Thank heavens for the rise of electronic books–burning these, instead of the paper kind, as a hate crime (after flip-flopping on your decision when the world media and the President pins you with criticism) would also violate toxic fumes/smoke-free zoning laws.
1. Shock horror(ish) in the cell phone world: Olli Pekka-Kallasvuo will leave his position as President and CEO of Nokia on September 20th, and be replaced by Stephen Elop, the phone giant has just announced. Elop previously “held senior executive positions in a number of US-based public companies, including Juniper Networks, Adobe Systems Inc., and Macromedia Inc.” and will be “able to drive both innovation and efficient execution of the company strategy in order to deliver increased value to our shareholders,” according to Nokia’s board. The not-so-subtle implication here is that OPK resolutely hasn’t been doing these things. It’s also surprising as we know Nokia, as its previously stated, likes to keep things in the Finnish family due to perceived work ethic conflicts with North American types … and Elop is Canadian. Looks like Nokia read our article on how to improve itself.
2. DARPA, too, wishes to exercise more control over its business or, more specifically, over the actions of its warfighters. It’s revealed plans to try to “remote control” soldiers in the field. No joke, and no sci-fi fiction either: Its intentions involve using helmet-mounted ultrasound devices to jiggle, cajole, steer, and oscillate soldier’s actual brain matter. Ready to get nervous? Read this next bit. The plan centers on research from Arizona State U’s neuroscientist William Tyler, who noted to Wired that “the brain serves all the functions of your body, and if you knew the neuroanatomy, then you can start to regulate each one of those functions.” For troops this involves boosting troop brain power, preventing traumatic injuries, increasing alertness and so on. Cue conspiracy theorists in 3…2…1… Can it boost bravery, and make soldiers do things they wouldn’t otherwise want to do? Do you trust the government to use this tech responsibly?
3. Net security firm Kaspersky has warned that there’s a significant threat from a new sex virus. No, edit that: A virus linked to a sex movie. Computer virus, that is. The file is hidden in an email that promises free pink-pixel movies, possibly with the mail subject line containing a phrase like “Here you have.” Inside a weblink appears to link to a PDF, but instead hooks up to a malware-hosting website. The virus hides on your PC, and tries to disable security software. Then it tries to email itself to everyone it can find in your email system. Some reports suggest that a handful of big corporations–including NASA and Disney–have been suffering badly at the hands of this newbie. So stay safe, folks: What where you’re sticking your … click.
4. News about the software industry is always interesting if you’re an economist type–the business is bigger than the movie game, and may be an indicator of trouble or fortunes to come. Now a new survey is shaking things up since it reveals game sales slumped by 10% in August, and many thinkers are scratching their heads. We think it’s pretty easy: The attractions of the beach, sunshine, and beer still outweigh the pleasure of steering a sprite around onscreen. Plus Europe, the home of millions of gamers and many gaming studios, is basically on vacation for the month. We joke, slightly, but this summer was extra-sunny, wasn’t it?
5. Think the newspaper industry is a dinosaur? Well, in some cases where it violently savages smaller prey for its own bloodthirsty efforts at survival, you’re probably right (we’re talking about you, Righthaven). But this doesn’t mean it’s completely closed to new thinking, and there’s some indication now that the venerable New York Times is collaborating with a company called BetaWorks to craft a social-based news service dubbed News.me. Impressive! Looks like one can teach an old monster new tricks.