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filthy light thief (4)
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Digger: Now On Almost Every Platform

Digger is a classic IBM PC game from 1983 made by Windmill Software. You can play it online via HTML5, online via Java or download a version for platforms both common and obscure. More ports are on the Links page. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Apr 18, 2014 - 22 comments

 

Most important product announcement that this corporation has ever made

On this date 50 years ago, IBM announced the System/360. IBM bet $5 billion and the company's future on the product. [more inside]
posted by MtDewd on Apr 7, 2014 - 45 comments

"The Techtopus": Much bigger than we realized

Mark Ames follows up on The Techtopus (previously) with a new report showing a much larger conspiracy than has been previously reported: [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Mar 22, 2014 - 74 comments

A financial engineering operation masquerading as a technology company

A series of columns by Robert X. Cringely about the decline and impending demise of IBM


posted by JeffL on Feb 9, 2014 - 104 comments

i heard you like plotter videos

Mesmerizing: Aston Martin DB9, Space Shuttle, harmonic, Tutankhamun, locomotive, Marilyn(-esque). Slow: Art Plotter, Teapot, big! burny! mighty! Home-made: Rostock, DVD drive, with lasers!, old scanner, Lego, mug, whiteboard. Art Projects: Hektor, Pedro & Sybil, sand plotter, Paul, XY, PolarGraph.
posted by scruss on Jan 27, 2014 - 19 comments

Warped Big Blues

Like the AmigaOS, TOS, and BeOS, IBM's OS/2 operating system's rise and fall gives insight into the current computing landscape.
posted by juiceCake on Nov 26, 2013 - 39 comments

Why Should Engineers and Scientists Be Worried About Color?

At the core of good science and engineering is the careful and respectful treatment of data. We calibrate our instruments, scrutinize the algorithms we use to process the data, and study the behavior of the models we use to interpret the data or simulate the phenomena we may be observing. Surprisingly, this careful treatment of data often breaks down when we visualize our data.
posted by cthuljew on Nov 14, 2013 - 58 comments

The 1960s experimental collaborations of Raymond Scott and Jim Henson

"Gentlemen: I have a story that may be of interest to you. It is not widely known who invented the circuitry concept for the automatic sequential performance of musical pitches - now well known as a sequencer. I, however, do know who the inventor was - for it was I who first conceived and built the sequencer." This is the opening to an undated, unaddressed letter, found in Raymond Scott's personal papers (yes, the same fellow whose kooky soundtracks scored everything from Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies to Ren & Stimpy, The Simpson, and Animaniacs). You can read the rest of Scott's letter, along with Bob Moog's recollections of visiting Raymond's electronics laboratory in the mid-1950s. Or you could jump ahead to the mid-1960s, when Jim Henson was in his late 20s to early 30s, and he was working on a variety of odd projects after a successful run with Sam and Friends, but before he it it big with Sesame Street. It was at this point that he teamed up with Scott on a few short, experimental films. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 12, 2013 - 11 comments

David Bradley, IBM engineer, and father of the three-finger salute

David Bradley is an engineer, one of the 12 strategists who worked around the clock to hammer out a plan for hardware, software, manufacturing setup and sales strategy for the first IBM PC from 1980-1981. At that time, Bradley and others were tired of wasting time rebooting the system without powering it down. So, one day he had something like "write keyboard shortcut to reboot system" on list of things to do, and Control-Alt-Delete was created. Years later, he said "I may have invented it, but I think Bill made it famous." (YouTube) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 8, 2013 - 21 comments

teensy tiny titchy movie

w.s.m [Worlds smallest movie]
posted by zoo on May 1, 2013 - 15 comments

Interview with Eleanor Kolchin

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

Visicalc on your iPhone

Dan Bricklin, father of the spreadsheet, discovers VisiCalc running in a JavaScript emulator of an IBM PC 5150. [more inside]
posted by backseatpilot on Nov 19, 2012 - 34 comments

The Brief - A daily briefing of technology news worth caring about

NASA will send you an email or text alert when the International Space Station is visible from your area. IBM scientists have recently made significant advances in nanotechnology. A mathematician thought a poorly-encrypted headhunting email from Google was testing him, but he had actually discovered a major security hole. All of this found via The Brief: A Daily Briefing of Technology News Worth Caring About from MeFi's own nostrich. [via mefi projects]
posted by davidjmcgee on Nov 9, 2012 - 15 comments

Singing the Big Blues

Corporate music at IBM. Chronology. Song clips. Scans of selected songs from Songs of the IBM, with commentary. A description of the 1937 IBM Symphony by Vittorio Giannini. 106 IBM Company Songs.
posted by grouse on Sep 1, 2012 - 17 comments

Harder Better Faster Stronger

Breaking records at 16.32 petaflops, Blue Gene/Q is the world's new fastest supercomputer. [more inside]
posted by tracert on Jun 18, 2012 - 40 comments

25 Years of IBM’s OS/2!

25 years ago today, IBM released it's next-generation operating system OS/2. It never took the world by storm as planned, but it also never really went away.

A look at OS/2: Beginnings - OS/2 1.0 - OS/2 1.1 - OS/2 1.2-1.3 (screenshots) - OS/2 2.0 (screenshots) - OS/2 Warp - OS/2 Warp 4 (screenshots) - eComstation
posted by dunkadunc on Apr 2, 2012 - 111 comments

Electron cloud computing...

"Researchers at I.B.M. have stored and retrieved digital 1s and 0s from an array of just 12 atoms, pushing the boundaries of the magnetic storage of information to the edge of what is possible." [NYT]
posted by BobbyVan on Jan 12, 2012 - 27 comments

Sure, let's meet the meat

IBM is currently putting together database and barcode tracking to allow farmers and grocers in China to track your porkchop, from the pig to the plate. Using supply chain tracking (similar to what is done already in other industries), the goal is to limit and hopefully prevent disease outbreaks by tracking the health of the animal, including which other animals it has come into contact with. So the next time you sit down for some nice ham, you might be able to scan the barcode (or RFID tag) to see whom else on your block shares your own porcine six degrees of separation. [more inside]
posted by Old'n'Busted on Dec 19, 2011 - 21 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

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

"The fingers you have used to TYPE are too fat. To obtain a special TYPING wand, please mash the keypad with your palm now."

IBM is working on a keyboard design that will adapt to a user’s finger anatomy. Touchscreen keyboard morphs to fit your typing style. [Fig. 2] Via: [Wired] Morphing Touchscreen Keyboard Interface (PDF) [Pat2PDF/IBM]
posted by Fizz on Jul 26, 2011 - 20 comments

The history of DOS

"The story begins unambiguously. A group of IBMers, working on a secret project to build a personal computer, flew to Seattle in August, 1980, to see if [Bill] Gates could supply them with an operating system. He couldn't -- and referred them to [Gary] Kildall [of Digital Research Inc.] When they showed up at DRI's offices the next day ... the company's business manager ... refused to sign their nondisclosure agreement.... [IBM] did get together with Kildall ... a short time later, but they couldn't reach an agreement. At around the same time, [IBM] saw Gates again. [IBM] and Gates both knew of the operating system [Tim] Paterson had built at Seattle Computer Co.... "Gates said: 'Do you want to get [QDOS], or do you want me to?' [IBM] said: 'By all means, you get it."' Gates bought Paterson's program, called QDOS, for $50,000, renamed it DOS, improved it, and licensed it to IBM for a low per-copy royalty fee."
Tim Paterson, the man who created DOS, the operating system that dominated the computer industry between 1981 and 2000, has an occasional blog that provides a fascinating history of the microcomputer industry: Is DOS a Rip-Off of CP/M?; The Contributions of CP/M; Design of DOS; The First DOS Machine; IBM PC Design Antics; and All Those Floppy Disk Formats…
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Jul 9, 2011 - 77 comments

Paperwork Explosion

In 1967, IBM had the answer to our "paperwork explosion." Somewhat surreal film promoting new IBM dictation technology. Mad Men meets the future with a trippy electronic soundtrack. [more inside]
posted by kinnakeet on Jun 24, 2011 - 41 comments

What do you mean, 'We hired a dog'?

Network Awesome has compiled a short history of some of Jim Henson's early muppet work, including his infamously dark Wilson's Coffee commercials: (on YouTube) 1, 2, 3 and the IBM Muppet Show. (Who among us hasn't woken up in the morning and wanted to eat their coffee machine? (Previously) (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 4, 2011 - 21 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

I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords

After the first night, IBM's Watson has only played a single round of Jeopardy, and could be doing better. Stephen Baker (who wrote the book on this) and David Ferrucci (the project's chief scientist) analyze some of his mistakes. After his career as a game show contestant is over, will Watson be up for a role on House?
posted by jacquilynne on Feb 15, 2011 - 97 comments

People who changed the way the world works

They Were There is a 30 min video from IBM, who is turning 100 this year. "told by first-hand witnesses—current and retired employees and clients—who were there when IBM helped to change the way world works."
posted by finite on Jan 22, 2011 - 52 comments

Jenning v. Rutter v. Watson

The Watson Artificial Intelligence system will take on Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in February (previously). Here's a sneak preview of a warm-up round between the contestants. [more inside]
posted by auto-correct on Jan 13, 2011 - 35 comments

Keyboard Design as Modern Art

The Butterfly Keyboard (officially called a TrackWrite) on IBM's Thinkpad 701c was so unusual and innovative that it's housed at MoMA. So what killed the design? (via) [more inside]
posted by kmz on Jan 13, 2011 - 44 comments

We are officially living in the Future

The Watson Artificial Intelligence system has been discussed on MeFi before. The Jeopardy AI will get a chance to prove its skills in early February when it squares off against Jeopardy titans Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter for the prize of a million dollars.
posted by grandsham on Dec 17, 2010 - 32 comments

Paul Rand

Paul Rand was one of the great graphic designers of modern times, designing among other things, logos for Westinghouse, ABC, IBM and UPS. The website has galleries of book design, posters, logos, and much more (open images in new tab or window to see the full-sized image, some books have image galleries, look for a "see inside" button). You can also read his thoughts on design, watch interviews and videos about him, and follow the many links to interesting online Randiana.
posted by Kattullus on Aug 9, 2010 - 24 comments

The Cloud Is Coming For Your Children

The Body Snatchers look at a human and see a nice new home. The Visitors look at a human and see a yummy snack. The Smarter Planet people look at a human and see data. Our planet is alive with data. Yummy data.
posted by cross_impact on Mar 19, 2010 - 16 comments

with an Apple Macintosh you can’t run Radio Shack programs

16-bit Intel 8088 chip by Charles Bukowski. [more inside]
posted by ennui.bz on Jan 24, 2010 - 35 comments

FridayFlashFilter: Nostalgia with Gorillas and Nibbles

Let's take a jaunt back, to the early days of DOS, from the early 1980s to early 1990s. Way back to IBM PC DOS 1.00 and 1.10. Back when Bill Gates wrote code. This was the time of avoiding donkeys on the road (gameplay), gorillas lobbing explosive bananas over skyscrapers (gameplay) and a hungry line named Nibbles [a variant of the older Snake game] (gameplay). So have at it! Gorillas recreated in Flash | Flash tribute to Gorillas, with updated graphics | Snake | two-player Nibbles | Radical Snake (now with curves) | Snake (like Radical Snake, but with landscape obstacles) | Nibblets (All 10 original levels from the QBasic game Nibbles, but with a new control system) | Snake/Nibbles for Vim (download) | Donkey (QBasic source code)
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 11, 2009 - 22 comments

Expandable to 16k!

50 years ago today, IBM announced the 1401 Data Processing System. Originally designed as a spooling system for the larger machines, the 1401 became very popular as a mainframe in its own right, eventually being called 'The Model T of Computers'. By the end of 1961, the number of 1401s installed in the United States alone had reached 2,000 - representing about one fourth of all computers installed by all manufacturers at that time. 15- 20,000 were eventually built. The Computer History Museum in Mountain View is having a 50th anniversary celebration on November 10th. Here's what $125,600 (or $2500/month rent) would get you: [more inside]
posted by MtDewd on Oct 4, 2009 - 52 comments

Pepsi Big Blue

Scientists image single molecule with atomic force microscopy. See the original abstract in Science. CNET reproduces a representation of the experiment.
posted by grouse on Aug 28, 2009 - 43 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

1965 - Kemeny and Kurtz go to 1964

A Brief, Incomplete, and Mostly Wrong History of Programming Languages
posted by Artw on May 8, 2009 - 47 comments

More than just Google on Steroids

IBM Research is planning on working on taking artificial intelligence beyond master-level Chess (previously), and on to question answering with a computing system that has been in development for the past two years. Named "Watson," after the I.B.M. founder, Thomas J. Watson Sr., the system will challenge human contestants at Jeopardy (previously). Watson's success depends as much on its ability to understand and respond to the subtleties of human language as it does on the extent of its knowledge database. Don't worry, Alex Trebek knows what's in store. (via)
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 27, 2009 - 45 comments

Outsource Yourself

IBM solves the outsourcing problem by firing American employees then offering to re-hire them in India. "The pitch to employees who might consider shifting to IBM's operations in developing economies seems to be the low cost of living, warmer climate and variety in cuisine and exotic places."
posted by billysumday on Feb 6, 2009 - 86 comments

IBM's next 5 in 5

IBM's the next 5 in 5 "forecasts the five innovations that will change the way that we live, work and play in the next five years." [more inside]
posted by dobie on May 19, 2008 - 60 comments

So How Evil Were They?

"Third Reich to Fortune 500: Five Popular Brands the Nazis Gave Us." There are pictures and videos of kittens to soften the blow.
posted by beaucoupkevin on Jan 8, 2008 - 57 comments

TYPE HARD OR GO HOME

Some people care about their keyboards. The Northgate OmniKey (now resurrected) was once legendary. There are those who mourn the passing of the space cadet keyboard and its successors, and those who campaign for its revival. The late, lamented (though not by everyone) Apple Extended Keyboard was finally recreated.

But, for the purist, there is only one true keyboard, the best ever made: the IBM Model M. [more inside]
posted by enn on Nov 3, 2007 - 124 comments

GMR

It's called the Giant Magnetoresistive effect and it could one day allow electronic devices to hold 10 to 100 times the data in the same amount of space. "That means the iPod that today can hold up to 200 hours of video could store every single TV program broadcast during a week on 120 channels." [nyt]
posted by chuckdarwin on Sep 12, 2007 - 37 comments

Old World Meets New World

As it builds a presence and invests in virtual worlds, IBM is hoping to avoid potentially embarrassing incidents by establishing official guidelines for its more than 5,000 employees who inhabit "Second Life," Entropia Universe," "Forterra," "There" and other virtual worlds. "IBM, whose 20th century employees were parodied as corporate cogs in matching navy suits, doesn't have an avatar dress code. But guidelines suggest being 'especially sensitive to the appropriateness of your avatar or persona's appearance when you are meeting with IBM clients or conducting IBM business.'" Other directives: "Don't discuss intellectual property with unauthorized people." "Don't discriminate or harass" and by all means, "Be a good 3D Netizen."
posted by ericb on Jul 26, 2007 - 9 comments

I fought the linux, and the linux won...

Is anyone really surprised to hear that our happy little friends at SCO just got a a delisting notice from Nasdaq? If you own SCO stock, this might be a good time to look at a timeshare instead. (winky winky) (via)
posted by metasonix on Apr 28, 2007 - 49 comments

"Divergence of Interests" is one way to put it.

"The church of global free trade, which rules American politics with infallible pretensions, may have finally met its Martin Luther." A thorough summary in The Nation of the brilliant but ignored Global Trade and Conflicting National Interests by Ralph Gomory, former IBM Senior Vice President for Science and winner of the National Medal of Science. His heresy? Arguing, with supporting technical and economic data, that multinational corporations and their home countries have divergent interests in shipping skilled labor and advanced technologies overseas, and that this "divergence" is a net negative for the American economy and the American public. Globalization, he argues, has its losers, the United States paramount among them.
posted by Pastabagel on Apr 20, 2007 - 76 comments

IBM Technical Journals Archive

IBM Research and Technical Journals. Complete recent issues of IBM Research and Development Journal and Systems Journal as well as searchable archives.
posted by Burhanistan on Mar 6, 2007 - 9 comments

IBM 1401, A User's Manual

"In 1964, a computer - the IBM 1401 Data Processing System - arrived in Iceland, one of the very first computers to be imported into the country… The chief maintenance engineer for this machine was Jóhann Gunnarsson, my father. A keen musician, he learned of an obscure method of making music on this computer - a purpose for which this business machine was not at all designed… When the IBM 1401 was taken out of service in 1971, it wasn't simply thrown away like an old refrigerator, but was given a little farewell ceremony, almost a funeral, when its melodies were played for one last time. This "performance" was documented on tape along with recordings of the sound of the machine in operation." The whole story with samples, pictures and video at Jóhann Jóhannsson's site. [via]
posted by tellurian on Feb 26, 2007 - 15 comments

Wikipedia impartiality

Microsoft has been caught paying for Wikipedia edits. But wasn't this inevitable? Now that Wikipedia has become the de facto online reference, wasn't it inevitable that it would attract governments, corporates and other groups to create their own version of events. Is this an inherent and fatal flaw in open source knowledge?
posted by bobbyelliott on Jan 24, 2007 - 52 comments

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