Monthly Archives: October, 2013

1984 – 30 years on?

I’m not very good at keeping up with politics and current affairs in general at present, and one treat I always allow myself on holiday is the shedding of even the limited news-reading and Today-programme-listening that I normally do.

And so the Snowden affair, which started while I was away, largely passed me by: when I got back they were discussing intricacies of conspiracy theories and extradition orders and it was a bit like trying to pick up a TV mini-series by starting on the third or fourth episode. I’ll save learning about it for when the movie version comes out.

But I did think John Lanchester’s article in yesterday’s Guardian was a pretty sane discussion of the issues, even for those of us who missed the opening chapters.

Nice extract:

I call this the “knowing you’re gay” test. Most of us know someone who has plucked up the courage to reveal their homosexuality, only to be cheerfully told by friends and family, “oh, we’ve known that for years”.

Now, though, search engines know facts about people’s thoughts and fantasies long before anyone else does. To put it crudely, Google doesn’t just know you’re gay before you tell your mum; it knows you’re gay before you do. And now GCHQ does too.

Toq of the town

I was fortunate enough to get to play with one if these today – a Qualcomm Toq – one of the first to be publicly shown.

It’s very nicely put together, slightly bigger than my Pebble, with a colour e-ink touch screen, and wireless charging. But Qualcomm have created this more, they say, to seed the market and demonstrate their technology than because they intend to sell it directly; though the idea of making some available (at around $300) is being discussed.

I hope they do. That’s quite a lot for a watch, but it has a quality feel to it. The key question will be whether they can get good SDKs to developers early on, and whether they can make it play nicely with non-jailbroken iPhones… It’s not very easy to get past the restrictions that Apple (for some good reasons) imposes on developers, but at that price, they would probably be targeting the Apple-buying market.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser