Pixar honours Steve Jobs

07 Nov 2012

Pixar has named its headquarters' main building after technology luminary Steve Jobs.

Many know Jobs as the man behind the technology juggernaut Apple. However, Jobs also played a major role in building up the studio responsible for the Toy Story trilogy.

Pixar got started as its own company when Jobs invested in the studio in 1986. Before then the studio was just a division of LucasArts where it worked on special effect for such films as Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Jobs' personal interest in the company was said to be a driving force in getting the company to make such films as Bug's Life. His work with Pixar employee John Lasseter was considered a major factor in turning the company into a successful movie studio.

Now in honour of his work, Jobs is getting a Pixar building named after him. According to the Pixar Times, Pixar headquarters' main building is now called "The Steve Jobs Building".

The new building name is a reminder of just how much of a business mastermind Jobs really was. No matter what you think of the man personally, its hard to argue that he wasn't a clever businessman.

Whether it was iPhones or Toy Story, Jobs was a genius when it came to finding products which were on the trail to success. The only question now is: Are Apple's current crop of executives able to guide Apple now that Jobs has passed?

President Obama’s re-election smashes Twitter records

07 Nov 2012

President Obama hugs Michelle after reelection to the White House

When president Obama was elected in 2008 many cited his use of social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter - then still a growing site treated with bemusement by many - as a key strategy in winning the race to the White House.

Come 2012 and Twitter is now a far more established and respected medium, with candidates in both parties using the site to drum up interest in their campaigns.

With all eyes on the elections on Tuesday night it was no surprise the site was a key location for many following the results as they rolled in across the country, with users of the site smashing existing Twitter records in the process as the wrote about the unfolding events.

"As the results of the election were called by news organisations, the conversation on Twitter surged, hitting a peak of 327,452 tweets per minute," wrote Adam Sharp, head of government, news and social innovation at Twitter.

"Before President Obama took the stage to address the nation, he shared a special update on Twitter. As thousands of supporters cheered in Chicago, more than 455,000 (and counting) retweeted his celebratory message."

At the time of publication the message has now been retweeted some 531,000 times, underlying the huge reach of Twitter to spread messages. It has also set a new record for number of times a message has been retweeted.

Meanwhile the same photo has received over two million likes on Facebook.

Twitter was also used by other leading world leaders to congratulate Obama on his victory, including the UK's prime minister David Cameron.

No doubt this will be followed up with a good-old fashioned phone call on the red telephone linking the Oval Office to Number 10 Downing Street.

Sergey Brin calls on America's future president to leave his political party

07 Nov 2012


The elections are still in full swing as of this writing. But if Sergey Brin has his way then whoever is elected president will drop his political party once taking office.

Google's co-founder, and potential cyborg, said in a recent Google+ posting that whoever gets elected to the White House should drop their political affiliation. Brin said that partisanship is killing democracy and preventing politicians from getting things done.

"My plea to the victors -- whoever they might be: please withdraw from your respective parties and govern as independents in name and in spirit," Brin said on his Google+ posting.

"It is probably the biggest contribution you can make to the country."

Excessively partisan politics is often a criticism in many democracies. It's an especially strong criticism in the US where the current two-party system leads to some disenchanted voters, like Brin.

While Google chief executive clearly takes issue with the system, his posting also reads like it's from a person who fully plans to vote. In the posting Brin said he was "dreading" the election. The Google co-founder even jokingly opined that his vote is only worth one-third as much as an Alaskan's (a clear jab at the US Electoral College).

In related news, President Barrack Obama took to Reddit again to drum up voter support. President Obama released a brief message to Reddit users thanking them for their previous Q&A and encouraging them to go vote.

Chrome update promises users better battery life

07 Nov 2012

Google's latest update to the Chrome browser will give users up to 25 percent more battery life, the company has claimed.

The update uses GPU-accelerated video decoding to divert most of the power being used during video playback to a computers graphics processor. Google says the method increases battery life by allowing computers to use less CPU computing power during video playback.

"In our tests, the battery lasted 25 percent longer when GPU-accelerated video decoding was enabled," said Google software engineer Ami Fischman in a blog post.

"Now Chrome users on Windows will experience longer battery life so they don't get cut off while watching their favourite YouTube video on repeat."

While the extended battery life sounds great, it should be noted that it only works for Windows users with dedicated GPUs. If you're a notebook user using a GPU that shares its processing power you are out of luck.

In addition to the extended battery life, the Chrome update also comes with Do Not Track support. The controversial feature inserts a line of code into the browser which allows users to send a message to websites telling them that they don't want to be tracked by cookies.

Do Not Track was announced for Chrome last September but only became official with the latest update.

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