Current Events and Links
Later news articles: After Dec. 31, 2011
Future Smart Phones
Dec. 28, 2011 -
Smart phones have become geniuses compared to their forefathers (the first cell phones from a few years ago). 2012 should be the year that more smart phones will be sold than personal computers. Researchers say they will continue to make incredible progress in the near future. Here are some of their predictions:
NFC - Near Field Communications - "Pay with your phone"
Some smart phones already have this feature that will not only allow the user to pay for things by waving the phone near the sales terminal, but also keep track of their financial transactions. Soon most or all new phones will have this capability, eventually making debit and credit cards obsolete.
LTE - Long Term Evolution - This is the description of newer, faster "generations" of mobile service (3G- 3rd Generation and 4G - 4th Generation - also called LTE Advanced).
GPU - Graphics Processing Unit - This is additional computing power that will enhance games, photos, video editing, and video phone service.
Multiple cameras and greater photo resolution - 12 megapixels, larger screens, and high resolution - 1280 x 720 pixels, and going up!
Multiple keyboards and voice recognition becoming more efficient - The current ability of some smart phones to recognize voice commands and respond to them verbally will advance to the point that the phone will become a personal assistant.
4-core processors next year and 8-core soon - Memory capability of 16 gigabytes is available now and it will grow as needed. More data storage will be going to "cloud" storage on the Internet.
Ability to process, store, print and transmit all necessary office documents and personal files.
Continued Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) functionality for mapping, navigation, even knowing where family members are.
More than a million helpful applications - free or relatively inexpensive
Prophetic Implications of the Smart Phone
Prophecy students know that in the End Times there will be a final evil world government with a dictator whom the Bible calls "The Beast." At the midpoint of a seven-year period of tribulation, this despot will have an image of himself erected in the newly re-built Temple in Jerusalem, and he will require people to worship him and to receive the "Mark of the Beast" which one must have to be able to buy or sell anything.
The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. - Revelation 13:15-17
The capabilities of smart phones, and some of their problems, would make this economic dictatorship plausible.
Between smartphones and the exploding culture of social networking (Facebook, Google, etc.) there has been a loss of privacy for many users. Pictures taken with smart phones may be tagged with GPS data that can be shown as a street address. The unintended result is that strangers will know where the picture was taken.
It was also revealed recently that millions of smart phones have software installed that enables phone companies to track their every move - from place to place. It also transmits every keystroke and button press. What might never be known is what other secret "back door" features programmers will have included to allow invasion of our privacy.
There is an even bigger problem. Once the smart phone has all our personal data and becomes our universal commerce device, and maybe even has a large amount of money stored electronically, what will happen if we lose it? Would someone else be able to take over our finances and have access to all our secret information? Losing one's phone would be worse than losing one's or one's car.
The solution will be to make the phone useless to anyone but its rightful owner. This could be done with a tiny Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) device implanted in the owner. Thus the smart phone would not work unless it was near its owner. Meanwhile, the phone could be located by its built-in GPS device. And what criminal would want to take the phone if he couldn't use it, and it leads the police to his door?
In the future, when the "Mark of the Beast" is instituted, people may be willing to have some small device installed that would only allow them to use their own smart phone.
- Source: Ron's Blog
Bill Gates to Build Next-Gen Nuclear Reactors With China
Dec. 7, 2011 - Bill Gates is having discussions with China to jointly develop a new kind of nuclear reactor
similar to the TerraPower project he promoted in his home state of Washington.
- "The idea is to be very low cost, very safe and generate very little waste," said the billionaire during a talk at
China's Ministry of Science and Technology.
- Source: Fox
Tens of Millions of Smartphones Come With Spyware Preinstalled, Security Analyst Says
Dec. 1, 2011 - Some 100 million Android smart phones have software installed that enables phone companies
to track their every move - from place to place. It also transmits every keystroke and button press. Chet Wisniewski
of security firm Sophos asked,
It is possible that Apple iPhones have the same kind of software installed.
- Why do they need to know when I'm logging into Bank of America, when I'm accessing my password?
It's a different level of snooping.
- Source: Fox
Will GPS Tracking Concerns Lead to Smartphone, Website Changes?
Nov. 15, 2011 - In a case being considered by the Supreme Court, the law seems to prohibit police from using
GPS technology to track the movement of drugs, but the defense team explains that ordinary citizens are being tracked
from place to place by businesses through their own smart phones...
- ...following you on vacation, recording what you buy, when you go to your child's school, when you walk
through the park, when you go to the doctor's office...
- Source: Fox
Steve Jobs dies at 56; Apple's co-founder transformed computers and culture
Oct. 6, 2011 - Apple Computer announced the death of its co-founder Steve Jobs yesterday.
Read his fascinating story wtitten by David Sarno and Christopher Goffard. They say, "In the annals of modern
American entrepreneur-heroes, few careers traced a more mythic sweep." They summarize his life and his achievements
including his computer and smart phone inventions (The Apple I, the Apple II, Macintosh, iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad)
and his development of innovations in the music (iTunes) and movie (Pixar) industries.
- "We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today," Apple said. "Steve's brilliance,
passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives.
The world is immeasurably better because of Steve."
- Source: Los Angeles Times
- Remembering Steve Jobs - Ron's Blog
Christians on Steve Jobs: Apple Co-Founder Helped 'Bring Gospel to Our Generation' - The Christian Post
Steve Jobs, 1955-2011 - Al Mohler - Crosswalk
- The Gospel of Steve Jobs
- Andy Crouch - Christianity Today
- Steve Jobs' Journey from Hippie to High-Powered CEO
How computers will soon get under our skin
Aug. 12, 2011 - Scientists from various universities have collaborated to produce a new type of electronic
device that is thinner than a human hair, about the size of a postage stamp, and extremely flexible. It can be placed on a portion
of a human's skin, and it sticks by electrostatic forces rather than glue. This new "epidermal electronic system"
doesn't need wires or bulky power supplies.
- The development could mark a new era in consumer electronics. The technology could be used for applications
ranging from medical diagnosis to covert military operations.
- Source: The Independent - UK
Technology Reflects God
Jul. 16, 2011 - Kevin Kelly, the founder of Wired magazine, came to Christ in 1979 when he was locked out
of a hostel in Jerusalem and spent the night sleeping on a stone slab in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. He has coined
the word "technium" to describe the effect of technological advances on culture. He believes that creative ideas are not
random. He says, "When we try to increase the options in the world, we are part of something godly." In other words, he
thinks that progress reflects God. Technological advances can be (and are) used for evil purposes, but overall, they
are a positive charge of goodness. Ironically, Kelly doesn't use a smart phone, and does not get involved in most
new technologies. He says:
But Kelly, and Wired Magazine presents the pool of technologies that people can choose from, so that they
can find and use the tools they need to accomplish their missions.
- I seek to find those technologies that assist me in my mission to express love and reflect God in the world,
and then disregard the rest.
- Source: Christianity Today
Facebook Turns on Facial Recognition, Sparking Fresh Privacy Complaints
Jun. 8, 2011 -
- Facebook has quietly expanded the availability of technology to automatically identify people in photos,
renewing concerns about the privacy practices of the world's top social networking service.
- Source: Fox
Visa To Launch New 'Digital Wallet' In Fall
May 2, 2011 - This fall Visa Inc. will launch a new "digital wallet" that will enable people to pay for
goods and services through their smartphones. The phones will be equipped with "near-field communications technology,"
Eventually the same smartphones will allow users to buy products online without having to enter credit card information.
- NFC allows people to wave their card or phone in front of a scanner to pay for goods and services. NFC is
already found in cards, and can be accepted at drugstore chains and gas stations.
Google's Nexus S already has an NFC chip and the and latest Android software for mobile phones supports this
- Source: Wall Street Journal
Karlsruhe scientists transfer 700 DVDs of data in one second
May 26, 2011 -
The scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) were able to send data over 31 miles on a single
laser beam at a speed of 26 terabits per second. That speed would allow transmission of up to 400 million
telephone calls per second.
- German scientists have broken a speed record, sending 700 DVDs' worth of data via a single laser beam, in one second.
- Source: The Local - DE
Microchip-Embedded Credit Cards Coming To America At Long Last
April 15, 2011 - After a strong debut in the 1990's "Smart Cards" with embedded microchips were ignored in
the U.S. but became normal in Europe. U.S. consumers still use the "magnetic stripe" cards, but find themselves at
a disadvantage in Europe where their cards may not be accepted. Now two companies -- Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase
& Co. -- have announced plans to offer these EMV cards (See Wikipedia definition below) to their frequent travellers.
The writer of the article comments that this may only be a temporary measure for American companies because of the
new advances in "Near Field Communication" (NFC) devices such as cards, smart phones, and other devices with
embedded transponders that allow contactless transactions.
- Source: Fast Company
- EMV - Wikipedia -"EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and VISA, a global standard for
inter-operation of integrated circuit cards (IC cards or "chip cards") and IC card capable point of
sale (POS) terminals and automated teller machines (ATMs), for authenticating credit and debit card
- Near Field Communication - Wikipedia
Google's Eric Schmidt predicts the future of computing - and he plans to be involved
Feb., 2011 - Schmidt explains the changes at the top of Google and his vision of what the world of computing
will look like in 50 years’ time.
- Source: Telegraph - UK
The e-book is the future
Feb. 3, 2011
- Last week, CNET reported that Amazon is now selling more e-books for its Kindle reader than it is selling
traditional paperback books.
The end of credit cards is coming
Jan. 25, 2011 - Credit cards haven't changed since the age of vinyl records. Recently they have made progress
toward "contactless" transactions with imbedded transponders. But now, cell phones are destined to take over the
job of paying the bill.
Some iPhone, Blackberry, or Android users are already able to use their phones to buy hot dogs at the ball park or
make purchases at their local Starbucks. Experts predict that by the end of this year people will consider it normal
to use their phone to make purchases. In time credit cards will be phased out as an obsolete technology.
- Mobile payments are expected to hit $214 billion by 2015. Transactions made by scanning a mobile phone at
the register are forecast to reach $22 billion -- up from "practically none" last year.
As a "mobile wallet" the phone will let consumers store multiple cards, make payments with the wave of their
phone, check balances, and use rewards points at the point of sale. In time it will also include insurance cards,
driver's licenses, and whatever else one might keep in a wallet.
- Source: CNN
Social networking under fresh attack as tide of cyber-scepticism sweeps US
Jan. 22, 2011 - A number of recent books have questioned the effect of social networking, googling, and
other hi-tech methods that actually isolate people from reality.
MIT professor Sherry Turkle explains in her new book, Alone Together, that
According to The Shallows by Nicholas Carr, use of the Internet is altering the way people think, making us less
capable of digesting large and complex amounts of information, such as books and magazine articles.
- Technology is threatening to dominate our lives and make us less human. Under the illusion
of allowing us to communicate better, it is actually isolating us from real human interactions in a cyber-reality
that is a poor imitation of the real world.
Others have complained that "The Social Network" movie portrays Facebook as a concept that was created by
people who failed to fit in with the real world.
Other current books that are questioning the benefit of our Internet habits include:
- The Net Delusion by Evgeny Morozov
- The Dumbest Generation by Emory University professor Mark Bauerlein
- We Have Met the Enemy by Daniel Aks
- Source: Guardian - UK
The Gospel of Steve Jobs
Jan. 24, 2011 - Andy Crouch explains Apple founder Steve Jobs' secular gospel of hope, and shows how it
falls short of the true Gospel of Christ.
- Source: Christianity Today
Earlier news articles: Before Jan. 1, 2011
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