On Tech Brief today: A backpack-sized artificial heart, a Flash video plug-in which doesn't play video, and a map of the Twitterverse.
• The United States Food and Drug Administration has just approved a backpack-sized artificial heart.
Patients requiring a heart machine are normally stuck in hospital, attached to a device weighing close to 200kg, so the first user of the backpack-sized heart, 43-year-old Charles Okeke, was thrilled:
"I am about as happy of a person as you can have right now... to be able to sleep in my own bed after two years on a hospital bed, you can't imagine."
• There was a much-heralded launch for an Adobe Flash plug-in for smartphones, as well as a new Android smartphone operating system at Google's recent I/O developer conference.
Technology writer Gina Trapani shares screenshots of some of her favourite bits of Google's new Android Operating System 2.2 for mobile phones, codenamed Froyo.
But she also found that the Flash plug-in for smartphones does not yet work with media from the popular video sites Hulu or Vimeo:
"On Hulu I got a 'your device isn't supported' message, and Vimeo told me I needed to download Flash 10. So, Adobe's Flash 10 plug-in for Android 2.2 is indeed beta."
• While we're all used to watching clips on websites like YouTube, it seems watching entire movies is growing rapidly in popularity.
Research from Ipsos MORI indicates it trebled between late 2008 and late 2009. One in five US consumers streamed a full-length movie in October 2009. Brian Pickens, Senior Research Manager at Ipsos OTX MediaCT said:
"Video on the internet is no longer the domain of short, amateur clips, but has become a viable alternative for all forms of video, regardless of length."
• Is the Twitterverse like the Universe?
The web design studio Information Architects thinks so. And it's even identified a Big Bang, around which the team draw planet-shaped circles to show when and in what sphere Twitter's top 140 users started using the microblogging service.
Stan Schroeder at Mashable said:
"As hard as it is to determine the exact level of influence of individual Twitter users, the visualisation [1.14Mb PDF] is an amazing sight to behold. It's huge, complex, and beautiful."
• And apparently Twitter has transformed political reporting. John Rentoul says, for example, there is no other way he would have discovered this strange-sounding law:
"The Food (Jelly Mini-Cups) (emergency Control) ( Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2010"
That aside, he's quite serious about how Twitter has transformed his job:
"We who remember the waiting for dates, the missed phone calls and the microfiche libraries of the era before the Amstrad personal computer should recognise that Twitter completes the range of options available to writers."
Links in full
• CNET News | Man goes home with 'Total Artificial Heart'
• Gina Trapani | Smarterware | My Favourite Features in Froyo
• Ipsos MORI | Movie Downloading and Streaming Triples in 2009
• Stan Schroeder | Mashable | Twitter's Most Influential Users
• John Rentoul | The Independent | How Twitter transformed political reporting