pbahra writes: "It isn’t often you get the chance to meet a real revolutionary. It is a term cheapened by misuse, but Khaled el Mufti is a revolutionary. It is no exaggeration to say that the role he played in the Libyan uprising last year was crucial; had he and his telecoms team failed, it isn’t hard to think that Col. Muammar Gadhafi might still be in power. Today, Mr. Mufti is a telecoms adviser to the interim government and heads the e-Libya initiative, a bold plan to use the transformative powers of technology to modernize the Libyan state, overturning 40 years of corruption and misrule under Gadhafi. Mr. Mufti is an unlikely revolutionary, a softly spoken network-security engineer with a degree from Imperial College in London. Almost by chance he was in his native Libya when the revolution took place, working on a project with BT in the capital, Tripoli. When a large protest was called for Feb. 17 in Benghazi, he told his BT colleagues to leave, and he headed for Benghazi. It was quickly apparent that the key communications technology for the rebels wasn’t the internet, but the mobile network. “Having shut off international calls, we thought it was very likely he would shut down the mobile network.” In utmost secrecy Mr. el Mufti and a small team started to plan and build their own system. They had one major stroke of luck."
pbahra writes: "A computer the size of of a pack of cards, yet powerful enough to run full-scale applications, and even provide high-definition, Blu-ray quality output is being designed by researchers in Cambridge. It will cost just $25. Called Raspberry Pi, think of it as Lego for the digital generation. According to Robert Mullins, co-founder and lecturer at Cambridge University’s Computer Science department, the computer is aimed mainly at school children to help them enjoy computers and have fun programming. “We wanted something that had a kit, or toy, feel to it,” he said. “We wanted to make it cheap enough so that even if you only have pocket money you should be able to buy one.”"
pbahra writes: "For geeks it has to be the ultimate DIY project. A build-it-yourself, entirely open-source 3D printer. And here is the clever thing about it, not only is it an open source project, but it is self-replicating; you can use your 3D printer to print yourself another 3D printer. Called RepRap, it has more than an air of Heath Robinson about it, with its open circuit boards, gears and worm drives. But it is a fully functioning 3D printer, which you can build yourself, for less than £500."
pbahra writes: "Is throwing net neutrality under the bus the price of a modern European telecom network? While the debate over a free and open Internet has raged in the U.S., it appears in Europe that the argument is largely over; net neutrality lost. What we are now arguing about is where to draw the line, not should we draw one at all. The debate spans a spectrum that on the one end says all bits are created equal and free and should be treated thus, through the mid-point that says telcos should be able to manage services on their own networks (prioritizing some kinds of packets over others) and offer so-called tiered services (the more you pay, the better the service), right over to the view espoused by Hannes Ametsreiter of Telekom Austria, that it is my network so I say what happens on it. In the U.S., this has assumed the role of a debate over free speech. In Europe, it has been rather more prosaic."
pbahra writes: LG Electronics Inc. unveiled the world's first full 3-D smartphone, called the Optimus 3D, as well as a new tablet at an event on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. With the Optimus 3D, consumers will be able to watch 3-D videos without wearing special glasses as well as capture 3-D content themselves via a special double camera on the back of the phone.In order to make it easier for consumers to share 3-D content online, LG said it has struck a partnership with online video channel YouTube, which is owned by Google Inc.The Optimus 3D is powered by a dual core chip—like most of the smartphones launched in 2011—but it also benefits from a dual channel and a dual memory, which LG said would make it faster for users to switch back and forth between tasks and improve speed when loading web pages. The Optimus runs on Google's Android operating system and has a 4.3-inch screen.
pbahra writes: The biggest surprise of the day was not Nokia CEO Stephen Elop’s announcement of a love-in with Windows Phone 7, it was the appearance on-stage of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. That was a shock and a reflection of just how much is riding on this for the Redmond-based software giant. Microsoft may not have quite as much riding on this deal as Nokia, for whom this may be the last role of the dice, but they have certainly pinned their hopes to it. The biggest laugh of the day was reserved for the poor journalist from a website called “All About Symbian”. As the One analyst sitting next to me quipped, “better get a new job then”. Actually, the last laugh is his. He has already bought “All About Windows Phone”.
pbahra writes: The smart money was right. Nokia has jumped into bed with Microsoft and will produce phones running Windows Phone 7. The cynics would say that, here, we have two lumbering dinosaurs of the technology world clinging to each other hoping that the other gives them a future. Optimists would point to two companies that need each other, both bringing vital components to the alliance. The big winner is Microsoft. Windows Phone 7, while reasonably well received by commentators, has not set the world on fire. An alliance with Nokia gives it access to the world’s largest phone maker and its huge mindshare—in many developing nations a mobile phone is known as a Nokia. The biggest loser is MeeGo, the ugly, unloved step-child of operating systems.
pbahra writes: Just days before Nokia Corp. Chief Executive Stephen Elop is to reveal his plan for turning around the ailing handset maker, an internal memo penned by the executive describes a company besieged on all sides by competitors and in desperate need of a huge transformation. Comparing Nokia to a man standing on a burning oil platform who jumps into icy waters to escape the flames, Mr. Elop says dramatic action is needed to reverse a decline that has left the Finnish company "years behind" the competition.
pbahra writes: French mobile telephone infrastructure manufacturer Alacatel-Lucent today unveiled technology that shrinks a mobile cell tower to a box the size of a Rubik’s cube, potentially changing the structure of the cellular network, reducing greenhouse emissions and bringing mobile broadband into new areas. According to Wim Sweldens, president of wireless activities for Alcatel-Lucent, by reducing the technology from something the size of a filing cabinet, networks would reduce the total cost of ownership by half, as well as halving the global CO2 emissions from the mobile industry — currently equivalent of 15 million cars a year.
pbahra writes: The rather splendidly named Jolicloud, both the name of a French start up and its operating system, is launching its first netbook, the Jolibook, on Friday. Jolicloud is a flavour of Ubuntu, designed to blur the distinction between desktop and web apps. The company's CEO was keen to stress that this was more than just another netbook launch, and that the Jolicloud represents a different approach to computing. He describes the Microsoft model — where you buy a computer, then you have to buy Office, and then anti-virus software, and then more and more as the “old model”. Instead, users are expected to pay for some content and for online cloud storage. The details of the launch are still under wraps, but I can tell you it will be very competitively priced — under most rival netbooks yet delivering a pretty powerful package — with a dual-core 1.5GHz Atom N550 processor and featuring a 250GB hard drive. The whole thing is HTML5-based.
pbahra writes: The UK is to develop a hub of digital and technological expertise in London to rival the US's Silicon Valley says the UK's new coalition government. The UK Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to claim that his blueprint for technology, which is being launched today in East London, will "set Britain on the path of becoming the most attractive place in the world to start and invest in innovative technology companies." Mr. Cameron will set out fundamental changes to U.K. immigration law to entice well-funded overseas entrepreneurs, and revisions to intellectual property laws to make them “fit for the internet age”. The program is expected to tie up with the infrastructure being developed for the 2012 Olympic Games. The initiative has been given the backing of some of the US major technology players, including Intel, Google, Facebook and Cisco.
pbahra writes: Ford is taking a big step in the creation of fully digital dashboards in their auto-mobiles with the introduction of a second generation of its digital system — Sync. It aims to redesign the entire user interface of the dashboard with color-coded touch screens, better voice recognition and five-way control pads on the steering wheel. This new system redefines the way you control in-car entertainment and climate settings; permits personalization of things like instrument-cluster gauges; and even lets you set up a Wi-Fi network in the car.