Monday, 10 Oct 2016
Tuesday, 20 Sep 2016
Bloomberg Technology takes a look at Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 battery problems and how it happened. It appears in their rush to beat Apple to market they took a few too many shortcuts.
The chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission was more explicit when his agency announced an official recall on Thursday. He said the phone’s battery was slightly too big for its compartment and the tight space pinched the battery, causing a short circuit. “Clearly, they missed something,” said Anthea Lai, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. “They were rushing to beat Apple and they made a mistake.”
This all came about because they underestimated the impact the new iPhone 7 would have. Their assumption was that it would not be a big hit because it was too similar to the iPhone 6S. Based on recent years, they should know by now not to underestimate the power of the iPhone brand.
Apple’s iPhone 7 also wasn’t as uninspiring as Samsung may have anticipated. Though it kept the same physical design with modest technology changes, loyalists still lined up at stores around the world on Friday to get the company’s latest gadget.
Just five days into launch and the iPhone 7 looks set to break new sales records.
Saturday, 17 Sep 2016
If you’ve read one of my reviews before then you’ll know I do things a bit differently than other tech writers. For one, I use the phones as normal. I don’t torture test them or run dozens of artificial benchmarks unless they provide an interesting window into advancements in performance that are going to make a real difference to you.
Frankly, with platforms like iOS, where the hardware is a near constant, developers are going to be producing software that utilizes exactly what resources Apple makes available to them — no more and no less. So wasting time on a bunch of random numbers (higher is better! lower is better!) doesn’t really serve the audience most of the time because everything should run well.
Well worth reading if you’re even remotely interested in the new iPhones.
Saturday, 3 Sep 2016
A small county in Indiana sends more people to prison than San Francisco and Durham, N.C., combined. This New York Times article looks at how prison populations are declining in most populous areas in the USA but are booming in mostly white, conservative rural areas.
If Mr. Gaddis had been caught 20 miles to the east, in Cincinnati, he would have received a maximum of six months in prison, court records show. In San Francisco or Brooklyn, he would probably have received drug treatment or probation, lawyers say.
But Mr. Gaddis lived in Dearborn County, Ind., which sends more people to prison per capita than nearly any other county in the United States. After agreeing to a plea deal, he was sentenced to serve 12 years in prison.
They obviously didn’t get the memo that the war on drugs was lost.
Friday, 2 Sep 2016
Tuesday, 30 Aug 2016
A Russian radio telescope, the RATAN-600 telescope in Zelenchukskayap (try saying that 5 times quickly), picked up a strong “spike” in signals coming from a sun like star some 95 light years from Earth. Apparently this was in May 2015 but they seem to have forgotten to tell the rest of the international scientific community – maybe they didn’t think it was very important?
The signal’s strength indicates that if it in fact came from a isotropic beacon, the power source would have to be built by a Kardashev Type II civilization. (The Kardashev scale is used to determine the progress of a civilization’s technological development by measuring how much energy was used to transmit an interstellar message.) An ‘Isotropic’ beacon means a communication source emitting a signal with equal power in all directions while promoting signal strength throughout travel.
I wonder how many UFO nerds are busy re-installing their Seti@Home screensavers that were so popular in the early 2000’s.
Random thought: If the Kardashev scale measures a civilization’s technological development, would a scale that measures a civilization’s regression be called the Kardashian scale?
Thursday, 25 Aug 2016
I somehow missed this story the other day, perhaps because it was caused by an event that never happened. David Wallace-Wells from New York Magazine, tells the story of how someone in the crowd at JFK Airport apparently mistook the sound of people cheering and clapping Usain Bolt’s 100 meter final for gunfire. In the security paranoid environment of an airport it didn’t take much to start a mass panic.
The applause sounded like gunfire, somehow, or to someone; really, it only takes one. According to some reports, one woman screamed that she saw a gun. The cascading effect was easier to figure: When people started running, a man I met later on the tarmac said, they plowed through the metal poles strung throughout the terminal to organize lines, and the metal clacking on the tile floors sounded like gunfire. Because the clacking was caused by the crowd, wherever you were and however far you’d run already, it was always right around you.
The airport was evacuated, planes were delayed, even emergency chutes were deployed on some, passengers ran onto the tarmac, it was pandemonium. Interestingly, the airport security appeared to be mostly ineffective in controlling the situation with reports of the security guards being just as panicked and confused as the passengers.
Guards were rushing back and forth, themselves panicked, and each time any one of them made a sudden movement, the rest of us seemed to swell up, too, and surge forward for the door. Guards and passengers kept screaming at each other; if the security had been armed, a shooting wouldn’t have just been possible but likely.
What a frightening situation, so glad it turned out to be a false alarm.
Via One Foot Tsunami.
Monday, 15 Aug 2016
As the king of sprinting and the biggest global star at the Rio Games, Usain Bolt of Jamaica held aloft his index finger, signaling that he was No. 1, during introductions Sunday night as a smitten crowd chanted his name.
Then Bolt proved it again, winning the 100 meters in 9.81 seconds, a coronation that secured his place as the greatest sprinter of all time. He is the only man or woman to win the Olympic 100 three times, which he accomplished at three consecutive Games.
Such a great ambassador for such a beautiful country – moments like this remind me of how proud I am of my Jamaican heritage. 🇯🇲
A great article on Alex Honnold, the man considered to be the world's greatest free-solo climber (no ropes or protective gear) and how he manages to climb without giving in to the natural instinct of fear.
Recently a group of scientists took MRI scans of Honnold's brain while he viewed images intended to stimulate the amygdala, the part of the brain that is related to our fear response. What they found was that Honnold's amygdala was largely inactive due to repeated exposure to and suppression of his sense of fear.
One by one, acts that had seemed outrageous to him began to seem not so crazy: soloing moves in which he hangs only by his fingers, for example, with his feet swinging in the open air, or, as he did in June on a notorious route called The Complete Scream, climbing ropeless up a pitch that he had never ascended before. In 12 years of free solos, Honnold has broken holds, had his feet slip, gotten off-route into unknown terrain, been surprised by animals like birds and ants, or just suffered “that fraying at the edges, you know, where you’ve just been up in the void too long.” But because he managed to deal with these problems, he gradually dampened his anxieties about them.
This is an interesting read about a remarkable person, especially the fact he was willing to be a guinea pig for these scientists to gain a better understanding of how our brains process and retain information.
UPDATE: The first 30 seconds of the video below is a perfect example of why people are curious about his lack of fear.
Thursday, 11 Aug 2016
If you’re in Australia, you might have noticed a strange consistency in this imprecision—specifically, that everything is about 1.5 meters (just under 5 feet) off the mark.
No wonder I keep getting lost.