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Showing posts from March 13, 2016

Google Looking To Offload Killer Robot Company

Despite lots of positive (and, to be fair, some negative) response in the press, Google's ownership of specialist robot manufacturer Boston Dynamics looks like it's coming to an end. Three years after acquiring the company it looks like Google is looking for the exit.
Why would this be so? After all, robots are the next big thing. The work of Boston Dynamics, as well as that of Honda, have inspired my son and others of his generation to work on their own projects. Have a look at the number of Mindstorms, Raspberry Pi and Arduino robots on YouTube, clearly demonstrating how the work of these companies has inspired a younger generation.
There's some speculation that the lack of a consumer product, added to the bad press around several crazy assertions about humanity being enslaved by automatons, have prompted Google's exit.
I don't believe this is the case.
Rather I think the failure of the Cheetah robot to convince the US Army that it had potential for providing &#…

Windows 10 Mobile Update Released, So How's It Looking

As leaked yesterday, Microsoft made Windows 10 Mobile available to users running a subset of Windows Phone devices today.
The upgrade process is user-driven and requires the installation of an UpgradeAdvisor app from Microsoft to complete. This might not be as seamless as Apple's iOS update process, but it's light years ahead of Google's.
The upgrade process took around thirty minutes on my Lumia 930 and was trouble-free. Always a good sign.
Microsoft was already ahead of the competition with WP8's UI, and Windows 10 Mobile moves the game on further. Transparent tiles and a fullscreen background image look fantastic. Live tiles are as brilliant as ever, although be aware that some third-party apps don't appear to have been updated to support Live Tiles on the new platform.
Against the unfeasibly dull iOS home screen and consistency challenged Android skins, W10M is not just in another league, it's on another planet.
Disappointingly though, Microsoft's own …

Ugly Convertibles, Who Would Drive One?

This is the Peugeot 308CC, the car which demonstrated the company had undergone a compete taste bypass in its design department.
It isn't the ugliest car in the world, but it's certainly in the running. It's probably not the ugliest convertible out there either, but it's certainly a pace setter. 
The thing is, I can understand people buying a regular car that's no oil painting. If you're no car enthusiast and want something to get from A to B, who cares what it looks like?
You can't see the ugly when you're sat in the driver's seat.
A convertible is a different matter though. By definition people who are making this buying choice are compromising on certain features of modern car construction for one of two reasons.
Either they are looking for the pure driving experience that a roadster brings (think MX5 for example) or they're looking to boost their image and appear younger, sportier, more 'a la mode' than drivers of normal cars. Those…

Is Today The Day For Windows 10 Mobile?

Owners of older Windows Phone devices have been waiting for what seems like an eternity for Windows 10 Mobile to drop for their phones.Maybe that wait is about to end. VentureBeat is reporting that today - March 17 - is the day that Microsoft pulls the switch and releases the update into the wild. As the source is Evan Blass, AKA @evleaks, there is a fair chance that this might be accurate. Of course Windows Phone users have been free to try builds of the new platform for a while now, as long as they were prepared to commit to the Insider Program and were willing to accept the risks associated with pre-release software. Given the poor reception the new Lumia x50 range has had is all down to flakey software it does raise the question of how good the release will turn out to be. My Lumia 930 is once again my daily driver and there's a very strong temptation to grab the release as soon as it drops. Common sense suggest allowing others to try it first. The expectations for Windows 10 …

Apple Loses Another Patent Battle

Apple hasn't had the best of times in court recently, having suffered a number of expensive reverses in different battles. Now a court in Germany has ruled that Apple has infringed streaming patents owned by OpenTV - a decision which impacts pretty much every device Apple has released. iOS and OS X both infringe, as do the Apple TV and even the App Store. Given the shear number of devices involved this could be painful for Apple. Especially if OpenTV also prevails when the dispute reaches the US courts sometime in the not too distant future.

Here Says Goodbye To Windows

Here, the mapping service which Nokia recently sold to the automotive industry, has announced that it will be ending support for its Windows customers and removing the app from the Microsoft Store.This is bad news for Windows Phone users, for whom Here mapping has been one of the highlights of the platform.It’s an understandable move though. Windows Phone has slipped to just 1% market share, whilst Windows 10 on the desktop isn’t a big use case for mapping. The decision was forced by a change to Windows which will apparently require a major rewrite of the application. For the number of potential users that just didn’t make sense.Whether the loss is significant for users remains to be seen. Here has total offline capability, so Windows Phone users are free to download the client and maps and continue to use the navigation service. Whether Here will continue to make map updates available remains to be seen, but it would seem unlikely. For Windows 10 Mobile users this change will be miti…