I’ve been at Mobile World Congress 2014 with Samsung, where all the latest technology and mobile innovations are announced. I was lucky enough to be one of the first people to play with the Galaxy S5 smartphone, the Gear 2 smart watch and Gear Fit sports band.
Find out more about the new products over at Samsung’s site
5:18 pm // Sunday 26 January 2014
This was actually really hard with my brand new skinny jeans on
Spike Jonze’s movie about a newly single man (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls for his computer operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) has not only made a lot of critics’ ‘film of the year’ lists but also struck anyone interested in technology with it’s unusually smart (for Hollywood) approach to portraying the future. The film is set in the near future but there isn’t a hoverboard or spaceport in sight, instead it’s packed with plausible predictions such as:
1. We will talk to computers like people, and they will respond like people
I don’t know if we’ll ever create computers with actual emotions, but it’s certain that we’ll continue to improve the realism with which our wired friends appear to have them. Siri is just the start, and the way Theodore talks to his computer seems only a few steps away. Some say that’s creepy but the movie showed it like having a perfectly efficient personal assistant who could plan your life, find everything you need and know what you’ll want. That sounds awesome.
2. When you buy and install new technology, it will learn everything about you instantly
When Theodore first installs ‘OS1’ the software asks him a few psychological questions to determine what sort of personality the operating system (OS) should adopt. This is just for effect of course because the real thing would simply scan every email you ever sent, every web search and website you visited, every post you ever made online and the content of your local and cloud drives. From seeing how you address people in emails to analysing how you deal with conflict, questions and problems an OS could read you like a book in a matter of seconds and know you so intimately as to interact with you in just the way you like. Again, sounds creepy at first but is probably awesome in practice.
3. Technology will become increasingly invisible
The most progressive aspect of Jonze’s portrayal of the future is how he correctly shows technology continuing to shrink into tiny things in our pockets, homes and ears. Instead of the usual Minority Report-style hologram interfaces everywhere the man-made world is ‘smart’ and responds automatically to us, so when people enter rooms there’s no clapping, the lights just come on. The phone handsets are still an all-doing device like today’s smartphones but have become cute little leather cigarette cases. The interaction is through a discrete wireless earpiece and characters are rarely seen looking at their phones. As both the miniaturisation and intelligence of our tech continue to progress we’ll see it become more invisible yet more powerful.
4. We’ll rehash 20th century fashion forever
The men’s trousers in Her are noticeable for their seriously high 1950s waistline, and everyone wears pretty normal-looking clothes made of cotton, wool and leather in the film which recognises that we’ll always want cotton shirts, denim jeans and leather shoes, even in 1,000 years.
5. We’ll roll back the mess of the industrial age
The industrial and modern age saw humans ripping up, rebuilding, remodelling and generally cluttering the planet. As we become more advanced we’re now trying to reverse the mess we made to what we really always wanted - elegant towns of stone houses filled with cosy furnishings of natural materials like wood, leather and cotton. And this all surrounded by the beauty of nature - an abundance of trees and open green spaces. Funnily enough it’s what men and women have aspired to since first going indoors tens of thousands of years ago, so rather than trying to create mega-sleek living pods we’ll be putting our innovation and energy into making our existing homes more environmentally-friendly, smarter and cleaner.
6. Our computers will learn from each other
In Her it transpires that Samantha is having speed-of-light conversations with other computers throughout the day and night. Their collective ‘brain’ power comes together to develop and deepen each other’s artificial intelligence, which is a scary thought because that’s the very point where we lose control and the outcomes start to look a lot like Terminator.
So the future is bright, and we really have no idea what will happen, but one thing is for sure - <movie industry rant> with the movie being released in some countries up to six months after the US, and given the tech-savviness of its target audience, sadly many people will witness this fine film via torrents and it will lose out on a ton of revenue, further sending a message to movie studios that they need to make terrible romcoms, mindless action or spectacularly animated kids’ films in order to turn a profit.</movie industry rant>. Hopefully in the future we’ve sorted that shit out.12:08 pm // Thursday 26 September 2013
Diagrams, and particularly ‘infographics’ feel like an inherently modern phenomenon. Something that only people whose time is no longer consumed with avoiding plagues, scurvy and constant warring have the luxury of creating. But as 100 Diagrams That Changed the World: From the Earliest Cave Paintings to the Innovation of the iPod shows, there are some truly beautiful examples from medieval times and even earlier of man’s urge to bring order to the world around him through these highly technical yet aesthetically gorgeous works. Here’s a selection for your viewing, Pinning and printing pleasure:3:12 pm // Sunday 12 May 2013
This amazing film shows London in 1927 - 12 years before World War II tore through Europe and changed London’s people and landscape forever. We see people enjoying Hyde Park, dodging buses in the road, going shopping and generally doing the stuff we still do today in these familiar places, just in different clothes. With the film in such good condition, it feels eerily fresh and alive, even though perhaps no-one in the footage is still with us today.
(via @KevinSpacey )6:36 pm // Saturday 11 May 2013
Wonder no more traveller, here is a minute-long guide to where the cheapest Starbucks, most expensive cocaine and most-cigs-for-your-buck is to be found!5:54 pm // Thursday 9 May 2013
In partnership with Google, Time Magazine has launched Timelapse - an interactive online timelapse showing how the Earth has changed in 30 years of property development, deforestation, glacier melt and the like.
“Working with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), NASA, and TIME, we’re releasing more than a quarter-century of images of Earth taken from space, compiled for the first time into an interactive time-lapse experience,” Google engineering manager Rebecca Moore wrote in a blog post today. “We believe this is the most comprehensive picture of our changing planet ever made available to the public.”
The image catalogs are built from more than two million satellite images from all over the world from 1984 to today. Have a trawl through locations such as Dubai, Las Vegas, the Amazon, Shanghai… as well as your hometown - http://world.time.com/timelapse1:17 pm // Friday 8 February 2013
Today, the movie TPB AFK (The Pirate Bay - Away From Keyboard) will be premiered online, free to download and even re-edit under a Creative Commons Licence. Filmmaker Simon Klose has spent the last four years following the founders of The Pirate Bay through its legal struggles, technical issues, and ongoing battle with some of the most powerful corporations on Earth. There’s a good interview with him on The Verge.3:00 pm // Sunday 30 December 2012
2012 - the year of the Olympics, the apocalypse, the year that saw a song in Korean become the most watched video on YouTube and a British X Factor runner-up become the biggest band since the Beatles. Here are my personal highlights of 2012 in music followed by an extended playlist of the best and the rest.