The Missed Call: The Decade’s Zeitgeist?

By Jeremy Wagstaff (this is a longer version of an upcoming syndicated column.) When people look back at the last decade for a technology zeitgeist they may choose SMS, or the iPod, or maybe even Facebook. Me? I’d choose the cellphone call that rings, briefly, and then is silent. It’s one of those social phenomena […]

Satellites to the Rescue

Here’s a piece I wrote for the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation on how satellites and space technology are helping, and might help, in the case of big medical emergencies, from earthquakes to Ebola. It’s a slightly different tack for me and perhaps not the usual fare for loose wire blog, but I thought […]

Google’s New Interface: The Earth

I’ve written before about how I think Google Earth, or something like it, will become a new form of interface — not just for looking for places and routes, but any kind of information. Some people call it the geo-web, but it’s actually bigger than that. Something like Google Earth will become an environment in […]

Thwarting the VoIP Eavesdroppers

Interesting piece in Intelligence Online (subscription only) which mentions the growth of both software to intercept VoIP traffic, and services to thwart it. Companies mentioned: Amteus [company website] which “has developed secure software for Voice over IP (VoIP) communications but also for e-mail and file swaps.” Amteus basically works by establishing a peer to peer […]

Spammers Need To Be Funnier

Spammers should understand that if the best way into our inbox is by entertaining us. Most spam is just awful: offensive, grammatically dreadful (even allowing for efforts to get around filters) and revealing of the piteous lives the spammers and their drones lead. But if they could only smarten up their act we’d probably let […]

What Early Groomers Used For Hair Gel

I don’t use hair gel anymore — no, really — but I do remember wandering around war-torn Kabul trying to find some when my stash ran out during an unexpectedly long stint there shortly after the Taleban takeover. Needless to say I felt somewhat superficial about it, given all the suffering around me, and was worried […]

Plaxo, Privacy and ‘Suspicious Behavior’

It seems that there’s renewed interest in Plaxo, the contact sharing service that has attracted attention both for its inventiveness and its privacy implications. First off, a reader from France, Vincent Prêtet, wrote in comments to a previous post that Plaxo is an amazing great tool to manage an adressbook. I use it since a […]

Damn The Helicopters

From the BBC: France nabs gun-toting pensioner An 81-year-old Frenchman has been given a one-year suspended jail sentence for firing a hunting rifle at helicopters dropping water on a forest blaze. David Thiel opened fire on 21 July when the low-flying helicopters disturbed his afternoon nap near Grasse in the south of France, court sources […]

The Blogosphere (Tree)mapped

I was intrigued by this effort to count the number of blogs around the world and offer a break down by region, if not country. The results, though very rough, and which include large slabs of the world (like South America), offer up some interesting conclusions, particularly for Asia. Bottom line is that there is […]

Hong Kongers Flock Online

The folks at Nielsen//NetRatings have released their latest Global NetView Analysis (PDF only) which shows, as they put it, that ‘the majority of usage growth has come from increased frequency of access or user session growth. Australia, France, Hong Kong and Italy saw double-digit growth in the number of monthly user sessions (see Table 2). […]