Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Lightning and USB-C cables

Apple could be forced to abandon its Lightning connector cable if European lawmakers get their way.

The cable is used to charge and sync Apple devices, including the iPhone.

But members of the European Parliament urged the European Commission on Monday to force tech giants to adopt a single universal charging method.

Apple products do not accept the other two non-wireless types of charger which are available – USB-C and micro-USB, which work on Android devices.

Regulators will vote on the matter on a yet to be determined date, but Apple says the proposed regulation would stifle innovation and be disruptive to consumers.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: January 22nd, 2020



  1. Many have said that Apple created the Lightening Cable not as an “innovation”, but so that it could charge a licensing fee to anyone who wants to make one. Lightening cables are almost five times more expensive than other cables. What do you think?
  2. How would a single standard charging cable help consumers (as opposed to being disruptive to consumers)?

Posted by & filed under Microsoft.

Satya Nadella

Microsoft has pledged to remove “all of the carbon” from the environment that it has emitted since the company was founded in 1975.

Chief executive Satya Nadella said he wanted to achieve the goal by 2050 .

To do so, the company aims to become “carbon negative” by 2030, removing more carbon from the environment than it emits.

That goes beyond a pledge by its cloud-computing rival Amazon, which intends to go “carbon neutral” by 2040.

“When it comes to carbon, neutrality is not enough,” said Microsoft president Brad Smith.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: January 22nd, 2020



  1. Is there a business reason for Microsoft to go “carbon negative”?
  2. How bad is Microsoft with its carbon footprint compared to Apple or Google, do you think?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, App Economy.

YOU might expect to hear an angry buzzing when honeybees have been disturbed. But some apiarists reckon they can also deduce the condition of their bees from the sounds they make. A steady hum could be the sign of a contented hive; a change in tone might indicate that the bees are about to swarm. That intuition is about to be put to the test. Soon, beekeepers will be able to try to find out what is troubling a colony by listening to the buzz using a smartphone app.   

The app, which is in the final stages of testing, has been developed by Jerry Bromenshenk and a group of fellow bee experts at the University of Montana. It uses a form of artificial intelligence to analyse the sound that bees are making in order to deduce whether they are suffering from a number of maladies.

Source: Bee Culture Magazine

Date: May 3rd, 2019



(Note: David Firth, the author of this blog, is the business manager and co-developer of the Bee Health Guru app

  1. What are some of the issues of pushing a smartphone technology app on to beekeepers?
  2. What are some other possible applications of this app?

Posted by & filed under E-Business.

Autumn In Rome

The tours and experiences market is projected to be worth $183 billion this year, and today a startup that has made inroads into the space through bootstrapping is announcing its first outside investment.

ToursByLocals — which sources local guides in some 162 countries, then helps tourists search and book them for either individual or small group tours and experiences in the place they are visiting — is today announcing 33 million Canadian dollars (US$25 million) in funding, from a single investor, Tritium Partners, money that it plans to use to hire more talent, build out its proprietary booking, payment and review publishing technology and expand its business development team.

This is the first outside funding for the Vancouver, Canada -based startup, which for the past 10 years has bootstrapped its business, building it up to 1.45 million customers and some US$45 million in revenues. It has around 100 employees today.

Source: TechCrunch

Date: January 16th, 2020



  1. What do you think ToursByLocals will use its CDN33 million for?
  2. ToursByLocals as 100 employees. What are the major groupings of work for these 100 people?

Posted by & filed under Bitcoin, Blockchain.

Gold bitcoins on circuit board graphic

Is blockchain – the technology underpinning the cryptocurrency – is fulfilling its promise, or a tech still looking for a better reason to exist.

There have been some very grandiose claims made about blockchain.

Source: BBC Business Technology

Date: January 16th, 2020



1) Do you understand what the difference is between Bitcoin and Blockchain?

2) Blockchain should really be called Distributed Ledger Technology.  Why?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Cyber Security, Emerging Technologies.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: January 16th, 2020



1) “In the brave new world of retail this won’t necessitate a trek out to the nearest late night supermarket. Instead the shop can come to you.  With the touch of an app button, you hail a low-slung electric vehicle, like a glass-sided motorhome, which quietly glides into a parking space near you.  You enter the shop by swiping your mobile phone at the door, pick up your wares and swipe out again. There’s no cashier or sales assistant, and no-one to clean up if you drop a carton of milk on your toe.”  What are some of the cybersecurity issues around this idea?

2) What are some of the technology (in addition to cybersecurity) issues around this idea?

Posted by & filed under IT and Politics, Politics, Privacy.


A joint investigation by watchdogs in Canada and British Columbia has found that Cambridge Analytica-linked data firm, Aggregate IQ, broke privacy laws in Facebook ad-targeting work it undertook for the official Vote Leave Brexit campaign in the UK’s 2016 EU referendum.

A quick reminder: Vote Leave was the official leave campaign in the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. While Cambridge Analytica  is the (now defunct) firm at the center of a massive Facebook data misuse scandal which has dented the company’s fortunes and continues to tarnish its reputation.

Source: Tech Crunch

Date: January 10th, 2020



  1. “The investigation finds that the personal information provided to and used by AIQ comes from disparate sources. This includes psychographic profiles derived from personal information Facebook disclosed to Dr. Aleksandr Kogan,  and onward to Cambridge Analytica.” And yet most consumers will barely care. Why is this?
  2. What sorts of monitoring could be put in place to ensure companies adhere to the rules and regulations?

Posted by & filed under Consumer Technology, Innovation.

Sex tech area

CES has welcomed sex tech this year. But blink and you might miss it.

There are no more than half a dozen stands, and most are tucked away in a far corner of one of Las Vegas’s vast conference halls.

They are being hosted under the umbrella of the Health and Wellness zone.

Several feature innovative sex toys, while one – called Pulse – is demoing a dispenser that heats oils and gels.

But while the booths are well away from those of the big brands that dominate the room, their presence still represents a significant shift.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: January 10th, 2020



  1. Why does the world’s largest Consumer Electronics convention, hosted in Las Vegas no less, likely have a problem with Sex Tech, which they call “Health and Wellness”?
  2. Is health and wellness the right place for sex tech?

Posted by & filed under Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality.

Nreal glasses

A pair of hi-tech glasses that superimposes computer graphics over real-world views has emerged as one of the most lauded products of this year’s CES tech expo.

Nreal, the Chinese start-up involved, has confounded the expectations of many industry watchers with the quality of the images its Light glasses produces.

The firm still faces issues.

One tester said the glasses looked a bit “clunky”, and the company is being sued by Magic Leap, a rival.

But long-time CES attendee Ben Wood, an influential tech consultant, declared them the “product of the show”.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: January 10th, 2020



  1. These appear to be a successful attempt at Augmented Reality (AR). What’s the difference between Virtual Reality (VR) and AR?
  2. Why is AR actually more difficult than VR?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Amazon.

Picture this: You’re playing a game of trivia with friends. The question is, “How many bones are in the human hand?”

Your friend answers 27.

You decide to ask Alexa, the smart speaker sitting in the living room, to verify the number. Alexa says, “26.” 

Everyone agrees that even though your friend’s guess was close, their answer was in fact, wrong. No point for them.

But who was actually right? Would you take what Alexa says as fact?

According to a new study, it depends on who you ask. While adults might be willing to take those results as fact, kids are a bit more skeptical.

Source: CBC Technology Analysis

Date: December 18th, 2019



  1. “Kids trust their teachers because they’ve learned to trust them, whereas they’re still figuring out whether or not sources like voice assistants are trustworthy.” How might kids and adults be taught to trust intelligent agents like the Amazon Alexa?
  2. ” when the statements involved scientific and historical facts, kids tended to trust the teacher while adults were more inclined to trust the internet. The researchers concluded this could be due to the vast amounts of information available online, the fallibility of human memory and the tendency for adults to become less trusting of humans as they get older. ” How is this insight important to the developers of intelligent agents like the Amazon Alexa?