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Analysis and Comment (41)

Britney Spears preforms live … Why are the pundits so incensed by her turning to Auto-Tune in the studio? Britney Spears preforms live … Why are the pundits so incensed by her turning to Auto-Tune in the studio? STR/EPA

Auto-Tune, and why we shouldn’t be surprised Britney can’t sing

Put Britney Spears into a YouTube search and the third auto-fill on the list is “Britney Spears without Autotune”. Auto-Tune has become the music industry equivalent of doping in the Tour de France circa…
Outside the box. Amazon’s new direction makes sense. Outside the box. Amazon’s new direction makes sense. Uwe Zucchi/EPA

Amazon’s smartphone launch offers a prudent platform for growth

Amazon, the e-commerce internet giant, is launching its first smartphone. Media attention is focusing on whether the phone’s features, such as its rumoured 3D interface, are really as cool as portrayed…
Turbulence and disruption ahead. Turbulence and disruption ahead. Takver

Fresh thinking needed if tech is to help fight climate change

The IPCC has re-iterated its concern that climate change is a serious threat to human safety and security in its latest series of reports. And while energy, transport, water, tourism and health are highlighted…
Are parents using technological devices as pacifiers rather than talking to them? Are parents using technological devices as pacifiers rather than talking to them? www.shutterstock.com.au

We’re not talking to our kids: are we causing speech delay?

A parent with a small child in a stroller is walking along the footpath with headphones in. The child is crying, the parent is oblivious. A parent walks into a cafe engaged in conversation on the phone…
Working on your creativity. Working on your creativity. Kaptain Kobold

Happy Birthday dear (innovation-killing) web

As we hit our online quarter century it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that technology has been the making of us. But for innovation in tech entrepreneurship it might just be our undoing. Many experts…
Tune in, anytime and anywhere. Tune in, anytime and anywhere. Bloutiouf

Mass online meditation lets you zone out in cyberspace

For the past year I’ve been experimenting with meditating live online with people around the world. Their chosen spot is not a temple or a church hall or a sitting room, but cyberspace. Meditation is fast…
Students born in the Information Age are digital natives, but in an already crowded curriculum, where will technology subjects stand? Students born in the Information Age are digital natives, but in an already crowded curriculum, where will technology subjects stand? Lupuca/Flickr

Connecting to Australia’s first digital technology curriculum

Australia finally has its first digital technology curriculum which is mandatory for all Australian children from Foundation, the name replacing kindergarten, to Year 8. The Technologies area now has two…
It’s a physical struggle in these skirts, but we always shop in store. It’s a physical struggle in these skirts, but we always shop in store. Haute Couture News

Chanel opts out of fashion’s love affair with online shopping

In the world of luxury fashion, Chanel stands apart from the crowd. But it’s not the designs that make it different. The French luxury brand is one of the last few major labels that does not sell its clothes…
“Hi! Is that the 1980s? I’ve got your phone. You can have it back.” “Hi! Is that the 1980s? I’ve got your phone. You can have it back.” Computex e Forum

The three rules that stop a tech device from losing its cool

In the world of hi-tech devices, it is imperative to keep your finger on the pulse. Some of the most successful companies of our times, such as Apple and Google, are those that understand the power of…
Happy decade, Facebook. You’ve come a long way. Happy decade, Facebook. You’ve come a long way. Creative Cakes by KeeKee

Write on Facebook’s timeline for its birthday – you’re still friends

When we think of tenth birthdays, we associate them with youth and the cusp of tweenhood, a life only just begun and about to get more exciting. But it’s different in the technology industry and, as it…
Some are more equal than others when it comes to internet access. Some are more equal than others when it comes to internet access. acroll

Verizon ruling is a major blow to equal internet access

These are wild times for the management and governance of the internet, as is clear from the ruling that came out of the US this week. In a victory for the private sector, the Federal Communications Commission…
Curved TV: the future. Using glam girls to advertise tech? Not so much. Curved TV: the future. Using glam girls to advertise tech? Not so much. samsungtomorrow

You don’t need a curved TV, but 4K is the future

There has been a lot of hype and misinformation in the press over the last few weeks about the future of television. At the CES Electronics Showin Las Vegas, curved screens and 4K TV are being touted as…
Such wearable, much wow. Such wearable, much wow. Thomas Hawk

Watches, glasses and super-tablets: tech predictions for 2014

With Microsoft losing its controversial CEO, Apple launching new iPads and iPhones and the rise of wearable devices all making headlines, it’s been another huge year for technology. That’s before you look…
Out and about on the digital farm. Out and about on the digital farm. Sabrina Dent

Virtual nature makes us feel good even if it’s Farmville

Environmental psychologists have long known that encounters with the natural world are good for us. But nature can now also be found in our virtual lives – in the photos we share online, the games we play…
Grubby, mean and out for your ideas. Patent trolls are on the prowl. Grubby, mean and out for your ideas. Patent trolls are on the prowl. kewl

Tinkering with the law won’t stop patent trolls

For a country that has long been a staunch defender of intellectual property rights, the US has struggled in recent years to get to grips with the menace of a new breed of patent holders, pejoratively…
Technology is everywhere now and it’s beginning to affect learning in the classroom. Technology is everywhere now and it’s beginning to affect learning in the classroom. Technology image from www.shutterstock.com

Driven to distraction: bringing your own device to school could hinder learning

With technology becoming cheaper, more powerful and more mobile, a new trend in education is emerging – bring your own device (BYOD). Borrowing from the business world, bringing your own device simply…
Slimmed down before the Christmas binge. Apple’s latest iPads. Slimmed down before the Christmas binge. Apple’s latest iPads.

Slim iPad and new hardware show Apple can still innovate

Is it time to reappraise the idea that Apple is incapable of innovation in the post Jobs era? The company has failed to introduce a game changing consumer device since the iPad but its latest range contains…
Giant iPads: the only way to make Shepard Smith’s tan look subtle. Giant iPads: the only way to make Shepard Smith’s tan look subtle. Fox News

Fox lays down newsroom gauntlet with ludicrous giant iPads

In the autumn of 1997, a group assembled from across the BBC and beyond gathered to take part in a seminal moment of broadcasting history: the launch of the BBC’s first 24-hour news channel. The 24-hour…
Electric mountain - the reservoir at Ffestiniog power station, Wales. Electric mountain - the reservoir at Ffestiniog power station, Wales. Arpingstone

A renewable-powered future will need energy storage

The way we generate, transfer and use energy is changing, and our energy systems and infrastructure have come under increasing pressure to cope. Black-outs strike where we would expect reliable supplies…
Cheap and cheerful or gold and flashy. You now have a choice. Cheap and cheerful or gold and flashy. You now have a choice. Martin uit Utrecht

Apple plays to the middle market with colourful iPhones

Seasoned Apple watchers will have successfully predicted nearly all the hardware in the two new iPhones that have just been unveiled by CEO Tim Cook in a hotly anticipated presentation. But while one model…
Perfect parking has a human cost. Perfect parking has a human cost. Steve Jurvetson

Self-driving cars will change more than just our roads

It seems that self-driving vehicles will be with us quite soon. Google has been practising letting go of the wheel on its autonomous cars for some time now, Nissan has recently promised self-driving cars…
I don’t need one of these, do I? I don’t need one of these, do I? Samsung tomorrow

Scoff now, but you’re probably getting a smartwatch

The tech wars took a major swerve into the leftfield this week. No longer content with updating their phone offerings, companies have come over all James Bond in the hope of hitting upon the next big innovation…
Government funding can be poorly targeted. Government funding can be poorly targeted. PlayStation Europe

State cash for gaming? I’ll stick to Kickstarter, thanks

The UK government’s Technology Strategy Board has announced (and not for the first time) that it’s putting its weight behind the creative media sector, this time by way of a competition designed to encourage…
Hope they backed it up … Hope they backed it up … purplemattfish

Explainer: how do you destroy a hard drive?

Anyone who looked at The Guardian’s website this week will have seen a picture of one of the newspaper’s own laptops smashed and in pieces. Why did this Mac have to die? The article accompanying the photo…
Unexpected item in bagging area. Tesco is striking out into tablets. Unexpected item in bagging area. Tesco is striking out into tablets. ell brown

Will consumers say BOGOF to the Tesco tablet?

When Steve Jobs introduced the iPad in 2010, he argued that unless the device was better at doing everyday tasks than smartphones or netbooks, it wouldn’t deserve to exist. Consumers and corporates embraced…
Covering your ears won’t protect you from bone conduction advertising. Covering your ears won’t protect you from bone conduction advertising. Markus Kison

Getting brands into brains using bone conduction

Just when you thought it was safe to have a nap on a train, the window you’re resting your head on might try to sell you a new app, skin cream or tickets to the theatre. Sky Deutschland has announced a…
Huawei has many critics to face before becoming a trusted partner in the UK. Huawei has many critics to face before becoming a trusted partner in the UK. Huawei Press

Huawei-Imperial plan renews Chinese cyber-security fears

In a memorandum of understanding signed this week, Imperial College London signed up to working with controversial communications technology firm Huawei. The two have set plans in motion to run a joint…
When we look at the world through tech-tinted lenses, it can be hard to see we can function perfectly well without so much technology. When we look at the world through tech-tinted lenses, it can be hard to see we can function perfectly well without so much technology. vernhart

It’s time to disconnect from techno-fetishism

When the IBM computer Deep Blue defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997 it seemed to many we had crossed a threshold. By beating us at our (arguably) most complex intellectual task, man had…
What does your profile picture say about you? What does your profile picture say about you? Academic image from www.shutterstock.com

Posing intellectuals: academic profile pictures reveal more than you think

Just to the left and above this sentence is a picture of me. Like most places on the web where discussion takes place, The Conversation places a profile picture of each author next to their writing. Indeed…
An essay you submit in an online course might not be graded by humans but by computers instead. An essay you submit in an online course might not be graded by humans but by computers instead. Keyboard image from www.shutterstock.com

Computer thinks you’re dumb: automated essay grading in the world of MOOCs

Let us consider the following scenario. You have enrolled in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) offered by a world renowned university. After four weeks of solid work you have completed your first assignment…
Will a US$732 million penalty be enough to dissuade Microsoft from violating antitrust settlements in the future? Will a US$732 million penalty be enough to dissuade Microsoft from violating antitrust settlements in the future?

Big fine for a broken promise: Microsoft’s antitrust breach puts tech firms on notice

When large corporations can shrug off financial penalties and seem indifferent to reputational damage because they’ve captured the consumers, you might wonder about the true cost of broken promises in…
The great stagnation: does faltering innovation spell the end for economic growth? The great stagnation: does faltering innovation spell the end for economic growth? Image from www.shutterstock.com

Fear the no-grow zone: has technological innovation reached its final frontier?

The economic profession lacks a unified theory of economic growth. Textbooks and academic journals contain a plethora of models and paradigms which generate different (and sometimes contradictory) predictions…
Plagiarism is happening at universities, but technology is not the way to solve the problem. Plagiarism is happening at universities, but technology is not the way to solve the problem. Computer image from www.shutterstock.com

Delusions of candour: why technology won’t stop plagiarism

Plagiarism at university is a time-old scourge. Some would have us believe it can be sought out with ever-improving technology, and with more consistent vetting of student essays with the latest detection…
Australia’s unique manufacturing DNA - comprised of tens of thousands of small-to-medium enterprises - means that we must forge our own path to innovation. Australia’s unique manufacturing DNA - comprised of tens of thousands of small-to-medium enterprises - means that we must forge our own path to innovation. DNA Art Online

Finding a unique path for Australia’s manufacturing future

As the manufacturing landscape shifts in response to new economic and social pressures, Australia is looking for an answer to the question: What does the future look like for Australian manufacturing…
Technology and globalisation are dramatically transforming the workers and workplaces of the future. Technology and globalisation are dramatically transforming the workers and workplaces of the future.

The Future of Work

The modern workplace is constantly evolving. The water cooler and the 9-to-5 grind are quickly becoming relics of the past; what is in store for the future? The Conversation has been running a series…
Technology was supposed to ease the burden of work and increase our leisure time. Instead, it has made it easier to work from home and outside of working hours. Technology was supposed to ease the burden of work and increase our leisure time. Instead, it has made it easier to work from home and outside of working hours. headexplodie

Tool or time thief? Technology and the work-life balance

Welcome to the Future of Work, a series from The Conversation that looks at the ongoing evolution of the workplace. Today, Monash University’s Anne Bardoel looks at technology and the threat it poses to…
The jury is still out over the environmental impacts of eReaders versus paper books. The jury is still out over the environmental impacts of eReaders versus paper books. Julie Falk

Weighing the environmental costs: buy an eReader, or a shelf of books?

Bookshelves towering floor to ceiling filled with weighty tomes, or one book-sized device holding hundreds of “books” in electronic form: which one of these options for the voracious reader creates the…

Research and News (1)

Research Briefs (5)

Social networks make us smarter

Why do some societies succeed while others disappear? Research from the University of British Columbia suggests that the…