On a micro-level, our bailed-out banks are still not lending to businesses. They are still not even helping themselves to stage a true recovery. Instead they are endeavouring to rebuild their depleted balance sheets by picking our pockets: by levying higher levels of interest, account fees and other charges on individuals and businesses.These continuing financial extractions are being made in the form of loaded borrowing rates, penal credit card interest and overseas transaction levies. Mortgage arrangement fees have already been re-introduced and ATM card and usage levies are expected to follow closely.Having amputated the profit-generating capabilities of many good businesses, Irish banks are now coming after their life-blood as well. Anglo Irish Bank, AIB Bank and Irish Nationwide require to be retrospectively culled, instead of having been propped-up and bailed out on the impoverished taxpayers’ overdraft in September 2008.Banking cartelUnfortunately, there will be little opportunity to avoid the new regime of rising banking-related charges. The days of the banking cartel will be back with a vengeance, and changing banks will not be an option for the majority of personal and business customers. New charges for opening accounts are very likely, and such charges will be inter alia targeted at passing on the costs of more rigid regulation and anti-money laundering requirements implementation. An Post have already begun taking over everyday high street banking functions from bank branches that are being closed down.The days of high interest current accounts and high interest rates on savings accounts are certainly dead and gone. There is little point in being a good customer of a bad bank (ie a bank that is behaving badly)Ronan Coburn is a Dublin-based independent banking consultant, forensic accountant and expert witness. He is also a member of the Institute of Bankers in Ireland. Further information at thebottomline.ie.Read: Column: Don’t like bank charges? Sorry, but they’re here to stay> JUST BECAUSE THE truth hurts, is no reason to give truth a wide berth. Last week, Justice Peter Kelly, one of the country’s most senior judges, claimed that appointments to the Supreme Court are ‘purely political’. I would like to follow this with some other self-evident home-truths like – the Emperor never had any new clothes, he is naked.No rescueOn a macro level, Germany and its two closest allies in the Eurozone (Finland and Holland) last week dashed hopes that Spain and Ireland could transfer billions in debt incurred through bailing out their banks into the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) rescue fund. After meeting in Helsinki, the German, Dutch and Finnish finance ministers said in a statement that ‘legacy assets’ would not be covered, in an apparent reference to Ireland’s €64 billion public bank debt bailout.In other words, such ‘rescue-funds’ are not to be available to historical (self-inflicted) bank difficulties. Who could blame these well-run triple-A nations. We shouldn’t continue any longer to keep our heads down (in docility) and ‘keep with the program’ – merely achieving highly patronising compliments from our Northern EU and Troika brethren, at the expense of our Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Greek cousins.Sadly but inevitably, the stage is being approached when even right-thinking citizens in Ireland should collectively – as inhabitants of what has been allowed to become a diseased country – consider engaging in their own austere counter-responses.Picking pockets
THE NEW WORLD Trade Centre tower in New York has been named the tallest building in the western hemisphere after a panel of architects decided in its favour in a row that could have reduced its official height.Due to be completed next year, One World Trade Center will replace Chicago’s Willis Tower as the tallest building in the US.The Height Committee of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat said that because the needle atop the New York skyscraper is a permanent spire and not an antenna it can be counted when measuring the structure’s height.The new World Trade Center tower (right) in New York knocked Chicago’s Willis Tower off its pedestal as the USA’s tallest building today. Pic: AP Photos/FileThe needle, measuring 408 feet tall, was more than enough to confirm Chicago is the second city when it comes to tall buildings in the US.With the needle, 1 World Trade Center is a symbolically important 1,776 feet tall. Without it, the building would have been only 1,368 feet tall — well short of the 1,451-foot Willis Tower.At stake was more than just the pride of two cities that feast on superlatives and the tourist dollars that might follow, One World Trade Center, with its beacon on top will stand as a monument to those killed in the 9/11 attacks, and its architects had sought to capture the echo of America’s founding year in the structure’s height.Not only that, but the building’s height without the needle also holds symbolism because at 1,368 feet it is the height of the original World Trade Center.Graphic showing the height of the One World Trade Center compared against the tallest buildings in the world. Pic: AP Images.Antony Wood, the council’s executive director, said the needle is particularly important as a “structural and symbolic element.”Further, he said, the decision to put the spire atop the building was part of a ‘quest” to build a permanent reminder of what the nation went through. “This was not an economic quest for bragging rights to the U.S.’s tallest,’ he said. “This was a quest to put something meaningful and symbolic on that site because of the horrible history of what happened on that site.”He said the antennae on top of the Willis Tower help to make the committee’s point about permanence, explaining that when the building went up there were no antennae, and that the original antennae have been replaced with taller ones.Wood also made another point that, though not a factor on the committee’s decision, is significant, that the Willis Tower will continue to be an attraction for years just like the Empire State Building is decades after it, too, was eclipsed by taller buildings.“Are any fewer people going to come to Chicago or even travel and visit the Willis Tower because it no longer holds the title of the U.S. tallest? ” he asked. “No,” I don’t think it does.”In this 10 May 2013 photo, the final piece of spire is hoisted in place on top of 1 World Trade Center. Pic: AP photo/Mark Lennihan.The Height Committee comprises about two dozen industry professionals from all over the world and is widely recognised as the final arbiter of official building heights around the world . They conferred behind closed doors last week in Chicago, where the world’s first skyscraper appeared in 1884.The new World Trade Center tower remains under construction and is expected to open next year.The designers originally had intended to enclose the mast’s communications gear in decorative cladding made of fiberglass and steel. But the developer removed that exterior shell from the design, saying it would be impossible to properly maintain or repair. Without it, the question was whether the mast was now primarily just a broadcast antenna.In Pictures: US marks 9/11 anniversary >PHOTOS: Views from the 100th floor of the new World Trade Center >
Or is it this terribly saucy demo of strength-training from the 1950s (for both sexes)? No (459) YesNoI already am a gym memberNot after those videos I’m notVoteColumn: The rise of bodybuilding shows strong is the new skinny>Sweat, phones and keeping your clothes on: 18 rules of gym etiquette> Not after those videos I’m not (1175) I already am a gym member (1253) Poll Results: Videos: British Pathé/YoutubeWe don’t feel well.Are you vowing to join a gym this January? Yes (60) WEIGHTLIFTING FOR WOMEN and saunas for the boys. The attractions of the gyms of the 1950s and 1960s don’t seem much different from those being marketed to us at this time of year.But there is still something a little… off… about these gym demos, no?Maybe it’s the VibroMassage machine from this 1960s push for men’s gyms:
Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said it was her “strong preference” to have the individual before the committee in public session, but deferred to the majority view of the committee.“I have expressed my belief that it is important that the whistleblowers are afforded the opportunity to give evidence. I welcome that this opportunity has now been presented,” she said.McCabe is one of two whistleblowers who has questioned the administration of the fixed charge notices system. The claims have been robustly dismissed by Garda Commisioner Martin Callinan.Read: Government tells PAC to cooperate with Garda Ombudsman investigationRead: ‘I’m not trying to silence whisteblowers’ – Shatter >‘We cannot do all the work’: PAC’s growing prominence leads to tensions among members Updated 11.08pmTHE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS Committee (PAC) will hear from a garda whistleblower about alleged malpractice in the penalty points system in private session this Thursday.TDs on the committee concluded a lengthy meeting at Leinster House this evening and reached agreement on hearing from a serving garda sergeant, Maurice McCabe, about allegations of alleged malpractice in the administration of the penalty points system this Thursday afternoon at 2pm.Even though the hearing will be in private session, McCabe will be restricted in what he can say to TDs and will not be able to name names.Last night, the Justice Minister Alan Shatter referred the controversy to the Garda Ombudsman leading some committee members to express the view that the PAC’s inquiry, based on the findings of a Comptroller and Auditor General’s report into penalty points, should be halted.There were lengthy exchanges during a two-hour meeting with some non-government TDs arguing that the committee should continue it’s work irrespective of the pending investigation by the Ombudsman.At one stage it looked likely that a rare vote would be forced to prevent the committee from bringing in McCabe, but it became apparent during a short break in proceedings that Labour TDs would vote to bring the whistleblower in.Members were keen that a vote should not be held as it would be largely unprecedented in the history of the committee – the last and only vote that was held in the current committee’s lifetime was a failed attempted to elect independent TD Shane Ross as chair in 2011.After the break in proceedings, TDs reached a consensus to allow the PAC to hear evidence from the whistleblower. One source claimed this was to avoid potential “grandstanding” by PAC members if a vote had denied them from questioning the whistleblower.In a statement this evening, PAC chairman John McGuinness insisted that the Ombudsman’s investigation “will not overlap with the examination by the PAC of the report of the C&AG”.“The PAC is looking at systems processes and procedures used in the management of the fixed charge notice system and whether possible weaknesses in systems and in controls could potentially have led to a loss to the Exchequer,” he said.“The Garda Ombudsman will investigate the allegations of multiple incidents of wrongful cancellations which are outside the remit of the Committee. The work of the PAC is not finished and the Committee needs to do a report with findings and recommendations based on evidence that outlines potential loss of revenue and weaknesses in the system.”
Some people kept it old schoolSome people gave helpful illustrationsAnd then there was this.More: People REALLY aren’t taking Gerry Adams’ Twitter Q&A seriously>Even more: 11 tweets from the world of Gerry Adams> Source: Paul FaithTHIS AFTERNOON, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams asked the internet to explain trolling to him.The internet was not slow to respond. Here’s what happened:Some people were helpful, sort of Some people were concernedSome people tried to teach by example
ON THE FACE of it, Rob Ford is to Canadian politics what Paul Gascoigne was to soccer in the ‘90s. Heavy-set, spiky blonde hair, red-faced, an emotional addict with a dysfunctional personal life. But just like Gazza, Rob Ford is man whom some can’t help but love.Ford’s popularity is a mystery to the world, to the rest of Canada, and to most Torontonians. And even though his infamy is reflected in one ‘90s icon, his popularity is actually explained by another.On 1 May this year, the senior producer of our local TV newscast started the morning meeting with a sigh, asking “is anyone else as sick of Rob Ford as I am?” The only surprising thing about this is that it took a year for one of us to say it. We have closely witnessed the most insane, scandal-plagued 12 months that any politician from Canada, or probably anywhere, has ever had.I don’t really need to list the events for you. He’s a 22-stone global news machine. CNN recently sent our station a platter of food. Just to say thanks. Thanks for the Ford. And for each Ford event that makes the news abroad, there are perhaps half-a-dozen more that make headlines here.The early yearsThis proud Canadian was born just days before the summer of ‘69. Robbie, as his family call him, was the youngest of four children and grew up in a quiet suburb outside Toronto. His father, Doug Sr, founded a successful printing business and later became a member of provincial parliament in Ontario. It all sounds pretty normal and comfortable, but the Fords had issues. Some alleged, some admitted.His sister Kathy has reportedly struggled with drug addiction and was once shot in the face. An investigation by The Globe and Mail newspaper last year alleged that both of Ford’s brothers, Doug Jr and Randy, were drug dealers in their youth – something they deny.As a teenager, Rob aspired to play American football in the US, but after a year warming the bench for a Canadian university team, he dropped out and returned home to work for his dad. In 2000, he was elected a city councillor and spent a decade gaining a popular reputation as the guy who’d get that pothole fixed.Ford ran for mayor in 2010 on a platform of doing away with controversial junkets, privatising city services and limiting property taxes. It struck a chord in the suburbs – areas where city services are less apparent. Ford romped home. Robbie was now Mayor of Canada’s largest city.Escaping scandal But the election map looked like a micro version of a US presidential election. The expansive ‘burbs went for Ford. The more-densely populated downtown voted for left-wing candidates. Red ‘hoods, blue ‘hoods.It wasn’t long before the scandal-o-meter began ticking over, but it all really exploded in May 2013, when the crack video was first reported. And it was then that the Ford story began to mirror that of a certain US president. The Rob Ford saga can be understood by remembering Bill Clinton’s escape from impeachment.Rob Ford and Bill Clinton both went before the media and offered very carefully-worded denials. Ford said “I do not smoke crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine.” Six months later he said that, because the second word of that sentence was “do” rather than “did”, it meant he was not lying. Clinton waved his finger in 1998, saying “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” The denial immediately refined the euphemistic definition of the term “sexual relations”.Doug Jr has dutifully played the role of Hillary. Doug – a city councillor – has remained loyal to his baby brother after every accusation, standing by his side during a series of live TV denials. Just as Hillary famously alleged a “vast right-wing conspiracy” over the Lewinsky and Whitewater scandals, Doug has equally alleged a left-wing conspiracy was poisoning his brother’s reputation. When confronted with proof of Rob’s actions, Doug has regularly been forced to backtrack, and has been close to tears when speaking to the media.The evidenceAs for the evidence itself. Ford’s as-yet unpublicised first crack video is the 2013 equivalent of Monica Lewinsky’s stained dress. Both were very deliberately kept, and eventually found their way into the hands of the authorities. But both are exhibits that failed to hold enough legal weight to bring down men who were convinced that their mandate trumped all scandals.Clinton’s dalliance with an intern now looks dull in comparison with Ford’s behaviour, but the dynamics of the two scandals have deeply polarised electorates in similar ways. In both cases, each side became less and less willing to listen to the other. Fans of Clinton said they didn’t care what he did in his own time, a long as he got the job done. Ford’s supporters say the the same. To Republicans, Clinton’s actions were morally abhorrent and grounds for resignation. To Toronto liberals, the same argument is used against Ford.On 7 November, 2000, Americans went to the polls. The choice was Clinton’s Vice President Al Gore, or George W Bush. We all know what happened next. The result ramped-up an era of partisan politics that plagues Washington to this day.One week after that famous poll, Rob Ford entered politics, eventually driving a similar wedge through Toronto.This October, city residents return to the ballot box, and no matter who wins, it seems as though one half of Toronto will be shaking an ideological fist at the other.Redmond Shannon is a reporter and producer for CBC News in Canada.Read: Toronto mayor heads back to work after rehab… but wants his office’s locks changedRead: Toronto’s controversial ‘crack-smoking mayor’ to enter rehab
If you’re not familiar with MrNFL, his YouTube account is full of re-enactions of famous football plays…using the 1987 game Tecmo Bowl. In this video , which raked up thousands of hits just after last week’s Giants/Eagles game, the game winning play gets an 8-bit makeover. I didn’t even see the original game, but I had to laugh at this. I wonder if football would be more popular with us geeks if it were broadcast in 8-bit. This week put North America and most of the western hemisphere in the perfect place to view a relatively rare event: a total Lunar eclipse – a moment where the Sun, Earth, and Moon line up just so the shadow cast by the Earth moves across the face of the Moon enough to temporarily obscure the bulk of the sunlight from reaching it. It was only for a moment and it happened in the wee hours of the morning, but if you were awake and looking up, it was a sight to behold. If you weren’t, here’s a time-lapse video so you can see what you missed. The end of 2010 is fast approaching, and every year Google puts together their Zeitgeist, showing what people were searching for and most concerned with over the course of the year. They then put that information together with what was going on in the world at the time, and they produce a year in review video that reminds us how far we’ve come. Also hot on YouTube this week, a preview video for a new BBC One series called The One Ronnie, which skewers the way tech companies name their products and the words we use to troubleshoot them. Video proof that Google put Androids into space, a time lapse video of the Lunar Eclipse this week for anyone who slept through it, and a little football fun in Tecmo Bowl cap off this week’s best YouTube videos. Winter Solstice – Total Lunar Eclipse 2010 – Time-Lapse Zeitgeist 2010: Year in Review Leave it to the brits to take something as straightforward as making fun of the names of gadgets like the Blackberry and companies like Apple and turn it into a hilarious storefront-style comedy sketch. Not only do we get to see a hilarious conversation between a disgruntled customer and an unlikely tech support agent in the form of a grocery store manager, we’re treated to some well placed dongle jokes. Well played, UK. Well played. Before you go crazy pondering why Google would send Androids into space, the whole video was part of this weather and mapping project where Google engineers launched some Android phones into the upper atmosphere – around 100,000 feet – to do some tracking, shoot some video, and have some fun with science. Still, it was a little heartbreaking near the end there when the weather baloon eventually popped and the payload came crashing back down to earth. We salute you, little Android. Your sacrifice in the name of science will not be forgotten. 2010 isn’t over yet, but as they do every year, Google takes us on a trip back to the beginning of the year and walks us through the events that followed; complete with the triumphs and tragedies the last 12 months brought us. From the gulf oil spill, the flooding in Pakistan, and the earthquake in Haiti to the World Cup in South Africa to the activation of the Large Hadron Collider to the end of the Iraq War, 2010 has been an incredible year. Here’s to 2011. My Blackberry Is Not Working! – The One Ronnie, Preview – BBC One DeSean Jackson’s Game Winning Punt Return Against New York…According to Tecmo Android in Spaaaaace!
NVIDIA is justly proud of their Tegra 2 system-on-a-chip technology. With Tegra, the graphics maker has successfully entered the mobile arena, not only with a strong product but with arguably the strongest SoC out there.Consider this: the dual-core Tegra 2 has been out for over a year now while companies like Apple and Qualcomm are only expected to announce dual-core solutions in the coming months.AdChoices广告NVIDIA hasn’t been sitting still, though. In fact, judging by noises being made by the company, it looks likely that Tegra 3 will debut next month at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress… and it’s likely to be a quad–core chip.The rumor is sparked by a comment made by NVIDIA’s general manager of Tegra, who said: “I’m going to come pretty close to my cadence of a launch every year. It will be in production around the same time as my competitors’ first dual-cores will.”As for what Tegra 3 will entail, only NVIDIA knows at this point, but it’s expected that the SoC will be a quad-core cortex A9 paired with a GeForce 8 or 9 series GPU supporting CUDA. Anyone remember the days when your smartphone wasn’t more powerful than your Xbox?Read more at Slashgear
Motorola and AT&T turned more than a few heads when they introduced the exclusive Motorola Atrix 4G during CES 2011. Besides its billing as the world’s most powerful smartphone, it really attracted attention when the Laptop Dock was introduced which turns the Atrix into a netbook in conjunction with the included Webtop application.A couple of weeks ago, Android Central reported on a leaked document which puts the launch of the Motorola Atrix 4G on March 1st. Questions still remain around what the phone and its associated Laptop Dock will cost and where we will be able to get it. Once again, we can thank Android Central for some answers.A user by the name of jddroid, who is apparently an employee at Best Buy Mobile, stated that an AT&T district rep shared with him the Atrix 4G will apparently be offered at Best Buy first before other retail and corporate stores. He also found out that the smartphone’s launch will be timed so it is offered before the Samsung and HTC 4G phones announced at CES. Yet, probably the best news of all was around the Laptop Dock’s price point. Incredibly it will be only $150 which will put the phone in direct competition with other netbooks with the added advantage that it is also a smartphone.Another bit of good news from the AT&T district rep is that there are no plans to change pricing for 4G data plans in the near term. That pricing may change, though, once AT&T completes its roll out of the LTE 4G technology.Read more at Android Central
If you’re doing any activity that requires focus, chances are a hit of caffeine is going to help. The stimulant drug helps to focus the mind and enhance activity, be that physical or mental. However, even though it’s cheap to get a hit, the benefits are short-lived and can be followed by a downturn in both your mood and ability to perform.Research coming out of Cambridge and Oxford universities suggests another way to stimulate our brains without the use of a drug, and with much longer-term effects. It involves the use of brain stimulation by attaching electrodes to our heads for short periods of time.The technique is known as transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS), and was originally developed for treating stroke patients or helping people with learning difficulties, However, tests carried out on healthy adults have found it also improves cognitive ability over the long term. It’s been worked on at Oxford University for the last couple of year with tests now showing improvements in math and language abilities, but it should also work for any type of learning as well as improving overall memory, problem solving, attention, and movement skills.While that may sound like something out of a science fiction novel, brain stimulation has already been proven to work in a lab setting. The technique is also very cheap to implement and could one day take the form of an accessory for a tablet or laptop, much in the same way earphones are today. Regular use while carrying out learning activities would help ensure the subject matter was retained, therefore giving everyone with access to a brain stimulator a cognitive boost.TDCS works by applying a small current (1-2 mA) to specific regions of the brain. That in turn makes it easier for the neurons in those regions to fire and therefore establish links to retain information. This is all done without the user experiencing anything other than the sensation of electrodes attached to their scalp, and it only needs to be done for 20 minutes at a time. So far, there don’t seem to be any negatives to using such a brain stimulator. And due to the low cost and low energy requirements of such a device, it’s not unthinkable that we could all be picking one up for the price of a few espresso in the near future. But then you may want both depending on what combining a caffeine hit with a brain stimulation session achieves.Of course, such a device throws up other problems. For example, if a brain stimulator isn’t available to everyone then does its use give an unfair advantage? And do we let children use them? If so, how young can they start? If the benefits improve over time, then parents may want to start attaching them to their kids as soon as possible.Read more at the University of Oxford and BBC Radio 4 (may be restricted by country)
The launch of Nintendo’s latest console hasn’t exactly gone off without a hitch. If you managed to pick one up at launch, chances are your out-of-the-box experience wasn’t as smooth as it probably should have been. Nintendo’s latest console still feels very much like an unfinished project, but there are more positives than negatives in this situation.While we wait for Nintendo to get themselves together and then to release TVii and the other missing bits of the Wii U, lets talk about what the console does well.The Wii U is a great entertainment centerWith the charging cradle (that is included in the Deluxe version) on the table next to my couch, I have access to a remote control for pretty much everything I watch on television. When you setup the Wii U there’s a section that allows you to enter remote codes for your television, which includes input controls. After about a week of using the Wii U I found myself leaving the console input as my television’s default, and using the GamePad as my remote control when I wanted to watch something.The Wii U also has smooth, well-designed apps for Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu Plus. Since I use each of these services already, it’s a big deal to me that I can access them all from one place. The difference between the Wii U and something like Google TV is that each of the apps are responsive and enjoyable to use. They all also have specific design flourishes that work well with the Wii U. Amazon Instant Video, for example, keeps a search function on your Gamepad and the results on the television. This turned out to be incredibly intuitive.On top of this, each of the services allow me in-video controls from the GamePad. Just like I do on my phone or tablet, I can tap on the bar and drag to a specific point in a video and have the app respond fluidly.As a TiVo Premiere owner, I am also looking forward to the integration that was promised with Nintendo TVii. Specifically, the ability to control my TiVo and stream content from my DVR to the GamePad. This feature, however, is not quite ready yet.It’s all about the GamePadI am repeatedly impressed with how well Nintendo’s GamePad tablet controller performs. While it is certainly not anything new to wirelessly transmit video, the GamePad handles this task instantly and without interruption. If I am watching Netflix, I can tap an icon on the screen and the audio and video and instantly transferred to the GamePad without any interference or buffering. This same fluid transfer occurs when playing games as well. When playing the game I can switch all of the video to my GamePad in a second. While this usually happens inside a menu in the case of video games, there’s no noticeable transfer problems.Playing games on the GamePad itself is also an enjoyable experience. While first person shooters will still leave my reaching for the Pro Controller, I found that even games like Assassin’s Creed 3 played well on the massive controller. In fact, the large radar on the GamePad proves incredibly useful when dodging patrols or navigating the high seas. Simpler games, like those found in Nintendo Land, take the GamePad and really has fun with it. The Metroid attraction in Nintendo Land especially is a lot of fun as it utilizes the gyroscope in the GamePad, forcing you to really get up and use the controller as though you are piloting a ship.I’m looking forward to seeing how more game developers take advantage of the GamePad, as well as seeing how useful things like the NFC chip that was found in on the board during the controller teardown get used. Nintendo has set the stage for a lot of interesting use cases, and as usual it will be up to developers to explore.Next page: Two more reasons why you’ll be happy with the Wii U… 1 2
As the phones in our pockets, the cars in our driveways, and even the appliances in our home get smarter, the manufacturers of these products are going to know more and more about us. Sooner or later your fancy new gadget could even make a liar out of you.Ever since we were kids, when something broke there was at least one person in your social circle with the same bit of advice to offer. If you go buy a new one, then put the old one in the box, you can return it later that day and just say you bought it that way. Sure, it’s deceitful and borders on theft, but that person contented it’s just a faster delivery method than a warranty replacement. What happens if the manufacturer plugs in that broken device and you’re ratted out by logs that say when, where, and how you managed to damage the product? As it turns out, we’re a lot closer to this reality than you’d think.The co-founder of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk, was terribly upset recently when the New York Times offered a less than favorable review of the new Model S electric sports car. The problem he had with the review was simple, the car told him that the reviewer was lying. The Model S is able to log location data, cabin temperature, and battery life if told to do so (Tesla does this with all units sent to the media). When Musk published evidence that the information in the review was wildly different from the logs, you can bet that every major automotive manufacturer was on the phone with a development team with instructions to build similar logging system into their vehicles. This kind of information is invaluable not just for calling out bad reviews, but could also offer deep insight for mechanics looking to service vehicles brought in by users who know very little about cars (including that many of them are outfitted with black boxes).Logging on this level isn’t exclusive to expensive smart cars, in fact you’ll find the same level of care in tiny toy robots. The Sphero robot ball is a great toy with a lot of potential for future growth. The open nature of the software makes it easy for developers to build apps for, and the creators pride themselves on the quality of their product. As a result of this pride, if you need to take advantage of their warranty as a result of damage to the ball, the Sphero guys are going to plug it in and ask the ball itself what happened. Sphero units store drop and impact information, so if you accidentally drive your Sphero out of a window and it breaks and you want a new one, your tiny robot will rat you out.Other logging is put in place to protect the user but can cause problems if the data isn’t properly protected. It can also get them in trouble if they don’t know that the data is available. An example of the former would be in a smartphones that have GPS built in (which they have had for years now). Fake a call to 911 and you can bet you’re going to get a visit from an officer before very long. They’ll have evidence of your phone number as well as your location at the time of the call. A prime example of data logging possibly getting you in trouble happened with the iPhone, which was logging GPS locations unbeknownst to the user and holding onto that information for extended periods of time, creating an undeniable record of your location.Unlike wetness detectors in smartphones or the “Void If Removed” sticker on your laptop battery, making the gadget itself aware of its environment can offer a great deal of information to the manufacturer. Having seen wetness detectors tripped by high humidity, and warranty voiding stickers ripped accidentally by licensed repairmen, context based logs remove any doubt. Then again, as is often the case in sci-fi movies, maybe this is the first step towards the machines figuring out that humans can’t be trusted and our smart gadgets getting a bit too clever for us.