Today In Tech: (LIVEBLOG)

31/05/2012 09:31 | Updated 30 July 2012

Every day in the world of tech there are thousands of stories we'd love to cover, but don't have the time.

And then there are those stories where all you need is a single link, a video or a picture to get the point.

In our liveblog we're collecting all the little nuggets, juicy rumours and interesting stories we don't have space for elsewhere.

Check in throughout the day for the latest updates, and to keep on top of the tech agenda.

If there is something we've missed let us know via our Twitter page, or on Facebook.

01/06/2012 17:28 BST

The Green Lantern Is Gay

DC superhero Green Lantern - or at least his original Alan Scott alter ego, is to come out as gay.

The next issue of Earth 2 will feature the twice-married superhero kissing his boyfriend.

DC bosses "signed off on it without hesitation" according to writer James Robinson.

green lantern gay

01/06/2012 17:18 BST

Vodafone Festival Charging Truck's New Palm Reading Security Tech


The Vodafone charging truck you know and love from the summer's big festivals has some cool new tech inside it: palm-based security.

No, that's not a reference to the defunct maker of Pres and Treos, it's a new type of security system which will read the veins in your hand to make sure you - and only you - can get your phone when it's fully charged.

Take it away Vodafone:

"Fresh from its winter refit, the Vodafone VIP recharge truck is now ready to roll for this summer’s music festivals. ... The Vodafone VIP recharge truck is capable of charging the batteries of 2,000 mobile devices at the same time and for Vodafone customers it will be completely free to use at seven of the most popular festivals this year.

One of the biggest innovations this year is the introduction of revolutionary Palm Vein Readers, a unique security system that guarantees that any mobile put on charge can only be claimed by the person who dropped it off.

The technology works by scanning a customer’s palm with infrared light, creating a unique biometric template known as a ‘Vein Map’ that is then assigned to that person’s phone before it is stored in a secure locker. Once charged, the phone can only be claimed by the person who scanned their hand, eliminating the risk of lost or stolen phones."

01/06/2012 14:22 BST

SIM Cards Shrink Again: New Standard Agreed

ETSI has decided on the new standard form factor for the SIM card, which 40% smaller than the current smallest design.

From ETSI:

At its 55th meeting held on 31 May and 1 June 2012 in Osaka, Japan, ETSI's Smart Card Platform Technical Committee agreed a new form factor for the UICC, popularly known as the SIM card.

Today's SIM card designs take up a significant amount of space inside a mobile device. This space is more and more valuable in today's handsets which deliver an ever increasing number of features.

The fourth form factor (4FF) card will be 40% smaller than the current smallest SIM card design, at 12.3mm wide by 8.8mm high, and 0.67mm thick. It can be packaged and distributed in a way that is backwards compatible with existing SIM card designs. The new design will offer the same functionality as all current SIM cards.

01/06/2012 10:09 BST

Nintendo Launches Film-Making Contest With BFI

Nintendo has announced a film-making competition with the BFI.

Contestants have to use the 3D camera built into the 3DS to make short clips that "capture the imagination and showcase the still-evolving art of 3D videography".

Check out the release below.

Under this exciting new partnership the BFI and Nintendo are launching a short film-making competition using the 3D video recorder built in to the Nintendo 3DS. Entrants are encouraged to use the innovative technology of the Nintendo 3DS to create short films that capture the imagination and showcase the still-evolving art of 3D videography, one of the major innovations to the entertainment industry of the last decade. The winner will have the opportunity to have their work shown to some of the most prominent people in the film industry at the Nintendo Gala screening at the 56th BFI London Film Festival In Partnership With American Express in October 2012.

In addition to this ground-breaking competition and as part of their wider cultural partnership Nintendo and the BFI are working together on a number of exciting new 3D content projects, details of which will be revealed in due course.

Nintendo UK Managing Director David Yarnton said of the partnership: "We are extremely excited to be working with the BFI to provide a platform for future 3D film-making talent to showcase their work."

BFI Chief Executive, Amanda Nevill commented: “The priority for the BFI is all about the future – supporting new ideas and innovative thinking – which is why we are so thrilled to enter into this new partnership with Nintendo, an organisation at the forefront of the games industry.

01/06/2012 09:36 BST

XKCD: The Problem With Time Machines

Today's XKCD covers one of the most obvious use-cases of the time machine: killing Hitler.

Go to XKCD for the punchline.

See also Jason's 'I KIlled Adolf Hitler' for longer ruminations on the subject..

01/06/2012 09:25 BST

The Galaxy S3: The UK's Most Popular Phone?

The comparison website has just sent out a press release claiming the Samsung Galaxy SIII, released this week, is the UK's most popular phone.

Based on "live searches and sales" - basically what people looked for on uSwitch and some other sites - the S3 "toppled" the iPhone 4S, the press release said.

Details about the methodology are few - and this seems to be more of a quick stat than a long-term study.

It's interesting, of course - but if the S3 is still top of the charts after the release-week hype and presales have died down, then we'll be really surprised.

The release said:

There was barely time for Apple to take the balloons down before it was toppled from the number one mobile phone spot, according to the latest Mobile Tracker[1].The iPhone 4S was swiftly replaced by new favourite the Samsung Galaxy S III, which now ranks as the UK’s most popular handset based on live searches and sales.

The iPhone 4S had waited six long months to steal the crown from long-standing favourite, the Samsung Galaxy S II, which had been at number one for 11 consecutive months. But Apple’s star phone only had one month of glory thanks to the hype surrounding Samsung’s launch of the S III in May.

Hotly anticipated to take on Apple, the Samsung Galaxy S III has turned out to be an “iPhone killer”. As well as combining the largest Super AMOLED HD Android screen on the market with a super-fast quad core processor, it boasts an array of features – including S Voice and unique eye-tracking technology that ensures the screen never dims while you are looking at it – that have proved a hit with users.

The HTC One Series handsets continue to capture the imagination of smartphone fans, with the compact One V a new entry at number nine, alongside the One X and One S in 4th and 8th positions respectively. With deals starting from as little as £7 per month[2], the One V is powered by the latest version of Android, complete with support for all the usual social networking, games, and music applications expected from a smartphone, only at a much lower price.

Sony’s first ever own-brand phone, the Xperia S, is still in the chart, but it’s had a bad month, falling three places in the top ten. But the iPhone 4 holds its own, rising one place to a comfortable 7th, proving that price is still king for many mobile customers who simply aren’t fussed about having the latest model.

Meanwhile, the popularity of Samsung’s Galaxy range is still clear to see, with the affordable Galaxy Ace and phone-tablet hybrid, the Galaxy Note in 5th and 6th places respectively.

31/05/2012 15:51 BST

How Video Games Were Made

This video is doing the rounds today: how video games were made back in the 80s.

31/05/2012 13:34 BST

BRA Algorithm?

All the news about the algorithm designed to make the perfect bra might be a bit of an issue for one researcher.

Stephen Schuster's algorithm for simulated bounded rational agents (AKA) BRA from 2010, is turning up a lot in Google searches for the underwear-related businesses created by two Microsoft researchers.

Sorry, Stephen.

31/05/2012 13:25 BST

Intel/Orange Phone: Not Everyone Is Convinced

The Orange San Diego, an Intel-based phone named after the UK network launching it, looks to be an impressive - if inexpensive - device. Today it was announced it will launch June 6 in the UK.


But Ernest Doku, technology expert at, commenting on the phone, doesn't sound too convinced.

"This collaboration between Orange and Intel has produced a seriously impressive phone, packed with innovative features, while attempting to avoid compromising on users’ favoured features and functionality. One of the standout features is a two week standby life, which is unheard of in the mobile handset industry.

"The fact that the San Diego is the first smartphone to be powered by Intel technology will certainly prick up a few ears in the industry - and it will be interesting to see how it performs, not just in terms of raw horsepower, but when compared to the likes of more established names in the smartphone market...

“But in a world where the speed and power of smartphone stars like HTC’s One X and the Galaxy S3 have garnered critical acclaim and generated consumer excitement alike, it remains to be seen whether a bargain price and Intel’s brand on the box will be enough for the San Diego to outgun the competition."

31/05/2012 10:55 BST

LOVEFiLM Launches HD Streaming

LOVEFiLM has announced it will now offer HD streaming.

HD instant movies will be available from Friday.

On PC or Mac subscribers can expect full 1080p high definition, while Xbox 360 or Samsung and LG connected HDTVs get 720p.

Jim Buckle, MD of LOVEFiLM, said:

"LOVEFiLM is the number one consumer choice for subscription film and TV series streaming in Europe. The introduction of HD quality content further strengthens the offering and marks another key milestone in delivering our members the best possible service with exceptional value."

For 720p streaming members will require a minimum internet connection of 4mbps, while those with connections of 12mbps or higher will enjoy full 1080p where possible, LOVEFiLM said.

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