James Greenwood

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Can you spend a week without cash?

Is it possible to survive on the host of digital and virtual currency options now available? Frank Swain says goodbye to his wallet and finds out.<p>The crunch point came when I stood outside a cafe in the bucolic Devonshire town of Totnes, pondering the questionable ethics of taking food away from a …

Reach inside your computer

See-through screens that allow us to reach in, touch and interact with objects? Jinha Lee believes his 3D devices will break down boundaries and make our digital experiences feel more real.<p>For decades, computer designers have been trying to break down the barriers between people and the computer …

Touchscreens

The myths behind online pornography censorship

The UK plans to make internet service providers automatically block pornographic websites. Tom Chatfield finds the idea alarming and fundamentally flawed.<p>What is the most searched-for term on the web? Contrary to popular myth, it’s not “sex”, “porn”, “xxx”, or any other common search term for …

The bots that that stop you buying tickets online

Our pick of the week’s science and tech stories, including why bots always outbid you on the internet and the father of fracking.<p>Too much information<br>Ian Leslie | Aeon | 7 August 2013<br>If we have an instinct for privacy, then how are we so easily fooled online? Perhaps because, at some primal level, …

Cyber Pearl Harbor: Why hasn’t a mega attack happened?

Despite many warnings, no major attack has taken place on the United States. So it is logical to ask why this hasn’t happened yet, and if it ever will.<p>For the past few years, US officials have warned of a coming mega cyber attack against critical infrastructure, something akin to the Japanese …

How big a threat is state sponsored computer hacking?

Dan Simmons visits a major cyber-security company to look behind the scenes at how, or if, state-sponsored hacking can be prevented.<p>Every government fears the hostile takeover of key infrastructure like transport systems or power stations. But governments themselves are believed to target other …

Cybersecurity

Smart cards that top-up health

Most of Kenya’s population can’t afford the crippling expenses if they fall seriously ill. But help is at their fingertips via their mobile phones.<p>Zack Oloo and Sam Agutu have been friends since they met at school 43 years ago. They followed similar career paths, working their way up Kenya’s health …

Why video games may be good for you

Games have long been accused of making players violent, but evidence has been building over the years that they can have positive effects. Scientists say they are not only understanding why, but they also trying to put these observations to the test.<p>The spreadsheet was seven feet long. Printed in …

The Brain

Does the internet need a backup system?

The internet connects billions of people and keeps our societies together – a job it wasn’t designed for. Technologist Danny Hillis says we must know what to do if the worst happens and it breaks.<p>The internet controls many aspects of our lives in this connected world. But it is a fragile thing – …

Internet of Things

Taiwan’s struggle to become an innovation leader

Taiwan became a manufacturing powerhouse and the centre of the world’s laptop production. But it’s a difficult place to launch successful start-ups. Can it rise to the challenge?<p>It has a population that is half that of Spain’s crammed into a land mass one-fiftieth the size of Mexico. Yet Taiwan …

Egypt’s tech innovators seize opportunity from turmoil

Since 2011, Egyptians have had to deal with unrest and political disorder. But the upheaval has also spurred a new wave of tech start-ups eager to restore the social order.<p>Cairo’s traffic jams are a bit like a zombie horde; no sooner have you dealt with one than another pops up. By some estimates, …

What’s the most frustrating problem in IT? It’s us

Why are so many large computing projects destined to be costly failures? History tells us we, not our machines, are the problem – and it’s time we tackled that.<p>The UK’s National Health Service may seem like a parochial subject for this column. But with 1.7 million employees and a budget of over …

The price of creating a connected future

Future generations will live in a world more connected in almost every way, To launch a new series of Building Tomorrow, author Tad Williams asks how this connected world will change both our societies and ourselves as individuals.<p>"<i>The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable</i> …

How technology is creating a revolution on TV

Tablets and catch-up have changed our viewing habits to such an extent it’s creating a sea-change in the quality of programmes that we now watch.<p>The days of waiting impatiently for an episode of our favourite TV shows is over. We expect to be able to enjoy them at our leisure – either bingeing on …

Philippines: The innovation drive that turned social

The Philippines wanted tech start-ups to blossom and make it a global competitor. Instead people focused on finding solutions to local problems. What happened?<p>There was a summit, a steering committee, a policy document and even a somewhat awkward new brand name: “filipinnovation”, a word that is …

Electric cars: Big data helps designs shift gears

Equipped with a bank of sensors, car makers say their electric vehicles are revealing much more information about its drivers than you can see on display.<p>You wouldn’t think that anybody would care about your drive to the supermarket to buy milk. But in the burgeoning world of building and selling …

Reinventing the classroom for the internet generation

How do you teach a generation of children who have never known life without the internet? Traditional models and traditional ways of thinking may not be the right way, says Sugata Mitra.<p>The school Mitra wants to make, the school in the clouds, will not have teachers in the classroom. Teachers will …