Round-Up: The technology you missed this week

Become an asteroid hunter



Space aficionados Nasa want you to help them find asteroids – from your computer. They’re offering $35,000 in incentives to those who can develop an algorithms that can be used to identify asteroids. It would like members of the public to help develop code that can spot asteroids that are close to the planet in images which have been taken from telescopes based here on the ground.

Source: Nasa

Print yourself rich


From medieval armour for Barbie dolls to shoes it seems like almost everything can be 3D printed these days. Therefore it’s slightly unsurprising that the potential for 3D printing in the UK has a potential to be worth £2.9bn. New research has show that more than five million adults would be prepared to spend more than £500 on a 3D printer that they can use around their home.


Google’s superfast internet dream is gaining speed


The web giant wants to make superfast internet a thing and it’s not giving up on it. Analysts have said the company’s plans should be taken seriously after it invited 34 major cities to take part in the Google Fibre project – which will see gigabit connectivity.

Source: Market Watch 


Rockin’ in the crowdfunded world


Singer-songwriter Neil Young has raised $3m dollars on Kickstarter for his Pono music player. The Pono, which promises to play FLAC files, smashed through its funding target of $800,000 in an incredibly short space of time and has numerous celebrity backers. The FLAC files are lossless and should play music of a higher quality than other media players that are in the market.  Those who pledged more than $5,000 will receive a  VIP dinner and listening session with Young himself.

Source: The Inquirer 

Cats take Tim by surprise



Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week then you would have heard it was the world wide web’s 25th birthday. To celebrate the founder of the web, Tim Berners-Lee, said a bill of rights is needed to protect the independence of the web and the rights of its users. He also later said that the thing he was most surprised about the web’s use was the number of cat pictures which have been posted online.

Source: The Guardian

3D printing image courtesy of Campus Party Brazil via Flickr / Creative Commons.

The best of Tim Berners-Lee’s no holds barred Reddit AMA

The creator of the world wide web has been surprised by the amount of cats on the internet he revealed, as he took question from web users 25 years after creating the platform.

Time Berners-Lee, who was born in London, UK, answered queries on what has surprised him most about the web, what our future impressions of the internet will be and what will it be like in 25 years.

The probing was part of a Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything’ (AMA) this week, as his creation celebrated its birthday.

Berners-Lee started off his AMA setting the scene from 25 years ago.

He said: “On March 12, 1989 I submitted my proposal for the World Wide Web. 25 years later, I’m amazed to see the many great things it’s achieved – transforming the way we talk, share and create. As we celebrate the Web’s 25th birthday (see, I want us all to think about its future and ask how we can help make it a truly open, secure and creative platform – available to everyone.”

Here are some of the best questions and answers:

Q: What was one of the things you never thought the internet would be used for, but has actually become one of the main reasons people use the internet?

A: Kittens.

Q: Edward Snowden: Hero or Villain?

A: Because he: had no other alternative; engaged as a journalist / with a journalist to be careful of how what was released; provided an important net overall benefit to the world.

I think he should be protected, and we should have ways of protecting people like him. Because we can try to design perfect systems of government, and they will never be perfect, and when they fail, then the whistleblower may be all that saves society.

Q: What web browser do you use?

A: My default browser at the moment is Firefox. I also use Safari, Opera and Chrome each a reasonable amount. Firefox has the Tabulator plugin which does neat things with linked data.

If I am running a latest version of that (I check it straight out of github) which can be unstable, I’ll use one of the others for things which need to be stable. Joe Presbrey ported the plugin to Chrome too BTW

Q: Why does no one mention Robert Cailliau anymore when it comes to the www? Didn’t both of you invent it?

A: Robert didn’t invent it. I invented it by myself, and coded it up on a NeXT, but Robert was the first convert to it, and a massive supporter.He got resources together at CERN, helped find students, gave talks. He also later wrote some code for a Mac browser called “Samba”. He also put a lot of energy into persuading the CERN directorate that CERN should declare that it would not charge royalties for the WWW, which it did April 1993.

Q: What impact, if any, do you think digital currencies might have on how value is sent over the Internet?

A: I think that it is important to have lots of different ways getting money to creative people on the net.

So if we can have micropayment user interfaces which make it easy for me to pay people for stuff they write, play, perform, etc, in small amounts, then I hope that could be a way allowing people to actually make a serious business out of it. Flattr I found an interesting move in that direction.

Q: Do you think in the (not too distant) future we’ll look back and think ourselves lucky to have witnessed a neutral, free, and uncensored world wide web?

A: I think it is up to us. I’m not guessing, I’m hoping. Yes, I can imagine that all to easily. If ordinary web users are not sufficiently aware of threats and get involved and if necessary take to the streets like for SOPA and PIPA and ACTA. On balance? I am optimistic.