24 Apr 2014
Lost Andy Warhol art has been found on a collection of old floppy disks that were used by the artist. Andy Warhol may seem like an ideal Apple user, but back in the 1980s he aligned himself with Commodore and its Amiga 1000.
The artist took to the stage at the launch of the machine and painted, on it, an image of Debbie Harry. That image and footage of it being created was preserved, but other Amiga daubs by Warhol were believed to have been lost. Until now.
The disks were not actually lost, they were in the hands of the Andy Warhol Museum, but they were gathering dust. It is the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Computer Club's Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry that blew the dust of the disks and freed them from the archives.
The results have been posted to the Studio's website and show a number of common Warhol themes, including a certain brand of soup.
"What's amazing is that by looking at these images, we can see how quickly Warhol seemed to intuit the essence of what it meant to express oneself, in what then was a brand-new medium: the digital," said New York-based artist Cory Arcangel, who kicked off the hunt.
Twenty-eight image files were found on the disks, and each had promising names, such as marilyn1.pic, however they were in a format that could not be opened. The CMU reverse-engineered the format and revealed the disks' content. Of the 28 images, 11 bear the artists signature.
As Apple and Samsung continue to fight it out in courtrooms around the world, the iPhone maker has shown it is willing to use whatever tactics it can to score a cheap point over its rival.
In printed newspaper adverts, such as the one on the back of The Times on Tuesday (pictured left), the iPhone maker has touted its green credentials through its efforts to use renewable energy sources and reduce the use of harmful materials under the pointed statement of: “There are some ideas we want every company to copy”.
The ad continues: “There’s one area where we actually encourage others to imitate us. Because when everyone makes the environment a priority, we all benefit.”
No doubt Samsung executives and their legal counsels spluttered into their coffee when they saw the ad, which will only add another level of frisson to the proceedings currently taking place in a California courtroom.
The ad forms part of Apple’s marketing push for its green efforts to coincide with Earth Day, celebrated on Tuesday, with the company promoting a new ‘Better’ mantra, as vice president of environmental initiatives Lisa Jackson explained.
“We aim to create not just the best products in the world, but the best products for the world. We have a long way to go, but we are proud of our progress. For example, every one of our data centres is powered entirely by clean sources such as solar, wind and geothermal energy,” she said.
“So whenever you download a song, update an app or ask Siri a question, the energy Apple uses is provided by nature.”
Even head honcho Tim Cook lent his time to the push, with his dulcet tones providing the vocals for a new video that promotes all these efforts in Apple's typically stylistic manner. Hopefully the chaps at the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) don't see it, or else one more screen could be headed for the landfill.
The University of Bristol has made a computer display from a curtain of mist, which allows users to reach through fog screens and move images around with their hands.
Due to be unveiled later this month, the "MisTable" technology was shown off in a video embedded below. The invention includes a conventional interactive table with personal screens made using fog, Kinect and a Leap Motion Controller.
Professor Sriram Subramanian and Dr Diego Martinez Plasencia from the University of Bristol's Department of Computer Science, who are leading the research, claim that the development could change the way people interact and collaborate in the future.
"These personal screens are both see-through and reach-through. The see-through feature provides direct line of sight of the personal screen and the elements behind it on the tabletop," the university said on its website. "The reach-through feature allows the user to switch from interacting with the personal screen to reaching through it to interact with the tabletop or the space above it."
The personal screen allows a range of customisations and novel interactions such as presenting personal 2D content on the screen, 3D content above the tabletop, or supplementing and renewing actual objects differently for each user.
"MisTable broadens the potential of conventional tables in many novel and unique ways. The personal screen provides direct line of sight and access to the different interaction spaces," said Subramanian.
"Users can be aware of each other's actions and can easily switch between interacting with the personal screen to the tabletop surface or the interaction section. This allows users to break in or out of shared tasks and switch between 'individual' and 'group' work."
Subramanian noted that users can also move content freely between these interaction spaces, allowing them to share it with others or to get exclusive ownership over it. Having personal screens allows each user to customise their own view.
Written by Lee Bell
It is now eight years since the world was given the ability to share what was on its mind in 140-character snippets. Since then world leaders, pop stars, sporting heroes and top tech talents have all joined the bandwagon.
To celebrate eight years of success Twitter has created a nifty tool to help you easily find your first ever post on the site. V3 thought it would be fun to use the site to find out what some of the tech luminaries had to say for themselves. Some are more inspiring than others.
Bill Gates was snappy and to the point.
"Hello World." Hard at work on my foundation letter - publishing on 1/25.— Bill Gates (@BillGates) January 19, 2010
Oracle's Larry Ellison was his usual bullish self.
Oracle's got 100+ enterprise applications live in the #cloud today, SAP's got nothin' but SuccessFactors until 2020— Larry Ellison (@larryellison) June 6, 2012
Apple CEO Tim Cook was late to the party and in typical business mode.
Visited Retail Stores in Palo Alto today. Seeing so many happy customers reminds us of why we do what we do.— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) September 20, 2013
Security hero Eugene Kaspersky set about offering pearls of wisdom on staying safe online.
Talk to your kids about privacy in social networks http://on.fb.me/lNFpvq Better late than never— Eugene Kaspersky (@e_kaspersky) May 13, 2011
We're not sure what was going on when Sir Tim Berners-Lee first posted, but as he invented the web, we'll forgive him.
Ooops confusing user interfxce. And no phones on on stage with radiomikes.— Tim Berners-Lee (@timberners_lee) October 22, 2009
We here at V3 can't criticise too much, though, as our first effort was hardly the stuff of legend. Still, we like to think we've got a little better since then.
Researcher slaps Apple with 'toxic computer' claim: Shaun Nichols in San Francisco, A French researcher cl.. http://tinyurl.com/4t7cjz— V3 (@V3_co_uk) October 2, 2008
Our favourite, though, is Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who kicked-off with a message about dancing and has never looked back.
Rare massage (for me), then dance practice. No pain, no gain. Awkward but fun, this dancing. I still can't do Macarena.— Steve Wozniak (@stevewoz) March 7, 2009
Happy birthday Twitter. Here's to the next eight years.
Apple has always prided itself on its uniqueness. Usually this has related to its products' design and software features, but this week the company's unique nature was shown by its legal department, which mounted fresh legal action claiming that Samsung owes it $40 for every Galaxy handset it sells.
The iPhone maker made the claim during a hearing at the US District Court, Northern District of California. The case claims recent Samsung smartphones, such as the Galaxy S3, infringe on five critical patents owned by Apple and is due to be heard on 31 March.
The patents relate to Samsung phones' data tapping, unified search, asynchronous data synchronisation, slide-to-unlock feature and auto-complete technologies. As a side note, during a previous case with Motorola, Apple claimed one of the same patents involved in its new Samsung offensive was worth just 60 cents per phone.
The move is atypical to most technology companies, which are currently moving to diffuse the ongoing, never-ending cycle of patent claims raging between them.
Samsung has already signed licensing deals with Google, Cisco and IBM, promising to play nice with them when it comes to patents. Even HTC and Nokia have joined the game, signing a cross-patent licence agreement in February.
V3 welcomed the deals, viewing them as a sign that smartphone makers were finally going to stop quibbling about who copied who, and re-focus on creating better phones.
But our hopes were short lived, as Apple's move against Samsung shows that even though it risks painting itself as the villain, it has no intention of making peace with its competitors.
This is particularly true when you consider Apple's past successes in the courtroom. Before its latest claim, the court ruled that Samsung owes $930m in damages to Apple, which isn't small change by any means.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
The computer used by Sir Tim Berners-Lee to write his proposal for the World Wide Web has been brought to the UK and is on display at the Science Museum. The NeXT cube has been brought over from Cern in Switzerland as part of celebrations to marks 25 years of the web.
Berners-Lee wrote his proposal at the machine in 1989, finally submitting it to the world on 12 March, with the terminal also acting as the world's first web server.
V3 went to the unveiling at the Science Museum to take a closer look at the machine and took some pictures of the historic piece of computing.
As you can see, Sir Tim's note to other Cern members warned them not to touch his machine as it was acting as a web server. The sticker is somewhat worn and torn, but it's still going strong. Credit must go to the pen makers too, as the writing has barely faded at all.
The impact of Cern on the world can't be overstated. While it may spend much of its time hunting for hidden particles, it's also the birthplace of the web, as noted by the rather stylish ownership marks stuck on the various items Sir Tim used when he was working there.
The NeXT computer may be a thing of the past now, but we can't help thinking its colourful logo and square design would actually look right at home in the world of Android and iOS 7 interfaces.
Ultimately the machine is not much to look at, but it is incredible to think that from just this one machine an almost unfathomable amount of change, disruption and revolution has occurred. And it was all given to use free of charge by a man named Tim.
The Science Museum will now display the historic machine to the public. In the autumn it will become one of the key exhibits in the new £15.6m Information Age gallery where it will sit alongside other major exhibits such as the first transatlantic telegraph equipment used in 1858, the BBC’s first radio transmitter 2LO and a giant tuning coil from the Rugby Radio Station.
The appearance of PRISM whistleblower Edward Snowden at any event is always going to cause controversy. However, turning up to speak at an event happening in the US – albeit on a satellite video feed – meant Snowden's appearance at the SXSW conference in Austin caused a storm.
The controversy began before Snowden even had a chance to open his mouth, when it was revealed that US congressman Mike Pompeo had pressured conference producers to retract their offer for the whistleblower to speak.
Specifically, Pompeo sent a letter to the organisers that said: "Mr Snowden's appearance would stamp the imprimatur of your fine organisation on a man who ill deserves such accolades. Rewarding Mr Snowden's behavior in this way encourages the very lawlessness he exhibited.
"Such lawlessness – and the ongoing intentional distortion of truth that he and his media enablers have engaged in since the release of these documents – undermines the very fairness and freedom that SXSW and the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] purport to foster. I strongly urge you to withdraw this invitation."
Putting aside the question of whether you agree with Pompeo's argument, for us here at V3 the really scary part is quite how removed it was from the opinions of most technologists at the conference. The moment he appeared live on the video feed Snowden was met with a rock star's welcome, with attendees clapping and cheering. One particularly enamoured attendee even wolf whistled.
The divide in opinion was further showcased during the question and answer session. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the web, extended his thanks to Snowden for leaking PRISM documents to the press.
This proves our worst fears are coming to pass and the PRISM scandal is causing a gradual, but increasingly large, rift between technologists and government agencies.
As we noted in our New Year PRISM feature, this is a terrible state of events that can only cause more harm than good. On one level this is because the PRISM revelations will undoubtedly damage international trade, with governments fearing that the NSA's far-reaching surveillance powers mean any US company cannot be trusted to handle data. This was already showcased in August 2013 when reports broke that the Chinese government planned to investigate IBM, Oracle and EMC, following concerns that the NSA could be using the firms' technologies for cyber espionage.
It's also bad because it has the potential to undo a lot of the positive work agencies such as the Cabinet Office and GCHQ – which is known to have used PRISM data – have done with the private sector to fight cybercrime.
Since launching the UK Cyber Security Strategy in 2011, the UK government has announced a steady stream of new initiatives designed to increase collaboration between the public and private sectors. The campaigns have had some success, but given the constant flow of new cybercrime campaigns it's clear there is still much to be done, which will require the public and private sectors to continue working together.
This schism shown by Snowden's SXSW appearance indicates that many technologists – and as a result companies – may no longer be quite so happy doing this. As a result, perhaps the most notable is not what Snowden said, but how it demonstrated the growing divide between government agencies and industry.
Here's hoping this isn't lost on the two sides and we can use the SXSW fiasco as a starting point for building bridges and finally have a frank discussion about mass surveillance and what needs to be done to repair the relationship between the public and private sector.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson
For years data protection watchdog the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) was regarded as a toothless tiger.
It sounded big and scary and delivered stern warnings about the importance of data protection, but it could do very little about any data breaches, except perhaps wag its finger.
Then in 2010 everything changed. It was given fining powers to the tune of £500,000 and since then it has levied over £4m against organisations. But some may now consider it something of a heartless hound.
The latest to fall foul of the ICO’s desire for justice is the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS). The charity provides help and guidance for women with an unplanned pregnancy, from abortions to counselling and more besides.
For some its work is contentious and in March 2012 an anti-abortion hacker used his computing skills to wreak havoc on its website, defacing it and stealing details about those who had contacted the charity for help.
The hacker – James Jeffrey – got almost three years in prison as a result of the incident.
As the hack affected personal details of members of the public, the ICO got involved and its investigation found several technical lapses at the BPAS that made the incident worse than it should have been.
The long and short of it is that the BPAS now faces a fine of £200,000 for an incident which, as its CEO Ann Furedi understandably points out, was caused by a hacker who is now almost seeing his actions rewarded.
“We accept that no hacker should have been able to steal our data, but we are horrified by the scale of the fine, which does not reflect the fact that BPAS was a victim of a serious crime by someone opposed to what we do,” she said.
“It is appalling that a hacker who acted on the basis of his opposition to abortion should see his actions rewarded in this way."
Furedi also said the fine was “out of proportion” when compared with others the ICO has handed out, especially when those organisations’ breaches were not caused by criminal behavior.
- Glasgow City Council fined £150,000 after losing 74 unencrypted laptops, including one containing more than 6,000 people's bank records.
- Aberdeen City Council fined £100,000 after a member of staff inadvertently posted data relating to the care of vulnerable children online.
- Islington Council fined £70,000 after details of over 2,000 residents were released online due to a basic misuse of Excel by a staff member.
Even if the BPAS pays its fine early – by the end of March – it still faces paying £160,000, more than any of those listed above.
None of this is to say the ICO has acted unreasonably though: it has to enforce the law and if it encounters incidences of poor data protection – as in this case – it must take a stand so others sit up and take notice. If other firms and charities up their game after seeing a fine being levied, the public are better protected.
Conversely, if it does not issue a fine, it will be seen as weak and unwilling to take a stand, while any organisation that is fined can make a claim to being harmed. A council delivers vital frontline services and a fine will hamper its efforts to do this, it could be argued.
Clearly, this is a controversial case, driven by the scale of the fine. The fact this money will end up in government coffers – having been given to charity – is also questionable, as noted by Stewart Room, partner at law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse.
“The users of the BPAS charity services have high expectations of privacy and any security weakness that could expose them is bound to trouble the regulator,” he said.
“But the financial penalty regime here is moving money from the collection jar direct to The Treasury. Perhaps the cash could be better spent on improving security and data protection at the charity?"
The BPAS is now appealing the fine in what could prove a fascinating case to see if the ICO's desire to fine can be tamed.
By V3's Dan Worth