Minority Report Syndrome: Picturing the future and making it happen

  My Innovation Talk column from yesterday, about Google’s smart glasses and the mystery of concept videos. “ROSE-TINTED FANTASIES NOT AT ALL BETTER THAN THE REAL THING” From The Irish Times, May 7th, 2012 Last month, Google gave the world their vision of the future, almost literally. Project Glass was unveiled in a stylish concept…

A billion-dollar Easter Monday

Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram has taken everybody by surprise, but a few hour’s of analysis seems to have come to the consensus that it was both obvious and obligatory for Zuckerberg to make his move: Instagram was cornering the mobile photo-sharing game, and it had something else that Facebook doesn’t have any more, though I…

The Agony of Lying, the Ecstasy of Getting Caught

For those of us interested in technology (particularly Apple), non-fiction storytelling (particularly on This American Life), and journalism (wherever it might occur), the Mike Daisey saga has been an absorbing case study. Daisey is the monologuist who has become one of the fiercest critics of Apple’s manufacturing process, going so far as to visit the…

Hardware innovation’s glass ceiling

HARDWARE INNOVATION HAS COME UP AGAINST A GLASS CEILING From The Irish Times, March 19th, 2012 When apple chief executive Tim Cook launched the new iPad in early March, it was the most eagerly anticipated hardware announcement in months, inspiring huge amounts of speculation ahead of its unveiling – the infamous Apple rumour mill was…

Hinging on stupid design

I could never understand what all the hullabaloo was about when details of the Microsoft Courier tablet (above) leaked back in late 2009. It seemed so obviously an exercise in FUD-inspired vapourware directed against the imminent iPad – which was to be revealed in January of 2010. Courier’s debut was just a leaked series of mocked…

The historical opportunity of Julian Assange

In researching this article on the Lulzsec case, I had a great chat with journalist Misha Glenny, who is very familiar with the world of hackers after years researching the terrific non-fiction thriller DarkMarket: Cyberthieves, Cybercops and You (which I had the pleasure of reviewing for The Irish Times last year). While discussing the hacktivism of Anonymous…

The Hacking Game

THE HACKING GAME From The Irish Times, Saturday March 10th, 2012 “It looked like a fairly innocuous tweet, sent a few nights before New Year’s Eve: “@anonymouSabu – will you be releasing technical infodox about how the #Stratfor ownage went down? I sure hope so . . .” To the uninitiated, the words have little…

Innovation talks: The new means of production

My first Irish Times Innovation Talks column was in the paper today – it’s due to be a monthly column, there or thereabouts, on various aspects of tech innovation. The first column, on how critical programming is to the future of innovation, is below. “GIVING THE WORLD ACCESS TO THE NEW MEANS OF PRODUCTION” From The…

The Failure of Facebook

So last week we found out that Mark Zuckerberg is finally doing it – Facebook floats, or soars, or takes off, or whatever verb of motion best describes its share price after the imminent IPO. We’re going to hear a lot about how much money Zuckerberg is going to be worth, and how much Microsoft’s bet paid…

Googling for a Philosophy

I have a short piece in tomorrow’s Irish Times about the whole Google privacy, and in the process of writing it I came across the search giant’s corporate philosophy. Reading through it, it’s pretty clear that something’s gone awry since the early days. Now, I am a largely satisfied user of plenty of Google products,…