Monday tech roundupLast week we learnt that artificial intelligence might come from within. Or that’s what Ray Kurzweil alluded to when he said our brains will be connected directly to the cloud. Also this week, Google balloons falling from the sky, Microsoft are looking at a hike in the prices of their on-site solutions and finally one heartfelt plea from ReadWrite.com.

Genius Ray Kurzweil believes our brains will connect directly to cloud

In as little as 15 years our brains will be able to connect directly to the cloud, interact directly with the computers held within, and think thoughts that are a combination of biological and artificial. That is the stunning prediction of Ray Kurzweil, a total technological genius and Director of Engineering at Google. Ray is far from crazy – he is one of the clearest thinkers we have and his predictions usually come true.

A pioneer in speech recognition and artificial intelligence, Kurzweil believes brains will use miniature robots comprised of strands of DNA to connect to the cloud. Once established, this technique will grow so fast that by 2040 or so, most of our thinking will be somehow artificial.

And don’t worry about forgetting stuff. You’ll also be able to back up your brain to the cloud – an artificial form of immortality I suppose.

Website ReadWrite.com begs for its life

ReadWrite.com is a popular tech site that has been put through the wringer. It has been bought twice, had some editorial shakeups, and is now down to a small handful of staffers.

The website is in trouble but it’s not giving up without a fight and it’s reaching out to readers for help at http://www.bringreadwriteback.com/.

“ReadWrite.com isn’t the blog you used to know. Over the past few years, we’ve done our best to simply survive through two acquisitions and a complete staff turnover. In the process, we lost our momentum, and we need your help to get it back. Right now, we’re down to the most bare-bones staff imaginable. To be completely frank, we’re struggling — and not just financially. We miss you, our community. We know we’ve come close to losing you lately. But we refuse to give up,” the website pleaded to its readers.

“Now more than ever, the tech world needs strong, objective analysis free from corporate oversight and interference. We used to be that voice, and we know we can do it again with your support. As the tech world changes, we want to change with it. We want to be a place where you can learn how to build new products with even the newest technologies, a place where deep insight and analysis live on,” the site said.

So what kind of help does it want? It really doesn’t seem like much as all they are asking is to get more newsletter signups, event attendance, and for readers to use social media to promote the site.

Will be interesting to see how it turns out. Despite the doom and gloom, the site still looks great and continues to have interesting content. ReadWrite.com is definitely worth saving!

Microsoft on-premises software prices to go up 13 percent

Microsoft must think its software is getting better all the time, good enough to justify a 13% price rise for client access to certain server applications. The increase in the Client Access Licenses (CALs) is only for on-premises tools, leading one to wonder if Microsoft is trying to nudge customers over to the cloud.

The sticker shock will set in on August 1 of this year.

Like many Microsoft stories, this one was broken by Mary Jo Foley, a long time Microsoft watcher and tech industry expert. Microsoft formerly disclosed the hikes in a blog, then thought the wiser and deleted the post. Here is what it said:

“Lock in lower CAL pricing now and pay the lower pricing that is still available. Don’t delay. Microsoft will increase on-premises User CAL pricing by approximately 13% effective on August 1, 2015. Customers will continue to have the option to license CAL Suites with the choice of per user or per device.”

Products covered are expected to include Exchange, Lync and System Center, among others.

The good news is you don’t have to pay full price. To get the best deals from Microsoft, you need to polish your negotiation skills as this will dramatically lower your price.

The sky Isn’t falling, but Google balloons sure are

Google has taken on the noble cause of trying to spread Internet access to underdeveloped parts of the world. Unlike Arthur C. Clarke’s geostationary satellites, Google is taking a simpler and presumably cheaper approach – balloons. Project Loon, as it is called, is expected to launch soon in the U.S., though the real benefits will be felt mostly in third world countries.

There is just one little problem – what goes up must come down, and these balloons are falling like crazy.

The crashes are far from unexpected. After they’ve been in service for a while, the steering goes south and eventually they bungle their way back to earth. One balloon, up for a bit more than a year, crashed in Missouri, and another in Washington State.

In the Missouri case, the company gave a sheriff’s deputy a t-shirt for reporting the incident. Crashes have also occurred in Mexico, South Africa and New Zealand. These crashes seem well worth it for the good the balloons will ultimately do. “Many of us think of the Internet as a global community. But two-thirds of the world’s population does not yet have Internet access. Project Loon is a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters,” Google explained on the Project Loon website.