Telling Time: Citizen Proximity smartwatch ten years on

Ten years ago on Macfilos: The search for the perfect smartwatch was still three years in the future. But did this rather cumbersome Citizen Proximity cut the mustard, even in 2012? Mike looks back on a not-so-successful try at watch/phone integration...

How the smartphone became the best camera

The smartphone has revolutionised the world of photography. It helps enthuse millions of would-be photographers every year. As a feeder for higher-end cameras, the smartphone plays an invaluable role. It instills aspiration from the first click...

How the iPod changed the world

The iPod is 20 years old this month. It revolutionised portable music consumption and set the scene for the iPhone and Apple's transititon to the world's first trillion-dollar company.

Mea Culpatino as Apple brings back the ports on the new MacBook Pros

Mea Culpatino: Who would have thought it? First to delete superfluous ports from its products, Apple has now eaten humble pie and brought back a trio of dodos from MagSafe to the SD card slot and the humble headphone jack.

Tekkiepix connects 100 years of technology industry photography

A new web site conceived by journalist and broadcaster Barry Fox has been launched to bring together more than 100 years of technology industry...

Want a cheaper electricity deal? Try Octopus for home and car

It pays to look around for the best electricity supply deal, especially if you own a battery electric vehicle. Mike untangles the enticing tentacles of Octopus

Light: What I learned to help take better photos

Erwin explores the photography principle that dwarfs everything else, the fact that light matters.

Working with invisible light: Infrared photography with the M10 Monochrom

How the Leica M10 Monochrom opens up exciting possibilities in the field of infrared photography. Claus takes us on to a new spectrum in the cities, forests and mountains of Germany

Apple’s Mac mini with M1 processor surpasses expectations

The M1 Mac mini arrives and it supasses expectations on speed, despite being an entry model. It's neat and easily stowed out of sight, but not out of mind.

Apple’s M1 chips and all that: This MacBook Pro simply rocks

This Apple MacBook Pro rocks. Unfortunately, it rocks on its bulging battery. Time for a change to the remarkable new M1 processor...

Macfilos: 5,000 posts already and here’s one from 2010


Review: Heroes of the Telegraph by John Munro (1891), iBookstore, free

Had blogs existed 120 years ago John Munro would have been up there with the best of 'em. His book, which traces electronic communications from the 50-year-old and "perfected" telegraph through to the latest modern developments, the telephone and the phonograph, is a Gutenberg gem. At the time of writing in 1891 both the telephone and phonograph had been around for little more than 10 years and Munro exhibits the sort of enthusiasm now associated with the latest technical news on Engadget or TechCrunch.

Edison and phonographThe story of the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Edison is fascinating enough, but it is Munro's conjectures on the future opened up by recordings that are much more interesting. Here is a review of possible future developments, some uncannily accurate, some wide of the mark, that make for gripping reading. 

He suggests that phonograph records could be used for correspondence, for dictation and for communication "on unsteady vehicles such as trains" where writing is difficult. He also foresees audio books and reports that Edison can fit the whole of Nicholas Nickleby on four eight-inch wax cylinders of five-inch diameter. "Perhaps," he says, "we could have circulating libraries which issue phonograms, and there is already some talk of a phonographic newspaper which will prattle politics and scandal at the breakfast-table. Addresses, sermons, and political speeches may be delivered by the phonograph; languages taught, and dialects preserved; while the study of words cannot fail to benefit by its performance."

Strangely, in 1891, the concept of recording music was not mainstream: "Musicians will now be able to record their improvisations by a phonograph placed near the instrument they are playing."

This book is a delight and is a must-read for all technophiles.  It has probably been out of print for decades, yet through the Gutenberg project and Apple's iBookstore we can read it again. Much of the book is concerned with the development of the electric telegraph and, of particular interest, the trials and tribulations of undersea cable laying.

After the break is a fuller excerpt from the chapter on Edison's invention of the phonograph.

USB-C Port Woes: Wobbling all the way to the Genius Bar

Does your cable wobble? All four USB-C ports on Mike's 2018 MacBook Pro wobble and lead to unstable data connections. Apple don't want to know, but a simple fix seems to be working.

Leica to establish computational imaging centre in California

Leica has bucked the downward trend in the camera industry, achieving a modest growth of seven percent. The company is now tackling the "second digital revolution" by establishing a centre of excellence in Silicone Valley.

Camara Attacks: My pictures aren’t worth a ransom, so there

Pay up or you'll lose your pictures: Hacking and ransomware comes to a camera near you....

Jony Ive leaves Apple. What comes next?

Eight years after the death of Steve Jobs, Jony Ive has decided to leave Apple. Between them, they were instrumental in turning Apple into a trillion-dollar company. So what does this departure mean for the future of Apple?