Angry Birds flee the nest...

October 27, 2011

It all would have been so different if it hadn’t been for Swine Flu. Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka lives in a parallel universe where Angry Birds rule the planet, and pigs are green.

“You might not believe this but there was a time back in ancient history when people thought pigs were pink.” Vesterbacka is feeling hot in a red Angry Birds top. But there’s a cool part, too: he’s the star of the show at Nokia World after announcing that his fantastically popular game is going to be available on the new Series 40 Nokia Asha range.

Now the population of China, India and most of Africa will know that pigs are, in fact, green. “The pigs are not actually evil you know,” Vesterbacka tells a Nokia audience, “They’re just hungry. And the green color was influenced by the Swine Flu outbreak.”

Before President Obama, and British Prime Minister David Cameron, announced that they switched off from war in Afghanis… [more]

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Learning the language on your mobile...

October 25, 2011

Imagine you’re a young Maharaja arriving in a new land. You need to master one crucial thing to take control of your Kingdom – learn the language.

“It’s phataphati,” said Rahul Mittra whose planned Vijeta app was one of the recent finalists of Nokia’s Bhasha competition in Bangalore which invited students from four design schools to develop new ways for Indians to communicate on their phones in local languages.

Rahul studied design at the University of Leeds before returning to India to enroll in a master’s degree at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur. English is the language he feels most comfortable writing in, but there are words like ‘phataphati’ that only work in Bengali.

“If my Mum called and said, how was your exam? I’d say – it was phataphati,” Rahul explained. “It means it was awesome; I killed it. But it’s hard to translate exactly, and that’s why we need apps like V… [more]

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Bruno Maag: The angry man of type...

October 25, 2011

Bruno Maag is the angry man of type. He hates Helvetica: “It’s vanilla ice cream,” horrendous, poorly crafted and American. A recent billboard for a chocolate bar made him lose the will to live: “This person should stop design and become a gardener, then he couldn’t inflict such terrible crimes on mankind.”

Maag is a hot metal man, starting his career as an apprentice typesetter back in Switzerland when newspaper offices were noisy, design involved putting pencil to paper and there was the smell of a hot press. Now his studio in Brixton, South London is a silent white temple to type where designers sit hunched over their computer screens with zen like concentration.

Working on type, day in and day out, can make you pedantic, and intolerant of imperfection:

“If you are really into type …well, we all suffer from a slight mental illness. Every single stroke has to be perfect.”

But may… [more]

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The phone that can tell if you're a psycho...

October 25, 2011

Jim Fallon is a world-renowned neuroscientist. He’s also a potential psychopath, or so say the results of a brain scan and a series of genetic tests that he undertook to check if he was prone to Alzheimer’s disease.

“Luckily I took those tests at the end of my career, I was just at the point of retiring. I know that I’ve never hurt anyone, or gone to jail. But if I’d taken them and known that information when I was a wild young man it could all have been different.”

Jim spent his career studying the brain scans of psychopaths and serial killers at the University of California at Irvine. He was shocked when the scans showed he had the same abnormal, distinctive, reactions in his prefrontal lobe relating to empathy and human closeness. “I’m not a psychopath, but I do have those tendencies. You wouldn’t want to be married to me, or be my mother.”

His work in neuroscience has given … [more]

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