editorial

  • Surveillant Society

    Surveillant Society

    One aspect of the Egyptian uprising (among the others, most ongoing) that was overpowered by the wild acclamation of social media is something that has been quietly but powerfully changing societal norms over the last decade. It is simply the inclusion, on almost every mobile phone sold, of a digital camera. When 90% of the active population can, at any time, record an event they are witness to… Read More

  • Frame Wars

    Frame Wars

    Recent reports that have both Peter Jackson and James Cameron shooting films at 48 frames per second (fps) have attracted a lot of commentary, and as this is a blog that covers trends and bleeding-edge tech, it seems like a synthesis of this discussion is warranted. Framerate standards sound like a rather dry topic to begin with, but it’s amazing what difference is created by even a minor… Read More

  • On Nuclear Power: Regulating Our Reaction

    On Nuclear Power: Regulating Our Reaction

    As a result of the ongoing tragedy in Japan, in particular the threat of meltdown or catastrophic radiation release from the Fukushima nuclear power plants, there has been a renewal of the discussion of nuclear power and its risks. As a tech site that occasionally covers scientific research in this area, and has a whole section dedicated to "green" technology, I thought we should at least touch on… Read More

  • China Switches To Homegrown CPUs For Supercomputers, Cites "Dependence On Foreign Technology"

    China Switches To Homegrown CPUs For Supercomputers, Cites "Dependence On Foreign Technology"

    We've had a few editorials here lately regarding China. I wrote about our moral hypocrisy in disapproving of factory conditions there, and John wrote how the lowest-price-possible culture still extant in much Chinese manufacturing is harmful in a number of ways. Throughout, I think there has always been a sort of grudging admiration for the way that country is capable of single-mindedly pursuing… Read More

  • Judge Allows Sony's Request For Identifying Information For Anyone Who Visited Hacker's Sites

    Judge Allows Sony's Request For Identifying Information For Anyone Who Visited Hacker's Sites

    This is a rather disturbing turn of events. Federal Magistrate Joseph Spero has approved a request by Sony to subpoena the hacker GeoHot's web host, as well as YouTube, Google, and Twitter, for identifying information on anyone who has accessed, commented, or viewed information relating to the hack. At best this is lazy on Sony's part and irresponsible on Magistrate Spero's, and at worst it is a… Read More

  • Our Take: Apple's iPad 2 Announcement

    Our Take: Apple's iPad 2 Announcement

    This morning’s Apple press event has come and gone, and as you likely have noticed, we covered just about every aspect of it. The iPad 2 itself, the new features and apps coming with iOS 4.3, the 100m and 15m iPhone and iPad sales numbers, even the new device’s funky magnetic case. That said, the announcement was conspicuous for its lack of truly major announcements. Rumors have been… Read More

  • People, Not Things, Are The Tools Of Revolution

    People, Not Things, Are The Tools Of Revolution

    Warmest congratulations to the Egyptian people, whose truly grassroots revolution has reminded the world what political action is supposed to look like. Although the work is far from done, and reconstituting a government by the people and for the people is perhaps the more difficult phase, it is right that they, and the world, should take a moment to reflect on a job well done. Some are using… Read More

  • The Optimism Of The Gadget Maker

    We are at a strange point at whatever economic upturn we're experiencing in the world economy. Things aren't quite "right" yet, many are still out of work, and the general sense is that business spending has flatlined. However, things are looking up. How can you tell? Gadget makers are advertising again. During the dot-com bust, and more recently during the housing crisis, gadget spending tanked… Read More

  • Our Great Sin

    Our Great Sin

    I recently watched, like many of our readers, the interview (1, 2) with Mike Daisey regarding the conditions under which Apple products are made in China. And at the risk of fomenting conflict with Mr. Daisey, I would like to editorialize on the topic in slightly harsher terms. Actually, it's not that I disagree with the man, exactly. It's that he doesn't go far enough, and in doing so… Read More

  • Five Reasons The PSP2 Won't Succeed

    Five Reasons The PSP2 Won't Succeed

    Sony has announced the PSP2 (temporarily named the “Next Generation Portable”), perhaps the final boss of handheld consoles. It’s far more powerful than its destined competitor, Nintendo’s 3DS, and incorporates social and locational data, 3G, a monster 5″ OLED screen, and a number of other features detailed here. It is to be one of the linchpin platforms for the… Read More

 
  • Today, A Ban On Headphones While Crossing The Street; Tomorrow, A Ban On Chewing Gum While Walking

    Today, A Ban On Headphones While Crossing The Street; Tomorrow, A Ban On Chewing Gum While Walking

    In the wake of the sensible legislation banning on texting while driving and requiring of hands-free in cars, it seems that lawmakers are setting their sights a little too high — or low, depending on your perspective. Some nascent proposals in New York aim to make it a crime to cross the street while using an electronic device. I don't often cry "nanny state," but this situation really is… Read More

  • Murch And Ebert's Misguided Malignment Of 3D

    Murch And Ebert's Misguided Malignment Of 3D

    An article is making its way around the net today, a letter written to Roger Ebert by an Oscar-winning editor and sound engineer, Walter Murch, decrying a fundamental flaw in 3D filmmaking that he assures us ruins the entire idea. Despite Murch’s depth of experience in the film industry, I think he’s off the mark in this assessment. So hopefully I can dispel some of the incomplete… Read More

  • A Brief Explanation Of Why Minecraft Matters

    A Brief Explanation Of Why Minecraft Matters

    On Wednesday, it was announced that a game called Minecraft had hit a million sales. This probably isn't the first time that you, a denizen of the internet, have heard that word. But unless you're in the habit of following up on every mention of every indie game you happen to see, there's a good chance this particular title might have slipped under your radar. So what is this Minecraft, and why… Read More

  • The Star Wars Re-Release: Much We Have To Learn

    The Star Wars Re-Release: Much We Have To Learn

    As we saw teased before CES, the Star Wars Trilogy (along with those other ones) is indeed to be re-released on Blu-Ray in September (you can pre-order now). The fan relationship with this franchise is perhaps the most complicated one in the entertainment world, for various reasons, and while I have no doubt that the new release will see millions of sales, it's a legitimate question to ask whether… Read More

  • What I Want For Christmas: A 16:9 iPad

    What I Want For Christmas: A 16:9 iPad

    There really aren't any signs pointing to the iPad 2 being that much different from the current model. It's not bigger or smaller (any smaller and it's a "tweener" and any larger is impractical, according to Jobs), but it's possible that they could put out something that's arguably the same size, yet a different shape. I mean, I don't seriously expect it to happen; it's much more likely that it'll… Read More

  • The Dangers Of Externalizing Knowledge

    The Dangers Of Externalizing Knowledge

    Contemplating the shortcomings of the younger generation has ever been a hobby of the elder. As I start to transition to the latter population (perhaps a bit early for my age), I've found myself worrying more and more about the kids, and how little they seem to appreciate things. That kind of complaint is neither constructive or original. But the fact is that the kids are growing up pretty weird… Read More

  • Federal Prosecutors: Supply Line Leaks May Constitute Insider Trading

    Federal Prosecutors: Supply Line Leaks May Constitute Insider Trading

    A new federal investigation is focusing on the legality of supply line leaks and their consequences on Wall Street. The poster boy for this would have to be Apple, around which an entire manufacturing and distribution channels has grown, and which is now too big to plug every leak — especially now that memetically propagating news magnifies every murmur into a clamor, for better or for Read More

  • The Future Of Paywalls: Microtransactions, Buy-Ins, And Content Wars

    The Future Of Paywalls: Microtransactions, Buy-Ins, And Content Wars

    A few nights ago, I was discussing with a friend the practicability of putting content behind a paywall. He felt it was an outdated notion and that advertising or some other method would pay. I disagree. Despite recent setbacks, like the decimation of the Times UK’s readership during their paywall experiment, I think that the paywall will eventually succeed, and even thrive — but the… Read More

  • Nice Knowing You, Nook

    Nice Knowing You, Nook

    The new Nook Color has been revealed, and it's a 7" Android tablet with a color LCD touchscreen. Talk about bringing a knife to a knife fight when someone else already brought a gun. It was the wrong move for Barnes & Noble to change horses mid-race. The only thing e-readers (and this is supposed to be an e-reader, make no mistake) have as a defense against the tablet onslaught is their… Read More

  • Windows: The Cadillac Of Operating Systems

    Windows: The Cadillac Of Operating Systems

    It wasn't that long ago, as far as history goes, that the ideal car was a hulk of convenience, a bench-seated, chrome-plated, three-ton luxury missile. This ideal had many aspirants, but perhaps the one who most embodied it was the Cadillac, perhaps even the '59 pictured. That's more of a matter for vintage car enthusiasts, but it occurred to me that this particular car has a lot of things in… Read More