We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The overheating Samsung S24F356 – and thoughts about why there are so many complaints about capitalism

There are several reasons, mostly to do with me getting older, which have caused me to slow down as a Samizdata contributor, but just recently something more mundane has been getting in my way. I needed a new computer screen, my previous one having stopped working. I thought that a sprint, metaphorically speaking, would sort this out, but the sprint turned into a marathon.

When buying things like computer screens, I prefer shopping in actual shops to internet shopping. I find returning defective goods to shops less complicated than returning them to internet suppliers, not least because I now get
…continue The overheating Samsung S24F356 – and thoughts about why there are so many complaints about capitalism

S-s-s-samsung’s listening to you . . .

Samsung’s latest model Smart TV is the real deal.

Users of Samsung’s Smart TV devices have raised concerns over the device’s privacy policy, which seems to suggest that they should not discuss any sensitive topics in their living room while the television is plugged in.

The warning relates to the product line’s voice recognition services, which lets users control their television with voice commands input through a microphone on the set’s remote control.

Samsung privacy policy warns: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured
…continue S-s-s-samsung’s listening to you . . .

Globalisation is very weird.

The above picture is the most commonplace thing in the world. There is a gift wrapped car in a shopping mall. Obviously, this is a prize in a competition, designed to encourage people to visit the shopping mall and spend money in the shops. The car is first generation Daewoo Matiz – later known as the Chevrolet Spark – an old design now but one of the cheapest cars in production in the world. It’s an utterly awful car to drive, but it is A NEW CAR!. If you are a shopping centre owner, then the main thing is
…continue Globalisation is very weird.

Optimistic thoughts about self-driving cars

Self driving cars are coming and they are good.

Safety is an obvious benefit. Some people I have talked to about this talk about overcoming fear to get into a self-driving car. But over a million people per year are killed on the road. It is clearly technically possible to make a car very safe: if some safety problem emerges with the driving software, a fix can be made and the update sent to all cars at once. You can’t do that with people, who make the same mistakes over and over again. Furthermore I don’t anticipate anyone marketing a
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Asus Padfone

This is a long and detailed review of a gadget which might be more at home on a specialist tech blog than on Samizdata, but it serves also as a snapshot of the world of mobile electronics, a world that is perhaps less encumbered by regulation than is usual, which might explain the rate of improvement.

By far the most exciting developments in consumer electronics right now are in mobile devices, in particular smartphones. System-on-chip manufacturers such as Qualcomm and Nvidia are cutting prices and transistor sizes while increasing performance such that a new generation of devices with significantly improved
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Evolutionary cycles

I yesterday went shopping for an LCD television for a friend of mine. I went to Richer sounds (a splendid and rather uncharacteristic British retailer known for selling high quality electronic merchandise at low prices from relatively unfashionable locations where the rent is low, providing fine customer service and treating employees well), and I ended up buying a Sharp TV. Interesting company, Sharp. People sometimes think the name is a little odd. For what it is worth, the company originally made mechanical pencils for engineering purposes, and they wanted to make it clear that they were very sharp (true story).
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Some background to the Woolmer affair: how did cricket get here?

When I decided that I would blog the cricket World Cup in detail, I thought I would be reporting on cricket matches. Right now, I should be sitting in a pub watching Australia play South Africa, the biggest game for my team so far. However, I am at my computer writing at length about peculiar historical events. When I started I thought I was writing the following piece for my own blog. However, as it went on, I realised I was writing a background piece to what was being discussed (as much in the comments as the article, and as
…continue Some background to the Woolmer affair: how did cricket get here?

Female sage-grouse robot

I am going through a gadget blog phase just now. It is good to remind oneself of the wonders that capitalism is cranking out by the hour, especially if one reads Samizdata daily and is hence liable to be depressed, about ID cards, Islamofascism, etc..

Today at engadget, there is a torrent of mobile phones to be seen, of which this posting is only the most torrential of many. There have been about half a dozen other mobile phones featured at engadget only today, far too numerous to bother linking to indvidually. Go there, scroll down, and you will soon
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A trip to the DMZ

As I have recounted, on my way home to see family in Australia in December I stopped in South Korea for a few days. The trip was principally a city break: I had a look around Seoul. Seoul was in many ways very impressive, but it was also a city striking in its normality. It is a modern, technologically advanced city. The subway system works extremely well. There are McDonald’s and Starbucks outlets everywhere (this is a rare market where a local McDonald’s clone has apparently outdone the original. On the other hand, all Korea’s coffee shops belong to
…continue A trip to the DMZ

An old joke

but still a good one:

Three white collar prisoners are hanging around the yard comparing notes:

Former Exxon executive: They say I charged too much for oil. I’m in for price gouging.

Former Microsoft executive: They say I charged too little for software. I’m in for unfair competition.

Former Samsung executive: They say I charged the same price as everyone else for computer chips. I’m in for price fixing.

Free internet terminals at Narita airport, and what this has to do with healthcare funding.

I spent a couple of hours at Tokyo Narita airport yesterday morning, changing planes on the way back from Sydney to London. Like many geeks people, I like to check frequently to check my e-mail / check the news / see if anyone has insulted me in the Samizdata comments section, so I wandered around the terminal looking for an internet terminal on which to do so. Narita is well served with such terminals, so I was quickly satisfied.

What is interesting here is that there are internet terminals provided by two separate companies here. The ones on the
…continue Free internet terminals at Narita airport, and what this has to do with healthcare funding.