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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

"Without the participation of Microsoft, these criminal cases against human rights defenders and journalists would simply not be able to occur"

Russia Uses Microsoft to Suppress Dissent - Adding to its long-running series on corruption and abuse in post-Communist Russia, the New York Times has reported on Russian authorities using the pretext of software piracy to seize computers from journalists and political dissidents critical of current policies. In a surprising twist, lawyers representing Microsoft have been found working with Russian police, despite reporters and NGOs providing evidence of legitimate software purchases. An official response to the NYT piece suggests impostors claim to represent Microsoft in Russia, and notes the company's offer of free software licenses to these and similar groups.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 12, 2010 - 25 comments

The Man Who Makes Your iPhone

The Man Who Makes Your iPhone - Bloomberg Businessweek profiles Terry Gou, the founder and chairman of Foxconn, the controversial manufacturer of consumer electronic devices for Apple, Sony, HP and Dell, among others.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 11, 2010 - 19 comments

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of heaven...'cause it hasn't!"

Three newly approved 'in vitro' toxicity tests using artificial human skin are reducing the need for animal testing of cosmetics and chemicals. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 4, 2010 - 10 comments

"All you have to do is push a few little buttons."

yep yep yep yep yep yep commmmmpewwwwtorrrr! butttonnsss. buttttttonssssss!
posted by Fizz on Aug 30, 2010 - 56 comments

Kurzweil vs. Myers

Ray Kurzweil: Reverse-Engineering of Human Brain Likely by 2030. PZ Myers: Ray Kurzweil does not understand the brain.
posted by homunculus on Aug 18, 2010 - 195 comments

How to operate the first digital computer.

Learn how to operate the world's first fully electronic digital computer in this helpful instructional video. No, not ENIAC - the Atanasoff Berry Computer. Here's an operator's manual. More information about the reconstruction.
posted by loquacious on Aug 13, 2010 - 24 comments

Gamers Are Credit To Team!

Today's issue of Nature contains a paper with a rather unusual author list. Read past the standard collection of academics, and the final author credited is... the FoldIt multiplayer online gaming community. Even though most of them had no biochemistry experience, the human players of FoldIt turned out to be better at identifying three-dimensional protein structure patterns than the algorithms of Rosetta@Home. (Previously on MeFi)
posted by zarq on Aug 5, 2010 - 12 comments

what do you get when you cross a laughter with a candy ? a laugh saver .

The Joking Computer: an algorithm that writes jokes. Have it make you a joke or learn how it works.
posted by jjray on Jul 30, 2010 - 155 comments

Football Manager

They were one of history’s greatest teams. But by the late 2000s, Pro Vercelli were entrenched in the lower leagues, their glorious past forgotten. Until one day, a man bought a video game. Read the uplifting saga of a small-town Italian club, an unknown American manager, triumph, betrayal, passion, and several extremely good recipes, from start to finish [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Jul 3, 2010 - 26 comments

Sundown ya better take care / If I find you bin creepin' 'round my back stairs.

Ever notice how people texting at night have that eerie blue glow? Or wake up ready to write down the Next Great Idea, and get blinded by your computer screen? During the day, computer screens look good—they're designed to look like the sun. But, at 9PM, 10PM, or 3AM, you probably shouldn't be looking at the sun. F.lux fixes this: it makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. It's even possible that you're staying up too late because of your computer. You could use f.lux because it makes you sleep better, or you could just use it just because it makes your computer look better. [more inside]
posted by crunchland on Jun 22, 2010 - 65 comments

a day in the life

He might've placed a couple of chips into your Mac, Dell or Hewlett-Packard. Meet Yuan Yandong.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 20, 2010 - 24 comments

One Laptop Per Bike

Armed with a netbook, medical supplies and a bicycle, Bangladesh's InfoLadies are giving millions of poor people access to crucial information on their doorsteps that will improve their chances in life
posted by Artw on May 22, 2010 - 13 comments

Antikythera 2.0

Welcome to the Analog Computer Museum and History Center - a collection of pictures, diagrams, and historical snippets of pre-GUI devices of the 20th century.
posted by Burhanistan on May 20, 2010 - 7 comments

Analog Fire Control

u.s navy vintage fire control computers : An intriguing look at the mechanical workings of the computers of World War 2.
posted by mikepaco on May 19, 2010 - 27 comments

Conficker in control

A botnet with 6 to 12 million computers, employing the world's most sophisticated encryption and peer to peer communication lies waiting, but for what? When the Conficker computer “worm” was unleashed on the world in November 2008, cyber-security experts didn’t know what to make of it. It infiltrated millions of computers around the globe. It constantly checks in with its unknown creators. It uses an encryption code so sophisticated that only a very few people could have deployed it. For the first time ever, the cyber-security elites of the world have joined forces in a high-tech game of cops and robbers, trying to find Conficker’s creators and defeat them. The cops are failing. And now the worm lies there, waiting … [via Postroad's rich linkdump: Goodsh*t (nsfw)] [more inside]
posted by caddis on May 15, 2010 - 69 comments

Canoe here be dow?

Oh, punt appalled bait oars, Hal. Why Computer Speech Recognition hasn't gotten any better since 2001. Or bed her sin stew thou send Juan.
posted by oneswellfoop on May 3, 2010 - 111 comments

Virtual New York City

Dazzling new 3D buildings for New York City in Google Earth [via]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 15, 2010 - 22 comments

Visual Aesthetics in Early Computing

Visual Aesthetics in Early Computing (1950-80) - a little look back at plotters and light pens and flow charts, which I found a bit nostalgic. You can watch Lapis, Permutations and Arabesque on YouTube.
posted by Wolfdog on Apr 9, 2010 - 22 comments

It's like Greasemonkey, but for your GUI

Have you ever wanted to change the functionality of the GUI of a program that you didn't have the source code for? Prefab is a tool that was made to allow you to do exactly that. [more inside]
posted by ArgentCorvid on Apr 2, 2010 - 40 comments

Steel Mouse Pads

The last mouse pad you will ever need. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by WolfDaddy on Mar 31, 2010 - 66 comments

Aaaaaand we'll just remove a nice, happy tree from riiiiight......abouuuuuut....there. That's nice.

We've already seen seam carving for content-aware image resizing. Now, here's content-aware fill.
posted by lazaruslong on Mar 26, 2010 - 76 comments

The Commodore 64 Returns

The Commodore 64 - arguably the most influential PC in history - is back. They've beefed up the specs a bit.
posted by Joe Beese on Mar 24, 2010 - 102 comments

110100100

Monday Morning Nerd-Porn
posted by jtron on Mar 22, 2010 - 28 comments

Salvador Allende's Internet

Cybersyn (or Synco, in Spanish) was computer network constructed in 1970 by an English/Chilean team headed by cyberneticist Stafford Beer (his papers). Cybersyn was an electronic nervous system for the Chilean economy, linking together mines, factories and so on, to better manage production and give workers a clear idea of what was in demand and where. The network was destroyed by the army after the 1973 coup. Later that year Stafford Beer drew upon the lessons of Cybersyn to write Fanfare for Effective Freedom, a eulogy for Allende and Cybersyn, and Designing Freedom, a series of six lectures he gave for CBC, outlining his ideas. Besides the first link in this post, the best place to start is this Guardian article from 2003. If you want to go more in-depth, read Eden Medina's Designing Freedom, Regulating a Nation: Socialist Cybernetics in Allende’s Chile. And if nothing else, just take a look at the amazing Cybersyn control room.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 21, 2010 - 32 comments

The Secret Origin of Windows

The Secret Origin of Windows, recollections of the development and release of Windows 1.0 and 2.0 by its project manager Tandy Trower (via)
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Mar 10, 2010 - 75 comments

What horror lies within

How disgusting can the inside of computer become? See now! Some people smoke near their computers. Some people secrete their chip packets inside their computer boxes. You think you can get away with it until you need someone to find out why your computer is fucked up and then.. Ah hah! Could it be.. you have an alien fetus? Mice? The detritus of your fucked up lifestyle? All living within your box? Feel bad about yourself now!
posted by h00py on Mar 2, 2010 - 70 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

The Territorial Imperatives of the Trumpeter Swan

Be forewarned that somewhere, sometime, someplace, some enterprising young man who seems to know ten times what you do about computers is going to try to convince you that his program will make a jug of cider jump off the table and turn ducks' eggs into solid gold. Look this man straight in the eye and ask him for names of people who are successfully using his program. DO NOT, under any circumstances, bet him that he can't do it. There's no telling what someone might be able to make a computer do.

A journey through the whimsical computer manuals of the Franklin Ace.
posted by shakespeherian on Feb 24, 2010 - 8 comments

Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python

Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python: PDF
posted by vostok on Feb 22, 2010 - 45 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

“Better finish it while there’s still an Apple II market out there,”

The development blog for the original Prince of Persia from Jordan Mechner.
posted by loquacious on Nov 22, 2009 - 31 comments

unbump.

SAGE is a free, open-source computer algebra system. [more inside]
posted by kaibutsu on Oct 30, 2009 - 37 comments

10/GUI

Since SRI and Xerox invented the GUI and the mouse in the late 1970s, technology has leaped forward, but the way we interact with our computers has stood still. "10/GUI aims to bridge this gap by rethinking the desktop to leverage technology in an intuitive and powerful way."
posted by Plutor on Oct 13, 2009 - 66 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

A Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich of a Computer Case

The use of cardboard for things other than packaging is not new to the blue, from detailed artwork to furnature (and even re-making the Tron light cycle scene), and now computer cases. Brenden Macaluso's design is not the first, with a Japanese design from 2005 (the original site is down, but Archive.org has a backup, with more versions archived), and other kludged fixes for an existing case missing parts. Recompute wasn't the only cardboard case in the 2009 Greener Gadgets design competition. The other was Cardboardcase, by Francesco Biasci and Martina Becattini, which is a more of a traditional computer case form. On the DIY side, Instructables provides plans for a DIY cardboard laptop case. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 17, 2009 - 13 comments

The Little Mac Classic That Could

A Mac Classic shows bullies what's for in "3½ inches is enough" by Unreal Voodoo. This demo (actually written to run on a Mac Classic) was presented at ASSEMBLY, Finland's largest computer festival. More highlights from ASSEMBLY are available at GameSetWatch. The demos are mostly trippy and impressive hand-coded animations as one might expect, but there's also a live action short featuring a Rube Goldberg machine.
posted by ignignokt on Sep 4, 2009 - 17 comments

"We have approximately 3 million bytes of memory just used to store an image..."

The Computer Chronicles.
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism on Aug 30, 2009 - 12 comments

George Julius' Mechanical Totalisator

Sir George Julius's Automatic Totalisator, first used by the public in New Zealand, and quickly taken up by racetracks throughout Australasia and North America (warning hideous HTML), automates parimutuel betting.
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Aug 26, 2009 - 4 comments

"How would it be, for example, to relate to a machine that is as intelligent as your spouse?"

Impressed and alarmed by advances in artificial intelligence, a group of computer scientists is debating whether there should be limits on research that might lead to loss of human control over computer-based systems that carry a growing share of society’s workload, from waging war to chatting with customers on the phone. From the NYT: Scientists Worry Machines May Outsmart Man.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 26, 2009 - 116 comments

"All I got in this world is my balls and my word and I don't break either of 'em for nobody!"

Before the mouse, there was the trackball. Built for DATAR in 1952, DATAR turned out to be a complete failure. The next user interface device that used a ball was the mouse at Xeroc Parc in 1972. Trackballs are a dying breed of interface devices. But sometimes a trackball just seems more natural choice for certain applications - not so obvious for others. Would you sit on one?
posted by bigmusic on Jun 17, 2009 - 65 comments

You sure don't see a lot of sidecars nowadays.

15 Classic PC Design Mistakes, along with explanations as to what exactly they were thinking at the time.
posted by Afroblanco on Jun 15, 2009 - 70 comments

300 baud of awesome in a wooden box

This is what 300 baud looks like online today.
posted by loquacious on Jun 1, 2009 - 111 comments

Homebrewed CPU

Intel’s fabrication plants can churn out hundreds of thousands of processor chips a day. But what does it take to handcraft a single 8-bit CPU and a computer? Give or take 18 months, about $1,000 and 1,253 pieces of wire.
posted by jim in austin on May 28, 2009 - 50 comments

The machines are making such a wonderful music, who would want to pull the plug?

Computer music is relatively old, going back to the very early 1950s. In the following decades, people have been creative with programmable technology, leading to "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain" being played on an IBM chain printer back in 1966, and in more recent years, HP ScanJet 5100c included an Easter Egg. The HP ScanJet 4c's SCL (Scanner Control Language) unofficial PLAY TUNE command lead to these fine little ditties. Now over a decade ago, the duo known as [The User] enlisted three specialists to operate a computer program via a server that synchronized the dot-matrix printers and read complex ASCII text files in order to create musical compositions. The result was a techno-sounding piece that was performed by the administrators of the system, rather than one that was simply being played. Like a symphony of car horns, the coordination of these printers became Symphony #1 and #2 for Dot Matrix Printers (samples of Symphony #2, Symphony #2 Slashdot thread). [More computer music exploration inside] [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 26, 2009 - 27 comments

Pixel City

Pixel City is a procedurally generated cityscape by Shamus Young. Procedurally generated graphics have a long history of producing attractive results with extremely small amounts of code, like Elevated, which was generated by just 4K of code, automatically generated video game content (also, Spore) or the generation of realistic water flows. Note the last demo reel may have been the test for a new film mentioned previously.
posted by GuyZero on May 15, 2009 - 44 comments

Dad, are we, relatavistically speaking, there yet?

Project GREAT: General Relativity Einstein/Essen Anniversary Test
Clocks, Kids, and General Relativity on Mt Rainier
Think your dad was a nerd? A mad genius? Was he a Clark Griswold-esque cheerleader for outdoor family vacations? You ain't seen nothin' yet.
posted by zardoz on May 7, 2009 - 51 comments

Before everything, there was PLATO

Touch screen. Awesome graphics. Online community. No, I'm not talking about the latest handheld device to hit the market, I'm talking about Control Data's PLATO system. [more inside]
posted by WolfDaddy on Apr 27, 2009 - 31 comments

What you see is what you hear

Queen Bohemian Rhapsody Old School Computer Remix
posted by finite on Apr 19, 2009 - 20 comments

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