It wasn't that long ago that you would ask a young teenager about computer stuff, but these days it's even younger. According to NSPCC, a charity organisation in the UK, children as young as five should be taught about safety online.
I can attest to this, as my six-year-old niece is happy using a tablet, smartphone and computer to play games and browse sites. To put it another way, the very young are now getting connected and while their focus is typically on child-like sites this opens them up to the wider and darker parts of the internet.
There is a nasty element out there that will, for example, coerce this age group into making their own explicit photos or films. In the older age groups sexting is becoming more common and it is easy for all age groups to suddenly find themselves looking at porn. Years ago sneaking into an R-rated movie was a badge of honour for 17-year-olds, these days watching porn is so passe that the self-made images are perceived as the only way to earn "respect". The predators are happy to prey on such misplaced ideas and in a busy world parents either don't have the time or are simply unaware of the issues.
Kind of related to the above, Google and the Mozilla foundation have joined forces to demonstrate the WebRTC standard in their browsers to show live video chatting from within the browser. The new standard uses an RTCPeerConnection to allow video chat without the need for any plug-ins. It does include a permission exchange to activate cameras and microphones and is targeted at the click-to-chat features in web pages.
The demo appears to be in response to CURTC, the Customizable, Ubiquitous Real Time Communication system that Microsoft is pushing as a new standard. This one will also work on VoIP phones and mobiles. It is probably targeted for Skype, now owned by Microsoft. Both protocols are in standards review and as usual it will be interesting to see who comes out on top here.
It took a bit longer this time but every device that uses iOS 6 has been jailbroken. This means that the iPhone 5, the iPad mini and the latest iPod Touch are now free. Credit goes to Evad3rs and you can find the tools at http://evasi0n.com. The tool can be used on multiple operating systems. The break is known as an "untethered method" that doesn't require being connected to a computer when rebooting. The biggest reason for jailbreaking is to free the user from the draconian controls imposed by the iTunes store, i.e. freedom to load whatever you want on to your device. The good news is that according to the DCIM Act it is legal to do so, at least in the US.
In the "people have way too much time on their hands" department for this week is the guy who wrote Wine, the Windows emulator for Linux, demonstrating Wine running on a Mac that was running an Android emulator. This could mean that you'll be able to run a Windows App on your smartphone sometime in the future. According to sources the demo was very slow but worked. I for one am having a hard time working out why you would want to run Windows apps on Android at all.
Isaac Asimov predicted it. The European Commission has decided to fund the Human Brain Project, providing more than 1 billion (40 billion baht) over the next 10 years to see if it can build a supercomputer in Switzerland capable of simulating the human brain. One of the aims of the project is to build a robot that will be controlled by the so-called neuromorphic brain. I have only one response to that, Skynet.
By the time you read this the Microsoft Surface Pro will be out. Instead of the tablet Surface RT this is a fully functional ultrabook equivalent with a touch screen. The targets are those company CEOs that have dallied with an Apple iPad that Microsoft wants to bring back to the fold under Windows 8.
There are two basic versions, with 64GB or 128GB solid state memory with 42GB taken up by the operating system. It uses an i5 1.7GHz CPU with 3MB of cache and 4GB of dual channel RAM. The unit can get hot and includes twin fans and a cooling vent. The screen is a 10.6-inch, 1900 by 1080, 10-point touch display with 9.2-inch viewing area. It weighs 900g so it may be too heavy for some. It does have a USB3 port and a microSD card slot which is nice and provides the extra memory. According to SanDisk this will be available up to 2TB in the not so distant future. Battery life is a bit over three hours. You also need to buy the keyboard separately, and there are currently two versions. If you get one, get a keyboard. The stylus placement is poorly designed.
I don't see myself getting one and at US$1,000 (29,800 baht) plus the keyboard it is probably out of the range of the average tablet buyer.
James Hein is an IT professional of more than 30 years' standing. You can contact him at email@example.com.
About the author
- Writer: James Hein
Position: Database Writer