Computerised You: now available from Amazon

My Kindle Single about wearable technology, Computerised You: How wearable technology will turn us into computers, was launched by Amazon today. Here's Amazon's description:

"In this authoritative but sometimes alarming report, Shane Richmond describes the revolutionary developments in 'wearable' technology. From Google Glass to the advent of brain implants, technology is getting personal, and the difference between people and machines will soon be hard to tell."

The piece is a quick read but it covers a wide range of wearables, from the health and fitness gadgets to communication tools like Google Glass, and it considers the risks as we collect and store more data about ourselves, as well as the potential for brain implants and similar futuristic concepts.

Why forcing an iOS app to quit won't speed up your device

Apple has released iOS 7, the latest version of its mobile operating system, and it's a drastic change from all that has gone before. The changes are covered in my new iBook, Guide to iOS 7, published by Touch Press. It also includes 20 tips and tricks for iOS users. One of them seems to surprise so many people that I thought I would share it here.

A few weeks ago, I asked users of Apple's iOS devices to share the tips they would give people who were new to the OS. Lots of useful suggestions came back, via Twitter, but several people said that new users should be told that it's important to quit apps that you aren't using. I was surprised by that because, as far as I knew, it isn't true.

The theory is that forcing apps to quit - by double-tapping the Home button to open the multi-tasking menu and, on iOS 7, flicking the apps up off the screen - you will free up system resources and minimise battery drain. It seems that a lot of people consider that to be a pro tip.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work. Once you switch away from an app in iOS, it is suspended. iOS remembers the state it was in when you left it so that you can go right back to it on your return, but the app is not actually running anymore. The only exceptions to that rule are apps that have some background functionality, such as streaming music apps or apps that can upload files in the background. However, even those will be suspended after a certain period of time.

If an app is malfunctioning then, yes, forcing it to quit is the answer. But in normal use force-quitting apps will not make a difference. Explaining this can be difficult because some people simply do not believe it. They swear that they have seen an improvement in the performance of their device after doing it. All I can say to those people is that they are mistaken. I've checked with Apple and I've checked with independent developers and the answer is the same: force quitting apps will not save battery life or improve performance of the device.

In an attempt to combat the misinformation I've added that as one of my iOS Tips and Tricks in the Guide to iOS 7 that I have written in collaboration with Touch Press. It's the first Touch Press iBook and it's free so if you're an iOS 7 user then I recommend downloading your copy now.

World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers 2014 and Airbnb

The World Economic Forum this week announced its 36 Technology Pioneers for 2014. The WEF has been selecting a group of Pioneers every year since 2000. Google was a Pioneer in 2002 and otherss include the Wikimedia Foundation (2006), Twitter (2010), Spotify (2011) and Kickstarter (2012).

I've written a post for the WEF Technology blog about the background to the Pioneers program:

The Pioneers are small, entrepreneurial businesses working in all fields of technology, from healthcare and the environment, to robotics and new media. What unites them is their potential to have an enormous impact on society and business. Certain themes emerge year after year, reflecting the consistent concerns of the 21st Century world, such as the need for cleaner energy and the growing pace of communications and connectivity.

In a separate post, you can read my interview with Nathan Blecharczyk of Airbnb, one of the 2014 Pioneers.

Top 10 social media tips for businesses

The majority of businesses now have a social media presence and a staggering number of those are doing it badly. Whether through lack of focus, poor responsiveness or simply misunderstanding the channels they are using, plenty of companies could benefit from a rethink.

In a two-part post on the World Economic Forum's Technology Blog, I've put together some social media tips for businesses. Part one covers getting started and setting the right tone, while part two deals with practicalities and pitfalls