitter if you want to use them that way excel at this.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson - review pt.1

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Since I have an entire chapter of my book on Steve Jobs, I really had to get a copy of the first authorised biography: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson to see if I had missed out anything important. I've not finished the book yet, but I've got up to where Apple has been founded and the Apple II has become a great success, so perhaps I can offer a review so far.
    First thing is that Walter Isaacson, who is apparently an eminent biographer, having written biographies of Einstein and Benjamin Franklin before, is not a great writer. The book is perfectly readable, but rather pedestrian, a bit like a History Channel show, very worthy and sincere. So, onto the content and Jobs' early life. The book hasn't really revealed anything startlingly new. There's plenty of detail, but at over 650 pages long you'd expect more detail than the other shorter unofficial biographies. We get a lot of detail on Jobs interest in Zen and other Eastern religions and his LSD use and experiments with weird diets: just fruit, just apples, no mucous products...But I'm not sure this tells us anything.
    There's an attempt to make us believe that Jobs' interest in Zen and experiments with psychodelic drugs and strange diets was part of a quest for a better way of living that has now become part of Apple's DNA. I think there is a danger of reading too much into a young man's motives - it's not as if any of what Jobs was doing in the 1960s and early 70s was in anyway unsual. All the kids in the San Francisco area were into mediation, LSD, Bob Dylan and macro-biotic diets. Jobs was actually being entirely normal for his generation and locale - this was the epicenter of the hippie movement. Dropping out of Reed College after one semester, refusing to acknowledge he was the father of his girlfriend's child, going to India on the hippie trail, conning Woz out of a few thousand dollars on the Atari deal, not wearing shoes and all the rest can just as easily be attributed to a confused young man, unsure of what he wanted in life and sometimes shirking his responsibilities in a very immature way.
    Isaacson could at least hint that perhaps Jobs was not always a visionary in pursuit of spiritual and aesthetic perfection, who occasionally fucked-up, but was instead just as confused as the rest of us. [Part 2 of the review is here]

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

John McCarthy AI pioneer dies

In 1956 John McCarthy organised the Dartmouth Summer Research Conference on Artificial Intelligence and thereby coined the term AI. He  invented the programming language LISP whilst at MIT and then went on the head the Stanford AI Lab (SAIL), which did groundbreaking work in robotics. Before these achievements he was a pioneer of timesharing networked computers. He foresaw the the power of computing in the cloud with processing becoming a utility you purchased as and when required; though during the thirty years of the PC revolution the ideas were largely ignored.
John McCarthy was 84.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Will Apple own your living room?

Rumours have been flying around recently that the last project Steve Job's was working on before he died was an Apple TV set (e.g., this article in the Washington Post). In his authorized biography, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, which has been rushed into print and is due to be published tomorrow, Jobs' biographer says: "He [Jobs] very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant...I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ he told me. ‘It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.’ No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it."
    If you think about it Apple could easily make a TV; either the Apple Cinema Display, or the iMac make a reasonable TV chassis; the current Apple TV provides the streaming content, iOS the operating system and the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad make excellent remote controls. Apple also now has the brand cachet to cross over easily into the consumer electronics market - would people rather have the latest Sony or LG TV or an Apple? Apple's key advantage would be in it's integration with iTunes and iCloud, its intuitive user interface and it's iOS remotes. With Siri you'd be able to say things like "record tomorrow's football game." and it would. By contrast a friend of mine recently bought an LG Internet connected TV and it's remote control is a nightmare of myriad small buttons - really horrible. Google's recent foray into TV, which wasn't successful was largely brought down by a clunky interface and a complicated remote control (read an extensive review from Engadget here).
    I think the rumours are true, Apple will announce a TV set in 2012, partly because all the various components have fallen into place now: hardware, operating system, iCloud, remote control; but also for a more strategic reason. Microsoft gained preeminence in the 1980s and 1990s by putting a Windows PC on every desktop; Google came to the front by totally dominating web search; Apple plans to own your living room! They already have your music library with iTunes; Photo Stream and iCloud make managing your digital photos a brease; controlling your TV and movie viewing experience is the missing piece of the puzzle. Watch this space, your living room is about to become a battle ground.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Turing - Pioneer of the Information Age

A new biography of WW II codebreaker and inventor of the computer, Alan Turing, will be published by Oxford University Press in 2012.

Turing - Pioneer of the Information Age
B. Jack Copeland
ISBN 978-0-19-963979-3

More information from the publisher here.

The Loebner Prize in Artificial Intelligence

The Loebner Prize in Artificial Intelligence is an annual Turing Test competition for chat bots. The Turing Test was devised by Alan Turing and is passed by a computer that cannot be distinguished in conversation from a person. So far no chat bot has won the Grand Prize of $100,000 and a gold medal, but each year a prize of $4,000 and a bronze medal is awarded to the best chat bot. 
   Cleverbot is considered one of the best chat bots which you can try out below.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Plan 28 - building the Analytical Engine

Part of the Analytical Engine
in the London Science Museum
Plan 28 - is an ambitious project to build Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine - the world's first mechanical computer. Babbage never built the Analytical Engine during his life and many doubted that it would work. However, since Doran Swade's successful project at the Science museum to build a replica of Babbage's Difference Engine No.2, which does work, many people believe Babbage's Analytical Engine would also work.
    The Analytical Engine would not be a giant mechanical calculator like the Difference Engine - it's a programmable computer. It has a mechanical memory, called the Store. a central processing unit, called the Mill, and can be programmed using punch cards for input and it can print out its results. It conceptual architecture is essentially the same as a modern digital computer. It would be the ultimate steam punk fantasy made real! For more information visit

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dangerous Knowledge documentary

I recently came across a documentary called "Dangerous Knowledge" that looks at four brilliant mathematicians – Georg Cantor, Ludwig Boltzmann, Kurt Gödel and Alan Turing – whose genius has profoundly affected us, but who tragically  all committed suicide.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ian Ritchie: The day I turned down Tim Berners-Lee

I was watching some TED Talks last night and came across Ian Ritchie and his talk "The day I turned down Tim Berners-Lee." It's an entertaining short talk on the development of hypertext and the web. Well worth a watch. If you've not come across TED talks you're in for a treat, but be prepared for some late nights. I can't stop watching them into the we small hours.

Incidentally in 1992 Tim Berners-Lee's paper on the WWW was turned down from the Hypertext conference.

Monday, October 17, 2011

iOS 5 Review (good and bad)

It's been a few days now since iOS 5 was released so probably a good time to do a quick review (note this isn't an iPhone 4S review as they aren't on sale in NZ yet). As has been mentioned elsewhere the upgrade process wasn't a complete success. Like many others I had to try about 20 times to get the upgrade process to complete on my iPhone which remained bricked for half the day. Upgrading the iPad was no problem and the move to iCloud on my Macs went fine. As the number of iOS devices continues to increase (there are now over 200 million) Apple should take note and seriously consider rolling these updates out incrementally in the future to reduce the load on their servers.
    I am left with one problem, Pages on my iPad uploaded documents to iCloud, or at least I though it did. Something went wrong, presumably because of server overload, and my documents are now neither on iCloud or on any of my iOS devices. As you can see in the photo ,most exist in limbo with a download status bar that never changes. I'm not the only person with this problem as I discovered on the Apple support forums. So far Apple haven't suggested a solution. I suspect they are lost and gone for ever. Fortunately I had the files backed up elsewhere but I'm sure there are some people who have lost important data. Apple FAIL.
    Now onto the positive stuff. The Notification centre is a big improvement and beautifully customisable, just about perfect. Photo Stream is, as Jobs would have said, magic. This is a feature I've imagined for years - a camera that automatically syncs itself into the cloud and to your other devices - perfect. A small note of caution though; if you're out and about you might want to be cautious if you're taking any risque shots as these will appear on the family computer if Photo Stream is enabled and you enter a wifi zone. The new camera app is an improvement. being able to crop, rotate, fix red eye and enhance on the iPhone is useful. I'm now not so sure I'll use Camera+ anymore, which was my camera app of choice. The Reminders app is useful, but it's a bit limiting that locations can only be selected from Contacts. I had to add my local supermarket as a Contact so I get Reminders when I go there. Integration with the Google Map app would have been more useful. Newsstand would be useful if New Zealand had any content for it. the same still applies to the iBook store, which after years still has no paid content, just free out of copyright stuff. Come on Apple, how hard can it be to open the iBook store in NZ.The new iMessage service for iOS to iOS device is great and will keep my monthly bills down. Being able to wirelessly sync and even being able to be totally PC free and back up to iCloud should make the iPad practical as some people's only computing device now. There are lots of other small changes, tweaks and additions, which all in all result in an excellent OS.
    I do have one small worry though that iOS 5.0 might be suffering from feature bloat. It has very many more features and options than iOS 3.0 had. Now for geeks like me options are good, but Apple typically adheres to the less is more philosophy and for many people too much choice and too many options just make the device more intimidating. A great example is the vibration alerts on the iPhone. in iOS 5 you can set custom vibrations to particular types of alert and for different people. 5 different vibration patterns are provide and if that isn't enough a nifty vibration design application is built. Come on, really, does anyone need to make their own customised vibrations!
    If you're wondering if it's worth upgrading, I'd say definitely yes. Everything seems to be running a little bit faster on an iPhone 4 and all is just fine on the iPad 2. Backup all your documents before you connect with iCloud though. Apple (if you're reading this) you seriously need to fix the iCloud/Pages documents in limbo issue. If you can't then compensate people (iTunes credit perhaps). Loosing people's data is unforgivable. I'm also a little concerned about the future of the MobileMe iDisk, which you say will be discontinued in June 30, 2012. iDisk with it's 20GB storage for any file type I  find very useful as do 
many others on the forums. So far iCloud is not a replacement for it and currently it doesn't even automatically sync Pages, Keynote or Numbers documents from OS X. You've got 9 months, plenty of time to come up with an elegant solution for syncing all my data between my OS X and my iOS devices.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Public Lecture - Alan Turing and the Secret Cyphers

There will be a free public lecture by Professor Jack Copeland  called "Alan Turing and the Secret Cyphers: Breaking the German Codes at Bletchley Park" on Thursday Nov 3rd at 5.30pm at University of Auckland Conference Centre, 22 Symonds St. Auckland, Building/room 423-342 (click here for a Google Map)
   Jack Copeland is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Turing Archive for the History of Computing at the University of Canterbury. His publications include the books The Essential Turing; Alan Turing's Automatic Computing Engine; Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park's Codebreaking Computers; and more than 100 articles on the philosophy and history of computing, the philosophy of mind, and philosophical logic.

   It is now widely accepted that Alan Turing was one of the most important founders of both theoretical and practical computing, although he died in 1954 just when the field of computing was getting underway. After his fundamental work on the Theory of Computing, in 1939 Turing was recruited for the effort to decipher enemy codes at Bletchley Park. He disappeared from the public record and it was only many years later that it was widely known what he had accomplished. Turing initially worked on cracking the German “Enigma” codes which involved his devising electro-mechanical special-purpose computing machines known as “bombes.”  
    The story of the Enigma cipher machine and its defeat by the Bletchley Park code-breakers has astounded the world. This lecture also describes Bletchley's success against a later, more advanced German cipher machine that the British codenamed Tunny. Unlike Enigma, which dated from 1923 and was marketed openly throughout Europe, the ultra-secret Tunny was created by scientists of Hitler's Third Reich for use by Hitler and his generals. Central to the Bletchley attack on Tunny was Colossus, the world's first large-scale electronic digital computer.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Turing Centenary

If you have an interest in Alan Turing you may be interested in The Turing Centenary blog, which is counting down to the centenary of Turing's birth next year. Lots of interesting information on it.
Rotors from an Enigma Machine

Dennis Ritchie pioneering programmer dies

Dennis Ritchie
Dennis Ritchie an American computer scientist notable for developing the programming language C and for having influenced other programming languages and operating systems including Multics and Unix has died. He received the Turing Award (computer science's Nobel Prize) in 1983 and the National Medal of Technology. Ritchie was the head of Lucent Technologies System Software Research Department when he retired in 2007. The Guardian newspaper has published an interesting obituary.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Leonardo DiCaprio tipped to play Alan Turing

Turing's Office at Bletchley Park
The Guardian newspaper reports that "Leonardo DiCaprio is the frontrunner to play Alan Turing in a forthcoming biopic of the British mathematics genius and codebreaker, reports Deadline. On Tuesday, Warner Bros bought a script by first-time screenwriter Graham Moore that centres on the second world war hero."  This is interesting news and the article goes on to criticize the 2001 movie Enigma for basically writing Turing out of the story.
Read the Guardian story here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The History of Hacking - documentary

During research for my chapter on hacking I came across an interesting old Discovery Channel documentary called "The History of Hacking." It features, Captain Crunch, Steve Wozniak, and Kevin Mitnick.

Robot to carry 2012 Olympic torch

The iCub Robot
A robot has been nominated to carry the 2012 London Olympic torch to commemorate the centenary of Alan Turing's birth. It's not certain if the robot, called iCub, will actually carry the Olympic flame, but there's no reason why it couldn't. The Next Web has an article on this

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World

The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World
The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World by David Kirkpatrick

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Reading this as research for my book ( - quite detailed so far and presents Zuckerberg in a favorable light .

View all my reviews

Open vs. closed

There's a piece in Slate magazine by Esther Dyson that puts forward the idea that Steve Jobs didn't like open systems because he knew that Apple could do better.
"Openness is great, and a strategy I normally applaud: No single vendor is likely to be the best, so openness allows a broad range of suppliers to compete and differentiate so the best can emerge. The closed strategy makes sense only if you are the best. That is what Steve was."

    To an extent I agree but I think Apple was perceived as being closed for very different reasons. First, although Apple is not known for championing open systems it did develop WebKit and make it open source. WebKit is the core of Apple's Safari browser, Google's Chrome, the browser on the Kindle and Android. So that's quite a major contribution to the open source movement I'd say. I'm not sure if Apple is closed in the same sense as the opposite of open source. I see Apple's so called "walled garden" as being a way of ensuring that users don't get really crappy apps on their devices. Apple is vetting them for quality and since that costs $$s it takes a proportion of the apps sale price (zero if the app is free). 
    I think Jobs was all to well aware of the chaos that an unregulated market in software had caused in the Windows ecosystem and did not want that repeated on iOS devices. It's particularly important that your cell phone doesn't crash or contain spyware. I'm sorry but as more naive users buy computers they do need protecting from some fairly unpleasant people out there on the internet and that doesn't just mean anti-virus software. Somebody has to vet the applications people may be trying to install on their machines. Apple have taken it upon themselves to do that and it's not unreasonable that they get paid to do so. Remember that walled gardens were made to create a better micro-climate inside the garden than out. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Facebook page

The Universal Machine now has a Facebook page, called "The Universal Machine." You can read everything that is posted on this blog there if you prefer to use Facebook and of course you can "Like" the page write on its Wall and share with your friends. To see the page click this link or the link at the bottom of the column to the right. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Blog name change

As I mentioned earlier this blog's name and URL is changing from "universal-tool" to "universal-machine" because my publisher prefers that title for my book. Please update any links or bookmarks you have to the old name/URL. Sorry for any trouble this causes but it's better I do this now rather than when my book is published next year.

Friday, October 7, 2011

iThank you

Following the sad news of Steve Jobs' death yesterday it was no surprise that the media was full of technology gurus listing his obvious achievements: the Apple II, Macintosh, NexTSTEP, iMac, OS X, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad. In fact when you write it in a simple list like that it is rather remarkable. It was also no surprise that the media was just as full of business and economics pundits listing his achievements. After all he did co-found the first successful PC company, guide Pixar to stardom, and bring Apple back from near bankruptcy to become the world's most valuable technology company in just 15 years. You could pick any achievement from either list and it would be significant.
Tributes left outside a London Apple store
   But you know what has really surprised me? It's been the outpouring of grief, love and respect from members of the public worldwide - Apple's customers. I can think of several occasions in my life when people globally have exhibited grief at the death of a person they never knew: John Lennon, Princess Diana. Michael Jackson for example. But they were celebrities who were constantly in the media spotlight and who touched peoples' lives in very personal ways. Steve Jobs was a business man, a technologist, apart from his Apple keynote speeches he avoided publicity and yet so many worldwide are mourning. People are leaving flowers, tokens and messages outside Apple stores; I can't think of a single CEO's death that has ever been received in this way. Remarkable. RIP Steve Jobs

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs, 1955 - 2011

Steve Jobs, co-founder and chairman of Apple, has died of cancer, aged 56. Jobs stepped down from the role of CEO in August, saying he could “no longer meet my duties and expectations”. In a statement, Apple said "Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives."

Many believe that Steve Jobs is indispensable and that without his vision, Apple will falter. First, don't expect to see any sudden failure from Apple. They  have several years of new products in development and seem to have a clear strategic view with regard to iOS, the cloud and the future of the Mac product line. 

So what did Jobs bring to Apple? As co-founder of Apple with Steve Wozniak, Jobs was not the electronics genius; Woz designed the Apple I and Apple II. Jobs raised the money, sold the early computers and importantly, wanted the Apple II to look beautiful, like a sleek European hi-fi rather than a ham radio kit. He also saw in the revolutionary interface of the Macintosh (inspired by a demo he saw at Xerox PARC) that computers could be easy to use.

The first Macintosh, released in 1984, was a breakthrough, but was crippled by inadequate hardware, and this – along with his mercurial management style – eventually led to Jobs' departure from Apple. I believe this was a lesson Jobs learnt well and never forgot; there must be a total synergy between hardware and software to deliver a really great user experience. He also recognised, unusually for the IT industry, that most users only care about what they can do with their tech toys, not what the specifications are. You may notice that Apple adverts always show what people can do with the hardware, and never emphasise how many gigabytes or megahertz the product has. 

Another key to Jobs' success was his understanding of supply side logistics. As a kid Jobs worked for an electronics store in Silicon Valley, and he knew the importance of sourcing components at a good price. Once regarded as over-priced (called the "Apple Tax"), Apple's products now feature drop-dead gorgeous designs and are hard to beat on price. Almost two years after the release of the iPad, a legion of competitors have still failed to deliver a tablet with a similar spec at a lower price. 

When the history of computing is written, Steve Jobs will have a significant place as somebody who put the users first, making computers both easier and sometimes a joy to use.

"Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me ... Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful... that's what matters to me." - Steve Jobs

A sample chapter from my book featuring a biography of Steve Jobs is available here or from the menu above

Writing update

So I now have a date to work to - Dec 15th is when I'm contracted to deliver the manuscript to my publisher. There's nothing like a deadline to focus the mind!
   As anticipated the chapters of the book have changed slightly since I started. Some chapters have grown into two and another has been absorbed in several chapters. Look at the new Contents to see the current of the book.
   I've uploaded a new sample chapter which you can now download as a pdf, which should be easier to read. This chapter is about Apple and Steve Jobs.
   I currently have about two chapters to go, so I'm on target.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Apple's personal assistant - Futureshock

The rumours have been flying ever since Apple bought the AI company Siri that they were going to put an intelligent assistant in iOS devices that used voice recognition. Well the rumours were true, but more on that later. First a quick comment on the hardware.
   Apple invited selected journalists to their Infinite Loop campus today for a event titled "Let's Talk iPhone."After lots of stats of how many billions of songs and Apps have been downloaded, how Apple dominates its markets etc...the new iPhone 4S was unveiled. So many forecasters and "Apple insiders" have egg on their face today - where's the iPhone 5 they were all predicting? Personally I always thought that just as with the iPhone 3 the next release would be an "S" model. The form factor of the iPhone 4 is relatively new (and IMHO gorgeous), why would Apple want to make it obsolete so fast? The new 4S has a faster processor, a better camera, some tweaks to the antennae and that's about it. We'll see the iPhone 5 next year. Once again though the important announcement was the software.
   Tim Cook, the new CEO, at the start of the event said: "Today we're going to be learning about innovations in software and hardware, and the integration of all of these into a "powerful yet simple integrated experience." This perfectly captures Apples ethos - an iintegrated experience, which only they can deliver since only they design and manufacture both the hardware and the software. All their competitors do one or the other and have to team up to do both.
   So back to Apple's new Intelligent Assistant. This has been a dream of Apple's for a very long time. Way back in 1987 they released a concept video of what they called the Knowledge Navigator. This was an intelligent personal assistant that used voice recognition. You can watch one of the series of videos below.
   Siri was a company spun out of the CALO “Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes” project funded by the US DARPA programme. This was a huge AI research project that  ran for five years involving more than 300 researchers from 25 of the top university and commercial research institutions in the US. It's  goal was “building a new generation of cognitive assistants that can reason, learn from experience, be told what to do, explain what they are doing, reflect on their experience, and respond robustly to surprise.” Sounds useful.
   When Apple bought Siri, many people said Apple have bought a search company, but Steve Jobs always said that they'd bought an AI company. Jobs said in a 2010 interview "[Siri is] not a search company. They're an AI company. We have no plans to go into the search business. We don't care about it -- other people do it well." Jobs believes passionately that for too long we've adapted our behaviour to  interface with our computers. Touch is our native way of manipulating our environment hence the iPhone and iPad. But,  speech is our natural form of communication, and consequently we should be talking to our devices. Apple may have stolen another lead on the competition through their acquisition of Siri and into integration into iOS 5. 
   Siri launched there own iPhone app which ran on the 3GS, but, by there own admission, there was barely enough processing power and they had to implement several shortcuts (you can read an interview with Siri's co founder Norman Winarsky here). Apple have waited until the hardware (i.e., the iPhone 4 and their new cloud infrastructure) is fully capable of running the Assistant. I don't expect this to be available on the 3GS. Winarsky says that apps like Google Voice are "partial AI" but that Siri is "real AI." He believes that "We’re talking another technology revolution. A new computing paradigm shift. It reminds me of another SRI Project: Doug Engelbart, Inventor of Mouse augmented human ability back in the ’60s. Just as Steve Jobs took that technology and ran with it, we believe that Apple will use Siri to start another revolution."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Flexible phones!

The news last week was full of rumours that Samsung were going to release a flexible bendy cell phone called the Galaxy Skin. Earlier this year Sumsung showed a bendable AMOLED display - so a bendy phone seems like the next step. However, it turns out the phone everyone had become so excited by is actually a design students' project and they put the Samsun logo on their concept to make it look more authentic. Sumsung have subsequently denied the rumours.
   However, that is not to say that scientists and engineers aren't working on flexible electronic devices. Nokia and scientists at Cambridge University are working on flexible and stretchable electronic skin that could in the near future become part of clothing (see the video below). Flexible batteries are underdevelopment and Samsung have already shown us a flexible screen. Soon perhaps we'll be wearing our smartphones, rather than carrying them - Apple rather than Armani.