Technology

Israel punches above its weight in so many ways

There are those who build and contribute to mankind and there are those who destroy.

ISIS's contibution to mankind. Destruction. Islam has a long 1400 year history of burning and destroying the libraries and museums of the countries it invades.

ISIS’s contribution to mankind.
Destruction.

Islam has a long 1400 year history of burning and destroying the libraries and museums of the countries it invades. Above is but one recent example. Islam dominates and destroys. One of the things that has always stuck in my mind is what happened when Israel withdrew and handed over land to the Palestinians. The land had been developed and had wonderful technology and buildings that could benefit the new occupiers yet the first thing they did when they took ownership was to tear down and destroy everything because it had been created by Israel.

Israel on the other hand makes lemonade when life gives it lemons. They work out how to farm the desert. They don’t just benefit themselves they create technologies that can benefit the world. The ReWalk is but one example.

Imagine giving a paraplegic back the ability to walk again.

Imagine that the man who created the technology is a quadriplegic.

Now imagine that the scientist who designed  this amazing technology is from Israel, the country that does so much with so little.

Invented by the Israeli entrepreneur, Dr. Amit Goffer, who became a quadriplegic in 1998, and manufactured by ARGO Medical Technologies, ReWalk™

Invented by the Israeli entrepreneur, Dr. Amit Goffer, who became a quadriplegic in 1998, and manufactured by ARGO Medical Technologies, ReWalk™

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You can watch Sky TV…. slide into obscurity

Is Sky TV unable or unwilling to rise to the challenges before it?

As everyone in the real world is abundantly aware, television and the way we consume it, is changing. There is an enormous shift to online and those that fail to embrace it will be destined to the history books.

This week, Sky announced a 12.7 percent increase in net profit of $92.5 million in the six months to December 31. Revenue from subscribers was up 3% with overall revenue up 1.8%.

But that’s about where the good news ends. The NBR’s Chris Keall has astutely described Sky’s revenue as “golden handcuffs”.

8,707 subscribers ditched the pay tv service resulting in a household penetration dip from 48.7% of the population to 48.3%. Churn rose from 13.2% to 13.7%.

While admitting that the industry is in transition to online, Sky CEO John Fellet seems entirely naive about how to do so. Having helmed the company through many years as a dominant monopolistic force, Fellet seems ill-equiped to steer the company through the obstacle course created by disruptive technologies. Read more »

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A reader emails about online voting

I am extremely concerned about the prospect of on-line voting. The suggestion that they are “looking into on-line voting” for the 2017 election, scares the hell out of me for two reasons.

  1. Votes will be cast without research or consideration. A last minute “click here” without any concept of what that actually delivers.
  2. 2014 election my 37year old stepdaughter with a very busy career went on-line and completed a questionnaire to help her decide who to vote for. The result was the Greens, so she voted accordingly. After the election she was disappointed with her vote as many Green policies were against her belief. The very thought of Laila Harre or Dotcoms influence in Government appalled her. Though she voted because she believes it is important to do so, she voted without understanding the MMP consequence. Lesson learnt.

How many people did just that? Asked a computer to decide their future and their political preference?

The democratic right to vote for a Government to represent us every 3 years should be taken more seriously than on-line polling or questionnaires. I do not suggest for 1 minute that it is a corrupt influence or process, however I suggest under MMP a computer cannot determine party coalition preference. Therefore it cannot be applied, and the result has dire consequences for NZ.

If a questionnaire was to determine my vote I strongly believe it would also recommend a Green Party vote. Why?   Read more »

If she was really taking aim at censorship laws she would abolish them

NBR reports that Amy Adams is taking aim at out-dated censorship laws.

If she was deadly serious she’d move to abolish them altogether.

Archaic classification laws for new media are in the Minister of Broadcasting’s crosshairs.

Following news of the chief censor taking a closer look at the growing video game and online streaming industries, Amy Adams tells NBR ONLINE she has officials from the Ministry of Justice advising her on “possible ways forward to address any issues in this area that may start to arise.”

“It is far from clear how the act applies to online content,” says Ms Adams, who also holds the portfolios of communications, courts and justice.

“Current classification and standards legislation came into effect over 20 years ago so it was inevitable there would come a time when the current regime would need updating.”

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The start of the slide for Dotcom as Andrus Nomm pleads guilty

One of the top six from Megaupload voluntarily handed himself in to US authorities and has plead guilty and copped one year in prison as a result…that’s a pretty sweet deal and likely to cause Dotcom some coming headaches.

NBR reports:

Programmer Andrus Nomm, described as one of the top six executives at Kim Dotcom’s former file sharing service Megaupload, has plead guilty to felony copyright infringement in the US and been sentenced to a year’s jail, Ars Technica reports.

A rapid-fire process saw Nomm arrested in the US state of Virginia last week after waiving his right to fight extradition from the Netherlands after a multi-year fight (he was first arrested in January 2012 shortly after the raid on Dotcom mansion). Virginia is the state where most of Megauploads servers were located before being shut down by the FBI three years ago as copyright, racketeering, money laundering and other charges were filed against Kim Dotcom and his co-accused.

Nomm’s sentence is relatively light. Earlier this week, Dotcom’s US attorney Ira Rothken speculated to NBR that Nomm has struck a plea bargain with authorities.

Read more »

Digital Detox

Is there much point in forcing children to get on without any digital devices?  Isn’t this just a reflection of the thinking of the parents?

A headmaster is holding a ‘digital detox’ week to try to wean children and their parents off digital devices.

Martin Stott, head of the Old Hall School in Wellington, Shropshire, believes many youngsters are growing up unable to read people’s body language or facial expressions because their eyes never leave mobile devices.

He thinks children should spend longer talking to each other, playing cards and people watching instead of being constantly absorbed by technology.

Speaking to The Times, he said: ‘When we take school trips or holidays, we don’t allow mobile phones. We’re hoping to challenge children to live without their mobile devices for a week.’

Mr Stott is not completely opposed to technology. The Old Hall School in Wellington, which has pupils aged four to 11, uses digital devices during lessons and teaches basic programming and coding.

But during the digital detox, the pupils will be encourages to spend more time talking to friends, reading books and attempting problem-solving puzzles.

There is need for an environment that doesn’t need tech.  Take the kids to the beach to dam a stream, or into the bush to build a bivvy, and you’ll find that they won’t miss their gadgets for a second.    Read more »

Social Media: the stocks of the 21st century (and why we need more of it)

One of the effective uses of the stocks were that you had to face your community and be known and ridiculed for the transgression you were guilty of.   Due to society growing to the point where we haven’t even said “hi” to our neighbours, the anonymity of people in general emboldens them to do things because they think they can get away with it.

But not if we use “digital stocks”:

Wairarapa shoplifters should expect to be shamed on Facebook, as retailers take to CCTV and social media to fight back.

Owner of Trev’s Sports in Queen St, Quentin Henderson, has twice turned to the community on Facebook to help identify shoplifters.

Last October, a teenage cat burglar who stole hundreds of dollars’ worth of goods owned up after CCTV images of the burglary was widely viewed on Facebook.

And last month, footage of two teenage girls shoplifting received 21,768 views.

Although not from Masterton, the girls were identified.

Mr Henderson said the community supported retailers by trying to help identify the shoplifters on social media.

A bit of crowd sourcing to identify scumbags will be very effective in putting the breaks on petty thievery.   Read more »

SCAMWATCH: Spark customers targeted

Telecommunications giant Spark has blown the whistle on a well-organised scam where fraudsters attempt to gain access to customer’s computers and online bank accounts.

The scam involves a call to an unsuspecting customer, telling them their services will be disconnected unless they update their settings or clean up their computers.

Potential victims are directed to a website and asked to download software which allows the scammer to gain remote access to their computer.

From there, the customers are asked to log-on to their personal online banking and switch off their cellphone, with the scammer attempting to keep them talking for a long time.

In some instances, the customer is given a made-up employee number or called back repeatedly after the initial conversation to ‘verify’ their identity. Read more »

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We shall fight on Facebook, we shall fight on Twitter; we shall never surrender

wwewew

The British army are tooling up against ISIS with computers and a social media account.

Rather than sending hundreds of troops around the world, the newest brigade is aimed at the social media war being waged by Islamic State and other terror organisations and their fight to radicalise young people.

The brigade is designed to ‘meet the challenges of modern conflict and warfare’ by winning the hearts and minds of those in battle by both monitoring and engaging with digital and social media channels. Read more »

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NZ is the only country where Internet access is getting more expensive

Spark, Vodafone and Callplus together represent 94 percent of the residential internet market and all have put up their prices for home internet packages.

Internet service providers blame the rises on the Commerce Commission’s recent draft decision which reduced the price companies pay for use of the copper wire network.

The charges relate to what Chorus (the wholesaler) charges internet service providers and telcos like Spark, Vodafone, Orcon, Slingshot and Flip, for accessing their copper infrastructure which was deployed years ago by the Post Office. Those wires run down almost every street in the country and are the phone lines we have been using for decades.

Because it is a monopoly, the price that the wholesaler can charge is regulated by the Commerce Commission.

In 2011, when Telecom was split into a retail arm (Telecom) and a wholesale arm (Chorus), the Commission had to work out what Chorus’s wholesale services were worth, and what price they would charge internet service providers and telcos, including Telecom (now Spark) to use those services.

The price was originally set at about $45 per customer per month. Read more »