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“the machinery that was built up for computer chess is pretty useless"

The Mystery of Go, the Ancient Game That Computers Still Can’t Win
The challenge is daunting. In 1994, machines took the checkers crown, when a program called Chinook beat the top human. Then, three years later, they topped the chess world, IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer besting world champion Garry Kasparov. Now, computers match or surpass top humans in a wide variety of games: Othello, Scrabble, backgammon, poker, even Jeopardy. But not Go. It’s the one classic game where wetware still dominates hardware.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 26, 2014 - 72 comments

Typewriters v. Computers: the argument revisited (again).

How the typewriter is/isn't better/worse for your writing. A little bit about ye olde handwriting in there as well.
posted by JanetLand on May 8, 2014 - 33 comments

How to be more sensitive, more sensible, more proportionate, more alive

The July 23, 1966 issue of Norman Cousins' The Saturday Review used 30 pages to focus on The New Computerized Age (Link to chapter PDFs), digitized and licensed for your enjoyment by Unz.org. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Mar 23, 2014 - 2 comments

When Artworks Crash

In 1994, Douglas Davis [personal blog] created The World's First Collaborative Sentence. Last summer, The Whitney Museum faced a new challenge: what happens to digital art when the technology becomes obsolete? [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 19, 2014 - 31 comments

Programming stories

For your Sunday reading, a couple of stories of ye olden computing days: Why MacPaint's Original Canvas was 416 Pixels Wide and A Great Old Timey Game Programming Hack.
posted by curious nu on Jan 5, 2014 - 29 comments

I always feel like somebody's watching me

For years we've been told that our laptop cameras and webcams are "hardwired" to an LED such that the camera can't be turned on without triggering the light. Yeah, you can see where this is going (the original paper). The exploit works on pre-2008 Macs, though other laptops and webcams could be vulnerable to a similar exploit. The researchers have a kernel extension to prevent this on 2007 / 2008 MacBooks. My preferred solution for the rest of us.
posted by dirigibleman on Dec 20, 2013 - 96 comments

Why the Web Won't Be Nirvana

"After two decades online, I'm perplexed. It's not that I haven't had a gas of a good time on the Internet. I've met great people and even caught a hacker or two. But today, I'm uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community. Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic. Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth [is] no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works." A view of the Internet's future from February 26, 1995 at 7:00 PM
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 12, 2013 - 41 comments

The Biggest Little Site in the World

Imgur began as a photo sharing site to be used by Redditors. It now outpaces Reddit in total traffic. What's next for the site?
posted by reenum on Dec 5, 2013 - 20 comments

Body Class Pimp

"The Dutch social network Hyves didn't chase its users in white clean profiles (like Facebook), and it also didn't allow them to build their own web sites (like Geocities, Tumblr). Instead, for almost 10 years, it was going with the Pimp My Profile model (Myspace): users were allowed to change the avatar, colors of texts and other elements, background image and its position. Not a lot, but the users of Hyves developed the mastery of talking to the world through the choice and combination of userpic and wallpaper." (From Contemporary Home Computing, Olia Lialina. Via @cory_archangel)
posted by grobstein on Nov 27, 2013 - 9 comments

Lee Reid wrote Musink with his feet

What could be more impressive than learning to program, and then writing a complete new music notation program? Doing it with your feet.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen on Nov 18, 2013 - 9 comments

Meet badBIOS, the multi-platform malware that jumps airgaps.

"It looks like the state of the art in intrusion stuff is a lot more advanced than we assumed it was."
posted by fings on Oct 31, 2013 - 132 comments

The Man Who Would Teach Machines to Think

Douglas Hofstadter, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Gödel, Escher, Bach, thinks we've lost sight of what artificial intelligence really means. His stubborn quest to replicate the human mind.
posted by cthuljew on Oct 27, 2013 - 134 comments

The dawn of an era, available and emulated in your browser to play.

A few months ago there was a list of links to classic video game emulators posted. Very recently, I'm pleased to report, those links all came true. The Internet Archive bespoke upon aforementioned consoles, computers, and mileposts on our way to the tech utopia of today, (seriously, where's my flying car?) and they asked us to do something: Imagine every computer that ever existed, literally, in your browser. And it was so. I have absolutely no affiliation with jscott, btw. Thought I should disclose that.
posted by jdaura on Oct 25, 2013 - 37 comments

Twiggy Mac

Many of the Macintosh team members gathered Wednesday, September 11 2013 to play with one of the original “Twiggy Mac” prototypes still in running condition. Quick, Hide In This Closet!
posted by unliteral on Oct 23, 2013 - 23 comments

Billions and Billions of Path Traces

The Physics of Light and Rendering is a talk given at QuakeCon 2013 by John Carmack, co-creator of Doom, Quake, and many other games at id Software and beyond. It provides a detailed but surprisingly understandable history of 3D rendering techniques, their advantages and tradeoffs, and how they have been used in games and movies. (SLYT, 1:32:01, via)
posted by cthuljew on Oct 17, 2013 - 9 comments

Data You Can Believe In

The data analysis group that used Facebook and set top TV data to help Barack Obama win the latest election is taking its talents to the private sector. (SL NYTimes)
posted by reenum on Sep 30, 2013 - 16 comments

Evolved design

Unleashing Genetic Algorithms on the iOS 7 Icon - In the pursuit of something just a bit tighter than Marc Edwards' superellipse approximation, Mike Swanson applies genetic algorithms to the task of making a better button-making script.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 26, 2013 - 19 comments

Innovation or Exploitation

The Limits of Computer Trespass Law (Lengthy video with audio available) "Have you ever borrowed a smartphone without asking? Modified a URL? Scraped a website? Called an undocumented API? Congratulations: you might have violated federal law!" Legal and internet thinkers (including Ed Felten, Jennifer Granick, Dan Auerbach, & others) talk about vagueness in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, chilling effects, and the prosecution of Aaron Swartz in a panel discussion at Stanford's Center for Internet and Society. [more inside]
posted by gauche on Aug 29, 2013 - 16 comments

The Commodore 64: it's a pretty good computer, it has a lot of features

Let's go back to 1982 and let Jim Butterfield not only tell you about the Commodore 64, but really show you what it's all about, in a two hour demonstration and training video that takes you from opening the box to coding with the Commodore. (on YouTube, and with a different intro on Archive.org) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 31, 2013 - 87 comments

AskMetafilter In 1946.

A Logic Named Joe is a short science-fiction story by Murray Leinster. Published in 1946, the story depicts data-mining, massively networked computers, search engines, privacy/censorship filters and internet porn. Read it here.
posted by The Whelk on May 13, 2013 - 35 comments

Crowd funding, One Year Later

What does the crowdfunding landscape look like for game developers one year after Kickstarter exploded onto the scene?
posted by Artw on May 5, 2013 - 10 comments

Remembered, NeXT

As the roots of Apple's OS X, NeXT is fairly well known. Have you actually seen one, though?
posted by gilrain on May 3, 2013 - 116 comments

Dom's laptop is in Iran.

It's still there. A tale of loss.
posted by colie on Apr 11, 2013 - 49 comments

The PAPAC-00

In less than an hour you can build the simplified digital computer shown in figure 1, using only a pair of scissors, three dozen common pins, and the parts shown in figures 1 and 2.
posted by popcassady on Apr 8, 2013 - 7 comments

Time Traveling The Net

Check out what the Internet looked like in 1995 in an episode of Computer Chronicles. Topics include: filtering electronic mail in Eudora, using an FTP site, and video streaming a live rock and roll band.
posted by rageagainsttherobots on Mar 27, 2013 - 39 comments

Like a weird game of Rock Paper Sissors Lizard Spock

Inventions that Changed the World is a 2004 BBC Miniseries in the vein of Connections (previously) hosted by Jeremy Clarkson (yes the Top Gear guy). The Gun. The Computer. The Jet. The Telephone. The Television
posted by Mitheral on Mar 17, 2013 - 11 comments

A Roguelike Primer

Best In Genre for Neophytes and Veterans Alike
posted by Artw on Mar 10, 2013 - 81 comments

I need a name that's cutting-edge, like CutCo, EdgeCom, InterSlice...

"At the time, Groening was best known as the artist of the comic Life in Hell, as The Simpsons has not yet premiered. The brochure was titled, 'Who Needs a Computer Anyway' and interspersed Groening’s Life in Hell style illustrations with standard information on Apple’s Mac computers." Apple once hired Matt Groening to do some illustrations for them.
posted by gauche on Mar 4, 2013 - 36 comments

30 PRINT "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres.."

"That got me thinking: Could the Romans have built a digital computer using only the technology and manufacturing processes available to them?"
posted by Chrysostom on Mar 1, 2013 - 79 comments

Dreaming of password combinations sucks

Password Cracking AES-256 DMGs and Epic Self-Pwnage
posted by unliteral on Feb 12, 2013 - 42 comments

New from VIDEO Magazine, it's Electronic Games!

NEW from VIDEO Magazine, arising out of its popular "Arcade Alley" column, it's ELECTRONIC GAMES Magazine!(page of PDF links) Brought to you by editors Frank Laney Jr. and Bill Kunkel, and filled with all the latest news on programmable home console games, computer games (with special coverage for the new ATARI 800 system), stand-alone electronic devices and arcade gaming. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 7, 2013 - 37 comments

Interview with Eleanor Kolchin

The Face Of A 'Computer' From 1946
posted by infini on Feb 5, 2013 - 5 comments

Teaching Computers to Hear Emotions

New research can detect five different emotions with 81 percent accuracy. [Additional project information].
posted by Evernix on Jan 8, 2013 - 21 comments

Bye Bye Netbook Bye Bye

2012: The year that netbooks Died. A five-year lifespan turned out to be all that netbooks got. Acer and Asus are stopping manufacture from 1 January 2013 - ending what once looked like the future of computing.
posted by adamvasco on Dec 31, 2012 - 197 comments

H+

This past August, producer Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men) launched a new digital series: H+. The premise: in the near future, 33% of humanity has retired their smartphones, tablets and computers in favor of an implanted computer system, H+, which connects them directly to the internet 24/7. The story begins as a computer virus attacks the implants, killing billions. In intersecting storylines across four continents (told in part through flashbacks,) the series then unravels what happened, who caused it and why. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 19, 2012 - 66 comments

256 bit security and the laws of physics

Why 256 bit keys are long enough. A nice graphic explanation by Schneier why brute-force attacks against 256-bit keys will be infeasible until computers are built from something other than matter and occupy something other than space. [more inside]
posted by Twang on Dec 17, 2012 - 34 comments

SPAUN of the living

The simulated brain - "First computer model to produce complex behaviour performs almost as well as humans at simple number tasks." [1,2,3,4,5,etc.]
posted by kliuless on Dec 8, 2012 - 22 comments

A conversation with Suneet Tuli

Gamechanger: $25 tablets, $2 mobile data plans, and zero margins–how the internet is about to gain 3 billion new users and a look inside that world’s cheapest tablet computer, India’s Aakash 2 - includes video.
posted by spock on Nov 29, 2012 - 18 comments

The Typewriter at the Gates of Dawn

The BBC reports that the last typewriter to be built in the UK (according to its manufacturers) has been donated to London's Science Museum. "Brother said it had stopped making typewriters because demand had fallen to 30 a day, with most of those being sold in the US." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Nov 20, 2012 - 97 comments

You are carrying: A licence to kill

Whenever a new Bond film is released, the promotional push for it is huge. Sony, which is distributing the movie in many territories, has taken the bull by the horns with this one and commissioned a text adventure game loosely based on the character of James Bond.
posted by Egg Shen on Nov 7, 2012 - 46 comments

weee eigenvectors

Eigenfaces for facial recognition. (This post assumes familiarity with the terminology and notation of linear algebra, particularly inner product spaces.)
posted by Evernix on Oct 6, 2012 - 18 comments

Steve Jobs in St. Petersburg

It is proposed that a memorial to Steve Jobs be erected in St. Petersburg, Russia. The entries are in and you can vote for your favourite online. [more inside]
posted by unliteral on Aug 26, 2012 - 59 comments

Is it curtains for Windows 8?

Some early reviews of Windows 8: "The worst computing experience I've ever had." "A technological, ideological and functional failure." "I’ve felt almost totally at sea — confused, paralyzed, angry, and ultimately resigned to the pain of having to alter the way I do most of my work." (previously) [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 23, 2012 - 281 comments

Shadow of the Bust

Sony is closing its Liverpool Studio, previously known as Psygnosis, developer of the WipeEout and Lemmings games (DHTML version, previously). The studio created games for 28 years, first gaining attention in the Amiga era for it's high production values and stunning box art (more, more ).
posted by Artw on Aug 22, 2012 - 55 comments

Top 10 Hardest Adventure Games

Until We Win's LordKat, who sounds like Anthony Bourdain, looks back in anger (and fondness) on the Top 10 Hardest Adventure Games. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 18, 2012 - 106 comments

Microsoft announces support for its open document format

... Microsoft made an unobtrusive announcement that brings a degree of closure to a seven year long epic battle between some of the largest technology companies in the world. The same saga pitted open source advocates against proprietary vendors, and for the first time brought the importance of technical standards to the attention of millions of people around the world... [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 15, 2012 - 98 comments

Nothing is withheld from us...

Two things about working in coffee shops. First, don't assume everyone else in there is a hipster. Second, don't assume that the elderly person who befriends you is a crazy old man telling tall tales. Else you may miss out on the meeting experience of a lifetime.
posted by Wordshore on Aug 8, 2012 - 71 comments

The TRS-80 Personal Computer

35 years ago today, Tandy Corporation announced the most expensive product yet offered in its chain of Radio Shack stores: the TRS-80 personal computer. [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 3, 2012 - 114 comments

What do today's kids make of the Commodore 64?

What do today's kids make of the Commodore 64? BBC News invited Commodore enthusiast Mat Allen to show schoolchildren his carefully preserved computer, at a primary school and secondary school in London.
posted by modernnomad on Aug 1, 2012 - 130 comments

Text Editors

TextEditors.org: "the largest collection of text editor information on the web" (Because word processors are stupid and inefficient.) [more inside]
posted by Egg Shen on Jul 27, 2012 - 123 comments

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