Posts Tagged ‘digital’

Wozniak NTNU
15Megan Jones

Megan JonesMarch 17, 2014

Steve Wozniak in Trondheim

Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, came to Trondheim on Friday to speak at StartIT, an event run by Start NTNU and Spark NTNU to encourage budding IT entrepreneurs.

A gifted engineer and a charismatic speaker, Wozniak entertained the auditorium of 500 students with anecdotes about Apple’s beginnings and advice for new inventors. Here are some of his choicest stories.

On the origins of Apple

Before Wozniak took the stage the organisers played the famous 1984 commercial, setting the tone for a trip down memory lane. According to Wozniak, he and Steve Jobs started working together “for fun – not doing it thinking we’re going to have a company, a job”. They were part of a group of people talking about social revolution, he elaborated: “I never did it for the money… it was something I was good at creating and something I thought could help other people – I really wanted to be part of a revolution”.

Beyond that, though, his sheer enthusiasm for his inventions was clear in every sentence. “Once you have a computer it’s a platform,” Wozniak told the crowd.  “I had a goal of someday owning my own computer – then all of a sudden it was apparent I could build that computer”.

In particular he talked about the Apple II. It would be a computer you could use straight from the box, and it would be in colour. “They only used black and white televisions for arcade games in those days… and I was thinking about colour TVs – how they use a nice wave at exactly the right speed – and then the idea popped into my head of using 1s and 0s at the right speed and the computer would think it was colour”.

“We were bringing colour to the world,” he concluded.

The Apple II, launched 1977.

On Steve Jobs

When Wozniak talked, the years rolled away and you could imagine being back in California in this moment of intense innovation and excitement. You could imagine Steve Jobs would walk out on stage any second.

In Wozniak’s story, Jobs and he made the perfect team: “Steve was the entrepreneur, I was just the designer – I understood the market really well, because the market was one person, me. He didn’t know the cost to build but he knew what people wanted and which engineers were able to achieve the impossible”.

Jobs persuaded Wozniak to go further and achieve more: “to design a game that young, game-loving people would like would be the highlight of my life – and Steve said you’ve got to do it in 4 days.” Wozniak explained that this was in the days of hardware, not software, but – “I didn’t question him. We had four days and nights with no sleep – both of us caught mononucleosis, but we delivered it to Atari!”

Advice for IT entrepreneurs

For all the fun of hearing about the past, what really grabbed to audience was when Steve Wozniak turned to the future – to the innovators and entrepreneurs in the room.

“When we started the company we were like all of you… we were young, we had no money, and we had no business experience,” Wozniak began. But “if you want to do new outstanding different things, they don’t have to have value at first – look at Apple…If we didn’t make a profit it didn’t matter, we would have a company that we cared about.”

“What really matters is when something’s in your own head, nothing can stop you,” Wozniak continued. “You do as much as you can with the few resources you have…We bought our computer parts on credit, so you have 30 days to pay for them! We built the computers in 10 days, and got paid cash.”

Steve Wozniak quoted the advice of their angel investor and second CEO Mike Markkula: “we’re going to be a market-driven company, because the greatest companies like IBM were market-driven, not engineering driven.”

To “all these people come out of business school”, Wozniak had this to say: “Please, find the engineering students. All these people who like to create, original problem-solvers…the engineers will be able to give you ideas you never thought of.”

And with that engineering foundation, “build a working model that somebody can play with and interact with – because you’ll be able to convince a lot more people it’ll be fun to use.”

When asked if the students in the audience should pursue a business or finish school, Wozniak laughed and said: “If you have a chance to start a company with a few friends, do it, you can always go back to school! On the other hand, if you can do it while you’re at school…”

Looking forwards

When Steve Wozniak finished speaking all 500 students rose to their feet – a tribute to the man and to the legacy that continues to shape our world.

Earlier in his talk Wozniak threw out the idea that “Steve Jobs would say the computer age is gone”. Hard drives are increasingly located elsewhere – devices like iPads are more like displays.

Technology has come so far from the invention of floppy disks and colour screens in the 1970s – what will the future bring?

Want to hear more?

What is the future of technology and innovation – and what role will Norway play? At Technoport 2014 we will explore topics like this through keynote speeches, hands-on workshops and live crowdfunding. Learn more about Technoport 2014.

Photo credit: Start NTNU and

Bitcoins in Norway
60David Nikel

David NikelDecember 31, 2013

Will Bitcoin Sink or Swim in 2014?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year, you’ll have heard of Bitcoin, the digital currency taking the world by storm.

I can’t think of a more disruptive technology in my lifetime – one that’s been discussed at the highest levels of US government, banned by some countries, shortlisted as “word of the year” by both Oxford and Collins, and sent politicians heads’ deep into the sand.

So what does 2014 hold for Bitcoin? I have no idea, but I’m willing to bet the next 12 months will prove decisive for the digital currency’s future.

First up, what exactly is Bitcoin? It’s the name of both the peer-to-peer payment network and the currency itself. According to Wikipedia:

“When paying with Bitcoin, no exchange of digital notes or tokens takes place between buyer and seller. Instead, the buyer requests an update to a public transaction log, the blockchain. This master list of all transactions shows who owns what bitcoins currently and in the past and is maintained by a decentralized network that verifies and timestamps payments. The operators of this network, known as “miners”, are rewarded with transaction fees and newly minted bit coins.”

In a world where digital payment systems such as PayPal became mainstream far quicker than I had expected, it seems logical that a digital currency would be the next step. So, what’s the problem?

The entire system is controlled by an algorithm, not by a Central Bank, and therefore out of control of any Government. A truly international currency presents problems for taxation, regulation, and a whole host of other factors that have Governments all over the world scratching around for a solution.

Bitcoins in Scandinavia

Bitcoins are not just a plaything of the tech savvy crowd in Palo Alto, London and Berlin. Take a look at some of the biggest news from the last few months here in Scandinavia:

  • Stockholm welcomed its first Bitcoin ATM.
  • Oslo resident Kristoffer Koch invested 150 NOK in Bitcoins back in 2009, only to forget about them. It’s unclear exactly how much they’re now worth, but he bought an apartment in Tøyen with just one-fifth of his investment.
  • The Norwegian Tax Office took the interesting step of classifying Bitcoin as an asset, just a few months after economic powerhouses Germany and France leaned towards currency.

Klaus Bugge Lund, CEO of the Norwegian bitcoin exchange Justcoin AS, says:

“I am mostly fascinated by the underlying payment system that Bitcoin provides. The idea of a decentralized network to confirm transactions is appealing since it is not as vulnerable to political interference. Bitcoin as a currency is at the time subject to extreme speculation leading to a volatility making it unsuited as a currency. Once the infrastructure has been set up properly and the price growth stabilize we will hopefully see Bitcoin succeed both as a payment system and as a currency.”

“Half a year ago we would have to explain what Bitcoin was to most people we met. Today everyone has at least heard of Bitcoin. Although many people are still skeptical to the concept we think that the awareness itself is valuable for Bitcoin. The potential impact digital currencies has to our financial environment as we know it today makes people obligated to refrain from Bitcoin. If Bitcoin really does change money, it will not be the first time a disrupting concept meets resistance before eventually succeeding.”

The future of Bitcoin

Will Bitcoin thrive and force Governments to adapt, or will it go the way of Napster – a trailblazing disruptive technology that failed, but ultimately paved the way for Spotify, Netflix, et al.

What do you think?

Photo credit: Antana

11Annette Hovdal

Annette HovdalOctober 4, 2013

The New Digital Age

What will the future look like? Jared Cohen, the Director of Google Ideas, and Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google believes that four new technologies will contribute to change our lives in the next five to ten years.

The book “The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business,” written by the two Google top leaders, has gotten a lot of attention since it was released this spring.

In the next 10 years, the number of people using the internet will probably grow from 2 billion to 7 billion. The Google executives do not paint a rosy picture of the future, when describing how the digital world will affect the physical world in issues such as the future of states, terrorism, conflict combat, citizenship and identity. Read more about the predictions here.

Future technologies
However, as it is Friday today, let’s not focus on the troubling predictions, but rather on some of the “fun” technologies that Cohen and Schmidt predict will contribute to change our lives in the years to come:
• Automatic simultaneous translation: This means that people with different languages could understand each other on the phone
• Intelligent pills: The pills can communicate via wifi with your phone, which automatically book an appointment with your doctor if something is wrong with your health
• Holograms: You will be able to see an Olympic exercise as if it was happening in the middle of your living room
• 3D printing: Printing technology will pave the way for new markets

Do you think these technologies will be in your life in five to ten years?

Photo by: Diavolo Qqta (CEO Eric Smith)

5Erling Hess Johnsen

Erling Hess JohnsenJuly 29, 2013

Programming without learning code

Have you ever wished that you had an app that could perform a specific task, such as upload a new photo automatically to Dropbox? Or receive an e-mail with the link to new blog posts at Technoport Playground? With IFTTT you can create it yourself – without writing a single line of code.

Programming has never been a skill for the masses. Creating your own customized applications usually require learning at least one (and usually multiple) languages of code. However, the service IFTTT has made programming a whole lot easier. With IFTTT you can create your own applications without writing a single line of code.

The acronym stands for “If This Then That”, and refers to a basic structure quite similar in all programming languages. If something happens (trigger) the application should do this (action). In code, you’d perhaps write something like the following (though many more lines of code if the application were to actually do something useful):

if($trigger_event == true) {
// do something

If this
ifthisIFTTT provides a basic and clean interface which allows you to click yourself through the programming process in a matter of minutes. You simply start by selecting a trigger channel – usually a web service such as Gmail, RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook, weather services et cetera. Afterwards, you simply select a trigger event, such as when there’s a new blog post on Technoport Playground

Then That
After you’ve selected your trigger event, you simply select an action for your recipe (or application). So whenever the trigger event happens, your application will execute the selected action.

As an example, we created a recipe for an application which will send you an e-mail notification when a new blog post is posted on Technoport Playground. Thus far, I’ve barely experimented with IFTTT, but there is no doubt that there is great potential for creating time-saving and useful applications.

Have you tried IFTTT? Please share your recipes with us!