1637 posts tagged with Technology.
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Gut The Libraries

Interesting Column by Tim Whitaker, editor at Philadelphia Weekly, who "kind of jests" someone should order the main branch of the Free Library at 19th and Vine streets gutted, all the passé books written by the long since dead and decayed--books that nobody looks at anyway, thrown out, and replaced with computers.
This could be done over a long weekend, and the new Free Workstation Center of Philadelphia would open. Thousands of city residents who'd been priced out of the Information Revolution for well over a decade would rush to the free computers to experience the online rush that comes with access to the WWW.
He says Amazon's new service "search inside the book" is the first glimpse of a full-bore revolution in the way research will be conducted and books will be distributed in the future that spells the death of libraries.
He bounced this idea off of Steven Levy, a Philadelphia native who writes about technology for Newsweek, and he says "It's not that crazy, The future of libraries is a hot topic with librarians all over the country."
"Once the Web has become a full-service digital archive of the whole wide written word, it'll only be a quick innovation or two before we'll have the technology to order and bind books on our own home book-printing systems. Ebooks will finally become reality. Libraries will become mini-museums, where old books are kept under glass, relics of the pre-"inside the book" revolutionary age."
posted by Blake on Nov 20, 2003 - 22 comments

<blink>argghh!</blink>

Client: "People don't know what links are on the web yet, you have to make it blink and say 'CLICK HERE!' " Web designer horror stories from the last days of the dotcom boom. (via the Spinnoff forums)
posted by UKnowForKids on Nov 19, 2003 - 50 comments

Personal information being sent abroad

We need an "Information Technology Disclosure Act." The Programmer's Guild is pushing for the creation of legislation to require companies which outsource abroad to tell consumers when their sensitive personal information is being sent to companies in other countries. This aspect of outsourcing has gotten little attention, but the SF Chronicle's David Lazarus has reported on it being done by hospitals (like UCSF, which is being threatened over back pay by a transcriber in Pakistan), accountants, banks (BofA), telecom companies (SBC), and perhaps most alarmingly, two of the three major credit-reporting agencies.
posted by homunculus on Nov 9, 2003 - 24 comments

Sure you're on the phone *wink**wink*

You want me to stick what, where? [via Gizmodo]
posted by anathema on Nov 6, 2003 - 19 comments

treewave

"The Band uses unique instrumentation: the music is performed using obsolete computer equipment for instruments. Currently they are using a 1977 Atari 2600 game console, a 1986 portable 286 PC, a 1983 Commodore 64 computer, and a 1985 Epson dot matrix printer."
posted by cody on Oct 28, 2003 - 14 comments

Vintage Technology

Vintage Technology: home electrical goods from the twentieth century.
posted by hama7 on Oct 26, 2003 - 5 comments

solar challenge

World solar challenge 2003. Darwin to Adelaide 19 - 28 October. Check out the route. Meet the teams. Have a look at the Green Fleet class as well, where technology meets reality. I won't be able to watch the race but have high hopes for next year's Olympics.
posted by ginz on Oct 18, 2003 - 5 comments

Silicon Valley strikes again

The Computer History Museum is hosting this years Vintage Computer Festival in Mountain View, California. Featuring live demonstatrions of a Xerox Alto as well as an auction for a Commodore 64 prototype, this year promises to be fun for geeks of all ages. (via Wired)
posted by starscream on Oct 7, 2003 - 5 comments

Virus replication is a feature!

Virus replication is a feature! "If you are using a Macintosh e-mail program that is not from Microsoft, we recommend checking with that particular company. But most likely other e-mail programs like Eudora are not designed to enable virus replication." The original URL is 404. I wonder if Microsoft will be exerting their copyrights to force archive.org to remove this.
posted by tbc on Oct 7, 2003 - 3 comments

Thank your God for small mercies

While the tragedy of the bombing in Bali was bad enough, evidence has surfaced that the bomb was incorrectly assembled, resulting in less than 1/3 of the device exploding (bare-bones link). Experts using computer modelling have worked out the net explosive quantity of the vehicle bomb outside the Sari Club was between 150kg and 300kg – as opposed to a potential 1150kg and that the toll could have been in the thousands had the bomb exploded as planned.
posted by dg on Oct 1, 2003 - 12 comments

i <3 apple

Lick Me, I'm A Mackintosh. One columnist's ode/rant re: Apple's design ethos.
posted by serafinapekkala on Oct 1, 2003 - 122 comments

What software version numbers really mean

What software version numbers really mean. Not sure who started the latest trend of dropping version numbers from software. We could always blame Microsoft with Windows ME . But Macromedia is at fault too with the whole MX thing. And MX doesn't even stand for anything. Now Adobe is getting into the mix. There will be no Photoshop 8 or Illustrator 11. Just CS . So is this a good thing? Version numbers may not be exciting but it sure did make it easy to keep track of the latest upgrade.
posted by jeremias on Sep 29, 2003 - 42 comments

Beepy beepy beep

Listen to Mike Oldfield's classic Tubular Bells performed by a Sinclair ZX Spectrum.
And here's a mirror for when Angelfire falls over.
posted by Mwongozi on Sep 15, 2003 - 7 comments

Deanster

DeanLink is a new service from the Dean Campaign. Dean + Friendster = DeanLink. The tech savvy presidential campaign strikes again. What's next? DeanTorrent? Where do you think all this technology will go after the campaign is over?
posted by cjoh on Sep 11, 2003 - 10 comments

Get Your Flash On

Macromedia Flash Player 7 for your Web browser is now available for a platform near you. ...Upgrade at your own discretion.
posted by Down10 on Sep 10, 2003 - 36 comments

Engines of Our Ingenuity

Engines of Our Ingenuity is a web site run by John Lienhard of the University of Houston. The site includes almost 2000 short, three minute talks on the history of science, technology, and engineering. The talks are in the form of RealAudio files, with accompanying transcripts which often give you more links and references. The transcripts themselves are indexed by keywords and are also fully text-searchable. A simple idea but very effective, and kind of addictive. I've been finding out about Jacquard and Babbage, German women astronomers of the seventeenth century, and the deisgn of the zipper. There's also other cool stuff: what did people say about books in 1498?
posted by carter on Sep 7, 2003 - 5 comments

CATGee.com

the world's first personal DNA storage & sampling kit ~ Save, share, and celebrate your DNA. ”Your very being, saved on a swab, for all eternity”
posted by crunchland on Sep 1, 2003 - 9 comments

Pop Quiz: What was the first personal computer?

Pop Quiz: What was the first personal computer? "Be careful before you answer! The question is highly ambiguous. Are you sure you know what first means? How about personal? Even computer is an ambiguous term! Let's define personal computer as a computer having the following attributes: It must be a digital computer. It must be largely automatic. It must be programmable by the end-user. It must be accessible, either as a commercially manufactured product, as a commercially available kit, or as widely published kit plans. It must be small enough to be transportable by an average person. It must be inexpensive enough to be affordable by the average professional. It must be simple enough to use that it requires no special training beyond an instruction manual. Ready?"
posted by quonsar on Aug 28, 2003 - 11 comments

Evacuation Plans

Writing a story is a felony violation in Oklahoma. High school student who wrote a story about armed invasion of his school faces jail time. Prosectors admit the law is Orwellian, but need a test-case. The story itself is derived from sample text included with an Adobe Pagemaker tutorial, describing hurrican evacuation instructions.
posted by swift on Aug 22, 2003 - 26 comments

Ahhh ... memory lane

Obsolete computers 1975-89. There's my first baby.
posted by MintSauce on Aug 22, 2003 - 51 comments

Diamonds are...forever?

Mass-produced diamonds Two startups are threatening the De Beers diamond monopoly. They plan to use the money they make from their mass-produced diamonds to "reshape the computing industry". Interesting stuff.
posted by pizzasub on Aug 13, 2003 - 52 comments

Audiopad:Haptic electronic music interface

Intriguing new haptic interface for creating electronic music.
posted by anathema on Aug 1, 2003 - 7 comments

Teenagers find the internet very difficult to use ....

Teenagers find the internet a frustrating experience A survey in the north east of England finds that teenagers are increasingly being alienated in their online experience because they aren't being given the skillsets to cope with finding or using the information. Seems to be the old story of schools buying computers but the kids not being engaged enough on how to use them (which has been the case since I was stuck in front of an Acorn Archimedes fifteen years go). Here is a similar article from Australia which describes how their eductation system is coping with the issue.
posted by feelinglistless on Jul 23, 2003 - 14 comments

What do you know about CALEA?

Bob Cringely thinks the government's information gathering capability is a disaster waiting to happen. Does our government have too much faith in computers as a solution to our problems? Just as electronic voting is looked at skeptically by the computer-savvy among us, so should the use of computers to gather information.
posted by TedW on Jul 16, 2003 - 13 comments

singularity

What Happens When Technology Zooms Off the Chart? (pdf) Singularity is the subject of the Spring 2003 issue of Whole Earth magazine.
posted by Ty Webb on Jul 10, 2003 - 14 comments

Badgirs--Windcatchers

Badgirs (Farsi) or barjeels (Arabic) are windcatchers that work as low-tech air conditioners. The city of Yazd, Iran is probably best known for them. Badgirs are built so that they can be opened to catch the wind from different directions, the air is then cooled as it travels down the tower, and in turn cools the rooms below. When there is no wind, air in the tower is heated and rises, which draws cooler air from the courtyard into the house. (There is no URL to link to for the search result for “badgir” on Encyclopaedia Iranica, but I recommend checking out their definition and diagrams even though you’ll have to go through three different PDF pages.) Badgirs have been around in some form “since the New Kingdom (1500- 300 BC) in Egypt”, but global warming might make them ineffective.(scroll down to #16-#18) Variations, such as malqafs, can be found from Egypt to Pakistan. You can get a modern one for your own house. You can win an award shaped like one for advancements in sustainable development. Or you could just stay in the Fairmont Dubai Hotel which is shaped like a huge badgir. So even after all this, I still don't know what those sticks sticking out of the sides are for.
posted by lobakgo on Jul 10, 2003 - 28 comments

Keep walking.

The Future is Now. "It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself—anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face… was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime…"
posted by the fire you left me on Jul 9, 2003 - 15 comments

Heaven or Hell? It's Your Choice

Heaven or Hell? It's Your Choice
A new shareware E-Book is out, penned by the likes of Captain Crunch and Matthew Smith, that makes the claims:
Don't bother planning your pension, the world is about to change and we can prove it, please just take 2 minutes out of your life to read this page, it may change your life. Artificial intelligence is coming and it may become smarter than any of us. Smart networks using grid technologies could become a threat to us ALL, this is the real Matrix. From Dot.Net to the X-Box, from M-Theory to the Playstation 3 the future is V.R. / A.I. and Nanotech. If you ever wanted to know what the system is and what it has done to you, then this ebook is for you. You left school, you were standardised, you took an exam, you were graded, they made you believe in money, this is the last great social control mechanism. There's more to this, than you can imagine.
...and there you have it. Or do you?
posted by metameme on Jul 7, 2003 - 24 comments

History and culture of computing

While there are a number of sites devoted to the history of computer and information technologies, their invention, design and manufacture is also a human story. So I'm glad that there are sites devoted to computing history and culture that also look at the lives of those involved. The Charles Babbage Institute and Center for the History of Information Technology, includes oral histories of engineers and 500 photographs of the Burroughs Corporation form the 1890s on. The Smithsonian Museum Division of Information Technology and Society is a gateway to a large number of 'real life' and online Smithsonian exhibitions related to the history of science and technology, including more oral histories and PDFs of the original DoD press releases for ENIAC. The Oxford University Virtual Museum of Computing includes tributes to information science pioneers, as well as much other stuff. Finally, the Silicon Valley Cultures Project is using anthropology to document the lives of many of those in the Valley.
posted by carter on Jun 22, 2003 - 6 comments

ephemera: (noun) a short lived thing

Ever since I became a TiVo addict, I've found myself wanting to use its features in real life, wishing I could rewind & replay moments of random comedy & chaos, usually involving my pugs. Soon, thanks the good folks at Deja View, I will be able to, with the help of a head mounted micro video camera unit that is always on, recording a 30 second buffer of real time, and up to four hours of manually recordable space for once you activate the record button. The scourge of ephemera will be wiped out in our lifetime.
posted by jonson on Jun 19, 2003 - 13 comments

DRM

Self destruct files to secure DVDs and CDs. Songs and movies will expire after a single play, unless you pay up.
posted by Ron on Jun 17, 2003 - 41 comments

The Future Is Now (Spiffy!)

Bonding with your robot vacuum
posted by Tlogmer on Jun 16, 2003 - 6 comments

Make a Mac Friend

Is it me, or does Mac Mentor sound like the name of a comic book super-villian? (Say it slow.)
posted by sudama on Jun 13, 2003 - 5 comments

Yet another reason to buy a mac

Microsoft to discontinue development of IE for the Mac... Surprisingly this apparently isn't being done because of the low market share for Macintosh, but rather as a side effect of the increasing integration (whether real or alleged) between IE and the Operating System, which on the Mac is closed, so MS can cease development as support for their claims of mandatory integration between browser & OS. I await the next step, mandatory integration between email & OS? IM? Media tools? Net access?
posted by jonson on Jun 13, 2003 - 68 comments

AIM-ICQ

From the better late than never dept: Now you can send instant messages between AIM/AOL and ICQ. AOL finally added interactivity support for their two IM protocols. Best new feature...
IM with yourself
Once you have the latest ICQ beta software, you'll be able to IM with the AIM and/or AOL on your own computer!

posted by riffola on Jun 12, 2003 - 27 comments

Everything about telephones

Everything you ever wanted to know about telephones. Really. I went to the list of History of the Telephone links first.
posted by carter on Jun 11, 2003 - 4 comments

Newly Digital

Newly Digital is an electronic anthology of sorts. Due to the technological advancement of these things we call "computers", it's a subject ripe for nostalgia. As seen here by bloggers writing about their first . . .
posted by jeremias on Jun 2, 2003 - 1 comment

a bed you wouldn't want to wake up in...

isolation stretcher: staff at a japanese medical system support company demonstrate the company's 'isolation stretcher': "The highly protective stretcher, which costs 5.2 million yen (a half million dollars?), has been in demand since the spread of SARS" ...a 'bed' you wouldn't want to wake up in.
posted by n o i s e s on May 30, 2003 - 5 comments

New feature for MetaFilter?

Login, check out a link, post a comment, find out what gender you are... By noting the subtle differences in the words used by men and women, a new computer programme identifies the sex of an author. By implementing this new software, MetaFilter could potentially become even more informative than it already is.
posted by orange swan on May 30, 2003 - 25 comments

Tiny digital drives

Child Pornographers Using Small Storage Drives. Small drives like this are giving the police quite a bit of trouble. One of the more interesting quotes from the story, "Even if the photos are encrypted, computer forensics specialists can break through most encryption schemes these days anyway."
posted by banished on May 29, 2003 - 33 comments

Consumer Report on Computers

The most reliable computer you can buy is... June's Consumer Reports surveyed 39,000 readers and...dare I say it? That not said, how reliable are reliability reports?
posted by Carlos Quevedo on May 27, 2003 - 49 comments

Etch-A-Sketch-A-Site

Denim "A team at the University of California at Berkeley has developed a software sketching tool that helps designers create fully interactive websites using just a graphics tablet or mouse...

Developed by the Group for User Interface Research at UC Berkeley, Denim allows designers to play around with different ideas with the speed and ease of drawing on paper. Even better, sketches can be hyperlinked, allowing a series of rough drawings to become a fully interactive site.

'We're trying to replicate the way designers have traditionally worked in the early stages of design, which is with pen and paper,' said the project's lead, James Landay, an associate professor at the university."

(Quote above is from this Wired News article.)
posted by eyebeam on May 12, 2003 - 17 comments

And the best part is...no VJs!

The Scopitone was a French video jukebox that made its debut in 1960 and was imported into the US in 1964. Although they usually featured high production values, catchy melodies, and lots of gratuitous cheesecake, the singers were often relative unknowns and the music was square even by the standards of the day. Consequently, they never caught on in a big way outside of Europe, and many of the original Scopitone jukeboxes and films were destroyed. Fortunately for us, a few Scopitone enthusiasts have catalogued the songs, scanned the advertisements, and even preserved a few Quicktime clips of the original French and American Scopitone films.
posted by MrBaliHai on May 4, 2003 - 9 comments

Wi-Fi vs. FM?

With Tungsten C - it's most powerful handheld ever (according to themselves) Palm is making some aggressive moves to turn its business around and brings wireless 802.11b-based connectivity to the Palm family of devices. Microsoft, on the other hand, is to use FM radio waves for news, weather and traffic, etc - on your watch. Is this a race or PDA technology diversity at its best? ...and here I'm sitting around with my stone age Visor.
posted by psychomedia on Apr 25, 2003 - 25 comments

Put safety first

Technology comes to the rescue via the Department of Homeland Security. Now we will never have to fear terrorists, or criminals again. This post is 23 days late, but remains ever so relevant.
posted by caddis on Apr 24, 2003 - 9 comments

I thought Grub was a bootloader?

Is Grub out of control? Barely more than a week old, the distributed search engine is already causing headaches. It does not properly follow the Robot Exclusion Standard and thus spiders sites against their owners' wishes. Because it is a distributed client run by thousands of volunteers (and therefore connects from many different IP addresses), it is non-trivial to block. The Wikipedia project, for example, is experiencing slowdowns because of it. Let's hope they can solve these problems, as the idea seems to be quite cool.
posted by Eloquence on Apr 23, 2003 - 7 comments

Has Burt Rutan done it again?

Scaled Composites unveils a privately built spacecraft Could this be the leapfrog event that all of us sci-fi fans have been waiting for? If successful he will open up space for organizations other than the worlds most wealthy governments. Warp speed Mr. Sulu! (sorry getting a little carried away).
posted by canucklehead on Apr 20, 2003 - 11 comments

Tickle

Mmm. Oh yeah, that's right. That's perfect, right there, yeah. Dutch technology means you no longer need someone else if you want a good massage. And don't try to tell me that this works.
posted by Pretty_Generic on Apr 17, 2003 - 24 comments

Future's so bright...

Pessimism bad - With the recent kabal surrounding the "dishonesty without intent" (whatever that means) Bjorn Lomborg committed in his book "The Skeptical Environmentalist", Matt Ridley speaks out for more "technological fixes" and against the technological pessimism that pervades the public debate about technology, and which can have perverse side effects, according to him. "In the 1990s Ingo Potrykus genetically engineered some strains of rice to contain a natural vitamin A precursor precisely because he was affronted by the fact that half a million children go blind every year in the third world for lack of vitamin A. He gave up his intellectual property rights, and persuaded Syngenta and other companies to waive their patents so that he could give the rice away for free in poor countries. Yet the crop remains tied up for years to come awaiting regulatory approval as a "drug" because of precautionary regulations urged on third world countries by environmental groups. " Future's so bright, I gotta get an eye upgrade!
posted by NekulturnY on Apr 7, 2003 - 13 comments

Then there were two

Seattle PI have picked up the news that there's now competition in the race to build a space elevator. Liftport are the new kids on the block, with a website that only went online about 24 hours ago. I'm watching them build the message board as I type. Nothing like a bit of uplifting science news (pun unavoidable).
posted by krisjohn on Mar 18, 2003 - 14 comments

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