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Archive for July, 2010

Trying to fix the corporate world

July 29, 2010 Leave a comment

I saw “The Yes Men Fix The World” the other day. It’s a documentary about the activist group called the Yes Men. The Yes Men pose as employees of big corporations and go to conferences, hold press meetings or have interviews. At these events they then take the opportunity to expose or ridicule the corporate mentality through parody and humour.

It’s a fun movie and it really shows that some corporations are so overtaken by greed that they applaud at ways of earning more money through the misfortune of others. The movie has been released free of charge to the public via their website, and they encourage the spreading of the movie. So why not go over there and download it for a rainy day.

But just as the movie points out as well, big corporations can do a lot of good in the world, even though most don’t. Google has come to be one of the bigger corporations in the world but always try to remain grounded. After reading The New York Times article about Google paying its employees tax for benefits received from same-sex partnerships, one can see that they really are trying hard to live up to their informal motto, “Don’t be evil”. Apparently US residents with domestic partners pay a tax, which averages around 1069 USD per year, for their employer-provided health benefits. This tax is exclusive to homosexual employees since heterosexual married couples are excluded since they aren’t counted as domestic partners. Head over to the source article to get the full story as well as read about other benefits that all Google employees receive.

That’s all for now, until next time!

//Saligia

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Why not goeco?

July 28, 2010 Leave a comment

The creative team behind goeco have been running a contest where competitors have the chance to win 1000 SEK, which is about 137 USD or 105 EUR. The rules are quite simple, all you have to do is become a fan of their Facebook page and come up with an innovative, efficient and simple tip to consume less energy in your home which you then post on their page. After the contest ends on the 12 of August, the team will go through each contribution and decide on a winning tip.

For those that aren’t familiar with goeco, it’s a mobile phone application that tracks you transportation behaviour and gives you feedback as well as gives you tip on how to change your behaviour to be more environmentally friendly. The application doesn’t stop there, it goes on to give you a measurement of how many calories you’ve burned and how much money you’ve spent on transportation. With this data the application can not only lighten your carbon footstep but also save you money and help you keep fit.

But if you feel that you still need to travel by car everywhere then at least make sure it’s eco-friendly. And with that I leave you with this video and say goodbye.

//Saligia

Chile, the country of net neutrality

July 18, 2010 Leave a comment

The 13th of July marks the day that Chile became the sole country in the world to pass a law to ensure net neutrality. Chile’s Board of Chamber Deputies voted one abstention against 100 in favor for the motion that can be summarized in five points of obligations and prohibitions.

1. The prohibition for ISPs to interfere, discriminate or in any way obstruct content, services or applications served through the internet, unless it is to ensure the privacy of the user, protect the network or to hinder virus spreading.

2. The obligation of the ISP to provide a parental control service to the user.

3. The obligation to provide clients, with a series of written evidence, to correctly identify the contracted service.

4. The obligation to ensure user privacy, virus protection and network security.

5. The obligation to ensure access to all types of content, services or applications available on the network and offer a service that does not distinguish content, applications or services, based on the source of it or their property. This also includes the prohibition of activities that restrict users freedom to use the content or services unless a specific request has been made from the user.

Latin America has always come off as being very conservative but it’s always fun to see how much Chile has changed every time I visit relatives there. This along with Argentina passing a law to allow gay marriages shows that the continent is speeding to be a part of the modern world.

We’ll see what impact this law has on the world in the years to come. For now, “Viva Chile!”.//Saligia

You get a bumper, you get a bumper, everyone gets a bumper!

July 18, 2010 Leave a comment

So Apple had their press conference today about their signal problem. I’ve never liked Apple as a company, they have some great products, no doubt, but for some reason the company comes off as an A-hole. I have the same feeling about the directing founder, Steve Jobs. This certainly affects my summary of the conference and the paraphrasing, but anyway, here it is:

“We’re not perfect but, neither are phones.” – While it’s a big step for Apple to admit that they aren’t perfect it feels like an excuse saying that all phones have problems, especially after all the positive superlatives that they drop on their announcements.

“See! Other have the same problem.” – The excuse that they did the tests for science and a better understanding of the problem, is total bullshit. They saw an opportunity to bash on their competitors and they took it.

“We fixed our algorithm and other haven’t fixed theirs.” – Well good for you, you fixed a faulty algorithm that promised way more than it had and that should never have been there in the first place.

“We spend tons of money on testing and our awesome labs.” – And still you have problems with your phone.

“We knew, but didn’t think it would be a big deal”/”The Bloomberg article is bullshit” – So you knew but didn’t know? What is it?

“We have the best antennas ever… that drops the same amount of calls as the 3GS” – So it does nothing?

“There’s a problem, but it’s a small problem because everyone is happy” – 0,55% call Apple care about their iPhone 4 because of reception complaints while the Droid Eris, the phone that Apple bashes on, has a 0,016%.

“Bumpers will solve the problems, so everyone gets a bumper!” – The obvious cheaper solution to save face and customers.

“If you’re not happy with the iPhone, then we don’t want your money” – OK, I might have been too hard with that paraphrasing. It’s quite nice with a money-back warranty.

All in all, I think a quote from RIM says it best. “Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple.”

But enough of the Apple bashing, that’s it for now. Until next post! //Saligia

The Future of Televisions?

July 18, 2010 Leave a comment

3D as a medium has been around for quite a while. I remember that there were these dinosaur magazines that i used to collect as a child that sometimes came with those cheap red and blue 3D glasses in order to see the cool 3D dinosaur pictures, but even then the technology was quite old. 3D cinemas have been around since the 50s and the concept of 3D televisions are quite old as well. But for some reason, ever since Avatar, everyone (electronics companies mostly) are trying to sell us on the idea of 3D televisions, just a mere years after they convinced us that HD televisions were a good idea. On top of that, they charge ridiculously high prices for the pair of 3D glasses that every person watching that the TV needs.

I feel that this trend has arrived a couple of years too early for the general public. Sure, the early adopters will eat it up, but they also buy phones that are incapable of having a signal long enough to make a phone call. I will be keeping my television for some time. For me, 3D isn’t all that much of a thing, and I saw Avatar in 3D and 2D. 😛

But today I saw something that intrigued me and opened up possibilities for more uses of the 3D glasses than just simulating depth perception. Today I read an article about some of Sony newly filed patents, US20100177172 and US20100177174, and after reading the patents I got more optimistic about the development of televisions.

The patent describes a system in which one can use one display to successfully show several feeds at the same time to different individuals using the provided “shutter glasses”. The system sends out the video feed in sequences that are matched with the shutter glasses in a way that one individual sees one feed while the other sees the other feed. The patents illustrate this far better than I can describe it, so I urge you to at least have a quick look at them.

With this system split-screen multiplayer modes on games are a thing of the past, since every player gets a full-screen experience.But the system still has one problem, the fact that spectators will need to have their own pair of glasses in order to probably not get a headache from watching the screen. But since the glasses fill more function than just being able to see the screen in 3D then maybe people might feel that it’s worth it. The system also gives the user the option to see in 3D or in regular 2D so that someone may be playing a 3D game while the others are watching TV.

My guess would be that there will be a limit to how many feeds can be shown at the same time. That number would then be halved if they are all 3D feeds, since the 3D feeds take up two “slots” in the sequence, one for the right eye and one for the left.

I saw another article a while back that was about another 3D television system, by Microsoft, that was completely free of glasses. The idea was based around a special screen and a camera. The camera detected how many people were in front of the television and where they were aligned. The screen then steers light to the viewer’s eyes by switching light-emitting diodes along its bottom edge on and off. The system can then send two different images to the viewer’s left and right eye, creating a autostereoscopic 3D effect. This system could, just as the Sony patent, send different video feeds to different viewers, but the problem then would be how to transfer the sound to each person. At this moment the prototype is able to send 3D feeds to one or two individuals or send 2D feeds to up to four individuals, but who knows what that can be expanded to.

It’s fun to see the new technology that is being developed, especially the above mentioned technologies. The idea of 3D televisions and holograms have been around forever in our culture, most common in sci-fi, but these new systems seem to break off from the mold and come up from seemingly nowhere. Who could have pictured that by looking at the same screen, different people could see different things. One may wonder what will come after these steps.

Well that’s it for now, I’ve already written more than I should. Bye! //Saligia