July 19, 2012

Is word play friendly branding the key to successful technology?

βατόμουρο / Raspberries by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos

The Raspberry Pi (not pictured above) is currently blowing raspberries at its competitors at an impressive rate of four thousand per day. Creative Commons licensed picture of Rasberries by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos on wikipedia.

The key to successful technology is not just the tricky combination of innovation, determination and investment but also word play friendly branding.

Consider two technology companies, Google and Raspberry Pi:

So is word play really the key to technological success? Successful technologies often encourage word play, but word play does not make technology successful. Correlation does not imply causation and the examples above are very anecdotal.

Still, word play is fun and probably helps brands without doing them any harm [2]. Raspberry Pi is a particularly ripe brand for punning, are there any other #TechnoWordPlay examples?


  1. Rory Cellan-Jones (2012). Raspberry Ripples from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, BBC News
  2. Guy Swillingham (2005). Shop Horror: The Best of the Worst in British Shop Names, Harper Collins ISBN:0007198132

January 2, 2012

Does Android Dream of Electric Sheep?

Androids by etnyk. What are they thinking?

With more than three million Android devices activated on the 24/25th December 2011 [1] and something like 200 million (or more?) Android devices in total, there are nearly enough droids around to build a primitive brain.

With all that processing power out there, I can’t help but wonder, like Philip K. Dick did, Does Android Dream of Electric Sheep? [2,3]


  1. Andy Rubin (2011) http://twitter.com/Arubin/status/151918325260226561
  2. Philip K. Dick (1967) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  3. Ridley Scott et al (1982) Blade Runner

April 28, 2011

Are machines taking over the planet?

TastyTalk of machines taking over the planet is the stuff of science fiction but if world domination was just a simple numbers game, some machines have already “taken over” from their human masters.

One machine, the particular brand of computer processor found inside all iPhones and lots of other electronic devices, has been quietly spreading around the globe at a phenomenal rate. There are some interesting statistics on just how many of these processors are out there published in an interview with engineer Steve Furber [1]. Here is an excerpt from the interview:

“Around the end of 2007, the ten-thousand-millionth ARM [Advanced RISC Machine] had been shipped, so there are more ARMs than people on the planet. I believe production is currently running at about 10 million a day. It is projected to rise to about one per person on the planet per year within two or three years”.

Those numbers highlighted in bold (emphasis mine) are completely mind-boggling. As humans, we are outnumbered by just one brand of machine! Of course, they are just lots of “dumb” computer chips with no intelligence. But Furber suspects that:

“there’s more ARM computing power on the planet than everything else ever made put together” [1]

So if you could find a way of using all these processors at once, maybe they’d become magically self-aware in a neural network [2,3,4,5]? Cue ominous Terminator theme tune


  1. Jason Fitzpatrick (2011). An interview with Steve Furber Communications of the ACM, 54 (5) DOI: 10.1145/1941487.1941501 (since 2007, numbers have risen to 10 billion in 2008 an another one billion in the first quarter of 2011 alone!)
  2. Steve Furber (2011). Biologically-Inspired Massively-Parallel Architectures: A Reconfigurable Neural Modelling Platform Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 6578 (2) DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-19475-7_2
  3. Steve Furber, & Steve Temple (2008). Studies in Computational Intelligence Computational Intelligence: A Compendium, 115, 763-796 DOI: 10.1007/978-3-540-78293-3_18
  4. An estimated one million ARM processors give you about 1% of the capacity of the human brain see the details of the Spiking Neural Network Architecture (SpiNNaker) project
  5. James Cameron, et al (1991) Terminator 2: Judgment Day (T2)

[Creative commons licensed picture of Terminator terror by Tasty by cszar]

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