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  • OPINION

    Silicon Valley is not an arbiter of free expression

    Life, James Hein, Published on 15/08/2018

    » It is somewhat disconcerting that Silicon Valley -- which occupies about 300 square miles, and where most think the same and have the same politics -- can determine allowable content for the rest of the planet. Some of us remember that many of the major platforms were developed using government grants and public funding. With this base they should represent all views, of all types, and not just the ones they happen to like. This was the initial declaration at least, but in the modern world, that seems to have changed. I am certainly no great fan of Alex Jones, but that a cabal of providers can effectively execute social termination is very worrying for the future of open platforms and freedom of expression.

  • TECH

    Fuzzy logic and online translations

    Life, James Hein, Published on 07/09/2016

    » In the IT world it is very important to get things exactly right, unless of course you are dealing with fuzzy logic. If your banking system, for example, is out by a decimal place, this can lead to some very unhappy customers or some very happy ones and a less than happy bank. There are many areas where calculations and units of measure are vital, just ask one of the Mars exploration landing teams.

  • TECH

    Google wants your Android

    Life, James Hein, Published on 15/06/2016

    » Which is the world's most valuable brand? A number of them should pop into mind like Coca-Cola, Apple and Cartier. The new leader of the pack however is Google taking the slot from Apple based on the recent BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands study. With a 32% increase in brand value they were a big mover since last year, while Apple dropped in value over the same period. Other IT names are in the top 10 like Microsoft at third, Facebook at fifth and Amazon at seventh place.

  • TECH

    Coining it in

    Life, James Hein, Published on 03/02/2016

    » So the People's Bank of China (PBOC) is planning to set up a virtual currency for China. The stated purpose sounds reasonable, reduce the cost of paper currency and allow the country to have greater control over the currency supply. Apparently this would also help with money laundering, tax cheats and allow for greater transparency.

  • OPINION

    Arguing over social media

    Life, James Hein, Published on 15/04/2015

    » This week's article is a little different. The modern world is now largely based around social media. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Secret, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Taptalk, Skype, Yahoo Messenger and many others are linking people all around the planet, 24/7, 365 days of the year. Some countries like China have banned some of these sites and replaced them with local variants, but for the most part, no matter where you are, you can let people know what you are doing.

  • TECH

    #hashtag is now official

    Life, James Hein, Published on 25/06/2014

    » It is as official as it is going to get — Oxford have accepted the word “hashtag” into their dictionary. Normally it would take longer, but due to the widespread use of the word it has been added early. The first use was on Aug 25, 2007, in a Twitter posting. The symbol itself has a longer history when back before the 1960s the # symbol, technically known as the “octothorp”, was used as an indicator for a number. It is also called the hash, hatch, crunch, pound, number and tic-tac-toe sign. Yes, I made up that last one.

  • OPINION

    A sexy new way to pay

    Life, James Hein, Published on 05/02/2014

    » Forget PayPal, what you really need is at least as The Register in the UK quaintly puts it "pay by bonk". Using the system, you knock your smartphone against another smartphone or device in a store to transfer funds from one account to another. A new payment system is also being planned at Apple, who wants to lead the near field communications (NFC) race. It will no doubt heavily feature the iTunes store (i.e. you pay money into your iTunes account and then use that to purchase items in the real world). This could essentially work like an iTunes-based debit card. Remember, however, that these NFC payment systems are also subject to those of a more unsavoury nature passing close to you and grabbing some cash for themselves. It is early days yet, but I expect that this will turn into a real issue. As for me, I bought myself a woven stainless steel wallet that acts as a Faraday cage. You could also just wrap it in tin foil, I suppose.

  • TECH

    Hackers rise to the Apple challenge

    Database, James Hein, Published on 22/09/2010

    » Once again it took just a few short hours after the official release of Apple's new iOS 4.1 before hackers found a way to open the OS up, to all devices that use the new operating system.

  • TECH

    The importance of preparing for disaster

    Database, James Hein, Published on 02/06/2010

    » After the recent events in Bangkok, I suspect many companies will be considering the issue of a disaster recovery plan. Anyone who has received formal training in project management will be familiar with this term, but it has been my experience that many organisations ignore this aspect of project management and that of risk management in general when building up their businesses.

  • TECH

    The jury is still out on Windows 7

    Database, James Hein, Published on 31/03/2010

    » A friend of mine has a new netbook with Windows 7 installed. The unit is from Acer and I found out that many Acer notebook models are rebranded Fujitsu units, so if you are considering buying a Fujitsu, check the specs of the comparable Acer and save yourself some money.

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