Rebecca Solnit on how Silicon Valley corporations are transforming San Francisco: I weathered the dot-com boom of the late 1990s as an observer, but I sold my apartment to a Google engineer last year and ventured out into both the rental market (for the short term) and home buying market (for the long term) with confidence that my long standing in this city and respectable finances would open a path. That confidence got crushed fast. It turned out that the competition for any apartment in San Francisco was so intense that you had to respond to the listings – all on San Francisco-based Craigslist of course, the classifieds website that whittled away newspaper ad revenue nationally – within a few hours of their posting to receive a reply from the landlord or agency. The listings for both rentals and homes for sale often mentioned their proximity to the Google or Apple bus stops. [more inside]
After their annual audit showed a large spike in underage workers, Apple made good on its promise
to take more responsibility for its suppliers.
Yesterday at CES, Plastic Logic
, a "tablet" that is thin and flexible like paper. Here's a hands-on video with Time Magazine
, and here's another demo
. The company had a very public failure three years ago with its cancelled Que tablet
), but now says it is focusing on licensing the technology to companies that want to make "the paper of the future
Garmin, the well-known navigation company also makes bike computers. Today they unveiled a GPS-enabled bike computer that adds bluetooth to pair with your phone (and piggyback on your network connection). The resulting product video
featuring Garmin's pro team riders is a little Hollywood and a little silly showing riders competing virtually against each other but paints a pretty impressive picture for real-time stats, weather, maps, and data sharing among cyclist friends. More at Wired's Gadget blog
and a complete review at the DC rainmaker
from the mind of a 5-year-old tech geek. [more inside]
The New York Times is previewing their latest technology in the longform journalism piece Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek
(username: avalanche/password: preview). Scroll down slowly to enjoy all the photos, slideshows, and movies that go along with the piece, which looks to be adding new chapters to the story over time.
On December 5th, Instagram's founder Kevin Systrom announced that Instagram would cut support for Twitter cards
. On December 10th, Twitter updated its mobile apps to include Instagram-like photo filters
. On December 12th, Flickr did too
. On December 16th, the New York Times reported that Systrom may have perjured himself
to announce, among other changes, that its users now
"agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you."
In response, Wired has posted How to Download Your Instagram Photos and Kill Your Account
Brian Lam quit Gizmodo after feeling burnt out from a frantic digital existence.
“I was tired of doing posts that were obsolete three hours after I wrote them,” Mr. Lam said. “I wanted evergreen content that didn’t have to be updated constantly in order to hunt traffic. I wanted to publish things that were useful.”
The Scanadu Scout
(as part of the X-Prize
) is aspiring to be a mobile medical device that can help you keep track of your physical stats on a day to day basis, as well as providing urinalysis and influenza testing to your smartphone
along with a host of other features. And with an estimated $150 price-tag, it could be put into the hands of nearly everyone.
[video with developer]. [via][previously]
Alan Cooper and the Goal Directed Design Process The heart of the problem, he concludes, is that the people responsible for developing software products don’t know precisely what constitutes a good product. It follows that they also do not know what processes lead to a good product. In short, they are operating by trial and error, with outcomes like customer satisfaction achieved by little more than blind luck. By Hugh Dubberly, first published AIGA GAIN Journal, 2001
A five-part series on the ultimate limit on technology, and how that limit could help us find other civilizations: 1 2 3 4 5 [via]
"Premature babies born at the edge of viability force us to debate the most difficult questions in medicine and in life. After just 23 weeks of pregnancy, Kelley Benham found herself in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with a daughter born so early neonatologist doctors would call her a "micro preemie." New technologies can sometimes keep micro preemies alive, but many end up disabled, some catastrophically so. Whether to provide care to these infants is one of the fundamental controversies in neonatology. This is the story of how Benham and her husband, Tom French, made the difficult choice: Fight for the life of their micro preemie baby or let her go?
" [more inside]
At the western edge of Golden Gate Park
sit two Windmills
, claimed to be among the largest in the world. Built over 100 years
ago to irrigate the park, they were eventually made functionally obsolete by electric water pumps and were allowed to fall into a state of neglect. The North (Dutch) Windmill was given a face-lift in 1980, and more recently The South (Murphy) windmill has been completely restored
. For the first time in decades both windmills started spinning
, appropriately enough, on Queen's Day
earlier this year. The entire reconstruction process of the South Windmill is documented in this extensive photo gallery
"Why should I load up on debt just to binge drink for four years when I could just create an app that nets me all the money I’ll ever need?"
Young entrepreneurs are ditching college in droves, seen by some as a bad investment while dropping out is a "badge of honor" in Silicon Valley, whose lionized heroes include Zuckerburg
, and Gates
- all college dropouts themselves.
Why People Really Love Technology: An Interview with Genevieve Bell The thing I love about Intel researcher Genevieve Bell is that she finds surprising things by looking at what's left out of the dominant narratives about technology. She finds data that's ignored because it didn't fit into the paradigm of, say, how people adopt technology. The dominant narrative is that young men determine the popularity of phones, computers, websites, and the like. But when Bell looked at the data, the story we told ourselves about how the world worked was not reflected in the numbers.
That's why I wanted to talk to her about what gadgets people around the world might be using over the next decade. I figured she was someone who could look past the conventional wisdom and find the missing pieces of the future
"During his civil lawsuit against the People's Republic of China, Brian Milburn
says he never once saw one of the country's lawyers. He read no court documents from China's attorneys because they filed none. The voluminous case record at the U.S. District courthouse in Santa Ana contains a single communication from China: a curt letter to the U.S. State Department, urging that the suit be dismissed. That doesn't mean
Milburn's adversary had no contact with him." [China Mafia-Style Hack Attack Drives California Firm to Brink
"You probably don't think of your car as a developer platform, but Mike Rosack did
The Philips CD-i
was a unique blend of CD player and gaming console, with "interactive" playback capabilities. The only completely interactive music CD
for the platform was released by Todd Rundgren
in 1993. A reference guide for everything CD-i can be found here
In the telling it has the contours of a creation myth: At a time of great evil and great terror, a small group of scientists, among the world’s greatest minds, secluded themselves in the desert. In secrecy and silence they toiled at their Promethean task. They sought the ultimate weapon, one of such great power as to end not just their war, but all war. They hoped their work would salvage the future. They feared it could end everything.
- Prometheus in the desert: from atom bombs to radio astronomy, New Mexico's scientific legacy
You've heard from quite
a few sources
as to why
Romney lost, including Romney
himself. But technology played a role in the loss, too. According to Sean Gallagher in Ars Technica
, Romney's campaign was badly outgunned when it came to its technology infrastructure, relying heavily on outsourced IT and consultants. The disastrous Project ORCA
, an attempted streamlining of the age old "strike list" process for contacting those who haven't voted yet, likely did not help. [more inside]
Airing in 1979, The New Sound of Music
was a BBC documentary which depicted and demonstrated the history of recorded and manipulated music, from the earliest paper rolls to electronic synthesizers and the cutting and manipulation of tape. [more inside]
"We worked through every possible disaster situation," Reed said. "We did three actual all-day sessions of destroying everything we had built
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
The Gutenberg press, as Carr is well aware, did not precede or produce the literate subject, but merely facilitated its generalization by making the production of books more economical. Along the way it undoubtedly—through some of its own formal characteristics—exerted an influence on the text it carried... But there is a tendency in the critique of technology to over-emphasize such factors at the expense of farther-reaching socio-historical explanations.
In the latest issue of New Left Review
, Rob Lucas discusses the work of Nicholas Carr
and calls for a socioeconomic approach to the history of computing. [more inside]
Google's Street View jumps the curb and enters the Grand Canyon
, with Trekker
Today saw Apple has enter the competitive 7" tablet market
with the iPad Mini
. But what if your tablety desires run to something larger, not smaller? Sony has you covered with a 20-inch, 11-pound "tabletop PC"
Over the course of the next two months, each participating ISP [*AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon] expects to begin rolling out its version of the [Copyright Alert System] – a system through which ISPs will pass on to their subscribers notices sent by content owners alleging copyright infringement over peer-to-peer networks. Educational alerts will come first, followed by acknowledgement alerts that require the recipients to let their ISP know they have received the notices. For accounts where alleged infringing activity continues, enhanced alerts that contain “mitigation measures” will follow.
- Jill Lesser, Executive Director, Center for Copyright Information [more inside]
Robots at Work and Play
(a photo gallery from the Atlantic).
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon have created what they are calling "acoustic barcodes".
These barcodes can be decoded by a computer with a microphone attached, and their video presents several potential use cases including an interactive whiteboard, cell phone mode controls, and children's toys.