Common sense analysis of this, that and the other

Archive for August 2008

Apple patent for multitouch tablet device

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As an ideas guy, normally I prefer not to go around saying “I thought of that” because it (understandably) generates the reaction “Well, why didn’t you patent it?” or “Why aren’t you rich from it?” etc. Well, one cannot protect and build everything – and situations arise along the way that detract one from the American dream. Life speeds by! However, I did want to discuss this patent application made by Apple, because they have patented something I conceived over ten years ago – while in the USA.  Namely a touch screen display that could detect and respond to more than one simultaneous touch for the purposes of:

  1. Pressing [Shift] plus one or more additional keys to generate a difference character (using an on screen virtual keyboard)
  2. Allowing more than one person to share the same screen area – like Tap Tap Revenge on the iPhone.

I have always believed such technology key to creating computers and devices that are actually fun and intuitive – rather than a barrier to creativity and productivity, as is the case with most computers and gadgets today.

I never disclosed this invention in public – only creating a drawing. I believe that Apple obtained the idea through legitimate channels not my own drawings as it never went beyond my own files. (I have indeed submitted inventions to Apple in the past.) I will be the first to buy an Apple tablet device as I know they will probably do it right – as evidenced by the brilliant (but flawed) iPhone interface.

Once work deadlines are out of the way, and pending advice from councel, I intend to publish on this here blog (on a dedicated page) a full list of ideas that I did not commercialise for whatever reason – with drawings too if available.


Written by Oflife

August 28, 2008 at 7:01 pm

Posted in Apple, Technology

Honey they shrunk my laptop (Nokia E71 review)

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Yes, finally, a posting related to technology!

Have just upgraded to this rather sexy piece of work from Finland. With the exception of the initial feel and build quality, the Nokia E71 is in a way, the direct opposite of the iPhone. With the latter, one is immediately blown away by the fluid, intuitive and compelling user interface. You toy with all the features, pressing each finger sized icon in turn, drag lists and pinch photos. But after a few hours, realise that as a productivity device, the iPhone just does not slice the custard. And I don’t care what people say, it is not possible to get used to the on screen keyboard (parallax error), although that will not deter the majority who will not use the iPhone for lengthy text input – after all, this is the age of the 140 character Twitter post! Anyway, this is not an iPhone review, so I’ll focus on the Nokia E71, which while not perfect, is a product where the designers have for the most part, conducted what we software designers call, ‘use case scenarios’. Although the phone lacks any attempt as pleasing aesthetic in the user interface, the multi-tasking OS (Symbian) and flexibility out of the box make the E71 invaluable – it really is the world’s first pocktable computer after the original Palm Pilot. You can create and edit spreadsheets and other office docs, dial with your voice, have it READ out emails/texts etc (great when laying in bed), check and reply to emails with the same Blackberry like ease as a desktop email client – and a whole lot more. For speed and efficiency, to create a new contact, calendar entry or email/text message, one simply holds down the appropriate function button – no browsing through complicated menus to carry out an instinctive on the spot task. Plus, it not only syncs the address book and calendar perfectly over Bluetooth with my Mac, but it also syncs a chosen selection of iTunes and iPhoto content! The ergonomics are excellent thanks to the well conceived mechanical QWERTY keyboard, function keys and a very usable mechanical ‘D-Pad’ for navigating menus, content and more.

Do go try out an E71 in your local airtime provider store. If the contruction and thinness don’t wow you, the more you play with it, the more you’ll realise how capable the E71 is. It works so well for me, I have dumped my previous techie rave, an EEE PC, that while compact, could not be slipped into an inside shirt pocket. Less is more!

(I will acquire an iPhone when it: a) Multi-tasks b) Has a slide out mechanical QWERTY keyboard c) Has an auto focus => 3MP camera with flash d) Allows the free and open transfer of ALL files over ones preferred wireless connection, from Bluetooth, HSDPA to WiFi.  e) The battery lasts as long as the one in my E71 – two to four days, depending on useage, it is no more than 10mm thin – like the lovely second generation iPod Touch – and has a more open development environment. Android anyone?)

Written by Oflife

August 25, 2008 at 11:28 pm

Posted in Apple, Review, Technology

Protected: Another few steps towards distopia

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Written by Oflife

August 25, 2008 at 7:24 pm

Excellent news from Peru

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This says it all. As humankind reaches a point when we can either grab the last piece of chocolate from the table, or develop alternative sources of energy and sustenance, surely it is wonderful news that the filthy destructive industries of the past are finally facing their Waterloo.

Fight back club: Regain optimism, maintain the momentum – never let go!

Written by Oflife

August 23, 2008 at 10:12 pm

Posted in Ecology, Environment

Oh dear

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Just a little reminder that in parallel with Britain’s ongoing Olympic success there is (like the host nation) a dark side to our deceptively sparkly exterior. Ask yourself this: Where will be a few years from now?

Fight Back Club: Protest, loudly. Remember folks, common sense and liberty is at stake here.

Written by Oflife

August 22, 2008 at 9:08 am

UK Government Spy-in-the-sky proposal

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Ref this Daily Telegraph article.

Here we go again. Ready? Steady, rant…

  1. Massive infringement of your privacy – tracking each car. Think about it!
  2. Who will pay? The driver? The passenger? What if someone borrows your car? Are you supposed to keep track of WHO drove your car on WHAT day? (The bill arrives later, it is not a real-time fee.)
  3. At up to £1.30 a mile, that is over £60 to drive to London from the country for your typical commuter. OK, so one can opt for the train. The trains are packed full, requiring one to stand up.
  4. Green policies are welcome. But as per this panic now-think later government recycling policy, they should await for an alternative to the automobile BEFORE taxing everyone into personal bankruptcy and stressing more and more people into diebetes and mental breakdown.
  5. What about the cost? Surely the money paid to these complicit manufacturers of surveilance equipment could be invested in alternative energy, improved pay for the railway staff so they enjoy their work and of course, better signalling equipment to reduce delays?
  6. Now the obvious point: Isn’t simply putting fuel in one’s car a costly enough deterent? a) It’s pricy. b) It’s dirty.

I am sorry to keep on this rant, but the apparent lack of public outrage at all this costly surveilance is almost as worrying as the issue itself! Doesn’t anyone care – not even a teeny weenie chipolata?

Sounds silly, but it’s almost as if the government is introducing or hyping these hairbrained schemes to get caring thinkers and bloggers in a twist so the authorities can monitor our writings (and any comments) and either test the response or have each of us certified to destroy our credibility* – a little like certain communist states where anyone who challenges the calleous status quo is silenced.

*Assuming one has any in the first place…

Written by Oflife

August 18, 2008 at 12:15 am

Unsure about climate change?

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I normally reserve my comments on this subject for major writings away from this postings column, however, for those with interests (financial perhaps?) in those corporations who are cleverly attempting to distort scientific evidence of climate change, a quick viewing of this video may raise an eye brow or two. © CNN 2008.

And a few weeks later, we have this in India. © CNN 2008.

Written by Oflife

August 16, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Posted in Climate, Ecology, Environment

Tagged with

Internet breakdown

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Over 10 years ago, while in Silicon Valley, I commented that it was vital the US government (immediately) initiated a huge program to provide fibre to the home and businesses. Such a vital investment is no different to the program initiated by Germany, the US and UK in the 1950s and 60s – building motorways that became the backbone of our economies. Today the media reports that within two years, the Internet is liable to break under the strain of high bandwidth services, such as YouTube, the BBC’s new iPlayer and hardware products like Apple TV. They are wrong, it is breaking now! I’m on an 8MB connection, and with the introduction of excellent (but bandwidth intensive) online services like Photoshop Express plus increased use of YouTube for indi movies, the Internet is breaking down already. Every morning and into the evening, myself and colleagues notice rapid slow downs – making web surfing or file transfers almost impossible. If the West had done what Asia did over 10 years ago, we would have been ready already. As it happens, we’re not ready already, and as Asia booms, our economy is going to suffer. And no, the private sector cannot help – it will take too long and cost too much. It has to be a government initiative. But it may be too late, for now. We’re just going to have to grin and bare it. Sausages.

Written by Oflife

August 14, 2008 at 5:13 am

Posted in Internet

Tagged with , ,

Lady of The Flies

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What exactly did this man do wrong? Lord help us all!

(To understand what is wrong with Great Britain today, this is a good read.)

For the record, when young I was punished for far lesser crimes with a wooden sandle. No regrets.

What to do? Ignore the politically correct madness and apply dicipline.

Written by Oflife

August 14, 2008 at 4:31 am

Posted in Ethics, Society

In support of Prince Charles (again)

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While the Prince is not a scientist, he is one of the few remaining public figures who blends common sense, concern for the people and ethics in this increasingly cold, automated human unfriendly world. The comments here in his ground breaking Daily Telegraph article are spot on. Having mingled with people in corporatations, I can confirm that while some are well meaning and run their businesses with a genuine concern for the public well being over absolute profit and shareholder return, there are some who no matter their location (UK, US, Holland etc) do not give a damn about anyone and will take any risk and any path to growth. Playing with our food is taking things too far. Did you know one specific company engineers seeds to ‘expire’ every year so farmers are forced to purchase and replant new seeds annually? No conspiracy, that is how it works. The same goes for the promotion of low cost sugary drinks and simple carb based foods to our vulnerable young so they become diebetic and reliant on a lifetime of drugs and equipment to keep them alive!

Re food shortages. They are in part caused by overpopulation and conversion of food crops to bio fuels. (The subject of biofuels will be covered elsewhere in this blog, but note that recent increases in food pricing has occurred in parallel with a sudden switch to biofuel crops across the world. It’s easy money!)

Fight back club: Oppose this with all your might. Protest with your wallet and support your local farmer(s) by purchasing locally sourced produce – from TODAY onwards! Do not procrastinate. May the force be you.

Written by Oflife

August 13, 2008 at 9:35 am

Posted in Ecology, Environment, Fascism

Tagged with

War in Georgia – blame big oil

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If a decade or so ago, with their huge cash reserves, big oil had shown some vision and common sense, they would have begun to invest their billions in solar and battery technology. This would have laid the foundations for a sustainable energy future, reducing the need for the super powers to continue to make land grabs under the false pretense of local ideological conflict. Each death in Georgia (on either side) can be blamed directly on big oil. The past, current and no doubt, continued greed and lack of imagination by big oil is a betrayal to the people of the world.

What to do: As usual, protest with your wallet. Avoid purchasing anything that uses oil or oil by products. Cycle, purchase as little as possible made from plastics etc. Time to move on.

Written by Oflife

August 9, 2008 at 11:16 pm

Posted in Ecology, Environment, Oil, Politics

Tagged with , , , ,

Dumbing down UK spelling

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Just when you cannot believe it can get any worse in this disintegrating country, read this. Remember folks, the objective in life is to aspire to be better. And the responsibility of our educators, mentors, leaders and parents is to enforce a minimum standard for the sake of our children’s future employability.

Written by Oflife

August 7, 2008 at 7:31 pm

Posted in Education, Society

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