I was sad to read that Dennis Ritchie has passed away. Anyone who has tried his or her hand at coding, will recognise Ritchie's name and perhaps you've also worked with C or one of the many programming languages it has inspired.
Today's IT would be very different without Ritchie and his co-coders at Bell Labs. As one of the developers of UNIX, Ritchie's contribution to computing may not be as obvious as for instance that of Steve Jobs but he was arguably more important. Just about everything we have today, like the Internet, is based on Ritchie's effort in some form though.
Here's Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie receiving the National Medal of Technology from former US President Bill Clinton:
Fairly cool, too, that the US gives out medals for technology. Now, I can't mention Ritchie and C without code, so here you go.
OK, I'll admit that the new iPhone 4S didn't bowl me over. It is just too… similar to the existing iPhone 4. Not the fairest of criteria, I know, but I blame Apple for spoiling us.
This week, iOS5, the operating system upgrade arrived for Apple's i-devices. It seems to be something of a forklift upgrade, one that didn't go painlessly for my friends or me for that matter.
The upgrade failed at first on my old iPhone 3G S which went into Recovery mode and had to be restored. Thank goodness, Apple's back-up worked, and after a while, the phone came back to life with iOS5 on it. It was a surprisingly long process too, taking almost two hours.
Was the upgrade worth it? Yes, I'd say so. Being able to get updates without plugging the phone in with USB and firing up iTunes is almost reason enough to upgrade to iOS5.
One feature that telcos really would rather not have seen is iMessage. Lame name apart, this will hurt telco texting revenues as it moves messages away from SMS, into Wi-Fi and 3G data streams.
With iMessage, you don't need to worry about how many texts you buy in advance; you can send and receive as many as you like. What's more, iMessage lets you send pictures, videos, audio, contact cards, and locations as well as text. There are delivery and read receipts, you can see when someone's typing a response, and the conversations can be shared with all your iOS devices.
You might start off a conversation via SMS, and continue it over iMessage - that is, over a data connection. That alone will make carriers wince, as SMS termination rates used to cancel each other out. You send a text via SMS, and receive a response via SMS; not necessarily so anymore with iMessage.
Blackberry customers will take notice of iMessage for two reasons: one, the connections can be encrypted and two, BB Messenger and a bunch of other RIM services are slowly recovering from massive outages.
Then there's iCloud which is partly a feature with Google and Microsoft, and an improved and renamed MobileMe. Google won't be happy about it: Apple has decided that you sync your contacts with either iCloud or Google, but not both.
Irritatingly enough, it looks like NZ is missing out on features as usual. For instance, iMessage doesn't appear to have group messaging enabled, and one of things US media has raved about as the reason you'd buy an iPhone 4S, Siri, doesn't appear to be on the horizon for us. Some unkind observers say it's because Siri only comes with UK, US and Australian accents but… surely not?
In actual fact, the iPhone 4S doesn't seem to be on the immediate horizon for NZ either. Very odd that, as NZ is "in the future" timezone-wise compared to other countries, and was first to sell the iPhone 3G.
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