Friday, 25 November 2011

What I've been reading this week

New technology

With all the fuss about ARM vs Intel in the PC/ server/ mobile/ any other device market, it’s easy to forget the other alternatives from AMD. Sadly, “Bulldozer” seems to be representative of the speed of their new architecture, not its effect on the competition. Some commentators – like that linked – believe that multithreaded processes in servers will allow AMD to regain ground against Intel. They miss the point – this is a desktop chip and will compete against other desktop chips. Against these, and against server-specific products, it will get annihilated by the competition.

Darknet activities such as this are a core part of the – accidental or deliberate – effort to segment and even weaponise aspects of the Internet.

Breakthrough technology

Given the criticism that some in scientific circles directed at the experimenters for announcing their puzzling results to the wider community, I think this news represents a certain vindication of that decision. Besides the obvious implications of violating the constancy of the speed of light, a really startling thing here is the extreme level of precision that the experimenters can achieve with their apparatus at both ends of the test rig.

This is the cutting edge display technology of 2020 – the challenge now is making it into a product. If that leap can be made, then the societal impact would be immense if used in concert with ever-improving augmented reality capabilities.

Sounds like a fantastic technology, although I’m typically quite sceptical about power generation breakthroughs until they work in the field at an economic price. Solar has been a massive scam from an economic point of view (although there have doubtless been some small environmental benefits), let’s hope these “leaves” both work and are economic.

BBC R&D have produced some impressive innovations over the years, so it’s nice to see that the move to Salford hasn’t yet degraded their creativeness. The Dalek on page 3 is worth looking at, although I disagree that this represents evidence of an Internet of Things. It’s just a toy!

Business models

Even with a startling growth of 58% YoY, Apple’s brand is still well below that of Microsoft or even IBM in the (admittedly slightly false science of) brand value.

Digital media

Tablets are the perfect replacement for the second/ third/ xth TV set, something that’s now being formalised by the TV platform operators.

The wrapping together of content, device and connection has long been touted as the future. With e-readers and tablets it’s finally something that also desirable for consumers.

And finally...

A nicely written view on the worst tech mishaps of 2011. I heartily agree. Favourite quote: “At this point, RIM is like the deadbeat dad who shows up two months after your 17th birthday and presents you with a stuffed animal in a gift bag. Too little, too tone-deaf, too late.”

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