What do I want for a 4G phone.

The 3 network is about to bring fast 4G coverage to my area. Other networks already provide it, but at ridiculous prices and with some quite restrictive download limits. However 3 is offering 4G (that's 4G LTE to our colonial cousins) at their current 3G prices with sensible or even unlimited data usage. Currently I have some very nice smartphones but none are 4G capable, so it's time to be looking around for something to fill that gap. I'm not in a great rush as my current contract is not due for renewal for many months yet, but it's still…

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New academic year for 2013.

It's getting near to the start of the new academic year. Time I kicked this blog back into life with a few student observed projects and some comments on anything technological that happens to catch my eye. I really used to like The Register as a source of information. The nice thing with it is that the .co.uk version highlighted a lot of the British and European technology stories where so many other web sites were totally American biased.  However for reasons I'm not too sure of I seem to have gone off that site. I still do look at…

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4K monitors

It appears ASUS is launching a new monitor with a 3840 by 2160 display; a 4K device with a screen the equivalent of four current HD displays. I assume this first one will be horribly expensive, however once one company has brought something to market the rest will soon follow and prices will tumble. So I guess we are now talking about 4K screens arriving for home consumption, yet much of the population is not yet HD! Perhaps they are the lucky ones in that those who have recently spent vast amounts of money on fancy HD 1920 x 1080…

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Toilets not telephones

According to a U.N. report, of the 7 billion people who live on this planet, 6 billion have access to mobile phones but only 4.5 billion have access to toilets or latrines. That 2.5 billion without basic sanitation represents around 37% of the population, and of this 2.5 billion, over 1 billion still defecate out in the open. No surprise to learn that the countries with the higher levels of open defecation also have the highest number of under-five child deaths. A bit of a sad reflection on the world's priorities where phones come before even the most basic levels…

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Future for Apple.

Noticed an interesting story on brg.com regarding where Apple's future may be. Apple has something like 500 million iTunes accounts linked to credit cards. So add a fingerprint reader to your future iPhone or other iTunes connected device and you have the potential for a secure mobile payment system with Apple / iTunes acting as a known, established intermediary between the purchaser and the credit card company. This would enable you to buy anything and pay for it through your iTunes account, obviously with Apple taking a small commission. If going through a fingerprint reader then iTunes  could help to reduce credit card fraud,…

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Microsoft price cut

It looks like Microsoft is cutting the price of Windows 8 and Office to PC makers, especially those doing small screen and touch screen devices. I assume they are deliberately targeting those devices competing against the iPad and hoping this software price reduction will be reflected in equivalent hardware price reduction. Also assume that it's to encourage more manufacturers to start producing Windows tablet devices. I actually quite like Windows 8 and run it on various (quite old) machines, however I do run it using the conventional Win XP type screen display, not the fancy what was called Metro style…

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A new meaning to having (microprocessor) chips for tea!

The Kinetis KL02 is a fully working ARM microprocessor system on a chip which the chip-maker say is swallowable. If they can make a microprocessor system 2 mm square then I assume adding sensors to match this size should not be a problem, so suddenly seeing what’s going on inside you takes on a new meaning.  Instead of an endoscope probe fed down your oesophagus just swallow a KL02 ‘pill’ with built in micro-cameras and light and see what’s happening (possibly on your mobile phone!) as it goes down. Have sensors on it (processor controlled) looking for specific conditions. If…

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iPad replacement

A few days ago I was thinking to myself what would I do if my iPad stopped working. It's an iPad 2 so relatively old, though other than being a bit short on memory (most of its 16 gig is full) it does everything I want from it. I could quite happily drop down in size and go for an iPad Mini. That size of screen is still large enough for me to use as a 'full size' device, but being that much smaller would make it more portable. The one thing that would hold me back is that I…

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Iceland interconnector

So there’s some talk about running a power cable from Iceland across to Scotland, thus providing Europe with a “green” source of electricity generated from Iceland’s surplus geothermal energy resources. China is already laying cables over 2,200 km / 1300 miles long, though these are above ground. For Iceland it would be around 700 miles underwater, a submarine interconnector distance that’s not been done before. Iceland has very few people / consumers and vast energy potential. Like it or not there is an increase of demand for energy across  Europe, but in turn wants to move away from high carbon…

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China leads

It appears that China is now the world’s largest smartphone market, and I can’t see that changing soon. The west is reaching smartphone saturation level so there’s not much room for new expansion (just on-going replacement at contract renewal time) while China with its billion+ population numbers (and fast growing middle class) has vast potential for whichever of the manufacturers can really get in there. It may mean a bit of sucking-up to the Chinese ruling party in order to get full trading authority but (as Google found, it turned out rather counter-productive when they got in a huff over official restriction…

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