This Week’s Tech Talk

There has been some interesting speculation
about the possibility of cell phone interference causing the Soviet made
elderly Tupolev Tu-154 that was carrying the Polish president and other
dignitaries to crash (killing all on board) when it was attempting to
land in bad weather in the Russian city of Smolensk a couple of weeks

The suggestion is almost certainly a
complete nonsense.  It may even be more than just a nonsense, it
may well be deliberate disinformation to obscure the real reasons for
the crash.

Significantly, the Russians have yet to
release the plane's black boxes and return them to the Poles, and so
both the Polish authorities and the rest of the world have little more
than speculation and uncorroborated thirdhand information about what
actually may have happened to the plane.

The reason that I so strongly suggest that
cell phone interference was unlikely to interfere with the plane's
operation is because the Tu-154 is a low-tech plane with low-tech
aircraft and engine controls, making it much less susceptible to
electronic interference.

The reasons I comment darkly about
deliberate attempts to obfuscate are varied and complex, and are more
likely to appeal to those who are quick to find conspiracies in even
seemingly commonplace occurrences.  Suffice it to say that while
the Polish nation suffered a grievous loss, it seems the Russians have
benefited by way of an extraordinary intelligence windfall. 
Unsurprisingly, the Polish president and his entourage were traveling
with highest level state, military, and NATO materials, and it is
believed that these have ended up in Russian hands.  While of
course NATO scrambled to change its encryptions, the Russians can now
use the equipment and information they recovered from the crash to read
many months of past very sensitive NATO communications, giving them a
great insight into current NATO activities, perspectives and plans.

Apple's iPad is proving to be an astonishing
success.  It sold over 1 million units in less than a month, a rate
of sale more than twice that of the original iPhone.

It also seems that the iPad may be massively
impacting on netbook sales.  As for me, I remain perplexed as to
what I can use my iPad for; and I wonder how many of the other million
owners are similarly now challenged?

More details here, and don't forget our
article series on
why you should wait before buying an iPad.

Talking about iPhones, the last quarter saw
smart cell phones based on Google's Android operating system
significantly outsell iPhones in the US, this being the first quarter
that Android has managed to overtake iPhone sales.

But to my great surprise, it was a
completely different company that sold significantly more phones than
either android or iPhone models.

Click here to find out who was.

Did you know that your digital camera, just
like your cell phone and most other electronic devices, is powered by an
operating system?  And did you know that there is every possibility
that your camera's operating system (or firmware as it is sometimes
called) may have been updated subsequent to when you bought your phone.

I just checked my old digital camera, and
found that it has had two major upgrades to its firmware, massively
increasing its value to me.  You should check your phone too.

More details here.

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