Apple Planning Busy 2014

iwatch apple

So the rumor mill is starting to crank up around Apple again, they still don’t have the Steve Jobs mystery thing worked out however. This story from Expert Reviews suggests that Apple has a full slate of new products on line, from the Iphone6 (or whatever it may be called) to new cheaper IMacs and such. The topper in all of this is the long predicted IWatch. I have posted up an image that seems to be around in a lot of places, which is based in part off of some patents Apple obtained. However, this all comes at a time where Apple is still being shaken to it’s core by staffing changes, including the “retirement” of Greg Christie, a vice president and engineer who was responsible for much of the Iphone interface that not only made the Iphone a great product, but may have defined mobile phones as we know it. Christie has been a big part of the lawsuit with Samsung, it’s not known if this change of status might also change Apple’s approach in the lawsuit.

Originally Syndicated via RSS from Broadband Wireless Access

Whiners and Wind Ups In the New F1

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am a fan of auto racing (and to an extent motorcycles as well). I have routinely and regularly called out NASCAR for their sleep inducing, near incestuous series, and I have spoken against F1 on a few occasions as well. NASCAR pretty much failed to move forward and lost me as a fan, and F1 had certainly been hovering on that side as well. Four years in a row of Red Bull dominance and an endless parade of rules bent and broken at will made F1 a bit mindless.

However, the FIA and F1 who sort of combine to actually make the series go saw the issues and decided that F1 needed to move towards being more relevant for actual road going technology. Few of us were going to benefit by increases aero effeciency by cycling our engines at high speed to detach airflow (exhaust blown aero), nor for that matter were very many of us driving around in normally aspirated high fuel consumption V8 engines. So with an eye to the future, they redid the rules to put a bigger emphasis on hybrid power, electric recovery, and fuel effciency, not only limiting the size of the engines to 1.6 liters (with turbo) but also limiting both fuel flow and total fuel allowed per race, which has certainly changed the game.

Three races into the new era of F1, and it’s pretty easy to see that some engine companies got it, some didn’t so much, and others just having been able to integrate the whole thing into a functional package. Mercedes has certainly put together a great engine package, which is powering most of the teams near the top, and Renault has pretty much dropped the ball, and served up a complex system that doesn’t seem to be work well and is prone to failures.

There have been complains and whining from all sides on this one, even F1 head Bearnie Ecclestone complained the cars were too quiet – until he heard them in person and then said it wasn’t that bad. Clearly the cars are quieter, considering they don’t rev to 18,000 rpm anymore and have their exhausts blocked by a turbo, but they turn out much more torque and power total than the old cars. There are also complaints that the cars are harder to drive and hard to make work propertly.

Not surprisingly, the sourest of sour grapes appears to be coming from previously dominant Red Bull racing. They have been the team who has dominated for 4 years, with a slick combination of the best packaging plus some incredibly inspirated rule… what would you call it… rule skirting. Everything and anything was fair game to them, including apparently heating the underside of the car so the floor would flex more during the race to increase downforce, to flexible noses, blown exhausts, and a whole bunch of other things that will one day come to light when the players are not longer in the game, and will reveal just how much of a charade it all was. Red Bull loved the old rules because they found all the ways to get around them, winning the last 8 or 9 races last season without even marginal opposition. They were just that far ahead.

Now, they find themselves having problems, and that has resulted in some pretty sad whining from them. F1 champ Sebastian Vettle was asked about the engine sound, and he said it was “sh-t” (poop). Red Bull honcho and Team owner Dietrich Mateschitz has made some not so veiled threats about leaving the series, and now chief engineer (and rule bender) Adrian Newey had made it clear he things all of this technology is expensive, meaningless, and not relevant. Of course, it probably pisses him off no end that he can no longer find another twist in the rules to apply an aero adjustment to make his cars slide to the front anymore, and in fact his original 2014 design was at least partially scrapped because the car kept overheating and catching fire.

My opinion? Red Bull can take the door and go. They are fair weather friends to F1, and as soon as things are not going their way, they are quick as a group to start talking the series down and making off the cuff comments that are not to anyone’s benefit. The races so far in 2014 have been interesting, with plenty of different strategies and challenges, and as a result, F1 is actually fun to watch again. Red Bull want it their way, the old boring way… and that’s just not going to happen.

In the never ending world of chess that is F1, Bernie Ecclestone perhaps gets the last word on this one, the one that is likely to get Red Bull to shut up already. He announced that two new teams would be coming to F1, which would pretty much negate whatever potential loss would come from losing the two Red Bull teams. So if Mateschitz thought he had F1 by the short and curlies, it turns out that he may just be giving himself the wedgie instead.

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Mobile Rises as PCs Continue To Fade

goodbye PC

The times they are a-changing, and if you are in the business of making desktop computers or their parts, then you are probably hurting in a very big way. People are buying as much as they did before, if not more, but now more and more are buying portable devices and leaving the desktop behind. This report that I found over at Techcrunch shows a nearly 5% increase in phone sales, and a near perfect matching 6.6% decline in PC sales.

It could be said that this is the long goodbye for the PC as we know it. The PC world is getting it from all sides, from quadcore phones and tablets to online cloud services that make home storage seem as up to date as floppy disks. There is plenty of action in phones, tablets, phablets, and a fast growing market is the clamshell devices, which fold open to reveal a laptop like screen and keyboard combo, albeit in a smaller package.

Certainly a big part of the market is because mobile and portable computing is still a young industry, expanding rapidly and evolving at full speed, with many playing catchup to the current 4G standards. There is also the basic concept that the PC market hasn’t moved forward much in the last few year, the last big leap for most people was onto Windows 7, as most seem to have avoided windows 8 variants where possible. For many, there aren’t enough new features or benefits to justify a costly upgrade. However, it’s apparently easier to justify a nice sized chunk of change for the latest iphone or Samsung device, and the tablet world is expanding rapidly and the devices are impressive pieces with great graphics, screens, and processing power.

The PC will always have a place, but it appears that for many, the PC is’t the first choice anymore

Originally Syndicated via RSS from Broadband Wireless Access

Comcast and Apple Reported Talking About Streaming TV

comcast apple

The hot rumor of the last couple of days is that Apple and Comcast are in talks regarding a streaming TV service. There are stories on the Hollywood Reporter and Techcrunch that show how this might all pan out. What is interesting here is that they are apparently avoiding a net neutrality issue (at least for the moment) by negotiating to have the service provided on the “TV” part of the bandwidth, and not on the internet side of the IP tv delivery method. This would essentially create a service that would sew up the last mile, and at the same time perhaps show a new future business model for cable and internet companies, selling access to the last mile without actually using the internet. Net neutrality supporters are probably woofing their cookies thinking about this one, as it entirely sidesteps the who deal and leaves them out in the cold.

Originally Syndicated via RSS from Broadband Wireless Access

7 Ways Clickbait Will Destroy The Internet

click bait

Sarcasm is pretty much how I roll sometimes, and this is going to be one of those posts. Almost everyone surfing the internet has been a victim of click bait at one time or another, and it is only getting worse. If the term clickbait doesn’t ring a bell, let me take a moment to […]

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Samsung S5 Reviews are in

samsung s5 reviews

Reviews are coming in for the Samsung S5, and so far it seems like this is another home run for this prolific company. Samsung has really turned into a market dominating force with it’s Note II, Note 3, and S series phones, plus a whole host of most budget minded options. The S5 is pretty much a top of the line phone with everything you could want – 2.5GHz Quad core application processor, Android 4.4.2 (Kitkat), and a 16Mega Pixel camera. This is one very complete and very impressive piece of technology, a phone that everyone seems to want!

Check out this review of the Samsung S5 for more info!

Originally Syndicated via RSS from Broadband Wireless Access

AandE Folds Under Pressure and Brings Back Phil Robertson

duck dynasty phil robertson

It’s amazing what a whole bunch of public pressure can do to correct over zealous political correctness. It seems that A&E figured out which side of the bread their butter was on, and decided to “reinstate” banished Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson to the show.

Now, for those of you following along, you will know that the suspension was sort of meaningless and knee jerk reactionism at it’s finest, considering that the show is not currently filming. Suspending Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty and then running multiple marathons on air shows how screwed up A&E is over the whole subject. When they had a racial issue with Dog the Bounty Hunter, they not only suspended production, but also took the show off the air for a time. Since Duck Dynasty has been their best rated show ever, it seems they weren’t willing to walk the walk this time, and only talked the talk.

A statement from A&E to The Hollywood Reporter read as follows:

As a global media content company, A+E Networks’ core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect. We believe it is a privilege for our brands to be invited into people’s homes, and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principles.

That is why we reacted so quickly and strongly to a recent interview with Phil Robertson. While Phil’s comments made in the interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs and his own personal journey, he and his family have publicly stated they regret the “coarse language” he used and the misinterpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article. He also made it clear he would “never incite or encourage hate.” We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article and reiterate that they are not views we hold.

But Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man’s views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family … a family that America has come to love. As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A+E Networks also feel strongly about.
So after discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family.

We will also use this moment to launch a national public service campaign (PSA) promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company and the values found in Duck Dynasty. These PSAs will air across our entire portfolio.

Some bloggers and opinion sites are suggesting that A&E may have made peace with GLAAD and other groups by perhaps spreading a little holiday cheer (read cash) or perhaps offering to work on shows that are more “gay friendly” in the future. All kidding aside, it’s clearly one of those issues of economics more than anything else, A&E could not afford to lose it’s top rated show, and the rest of the cast of Duck Dynasty had made it very clear this week that without Phil, the rest of them were done.

So score one against political correctness, and perhaps GLAAD and other professionally offended groups can pick better battles, where they aren’t trying to trample someone’s first amendment rights because they don’t like the comments.

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Dogecoin Site Dogewallet Apparently Hacked

dogecoin

Over Christmas, a pretty novel and nasty hack was apparently inflicted on the Dogecoin site Dogewallet. This is a site that maintains the coin accounts for users. Anyway, the hackers came up with a very novel hack, which was to modify the transfer or payment page so that when people would send Dogecoins to someone else, it would be re-routed to the hacker’s account instead. Since Crypto currencies are pretty much a no-take back, no come back system, once the transaction occurs people cannot get their coins back, no matter what. A pretty good summary of what happened can be found on this story from The Verge.

If you want to know more about Dogecoins, you can check out the Dogecoin Forum. If you like my site, or just feel like you want to make me smile, you can send me some Dogecoins to DFG869epZd1QmXw89hsujQ2DuUzR9159Qm

Lotus F1 Owner Thinks Most Teams In Financial Trouble

The financial troubles of Lotus F1 team got revealed late in the 2013 season, when driver Kimi Räikkönen stated without a doubt that he had not been paid at all for that season so far. While he was apparently paid at least in part, he still decided to take the two last races off, which may have cost the team third place in the constructors championship – and the extra money that comes with it.

Now Lotus F1 owner Gerard Lopez has been quote as saying that “For 80 per cent of the teams, their financial situation is no better than ours”. This seems to line up pretty well with reports that Sauber was pretty close to the brink near the end of the 2013 season, and that teams like Catherham and Marussia are working on somewhat limited budgets. Further, teams like Williams and even McLaren are dealing with losses of a major sponsorship, so much so that it is also reported that McLaren may have their first orange team color car in years, with the lack of a true major sponsor for 2014 by the time they introduce their cars in late January.

This is against a backdrop of a huge increase in expenses with new power units for 2014, and a general feel that the costs of the series have reached a point where most major sponsors don’t want to pay for the exposure that comes with the series. Many of the teams have one or both of their drivers as “pay” drivers, that is to say that they are selected not for being the best driver available, but rather because they have sponsorship backing willing to pay to get them in the seat.

F1′s shift in 2014 to a series not only based on pure speed but also based on efficiency, extended electric / hybrid power trains, and the like is perhaps it’s last gasp attempt to remain relevant. The upcoming Formula E series with all electric open wheel cars looks poised to pounce, with more relevant technology and the same general car look, which may mean that F1 teams will continue to suffer in their quest for sponsorship dollars.

If Lopez is right, the current situation in Formula 1 could in fact signal the end of the line for auto racing as we knew it. If 6 or 7 of the F1 teams fold because of a lack of financing, the series itself would almost certainly fold, grids of 12 cars would make absolutely no sense for race promoters or TV, viewers and sponsors would disappear overnight. Will the dinosaurs of the racing world finally turn to fossils?

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Political Correctness Taken Too Far and Marks And Spencers

Here’s another story, just like the Duck Dynasty story, that shows that the public is no longer willing to get their rights trampled on just to be politically correct. The UK has a fairly significant Muslim population, thanks mostly to unchecked immigration policies. In many places, the Muslims are insular, living in tightly group communities and not integrating into society. Many companies make all sorts of accommodations when they hire Muslim people, from special holidays to multiple breaks per day to pray. It’s pretty unfair to everyone else who doesn’t get to slide away from work for 30 minutes every few hours, and it creates resentment and trouble. The UK is country with a huge racial issue bubbling under and soon to explode.

A recent event at Marks and Spencers shows just how fed up the public is with these unreasonable accommodations. It seems that a Muslim employee was working at the check out cash at one of their stores, and refused to serve a customer because the customer was buying alcohol, which is against their religion. Marks and Spencer has made the fatal mistake of allowing their employees to decide what their job is, using their religion to decide which tasks they can and cannot do – and the company is stupid enough to back them up.

News flashing for M&S and many other companies out there: If you have an employee that cannot do the work, don’t keep them on the payroll. Don’t give them light duties or selective jobs to avoid their issues, let them know that the job includes all of the tasks, and they can either do the job or leave. Telling a paying customer to wait because they refuse to handle a closed and sealed bottle of champagne (or any pork meat, for that matter) is horrible customer service, it’s insulting to the customer, it creates unneeded delays, and most of all, it’s political correctness gone wild. If they cannot do the job (all of the job) then don’t hire them to start with!

The backlash on this case has been huge, yet Marks and Spencers is still enough to stand by what amounts to being a very discriminatory policy. They have apologized that the employee refused to do their job, but still supported that employees right to refuse to help the customer. The press has gone wild, and in a country like the UK where racial issues are becoming more and more of an ongoing issue, it shows how political correctness and religious tolerance are starting to turn against those who refuse to integrate into society.

Not surprisingly, there is a move boycott M&S, and I support them completely. Policies that allow an employee to duck out of work or to not do all of their work because it might offend their gods is a step way too far that discriminates against everyone else.

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Duck Dynasty versus Political Correctness

It’s been interesting to watch the fall out of the Duck Dynasty situation, and how the battle lines are being drawn up. If you have been hiding under a rock or watching nothing but out of date soap operas, perhaps you aren’t aware of Duck Dynasty or comments made by the patriarch of the family. Basically, he pretty much stated what he believes, what is part of his religion, which is that homosexuality is a sin, like bestiality or any other odd act, and those who commit that sin will go to hell. It’s pretty much a fairly standard view that isn’t really out of the ordinary, except that Phil Robertson added some chat about anuses and vaginas, but that is just colorful language from a colorful man.

A&E, the network which plays the Duck Dynasty show immediately suspended Phil Robertson from the show, which may be a bit of a weird punishment considering that the next season is apparently already in the can ready to go, and that A&E is running a number of Duck Dynasty marathons with Phil on it. Their reaction seems a little knee jerk, and they aren’t alone. GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) is a gay / lesbian group that came out and called the speech hateful, the usual spiel that seems to happen in these cases. The usual collection of bleeding hearts and political correctness finger waggers came out and wagged, gestured frantically, and made angry, offended noises.

Then something surprising happened. Usually in these cases the sponsors of the show (the ones who in the end pay for the show to be on) did what nobody expected them to do: They formed up ranks behind Phil Robertson and supported him. The Cracker Barrel chain of restaurants tried to play politically correct and split the difference, removing some products from their shelves that were specifically Phil Robertson related, but left the rest of the Duck Dynasty and Duck Commander stuff on their shelves. That seems to have gotten them both barrels from the public, as within 24 hours they reversed their decision and closed ranks. Companies such as Real Tree and others have pretty much said they may not agree with the comments, but they truly believe in his rights to have an opinion.

This is one of those cases where the political correctness nuts are pretty much left twisting in the wind. If they continue to cry foul, they are looking like they are against christians and what is in the bible, which in turn means they risk saying hateful things about a religion. The PC crew are are coming to realize that the values and opinions expressed by Phil Robertson resonate with a significant segment of the population. They may not say it in the same somewhat crude manner, but they do believe that homosexuality is a sin, against their religion, and yes, homosexuals in their view will end up in hell.

For someone like me, it’s more a case of free speech than anything. I don’t straight out agree or disagree with Phil Robertson’s views, but I do respect his right to say them. If hell exists, in my opinion there is a special place reserved for people who paint cars funny colors or put 30 inch rims on Chevy Caprices. That is my opinion, it’s not hatred, it’s just an opinion. It’s my right to have such an opinion, and Robertson is entitled to his opinion of homosexuals. Remember, religion and spirituality is something that cannot and will never be absolutely proven, it’s only an opinion.

Now, if Robertson had added “and they should all be rounded up and shot” to his comments, it would be hateful speech, because it goes beyond having an opinion and instead calling for action. He did no such thing, so perhaps the fine people over at GLAAD just need to grow a slightly thicker skin, grow up a little, and understand that not everyone agrees with their lifestyle choices. Meanwhile, A&E is left to roast on the fire, their knee jerk reaction in response to the political correctness squads makes them look weak, and at the same time continuing to run episodes with Phil Robertson in them. They profit from the controversy, which makes them look even more wishy washy.

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Saab Back In Production

saab back in production

Plenty of stories on this one, because honestly, SAAB making it back into production is a the car story equivalent of Dawn of the Dead. SAAB has suffered pretty much the death of a thousand cuts over about a decade, as GM took over to “save” it and in the opinion of many, did the last things required to kill it. GM pretty much ran it flat and then sold off the company to Spyker as GM tried to recover from the financial crisis. Incomplete deals with Chinese backers lead to the company being pushed into bankrupcy in late 2012. Now a new company called NEVS (National Electric Vehicle Sweden) has taken over, and production has restarted of pretty much the exact same SAAB 9-3 that was being built when the company went belly up. They aren’t planning big numbers in production for now and new models and designs are coming, including an all electric version. No matter how twisted the story and how weird the situation, it’s somewhere between a miracle and an automotive zombie movie that brings us back to enjoying SAABs all over again… well, at least in China for now! You can also check out this story at Top Gear, always worth reading too!

Hot This Christmas: Galaxy Tab 3 10 inch White

galaxy tab 3

Christmas and the gift giving season is upon us, and one of the most in demand gifts this season for the coolest people is the Galaxy Tab 3 10 inch in white. The color breaks the Apple domination on white computing appliances, and looks great too. Amazon has a great price on it this Christmas, almost too low if you ask me. This one is loaded up too with:
Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OS, 1.6 GHz Intel Atom Z2560 Processor, 16 GB Flash Memory, 1 GB RAM Memory, Store photos, videos, music, and more with up to 64GB of memory available through a microSD slot and 50GB of free Dropbox storage, Camera: 3MP rear-facing, 1.3MP front-facing, and Pre-loaded with free content including Hulu Plus membership, Google Play credit and Boingo Wi-Fi Access. Give a gift this christmas, or heck, GIFT YOURSELF! It’s all good!

Get it now: Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 (10.1-Inch, White)

Originally Syndicated via RSS from Broadband Wireless Access

Auto Racing On The Brink Of Extinction

auto racing doomed?

For those of you who come to this blog often, you will know that I am both a big lover of auto racing, but also a pessimist when it comes to the future of many of the professional levels of the sport. As time goes on, it gets clearer and clearer that auto racing no longer fulfills a technical need for car companies, and rather has become a sort of finite engineering puzzle most likely won by those with the most cash. That cash is one of the key issues, it’s in relatively short supply these days and that supply is getting smaller every day it seems, as companies move away from racing sponsorship which cost big and return perhaps marginal results.

NASCAR is one of those sports very much on the brink. A formula of non-stock stock cars (go figure) running almost forgotten pushrod V8 engines, around the same set of tracks with the same basic collection of drivers for years at a time. It gets even weirder when you figure out that a very few teams make all of the cars and engines for every other team on the grid, unlike the past where each made their own “best try” to win. The sport is like a petrified forest of older drivers, old technology, and tracks that encourage truly dull racing. In a super restrictive rules package, tens of millions of dollars are spent by teams looking for 1/100 of a second advantage, hiring more and more specialists and engineers to wring the last 1% for the tired technology. How old is the technology? NASCAR only just ditched carbs for fuel injection systems, only about 30 years after they became common on street cars. With a bigger demand for money, there is a sucking sound of the top performing teams signing up more and more partial season sponsors, meaning the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. There are a number of cars running in the top NASCAR series with either no sponsorship, self sponsorship, or week to week local pickup sponsors paying the bills, and these cars tend to end up as start and parkers rather than real racers. The demand for NASCAR’s product has dropped so much that they are ripping out tens of thousands of seats from their venues in an attempt to make the grandstands look less empty on race day. Their junior series are worse, the Nationwide series has plenty of clearly unsponsored cars running, even from the biggest teams, and they often race in front of small crowds. The trucks are even worse, a series truly on the brink of extinction in the very short term for lack of sponsorships to keep the trucks on track. The capper on all of this is that Jimmie Johnson won his 6th championship in 8 years, driving for the richest of the rich teams – and the one that makes the cars for so many others. Go figure.

Formula One isn’t doing all that much better. Driver Mark Webber, who is on his way out after a final race in Brazil, has noted that the driver market is in pretty sad shape. top drivers like Kimi Rikkonnen apparently went almost all year without getting paid, and many of the drivers on the grid are either driving for little more than their cost to be there, or worse have brought millions of dollars of sponsorships to get a ride. The costs of running a top F1 team right now are something about 500 million per season, well beyond the reach of most. It has lead to consolidation with only 3 or 4 engine manufactures in the series, and a have and have not mentality that splits the grid. At the head end of the grid a few teams have the funds to go fast, but most of the rest of the grid is mired in a constant struggle to make enough money just to stay on the grid. One team folded before the seasons started, and both Sauber and Lotus are reported to have serious financial issues. Other smaller teams are using ride buying drivers just to be able to afford to stay on the grid, even if the drivers are not always the best. All of this of course to the background of F1 leader Bernie Ecclestone in court for apparently having screwed around financially when F1 was sold a number of years ago. F1′s race calendar is set mostly by whoever pays Bernie the most for the races, period, with no consideration beyond that seeming to be in effect, yet much of that money doesn’t appear to trickle down to the teams. The newest agreement with the teams pretty much leaves the lowest two teams out in the cold when it comes to financial support, making the rich get richer and the poor, well, they can just go away.

It’s increasingly likely that Formula One will have fewer cars on it’s starting grid soon, it’s unlikely that 12 teams can find a combined 6 billion a year of sponsorship to run a level playing field, and at some point the costs of doing business will drive some of them off the grid entirely. The fact that nobody has stepped up to take the 13th team spot that was dropped by HRT this year is a sign that things are not all that well.

Even in the world of GT racing, road racing, and endurance racing, there continues to be a shortage of top teams to fill the grids. The Lemans endurance series only ever seems to have a small handful of teams running in the top tier, with few of them having the cash or technology to win unless those in front of them fail. The deck chairs on this Titanic get reshuffled from time to time, mostly in the lower GT classes, but in the end, any growth seems to come with equal amounts of loss each time.

There are a few bright spots, to be fair. GT racing in general seems to be on the upswing, with plenty of nice cars and some good coverage worldwide. However, many of the events seem to run to empty or near empty grandstands, which means they depend on TV exposure to make it work out. The brightest star right now is the Australian Supercar series, which recently added more brands into the mix, plays to big crowds, and gets rock star coverage all over Australia and Asia.

The real challenge for auto racing is to be interesting and relevant in a time where the technology on a street car is often superior to that on a the racing cars, and where hybrid and full electric seems to be the longer term future. F1 is trying with their move to a more hybrid engine package for 2014, but NASCAR and it’s stone age push rod V8 engines look to be about as out of touch as you can imagine. The costs related to doing this are sky high, pinching the top series even more and making it less and less possible for teams to really compete. The loss of competition and the repeat champions in various series show that perhaps they have played out, and the loss of fan interest in inevitable… and that leads to extinction, just ask CART.

Originally Syndicated via RSS from Stuff Channel

Report: Samsung Ready to Move 100 Million Tablets in 2014

samsung

This is one of those stories that really sort of makes you wonder, and at the same time can really boggle the mind. It was originally noted that Samsung expected to sell something like 40 million tablets in 2014. However, demand has been VERY strong in 2013, so much so that according to this report, they have updated their projections and confirmed supply chain sources for up to 100 million tablets in the next year.

This comes at the same time that the Samsung versus Apple case continues to fester, although some recent rulings in the US seem to be favoring Samsung, who may escape from all of this only a few million dollars lighter. Apple in the meantime seems to have no response to the overwhelming supplies of new products coming out of Samsung right now.

Originally Syndicated via RSS from Broadband Wireless Access

Android 4.4 KitKat Roll Out For Older Devices

android kitkat

With the new Nexus 5 released with Android 4.4, aka Kit Kat on it, it’s only a matter of time before there is a roll out to some of the more recent Android devices. There are always a number of companies that are working on upgrades and updates. Samsung in particular is interested in this update, because they are working hard to update devices such as the Note II and similar to be compatible with their Gear watch and other possible devices in that family. The would at minimum need to make it to Android 4.3.1 to get the right support, and they could possibly go right to 4.4. Sony, LG, and Motorola are all reported to be working on 4.4 KitKat updates for their most recent products, and HTC has confirmed that they will be rolling out an update to the HTC One very soon.

Originally Syndicated via RSS from Broadband Wireless Access

Bitcoin At Risk of Failure

bitcoin failure

A very interesting article on the BBC News site today caught my eye, about the potential for failure of Bitcoin. Unlike Liberty Reserve which was taken down by law enforcement, the risk to Bitcoin isn’t legal, it’s internal.

A group of scientists from Cornell University developed a method by which the current system could be damaged and more or less completely subverted. “Bitcoin is broken, ” wrote Prof Emin Surer. There is a blog post here that explains how they process really works. The basis of the attack is that bitcoin by definition assumes that everyone is honest, and that everything is done above board. However, that gives you certain ways that the system can be used in what they call a “selfish” manner, so that you could effectively corral most if not all of the new coins coming into the system through the mining process.

It would be a self defeating attack in the long run, as it would cause the value of the resulting bitcoins to fall and could collapse the system, but those looking for the pleasure of hacking a system or taking down a big target might find this to be a totally irresistible way to get some lulz.

The First 48: True American Reflection?

the first 48

I can be honest in saying that I have been a fan of The First 48 since it started on A&E in the US a number of years ago. I can admit to being a bit of a true reality lover, someone who is interested in how real life works for others. I don’t like a glossed over, polished up story as much as I love the true grit. The very first episode of The First 48 with the crew from Miami Homicide had me hooked, sure there was editing but damn straight it was real.

What struck me recently after having missed the show for a couple of years (I not longer get A&E where I live… it’s harder to get to see things) is how much the show has become a reflection of much of the vaunted American way of life. In many ways, I can see the show not just as a true life cinema verite, but rather as a clear indication of what has broken down in the US, on the very small and very low levels.

There are three things that become very clear when you watch the shows. Those three things come together to create a sort of perfect storm of systematic failure for the US model. Moreover, the fundamental rights that Americans hold dear are in fact the very things that are driving them into conflict and into a cycle that looks like it will end in failure.

First off, low level criminality is a constant in much of America. We aren’t talking the murders here, but more the drug dealing, the stealing, abusive behaviors, and so on. It’s an indication both of the tolerance level of society as a whole, as well as a systematic failure in the legal system.

Second, too many Americans lead desperate, failing lives. They are making ends meet often by stealing someone else’s ends or spending every penny they have on the drugs and booze to insulate them from reality they live in. If they have work they go to dead end jobs, temp work, and the like, they hate it, they have no connection to it, and are just as likely to leave it.

Third, much of America lives in constant fear of the first two groups, who appear more than willing to violate they space, their rights, and their property to “get better”.

The world economy has dealt Americans a truly crippling series of blows in the last couple of decades. Much of the manufacturing and warehousing jobs that kept Americans employed have been whittled away, it’s cheaper to pay people in China, India, Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia and a host of other places to make the goods and ship them to America. Computer efficiency has both raised employee productivity and at the same time shrunk the needed size of warehouses to hold inventory. Big box retailers like Wal-Mart and big online retailers like Amazon have taken that even further, making it harder for small businesses in retail to succeed and also forcing many from the supply chain businesses out of work. Now talented and experienced people are cleaning tables at McDonalds and working as minimum wage greeters at WalMart, and the people who would have been in those jobs in a robust economy find themselves unable to compete for the jobs anymore, grinding more of them into the cycle of failure I mentioned above.

When the economy tanked, another group got forced into the muck, tossed out of houses they could no longer afford, losing cars they could no longer pay for, and losing jobs that could no longer afford them.

The only saving grace is that some manufacturing jobs are coming back to the US because of a combination of higher fuel costs to transport goods as well as that Americans are finally willing to work for wages that makes companies competitive to offshoring.

The First 48 reflects often what is happening to the people at the bottom of the pile. Homeless, poor, drug addicted, predatory gang members, and just plain desperate folks are ending up committing the ultimate offence of murder, force by situation or their own bad choices. When you look around them, you see the real problems, from boarded up and abandoned buildings to posses of equally desperate and failing family and friends. They can no longer afford to be polite or be respectful, their route to a better life or just plain survival isn’t pretty or safe.

Originally Syndicated via RSS from Stuff Channel

Are Thorium Powered Cars the Future of Transportation?

thorium fuel car

This is one of those stories that seems to get regenerated every couple of years, I found a matching story on C/Net about Thorium powered cars datated in 2011. Basically, it’s the concept of a nuclear powered car that you would only have to refuel once every century. A cool idea, but since cars tend to live 10-20 years at more, it would seem to be overkill. The re-do on the news is because Laser Power Systems (LPS) from Connecticut has been working on a power system compatible with a car (sized like the current engine / transmission lump) that uses thorium lasers to generate heat, steam, and generate electricity to run the car. The car you see in the picture above is actually a Cadillac Thorium Car “what if” build, I don’t think it actually runs or anything, but gives a nice wild eye visual turn to the whole story.

There is more to this story than meets the eye up front, because nuclear powered / Thorium powered cars are extremely unlikely because of the risks associated with having that much nuclear material wandering around at high speeds, but it does reflect perhaps one of the ways that full electric cars could be made more reasonable. Remember, the electricity has to come from somewhere, and the ability to generate significant amounts of power with a relatively safe and tame process might be the power source for your local power grid some time in the future.

You can read more about Thorium on Wikipedia, it’s a pretty good primer on the subject.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10

lenovo yoga tablet 10

Considering that Apple’s Ipad has at least a mind space grip on the tablet market, it’s not surprising to see companies trying to be a little different. Lenovo has been pretty good about interesting ideas, especially with it’s Yoga series. They have recently teased with their #betterway promotion, and the result is the new Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 (and the smaller 8). These feature a rounded area along one side that helps you hold onto the tablet more naturally, and also turns into either a angle typing support or a more vertical “watching” support so that you could watch a video with it on the table, as an example. It’s a pretty ingenious solution, and certainly makes this Android based tablet at least a little different from the crowd. There are a few good reviews, such as this one from Product Reviews Dot Net, and this one from PC Review in the UK. It’s safe to say that this device offers enough new and interesting to say that the tablet wars aren’t anywhere near settled.

Originally Syndicated via RSS from Broadband Wireless Access