The National Security Agency is building a data center
in San Antonio that’s the size of the Alamodome. Microsoft has opened an 11-acre data center
a few miles away. Coincidence? Not according to author James Bamford
, who probably knows more about the NSA than any outsider. Bamford's new book
reports that the biggest U.S. spy agency wanted assurances that Microsoft would be in San Antonio before it moved ahead with the Texas Cryptology Center
. Bamford notes that under current law, the NSA could legally tap into Microsoft’s data without a court order. Whatever you do, don't take pictures of it the spy building unless you want to be taken in for questioning.
posted by up in the old hotel
on Dec 8, 2008 -
Designers spend about 90% of their waking life in front of a computer, so the most appealing genre for a wallpaper would be one that has beautiful design mixed with the all important aspect of being outdoors. At their best, desktop wallpapers bring animation to often lifeless computer screens, reflecting the personality of the user and acting as a calling card for creative talent. The Desktopography Project
first arrived in 2005 as a place to download nature / topological themed wallpapers with edits from selected designers. They have just released their 2008 library.
posted by netbros
on Jun 7, 2008 -
The Phillips Machine
, also known as the Moniac
, is a early analog computer for economic modeling with an unusual twist: all of the computation is done by water flowing through its pipes. The flows represent taxes, income, and so on, and the chambers
represent balances held by various bodies. Floats attached to pens can provide graphical output such things as GDP and interest rates, and valves can be opened and shut to change the state of the system in real time. You can listen to a BBC radio segment
on the origin of Phillips machine, or see a demonstration
of one of the only extant working models at the University of Cambridge. [more inside]
posted by Upton O'Good
on May 24, 2008 -
is a course offered by the University of Sussex through their Informatics department. The lecture series
discusses tools and techniques for generating graphics, music, jokes and riddles, and more.
posted by weston
on Apr 7, 2008 -
Cope pipe without a jig.
Enter a few parameters and get a pdf that will give you a printable pattern that will allow you to notch tubing for welding or brazing to another pipe.
posted by Mitheral
on Mar 15, 2008 -
In October 1947, the directors of J. Lyons & Co
(think - teashops, nippies, bakeries, ice-creams, steakhouses, hotels, Wimpy Bars and Dunkin' Donuts), decided to take an active role in promoting the commercial development of computers.
In 1951 the LEO I
computer was operational and ran the world's first regular routine office computer job.
posted by tellurian
on Oct 1, 2007 -
Meet Rick and Steve
: The Happiest Gay Couple In All The World. The animated series follows a gay couple, Rick and Steve, and other couples from their (fictional) town, West Lahunga Beach. Rick (voiced by Will Matthews
from MTV's "Punk'd") is Steve's stay-at-home partner. He is a genius but very insecure. Steve (voiced by Peter Paige
, best known as Emmet Honeycutt from "Queer As Folk") is a real estate broker and devotee of the gym. Margaret Cho
lends her voice to the character Condie Ling. The computer generated animated series began airing on Logo
on July 10, 2007, and is based on the 1999 short films of the same name from creator Quenton Allan Brocka
. Let the comedic stereotyping begin! In animation form, anyway. (Episodes 1-5 available in three parts each from the first link.) Not quite safe for work. Or the easily offended.
posted by gummi
on Aug 25, 2007 -
"How I Became A Programmer"
veers between linear biography and brain dump. The piece meanders through its theme, stopping along the way to flirt with word origins, family politics, the senior prom, Japan, airlines and military recruitment. Reading it, I felt trapped inside inside an extremely quirky -- yet recognizable (in a too-close-for-comfort way) -- mind. About half the time I yearned to tell him that he needs an editor; the other half, I was grateful that he didn't have one. Mostly, I'm amazed he HAD a date to the senior prom!
posted by grumblebee
on Aug 18, 2007 -
In 1937-38, computer pioneer George Philbrick worked for the Foxboro Co. as an analyst. He had the radical idea of building an electronic analog computer to simulate the behaviour of hydraulic industrial equipment, so Foxboro customers could experiment with control systems without needing a pipe wrench. One of the world's first analog computers was ignominiously ferried around the U.S. in the back seat of Philbrick's car. Ironically, Philbrick didn't give his "Automatic Process Analyzer" a properly techy, pretentious nickname. He dubbed his one-eyed monster Polyphemus.
posted by metasonix
on Aug 11, 2007 -
It has always been difficult to look up any information on the pioneers of computing. Even today, in the Internet age, one has trouble finding much about early computers--even on the ultimate computer network.
Consider the late George A. Philbrick. He was one of the titanic figures in electronic computing in the 1950s--mainly because of the company he founded, which was a major manufacturer (and pioneer) of the operational amplifier
, at a time when an "op-amp" was made of vacuum tubes. Op-amps were used to build analog computers
, which were widely used to simulate physical processes in the days when digital computers were either non-existent, or too slow and costly, for many kinds of simulation and process-control work. Op-amps, in chip form, are still widely used in electronics. Yet, despite his unquestioned status as a major pioneer of electronics, there was almost nothing on the Internet about Philbrick or his company.
Until 2005--when Joe Sousa decided to put up a website dedicated to Philbrick's legacy. Behold The Philbrick Archive.
posted by metasonix
on Aug 4, 2007 -
Computer Hope The location for free online computer support and computer related information. Computer Hope has been designed to assist all types of computer users with any of their computer related questions as well as a great location to learn more about your computer and its hardware and software.
posted by konolia
on May 13, 2007 -
"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
posted by tellurian
on Feb 26, 2007 -
The Let's Play archive.
Ever wanted to play a particular video game, but never got around to it? Let's Play features extensive walkthroughs of classic games like Silent Hill and Flashback complete with screenshots, videos, and commentary. Other games such as Darkseed and The Immortal are coming soon.
posted by clockworkjoe
on Feb 2, 2007 -
The Colemak keyboard layout.
Colemak is a new alternative to the QWERTY and Dvorak layouts. Designed for efficient and ergonomic touch typing in English, Colemak places the 10 most frequent letters of English (A,R,S,T,D,H,N,E,I,O) on the home row. Z,X,C are preserved in their QWERTY positions for easy copy and paste operations. It gets rid of the Caps Lock and replaces it with Backspace so you no longer need to move your hand off the home position to correct errors. Available for Windows/Mac/Linux/Unix it works with all standard keyboards, including laptops. [via: Projects], [Previously]
posted by Mitheral
on Jan 8, 2007 -
The Red Hill Guide
is an amazingly detailed and well-written compendium of desktop hardware old and new, with a focus on PC and x86 compatibles. Look for your first CPU, hard drive or mainboard.
posted by loquacious
on Jan 6, 2007 -
Pr0n at Work = Addiction?
Spawning from such cases as a recent lawsuit with IBM over employee termination due to online sex chatting at work, recent debate over whether Internet abuse is a legitimate addiction
, akin to alcoholism, is heating up. Attorneys say recognition by a court—whether in this or some future litigation—that Internet abuse is an uncontrollable addiction, and not just a bad habit, could redefine the condition as a psychological impairment worthy of protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
. Businesses would be required to allow medical leave and provide counseling. The condition could even make it into the next edition of the American Psychiatric Association's DSM
, making it a full-blown neurosis. It wouldn't be a complete surprise, with a recent Stanford study showing that 14% of people state it would be "hard to stay away" from the net for a few days in a row.
posted by PreacherTom
on Dec 14, 2006 -