Should we be scared by the rise of Zuck?

Feb 2, 2014

Should we be scared by the rise of Zuck?

On Tuesday, Facebook will turn 10 years old. It has 1.23 billion users. Ponder those two facts for a moment. A company that did not exist 10 years ago now has as many users as India has people. If you wanted a case study ...

Jan 23, 2014

Kid-friendly app cat gets its claws into your iWallet

It’s 4.30 on a gloomy winter’s afternoon. I’m sitting with my grandson having one of those conversations in which grandsons explain complicated stuff to their grandads. He is 4 years old, omniscient in the way that 4-year-olds are, and tolerant of my ignorance of ...

Jan 16, 2014

Google brats are ruining Frisco for the locals

Just under a year ago, Rebecca Solnit, a writer living in San Francisco, wrote a sobering piece in the London Review of Books about the Google Bus, which she viewed as a proxy for the technology industry in nearby Palo Alto, Mountain View and ...

A lost year for new technology? Look beyond 2013's gadgets

Jan 9, 2014

A lost year for new technology? Look beyond 2013's gadgets

Writing the other day in Quartz, an admirable sister publication of The Atlantic magazine, the experienced technology watcher Christopher Mims struck a gloomy note. Under the headline “2013 was a lost year for tech,” he lamented that “all in, 2013 was an embarrassment for ...

Jan 2, 2014

Google's drive into robotics should concern us all

Over the past year, Google has bought eight robotics companies. Its most recent acquisition is an outfit called Boston Dynamics, which makes the nearest thing to a mechanical mule that you are ever likely to see. It’s called Big Dog and it walks, runs, ...

Dec 24, 2013

Even our Facebook 'grunts' could be monetized

As Mark Twain observed: “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” And that was a long time before the Web. Which brings us to a meme that was propagating last week though social media. Its ...

Dec 17, 2013

Why do governments make such a mess of IT?

This is a tale of two cities — Washington and London — and of the governments that rule from them. What links the pair is the puzzling failure of said governments to manage two vital IT projects. In both cases, the projects are critically ...

Dec 10, 2013

Startups now have it easy thanks to 'incubators.'

One of my favourite books is John Kenneth Galbraith’s “The Great Crash, 1929,” which, with John Maynard Keynes’ “The Economic Consequences of the Peace,” is a great example of how an expert can write elegantly about something that is intrinsically complex. Galbraith wrote the ...

Dec 3, 2013

Why the NSA has landed us all in another nice mess

Fans of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy will fondly remember Oliver’s complaint to Stanley: “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!” In a future remake, Hardy will be played by Barack Obama, suitably enhanced with a toothbrush moustache, while Keith Alexander, currently ...