Technology News Gallery: August 22, 2011

  • Happy birthday, Linux

    It was August of 1991 when 20-year-old Linus Torvalds first created Linux with only the most modest of ambitions. “Just a hobby, won’t be anything big and professional like GNU,” Torvalds wrote in what’s become the kernel’s famous introductory email. “It probably will never support anything other than AT-hard disks, as that’s all I have.” The world ended up proving him wrong, and then some.

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  • How do you like this Apple?

    Rumours abounded last week that an “unnamed retailer” wants to build a glass-roofed store – one that looks suspiciously like an Apple Store – on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, a popular outdoor mall in the upscale beachfront city. This is a rendering of the gleaming, 34-foot-tall palace with a transparent glass ceiling.

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  • Now that’s using your head!

    Dharmendra Modha, project leader for IBM Research, said the company has created experimental chips modeled around neural systems that mimics the brain’s structure and operation through silicon circuitry and advanced algorithms. The prototype chips will give mind-like abilities for computers to make decisions by collating and analyzing immense amounts of data, similar to humans gathering and understanding a series of events.

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  • Anti-social behaviour

    A British court sentenced two men to four years in prison each for using Facebook to try to organize a riot. It’s the sternest punishment yet for abuse of social networks during the U.K. riots. In Chester Crown Court south of Liverpool, 20-year-old Jordan Blackshaw of Marston near Northwich, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, of Warrington, were sentenced for creating Facebook events calling for violence during the disturbances that rocked the U.K. last week.

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  • Lights! Camera! Hack!

    Hoping to spark some entrepreneurial creativity in the Big Apple, online tools provider Aviary has organized a New York City event for developers to hack together new photo-based applications. The winner of the New York City Photo Hack Day will get to show the winning entry on the NASDAQ Times Square display.

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  • How Swede it is

    Startup iZettle has made its payment application available for Swedish iPhone users, and now plans to distribute 2,000 card chip readers, the company said last week. The Swedish company’s application makes it possible for anyone to accept card payments using their iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The amount, up to 500 Swedish kronor (US$80), and the card number is entered into the application. When the transaction is completed, the money is forwarded to a bank account registered by the user.

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  • Can you hear them now?

    I’m not much of a gamer, especially when it comes to videogames on smartphones and tablets. But Gravity Burst Lite sucked me in after just a minute or two of play. The objective: Destroy enemy spaceships by launching projectiles through galactic-environments with varying levels of gravitational pull. Sound simple? Not so much. The free version of Gravity Burst gives you 18 levels, but you can get many more stages and challenges by purchasing the full version for just $0.99. And if you ask me, it’s well worth a dollar.

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  • Do you believe in Magiq?

    During a chaotic, peaceful protest that started at the end of the workday last Monday, members of the hacking collective Anonymous joined up with Bay Area activists to protest last month’s killing of Charles Hill, a passenger who was shot by a Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) policeman after throwing a knife at the officer.

    The protests attracted national attention after BART shut down its underground mobile base stations, operated by five wireless carriers, in hopes of disrupting communication between participants during an earlier protest.

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