334 posts tagged with computer.
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Monte Carlo

The year was 1945. Two earthshaking events took place: the successful test at Alamogordo and the building of the first electronic computer. Their combined impact was to modify qualitatively the nature of global interactions between Russia and the West. No less perturbative were the changes wrought in all of academic research and in applied science. On a less grand scale these events brought about a [renaissance] of a mathematical technique known to the old guard as statistical sampling; in its new surroundings and owing to its nature, there was no denying its new name of the Monte Carlo method (PDF). -N. Metropolis
Conceptually talked about on MeFi previously, some basic Monte Carlo methods include the Inverse Transform Method (PDF) mentioned in the quoted paper, Acceptance-Rejection Sampling (PDFs 1,2), and integration with and without importance sampling (PDF).
posted by JoeXIII007 on Dec 17, 2011 - 13 comments

Will Wright's Next Game: Hivemind

Will Wright, of Sims and Simcity fame, now wants to have users use their personal data to shape the game playing experience in his new game, Hivemind.
posted by reenum on Dec 10, 2011 - 29 comments

Yesterday's Tomorrow Today!

The BBC broadcasted the science and technology showcase show Tomorrow's World (titles on piano) on 7 July 1965 on BBC1, it ran for 38 years until it was cancelled at the beginning of 2003. Unlike the boosterism of US science programs, Tomorrow's World was more famous for it's live stunts and wry outlook ( James Burke experiences the "convenient" office of the future and the future of home gardening and crushing ennui). The BBC has an archive of episodes and clips for UK visitors, everyone else will have to be content with clips concerning Home Computers, New Banking, Nellie The School Computer, The Elliot Light Pen, Mobile Phones, and Moog Synthesizers.
posted by The Whelk on Nov 26, 2011 - 17 comments

Computers should sound like they're doing something

Relays are simple electrical components that turn on an electromagnet with a small current to trigger a switch for a circuit usually capable of handling a larger current. For example, a relay can be used by a 5 volt DC microcontroller to turn on a 120 volt AC heating element in a rice cooker. Since relays can be used for logic, they can also be the primary components of gloriously clicky computers(see this for details on the last one). [more inside]
posted by mccarty.tim on Nov 5, 2011 - 36 comments

How the Courier folded

The inside story of how Microsoft killed its Courier tablet
posted by Artw on Nov 1, 2011 - 150 comments

Who Watches The Robots?

Wired Magazine: Mystery virus hits U.S drone fleet
posted by The Whelk on Oct 8, 2011 - 68 comments

The Cybercrime of Sextortion

Sextortion /sekˈstɔː(r)ʃ(ə)n/ noun The extortion and/or blackmail of an individual, wherein the item or service requested/demanded is the performance of a sexual act.

He seeded P2P networks with popular-sounding song titles that were actually malware; when someone downloaded and executed the file, their machine was infected and would open itself to his control. He took over 129 different computers for a total of 230 victims. Forty-four of the victims were juveniles. How an omniscient Internet "sextortionist" ruined the lives of teen girls. [Sextortionism, previously discussed on Mefi (working link to Sextortion at Eisenhower High article and an update).]
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Sep 8, 2011 - 35 comments

Pixar, 1972

40 Year Old 3D Computer Graphics, created by Edwin Catmull and Fred Parke (with some help from Bob Ingebretsen) in... wait for it... 1972!
posted by cthuljew on Sep 2, 2011 - 53 comments

Woman eases release from a cotton disability.

This is what happens when you play the game Telephone with YouTube auto-captioning.
posted by lazaruslong on Aug 29, 2011 - 25 comments

A series of essays of esteemed boardgame veterans

Tabletop: Analog Game Design - A commons licenced book containing a series of essays about digital and non-digital games from some esteemed boardgame veterans: "Much has been written about the videogame revolution, [...] In a scant thirty some-odd years, we’ve grown from nothing to one of the world’s largest entertainment forms, grossing tens of billions annually [...] Works that discuss the evolution of the game industry from an historical perspective generally talk about the connection between the pre-digital arcade and the earliest digital games; I’ve even heard some claim that “without the arcade, videogames would not exist.” This is, of course, bosh..." [more inside]
posted by Cogentesque on Aug 24, 2011 - 36 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

Dude, you're getting a DELL?

HP killing WebOS and getting out of the computer business. [more inside]
posted by blue_beetle on Aug 18, 2011 - 169 comments

We control the horizontal.

How would you like your own celebrity sock puppet? Control their facial expressions in real time with the technology in Being John Malkovich (video).
posted by CheeseDigestsAll on Aug 12, 2011 - 15 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

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

A news segment from 1986 explaining the possibilities of computer music

A news segment from 1986 explaining the possibilities of computer music: P1, P2, P3.
posted by rageagainsttherobots on Jul 1, 2011 - 36 comments

The Steampunk Laptop

Datamancer's Steampunk Laptop - now taking pre-orders (with a $5500 early bird special).
posted by shivohum on Jun 14, 2011 - 56 comments

LiberKey Portable Applications

LiberKey is a system for installing and keeping updated over 300 free programs (both open and closed source) on a Windows machine. All of the programs are portable meaning that they can run directly off a USB key without installing anything additional on the computer (this is very useful if you’re working on a computer where you don’t have administrative rights). The programs are organized into the following categories: audio, CD/DVD, education, file management, games, graphics, internet, networking, office, security, system utilities, and video. One great feature Liberkey has is the ability to temporarily change file associations. Here is the full list of programs available.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Jun 4, 2011 - 14 comments


Over the past 30 years, designer, writer and Principal Researcher for Microsoft Research Bill Buxton has collected input and interactive devices whose designs he found "interesting, useful or important. In the process, he has assembled a good collection of the history of pen computing, pointing devices, touch technologies, as well as an illustration of the nature of how new technologies emerge." This week, he unveiled his collection at the Computer-Human Interaction conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. An extensive gallery has been posted online with images and notes at The Buxton Collection. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 11, 2011 - 6 comments

Windows music, whoda'thunk-it

Awesome music using only sounds from Windows XP and 98, just what it says on the tin
posted by Blasdelb on May 3, 2011 - 21 comments

I learned to program...

I learned to program... [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 23, 2011 - 119 comments


Many people have described the popular freeform game Minecraft as "kind of like Lego", so a few enterprising stop-motion animators have decided to jump on that idea.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 26, 2011 - 27 comments


Rock-Paper-Scissors: You vs. the Computer. "Computers mimic human reasoning by building on simple rules and statistical averages. Test your strategy against the computer in this rock-paper-scissors game illustrating basic artificial intelligence. Choose from two different modes: novice, where the computer learns to play from scratch, and veteran, where the computer pits over 200,000 rounds of previous experience against you."
posted by bwg on Mar 6, 2011 - 74 comments

You are your life and nothing else, pig rider.

Jonathan Gourlay explores Minecraft, an ugly game with no point and endless possibility.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 21, 2011 - 173 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

Thin Client

Google's pilot program for Chrome OS is well underway, with the new operating system being distributed on free Cr-48 Notebooks, to generally favourable impressions. Chrome OS relies heavily on cloud computing, where software and data live on servers and are accessed by a client, and product manager Caesar Sengupta going as far as to say they will have failed if cloud computing does not become the norm. Not everyone is happy about that thought through, with Richard Stallman warning it may be a trap. Like the Cr-48s attractive design but not so sure about ChromeOS? You could always sneak Ubuntu onto it.
posted by Artw on Dec 14, 2010 - 96 comments

Teen Mathletes Do Battle at Algorithm Olympics

In today's example of kids smarter than you and I, Wired follows the exploits of two teens competing at the International Olympiad in Informatics.
posted by reenum on Dec 2, 2010 - 14 comments

Chasing Pirates: Inside Microsoft’s War Room

Chasing Pirates: Inside Microsoft’s War Room - From the special thread that Chinese factories counterfeit in mile-long spools that adorns software authenticity stickers, to near-perfect bootleg discs leaving microscopic evidence of their factory origins, to Mexican and Russian gangsters who are dealt with very carefully, the NYT covers Microsoft's multi-pronged, international war on piracy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Nov 7, 2010 - 30 comments

The thirteenth floor didn't exist... and yet it was there... filled with unknown terror!

"Greetings, I'm MAX, the computer. Maybe you've heard of me, I'm superintendant here!" - Welcome to The Thirteenth Floor!
posted by Artw on Oct 26, 2010 - 14 comments

Mr. Babbage's Analytical Engine

A project to build Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine. John Graham (blog) has setup a pledge to build a working version of the Analytical Engine, successor to the Difference Engine(Prev) it was to be a real steam powered programmable computer.
posted by Long Way To Go on Oct 19, 2010 - 27 comments

A Death on Facebook

Kate Bolick tells a story of Facebook voyeurism.
posted by reenum on Oct 13, 2010 - 16 comments


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

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