Opinion: Why we should all be scared of real robot wars!


Jonathan Weinberg writes… One of the UK’s leading scientists reckons terrorists could soon be using robots to attack their targets – so should we all be worried and run for cover?

Well, I’ve already battened down my hatches, took the tin hat out of storage and stocked up on tins of corned beef and baked beans. Annoyingly, I don’t even like corned beef, but I’m told it lasts.

Anyhow, robots are without doubt one of the biggest technological advances and one of the biggest techno-tests we face in the future. If they can be used for good, it stands to reason they can be used for evil. Anyone who’s seen Steven Spielberg flick Artificial Intelligence: AI starring Jude Law will know how terrifying a world with ultra-realistic human-like robots could be…

Tech Digest Unboxed: The Boom Box iLamp from Staples!


Now I’m sure my postman thinks I’m strange. The amount of packages arriving for me in brown envelopes or paper, he must think I’m either a buying a job lot of ‘adult material’ or an ashamed trainspotter! Neither is true, but I am a bit of a geek.

So I’ve been waiting expectantly for this Boom Box iLamp that I spotted in UK stationary chain Staples. It’s a lamp, but also an iPod dock! Perfect for the office wouldn’t you say!

Opinion: Why I'm not surprised people are bored of Facebook!

facebook-pic-100.jpgJonathan Weinberg writes…

You can have too much of a good thing, isn’t that how the saying goes. Who wants sex, chocolate and alcohol every minute of the day? Eventually you’re going to getting a little tired of the same old daily routine.

I speak as a self-confessed Facebook addict when it first launched. I spent ages on there, ensuring I had more friends than everyone else on my friends-list, updating my status every five seconds, adding new pictures and sitting there transfixed by what my increasing social circle was up to. It’s like voyerism, only legal, and without the naughty stuff.

Why did it bothered me X was visiting the farm, or Y was updating their profile from their mobile while sitting on the toilet? I’ll tell you why, because it was new, it was innovative and it was a distraction from everyday life.

But since Facebook has become my everyday life, my interest has waned. I’ve not changed my status in nearly a week, last put snaps up before Christmas and my Blackberry battery is staying juiced-up for longer as I neglect to check it while on the move.

So it doesn’t surprise me that Facebook’s user numbers are falling. So-called “Facebook fatigue” has been highlighted with a five per cent drop from 8.9 million unique visitors to the website in December to 8.5 million last month. But it’s still 712 per cent higher than a year ago and nine per cent higher than three months ago….

Opinion: Apple is devaluing itself by selling off dirt-cheap iPod Shuffles

PodShuff.jpgJonathan Weinberg writes…

In the race to be the best, and capture the masses, cool firms often make one crucial mistake – lowering their standards so far that eventually it backfires. Apple’s decision this week to make an iPod Shuffle available for just £32 strikes me as being one of those.

There’s no doubt the US giant is one of the coolest companies in the tech sphere. It makes products that look good and have you salivating over them. Who else could have produced the ultra-thin MacBook Air?

But by pricing the 1GB Shuffle so cheap, are Apple not in danger of making themselves far too popular for their own good? An iPod used to be something you desired, something pricier than most other options on the market but like with any big-name brand, you paid more to have that moniker on your gadget…

Opinion: Digital photo frames, are they really worth the cash?


Now Sony has entered the er, frame, in manufacturing digital photo frames, the Editor-in-Chief posed the question of does this now mean they are serious bits of techno kit.

Well, with so many on sale now, ranging from the £50 cheap to the £200 expensive, they have – in recent months – become best-sellers on many high streets. In fact, recent sales figures show more than a MILLION of them were sold last year…

Opinion: Free music file sharing was never going to hit the right notes with record firms

Jon_smal.gifJonathan Weinberg writes… You don’t get anything in life for free. So the saying goes.

And so, I’m not surprised that a website which promised us the world’s first legal file-sharing service has had to backtrack on the plans after the record companies said they were not yet supporting it.

Qtrax made a big song and dance about their launch over in Cannes with stars including James Blunt there. They secured quite a bit of coverage in all the national newspapers too in Britain.

But maybe it would have made sense to secure the record firms first, after all, as the gatekeepers of the industry, they are pretty important don’t you think? It’s like saying you’ve got a No1 song, without actually having the lyrics written or the musical score penned…

Opinion: Social networks reach the parts other sites can't reach – yes, even sexual ones!

Jon_smal.gifJonathan Weinberg writes… According to MySpace, virtual friends are replacing real-life mates, with more people than ever using the Internet to socialise and find love. Well they would say that, wouldn’t they!

But interestingly, research by the social network has found they are also using the sites to “lose their virginity” with three per cent of under 24s questioned for the poll saying they’d paired up with a ‘friend’ for that purpose…

Opinion: Is Apple a bigger danger to our lives than Microsoft?

Jon_smal.gifJonathan Weinberg writes… I thought I could rely on Apple so this morning I awoke to disappointment in Steve Jobs after his Macworld announcements yesterday. I was sure he’d launch a new iPhone with either 3G or bigger storage memory, thus annoying the FOUR MILLION people who have now, like cult followers, signed up to the iPhone religion.

But it was a clever move. Save that announcement for a couple of months time, and bring a second-generation device out around a year after the first and no-one can have any complaints… can they? After all, technology is always changing and those of us who spend fortunes on gadgets and gizmos, only to see them bettered just weeks later, are fools of our own making. I do it, as much as you…

Opinion: Bluetooth is not the colour when it comes to football technology

Jon_smal.gifWe’ve all experienced it, walking or driving past a mysterious embedded Bluetooth advert somewhere that tries to download itself to your phone automatically because the BT is switched on, ready to receive on your handset.

Of course, you’ve got the option to decline it and unless you are very stupid, you will do so because that download could be anything, from a mobile-type virus to porn.

But now a firm called Bluepod Media is hoping to deluge us with adverts each time we step inside the football stadium of our favourite team…

Opinion: Doesn't anyone have anything better to do than shop on Christmas Day?

Jon_smal.gifJonathan Weinberg writes… It’s meant to be the one day of the year when you can have a total rest. No work (for most of us), nothing to do indoors other than eat, drink and be merry and with no real shops open, no reason to be tempted to spend cash on anything other than spare batteries that you forgot for those gadget presents and some cream for the mince pies.

So what on earth possessed people to finish up their turkey and pigs-in-blankets, watch the Queen’s Speech and then nip upstairs and buy a TV or toaster from the likes of Comet or Currys.

I don’t know, sure Christmas is a time to be with the family, or if not, it’s a time to get drunk on Advocaat or Sherry so that your handy is not even steady enough to use a mouse. It is not the time to be shopping online, no matter how many bargains there might be out there…