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A New Form Factor for the Phone?

photo @arubin via twitter The smartphone hasn’t changed much, at least in terms of proportions, since the first iPhone (the iPhone belatedly adopted the 16:9 aspect ratio most other phones had long assumed in 2012 with the iPhone 5). Yes, Samsung made it bigger, an idea considered dumb at the time but one which has largely become the norm. Phones have gotten thinner — anorexic, in the words of one writer — which has produced its own problems (and may hold back 5G). But the essential dimensions of the phone haven’t changed in more than 10 years.  That is, sort of, changing, with Samsung’s FoldContinue readingA New Form Factor for the Phone?

Smart cities without digging

Smart cities sound like a great idea — who wouldn’t want your city to be smart, or at least smarter? — but it usually involves lots of digging. What if we could have the sensors that make cities smart, without the holes? Sensors need to be lain in the ground, or on street furniture, and often cables lain to connect them. This means more holes, which is something residents don’t like. A mayor in the Indian state of Goa threatened to seize the equipment of the local smart city corporation, Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Corporation Ltd, in May after they ignored the city’s ban on diggingContinue readingSmart cities without digging

5G’s Achilles Heel: Heat

5G promises a lot. a mobile internet of things, new immersive VR and AR experiences, lower latency, washboard stomachs. But something the industry isn’t addressing is that the devices themselves heat up. A lot. This from Digits to Dollars‘ Jonathan Goldberg:  5G phones get hot. Really hot. Probably not hot enough to ignite your battery (probably), but enough to generate a definite burning sensation in your pants pockets. At Mobile World Congress in February, we spoke with an engineer from Sony who was demo’ing a phone (behind glass) that was clocking 1 Gbps speeds. Wow, fast. We asked the engineer why it was not goingContinue reading5G’s Achilles Heel: Heat

Too Far Ahead of the Curve?

My former employers used (I’m stressing used here ) to like my tech stories because they had never heard about the stuff I wrote about before, which was considered good. But in later years as the editors were replaced by other, saner heads, and there were grumbles. Write about what’s happening now, not what’s going to happen, was usually the refrain. They had a point. But I didn’t think that was my job, and I still don’t. But it does raise a question which journalists in any field often have to address: When is the right time to write about something that you know willContinue readingToo Far Ahead of the Curve?

Windshift: Malware Recycled

A recently published deck (PDF) by Abu Dhabi-based DarkMatter’s Taha Karim draws an interesting conclusion: that an Indian cybersecurity group called Appin, active a few years ago, was either targeted by an advanced APT group (and its tools stolen), or its tools stolen by a rogue employee, or that its tools were sold to a third party. The reason: Karim found evidence of Appin’s tools and infrastructure in covert hacks into governments by a group with overlaps to several existing APT actors, some with links to Russia. The groups that Karim’s report finds overlaps with (either modus operandi, infrastructure, similarities in coding practice etc) are:Continue readingWindshift: Malware Recycled

Microsoft, never sexy, grows up

By Jeremy Wagstaff We didn’t really notice it but the past week or so has seen the passing of an era. We are no longer in a world where Microsoft wants to peer through our Windows, as it were. As Ben Thompson noted in his Stratechery newsletter, the company’s recent Ignite Conference passed largely unnoticed by the wider world, in part because it was aimed squarely at “information technology professionals”. All the talk was of cloud, AI, office. This is the market for Microsoft these days, not consumers. No more queuing up round the block for the next version of Windows. No more bossing youContinue readingMicrosoft, never sexy, grows up

For the tech hubs of the future, look to Asia’s smaller cities

This is an update on a piece I’d written for Reuters six years ago on remote freelancing in emerging markets. It was written in part for a new Cisco report on Technology and the future of ASEAN jobs (PDF), launched this week at WEF.   Much of the disruptive change in Southeast Asia in the past five years has been been by adding formalized systems and layers to existing sectors, most of that in what broadly be called mobile commerce. Think Grab, Go-Jek, Lazada. The investment has been concentrated, in country, sector and in companies. But the real change in skills and work in theContinue readingFor the tech hubs of the future, look to Asia’s smaller cities

Solving the Tragedy of the Commons

(edited for clarity) Bike sharing has become something of a plague for those who don’t appreciate its advantages. Even for those who do, the sight of bikes lying all over the place, broken, is jarring in a place like Singapore. But the solution is not obvious. First off, you need to have a mechanism for policing errant bikes and the companies that own them. You need to find a way for users to report them. Then to punish the offending companies. But wouldn’t that just encourage companies to damage or mislay their rival companies’ bikes? I am pretty sure that’s already happening — I seeContinue readingSolving the Tragedy of the Commons

Bank scammers get smart(er)

Scammers still love the telephone. It’s the best way to scam people because you have got them there, in the palm of your hand, so to speak. Banks are slowly getting to grips with this and warning customers not to give personal details over the phone to anyone claiming they’re from a bank. Check the number, they warn, and ensure it’s one that is recognisably the bank’s. Of course, scammers can get around that by changing the displayed number, but there’s another way too. Smart customers would usually google the number the call is coming from before accepting it. These might be listed on websitesContinue readingBank scammers get smart(er)

Bike Fencing

Some interesting stuff going on in Singapore’s world of bike sharing. They’re approaching the problem of errant bike-parking by regulating the companies via a licensing regime, which will begin later this year, according to Today. From what I can make of it, operators must – be licensed, or face a S$10,000 fine and/or six months in jail – be responsible for the parking of bikes within designated parking locations, or lose their licence or find their fleet size reduced Users will also be watched, under a geo fencing scheme that will require them to scan a QR code at the designated parking locations before endingContinue readingBike Fencing

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