Future Tech

RBS and its Really Bad Software

No Comments 30 June 2012

I work in technology and along with my writing it provides me with a very good living but every so often something happens that makes me realize, firstly how horribly dependent we are on the stuff and secondly how its failure can pitch us into chaos, literally at the click of a mouse. Continue Reading

Future Earth, Future Tech

The Rise of the Machines

1 Comment 21 May 2012

Are we slowly sucking the fun out of life? I refer of course to the news that Google has been given the go ahead to launch a self driven car in Nevada. That’s right. A car that drives itself without the need for human intervention. Continue Reading

Future Tech

How Smart/Dumb are you?

2 Comments 10 May 2012

Yesterday I posed five questions that technology and other leading companies pose their candidates in job interviews. Continue Reading

Future Tech

Are You Feeling Smart?

1 Comment 09 May 2012

When’s the last time you interviewed for a job? It’s been many years for me and after reading a recent article in the Guardian about the interviewing approach at Google and other tech companies I’m quite relieved because I suspect there would be no job at the end of it for me. Continue Reading

Future Tech

Data Decay and the Chauvet Cave Paintings

No Comments 30 April 2012

For all our advances in technology, particularly on the computing front, it was with some surprise that I read about one element of this recent revolution that actually seems to be going backwards. That is, data stored electronically decays! Continue Reading

Future Tech

Energy free speakers.

No Comments 22 April 2012

Now here’s a neat piece of technology – a bamboo speaker for your i-phone from designer Anatoliy Omelchenko of Triangle Tree. Continue Reading

Future Tech

PrintaPets

2 Comments 01 April 2012

I read this in The Economist and couldn’t resist. It’s brilliant.

It will soon be possible to design and build household animals to order.  Continue Reading

Future Tech

How smart is your paint?

No Comments 07 March 2012

Paint has come a long way since 1880 when the Sherwin-Williams company announced that they had succeeded in perfecting the formula whereby fine paint particles would stay suspended in Linseed oil. It heralded the birth of modern mass produced emulsion paints and the world has been a brighter place ever since. Continue Reading

Future Tech

Apple and the environment: things are looking up

No Comments 27 January 2012

I’ve criticised Apple for its environmental practices in the past, but it’s time for me to give credit where credit is due after reading last week that the company has finally released an extensive list of its suppliers for the first time. The report also includes labour conditions at Apple’s contract manufacturers around the world.

The good news is that Apple is at long last moving toward better working conditions. Continue Reading

Future Tech

Up, up and away

No Comments 25 January 2012

I love the movie Up, especially the floating house, which is supported by thousands of balloons and goes wherever the wind takes it. For me, this kind of blowing in the wind balloon travel is exploration at its most romantic.

Therefore, when I saw the fascinating photograph below, I had to share it with my readers. Courtesy of National Geographic, a team of scientists, engineers and two world-class balloon pilots have reproduced this real-life version of the house from Up. Continue Reading

Future Tech

Kodak’s downfall: where was the disruptive technology?

2 Comments 24 January 2012

Last week Kodak announced bankruptcy bringing to an end its 132-year existence which, at one time, saw it regularly rated as one of the world’s most valuable brands.

Things used to be very different; the company accounted for 90% of film and 85% of camera sales in America during 1976. It was a corporate goliath, bestriding the world with sales in excess of $16 billion in 1996, a workforce of over 100,000 and profits to match. Continue Reading

Future Tech

Eco-Cycology: Retailers recycling to appeal to consumers

No Comments 16 December 2011

We all know the importance of recycling. It’s a message that has been driven down our throats for many years. Web campaigns and TV adverts have been financed; tips have been rebranded ‘recycling centres’; councils provide us with specially compartmentalised bins and refuse to remove bottles, tins and plastic bags that haven’t been properly categorised.

Yet while we may all do our bit at home, businesses have never seemed weighed down by the same burden of responsibility. I suppose that is the nature of a material society. Our big brands haven’t been required to be overly concerned with the environment; their goal is to sell as many products as possible, not worry about where and how they may be disposed. The bottom line has always been that targets need to be hit and that means shifting more dishwashers, Plasma TVs, trainers. Who cares if they end up as landfill in China?

Apparently, we do.

One trend touted to materialise on the UK high street in 2012 is ‘Eco-Cycology’, where brands take back all of their old stock and recycle it responsibly and innovatively. Forecasters are citing the fact that many big-name businesses are already blazing a trail in the US:

  • Nike’s ‘Reuse-A-Shoe’ scheme has collected and recycled over 25 million pairs of worn-out Nike trainers since 1990. Old shoes are ground up into a material called ‘Nike Grind’, which is then used in creating athletic and playground surfaces.
  • Outdoor brand Patagonia’s ‘Common Threads Initiative’ sees any Patagonia item that has reached the end of its ‘life’ returned for recycling into new fibre or fabric. The company claims to have taken back 45 tons of clothing for recycling and made 34 tons into new clothes.
  • Dell runs ‘Dell Reconnect’ in partnership with Goodwill Industries. The scheme allows users to take their electrical equipment, from any brand, to one of Goodwill’s 2,200+ participating locations in the United States or Canada, where it will then be refurbished or recycled.

The likelihood that eco-cycology becomes something more than just a phenomenon for companies wanting to showcase their ’green’ credentials is increased by the fact that it is an initiative driven by us, the consumer. Shoppers are now more aware not only of the financial value in their purchases, but the material and ecological value of products too, putting their pound where their mouth is.

With the recent news that the European Parliament has voted for tougher regulations on the disposal of electronic trash, requiring each country to collect 4 kilos of e-waste per citizen by 2012, and to process 85% of all its electronic waste by 2016, here’s hoping eco-cycology is one fashion that catches on.

This post was selected for Everything Home January Edition, hosted by My DIY Tips.

Future Tech

I’ve seen the future and its name is 3D Printing

No Comments 30 November 2011

I’ve been aware of 3D printing technology for a while, but just recently it’s begun to get very interesting.  It offers an incredibly exciting future where one-off manufacturing will be a reality and stock holdings will be a thing of the past. All that will be needed are raw materials from which to produce myriad products. Continue Reading

Future Tech

Save money while saving the environment

1 Comment 21 November 2011

Last week I switched my electricity supplier to Good Energy, the only company in the UK to generate energy from clean and sustainable sources. The company uses wind, small-scale hydroelectric and solar power, but no fossil fuels or nuclear. The price of making the switch was miniscule – by my estimates, I will only pay about £350 per year more. This isn’t an insignificant sum, but it’s a lot less than I anticipated for emissions-free energy. Continue Reading

Future Tech

Is Apple still rotten?

No Comments 18 November 2011

Let’s give praise where praise is due: a new Greenpeace report seems to reveal Apple is greener than I thought. In my recent blog, ‘Where’s the Green in Apple’ I looked into the fact that it had refused to participate in The Carbon Disclosure Project. Add in the alleged poor safety record and well-documented environmental issues within their supply chain, and a rather different Apple appeared to emerge, somewhat in contrast to the innovative and progressive brand image that is marketed to the world.

 Continue Reading

Future Tech

Blood in the Mobile

3 Comments 18 October 2011

As I was putting the finishing touches to my blogs on Steve Jobs and the inexorable rise of smartphones last week, I picked up on news of a new documentary due to hit the airwaves: Blood in the Mobile. Created by Danish filmmaker Frank Piasecki Poulsen, the doc is eerily relevant to these two previous blog posts as it considers the problems caused by electronic gadgets. Continue Reading

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Reviews of The Human Race

Unputdownable. Yes, I know it's not a word, but it definitely applies here, anyway. That's the word I'm going with, to describe The Human Race by O.C. Heaton. - Hira N. Hasnain

An outstanding first novel from O.C. Heaton that catapults him into the Best Seller league… - Justine Bond

"This is an exciting, fast-paced read. The Human Race is a book that is very easy to forget to put down. Bring on part two!" - L. H. Bowers

"If you are looking for a well-plotted and well-written thriller to while away the hours of a long flight, this offering might suit you very well." - David Bryson, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer

For further reviews of The Human Race by O.C. Heaton click here.

Author Bio

Charles Heaton British thriller writer O.C. Heaton, author of The Human Race, is fascinated by the past, present and future of human evolution. (Image credit: Ross Parry Agency) Read More>>

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O.C.'s bookshelf: read

The BeachThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeLife of PiOuter DarkThe FirmAlexander 3: The Ends of the Earth: A Novel

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