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Competitions Environment Media Science Technology

Reports from the INSS Sustainability Meeting

As readers might know this weekend I attended the Integrated Network for Social Sustainability (INSS) Meeting in Charlotte North Carolina. It was a great event, and I met a lot of great and interesting people, and over this week I would like to write a bit about them and what I learned.

The first is Adrienne Brown, a second year at Dickinson College in Carlisle Pennsylvania. She is currently participating in an application competition which involves answering a prompt with a two-hundred word essay and a two minute video. The organization orchestrating the web-based contest is the Arctic Climate Change Emerging Leaders Program Fellowship (ACCEL). This year they will be piloting an internship program with two positions, one in Washington DC and the other in Berlin, where the two student finalists will work on developing creative marketing strategies using media technologies.

The Arctic Today
The Arctic Today

Adrienne believes that there is a growing need to use technology to talk about important social issues, and as the popularity of social media platforms increase many social movements have started to use these technologies to market their cause to a particular audience. That audience tends to be young and motivated and therefore are a resource of human capital just waiting to be tapped.

To get the ACCEL internship students must gather public support for their essay and video responses. Essentially to demonstrate their ability to wield the powerful weapon of the internet to gain support and spread a particular message. Those who are stronger at encouraging people to act will theoretically get the most votes and present themselves as a good candidate for the position with the ACCEL. Once the public voting ends on April 13th the students who have collected the top ten amount of votes will move to the final round and submit a resume during an interview.

Adrienne feels strongly that the environmental field has not done enough with web-based marketing and is really excited for the opportunity to work on developing a public relations strategy for Arctic environmental issues. At the INSS conference she presented her video response and asked the network’s members to vote for her. Take a look at her essay and video and if you like the ideas presented follow the links and vote for her, and check out the other participants.

I will tell more stories about the event and people involved as the week goes on.

Categories
News Smartphones Technology

An analysis of the iPhone 5

Is is nearly 3 months since the 6th incarnation of Apple’s iconic iPhone, the iPhone 5, was released. Often I think it is more interesting to discuss a technology a few months after its release, rather than just straight away, as faults have been exposed, and there are opinions about long-term use.

In this article I am going to explore what the critics think of the iPhone 5, the good, the bad and the faulty!

So what makes the iPhone unique from any other phone? Samsung would argue very little, because as soon as Apple’s latest smartphone was released, Samsung announced that it was filing a lawsuit against Apple, because it had infringed many of its patents.

Size and Weight

The iPhone 5
The iPhone 5 is bigger than its predecessor (the iPhone 4S). It is taller, the same width, and slightly thinner. When smartphones first hit the market, there seemed to be a race to make them smaller. Now however, the trend seems to be towards developing a bigger screen. Tablets are getting smaller and smartphones are getting bigger – will the two ever merge? I think they might, so watch this space!

Despite being bigger, the latest model is 28g lighter than the previous model, weighing an amazing 112g. Considering the technology inside the device, that is an impressive weight!

Camera

The pace of development of inbuilt cameras in mobile phones is staggering. The iPhone 5 has an 8 megapixel camera, which is very competitive considering that just a few years ago, 8MP was pretty good for a digital camera – which isn’t also a phone.

Reception

One of the main criticisms of the iPhone 5 is that it has stopped being a phone. Logically the primary purpose of a smartphone should be to call and text people, browsing the internet, using apps, taking pictures and other features are optional extras, and shouldn’t be the main function of the device. That said, there have been many reports about people finding that the iPhone 5 has really bad signal problems. I know of two people who are on the same network, one with a Samsung Galaxy S III and one with an iPhone 5. The person who owns the Galaxy can almost always get signal, whilst the person who owns the iPhone can’t. When the phones are in the exact same place, the Samsung device can get signal, but the Apple device can’t.

Speed

Because of all the new features of the phone, it needs to have a good processor, and it does. There was hope that it might have a quad-core processor, which it didn’t, however it does have a pretty good A6 processor, which is very speedy, and is what makes the iPhone 5 feels quick and slick. Match that performance with the 4-inch Retina display, and you have a very fast and flashy phone!

Siri

Siri has seen a few updates, but nothing major. The initial introduction of Siri in the iPhone 3GS was revolutionary, and there is still relatively little viable competition out there for Siri, however one expects an iPhone to come with Siri these days.

Maps

The iPhone 5 was the first phone released by Apple with iOS 6 – which had Apple Maps installed. Apple Maps is Apple’s own version of Google Maps, which has replaced Google Maps on the operating system.

Some of the navigation features have been praised, as having better clarity and being more useful than the Google alternative; especially due to the inbuilt Siri compatibility.

That said, there are major issues with Apple Maps, in that it can be really inaccurate. Australian police have actually advised people against using the software, after they had to rescue motorists stranded in the wilderness of a national park who were trying to find a city, which Apple Maps thought was in the middle of the the wilderness, not where it should have been!

Many places are not where they are meant to be, some just a few miles out, others quite a lot further! One example is Berlin. You know, that city in Germany. The capital city of Germany. Well according to Apple Maps, Berlin is on the continent of Antarctica, which isn’t only the wrong continent, but also the wrong hemisphere! Have a search for Apple Maps fails, and you get some pretty funny results!

Berlin, Antarctica - Apple Maps
Apple Maps really does think that Berlin is in the Antarctic!

Awards

The iPhone 5 isn’t short of awards. The phone is top of Time Magazine’s top 10 gadgets list 2012, which is a big achievement!

Sales of the phone are something else for Apple to celebrate. In the first three days of the phone being on sale, there were 5 million sales! That is 1 million more than the iPhone 4S got in its first three days.

Your Thoughts

Do you own an iPhone 5? If so, what do you think of it? Do you like the phone and iOS 6, it it revolutionary, or was it a waste of money?

Categories
News Technology

Sponsored: Airbus and the future of aviation

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Airbus. To find out more about sponsored content on Technology Bloggers, please visit our Privacy Policy.

If you have been following the news lately, you will most probably have seen Airbus popping up a fair bit. I am personally really interested in Airbus, as it is an exciting company which I believe is set to revolutionise the aviation industry. That is why, when I was approached by Airbus, I couldn’t refuse to write an article for them!

At the moment I am trailing a technology of the future, Remote Heating Control in my home. Remote Heating Control is the future for smarter living. I believe that Airbus are the future for smarter air travel.

Inefficiencies

Currently the aviation industry is incredibly inefficient. It’s a fact that if you get a plane from London to Dublin, the CO2 emission you would produce would be about 3 and a half times great than were you to use a train and ferry. Flights are also often more cramped, however they are usually a lot faster.

The massive fuel costs not only cost the consumer, but also the environment. Okay, maybe I am being a little unfair to current aviation, but the fact is it isn’t all that good all of the time.

A Sustainable Future

Earlier this month, Airbus unveiled its vision for sustainable aviation in 2050 and beyond. That’s right, aviation which doesn’t have to cost the earth. Airbus says that its plans will create ‘smarter skies’. Remote Heating Control is one of the features of smarter homes, now Airbus are going to generate smarter skies. It looks like technology really is making the future ‘smarter’!

4D Light Show

Airbus being a futuristic visionary unveiled their vision for the future of aviation in style, with an amazing 4D projection light show in Berlin. The display started with a simple paper aeroplane and went on to show viewers its vision of what planes of the future would be like.

4D light showWish you hadn’t missed the event? Don’t worry there is a video of the show below!

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The Future For Air Travel

Airbus believe that in the future aviation will be so efficient that it will be almost unrecognisable from what it is today. Airbus believe that aeroplanes will take more inspiration from nature in the future, being designed more efficiently, and like birds plotting their routes based on daily changes in weather and atmospheric conditions.

Planes are also more likely to run on biofuels, which are likely to be cheaper and better for the planet.

Redesigned planes matched with more efficient flying – like flying in certain weather conditions, or in formation with other aircraft to reduce drag (known as ‘express skyways’) – mean that Airbus can predict that aircraft emissions will be 50% of their current levels by just 2050.

An interesting fact for you here, 1.5 billion dollars could be saved across the globe every year, if every aircraft flight were just one minute shorter. Just one minute. In the future more direct routes, better designed aircraft and better planning could save a lot more than one minute of airtime per flight. Currently only 65% of airlines sometimes take the most direct route, so imagine what would happen if 100% of airlines always took the most direct route.

Airbus also believe that planes will become more spacious, comfortable and quieter. Airports themselves are also likely to become more efficient, with specially designed vehicles taxing the aircraft to and from the runway, saving immense amounts of fuel.

Aviation is about to get greener, as we move into an age of smarter skies. We live in exciting times, as technology seems to be constantly improving the way we live and our prospects for the future.