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Why Windows 8 Scares Me - and Should Scare You Too

Why Windows 8 Scares Me - and Should Scare You Too [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Jun 1, 2012 - 318 comments

 

NO, REALLY, WE MEAN IT

THIS TIME IT IS FOR REAL [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jun 1, 2012 - 88 comments

The ternary calculating machine of Thomas Fowler

The ternary calculating machine of Thomas Fowler. And electromechanical calculating machines from the 1960s.
posted by Wolfdog on May 28, 2012 - 11 comments

"To me, a personal computer should be small, reliable, convenient to use and in expensive."

Steve Wozniak introduces the Apple II
posted by Artw on May 18, 2012 - 30 comments

Microinstructions Done

"I started this blog so that anyone wanting to build their own 8-bit computer could learn from my own experience and mistakes."
posted by griphus on May 1, 2012 - 22 comments

Computer Science: Still have Byte? Or Down to Bits?

While growth prospects in the field are incredibly high, recent trends, such as "tools grow[ing] more advanced" (see Adobe Flash Builder or MS Visual Studio) have had people wondering over the past few years if computer science has much room for growth left. Some question whether it is alive. Others, such as Carnegie Mellon, say not so fast. In any case, employment has been a bit iffy (/.). There is the possibility that Computer Science is simply growing up (PDF), then again the U of Florida decided to say good bye to it this past week. But hey, if you are not going to that University, and still are shooting for computer science, here are some tips.
posted by JoeXIII007 on Apr 23, 2012 - 57 comments

CRASH AND BURN

The Onion's AV Club Asks: Just How Prescient Was Hackers Anyway?
posted by The Whelk on Apr 13, 2012 - 111 comments

The Hacker Shelf

The Hacker Shelf is nice crowd-sourced guide to (legally) free books on various computational and mathematical subjects. The topics page gives you an idea of the breadth of material available.
posted by philipy on Mar 15, 2012 - 24 comments

CGI becomes reality

Pipe Dream [2001, CGI (previously)]
Pipe Dream [2011, physical (another video) (yet another)] [MLYT]
posted by DevilsAdvocate on Mar 14, 2012 - 26 comments

Cheaper versions are on the way

Raspberry Pi the £22 ($35) computer was launched today and sold out immediately. It is intended to encourage children to develop a better understanding of computers and get involved in programming. The design is based on a Broadcom BCM2835 SoC with no keyboard or other frills; it's meant to run Linux.
posted by Segundus on Feb 29, 2012 - 128 comments

COMPUTERS ... IN ... SPACE ... (and in films, and on TV. Oh, and in other works of fiction, too)

Starring the Computer is a website dedicated to the use of computers in film and television. Each appearance is catalogued and rated on its importance (ie. how important it is to the plot), realism (how close its appearance and capabilities are to the real thing) and visibility (how good a look does one get of it). Fictional computers don't count (unless they are built out of bits of real computer), so no HAL9000 - sorry. (See also: computers in fiction)
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 24, 2012 - 22 comments

OS X continues to evolve with new security feature

Apple has released a developer preview of the next version of OS X, named Mountain Lion. A key new feature is Gatekeeper, a security system that will allow users to decide what type of applications can be installed or launched on their personal computers. While some security experts think its a good idea, others worry about it being subtly used to discourage users from installing non-App Store applications. Macworld has coverage of the entire update, while Daring Fireball recounts a personal demonstration.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Feb 17, 2012 - 273 comments

"Conceptual art is good only when the idea is good."

How the computer will save poetry.
posted by Fizz on Feb 13, 2012 - 40 comments

A Gross Miscarriage of Justice in Computer Chess

On December 4, 2005, the computer chess community was astonished by the initial release of a free, downloadable chess program named Rybka 1.0 Beta, which within days took a sizable lead on all then-existing chess program rankings, surpassing all commercial programs, including renowned engines Shredder, HIARCS, Fritz and Junior.
[snip]
In early 2011 sixteen chess programmers, many of whose programs were direct competitors of Rybka, signed a letter wherein they asserted that Rajlich copied programming code from another engine, Fruit, authored by Fabien Letouzey and released to the public in June 2005, about six months before Rybka 1.0 Beta.
A four part analysis of the International Computer Games Association decision. (full paper in pdf) [more inside]
posted by rider on Jan 6, 2012 - 47 comments

The sky is 'Purest Blue'

Those of us who enjoy old-school chemical photography often need to calculate f-stop and exposure times. Of course you can use a ginormous table but there exists a solution from a more elegant age in which the sky can be purest blue above a very narrow old street. Marvel at Kaufmann's Posographe, a wonder of the analog age.
posted by LastOfHisKind on Dec 30, 2011 - 22 comments

Stencyl

Here is Stencyl, a free creation system for making Flash games. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Dec 25, 2011 - 14 comments

The feat list hurts my brain

Here is Incursion: Halls of the Goblin King, a computer game that adapts the 3rd Edition rules of the Dungeons & Dragons game to roguelikes.
posted by JHarris on Dec 22, 2011 - 25 comments

Monte Carlo

The year was 1945. Two earthshaking events took place: the successful test at Alamogordo and the building of the first electronic computer. Their combined impact was to modify qualitatively the nature of global interactions between Russia and the West. No less perturbative were the changes wrought in all of academic research and in applied science. On a less grand scale these events brought about a [renaissance] of a mathematical technique known to the old guard as statistical sampling; in its new surroundings and owing to its nature, there was no denying its new name of the Monte Carlo method (PDF). -N. Metropolis
Conceptually talked about on MeFi previously, some basic Monte Carlo methods include the Inverse Transform Method (PDF) mentioned in the quoted paper, Acceptance-Rejection Sampling (PDFs 1,2), and integration with and without importance sampling (PDF).
posted by JoeXIII007 on Dec 17, 2011 - 13 comments

Will Wright's Next Game: Hivemind

Will Wright, of Sims and Simcity fame, now wants to have users use their personal data to shape the game playing experience in his new game, Hivemind.
posted by reenum on Dec 10, 2011 - 29 comments

Yesterday's Tomorrow Today!

The BBC broadcasted the science and technology showcase show Tomorrow's World (titles on piano) on 7 July 1965 on BBC1, it ran for 38 years until it was cancelled at the beginning of 2003. Unlike the boosterism of US science programs, Tomorrow's World was more famous for it's live stunts and wry outlook ( James Burke experiences the "convenient" office of the future and the future of home gardening and crushing ennui). The BBC has an archive of episodes and clips for UK visitors, everyone else will have to be content with clips concerning Home Computers, New Banking, Nellie The School Computer, The Elliot Light Pen, Mobile Phones, and Moog Synthesizers.
posted by The Whelk on Nov 26, 2011 - 17 comments

Computers should sound like they're doing something

Relays are simple electrical components that turn on an electromagnet with a small current to trigger a switch for a circuit usually capable of handling a larger current. For example, a relay can be used by a 5 volt DC microcontroller to turn on a 120 volt AC heating element in a rice cooker. Since relays can be used for logic, they can also be the primary components of gloriously clicky computers(see this for details on the last one). [more inside]
posted by mccarty.tim on Nov 5, 2011 - 36 comments

How the Courier folded

The inside story of how Microsoft killed its Courier tablet
posted by Artw on Nov 1, 2011 - 150 comments

Who Watches The Robots?

Wired Magazine: Mystery virus hits U.S drone fleet
posted by The Whelk on Oct 8, 2011 - 68 comments

The Cybercrime of Sextortion

Sextortion /sekˈstɔː(r)ʃ(ə)n/ noun The extortion and/or blackmail of an individual, wherein the item or service requested/demanded is the performance of a sexual act.

He seeded P2P networks with popular-sounding song titles that were actually malware; when someone downloaded and executed the file, their machine was infected and would open itself to his control. He took over 129 different computers for a total of 230 victims. Forty-four of the victims were juveniles. How an omniscient Internet "sextortionist" ruined the lives of teen girls. [Sextortionism, previously discussed on Mefi (working link to Sextortion at Eisenhower High article and an update).]
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Sep 8, 2011 - 35 comments

Pixar, 1972

40 Year Old 3D Computer Graphics, created by Edwin Catmull and Fred Parke (with some help from Bob Ingebretsen) in... wait for it... 1972!
posted by cthuljew on Sep 2, 2011 - 53 comments

Woman eases release from a cotton disability.

This is what happens when you play the game Telephone with YouTube auto-captioning.
posted by lazaruslong on Aug 29, 2011 - 25 comments

A series of essays of esteemed boardgame veterans

Tabletop: Analog Game Design - A commons licenced book containing a series of essays about digital and non-digital games from some esteemed boardgame veterans: "Much has been written about the videogame revolution, [...] In a scant thirty some-odd years, we’ve grown from nothing to one of the world’s largest entertainment forms, grossing tens of billions annually [...] Works that discuss the evolution of the game industry from an historical perspective generally talk about the connection between the pre-digital arcade and the earliest digital games; I’ve even heard some claim that “without the arcade, videogames would not exist.” This is, of course, bosh..." [more inside]
posted by Cogentesque on Aug 24, 2011 - 36 comments

Is it possible to use a 1981 IBM PC 5150 for real work?

Our intrepid reporter spends a week trying to write, browse the Web, edit photos, and even (shudder) tweet on IBM's first PC. PC World takes on the IBM 5150. Watch the original marketing video (CNET) or a modern homage to the 30 year old PC. Happy belated birthday, 5150! Wait, one of your inventors doesn't even use PCs anymore?
posted by desjardins on Aug 21, 2011 - 39 comments

Dude, you're getting a DELL?

HP killing WebOS and getting out of the computer business. [more inside]
posted by blue_beetle on Aug 18, 2011 - 169 comments

We control the horizontal.

How would you like your own celebrity sock puppet? Control their facial expressions in real time with the technology in Being John Malkovich (video).
posted by CheeseDigestsAll on Aug 12, 2011 - 15 comments

When We Were Young

An oldie but a goodie: David Bennabaum on learning how to program and be a sys admin at his high school in his youth.
posted by reenum on Aug 12, 2011 - 18 comments

It's the computer we're making for you.

"IBM is proud to announce a product you may have a personal interest in. It's a tool that could soon be on your desk, in your home or in your child's schoolroom. It can make a surprising difference in the way you work, learn or otherwise approach the complexities (and some of the the simple pleasures) of living." [more inside]
posted by Ahab on Aug 12, 2011 - 83 comments

A news segment from 1986 explaining the possibilities of computer music

A news segment from 1986 explaining the possibilities of computer music: P1, P2, P3.
posted by rageagainsttherobots on Jul 1, 2011 - 36 comments

The Steampunk Laptop

Datamancer's Steampunk Laptop - now taking pre-orders (with a $5500 early bird special).
posted by shivohum on Jun 14, 2011 - 56 comments

LiberKey Portable Applications

LiberKey is a system for installing and keeping updated over 300 free programs (both open and closed source) on a Windows machine. All of the programs are portable meaning that they can run directly off a USB key without installing anything additional on the computer (this is very useful if you’re working on a computer where you don’t have administrative rights). The programs are organized into the following categories: audio, CD/DVD, education, file management, games, graphics, internet, networking, office, security, system utilities, and video. One great feature Liberkey has is the ability to temporarily change file associations. Here is the full list of programs available.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Jun 4, 2011 - 14 comments

HIDs

Over the past 30 years, designer, writer and Principal Researcher for Microsoft Research Bill Buxton has collected input and interactive devices whose designs he found "interesting, useful or important. In the process, he has assembled a good collection of the history of pen computing, pointing devices, touch technologies, as well as an illustration of the nature of how new technologies emerge." This week, he unveiled his collection at the Computer-Human Interaction conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. An extensive gallery has been posted online with images and notes at The Buxton Collection. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 11, 2011 - 6 comments

Windows music, whoda'thunk-it

Awesome music using only sounds from Windows XP and 98, just what it says on the tin
posted by Blasdelb on May 3, 2011 - 21 comments

I learned to program...

I learned to program... [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 23, 2011 - 119 comments

Legocraft

Many people have described the popular freeform game Minecraft as "kind of like Lego", so a few enterprising stop-motion animators have decided to jump on that idea.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 26, 2011 - 27 comments

Rock-Paper-Scissors

Rock-Paper-Scissors: You vs. the Computer. "Computers mimic human reasoning by building on simple rules and statistical averages. Test your strategy against the computer in this rock-paper-scissors game illustrating basic artificial intelligence. Choose from two different modes: novice, where the computer learns to play from scratch, and veteran, where the computer pits over 200,000 rounds of previous experience against you."
posted by bwg on Mar 6, 2011 - 74 comments

You are your life and nothing else, pig rider.

Jonathan Gourlay explores Minecraft, an ugly game with no point and endless possibility.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 21, 2011 - 173 comments

So does Ken.

IBM's Watson computer destroys human competition in Jeopardy (prev). Gets welcomed by Ken (via). Celebrates by getting smashed on Conan.
posted by allkindsoftime on Feb 17, 2011 - 317 comments

Thin Client

Google's pilot program for Chrome OS is well underway, with the new operating system being distributed on free Cr-48 Notebooks, to generally favourable impressions. Chrome OS relies heavily on cloud computing, where software and data live on servers and are accessed by a client, and product manager Caesar Sengupta going as far as to say they will have failed if cloud computing does not become the norm. Not everyone is happy about that thought through, with Richard Stallman warning it may be a trap. Like the Cr-48s attractive design but not so sure about ChromeOS? You could always sneak Ubuntu onto it.
posted by Artw on Dec 14, 2010 - 96 comments

Teen Mathletes Do Battle at Algorithm Olympics

In today's example of kids smarter than you and I, Wired follows the exploits of two teens competing at the International Olympiad in Informatics.
posted by reenum on Dec 2, 2010 - 14 comments

Chasing Pirates: Inside Microsoft’s War Room

Chasing Pirates: Inside Microsoft’s War Room - From the special thread that Chinese factories counterfeit in mile-long spools that adorns software authenticity stickers, to near-perfect bootleg discs leaving microscopic evidence of their factory origins, to Mexican and Russian gangsters who are dealt with very carefully, the NYT covers Microsoft's multi-pronged, international war on piracy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Nov 7, 2010 - 30 comments

The thirteenth floor didn't exist... and yet it was there... filled with unknown terror!

"Greetings, I'm MAX, the computer. Maybe you've heard of me, I'm superintendant here!" - Welcome to The Thirteenth Floor!
posted by Artw on Oct 26, 2010 - 14 comments

Mr. Babbage's Analytical Engine

A project to build Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. John Graham (blog) has setup a pledge to build a working version of the Analytical Engine, successor to the Difference Engine(Prev) it was to be a real steam powered programmable computer.
posted by Long Way To Go on Oct 19, 2010 - 27 comments

A Death on Facebook

Kate Bolick tells a story of Facebook voyeurism.
posted by reenum on Oct 13, 2010 - 16 comments

Gooey!

Guidebook. The GUI gallery. [more inside]
posted by jtron on Sep 29, 2010 - 21 comments

give me your answer, do

You know which song the very first singing computer sang, right? Yup, just like you saw in the movies, only this one didn't slow down when he offered up his electronic rendition of the tune that was toppermost of the poppermost on both sides of the Atlantic back in 1892.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 13, 2010 - 15 comments

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