Skip to content

BasitWeb Blog Posts

Want to advertise here? Email to rent this space!

Neon and corporate dystopias: why does cyberpunk refuse to move on?

Repeatedly reproduced and reimagined since the 80s, the tropes of cyberpunk must evolve or die

The future has looked the same for almost four decades. A skyline of densely packed skyscrapers, corporate logos lighting the night sky, proclaiming ownership over the city below. At street level, a haze of neon shines down from the cluster of signs above and shimmers at your feet in the rain that runs down the filthy streets. Here, the have-nots, excluded from the safe, luxurious enclaves enjoyed by the super-rich, are preyed upon by hustlers dealing in illegal tech and street gangs composed of green-haired, leather-clad technopunks, decked out with cyborg enhancements and high on synthetic drugs.

You know this city. You’ve seen it a million times since it was first constructed in the 80s by the pioneers of cyberpunk, most notably William Gibson in Neuromancer and Ridley Scott in Blade Runner. Hollywood recently returned to it with Blade Runner 2049. In the first episode of Netflix’s Altered Carbon, an adaptation of Richard K. Morgan’s 2002 novel, protagonist Takeshi Kovacs gazes upon it from his window; fire flickers from the top of a tall tower, just as it did in opening scene of Blade Runner, prompting a double-take where you wonder whether the window is actually a screen replaying Scott’s movie.

Continue reading…

Microsoft Surface Pro 6 review: a fantastic tablet PC you shouldn’t buy

It looks, feels and works great, is cheaper than the previous version and lasts longer on a charge, but it still doesn’t have USB-C or Thunderbolt 3

The new Surface Pro 6 the latest version of Microsoft’s category-defining detachable tablet PC, but do a price cut, faster chips and a new paint job make it worth buying?

From the outside it looks like very little has changed, and that’s because the Surface Pro 6 is practically identical to its predecessor.

Continue reading…

Paul Allen beyond Microsoft: wrecked warship finder and ultimate sports fan

The Microsoft co-founder engaged in years-long missions for sunken ships and nurtured the Seahawks to three Super Bowls

Aside from his fame as Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist, Paul Allen’s life centred on a twin obsession with sport and the fate of warships sunk in critical battles during the war in the Pacific.

In recent years, Allen bankrolled several expeditions that resulted in the discovery of Japanese and US vessels that would otherwise have remained, largely forgotten, on the ocean floor.

Continue reading…

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s death leaves Bill Gates ‘heartbroken’ – video

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has died aged 65 from complications with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He was first treated for the disease in 2009 but it returned this year. A childhood friend of Bill Gates, the pair started Microsoft in 1975. Bill Gates said in a statement on Monday: “I am heartbroken by the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends.” Allen was also an avid sports fan and went on to buy several sports teams. He was ranked among the world’s wealthiest individuals, with an estimated net worth of more than $20bn, and dedicated much of his later life to philanthropic work

Continue reading…

Coinbase plans for hard Brexit by opening Dublin offices

London remains European headquarters of cryptocurrency exchange, but a move to Ireland is plan B

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is opening new offices in Dublin as part of the company’s contingency planning for a hard Brexit.

The company, one of the largest members of the blockchain ecosystem, says that London will remain its European headquarters, but that Dublin’s EU membership, as well as its English-speaking workforce and diverse technology talent pool, made it the “clear choice” for a second European outpost.

Continue reading…

Facebook cracks down on ‘dark ads’ by British political groups

Social network hopes launch of transparency tools will restore trust after series of scandals

Facebook will no longer allow British political groups to publish “dark ads” on its network, in an attempt to restore public trust after the Cambridge Analytica scandal and questions over its influence on the Brexit referendum.

Related: Facebook ‘dark ads’ can swing political opinions, research shows

Continue reading…

Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, dies aged 65

Allen, diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, hailed as ‘a great technology pioneer’ and innovator of the personal computer

Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates, has died. He was 65.

Allen’s company Vulcan said in a statement that he died Monday. Earlier this month Allen said the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, had returned.

Continue reading…

From the Cookie Monster cat to ballistic missiles: when text and email alerts go wrong

The US embassy in Australia spammed recipients with a picture of a cat this week – but that’s nothing compared with other recent message fails

The US embassy in Canberra, Australia, sent out an email invitation this week to untold numbers of recipients, in Latin, with a picture of a cat holding biscuits in a turquoise Cookie Monster onesie. It was, of course, an error, though not one I can see any reasonable person being truly irked by. It also wasn’t the first of its kind. In 2014, the retailer Fab followed up its own subscriber-destined email of nothing but a cat with another, featuring two cats, explaining that it had been “purrrly a mistake”, and attaching an apologetic 10% discount code.

Messaging systems the world over seem to be having a bad year of it, spanning the full spectrum of societal anxiety, from A-level results to intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Continue reading…

Bloodhound 1,000mph car hits skids as project enters administration

Appeal for £25m investment to rescue British team’s plan to break land speed record

Plans to build a British jet-powered car to speed at more than 1,000mph through the desert have hit quicksand, after the company behind the Bloodhound project entered administration.

The dream of an ultra-fast car to break the land speed record led to the creation of Bloodhound Programme Ltd in 2007, with the idea of also engaging schools and students in engineering.

Continue reading…

Google and Orange building cable between US and France

The 6,600km undersea cable will open in 2020 and is one of seven Google is building over the next two years

Telecoms firm Orange has teamed up with Google to work on a private undersea cable connecting the Atlantic coasts of France and the United States.

Measuring 6,600km in length, the undersea cable will be named Dunant after Henry Dunant, the first Nobel peace prize winner and founder of the Red Cross. When it comes online in 2020, it will provide Orange alone with a capacity of “more than 30 terabits per second, per [fibre] pair” – enough, the company says, “to transfer a 1GB movie file in 30 microseconds”. Neither Orange nor Google released information about the total capacity of the cable, nor how they would allocate it between them.

Continue reading…