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Showing 1-10 of 18 results

  • 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.

  • OPINION

    VPNs outlawed in Russia

    Life, James Hein, Published on 08/11/2017

    » By the time you read this a new law in Russia will have banned the use or provision of virtual private networks (VPNs). ISPs will be required to block websites that offer VPNs and similar proxy services, currently used by millions of Russians to bypass state-imposed internet censorship. President Putin justified this draconian step as a measure to prevent the spread of extremism online. Its real purpose is to restrict the population to information approved by Russian regulator Roskomnadzor, being the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, or more simply censorship.

  • OPINION

    The inflexibility of silicon

    Life, James Hein, Published on 26/04/2017

    » Since the 1950s, silicon has been the basis for our integrated circuits. The changes in component density since then have been staggering, with your smartphone now more powerful than the early supercomputers. Current chips can cram over 10 million transistors into a square millimetre, and these can be scaled in 3D, giving us the storage solutions we have today. The problem for some applications is that silicon is quite rigid, and while it is not going away anytime soon, some applications want processors to be bendy.

  • TECH

    Samsung fires up new chips

    Life, James Hein, Published on 26/10/2016

    » The jokes just keep coming at Samsung's expense with labels like "pocket explosive maker" and "next year's exploding phones". To be fair other manufacturers have had similar problems, although not quite to the same extent and usually due to third party batteries. Ignoring all of this for the moment, Samsung has announced that they have started mass production of the world's first 10nm FinFET (Fin-Shaped Field Effect Transistor) system on a chip.

  • TECH

    Need a new phone? Put it on hold

    Life, James Hein, Published on 06/05/2015

    » So how do you pick a new mobile phone these days? There are hundreds of models to choose from in every price bracket, and with China starting to mass produce smartphones the country is hitting a price point about half that of the big names such as Apple, Samsung and HTC. Xiaomi, for example, has a new model coming out with a 20MP camera and lots of other top end features for a very reasonable price. I suspect it will shake up the order at the top of the stack in the near future. Huawei is another Chinese contender releasing its new P8 range in a few months time, with rumours that one model will be like the Russian Yota2 and have an eInk based screen on the back. The release will include thin and powerful models, though at this stage not with the same screen resolution as, say, the Samsung S6, but at a lower price point.

  • OPINION

    Drones target US shoppers

    Life, James Hein, Published on 11/12/2013

    » Duck, because that buzzing sound you hear might be the new delivery drones from Amazon. OK, here in Thailand they are unlikely to ever be seen, but in the US Amazon has plans to deliver packages up to 2.4kg within a 10km range of their distribution centres. Dubbed "Prime Air", this is still in the concept stage with all kinds of hurdles to pass before implementation. First off they need a reliable, cost-effective delivery drone. Another group is doing a similar thing in Haiti but in this case they are delivering medicine. This trial has had problems with mechanical failures due to humidity, dust and temperature. The next hurdle is the requirement for navigation ground stations, licenses to fly drones in a metro area, power line avoidance systems and crazy bird attacks. Yes, I did make that last one up. Given the current restrictions in all likelihood any realised solution will be deployed in a non-US country first.

  • OPINION

    Spies like us

    Life, James Hein, Published on 20/11/2013

    » Does anyone else find the current rhetoric around countries spying on each other hypocritical? Everyone does it, either officially or unofficially, and every country spies on its neighbours, enemies and even allies in the name of national interest. History shows us that neighbours _ and Thailand is well aware of this _ can turn on you at any time so you have to keep tabs on them. In the past the only way to do this was using human intelligence, reading letters and intercepting telegrams. These days emails are read, phones are tapped and servers are hacked in addition to using regular human intelligence. To pretend otherwise is just plain silly. For the moment the US National Security Agency just happens to have the biggest and fastest computers to do this with.

  • OPINION

    Smartphone makers throw a curve

    Life, James Hein, Published on 16/10/2013

    » The internet is an amazing resource. Boasting around 40 billion pages and with exabytes of data, it contains a huge amount of information provided by a multitude of sources. One problem is that a lot of this information is unverified or consists of personal observations and opinions. Despite this, there appears to be a growing trend that the first result received when performing a Web search is the one used to find the answer to a question.

  • OPINION

    Formicidae, neurons and the tweeting mass of life

    Life, James Hein, Published on 03/07/2013

    » The members of an ant colony work together as if they were a single organism. The human brain has neurons that work together in the same way: one neuron is not "intelligent", as such, but a whole lot of them acting in unison make us what we are. The secret is communication, connectivity and the processing of information. In the modern world millions of people are communicating with each other in almost real time using Twitter, SMS, Facebook and other social networking tools. If a billion people are doing this and we think of each person as a single neuron, does it mean that we starting to create some kind of global intelligence?

  • OPINION

    Curb your enthusiasm

    Life, James Hein, Published on 22/05/2013

    » If reactions are any indication, the most exciting news of the week was Samsung sending a 1 gigabit signal across 2km. This was apparently based on what 5G technology may look like. If the pundits are anything to go by, Asia has essentially bypassed 4G and is eagerly awaiting 5G to hit the streets. It will have to wait a while as the Samsung exercise was just a demo of proof of concept. As of today, there are no ratified standards for 5G and Samsung appears to be trying to get out a head of the pack.

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