Wednesday 27 January 2010

The $877 million man

Colonel Steve Austin. The Six Million Dollar Man. Rebuilt with experimental cybernetic parts for a TV series in 1973.

But fiction is becoming fact, according to new figures from ABI Research. They reckon we're going to spend a total of $29 million worldwide on 'human augmentation systems' this year - from electronic eye implants and powered limbs to exoskeletons - and in ten years' time we'll be spending $877 million annually.
Powered exoskeletons — robotic frameworks designed to enhance the strength of the wearer — will see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 68% over the forecast period of 2010-2020, and will be used primarily in military and medical settings initially, due to their high cost of manufacture. Advanced powered upper-limb prostheses, which include myoelectric and nerve-controlled limbs with articulating digits, will post a CAGR of 28.5% over the forecast period, while ocular sensory-substitution devices for the blind, such as retinal implants and ocular prostheses, will see a CAGR of almost 75% this decade, with more than 16,000 units to be shipped in 2020.

ASA to take no action against McDonalds 'bob' TV ad

"The Pound, also known as a bob". That's what fast-food giant McDonalds is telling us in a TV commercial for its 'Saver' menu, although it's wrong. A bob is old-fashioned slang for a shilling, which is today's 5p.

There's been a fair amount of discussion about this, with the US company's executives being blamed for not researching the UK market. That's all very well, but you'd think the voice-over artist might have mentioned it.

Now, call me a grumpy old pedant, but 5p is considerably less than a pound. Advertising something on television and promoting two different prices is misleading, I reckon.

That's certainly what the Plain English Campaign told Sky News: "It just doesn't work for me, a bob certainly isn't anything like a pound."

The response from McDonald's was "Although a 'bob' was formerly used as a slang term for the shilling until the introduction of decimalisation in 1971, research has shown it is now more commonly used as slang for a pound or money in general."

Research? Whose research? Asking the people who approved the ad?

Sadly, the Advertising Standards Authority thinks the ad is clear enough for TV. Their response is: "The ad clearly states the cost of the advertised products and we acknowledge that those viewers who are familiar with the pre-decimalisation term ‘bob’ are likely to understand it refers to a shilling. However, we do not consider the use of the word here is likely to mislead viewers about the cost of the advertised products."

Tuesday 26 January 2010

The ultimate mobile phone

Here's a Nokia press release:

"Nokia today announces the launch of its ultimate entertainment device – the X6 16GB. The 16GB has all the stunning features of the 32GB..."

Woah. Hang on a moment. The earlier version of the X6 had more memory. So that's not "ultimate" meaning "best", is it?

And I doubt it's Nokia's last-ever entertainment device. So what exactly does "ultimate" mean on this occasion?

Oh sure, it's a good phone. And it's a good price. But "ultimate"?

I think not.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Mostly listening to...

By combining Wordle and I discover I've been listening to the following collection of artists: