Posts

Photos

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 If you have a mobile phone then you have a camera. Most are decent and can take better photos than the cameras we were buying 20 years ago. We have moved on from the world of showing people holiday slides or books of photos. Today we can instantly share the scene in front of us. We can also create videos. Higher resolution photos have become the norm and have forced the storage requirements of mobile phones to increase. In fact the “phone” part of a mobile phone is now just an app. Not so long ago we would connect our phones to a PC and sync the pictures to a PC photos application. To keep the memories safe we would attach a hard disk and make a backup. We would then buy a photos application to manage and curate the photos. This would take time and care. Then the cloud arrived. By flipping an option on your device your photos would be transferred to cloud storage. The cloud storage provider would read the metadata of the date, time and location, then categorise your photos for you.

Neural Processing

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 This week Microsoft held its build conference. Among all the announcements was one about the Neural Processing Unit (NPU) . Even those people who know little about technology have heard of the Central Processing Unit (CPU). This has been at the centre of computer power for decades. Microsoft would like you to get interested in the NPU. Way back in 1981, when the PC first came out of IBM, the power user of the PC wanted, quite literally, more power. One of the first ideas for financial analysis on spreadsheets was a numeric co-processor. A second chip specialising in maths. Calculations could be passed from the CPU to the co-processor for quick answers. This left the CPU doing all the other tasks. Over time, as graphics became more sophisticated, the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), became part of the PC. You could have onboard, built-in graphics on the motherboard, however the fastest response came from a separate dedicated graphics processor. Taking the load off the CPU. The next i

Maps

 I have a lot of trouble with maps. Gone are the days when you had a book with pages and co-ordinates. The "A to Z" books of yesteryear are gone and now maps are interactive on the web. For drivers the idea of turn-by-turn navigation on a journey is central to getting where you need to go.  The Global Positioning System (GPS) is government investment, but maps are in the hands of private industry. What we know as "big tech". There are plenty of choices for maps but, as with many things, being caught in an ecosystem gets in the way. The "best" mapping solution may not be best for you.  The sort of mapping solutions available are; Apple Maps  Google Maps Waze Open Street Maps Here  Bing Maps When I used WindowsPhone, maps were easy. Bing Maps was available on my PC, my phone and everywhere. I could save frequently visited places on my PC then pickup my phone and it was all there. Mapping is both mobile, so you can keep directions with you, and static, so you

Into the Metaverse

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Meta , the company formally known as Facebook, wants to be the company of the metaverse. It is claimed that the metaverse is the next evolution of the Internet. A new parallel world. It is slightly unclear what this world is right now. The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has suggested it could mean creating a virtual “home” and rooms to meet and connect with friends. A place of virtual work meetings. A place to attend music concerts without the effort of leaving your sofa.  The first issue I have is the business model of Meta and the second is privacy. They are linked. The business model of Meta is that they make money via targeted advertising. Traditional advertising, of the non-targeted variety, is all about advertising with broad appeal. The advertiser knows very little about you. The Meta (Facebook) model is to know more about you than you might know about yourself.  After browsing the Internet to buy a new bed you might log onto Facebook and find you get adverts about beds.

Telegram chat app

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Telegram, instant messaging client, has become much more to the fore in the last few weeks. Its popularity is driven by its use in Ukraine and Russia. This should surprise anyone. The creator of the Telegram app is Pavel Durov , a Russian who created their Facebook equivalent called VK. VK proved too much for Putin and Durov had to sell. He now runs Telegram from Dubai.  Telegram is regarded by its users as encrypted. However, by default, the encryption keys are held on Telegram servers allowing data to be read by Telegram staff, if they want to. The private chat feature, hidden in the menus, switches on end-to-end encryption. This keeps the encryption on devices and under the control of users. For this reason, privacy advocates advise the use of Signal, Matrix and other end to end encrypted chat apps. WhatsApp does use end to end encryption by default so, in theory, it is a better choice than Telegram. There is a different problem with WhatsApp. Facebook owns it, and it can harvest me

Green iPhone

The big Apple event in March was all about the new iPhone SE, the new Mac Studio and the monitors. However, I was struck by the green iPhone 13 . It was just a new colour. The iPhone 13 was launched 6 months ago. it seems a bit mad that an additional colour was announced at this point. Apple did this last year. A purple iPhone was launched at about the same time. The Apple blogsphere produced a response. Short videos of unboxing and statements that this is a great new colour. It is. In a world where Android phone makers are launching new models every week and annual phone refresh seems a distant memory at this point. Apple are trying to just have a promotional boost. Something to have a new item in store. Something to provoke an upgrade. Something just to remind people of Apple products. It shows an awareness that the brand needs to generate a wow factor more than once a year.

A month with the MacBook Air

About a month ago I bought a MacBook Air. The 2020 model was one of the first that was part of Apple moving to it's own design of chips over it's partnership with Intel. Most reviewers have been massively enthusiastic about the Apple M1 . Although the change is dramatic the design is based on a lot of traditional elements. The processor, with its low power capabilities, is a RISC chip. Closely related to the A series processors that have been in the iPhone and iPad for a decade. Windows users will find that, from a hardware perspective, there is no fan in the MacBook Air 2020. Much is made of Windows being a legacy operating system dating back 30 years. MacOs also has legacy, The OSX environment comes from Steve Jobs' NeXT computers in the 1990s. He brought their Unix based OS ideas directly into Apple. In use I find little speed difference in consumer experience of power between my Windows based Lenovo PC with an AMD processor than this new M1. The Lenovo has fan noise and