Saw this in my twitter feed earlier today and could not resist a chuckle when I read it.  Enjoy…

Millenium Falcom vs. USS Enterprise
by Maciver.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

 

Subscribe to Rashtrakut by Email

Follow Rashtrakut on Twitter

Share
(0) Comments    Read More   
Posted on 15-08-2013
Filed Under (Technology) by Rashtrakut

The video below explains why.  Enjoy:

Subscribe to Rashtrakut by Email

Follow Rashtrakut on Twitter

Share
(0) Comments    Read More   
Posted on 27-03-2011
Filed Under (Technology) by Rashtrakut

Saw the video below when it was posted by a cousin on Facebook.  It showcases a “Green Pizza Box” made of recycled cardboard that converts into plates for eating and a smaller storage container for leftovers.

 

People grumble all the time that environmental regulations kill jobs.  Yes, some energy inefficient jobs will be lost.  But “green” jobs will be also created by innovations like the one above that will be spurred by the need to preserve the environment and conserve natural resources.

Global Warming sucks up a lot of oxygen in environmental debate, but a probably more pressing issue in the coming decades will be the need to conserve water resources which are not keeping up with rising global population.  As water shortages increase from the Southwestern United States to Yemen to India, look for more conflicts on that issue to flare up.  The makers of the James Bond franchise were one of the few prescient celebrities to draw attention to this issue in the most recent adventure of 007.  The innovation above can do its part by reducing water usage for dishwashing.

Subscribe to Rashtrakut by Email

Follow Rashtrakut on Twitter

Share
(0) Comments    Read More   
Posted on 05-10-2010
Filed Under (Technology) by Rashtrakut

They get sued for patent infringement.  See article for the gory details.  Picture below from the article.

Subscribe to Rashtrakut by Email

Follow Rashtrakut on Twitter

Share
(0) Comments    Read More   
Posted on 13-02-2010
Filed Under (Technology) by Rashtrakut

One of the problems with choosing a sanctimonious corporate motto like the one above (which may be loosely derived from the Hippocratic Oath) is that it opens you up to charges of hypocrisy when you inevitably fall short.  After years of fudging the oath to comply with the dictates of the Chinese security state Google pulled back to a chorus of applause.  Now in one stroke Google has squandered that goodwill with its disastrous launch of Google Buzz.

The arrogance of the implementation of Google Buzz is breathtaking.  New users of Google Buzz found that Google preselected a list of contacts based on the people with whom they communicated with the most on Google mail and chat.  See link.  Also see here.  Did the testers for the product not see the obvious flaw in the procedure and how Google’s presumptuousness was likely to piss off people?  Privacy concerns with social networking sites are hardly new.  Its only been a couple of months since there was a brouhaha about Facebook’s new options to reset privacy settings.  See link. For suggestions to enhance your privacy on Facebook see here.

An example of the privacy maelstrom Google kicked up see this expletive laden blogpost from a blog dedicated to women’s violence issues (the blog itself appears to be offline).  Also as Evgeny Morozov in Foreign Policy points out Google’s new system could be manna from heaven for authoritarian regimes hunting down dissenters.  See link.

With Google’s Orkut not having a huge following in the United States, Google appears to have tried to jump start its new networking tool to allow it to catch up with Facebook and others.  See link.  Google is right in how tedious it is to populate a new list of friends on a new social network.  The proliferation of these sites makes it very difficult to follow all of them and most users trim the amount of sites they follow.  But Google should still have given people the choice whether they wanted to toss their privacy to the winds (something Facebook in its pursuit of Twitter and a positive revenue stream needs to remember as well).  The brouhaha makes me glad that logistical reasons prevented me from switching my primary email use to my gmail account a few years ago.

Subscribe to Rashtrakut by Email

Follow Rashtrakut on Twitter

Share
(1) Comment    Read More   

As the hubbub around Google’s abrupt withdrawal from China begins to fade (see previous blog article here) observers have started noting the security threats posed by the rise of the Chinese corporatist state (you simply can’t call the People’s Republic communist any more).  Foreign Policy and The New York Times both explore the close nexus between China and its domestic security firms, the likely source of the cyberattacks and the difficulty for the Obama administration in formulating an adequate response.  Google is not the first American software behemoth to fail in China.  Yahoo essentially abandoned its Chinese operations to a Chinese owned subsidiary.  The situation is made worse by the Chinese lack of respect for intellectual property (a recurring sore point in trade talks) and their continued attempts to appropriate foreign technology for its domestic companies.

The concerns about the Chinese government’s close nexus with its domestic corporations is not new.  Concerns about cybersecurity were raised when IBM sold its personal computer to Lenovo.  But the recent phase of cyberattacks should force muddling Washington bureaucrats to appreciate the real risks to American foreign policy.  They could also take their cues from science fiction, from the Cylon attack and destruction of the 12 colonies, for the impact of a casual disregard of the cyberthreat.

The United States has often been trapped between its desire and tradition to preserve the free flow of information and security concerns.  American software companies grumbled in the Clinton years about the government’s insistence on having an access key to get pass any encryption software sold on the market.

China is not the only corporatist nuclear power that poses a cyber threat.  In the past few years Russia has actively used cyberattacks to bring its former satellites from the Soviet Union like Estonia to heel.  To what extent the Kremlin controls its rabid nationalistic hackers is not clear (though the scale and the timing attacks is suspicious).  To be fair to the Russians, they have approached the United States to have a treaty to prevent an cyberwar arms race on the lines of the chemical weapons treaty.  However as this article notes, both sites have been caught up in a philosophical dispute over whether to address this by a treaty or a law enforcement agreement.  The recent attacks on Google underscore the need to reach an agreement to build co-operation with the Russians and upgrade America’s cyber defenses.

Subscribe to Rashtrakut by Email

Follow Rashtrakut on Twitter

Share
(0) Comments    Read More   
Posted on 13-01-2010
Filed Under (Technology) by Rashtrakut

This one will be discussed in detail on the business talk shows in the coming days.  Stung by a cyberattacks originating in China and presumably from the Chinese government, Google announced that it may pull out of China and will stop censoring its Chinese search results.  Also see link.  Google has had a troubled relationship with the Chinese government and has received criticism for its willingness to go along with Chinese censorship.  See link.  However, Google has also struggled in China and this is probably more of  a  business decision to cut the cord on a struggling business and gain positive publicity by cloaking it in altruism.  See link.

The public announcement before attempting to work things out with the Chinese government is a slap in the face to the regime and will likely draw some strident denunciations in the coming days.   This public relations black eye for China also highlights the drawbacks of doing business in an authoritarian regime that wants to control the flow of information.   A clear winner in this imbroglio is Chinese search engine leader Baidu which itself was subject to a bizarre cyberattack earlier this week and does not have to worry about Google in its backyard anymore.

Subscribe to Rashtrakut by Email

Follow Rashtrakut on Twitter

Share
(1) Comment    Read More   
Posted on 09-12-2009
Filed Under (Technology) by Rashtrakut

The latest in the recording industry’s crusade against potential customers.  A federal judge has reluctantly signed off on a $675,000 verdict for illegally downloading 30 songs.  The recording industry’s lobbyists convinced Congress that these amounts were needed to “protect artists” who do not get much of these royalties to begin with and the punitive nature of this fine would deter illegal downloads.  However, at some point the dollar amount of the award reaches ridiculous levels.  The victory here is symbolic.  The defendant in this case will file bankruptcy and most of this fine will not be paid.

While the recording industry chose the brilliant tactic of suing would be consumers and opposed the relentless march of technology, the music market has moved beyond overpriced CDs.  In the age of the Ipod the battle over Napster and Kazaa seems dated.  In the event the Senate gets out of the spell of the RIAA’s lobbyists and amends copyright law (unlikely) the phyrric nature of the industry’s  victory will be even more evident.

Subscribe to Rashtrakut by Email

Share
(0) Comments    Read More   
Posted on 19-11-2009
Filed Under (Current Affairs, History, Technology) by Rashtrakut
  • The New York Times reminisces about the original automobile disaster story – The Edsel.
  • Warnings that America is falling behind in the space race.
  • The Christian Science Monitor exudes optimism about the international unknowns chosen to be Europe’s President and Prime Minister.
  • Steve Chapman tracks the decline of conservative intelligentsia from Goldwater and Reagan to Palin.
  • Conservative Rod Dreher reviews and trashes Sarah Palin’s ghost written memoir.
Share
(0) Comments    Read More   
Posted on 18-11-2009
Filed Under (Technology) by Rashtrakut

The United States Supreme Court is hearing a case that could limit the granting of patents for business methods and practices.  It is a debate worth having.  The purpose of patents is to grant an incentive for the creator to derive benefit for their products.  But by creating monopolies they skew the marketplace and can stunt innovation.  The problem is possibly worse in copyright laws as vast sections of creative works appear to have been walled off from the public domain forever, with no real debate by legislators whether such extensions are needed to protect innovation (which was the original motivation  for granting copyrights to begin with) and whether other creative activity is being stunted while granting corporate welfare to behemoths like Disney.  Then there is the constitutional question the Supreme Court dodged when it upheld the Copyright Term Extension Act (aka the Disney Protection Act).  The Constitution grants Congress the power to grant copyrights for a limited time.  But if the time limit keeps getting extended every 20 years at what point is it a de facto unlimited grant of a copyright.

Share
(0) Comments    Read More   
Posted on 15-11-2009
Filed Under (Technology) by Rashtrakut

Fareed Zakaria sounds off on the risk that America may be losing its innovative edge.  He may have a point.  Over the last 100 years America has benefited from the brain drain from other countries, whether it was people fleeing persecution or emigrating for superior job opportunities.  All of this was also made possible by the finest higher education system in the world.  That no longer automatically holds true.

Like with many field leaders in the past the American education and political systems sat on their laurels.  The first item that seems to get cut in every state budget seems to be higher education.  The problems with high school education do not stem entirely from money, but even there resources are often a problem in inner city schools.  Worse, as the Chinese and Indian economies start creating job opportunities at home and with the American manufacturing industry in decline, their graduates no longer automatically consider America as the top job destination.  With improving economies the quality of research institutions that can compete with American universities is increasing.  And then there is the American immigration system which in the throes of post-9/11 paranoia scared off many researchers from moving to the United States.

The United States still has some advantages over the rest of the world.  However, harnessing that can use assistance from governmental entities not obsessed with tax cuts and who understand the importance of creating an infrastructure for growth and overcoming libertarian ideologues who pretend that the American  success story occurred in a government free vacuum.

Share
(0) Comments    Read More   
Posted on 28-10-2009
Filed Under (Technology) by Rashtrakut

An interesting New York Times article on Google’s latest challenge to Apple.  It will be interesting to see how these technological giants rumble in the future and whether they can recover their previous cooperation.  It is interesting to see how other giants like Microsoft and Nokia (in the interests of disclosure love my Nokia phone and have no desire to switch to the iPhone) respond.  With the PC market maturing rapidly, Microsoft needs to expand beyond its excessive reliance on Windows licensing revenues.

Share
(0) Comments    Read More