The iEconomy: Apple and Technology Manufacturing. Since January, the New York Times has been running a series of articles "examining the challenges posed by increasingly globalized high-tech industries," with a focus on Apple's business practices. The seventh article in the series was published today: In Technology Wars, Using the Patent as a Sword. Related: For Software, Cracks in the Patent System and Fighters in the Patent War. [more inside]
Prototypes are usually the missing links in the evolution of human technology, the dead-ends of ideas that give way to the refinement of the final physical product. Prototypes aren't just for Darth Vader. While the legal back and forth between Apple and Samsung continues, a treasure trove of prototype designs for Apple devices has been released to the public, showing insights into various design approaches and feature enhancements, including larger form-factor iPads with and without kickstands and landscape ports and iPhones that parody the Sony logo, show a different layout for camera elements, and look remarkably like fourth-generation models, as far back as 2005. On the other hand, some have made prototypes into the end goal itself, such as the folks at Dangerous Prototypes, a site which features a new open-source electronic hardware project each month. Some are just gratuitous fun, while others are a bit more practical, such as one project that recycles old Nokia displays and another that provides access to infrared signal, useful for hacking together remote controls for all sorts of IR-based devices. Other prototypes of tomorrow's technology are less concerned with shrinking down the guts of the invention itself, to make it disappear, but rather on how we interact with and integrate physical representations of these ideas into our daily lives. Above all else, prototypes are always forward-looking and are therefore inherently optimistic expressions of human creativity: Even children are getting into imagining the world of tomorrow.
Composer Samson Young leads an impromptu iPhone orchestra in one of his pattern sequencer compositions at the 2009 Hong Kong Biennale, and once more here at the Hong Kong Art Fair 2010.
"In a letter last May, Pope Benedict XVI urged priests to help people see the face of Christ on the Web, through blogs, Web sites and videos; priests could give the Web a 'soul,' he said, by preaching theology through new technology." Well ... it was only a matter of time. Are you a sinner? There's an app for that. "Confession: A Roman Catholic App" isn't supposed to replace the actual confessional booth, but instead offers "a personal examination of conscience." Sounds great, but the Vatican would like to remind you that you'll still need to drop by an actual church to make it count.
A blind man uses a mobile phone to "see":
I have never experienced this before in my life. I can see some light and color, but just in blurs, and objects don’t really have a color, just light sources...I went outside. I looked at the sky. I heard colors such as “Horizon,” “Outer Space,” and many shades of blue and gray. I used color queues to find my pumpkin plants, by looking for the green among the brown and stone. I spent ten minutes looking at my pumpkin plants, with their leaves of green and lemon-ginger. I then roamed my yard, and saw a blue flower. I then found the brown shed, and returned to the gray house.
This week Microsoft unveiled the Kin, formerly Project Pink (previously), which emerged out of the troubled Sidekick (previously). Built on the same foundation as the Zune HD, making it the first in-phone use of the NVIDIA Tegra, the phones operating system is a cut-down version of Windows Phone 7 with a focus on photo sharing and social networking. Will the Kin make Microsoft cool again? Perhaps. Of course all eyes are still on the Smartphone market, and how Windows Phone 7 will compare to the iPhone. Some see a clear lead for WP7 from a developers perspective, others are more doubtful.
RjDj "is a music application for the iPhone. It uses sensory input to generate and control the music you are listening to. RjDj is mainly listened to with headphones. Think of it as the next generation of walkman or mp3 player." l Michael Breidenbruecker initiated the project, now joined by a team of musical and technological thinkers and coders l "What it’s really about is a new approach to how to listen to music, how to develop musical tools, and how communities own and share that work." [more inside]
Stephen Fry just started blogging. His first post? A post on the iPhone, the history of PDAs and the nature of technological innovation and desire, that's roughly the length of a medium-sized novella.