Bizhan Govindji: Siri who?

3 million people in the UK pre-ordered the iPhone 4S (that’s 5% of the population, by the way) and were eagerly awaiting a soft thud as it landed on their doormats this morning. The feature that’s quite literally got everybody talking isn’t the highly improved camera, or the potentially revolutionary iCloud; it’s Siri, your new virtual assistant. (If you haven’t heard of Siri, you’ll want to say goodbye to that rock you’ve been living under and watch the advert here). But Voice Recognition on mobile phones is hardly something new. In fact my first ever phone – the now-ancient Nokia 3310 –  came equipped with voice-activated dialling.

So why all the fuss about Siri, and what are the alternatives for non-iPhone users? (more…)

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Bizhan Govindji on: e-Read all about it!

Amazon's Kindle 3. Picture: Amazon.com

When I was younger, new books would feature heavily on my Amazon wish list. I would read novels on the train, before I went to bed, or if I was simply bored. For me, (here come the clichés) a good book allowed me to immerse myself totally in the story, escape from this world and dive into new ones where Harvard professors run around the Vatican trying to stop terrorist explosions, schoolchildren are taught magic to defend themselves against dark wizards, and Afghani kite-fliers have their lives ripped apart by the Taliban.

Today however, the variety of entertainment that young people have access to has expanded beyond imagination. The evolution of television, gaming, and the Internet captured the interest of youth, and on the whole, books are forgotten, gathering dust in a spare room.

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Social Media Futures: The Virtual you

Snapshot from Museum of Me Online Exhibition

The uncertainty surrounding the safety of our personal data on-line is often focus of much debate… how is our data being used? Who has access to it? Who owns it? Data usage is a topic that can cause anguish for social media users, as well as confusion. Particularly when the big players such as Facebook discretely pilot new services, such as the facial recognition software, without telling their users about changes to data usage first.

Social Media users have the right to be concerned about their data, but should this stop us from using networks like Facebook? Absolutely not…

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Martin Orton: Brand Looters

Three quarters of the young people convicted of looting London in August had previous convictions, many of petty crime and theft. The others? Perhaps bystanders seeking an opportunity too good to miss. Who can forget the family of looters? But what affliction do they all share? How did they suddenly transform themselves from the passive aggrieved and excluded into a proactive, well-organised army of rampant materialists?

I’m going to point the finger at a new culprit in this landscape of social inequality; a cause of the looting, one that has a solution and that will definitely surprise some people: Brands.
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