At the annual RSA Conference this week, Microsoft called for the establishment of a digital Geneva Convention. The company's President and Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith, asked for technology companies to step up and work together to protect the public from nation-state sponsored cyber attacks.
We're big fans of Minecraft here at Battenhall HQ. News has come out overnight that a new initiative from Code.org and Microsoft is being launched that will help teach kids to code using Minecraft.
As reported on MSDN: "The new Minecraft module is part of Code.org's third annual Hour of Code, a worldwide campaign that tries to demystify code by teaching the basics of computer science in just an hour. The Hour of Code takes place during Computer Science Education Week from December 7 - 13. If users sign up for the free Hour of Code Minecraft module, they'll learn how to use blocks of code to make Steve or Alex, the two main character skins from the game, adventure through a Minecraft world. Other modules, including some based on Star Wars, "Frozen" and other popular content, are also available on the Code.org site."
To use coding to build game characters is a fantastic way to convey the basics of software programming and give someone the creative spark for all things digital. Speaking from first hand experience, as I taught myself how to code doing precisely what this Minecraft initiative is doing - building a gaming character, albeit not on anything that looked like Minecraft, I think this will bring about some amazing results.
Three or possibly even two years ago, depending on how you look at it, Apple was unquestionably the champion of the smartphone industry. By 2011, it had left Nokia in the dust to claim the title as the largest mobile handset by revenue in 2011. Poor Nokia never recovered and ended up being gobbled up by a giant named Microsoft. IPhone was the undisputed king of the smartphone mountain.
But as Game Of Thrones illustrates, every king will be challenged for his leadership. Enter worthy challenger Samsung and its Galaxy S range. Before you could say “Candy Crush”, Apple found its dominant position in the balance as Samsung outsold Apple handsets globally. To add insult to injury, Apple was being accused of no longer being innovative or, even worse, cool. When the iPhone 4s and the iPhone 5 were met with less furor than their predecessors, one had to wonder if the late Steve Jobs’ company, once the epitome of cool technology, had lost its Midas touch.
Yet it seemed Apple were unperturbed about all this-as if they had something hidden that would cement their position as the quintessential smartphone. In its recent announcements, Apple may just have revealed its trump cards.
This year, Apple announced two new additions to the Apple familia: the wallet-friendly iPhone 5c and the slick iPhone 5s. Additionally, Apple also announced a brand new operating system; the iOS 7, which gives the usual Apple interface a much-needed makeover. Whereas consumers were indifferent towards the gimmicky addition of Siri, the fingerprint identity sensor - the Touch ID for iPhone 5s - has been hailed as a truly revolutionary feature that will change the way consumers use their iPhone.
So far, reviews for the iPhone 5s have been unanimous: the iPhone 5s is glorious. Like most great Kings, Apple may have successfully fought off those who wish to usurp it. Then again, the smartphone industry is one that is constantly innovating and we have no idea what Samsung, Microsoft (and Blackberry, yes, I am serious) have brewing in their kitchens. Only time and astronomical sale figures will determine if Apple still sits on the throne.