Templari: dopo libri e film, adesso le Apps


English: Knights Templar Česky: Dva templářiPercorre i secoli l’interesse per l’epopea dei Cavalieri del Tempio, di cui restano anche costruzioni, sculture e dipinti in Terrasanta, Spagna, Francia, Italia, Inghilterra

Sulla misteriosa e affascinante epopea dei Cavalieri templari da secoli esiste e si alimenta un’enorme produzione letteraria e cinematografica. Libri, cinema e fiction però non hanno sempre curato la verità storica, e così spesso hanno contribuito a diffondere un’immagine distorta dell’Ordine, descritto semplicemente come un’organizzazione potente, ricca, e anche violenta e corrotta. Basti pensare al discusso volume “Codice da Vinci” di Dan Brown, o al film di Steven Spielberg “Indiana Jones e l’ultima crociata”. E adesso ci sono anche le app per smartphone e tablet, come per esempio il videogioco “Broken Sword: Il Segreto dei Templari – The Director’s Cut”, che ha come scopo “svelare gli antichi segreti dei Cavalieri templari”. Dei Templari spesso ci si è accontentati di leggende, quasi sempre nere, senza approfondire e cercare le verità.

via Templari: dopo libri e film, adesso le app – Vatican Insider.

La verità sull’Area 51


Central Intelligence Agency Seal

Central Intelligence Agency Seal (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Giovedì 15 agosto il National Security Archive ha pubblicato sul suo sito un documento dlla CIA dove per la prima volta il governo americano nomina esplicitamente l’Area 51, la famosa base segreta diventata famosa in tutto il mondo perché, secondo gli ufologi, sarebbero custoditi i corpi di alcuni extraterrestri e le loro navi spaziali. La storia in realtà è molto più prosaica: per anni nell’Area 51 sono stati testati e messi a punto numerosi progetti aerei segreti, tra cui gli aerei spia che sorvolavano l’Unione Sovietica durante la guerra fredda.

Il documento completo si chiama La CIA e la ricognizione aerea: i programmi U2 e OXCART (potete scaricare il file torrent da qui). È stato scritto da due storici della CIA nel 1992 ed è una specie di manuale di storia su alcuni dei più importanti programmi di ricognizione aerea segreta di tutta la guerra fredda. Il National Security Archive che ha pubblicato il documento è un’organizzazione accademica statunitense che pubblica documenti ottenuti grazie alla legge americana sulla trasparenza del governo (il Freedom of Information Act).

via La verità sull’Area 51 | Il Post.

WikiLeaks Party, il padre di Julian Assange si ispira a Beppe Grillo: “Faremo come il Movimento 5 Stelle”


English: Julian Assange at New Media Days 09 i...

 

 

WikiLeaks Party, il padre di Julian Assange si ispira a Beppe Grillo: “Faremo come il Movimento 5 Stelle”

 

La campagna politica di Julian Assange è ufficialmente partita. Dopo aver annunciato il lancio di WikiLeaks Party, il partito con cui affronterà le prossime elezioni politiche in Australia, l’attivista svedese è pronto a passare all’azione. Al suo fianco avrà anche John Shipton, il padre naturale del fondatore di WikiLeaks a dispetto del cognome diverso.

 

via WikiLeaks Party, il padre di Julian Assange si ispira a Beppe Grillo: “Faremo come il Movimento 5 Stelle” (FOTO).

 

L’articolo del 1962 che prevedeva videotelefoni e acquisti online è originale


TRAPANIIeri avevamo raccontato, con un pizzico di ironia, la diffusione sul web di un articolo tratto dal giornale “Trapani Nuova” del 1962.Si tratta di un articolo incredibile che prevedeva, cinquanta anni fa, l’esplosione dei videotelefoni, gli acquisti online, la lettora dei giornali sul cellulare. Come tanti avevamo pensato a una bufala. E invece bufala non è, e dobbiamo ammettere d’aver sbagliato a pensarlo.Merito del chiarimento va all’utente facebook dal nome Criss Speziale che ha postato sulla pagina del nostro giornale la versione integrale del quotidiano uscito in edicola nel mese di giugno del 1962.
Leggetelo, sfogliatelo e scoprirete che era tutto vero. Un ingegnoso giornalista trapanese, nel 1962, aveva creduto alle previsioni incredibili di tre ingegneri americani e aveva trovato spazio sul giornale per pubblicarle. Complimenti a lui: bisogna credere in ciò che si fa, anche se tutti pensano che siano idee folli.

L’articolo del 1962 che prevedeva videotelefoni e acquisti online è originale| leggete la copia del giornale dell’epoca.

Israele bombarda la Siria


Nella prima mattinata di domenica, il governo israeliano ha violato per la seconda volta in poche ore ogni principio del diritto internazionale, ordinando alla propria aviazione di condurre un bombardamento contro un sito militare di ricerca nei pressi di Damasco. Le incursioni indicano il tentativo da parte di Tel Aviv, con l’avallo di Washington, di provocare una reazione del regime siriano, così da giustificare un intervento militare esterno per rimuovere Assad, parallelamente accusato senza alcuna prova dai governi occidentali e israeliano di avere utilizzato armi chimiche lo scorso mese di marzo.

Il primo attacco aereo di Israele era stato debitamente riportato venerdì da fonti americane, mentre su quello di domenica è stata la stessa stampa siriana a darne notizia. L’agenzia ufficiale SANA ha scritto infatti che nell’area di al-Hameh, alla periferia della capitale, si sono sentite alcune esplosioni che hanno colpito un centro di ricerca scientifico, provocando un numero imprecisato di vittime. Alcuni “attivisti” dell’opposizione hanno poi affermato che un missile avrebbe colpito due battaglioni della Guardia Repubblicana, di stanza in una località a nord di Damasco.

Nel primo caso, fonti anonime all’interno dell’apparato della sicurezza di Israele avevano sostenuto che il blitz era diretto contro un presunto carico di armi anti-missile conservato all’aeroporto di Damasco e pronto per essere inviato in Libano all’alleato di Assad, la milizia/partito sciita Hezbollah. Secondo i resoconti dei media, l’attacco di venerdì non avrebbe comportato l’ingresso nello spazio aereo siriano da parte degli aerei da guerra israeliani, anche se questi ultimi hanno comunque violato impunemente quello libanese, da dove sarebbero partiti i bombardamenti.

La struttura finita nel mirino dell’operazione israeliana domenica sarebbe invece quella di Jamraya ed era già stata bersaglio dei jet di Tel Aviv lo scorso 30 gennaio, quando un attacco ugualmente non provocato e fuori da ogni regola del diritto internazionale era stato anche in quell’occasione giustificato con la necessità di impedire il trasferimento di armi letali a Hezbollah.

via Israele bombarda la Siria | Informare per Resistere.

Welcome to the home of the future


REDMOND, Wash. — From outside, the futuristic house looks like something from a Disney production, an immaculately sterile structure from the not-too-distant future.

On Microsoft’s sprawling, rustic campus, this home is a maze of futuristic rooms, a digital kitchen and interactive walls. Recipes are projected onto the kitchen counter, children can play video games from a table’s surface, and bedrooms have interactive wall posters that can be changed daily, based on the occupant’s mood.

No one lives there, but it is a template for the future. Indeed, many houses throughout the USA already have hints of Microsoft’s model home. Might this be a working blueprint for better things, of a life that just decades ago seemed possible only in the world of science fiction?

What once seemed conceivable only on The Jetsons is a real prospect in the next few years. If you’ve heard these utopian and futuristic promises before, only to be disappointed, this story is for you. Because as Americans embrace 2013 and the new year that is upon us, know this: The future of American homes is now.

The rise of intelligent devices, ongoing breakthroughs in robotics, cloud computing and other newfangled technology promise to usher in a new phase in luxuriant and wired home living. Hyperbole of years past has quickly melted away as a pantheon of tech titans — ranging from Apple and Google to Samsung and Microsoft — vie for home-field advantage. Home increasingly is where billions of dollars are expected to be spent on technology as consumers nest in their living rooms and bedrooms on smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles.

Meanwhile, elements of the future home — smart TVs and newfangled sound systems — will be on display next week at the sprawling International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Since The Jetsons’ animated TV show — which touted a life-size in-home robot, a computerized kitchen and flying cars — automated homes have been a staple in American culture, from TV’s Futurama and the big screen’s I, Robot and Blade Runner to the pages of Wired magazine.

OPINION: Expert weighs in on homes of the future

For more than a decade, Bill Gates has rhapsodized about homes of the future. But he was able to achieve his digital dream home through his enormous wealth and contacts. Gates’ 66,000-square-foot mansion on the shores of Lake Washington near Seattle, took seven years and $63 million to build. It houses a computerized server system and a digitally controlled climate.

But for most consumers, the ideal future home has been a pipe dream.

“If this stuff was easy, it would have been in our homes years ago,” says Gilles BianRosa, CEO of Fanhattan, an iPhone and iPad app to find and watch movies and TV shows on services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. “Wow technology doesn’t always pass the test for practical use, such as smartphone control of TV.”

“The office is (an environment) for lean-forward experience for smartphone apps and total concentration, but home is lean-back, where you want to relax and don’t want to think too much,” he says. “This stuff takes time to develop for simple use.”

Because there is no standard building code in the U.S., “This gets in the way of ambitious automation systems,” says Paul Saffo, a respected futurist in Silicon Valley.

Complicating matters, the average life of a home in the USA is about 55 years, which means anything new has to be back-compatible and easily added as a remodel. By comparison, the life cycle for an appliance is about 10 years, two years for a laptop and 18 months for a smartphone.

“Today’s hot new automation is hopelessly antiquated in two years and has to be replaced,” Saffo says. “This is why, for example, I never put a built-in cellphone in my car. The car would stay current for five years, but the phone would be obsolete for three of those years.”

What this means for architects and building contractors is a renewed look at how they design and build homes, with the inclusion of new gadgets that are designed to blend into living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms.

Architect Tom Kinslow, who has designed homes and commercial buildings in the U.S. and abroad, says changes are often incremental. “It’s no different than (home additions) for people interested in art,” he says. Tech-based entertainment centers will lead to the installation of sound systems and screens within walls to save space. Smart windows will be bigger than traditional windows. And increased use of shared, driverless cars will eliminate the need for garages or dramatically reduce their size, he says.

Marching into the future

Yet these nagging complications from the past have not slowed the inevitable — and inevitably thrilling — march into the future.

Some 821 million smart devices — smartphones and tablets — are estimated to have been sold last year r and 1.2 billion are expected to be sold in 2013, according to Gartner.

“There are smarter phones, so why not smarter homes?” says SoundCloud CEO Alexander Ljung. “It’s perhaps natural that the phone is a remote control for a lot of things. Touch-screens are replacing buttons.”

Sprinklers, kitchen appliances, washers, dryers, lights, windows, pools — all could be controlled from a phone or tablet, Saffo and others say.

Jo De Boeck, CTO of Imec, a Belgium-based think tank that specializes in smart electronics and renewable energy, envisions homes festooned with robots, smart meters and lighting, magic mirrors to view how you might look in your ensemble, and smart-device hubs. He sees digital refrigerators and interactive medicine cabinets that will be able to monitor what you eat as well as your energy management. Oh, and a driverless car or two in the garage.

“It’s kind of Big Brother, yes,” says De Boeck. Though he notes that perhaps that’s the cost of keeping you healthy while saving money.

And what futuristic home would be complete without a robot of some sort? Well, robots are slowly marching into homes in the form of toys and servants, acting as modern-day R2-D2s of Star Wars fame.

Bossa Nova Robotics is developing a robot maid modeled after The Jetsons’ Rosie for less than $5,000. Sarjoun Skaff, co-founder and chief technology officer of the San Francisco company, predicts that within 10 years, general-purpose robots — at $25,000 to $30,000 per unit — will perform house chores while people are at work. Or imagine one serving as a butler at a cocktail party. Technology developed at Carnegie Mellon University and at scores of robotics start-ups are clearly moving in that direction.

The kitchen, in particular, will be a model of futuristic living. Flexible displays will be built into ovens, refrigerators and dish washers to tell consumers everything from the optimum temperature to cook certain dishes to whether leftovers in the refrigerator are spoiled.

Chips embedded in appliances will store recipes and cooking instructions, says Paolo Bertazzoni, whose company’s free-standing Bertazzoni cooking suite comes with The Assistant, which stores settings for recipes and instructions. The Assistant, now available, helps cooks create a personal library of recipes and instructions, from an LCD display inspired by iPhone.

Samsung says its chief competitive strategy for the appliances division is to leverage its expertise in mobile technology by manufacturing as many “connected” devices as possible. For example, you’ll be able to start baking — via smartphone — while you’re en route to home from work. You’ll also be able to adjust the temperature settings of the refrigerator using your phone.

Beyond the kitchen, a home office might include a Telepresence-type device for real-time meetings, via a TV screen, with anyone in the world — a critical innovation as more people telecommute.

“The living room has gone from nothing to everything at once,” Fanhattan’s BianRosa says. “There is no simple path from niche technology to mainstream.”

In the years ahead, the biggest home-buyer considerations might not be one-story or two-story, city or suburb. Consumers might also have to decide between a Microsoft home or an Apple enclave, Saffo and others say.

Consumers are facing choices from:

• Microsoft. In May, the software behemoth trotted out an operating system designed to turn homes into live-in computers.

HomeOS intends to stitch together set-top boxes, game consoles, wireless routers, home-automation devices, tablets, smartphones and security cameras.

The objective is simple: combine smart devices under an umbrella, where they can share files, be synced, secured and fixed.

Microsoft also envisions a HomeStore app to handle it all, with apps designated for certain rooms and tasks.

• Google. Last year it unfurled Android@Home, an ecosystem for managing every electric home device, from thermostats and lights to exercise bikes.

The service essentially turns one’s home into an Android accessory, controllable from an Android device such as a tablet, or “hub,” managed by simple apps and connected over wireless links.

“It is pretty clear that inexpensive, powerful devices connected to the cloud are here today and will be here tomorrow,” says Scott Huffman, vice president of Google’s mobile search.

• Apple. Apple is seeking to fulfill the late Steve Jobs’ grand vision of a digital living room populated with Apple devices.

The company has been busy patenting an energy-management system that uses intelligent power-line networking to measure and control which home devices are consuming power.

Apple, as always, has been coy about its specific plans. But it’s conceivable a beefed-up version of iCloud could form the spine of an Apple-enabled smart home, connecting Apple products — including TV, perhaps — to light switches and thermostats made by others. And all of it might be commanded by the familiar voice of Siri.

• Security providers. As more household appliances have wireless connections to a phone or tablet, security and privacy from digital viruses and scams will increasingly become paramount, says Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and co-founder of security company Kaspersky Lab.

That will necessitate costly home-security systems that monitor doors and windows; stream live video to phones; control appliances based on behavior or schedule; and change home utilities such as air conditioning, heat and electricity based on the location of the people who live in the home, says Kevin Raposo, a blogger for SimpliSafe, a wireless home-security system.

Wireless technology has been a game-changer to the point where “in 15 years nearly everything in our home will be controlled with the swipe of a finger on a screen” no matter where you are, says Raposo.

• Nest and other shiny, new smart home tech apps, such as ZigBee. Cable providers Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon aren’t just cranking out services for TV, phones and the Internet. They’re delving into something called “Fifth Play,” which lets homeowners monitor and control energy use, security, temperatures and more. Such snazzy devices could be controlled via smartphone or remote control by a “Home Control Box.”

The Nest Learning Thermostat is one of several new thermostats — Tado is another, gaining traction in Europe — that let you use your smartphone to change the temperature, even if you’re not home.

“There is this Jetsons-like dream that this will happen all of a sudden,” says Nest CEO Tony Fadell, the former senior vice president in Apple’s iPhone/iPod division. “But there are a lot of do’s and don’ts.”

When Fadell decided in 2006 to build a “dream house” near Lake Tahoe, Calif., it was the stuff of “geeky guys,” as he put it. But fantasy and reality took divergent paths, and the house wasn’t completed until 2011. “You don’t press one button and everything happens; it takes time,” Fadell says. “Look at General Magic (a technology similar to iPhone that preceded it by 20 years ago). “This stuff evolves. It takes time and money.”

Setting a home standard

As usual, the devil is in the details. And the details for the future often reside in standardization. If all these home gizmos are to work in concert, it’s imperative that a computerized standard be established to piece them together and ease installation havoc for developers and consumers.

“It’s not just about devices, but the ability for those devices to share data,” Google’s Huffman says.

“As a consumer, you almost have to pick a stack,” says Mick Hollison, vice president of marketing at Citrix, which designs technology for employees to work remotely.

“Whoever figures out the way to create an open fabric to plug in all the different devices (from vendors such as Apple, Google, Microsoft and others) wins the day,” says Hollison, who used to run Microsoft’s home of the future but is now an unabashed Apple fan.

Standardization is just as important for traditional home appliance makers such as Bertazzoni, the family-owned Italian maker of high-quality ranges, cook tops, ventilation hoods and accessories.

“The key for us is, how do we blend technology and the timeless art of cooking?” asks CEO Bertazzoni. “There must be a balance. It usually comes down to simple icons and directions.”

And simple is essential when technology is changing the world not just for the select few, but for the masses.

“It’s all about making people’s lives easier,” Red Hat Software CEO Jim Whitehurst says, invoking home inventions of the past, such as microwaves, advanced lighting systems and home entertainment centers.

“The explosion of broadband destroys old business models,” Whitehurst says. “The car will sync to the cloud. You will adjust your home’s temperature, lights, security from an app. Robots will serve you. These are exciting times.”

 

link: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/01/03/apple-google-microsoft-nest/1725311/

L’evoluzione della Mela morsicata raccontata dalle pagine del sito Apple


Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

Innovare. Dalle origini ad oggi, l’obiettivo di Apple è (quasi) sempre stato questo. In principio fu l’Apple I, seguito poi dal Macintosh, dal primo iMac, dal MacBook Air, dall’iPod, dall’iPhone e infine dall’iPad e dal suo fratello minore, l’ultimo arrivato, ossia l’iPad mini. Un’evoluzione che ha portato alla realizzazione di prodotti più performanti ma al tempo stesso sempre user-friendly e di immediato utilizzo. Quest’oggi abbiamo deciso di proporvi un articolo originale in cui ripercorriamo l’evoluzione dell’azienda della Mela morsicata tramite le pagine del sito Apple. Il nostro viaggio inizia nel gennaio 1996, quando Apple lancia ufficialmente il suo portale nel mondo della rete.

via L’evoluzione della Mela morsicata raccontata dalle pagine del sito Apple – Speciale iPhoneItalia – iPhone Italia Blog.

European Parliament warns against UN internet control


The UN should not be allowed to take over control of the internet, Euro MPs have warned.International governments are set to agree a new information and communications treaty next month.Reports in the Russian press have suggested the Kremlin and others wanted control of key internet systems passed to a UN agency.Internet control currently lies largely with US-based groups such as Icann, which regulates the web address system.The European Parliament has said the UN’s International Telecommunications Union ITU was “not the appropriate body” to have authority.The ITU has said a new treaty was needed to ensure “the free flow of information around the world, promoting affordable and equitable access for all and laying the foundation for ongoing innovation and market growth”.The UN agency is hosting the conference to draw up the treaty between 3 and 14 December in Dubai.Members of the European Parliament backed a resolution which urged member states to reject changes to the International Telecommunication Regulations ITR which would “negatively impact the internet, its architecture, operations, content and security, business relations, internet governance and the free flow of information online”.

via BBC News – European Parliament warns against UN internet control.

EyeSee mannequin silently collects consumer data for overzealous retailers


With the luxury goods market sagging under the weight of a sluggish economy, some retailers are turning to more surreptitious and rather controversial means of targeting consumers. As Bloomberg reports, several high-end retailers have begun deploying a new mannequin known as the EyeSee. Produced by Italy-based Almax, the EyeSee looks like any other mannequin you’d find in storefronts and window displays. Embedded within, however, is a camera that captures images of passersby, as well as facial-recognition software capable of identifying a customer’s age, gender, and race.

This kind of demographic data presents obvious benefits to retailers, who can use it to cater their product offerings, promotions, and window displays to consumers most likely to make a purchase. One Almax client, for example, launched an entirely new children’s clothing line after the EyeSee revealed that kids comprised the majority of its afternoon clientele, while another hired Chinese-speaking staff after gauging the size of its Asian customer base. But the subtlety of such practices has raised concerns among those who worry that the EyeSee may violate consumer privacy. Unlike similar animatronic dummies adopted in Japan, Almax’s creation doesn’t look notably different from any other static mannequin.

via EyeSee mannequin silently collects consumer data for overzealous retailers | The Verge.

Il campionato di calcio più piccolo del mondo


English: Match between the Garrison Gunners (y...

Ogni anno nelle isole Scilly, in Inghilterra, si disputa la Isles of Scilly Football League, ovvero il campionato di calcio più piccolo del mondo: vi prendono parte solo due squadre che si sfidano ogni domenica per 16 turni, giocando sempre nello stesso stadio, il Garrison Field.

Le isole Scilly si trovano 45 chilometri ad ovest della Cornovaglia. Soltanto cinque delle 140 isole che formano l’arcipelago sono stabilmente abitate: St. Mary’s è l’isola più grande e la più popolata, con oltre 1.600 residenti. Circa mille abitano a Hugh Town, capoluogo dell’arcipelago, dove si trova anche l’aeroporto. Le isole dipendono formalmente dalla Cornovaglia, ma in pratica si governano autonomamente con una struttura simile a quella di una contea.

Il campionato di calcio dell’arcipelago è stato fondato negli anni Venti e vi prendevano parte le 5 isole più grandi. Negli anni Sessanta si trasformò in una competizione tra le squadre dell’arcipelago e alcune squadre del sud dell’Inghilterra prima di diventare nel 1984 quello che è oggi, ovvero un campionato in cui militano soltanto due squadre: i Woolpack Wanderers, in maglia amaranto con maniche azzurre, e i Garrison Gunners, in maglia blu a bande laterali gialle. Oltre alle partite del campionato regolare le due squadre disputano altre competizioni nel corso dell’anno: la Charity Shield a novembre, che inaugura la nuova stagione, due partite della coppa “nazionale” chiamata Wholesalers Cup e la Foredeck Cup con andata e ritorno, corrispondente alla Coppa di Lega.

Le procedure di selezione dei giocatori delle due squadre ricordano molto quelle delle partite di calcio da bambini, all’oratorio, con la differenza che qui l’età media dei giocatori supera i 35 anni di età: non esiste il calciomercato e prima dell’inizio di ogni campionato i due capitani si incontrano e, dopo aver lanciato una monetina per decidere chi debba iniziare, scelgono a turno i 20 giocatori per la propria squadra. Chas Wood ha 70 anni, è l’ex presidente della Lega calcio delle isole ed è il giocatore più anziano del campionato (fa il centrocampista): secondo lui questo sistema funziona benissimo, mantenendo le squadre e i risultati bilanciati.

Il campionato non comincia mai prima dell’inizio di novembre (il clima mite del luogo lo permette) dato che la maggior parte dei calciatori in realtà fa un altro lavoro, molto spesso stagionale e nel campo del turismo: un giocatore guida una delle barche che quotidianamente portano i turisti da un’isola all’altra e ogni domenica spera che ci sia pioggia per non dover lavorare e poter andare a giocare al Garrison Field. Le partite sono sempre molto combattute, anche se ci si sfida tra amici, colleghi e membri della stessa famiglia. Dopo ogni partita tutti i giocatori si ritrovano allo Scillonian Club nell’isola di St. Mary’s per bere una birra e discutere del match.

Prima degli Europei di calcio in Austria e Svizzera del 2008, Adidas ha lanciato una campagna pubblicitaria, Dream Big, raccontando l’incontro tra alcuni dei più grandi campioni internazionali (tra cui David Beckam, Lionel Messi, Michael Ballack e Kaká) e le squadre di calcio più piccole del mondo, tra cui quelle delle isole Scilly: David Beckham e lo storico capitano del Liverpool Steven Gerrard hanno allenato per qualche giorno i ragazzi delle squadre dell’arcipelago.

via Il campionato di calcio più piccolo del mondo | Il Post.