2017 01: January

<--- Chris’ Challenge

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Around About:

A sampling of things noted over the past month or so.

Steve Jobs

Did you know that Steve was a chess player? Not just the ordinary chess, of course, but a more complex variant called Kriegspiel.

According to Wikipedia:

Kriegspiel (German for war game) is a chess variant invented by Henry Michael Temple in 1899 and based upon the original Kriegsspiel developed by Georg von Reiswitz in 1812. In this game, each player can see their own pieces, but not those of their opponent. For this reason, it is necessary to have a third person (or computer) act as a referee, with full information about the progress of the game. When it is a player's turn he or she will attempt a move, which the referee will declare to be 'legal' or 'illegal'. If the move is illegal, the player tries again; if it is legal, that move stands. Each player is given information about checks and captures. They may also ask the referee if there are any legal captures with a pawn. Since the position of the opponent's pieces is unknown, Kriegspiel is not a game with perfect information. Chess Kriegspiel derives from a war game which was used in 19th century Germany to train military officers. As each player cannot see his or her opponents pieces, the game is sometimes referred to as blind chess.

There are several variants of this.

Apple Campus II

If you have a Cessna at 2000 feet, a Phase One iXU RS1000 camera (100MP) with Rodenstock 90mm lens, and the time (half an hour) to take 380 photos, then you too would have the starting point for stitching everything together to produce a 34,111 x 49,487 pixel photo - that is 1.7 gigapixels! (Maybe in the iPhone 9?) The area covered by the photo is about 0.5 square miles, with a ground resolution of 3cm/pixel.

No, the original photo is not available, by its smaller brother is, so have a look - download here. (27MB, 3500 x 5408 pixels)

The photographers report: "We used Adobe Photoshop CC2017 to create this mosaic of aerial images. There are some artifacts, a bit of distortion, and a few misalignments visible throughout the image. Without taking time to nudge and poke and transform, the final “automatic” result ended up pretty good."

Designed by Apple in California

“Designed by Apple In California” chronicles 20 years of Apple design through 450 photographs of our products and the processes used to make them. A visual history spanning iMac to Apple Pencil, complete with descriptions of innovative materials and techniques, it captures every detail with honesty and intention. Printed on specially milled German paper with gilded matt silver edges, using eight colour separations and low-ghost inks, this hardback volume took more than eight years to create and has been crafted with as much care and attention as the products featured within. It is both a testament and a tribute to the meticulous design, engineering and manufacturing methods that are singularly Apple."

The book is now available in New Zealand only from Apple Store, for only $499 (330 x 413mm) or $329 (260 x 324mm); free shipping.

Anyone planning on getting a copy?

5G Technology

Yes, we are just getting 4G, aren't we; but the boffins are moving on. The new network spec is well advanced, and AT&T have announced their "5G Evolution" plans for 2017 - and Intel has just announced the world's first 5G modem to help test initial 5G spectrum deployments across the world.

The global 5G modem announced by Intel reportedly achieves speeds “exceeding 5 Gbps” while maintaining ultra-low latency connections. Intel’s 5G modem is already compliant to multiple industry 5G specifications, along with being able to provide fallback to a 4G connection when needed. It can even interwork 4G/5G connections. Intel says they should begin testing the 5G modem in the second half of 2017, before going into production.

New Monitor?

If you have your heart set ogn getting a new 4K, or even 5K, monitor "one day", you probably shouldn't read on.

Taking a leap forward past the competition, Dell has announced the launch of its UltraSharp 32-inch Ultra HD 8K Monitor. The UltraSharp 32 is the “world’s first” 32-inch 8K display, packing in a whopping 1 billion colours and 280 ppi. (I advised you not to read on!)

Smallest Hard Disk

As the modern-day society produces increasingly large amounts of data, researchers in the Netherlands have developed the world's smallest hard disk. Small as it is, the rewritable data-storage device can store 500 Terabits per square inch (Tbpsi), which is enough to store each of all the books written by humans.

The disk uses chlorine atoms to come up with the most efficient method of storing data yet devised. The disk's storage density of 500 Tbpsi is 500 times better compared with the most efficient disk that is currently available on the market.

The new technique that researchers employed involve using scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) that uses a sharp needle to individually probe the atoms of a surface. The atoms represent binary code used for encoding data in computers. The new technique that researchers employed a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) that uses a sharp needle to individually probe the atoms of a surface. The atoms represent binary code used for encoding data in computers.

The memory can be read and rewritten automatically by means of atomic-scale markers and offers an areal density of 502 terabits per square inch, outperforming state-of-the-art hard disk drives by three orders of magnitude. Furthermore, the chlorine vacancies are found to be stable at temperatures up to 77 K, - so it will be a pretty cold day before we get to use this!

For the Lady who has Everything

L'Oreal, the French cosmetics and beauty giant, introduced a connected smart hairbrush called the Kérastase Hair Coach at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. The device is a brush that comes with sensors that L'Oreal promises will measure the quality of a user's hair as well as the effects of different hair care routines. The gadget will retail for "under $200" and will be available this fall at Kérastase hair salons as well as online.

The Kérastase Hair Coach—with technology powered by Nokia-owned Withings—features a microphone (which listens to the sound of brushing to identify patterns); an accelerometer and a gyroscope (to analyze brushing patterns and count brush strokes); and sensors (to determine if the the brush is being used on dry or wet hair). Via connection with an app, the brush can tell a user how often hair is brushed—and also warn consumers if they are brushing too hard. The brush vibrates to warn against over brushing.

Balooch, VP of L'Oreal's Technology Incubator, says the brush also gives a user a daily hair breakage score — by measuring the overall quality of the hair. The device then provides tips based on the user's hair type and brushing behaviour (and of course, makes a few helpful recommendations for Kérastase beauty products).

New Map

In 2010, the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) was fired up and pointed towards the heavens. Equipped with the biggest astronomical camera in the world, with a resolution of 1.4 gigapixels, Pan-STARRS1 scanned the sky many times over four years, in different wavelengths of light. Over that time it gathered a colossal 2 petabytes of data, and now the scientists behind the project are making all of it available to the public.

The result: a Map of the Entire Visible Universe.

The rollout begins with the "Static Sky", a compressed view of the whole sky that's visible from the Pan-STARRS1 Observatory. Based on half a million exposures of 45 seconds each, the image is made up of the average value of each attribute of each object, including its position, brightness and colour. The yellowish arc is the disk of the Milky Way, and the reddish-brown swirls are its dust lanes. Those highlights are set against a backdrop of billions of faint stars and galaxies. The strange shape of the image comes from flattening the celestial sphere, in the same way making a 2D map of Earth distorts it. While it might not look very detailed here, researchers say that if it was to be printed at full resolution, it would stretch 1.5 miles (2.4 km) wide, and probably still require a magnifying glass to see the finest details hidden within.

For more details, and to download your copy of this map, see: this site.

So You May Want a Job at Apple

People who've applied for jobs with the firm - successfully and unsuccessfully - have been sharing some of the questions they were asked during their interviews. Here's a selection of them - how would you cope with being asked these?

  • "Who would you most like to share a coffee with and why?"
  • "Who is your role model and why?"
  • "Are you creative? What's something creative that you can think of?"
  • "How would you describe yourself?"
  • "There are three boxes, one contains only apples, one contains only oranges, and one contains both apples and oranges. The boxes have been incorrectly labeled such that no label identifies the actual contents of the box it labels. Opening just one box, and without looking in the box, you take out one piece of fruit. By looking at the fruit, how can you immediately label all of the boxes correctly?"
  • "What would you say to a customer who says they don't like Apple?"
  • "Tell me about a time when you got something you didn't think you deserved."
  • "What is the most embarrassing song you have on your phone?"
  • “If you have 2 eggs, and you want to figure out what’s the highest floor from which you can drop the egg without breaking it, how would you do it? What’s the optimal solution?”
  • "Name one moment in your life that defined you and why?"
  • "What's your biggest weakness and why?"
  • “If you’re given a jar with a mix of fair and unfair coins, and you pull one out and flip it 3 times, and get the specific sequence heads heads tails, what are the chances that you pulled out a fair or an unfair coin?”
  • "Name a person that you would trust to make life decisions for you."
  • "What would you say to your future self and past self now."
  • "Who is your favourite leader?"
  • “You have a 100 coins laying flat on a table, each with a head side and a tail side. 10 of them are heads up, 90 are tails up. You can’t feel, see or in any other way find out which side is up. Split the coins into two piles such that there are the same number of heads in each pile.”
  • "How many children are born every day?"
  • "Are you smart?"
  • “You put a glass of water on a record turntable and begin slowly increasing the speed. What happens first — does the glass slide off, tip over, or does the water splash out?”
  • “What would you want to do 5 years from now?”
  • "How would you test a toaster?"
  • "If you had to float an iPhone in mid-air, how would you do it?"
  • "Explain a situation when you gave the wrong advice. What were the consequences? What did you learn from this?"

  • Still want a job there? - They are all crazy!

    By-the-way: Was someone suggesting a quiz for later in the year?

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    © 2017 Canterbury Apple Users; SeniorNet Mac Inc.