Breaking and entering
Hacking and banking are two words financial institutions may not want to hear in the same sentence, but Ulster Bank’s Hackathon, held in February, was more about hacking ideas for the benefit of customers than pilfering millions from vaults. The event brought together developers, coders, designers, entrepreneurs and investors, who pitched solutions to a various challenges. These included making banking more fun (a tough task for anyone with debt coming out of their eyeballs) and creating propositions to benefit customers.
Don’t fear the reaper
Playing a record in memory of a dearly departed friend or relation is one thing, playing a record made from the ashes of your dearly departed friend or relation is another. In a move inspired by the Marilyn Manson school of tech, the UK company Andvinyl lets people pledge their remains to the grooves of vinyl records. The basic package lets you press your cremated ashes into 30 discs, each with 24 minutes of audio. Customers provide the sound, whether maudlin farewells or upbeat dance tracks. If that seems too macabre, the company lets you turn your pet into a record, so you can hear its howls from the afterlife instead.
Dialling back time
Mobile phones a decade ago were like Arnold Schwarzenegger compared to the sensitive Ed Sheeran-type smartphones of today. Nokia 3310 could be bulldozed by a truck, dropped out of an airplane, or do spins in the tumble dryer, and still be ready for another game of Snake. Now the indestructible phone is having a renaissance, following rumours that Nokia is relaunching it at a €59 tag. The 3310 is geared toward nostalgia buffs and the secondary phone market. With a battery that lasts days, and no access to stressful social media, taking a step backwards can sometime seem like the best way forwards.
Prints among men
Most office printers chug along like industrial machinery from the Victorian era. The new Epson WorkForce Pro A3, on the other hand, claims to save 95% on energy, 99% on waste, and print up to 84,000 pages without anyone having to change supplies. This eco-friendly printer includes a smartphone-inspired touchscreen and user interface, and NFC and WiFi support printing from mobile devices.