A bulletin for 2010
Thursday, December 31, 2009
HERE IS THE NEWS … a little ahead of time.
SMARTPHONES REACH THEIR TIPPING-POINT – a critical mass of mobile phone usage has finally built up in the United States consumer market. It’s a development that has been predicted by communications “experts” just about every year since 2000, but it’s really here at last, in 2010.
And it's thanks to fast-developing applications, and general improvements in infrastructure that bring faster network speeds (and even improved audio quality on AT&T’s 3G service, astonishingly enough - previously the biggest drawback to Apple's iPhone). Bigger, sharper screens have helped too … but what’s counted most of all, perthaps, is the growing appreciation that we the users can get more out of these devices that’s really useful.
(Many of us have maybe felt - hell, almost all of us have inescapably felt - that the push for mobile technology’s expansion has been largely driven by marketers, trying to get to us in our pockets and purses and sell us something. Now though, the balance has tilted toward the ordinary user's needs.)
What’s been critical is the rapid advance in location-awareness technology for phones, changing the way you or I use the handset – once we get the right application, that is.
Direct, savvy-consumer services like Yelp, Pandora, Foursquare and Google Maps (Mobile) now give us genuinely practical knowledge, right when and where we need it.
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KATHRYN BIGELOW’S GRIPPING movie The Hurt Locker is nominated for a Best Picture Oscar – though few expect it to win.
Academy members are understood to be sending a (possibly vain) mind-broadening message to their own industry’s marketers who concentrate in blindered fashion upon the ever-lucrative 18-to-32 year-old male demographic. A shoot-em-up, bomb-everyone action movie that’s directed by a woman - and even has some substantial psychological heft to it - is enough to confuse many a studio suit.
The film, centering on an US Army Explosives Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team in Baghdad, also makes me fly back in memory to one of the most extraordinary soldiers I ever got to know while covering military operations. He was Lieutenant-Colonel George Styles, the British Army’s most senior Ammunition Technical Officer during the early days of its Northern Ireland engagement. He and his team were responsible for successfully defusing more than a thousand bombs planted by the Irish Republican Army.
On one notable, medal-earning occasion, he personally made safe two booby-trapped devices within two days (one of them comprising fifteen pounds of explosives, the other twice as big) that had been planted in the lobby of Belfast’s Europa Hotel, where most of us journalists stayed. The complex (and for the IRA of the time still experimental) wiring took him an excruciating seven hours to defeat in the first case, while the second took him nine hours. In that embryonic time for anti-terrorism techniques he was a constant improviser, and he borrowed an X-ray unit from the nearby Royal Victoria Hospital to see into the innards of the first bomb.
George was wonderfully affable company, but he had nerves of steel of course - like The Hurt Locker’s lead character, an EOD staff sergeant played with intensity by Jeremy Renner. The film posits, though, that this explosives expert is an adrenaline junkie, and his steel becomes pretty brittle at times.
In a final ominous scene the American sergeant, having finished his tour of duty that the film has closely tracked, is back in Iraq once again and looks to be walking off toward an inevitable bloody death. My friend George, by contrast, died three years ago, peacefully in bed at the age of 78.
US FORCES LAUNCH A MAJOR ATTACK on Islamic jihadists in Somalia. The operation brings to the fore increasing activity - much of it covert - in this Horn of Africa failed state, under the direction of AFRICOM, America’s still relatively new Africa Command.
International coverage of this Somalia venture adds to the attention paid to Yemen, the Arab Peninsula’s fast-failing state (just 200 miles across the Red Sea from the Somali coast) which western media have been watching more closely - ever since the Arab country's evidently pivotal role was reported in the attempted bombing of a Delta / Northwest Airways plane above Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.
As Yemeni government action against Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (Tandheem al Qaeda fi Jazeerat al-Arabiyah) has ramped up, with the “assistance” - and (more and more often) the direction and active participation of American personnel - Al Qaeda’s allies across that narrow maritime divide in Somalia, notably the al-Shabaab group, have provided refuge plus planning and logistical launch-pads for jihadi operations. (See THE MEDIA BEAT's earlier predictions about this, in September last year)
HAVE AS GOOD a 2010 (in real-time) as you possibly can, everyone.
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- 10/06/12 12:10 PM Naika:
that the support of only 10% of a poliaptuon is needed in order to form a viable "movement." I believe that at LEAST 10% of the poliaptuons of the U.S., most of the rest of the English-speaking world, and even Europe, who are tired of the sick bastards."Political Correctness" has been so successful in taking over our institutions like our schools, courts, etc., that the large numbers of people who are tired of the sick bastards and their antics don't know that they are in the company of many who think as they do. They are cowed into silence by the enemies' lies, candy-coated with a pseudo-moral shell, claiming things like "many innocent civilians were killed."Well, they will put up with this nonsense for a while longer, but when another over-confident hot-head strikes us with the inevitable "next 9/11" that we all know is coming (from across the border with Mexico?), they will find that they are not alone.