Charlie Chaplin is regarded by many film buffs as a visionary. A man perhaps ahead of his time in many ways.
But did he document cellphone technology in 1928?
Irish filmmaker and Chaplin fan George Clarke has his questions.
Upon buying a box set of Chaplin films he ran across a few seconds in "The Circus" - see the whole movie here - that certainly appears to be an older person strolling behind a zebra holding what appears to be a mobile to his or her ear.
And that, friends and neighbors, is how a meme is born. The Internets blew up with people speculating as to what it could be and just why this person would be having an apparent conversation into it. Are they just a loon out for a walk through a movie set? Or a time traveler demonstrating the art of oblivious phone zone to the past?
And if it's an iPhone, how many bars did they get?
Go ahead and gripe about it, but you know you totally want to check in to this exclusive club.
If you happen to be one of those lifecasting-obsessed souls who checks in regularly on Foursquare, the geo-locational microbloging service, then you probably have unlocked your share of badges.
Crunked. On a boat. Flash mob. And the like. But no matter how many PBRs you toss back or how many nights you go out in a row, you'll never be better than Douglas Wheelock.
See, he's an astronaut and Friday morning he unlocked the NASA Explorer badge - good for a free scoop of free astronaut ice cream - when he checked in 220 miles above the surface of the Earth at the International space station as commander of Expedition 25.
There are those that decry Foursquare, Gowalla, Twitter, etc. as stupid wastes of time. Oversharing of mundane garbage nobody but you and your narcissistic self cares about. Maybe, maybe not. But when you can boast about going 17,500 miles an hour on an orbital platform that not many more Americans will see for a while, you can use whatever platform you want to brag.
But remember, Doug, you will never get to be mayor without cheating.
Where science, motion sickness and outer space meet, you'll find Luke Geissbuhler and his 7-year-old son Max. That's the father-son duo that took a fast food container, iPhone, small HD camera and a balloon and made their way, figuratively, into the stratosphere.
They used the iPhone for its GPS capability to track their experimental craft after it's rapid plunge back to Earth. And a Go Hero mountable HD camera that anyone can get for a couple hundred bucks to film the often rocky ride - upper atmosphere winds blast the craft around in upwards of 100 mph. But really, simple ingenuity is all that the project really cost.
At the apex of its launch, the craft got to 100,000 feet, or 19 miles, and as the balloon pops, hangs weightless for just a moment before beginning the 150-mph plunge, slowed to 15 mph by a special parachute the Geissbuhlers built. Amazingly, the craft landed less than 30 miles away from the launch site. And while cold finally took its toll on the camera batteries, they did capture 90 minutes - edited in this clip, but you can buy the whole voyage here - of space flight.
With those words, Lord Steve Jobs himself introduced Apple's iPhone 4, the source of much intrigue and legal wrangling since a prototype landed on a barstool in April.
Touted as the thinnest smartphone ever, Jobs broke down myriad new features and design highlights. Comparing the look and feel to a Leica camera, he said the iPhone 4 is built with stainless steel for strength and is sandwiched with glass on front and back. The phone has an integrated antenna built into the structure.
Jobs also pointed to the phones highly revamped optical quality, promising 326 pixels per inch on the high definition display.
"This is a biggie," said Jobs. "Something we call the Retina Display. What's that? In any display, there are pixels - here's four of them. We start off by dramatically increasing the pixel density, 4x in the same amount of space."
Of course, the announcement many frustrated iPhone users had hoped for - an abandonment of AT&T as the exclusive carrier, was not made. This became particularly point when Jobs tried to demonstrate Web surfing capabilities, but ran into network areas. Asking an on-stage tech if he had any ideas, an audience member's one-word response came as biting criticism: "Verizon!".
Job also said the battery has been made bigger by switching to a micro SIM card, claiming: "7 hours 3G talk, 6 hours 3G browsing, 10 hours WiFi browsing, 10 hours music, 40 hours of music, and 300 hours of standby."
Still the latest iPhone blows away the iPhone 3GS specs:
"3.5-inches, but 4x more pixels than the iPhone 3GS. 326px per inch. 800:1 contrast ratio, 4x that of iPhone 3GS. Provides much more accurate color and much higher resolution. You can't make an OLED display with this resolution, we think it's quite superior," said Jobs.
The iPhone 4 also sports a completely revamped camera system, boosted to 5 megapixels, but promising the same, relatively larger pixel sensors in order to capture more subject detail.
The new camera system also captures full 720p HD video at 30 fps. An LED flash, new to the phone, will stay on for video illumination. And what to do with that video? iMovie for iPhone was also announced.
Among other highlights are a front-facing camera and a gyroscope, particularly useful in conjunction with the accelerometer, for 6-axis motion gaming.
A demonstration showed a full HD video edited, with imported iTunes music, visual effects and transitions completely on the iPhone 4 and exportable at 360p or 720p.
After more networking issues - Jobs actually asked a crowd of nerds to stop liveblogging and put down their laptops for the demo to continue - the latest iPhone OS, christened iOS4 was introduced.
iPhone bashers have long latched onto its inability to multitask and relatively weak mail client. They may have met their match.
Jobs rolled out multitasking for the iPhone 4.
"Some people were saying you weren't first with multitasking - the same was true with cut-copy-paste. But we took some time to figure out how to do it right."
He also touted a host of new features in the new OS, including folder creation, a unified inbox and threaded conversations in Mail.
In a counter-swipe at Google, which had some fun at Apple's expense during their recent developer I/O keynote, Microsoft's Bing search engine is being rolled out, as is Yahoo!. Google will remain the default search engine, but is no longer the lone option.
Apple also is introducing a version of iBooks, it's popular bookstore app on iPad, for the iPhone. iBooks will automatically sync placemarks, bookmarks and notes to all i-devices.
One More Thing
There's a reason for that front-facing camera: FaceTime, the new video calling features. After much fussing from Jobs for the audience to again turn off their WiFi devices, he made a video call to Apple design guru Jony Ive. The video call was made over a WiFi network, but Jobs promised development is underway with cell carriers - yes, plural - for future use.
"We call this FaceTime -- video calling. It's ... it's great. It's iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 anywhere there is WiFi, and there is no setup required."
And the most important feature on the iPhone 4? Price:
Price and availability
iPhone 4 comes in two colors, black and white - price is $199 in the U.S. for the 16GB model, and 299 for the 32GB model."
Jobs says AT&T will offer that same price on eligible upgrades in 2010 - but you have to reup your contract with the heavily derided carrier for another 2 years. Though whether you get screwed on the the new AT&T data lineup plan by re-upping that contract remains to be seen.
That makes the new iPhone lineup: 3G (no more); 3GS ($99) and the iPhone 4, available June 24 in five countries.
The smaht kids at Harvard are at it again. Harvard Medial School's publishing arm has released an iPhone app that, among other things, will map H1N1 news and reports near you.
Using the iPhone's geo-locating ability, the HMSMobile Swine Flue Center's "Outbreaks Near Me" HealthMap feature will pop pins on a Google map around your location, along with associated news links, so you know which direction to bar your doors and windows in to maintain maximum security.
There's also the fun of setting up an alert so you know when a "Dawn of the Dead" type outbreak crops up near you. So much the better for planning surgical mask hording.
As if that weren't enough fun for your germ-filled ride home on the bus, you can also find video guides for preventing infection, interactive tools to determine if an illness is likely to be swine flu, and advice for businesses dealing with illness, according to Harvard Health Publications.
The only thing it won't do is prevent you from getting Swine Flu. So make sure you wash your grimy hands after getting your high-tech flu hysteria on.
By Thomas Conner on October 14, 2009 11:43 AM
Can you put the iPhone down without freaking out?
From the utterly obvious file: A study has found that most people get very, very stressed out when they don't have an Internet connection.
But it's more than that. The study -- from The Future Report and commissioned by British Internet service provider Virgin Media -- coins an acronym for people who are slightly hooked on their wifi mainline. Those who not only love their tech but experience great anxiety when they are disconnected are SOSOs. They "switch on to switch off" -- that is, they experience less stress as long as they see this:
More than 35 percent of those surveyed said they kinda freaked out if they were unable to stay in relatively constant contact with friends and family via email, Web sites or social networking services.
In addition, the SOSOs don't care if you find their anxiety ridiculous. The same percentage reported that they don't feel guilty about always having a computer or Web-activated cell phone within reach.
The numbers were higher for stay-at-home parents.
"An 'always on' lifestyle may not be for everyone but there is a significant number of people for whom always being connected actually increases peace of mind," says Mark Schweitzer, COO of Virgin Media.
How about you, Yanks? Do you get the shakes when you leave the bars, as it were?
Apple's iPhone store has rolled out it's share of hits and misses in the hundreds of thousands of apps stocked on the virtual shelves.
And this one definitely fits the "hits" category.
Cannabis - the app - is now ready to download to help you find cannabis, the smokin' weed. For just $2.99, the Cannabis app will help you track down marijuana near you! Though, the $2.99 does not cover the purchase of the sherm itself. Of course, this is for medicinal purposes only, according to the creators of the app, Ajnag, and not for when desperation sets in at midnight at the frat house.
Sorry, kids, but it looks like a prescription is the next thing you'd need to make this app useful, and Apple currently doesn't not offer that in download form.
But let Ajnag explain the goals themselves:
There's nothing worse than being a qualified patient with a physician's recommendation to consume cannabis-- commonly referred to as marijuana. You never know where to find cannabis resources near you. Sure, you could search the web but that's as tedious as flipping through the phone book or browsing through the advertisements in the latest cannabis publication.
That's why Cannabis is the latest "must-have" iPhone app. Not only does the program give you the nearest medical cannabis collectives, doctors, attorneys, organizations, and other patient services, it also gives you real-time, door-to-door directions sent right to your phone.
And just who is Ajnag? It's a grass-roots (sorry) organization that's a self-described "cannabis lifestyle network." Basically, a group looking to push the "legalize it" agenda, hemp cultivation, medical marijuana ideals, etc.:
AJNAG (Ahj-Nag) is an activism, resource, and lifestyle network cultivated by the people to help connect, educate, and empower individuals on the cultural, economic, and medicinal benefits of: decriminalization, production, regulation, distribution, and taxation of Cannabis sativa L. AJNAG is about raising the cannabis consciousness by using the power of the World Wide Web and Digital Media.
A quick search of North Side Chicago area codes prompted two listings of sympathetic organizations - Northwestern University NORML and Columbia NORML - but no cannabis for sale sites since, you know, it's not legal here. NORML, of course, is yet another pot-friendly national group looking to legalize.
Considering the staggering array of seemingly benign apps the iTunes store isn't offering, it's a puzzler how this got past the app Nazis at Apple. Makes you wonder what they've been smoking?
As for the app itself? A lot of folks complaining in the user reviews that it's sluggish and incomplete. Sounds like a weed app, alright.
Oh, and it also causes paranoia and they'd like to see listings for convenience stores with frozen burritos if possible.
OK, so this isn't the iPhone 3G S. It's probably hard to fit in a pocket and the camera isn't much to speak of, to say nothing of call quality.
But it's hard to imagine a much cooler use of mobile operating system technology in a desktop setting - all of which adds up to limited usability, but no less "wow" - than this touch screen wonder running iPhone OS off a Mac Pro. The clever developer has gotten around the need for the iPhone Home button by using an Apple remote.
Crunchgear tracked the hack (or is it hoax) down to Swedish design firm Dreamfield, which seems to have done it as a messing-around project. Here's a look at another of the projects they work on, this one is a music video for British hip hop artist Dizzee Rascal where they actually walk you through the process of creation. Pretty cool.
In the grand tradition of iPhone mockups that crop up before each release, though, the big question is the same here: Is it real?
Answer: Who cares? It's pulled off with starry bits of awesomeness.
The Unofficial Apple Weblog is betting it's bust through some careful study of the video. Sometimes, though, you just have to suspend disbelief and enjoy the movie.