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things that seemed like universal laws to people at the time

The Slow Winter [PDF]. A slightly true story about CPU design.
posted by aubilenon on Sep 24, 2013 - 46 comments

Measure 4 times, cut once.

"We worked through every possible disaster situation," Reed said. "We did three actual all-day sessions of destroying everything we had built."
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Nov 16, 2012 - 30 comments

My First Prototype Post

Prototypes are usually the missing links in the evolution of human technology, the dead-ends of ideas that give way to the refinement of the final physical product. Prototypes aren't just for Darth Vader. While the legal back and forth between Apple and Samsung continues, a treasure trove of prototype designs for Apple devices has been released to the public, showing insights into various design approaches and feature enhancements, including larger form-factor iPads with and without kickstands and landscape ports and iPhones that parody the Sony logo, show a different layout for camera elements, and look remarkably like fourth-generation models, as far back as 2005. On the other hand, some have made prototypes into the end goal itself, such as the folks at Dangerous Prototypes, a site which features a new open-source electronic hardware project each month. Some are just gratuitous fun, while others are a bit more practical, such as one project that recycles old Nokia displays and another that provides access to infrared signal, useful for hacking together remote controls for all sorts of IR-based devices. Other prototypes of tomorrow's technology are less concerned with shrinking down the guts of the invention itself, to make it disappear, but rather on how we interact with and integrate physical representations of these ideas into our daily lives. Above all else, prototypes are always forward-looking and are therefore inherently optimistic expressions of human creativity: Even children are getting into imagining the world of tomorrow.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 1, 2012 - 14 comments

Surface to Air

Borrowing a name from another product, Microsoft today announced it's first ever hardware products running a mainstream version of Windows, and the first designed for Windows 8: The Microsoft Surface, in ARM and Intel flaovours. Hands on. Video highlighting the stand and covers.
posted by Artw on Jun 18, 2012 - 404 comments

Why is the US losing technology jobs?

The US has lost a quarter of its high-tech jobs since 2000, the number declining by 687,000. A veteran headhunter opines on the causes: The technical jobs in Silicon Valley are hard to fill with Americans...I get email every day from new grads, asking for help finding jobs, but honestly, most are Indian or Chinese, not many Americans. He cites a NYT article which claims that the reason iPhone manufacturing doesn't happen in the US is that Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.
posted by shivohum on Jun 2, 2012 - 107 comments

Cyberwar: China's move discovered

Revolutionary hardware backdoor discovered in China-made military-grade FPGA chips. Claims were made by the intelligence agencies around the world, from MI5, NSA and IARPA, that silicon chips could be infected. We developed breakthrough silicon chip scanning technology to investigate these claims. We chose an American military chip that is highly secure with sophisticated encryption standard, manufactured in China. Our aim was to perform advanced code breaking and to see if there were any unexpected features on the chip. We scanned the silicon chip in an affordable time and found a previously unknown backdoor inserted by the manufacturer. This backdoor has a key, which we were able to extract. If you use this key you can disable the chip or reprogram it at will, even if locked by the user with their own key. This particular chip is prevalent in many systems from weapons, nuclear power plants to public transport. In other words, this backdoor access could be turned into an advanced Stuxnet weapon to attack potentially millions of systems. The scale and range of possible attacks has huge implications for National Security and public infrastructure.
posted by scalefree on May 27, 2012 - 152 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

A Corrective Prescription For Reality

It looks like the speculation on a near-future market for wearable computers is already heating up. However, the first competitor to the recently-announced Google Glass project comes as a surprise to almost everyone: Valve, the gaming company renowned for Half Life, Portal, and many others, in addition to their digital distribution heavyweight Steam. This will be their first foray into hardware of any kind.
posted by gilrain on Apr 14, 2012 - 50 comments

Massively Parallel & Infinitely Tiny

While Moore's Law continues to drive consumer and manufacturer expectations of technological advancement, frequency scaling has given way to parallel scaling and our most visible indicator of ever increasing transistor density is ever multiplying cores. Welcome to the Parallel Jungle where heterogeneous cores and ultimately the cloud offer far faster growth rates in parallelism than even described by Moore's Law. [more inside]
posted by I've wasted my life on Jan 31, 2012 - 31 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

Destroyed in Seconds

Five surveillance cameras capture a tornado hitting Alexander Hardware and Small Engine; tornado was an EF 2 with wind speeds of 120mph.
posted by bwg on Mar 18, 2011 - 38 comments

The Game Preservation Crisis

Trash cans, landfills, and incinerators. Erasure, deletion, and obsolescence. These words could describe what has happened to the various building blocks of the video game industry in countries around the world. These building blocks consist of video game source code, the actual computer hardware used to create a particular video game, level layout diagrams, character designs, production documents, marketing material, and more.

These are just some elements of game creation that are gone -- never to be seen again. These elements make up the home console, handheld, PC and arcade games we've played. The only remnant of a particular game may be its name, or its final published version, since the possibility exists that no other physical copy of its creation remains.

As a community of video game developers, publishers, and players, we must begin asking ourselves some difficult but inevitable questions. Some believe there is no point in preserving a video game, arguing that games are short-term entertainment, while others disagree with this statement entirely, believing the industry is in a preservation crisis.

Where Games Go To Sleep: The Game Preservation Crisis [more inside]
posted by timshel on Feb 9, 2011 - 44 comments

Everything you always wanted to know about making music on the Ipad

Getting your music out of an Ipad. A fairly thorough overview of connecting an Ipad to external gear, covering input and output, as well as midi and audio.
posted by not_that_epiphanius on Feb 3, 2011 - 14 comments

From the book that launched a thousand synthgeeks

Adachi Tomomi, Alex Baker, Ian Baxter, Ithai Benjamin, Lesley Flanigan, Lorin Edwin Parker, Peter Blasser, Phil Archer, Todd Bailey, Tommy Stephenson & Patrick McCarthy, Tuomao Tammenpaa, and Vasco Alvo are all featured in Nicolas Collins' extraordinarily good book Handmade Electronic Music.
posted by mhjb on Jan 21, 2011 - 14 comments

top 10s of 2010

Top 10s of 2010. Each Saturday, we pore through our favorite tips and tricks to find 10 great hacks surrounding any subject, from food and thumb drives to browsers and Wi-Fi. Here are our most popular Top 10s of 2010.
posted by nickyskye on Dec 9, 2010 - 15 comments

Let's hope the device is less short-sighted than the inventors

Yesterday was the day that Microsoft Kinect for the XBox 360 launched (warning: site "works best with" proprietary, embrace-and-extendware--here's a slightly more accessible YT demo). Like with the Wii, it's possible the most lasting effect on the open community is the excellent commodity hardware. To that end, Adafruit offered a $1000 reward to the first open source code that could work with the hardware. Microsoft was displeased, citing both law-enforcement and product safety groups as co-enforcers. The bounty is now $2000.
posted by DU on Nov 5, 2010 - 116 comments

Wanna come back to my iPad?

Cupidtino is a "new social dating website exclusively for Apple fans" which launches in June. If your Cupidtino Appleationship works out, you could have a magical Apple Store Wedding! Via "Oh God No." [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 5, 2010 - 51 comments

It's 'kin social

This week Microsoft unveiled the Kin, formerly Project Pink (previously), which emerged out of the troubled Sidekick (previously). Built on the same foundation as the Zune HD, making it the first in-phone use of the NVIDIA Tegra, the phones operating system is a cut-down version of Windows Phone 7 with a focus on photo sharing and social networking. Will the Kin make Microsoft cool again? Perhaps. Of course all eyes are still on the Smartphone market, and how Windows Phone 7 will compare to the iPhone. Some see a clear lead for WP7 from a developers perspective, others are more doubtful.
posted by Artw on Apr 16, 2010 - 49 comments

And I had hyperthreading, which was popular at the time...

Grandpa laces up his skates: How would a single core, 3.8 GHz Pentium 4 670 from 2005 compete against the latest offerings of AMD and Intel? How about a 2007 quad-core, the 2.4 GHz Core 2 Quad 6600? The Tech Report finds out in a Huge 14-way Roundout, including a price-performance evaluation (2nd perspective). For the release of AMD's new midrange DirectX 11 graphic card, the somewhat disappointing ATI Radeon HD 5830, they've done Something Similar, this time pitting older cards, including a Nvidia GeForce 7900 GTX from 2006, against the newcomer and today's top performers. (aggravation warning: hardware review sites love their multi-page layouts)
posted by Monday, stony Monday on Mar 1, 2010 - 36 comments

Busy Bee Hardware, Est. 1918

Busy Bee Hardware, Est. 1918 (via)
posted by Joe Beese on Nov 17, 2009 - 39 comments

The Future! Brought to you by generous geeks of the world.

Foldable Display Tracking - more Wiimote magic from Johnny Lee Chung [previously].
posted by mhjb on Jun 25, 2009 - 27 comments

Inside the World's Greatest Keyboard

From the satisfying click of its keys to its no-nonsense layout and solid steel underpinnings, IBM's 24-year-old Model M is the standard by which all other keyboards must be judged. (previously)
posted by Joe Beese on Jun 22, 2009 - 106 comments

Lego Construction Site

6x4x2 wheel configuration with Ackermann steering and hybrid live-axle suspension. Telescoping boom. Impressive 1kg lifting capacity.

Jennifer Clark builds amazing things with lego.
posted by 7segment on Feb 17, 2009 - 13 comments

People doing strange things with electricity

Dorkbot is a "monthly meeting of artists (sound/image/movement/whatever), designers, engineers, students, scientists, and other interested parties who are involved in the creative use of electricity." Started in NYC in 2000 by Douglas Repetto, Director of Research at the Columbia University Computer Music Center as well as one of Wired's 10 Sexiest Geeks, there are now dozens all over the world. Past presenters have been featured here on the blue. For instance Jeff Han presented his multi-touch interface at dorkbot-nyc in April of 2006. Miru Kim presented her naked city spleen at dorkbot-nyc in October of 2006. Bummed that there's not one in your own city? Start your own! [more inside]
posted by funkiwan on Dec 30, 2008 - 19 comments

Mark 13 - "no flesh shall be spared"

The Sea of Perdition - Children of the Kingdom - Black Tulips - Three short films by South African-born film director Richard Stanley. Stanley's career took off with Hardware (an unacknowledged adaptation the 2000ad story Shok!) and the apocalyptic African western/Horror movie Dust Devil, then hit the rocks with the doomed 1996 version of the Island of Doctor Moreau, from which he was fired and replaced by John Frankenheimer. Stanley hasn't directed a feature film since... though he now has two films in preproduction, Vacation and Bones of the Earth. The original script for Moreau can be read on his unofficial site, as well as the script for a sequel to Hardware. Richard Stanley's MySpace Blog is also very strange.
posted by Artw on Dec 26, 2008 - 18 comments

Failing Hard Drive Sounds

Failing Hard Drive Sounds. via
posted by sveskemus on Nov 15, 2008 - 46 comments

El Compa Vs The Cisco Kid

Would you like some Narco ballards with your network software?
posted by Artw on Oct 10, 2008 - 9 comments

HAL's iPod?

Inspired by the discussion of the remix of Nude, I dug up some other musical hardware (it seems that scanner engineers really like classical). Here's the earliest example of this silliness I could find.
posted by drfu on Jun 6, 2008 - 7 comments

640K ought to be enough for anybody

The History of Computing Project is a collaborative effort to record and publish the history of the computer and its roots. The site includes a chronological timeline, biographies of computing pioneers, a look at computing hardware through the years, as well as software and games. [more inside]
posted by netbros on May 9, 2008 - 11 comments

SPLed beans

"Finding JTAG on the iPhone": a ten-step hardware unlock of the iPhone, allowing it to function with other carriers
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 23, 2007 - 40 comments

John Arquilla interview re: the future of military technology and hardware

“[O]ur military today oversees spending of about a billion and a quarter dollars every day. Most of that is misspent. Over this past quarter-century, we've reinforced an old industrial-policy military with hardware that makes increasingly less sense, spending most on things that provide the least return. The principal argument for that is: ‘We have to keep the big, old-style military because we might fight a big, old-style war one day.’ But in the future the bigger you are, the harder you're going to fall to ever-more accurate weapons.”
posted by jason's_planet on Apr 10, 2007 - 58 comments

Can you hear me now?

LA6NCA's WW2 German Radio Collection Pictures and a little history on many WW2 German radios including a cute as a button spy radio and the Lichtsprechgerät 80, an incoherent light audio transceiver. Also featured are a few photo essays of the equipment in use (Enigma, Luftwaffe Signals unit redeploying). [dorian
posted by Mitheral on Feb 8, 2007 - 20 comments

Judy Patch's Guide to Computer Hardware

Judy Patch's Guide to Computer Hardware
posted by GuyZero on Jan 12, 2007 - 36 comments

Like Dorvak, only better

The Colemak keyboard layout. Colemak is a new alternative to the QWERTY and Dvorak layouts. Designed for efficient and ergonomic touch typing in English, Colemak places the 10 most frequent letters of English (A,R,S,T,D,H,N,E,I,O) on the home row. Z,X,C are preserved in their QWERTY positions for easy copy and paste operations. It gets rid of the Caps Lock and replaces it with Backspace so you no longer need to move your hand off the home position to correct errors. Available for Windows/Mac/Linux/Unix it works with all standard keyboards, including laptops. [via: Projects], [Previously]
posted by Mitheral on Jan 8, 2007 - 91 comments

Taking Open Source to the Next Level

Taking Open Source to the Next Level Linux? Firefox? Bah! German Markus Merz scoffs at these posers. Instead, he steps up to offer the OScar project, whose goal is to develop and build an open source *car*. While not in the same class as a Range Rover or Hummer, they hope to make something more simple and functional. This isn't the only example of hardware-based open source projects. Others include Zero Prestige, which designs kites and kite-powered vehicles, and Open Prosthetics, which offers free exchange of designs for prosthetic devices.
posted by PreacherTom on Dec 8, 2006 - 20 comments

Open-source hardware projects for the electronic artist

To work around the proprietary whims of digital audio software developers and laptop processor limitations during the mid- and late-1990s, a small band of technically-minded people, including the electronic musician Blitter, pulled together in the late 1990s to engineer the open-source OPEN DSP EZ-Kit platform, a 16-bit computer designed entirely with a focus on low cost and extensible control and DSP arithmetic capabilities. While this project and similar commercial offerings never seemed to gain the critical mass needed to sustain long-term interest, perhaps the new Arduino hardware project from MIT's Processing hardware group may gain a foothold with Processing and Pure Data audio software hobbyists and artists alike, allowing the creative community to extend, enhance and share inventive uses of new technology. Arduino's use has already begun in fascinating museum installations around the world, and has become a part of this year's SONAR and Ars Electronica festivals.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 12, 2006 - 10 comments

Buy now, pay later.

FlexGo™. Microsoft targets emerging markets with pay as you go and subscription models.
posted by davehat on Jun 29, 2006 - 13 comments

Wiring an Intelligent World

What is ubiquitous computing or "ubicomp," other than a geeky buzz-phrase for smart objects, "things that think"? In his provocative new book Everyware (freely excerpted here and here), interface designer and MeFite Adam Greenfield provides a thoughtful meditation on one of the digital world's most resonant hopes for the future, encompassing everything from pervasive RFID-chipping, Orwellian surveillance, and a humbly practical magic wand to a "coming age of calm technology."
posted by digaman on Jun 19, 2006 - 29 comments

A photo tour of Microsoft's Mac Lab

Welcome to Microsoft's Mac Lab.
posted by nakedcodemonkey on Apr 21, 2006 - 27 comments

My caps are backwards

Bad Caps. A site dedicated to the faulty capacitors present in even highly-rated manufacturers' boards. There's a forum with individual boards dedicated to identifying specific boards with faulty caps.
posted by cellphone on Mar 17, 2006 - 17 comments

Blogger Destroys Router

Ah, remember the olden days when Blogger had to beg for money from users to get new hardware? These days, the hardware is begging Blogger -- FOR MERCY.
posted by brownpau on Mar 17, 2006 - 9 comments

Laser-etched PowerBooks

Laser-etched PowerBooks.
posted by nthdegx on Dec 7, 2005 - 25 comments

New monitor technology brought to light

High Dynamic Range (HDR) imagery rendered in software is only half the story if your monitor can't actually display that full dynamic range. Bit-Tech has an excellent article on an actual HDR-capable display brought out by a crowd called Brightside Technologies (formerly Sunnybrook Technologies).

Needless to say, you want this. And it can be had, for the bargain price of $50000 USD.

Here's more on various HDR Display technologies. Brightside HDR is also covered at HardwareSecrets and Toms Hardware Guide. The Max Planck Institut has their take on HDR, Hyperfocal Design has a few good links if you're interested in trying your own hand at HDR content creation, and here's Brightside's own take on HDR and gaming.
posted by crocos on Oct 4, 2005 - 35 comments

The Pixel Reanimator

Bring dead LCD pixels back to life! Did you know you can often fix dead LCD pixels by forcing them to rapidly cycle through red, green, and blue? Neither did I, but the video linked here worked on one of my older screens after a few hours of looped playback. YMMV, but what have you got to lose?
posted by pmbuko on Sep 19, 2005 - 32 comments

Faberge Mice

Because everybody needs a beautiful mouse.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy on Sep 19, 2005 - 18 comments

You know you like to tinker

First came the O'Reilly hacks series. There there was Make magazine, which claims to be the first magazine devoted to digital projects, hardware hacks, and DIY inspiration. Now a niche publication for Lego geeks who want to know everything about wee plastic bricks.
posted by Fozzie on Jun 24, 2005 - 1 comment

Resources for lighting designers and enthusiasts: The Lighting Wiki; [extensive] Glossary of Lighting Terminology (and another); Lighting Design Resources (inc. "Fun with Light"; and Professional Lighting Resources.
posted by nthdegx on Feb 16, 2005 - 4 comments

Someone is mad that paid too much for their MCSE

The clueless reviews the Mac Mini His chief gripes are "The Mini boots up into a stripped-down operating system which Apple calls OS X, similar to the stripped-down WindowsCE OS found on many handhelds." and "No serial ports, no way to connect a printer, no PS/2 ports, no floppy drive, no 5.25" bays." Let the hate mail campaign begin!
posted by StormBear on Feb 2, 2005 - 47 comments

I got 500 2 gig drives and some tape!

Bored? Flame Wars got you down? Got extra Hardware? This guy has an idea what you can do with some of those old hard drives. Or maybe you would fancy a 3 D Display? And these guys have my favorite summer project of all. (Props to Boing Boing)
posted by jopreacher on Aug 5, 2004 - 7 comments

Meet the New Walkman

Meet the new Walkman. 20GB HD, 25 minutes of cache for skip-free playing. Works with Sony's Connect music service. Sharp-looking little player.
posted by jpoulos on Jul 1, 2004 - 48 comments

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