Thursday, May 21, 2015

Brit Morin's Brit Media's Brit + Co. raises $23 million for DIY

Yeah, that's a bit of a tongue-twister, eh? Let's break it down:

Brit Morin, now incredibly wealthySo supposedly Brit Morin is the Martha Stewart of Silicon Valley. Okay, sure, why not -- she's really into DIY (that's do-it-yourself for those not hip with the rad lingo these days) and her lifestyle site, Brit + Co., seems to be hugely popular. Like, really popular.

Popular enough that her media company Brit Media received $23 million in funding, according to the form filed with the Security Exchange Commission (SEC) just this Thursday. That's a whole lotta moolah for a company with the name "Brit" stamped on it everywhere, but she definitely deserves it.

Kudos, Brit Morin of Brit + Co. and Brit Media -- hope the Brit Kits are selling well.

How the Ocumetics Bionic Lens Changes the World

Ocumetics Bionic Lens, Technology to improve 20/20 vision eyes

The Ocumetics Bionic Lens will change the world.

Optometry is an industry that has been in the works for well over a century or two now, from the low-end bifocals rocked by big Benjamin Franklin to laser eye surgery like LASIK. While lasers certainly sound top-of-the-line, the best advancement in optometry may come from the Ocumetics Bionic Lens.

The bionic lens is so small that is is folded up into a syringe with a saline solution, and placed directly in the eye. Once the lens has been implanted, it should only take about ten seconds for eyesight to be restored beyond "perfect" 20/20 vision.

All in all, the surgery takes about eight minutes, which means you could get it done on your lunch break and still have time to spare for some Mickey D's -- and that's integral here. Price and ease-of-access are two very significant factors that can make or break a product (or, as in this case, a world-altering piece of technology).

When everyone is walking around with computers in their heads, and screens in their eyes, will we be the same people? Of course not. That's why the whole world is going to be changed by inventions like the bionic lens, and the general populace doesn't even realize how quickly this change will come.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Apple, Google, more sign letter to Obama about weak encryption

Over the past couple of years, government pressure on the tech industry has multipled out of control, and even the biggest names like Apple and Google are starting to worry. Certain government agencies like the FBI are increasingly asking for "back-doors" into advanced encryption methods across platforms to exploit at their behest -- and that's a pretty scary thought.

A number of tech giants rallied around Apple and Google, along with quite a few big names in cryptology, and signed a direct letter to the Obama administration pleading for the preservation of strong, unbroken encryption methods. These companies are not attempting subvert the government; all they want is to ensure that crippling defects don't make it into widely-used software.

As technology increasingly becomes the most important factor in our daily lives, the question about how to control it wisely comes up again and again. However, once again, a little bit of safety is not worth a lot of privacy.

Ocumetics' bionic lens makes eyesight 3x better than 20/20

The bionic lens by Ocumetics could change the world.
Welcome to the Age of Cyborgs, where people are half-man, half-machine, and all-awesome. We've seen essential organs like the heart and lungs being replaced with organic and synthetic alternatives. We've seen athletes run with completely artificial legs.

And now, we will finally see everything in high definition, thanks to the latest man-to-machine transitional piece: the bionic lens! Yes, it's a tiny bionic lens by Ocumetics that is implanted into your eye after about age 25, when your eye is fully developed, and it is supposed to be three times better than 20/20 vision.

We can all thank the great Dr. Garth Webb, a British Columbia optometrist who invented the Ocumetics Bionic Lens. His goal: to change the way the world sees optometry and the eye-care industry.

Can you imagine? Probably not, because humans don't usually come with that sort of eye power. Just wait until Google gets ahold of this idea -- the iGoogle may not be so far off after all... ;)

EDIT: Originally, I had styled the lens as the Ocumetrics Bionic Lens, which was unfortunately an incorrect spelling. The correct spelling is Ocumetics Bionic Lens, and the post has been adjusted to reflect that. Thanks for your patience!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Microsoft retracts offer of free Windows 10 to pirates

Windows 10 preview

Anyone who is running a version of Windows 7 or 8 will be happy to know that Microsoft will release a free upgrade to Windows 10 to allow older versions to get with the time. This is a smart move on Microsoft's part, mostly because it will bring a majority of the consumer market to the newest and greatest in Microsoft's OS arsenal. So, it didn't really come as much of a shock when I had read that Microsoft would also be offering a free Windows 10 upgrade to 'non-genuine' (a.k.a. pirated) versions of Windows 7/8; it just seemed in-line with their current strategy.

That's why a lot of people are upset that Microsoft is now backtracking their offer, and stating the these "non-genuine" versions of the Windows product will not be supported in any way, by Microsoft or its partners. There will, however, be a supposedly "attractive" offer to upgrade from a non-genuine version says OS lead Terry Myerson, so don't whip out those pitchforks just yet.

Euro Commission finds piracy shutdowns 'probably had no positive effect'

Kino.to movie streaming portal
Kino.to
Piracy has been running rampant in the past decade, snowballing from a few simple music lifters all the way up to full-fledged, technically-criminal enterprises like The Pirate Bay that just cannot be stopped (knock on wood). Naturally, in response the entertainment industry has been vying for politicians and police to bring down the hammer on these no-good swashbucklers -- and a recent raid on popular movie streaming portal Kino.to was thought to have quenched their bloodlust for the time being.

So, you can imagine how those fatcats must feel reading about the latest European Commission report on the Kino.to shutdown, which clearly states that, "Based on [their findings] the researchers conclude that if the costs of the raids and prosecution are factored in, the shutdown probably had no positive effect." Whoops.

The research, conducted by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, found that even though "piracy consumption" among German users of kino.to dropped nearly a third in the following weeks after the raid, their legal media consumption increased only a couple of percentage points. Think about the price tag on that operation, and then to get such results from it!

Some may argue that the entertainment industry profits in the long-term for these sorts of raids, as established pirates are put behind bars and illegal material is removed from the net. Those people would be forgetting that it does not matter how many people you arrest because you can never silence a just cause.

Friday, May 8, 2015

NSA has a real life Skynet in name and in function!

"Darn roborts took mah jerbs!"
You may (or may not) be surprised the hear the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States is in possession of an actual Skynet program. No lie, no joke, cross my heart and hope to die -- serious as a self-inflicted cybernetic apocalypse.

Just to be clear, though, there are two programs that match that description. The first is a relatively harmless scraper that collects phone metadata in the search for potential terrorists, totally named Skynet and all. Now, we're going to let that particular one slide because of the bigger fish that has yet to be fried: MonsterMind.

MonsterMind only has the capability to end human life on Earth as we know it, but that potential is eerily at-hand with the advent of truly intelligent AI that only get smarter every day. The MonsterMind program searches for possible threats so that the government can identify and neutralize them accordingly.

What happens when someone -- or something -- decides that the best countermeasure is a clean slate... or worse, a bloody one?