Last week at the IDF 2009 Conference in San Francisco, Intel unveiled a new next-generation data transfer technology dubbed Light Peak. It’s basically an optical subsystem comprised of lasers, modules and probably the odd Flux Capacitor here and there. The outcome is transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps. (By comparison, the upcoming USB 3.0 standard will provide maximum throughput of ‘only’ 3Gbps. So-called “Hi-Speed” USB 2.0, in case you’re not yet impressed enough, manages a measly 480Mbps.)
Furthermore, Intel says the technology can support multiple devices on the same port simultaneously, without the need for adapters or extension dongles, and maintain data parity at cable lengths up to one hundred meters. Wow.
So it’s heart warming to know that Apple originally devised the concept for Light Peak. Engadget reports that Steve Jobs presented the idea to Intel’s Paul Otellini back in 2007. Apple was interested in developing an insanely high-speed interoperable standard capable of shifting huge amounts of data and, “…replace the multitudinous connector types with a single connector (FireWire, USB, Display interface).”
Scientist Ray Kurzweil claims humans could become immortal in as little as 20 years’ time through nanotechnology and an increased understanding of how the body works.
The 61-year-old American, who has predicted new technologies arriving before, says our understanding of genes and computer technology is accelerating at an incredible rate.
He says theoretically, at the rate our understanding is increasing, nanotechnologies capable of replacing many of our vital organs could be available in 20 years time.
Mr Kurzweil adds that although his claims may seem far-fetched, artificial pancreases and neural implants are already available.
Mr Kurzweil calls his theory the Law of Accelerating Returns. Writing in The Sun, Mr Kurzweil said: “I and many other scientists now believe that in around 20 years we will have the means to reprogramme our bodies’ stone-age software so we can halt, then reverse, ageing. Then nanotechnology will let us live for ever.
"Ultimately, nanobots will replace blood cells and do their work thousands of times more effectively.
"Within 25 years we will be able to do an Olympic sprint for 15 minutes without taking a breath, or go scuba-diving for four hours without oxygen.
"Heart-attack victims – who haven’t taken advantage of widely available bionic hearts – will calmly drive to the doctors for a minor operation as their blood bots keep them alive.
"Nanotechnology will extend our mental capacities to such an extent we will be able to write books within minutes.
"If we want to go into virtual-reality mode, nanobots will shut down brain signals and take us wherever we want to go. Virtual sex will become commonplace. And in our daily lives, hologram like figures will pop in our brain to explain what is happening.
"So we can look forward to a world where humans become cyborgs, with artificial limbs and organs."
Despite making the vast majority of its money from hardware sales, Apple is investing heavily in shaping the future of software. One example of this pertains to HTML 5 and related web standards.
While the standard isn’t yet finished, Apple is already using HTML 5 as an important component in the company’s strategies, ranging from the iPod touch and iPhone’s mobile browser to Safari on the Mac and PC, from Dashboard widgets to new iTunes LP content, and from MobileMe apps to the latest iTunes Store.
Critics have complained that HTML 5 won’t be finalized until 2012, and that its completion might be irrelevant anyway because Microsoft is unlikely to ever support the new standard within Internet Explorer. Others wonder if the world really needs any changes to the language underlying the web.
in reality however, many features of HTML 5 are already in widespread use. Apple didn’t wait for the final draft of 802.11n before implementing support for the new WiFi standard, and hasn’t waited on a final draft of HTML 5 either. Microsoft has also opened up official participation on the HTML 5 standard, indicating serious interest in working with Google, Apple, Mozilla and other companies backing the specification.
But to really get an accurate picture of why HTML 5 matters and how its adoption will change the future of the web and software in general, you have to take a look at the squabbling drama of contention that HTML 5 is emerging from as industry rivals work to achieve a new level of consensus on how the web should work.
In a move to make good on one of President Obama’s campaign promises, Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, will propose Monday that the agency expand and formalize rules meant to keep Internet providers from discriminating against certain content flowing over their networks, according to several officials briefed on his plans.
In 2005, the commission adopted four broad principles relating to the idea of network neutrality as part of a move to deregulate the Internet services provided by telephone companies. Those principles declared that consumers had the right to use the content, applications, services and devices of their choice using the Internet. They also promoted competition between Internet providers.
In a speech Monday at the Brookings Institution, Mr. Genachowski is expected to outline a proposal to add a fifth principle that will prevent Internet providers from discriminating against certain services or applications. Consumer advocates are concerned that Internet providers might ban or degrade services that compete with their own offerings, like television shows delivered over the Web.
Despite being a unique, key marketing feature of Snow Leopard, Apple has decided to open the code behind Grand Central Dispatch under the liberal Apache 2.0 license.
Snow Leopard’s new Grand Central Dispatch feature, which serves as a system-wide mechanism for managing parallel task execution across multiple processor cores for developers, involves multiple components in the operating system.
The user-space implementation of the Grand Central Dispatch services API, called libdispatch, has been delivered as its own open source project, joining with other components that are part of projects Apple has already designated as open, including the kernel components in the Darwin OS XNU kernel and the blocks runtime that is part of the LLVM project.
A Sony Music office in Mexico has been raided after the label refused to hand over the recordings of one of Latin America’s biggest artists, Alejandro Fernández. Police took over 6,000 CDs that Sony refused to return, even though Fernández’ contract with the label had ended.
It didn’t take long for tobacco companies to try to evade tough new restrictions on their ability to market to young people. Less than three months after a landmark federal law granted the Food and Drug Administration power to regulate tobacco products, several of the industry’s biggest companies filed suit in tobacco-friendly Kentucky. They contend that the law’s marketing provisions infringe their commercial free-speech rights.