Robotic systems continue to evolve, slowly penetrating many areas of our lives, from manufacturing, medicine and remote exploration to entertainment, security and personal assistance. Developers in Japan are currently building robots to assist the elderly, while NASA develops the next generation of space explorers, and artists are exploring new avenues of entertainment. Collected here are a handful of images of our recent robotic past, and perhaps a glimpse into the near future.
The “free” in Free Software refers to “freedom”, rather than cost. It is largely a happy coincidence that Free Software is available gratis.
Today, Google unveiled the Google Font Directory and the Google Font API to help bring dynamic and selective typefaces to the web. The issues surrounding fonts and the web are complicated and can be tricky to navigate. Google is hoping to make it easier for developers to integrate more distinctive typefaces into their designs.
U.S. antitrust enforcers are taking a keen interest in recent changes that Apple Inc. made to its licensing agreement with iPhone application developers and are likely to open a preliminary investigation into whether the company's actions stifle competition in mobile devices, according to people familiar with the situation. The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department, which are jointly tasked with enforcing federal antitrust laws, are holding discussions over which agency would hold the inquiry, these people said. Apple, the FTC and Justice Department all declined to comment.
The State and Future of Twitter was revealed to the world at the Chirp Conference. Developers, futurists, reporters, investors, stakeholders, and businesses convened at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, making the journey from all over the world to witness history in the making.
Recently, there has been a lot of buzz on the Internet about two similar events. What happened was basically this; The Masters of the Universe had proclaimed their decrees like dictators and the only thing the rest of the world could do was, for a lack of a better phrase, gnash their teeth in frustration. If businesses are going to bet on creating solutions on platforms they do not own, they have to realize that this a huge business risk. When the platform owners change the rules of the game, everything pretty much goes down the drain and we will have likely no control or say over this decision.
As 2009 draws to a close, with Twitter undoubtedly this year's media darling and Facebook continuing on its path to global domination, you may wonder which social-media service will become tech's poster boy in 2010. Among the Web's early adopter set, the answer is nearly unanimous: Foursquare. While the technology landscape is ever-changing, I'd argue that Foursquare already has aligned itself to become next year's mainstream hit.
It could be that everyone will figure out how to play nicely with each other, and we'll see a continuation of the interoperable web model we've enjoyed for the past two decades. But I'm betting that things are going to get ugly. We're heading into a war for control of the web. And in the end, it's more than that, it's a war against the web as an interoperable platform. Instead, we're facing the prospect of Facebook as the platform, Apple as the platform, Google as the platform, Amazon as the platform, where big companies slug it out until one is king of the hill. And it's time for developers to take a stand. If you don't want a repeat of the PC era, place your bets now on open systems. Don't wait till it's too late.
It's uncanny. When known software gets repackaged for iPhones and iPod Touches and passes through the hallowed gates of the App Store, something happens: Almost invariably, it gets cheaper. Waaay cheaper. Good right? Well, not always. The App Store is a strange new place for developers. Veterans and newcomers engage in bareknuckle combat, driving prices down to levels people wouldn't have imagined charging just a few years ago. Margins drop to razor-thin levels while customers expect apps to get cheaper and cheaper, but with ever increasing quality and depth. For developers, for other software platforms and potentially for the increasingly fickle customers themselves, it's uncharted, and treacherous, territory. But the most bizarre thing of all is—in an effort to keep people in the App Store, and to prevent competitors from getting a toehold in the mobile app business—Apple's charting a course straight into it.
Media brands are jumping onto the iPhone. USA Today? There’s an app for that. “The Rachel Maddow Show”? “Entertainment Tonight”? Public radio? Yes, yes and yes, there are apps for those. Now, if only there were an app that showed media companies how to make money on the iPhone.
Application developers have a new piece of real estate to strive for on Facebook, which on Wednesday unveiled its new Application Directory that showcases apps that have passed through the social networking site’s verification process.
The weekend's big news at South by Southwest: Facebook has launched Facebook Connect for iPhone apps.