There's Magic in the Music

January 28, 2012


Sleeve of The Jimmy Castor Bunch's 1974 LP, Supersound

Just a quick one today. ... more »

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posted: 28/01/2012 | comments »


Contemplating Life Without a Smartphone

January 27, 2012

Public Enemy on stage at the IndigO2,  November 14, 2010. Shot with my HTC phone, so you'll have to take my word for it

While most of the outraged chatter today has been about Twitter's new policy on state censorship (and for an insightful view about why the company may be doing the right thing, have a look here), the big changes-to-our-terms-and-conditions announcement for me this week was Google's upcoming privacy revamp. Not least because if these changes go ahead, I'll likely have to get rid of my smartphone.... more »

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posted: 27/01/2012 | comments »


China, Russia and the West: Will It Be Dialogue and Understanding or Cyber War?

January 26, 2012

Detail from a DigitalGlobe satellite image of Beijing during the parade marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Republic, October 1, 2009

I can't really report in too much detail from the Cyber Defence and Network Security conference I attended today, partly because I'm short of time right now, and partly because, with the proceedings taking place under the Chatham House Rule, I've got to be careful that I don't end up accidentally implying attribution of quotes and points of view to speakers whose names appear on the published agenda. But what felt like the most important theme of the day was the urgent need for purposeful dialogue between the west and east - because at present, the misunderstandings are legion and the risks of a continuing failure to meaningfully engage could prove catastrophic. ... more »

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posted: 26/01/2012 | comments »


A Quick Canter through More DGI Highlights

January 25, 2012


An Ordnance Survey surveyor checking that maps of the London Olympic site are correct. Photo from the OS Flickr stream

In a change from the the longer format, here's a quick list of a few things I learned at DGI 2012. ... more »

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posted: 25/01/2012 | comments »


Video Games, Satellite Imagery and Alexander the Great: More from DGI 2012

January 24, 2012

Costa Concordia, as seen from a DigitalGlobe satellite, January 17, 2012. Photo from DigitalGlobe's Flickr stream; used under guidelines for editorial use on the DigitalGlobe website

Even though it may be taking place under a blanket of mainstream news media indifference (see yesterday's post for my thoughts on that), the discussions at the Defence Geospatial Intelligence conference currently taking place in London have been substantial, absorbing and fascinating. They may not be considered as newsworthy as the breakdown of Seal's marriage, 'Appy 'Arry's courtroom hilarity or the latest barbs slung between people who might run for president or those slugging it out to be mayor of London, but to my thinking the topics have been as urgent and important as they are frequently complex and cognitively demanding. ... more »

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posted: 24/01/2012 | comments »


"Secret" Defence Conferences: The Shocking Truth

January 23, 2012

A 3-D model of San Francisco: image from Saab (click on photo for full-size version at Saab's website)

Holographic maps; video game processors powering (and funding) satellite imagery analysis; a 3-D picture of 130 square kilometres of Tripoli rendered from a mosaic of satellite photographs in under an hour; a company which boasts permanently staffed "offices" inside both the Arctic and Antarctic Circles, and sells products that help detect oil spills and navigate ships through ice floes... The preliminary "Focus Day" of the Defence Geospatial Intelligence 2012 conference in London covered some pretty surprising ground. But the biggest surprise to some readers may well be that I'm allowed to write about it in the first place. After all, it's a defence intelligence event, and they're notoriously secretive, and closed to all outsiders but particularly the media - right? Not quite. ... more »

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posted: 23/01/2012 | comments »


The Sublime and the Ridiculous: Another Afternoon with Newcastle United

January 22, 2012

A member of the Toon Army, possibly at Wembley, FA Cup Final, May 1998, before the inevitable defeat

I'm pleased, really, that I had my epiphany during the semi-final defeat to Chelsea (as discussed here) and can now enjoy watching Newcastle matches secure in the knowledge that they really don't matter, ultimately, because we're never going to win anything during my lifetime. Certainly it's the only way to cope with afternoons like yesterday, where Newcastle managed to condense elements of the best and the worst of the last ten years into two starkly contrasting 45-minute sessions of play. If I cared as much as I used to I'd be really upset today: but really, it was pretty funny.... more »

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posted: 22/01/2012 | comments »

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