“The compass for past iPhones has always been a slot held by AKM Semiconductor. We have seen the AKM8963 in several Apple phone models, as well as phones from Samsung, LG, Motorola, Huawei, ZTE and others. Today we are quite puzzled. There is no AKM device obvious anywhere on the PCB, front or back. We see a six-axis InvenSense MPU7 series sensor, and next to it, we see what surely looks to be a 2 mm x 2 mm Bosch Sensortec device. Initially, we thought this to be the eCompass, but the package size and markings do not concur with standard eCompass devices on Bosch’s web site or with those we have previously observed. Now that we have done some lab work, this Bosch device looks like the BMA280 we have seen in dozens of handsets. Given this, two big questions arise: 1) Where is the compass? and 2) Why would Apple have two accelerometers? The answer is, simply, they wouldn’t do that. So why are there two accelerometers in these new products?”
At last weekend’s Women in Secularism conference, I accidentally set off a lot of discussion with something I said during a panel. I say “accidentally” because I wasn’t planning on talking about this specific point, nor did I think it would result in such a reaction. I remarked that when I was about to attend my first major atheist/skeptical conference, multiple people independently sent me unsolicited advice about what male speakers to avoid at the con. The same speakers were mentioned by different individuals, with warnings that they often make unwanted and aggressive sexual advances toward young pretty women and that I should not be alone with them.
It certainly made my first big con a little more stressful. But it became more stressful when I realized this was far more pervasive than I thought. As I started getting more involved in these communities, more and more stories came out of the woodwork. Both female friends and strangers confided in me, telling me stories of speakers that talked only to their chest, groped them against their wishes, followed them to their hotel room, or had goals to bag a young hottie at every speaking gig they did. Once after I had publicly criticized someone on my blog, people made sure to warn me that this person had a skeevy record. I had to request friends attending the con to be extra diligent about making sure I wasn’t alone.
The same names kept popping up over time. None are particularly shocking, honestly. They’re all people who have been criticized for public sexist comments that they’ve made. Which does not mean everyone who’s made a sexist comment is also making inappropriate advances – it’s a subset. But women in the movement had formed an unofficial underground network of knowledge, making sure to warn people about who to avoid.”
“Supports up to 12 popular emoticons, up to six chat sessions simultaneously per handheld”
“They often voice as criticism what Haraway (1997, 68) takes as a principle of research: “Stories and facts do not naturally keep a respectable distance; indeed, they promiscuously cohabit the same very material places.””
“The relations of democracy and knowledge are up for materialized refiguring at every level of the onion of doing technoscience, not just after all the serious epistemological action is over. I believe that last statement is a fact; I know it is my hope and commitment. This position is not relativism; it is a principled refusal of the stacked deck that forces choice between loaded dualities such as realism and relativism.”
“The dormant activist stirs, “If I find out that T-shirts contribute to environmental degradation or coffee to poverty, how am I going to get out of bed at all?” How to live, how to know, how to be comfortable. How did comfort get wired in anyway?”
So, when I was asked to preview the Designs of the Year exhibition my initial response was to say no. How could I preview such a diverse range of stuff when the only evidence available at that stage were links to pictures and a set of sound bites, many lifted directly from the designer’s own website?
Should I, and then you, really be expected to make judgements based on puff (“conceived by the architects as both a landscape and a topographic surface, this faceted pavilion of concrete and aluminium conveys a perpetual flow of digital information”) and nonsense (“the signature of the caatinga, the natural scuffing of the cattle that the market considers a defect, becomes a sign of sophistication in this collection”)?
But then, I thought, this evidence is all the selectors for Designs of the Year have to hand in order to filter down the recommendations of a range of nominators. If the process of selection is based on this puff and nonsense, then it might be an interesting exercise to preview the finalists in that manner, too.
What does this method of selection say about the way contemporary design is perceived and valued? This is a serious question. Take the case of architecture. If all we have are the rhetorical statements of the author-architect, and some static images, then what is a perpetuated is a culture of disengagement and spectacular display. Issues of use and experience are suppressed and the values of authorial control and aesthetics privileged. Here architecture merges with fashion, and one sees a David Chipperfield museum in much the same way as a Rick Owens show presentation (both shortlisted designs).”
“Is there any sense in even having the discussion about whether a new shopfront for Paul Smith is any “better” than a cultural centre in Azerbaijan by Zaha Hadid, except to note that the human rights record of Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan, should have been enough to rule this one out from inclusion in the first place? But to make such exclusions would have been to bring the political to architecture and design, and the words and images in the catalogue do everything they can to shake off such messy associations.”
“Fog is basically a really low wet cloud and makes it hard to see very far (low visibility).”
“On the basis of the protections secured by the planning agreement, Southbank Centre and Long Live Southbank have withdrawn their respective legal actions in relation to the undercroft. These include Southbank Centre’s challenge to the registration of the undercroft as an asset of community value, Long Live Southbank’s application for village green status for the undercroft, and a judicial review of Lambeth Council’s decision to reject the village green application.”
“He talks about how difficult it has been for Labour to share a platform with the Conservatives under the Better Together slogan. “I dislike intensely everything the Tories have done. I hate the bedroom tax. I feel the cuts in social security benefits are heinous at a time when they are cutting tax for the very rich. I feel very angry that poverty is rising in this country. But you’ve got to look at what the SNP is proposing. They’re dining out on Scottish traditions of equality to suggest that Scotland will always be more just in the policies we implement, but their only tax proposal is to cut corporation tax for the richest companies in the country.””
“This is a Brown who was so rarely seen; the prime minister we could have had”
“To create an adjustable-focus photo with the DSLR, the camera must be set to video mode, then slowly refocused manually. This creates, in effect, a series of images of the same scene with different focal lengths, which can simulate the effect of the Lytro. A two- to three-second clip can then be uploaded to an online tool developed by the Chaos Collective, which spits out the adjustable depth of field (DOF) image. And voilà, you get an adjustable-focus image with equipment you already have.”
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