Quake maps in­trigue

Dave Thompson writes about the tech news that has caught his eye this week.

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Users of Google maps will know al­ready that Google up­dated Christchurch’s satel­lite im­age data. Th­ese new im­ages are a few months old, so they show many of the af­ter-ef­fects of the earth­quakes, with most sub­urbs show­ing numer­ous empty and over­grown sec­tions and the more se­ri­ously quake-dam­aged roads clearly vis­i­ble.

No doubt the land­scape has changed even more since th­ese im­ages were taken, but it is a sober­ing snap­shot of a city hurt­ing and, while not many of us need to be re­minded of the events, it is some­how, al­beit mor­bidly, in­trigu­ing to look at a dam­aged city from above.

A clip of the ea­gerly awaited bio-flick jOBS (I don’t need to tell you it is about Ap­ple founder Steve Jobs, do I?) has hit the web and it is in­ter­est­ing that they chose a scene where the man him­self is try­ing to con­vince a scep­ti­cal Steve Woz­niak that what they (Woz­niak and Jobs) are work­ing on will rev­o­lu­tionise life as we know it.

While the scene gives Ash­ton Kutcher a chance to show he can pull off pseudo-pas­sion, ap­par­ently, it is all rub­bish.

Pun­dits claim Jobs was known to be the scep­tic and Woz­niak the one en­thu­si­as­tic about the stuff they were work­ing on. I know it’s the movies, but it an­noys me when Hol­ly­wood rewrites his­tory.

It is also in­ter­est­ing to note that Woz­niak was given the op­por­tu­nity to work on the movie, but turned it down, say­ing af­ter read­ing the script: ‘‘I thought it was crap’’.

He also checked out the afore­men­tioned clip on­line and has crit­i­cised Kutcher’s por­trayal of Jobs in gen­eral and the in­ci­dent por­trayed, telling on­line site Giz­modo: ‘‘Not close . . . we never had such in­ter­ac­tion and roles . . .’’ and, re­fer­ring to him­self, as played by Josh Gad in the movie: ‘‘Per­son­al­i­ties are very wrong, although mine is closer’’. I think I’ll wait for the video. It’s all harm­less fun un­til some­one gets hurt. Web ac­tivism is a rel­a­tively re­cent type of protest, the in­ter­net pro­vid­ing a new and po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous fron­tier where any­one with a Fac­book page or an in­ter­net con­nec­tion can carry out in­di­vid­ual or mass cam­paigns of civil dis­obe­di­ence.

At the core of many of th­ese protests is the free­dom of in­for­ma­tion. Lately, we have seen the likes of the Wik­ileaks saga, as well as hack­ing group Anony­mous cy­ber-at­tack­ing any or­gan­i­sa­tion it doesn’t like the look of, or car­ry­ing out De­nial of Ser­vice at­tacks against other on­line tar­gets in sup­port of some­one else’s griev­ances.

How­ever, a few mem­bers of that group have also been sent to jail for long stretches af­ter be­ing caught do­ing what­ever it is they were do­ing, be­cause the pow­er­sthat-be are flex­ing their mus­cles and de­mand­ing harsher penal­ties for what many see as le­git­i­mate protest, but oth­ers view as van­dal­ism.

A few weeks ago, well-known in­ter­net ac­tivist Aaron Swartz killed him­self as the full weight of the United States le­gal sys­tem was brought to bear on him.

His crime was to tap into a univer­sity main­frame and down­load mil­lions of pay-toac­cess doc­u­ments with the in­ten­tion of mak­ing them free to any­one who wanted them.

Iron­i­cally, the in­sti­tu­tion he at­tacked ended up re­leas­ing many of th­ese same doc­u­ments only days af­ter Swartz’s death in ap­par­ent agree­ment with the late ac­tivist’s ideals.

Even though the pros­e­cut­ing at­tor­ney shed a few tears on cam­era over the tragedy of the sit­u­a­tion, she still de­fended the de­part­ment’s ac­tions in bring­ing the charges that could have re­sulted in Swartz go­ing to jail.

On a lighter note, Dick Smith is in strife across the ditch with his lat­est ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign.

The ad, which can be found on the web, was deemed too bawdy for Aussie TV be­cause of the many ‘‘dick’’ jokes, some of which are very funny to those of us who haven’t had our sense of hu­mour de­stroyed by the PC bri­gade. The first thing that you’ll no­tice about HP’s Of­fice­jet 150 mo­bile all-in-one printer is its size: Com­pared with a reg­u­lar printer its much smaller, both in height and width, es­pe­cially when the lid is folded down.

That’s a good thing if you want porta­bil­ity – and this is what HP is aim­ing the Of­fice­jet 150 at: The road war­rior who wants a more com­pact printer that can be moved about lo­ca­tions eas­ily – and not take up too much room in the suit­case.

But just be­cause it’s smaller than a stan­dard printer, though, doesn’t mean it’s lack­ing features: You can scan, copy and print with the Of­fice­jet 150, plus it has a popup touch screen. You can con­nect the printer us­ing a stan­dard USB ca­ble or via Blue­tooth, if you want to con­nect a lap­top or tablet. The set­tings page on the touch screen will also tell you how much ink is re­main­ing in the two ink tanks.

Print qual­ity is good, with both text and im­ages, although I thought print­ing was a lit­tle slow. HP says that the Of­fice­jet 150 can man­age 22 pages per minute when print­ing black and white and 18 pages per minute when print­ing colour. I didn’t print that many pages at once but print qual­ity in colour is good, too, even on plain

Stretch­ing the truth? Ap­ple co-founder Steve Woz­niak has crit­i­cised ac­tor Ash­ton Kutcher’s por­trayal of Steve Jobs in the biopic jOBS.

Google Maps up­date: Google has new satel­lite im­age data of Christchurch post-earth­quake.

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