On Tuesday, President Obama awarded Margaret Hamilton and Grace Hopper the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Margaret Hamilton helped write the onboard flight software for NASA's Apollo project. Grace Hopper created the first compiler for a computer programming language.
Have you ever wondered what your graphics card is doing every time it displays one frame of a game? Turns out quite a lot. [more inside]
ABC (potentially NSFW, due to CGI butts) by Alan Warburton (previously), as inspired by the work of Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland (kinda previously)
Albert Omoss is an artist who uses computers to explore bodies as rubbery, entangled forms (all likely NSFW) and to make ads and data visualizations. Among other tools, he uses Processing to make hypnotic animations.
For the last year or so, Christopher Phin's Macworld column Think Retro has been a wonderful showcase of classic Apple hardware and software. While this column has come to a close after 73 installments, the archives are worthwhile reading for Mac enthusiasts. Some highlights: [more inside]
In electrical engineering class, I was told to think of electric circuits with a kind of hydraulic analogy. But could you extend this to entire computers? The Rube Goldberg Machine That Mastered Keynesian Economics, built by John Horton Conway[PDF] from a urinal flush mechanism. [more inside]
Here's What Happens When an 18 Year Old Buys a Mainframe (SLYT) A scosh long but very charming, what it says on the tin.
The Digital in the Humanities: An Interview with Franco Moretti - "the term 'digital humanities' (DH) has captured the imagination and the ire of scholars across American universities. The field, which melds computer science with hermeneutics, is championed by supporters as the much-needed means to shake up and expand methods of traditional literary interpretation and is seen by its most outspoken critics as a new fad that symbolizes the neoliberal bean counting destroying American higher education. Somewhere in the middle of these two extremes lies a vast and varied body of work that utilizes and critically examines digital tools in the pursuit of humanistic study. [more inside]
Transplantable human bone and cartilage made with 3D printer that creates a matrix in the desired shape and injects cells that can integrate with the patient's blood vessels on implant
The Incredible Machine (1960s, slyt)
"Whatever you think, y’know, 45 percent – nearly half the country – is not interested in computers, doesn’t fucking want access to them, can’t afford them. That’s British. Why does everyone have to be online? That’s not English to me." An interview with Mark E. Smith of The Fall from Channel 4 News last night. NME coverage.
FIRST, there was the Benedict Cumberbatch Name Generator.
NOW? If you have Python installed, there is module cumberbatch.
NOW? If you have Python installed, there is module cumberbatch.
> pip install cumberbatch [...] >>> cumberbatch.full() 'Fragglerock Cabbagepatch' >>> cumberbatch.full() 'Bendandsnap Covergirl' >>> cumberbatch.full() 'Bakery Capncrunch'[more inside]
Google Books has ten years of Maximum PC online for your enjoyment and occasional chuckles. [more inside]
Mashable: In 1977, Radio Shack's 3,000 stores started selling the TRS-80 (Tandy/Radio Shack, Z-80 microprocessor). Largely forgotten by the general public, the TRS-80 was, with Apple and Commodore's products, one of the pioneering personal computers of the late 1970s, and a key machine in the personal computer revolution. Byte magazine described the "1977 Trinity" of computers: Apple, Commodore and Tandy. [Images by Mefi's own Jscott]
Google successfully tests the first commercially available quantum computer. Google/NASA's Quantum Computing / AI lab has verified that D-Wave Systems recently announced 1000+ qubit quantum computer works as designed: really, really, really fast. "A 100,000,000x leap in computing power", one of their board members claims. In addition to Google, NASA, and government grants, D-Wave's CEO, the former CTO of Goldman Sachs, also obtained large initial investments from the financial industry. One of their first customers? Los Alamos National Laboratory, "a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security." This obviously has huge implications for public key encryption, scientific research... everything, really.
The new Raspberry Pi Zero is so cheap and so small the first 10000 of them are being given away free on the cover of a magazine. [more inside]
Quantum cryptography could render all our protections worthless soon(ish). But cunning cryptographers have other tricks up their sleeves.
The iBookGuy explains how graphics worked within the memory constraints of the Commodore 64 and NES, and the Apple II and Atari 2600
Go ahead: Press the button. A number is printed on the tape. Press again and another number appears. Keep going. A few more. Notice anything special about those numbers? The sequence begins: 5, 3, 11, 3, 23, 3, 47, 3, 5, 3, 101, 3, 7, 11, 3, 13, 233, 3, 467, 3, 5, 3, . . .
It's Friday, so let's all relax and learn about Colin Riley's Z80 homebrew computer. Part 1: Introduction, Part 2: Interrupts and timers, Part 3: File system, SD Card and VRAM, Part 4: VRAM, display modes and a simple shell, Part 5: Implementing preëmptive multithreading.
“The inspiration for the graphical design is Courier New meets film noir.” Meet MS-DOS Mobile.
Kernelmag's Jeff Keacher documents connecting his old Macintosh Plus to the World Wibe Web, courtesy of a Raspberry Pi and a bunch of software to remove all those pesky <div>s and such. [more inside]
James Mickens (previously) gives a talk at Monitorama 2014 about distributed computing and security.
Each week, the Internet Archive's tumblr account is completely transformed by a digital resident along a theme of their choosing. [more inside]
DevArt: An exhibition of art created with code - skywriting quadcopter drones programmed with c++, room dividers reimagined as 3D screens for psychedelic projections, using raspberry pi to rename WiFi networks as lines of poetry. They are collaborating with the Barbican in London for the Digital Revolution exhibition and are currently seeking an emerging creative coder to be funded to present at the exhibition alongside world-class interactive artists Zach Lieberman, Karsten Schmidt, and the duo of Varvara Guljajeva & Mar Canet.
Ars Technica reports on malicious extensions on the Chrome web browser, which install advertising-based malware that hijack links and inject ad content. Further speech recognition exploits (source) leave open the opportunity for malicious sites to record sound captured by the user's web browser without permission.
I’m trying to build a jigsaw puzzle. I wish I could show you what it will be, but the picture isn’t on the box. But I can show you some of the pieces that snapped into place this year, and try to share a context for why they mattered so much to me.Bret Victor discusses scientific thinking and computing from a deeply humane perspective through the eyes of Douglas Engelbart, Alan key and other great thinkers of our time.
"In 1967, The Public Interest, then a leading venue for highbrow policy debate, published a provocative essay by Paul Baran, one of the fathers of the data transmission method known as packet switching [and agent of RAND]. Titled “The Future Computer Utility," the essay speculated that someday a few big, centralized computers would provide 'information processing … the same way one now buys electricity. Highly sensitive personal and important business information will be stored in many of the contemplated systems … At present, nothing more than trust—or, at best, a lack of technical sophistication—stands in the way of a would-be eavesdropper.' To read Baran’s essay (just one of the many on utility computing published at the time) is to realize that our contemporary privacy problem is not contemporary. It’s not just a consequence of Mark Zuckerberg’s selling his soul and our profiles to the NSA. The problem was recognized early on, and little was done about it... It’s not enough for a website to prompt us to decide who should see our data. Instead it should reawaken our own imaginations. Designed right, sites would not nudge citizens to either guard or share their private information but would reveal the hidden political dimensions to various acts of information sharing." -- MIT Technology Review on The Real Privacy Problem
Douglas Hofstadter, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Gödel, Escher, Bach, thinks we've lost sight of what artificial intelligence really means. His stubborn quest to replicate the human mind.
The data analysis group that used Facebook and set top TV data to help Barack Obama win the latest election is taking its talents to the private sector. (SL NYTimes)
Unleashing Genetic Algorithms on the iOS 7 Icon - In the pursuit of something just a bit tighter than Marc Edwards' superellipse approximation, Mike Swanson applies genetic algorithms to the task of making a better button-making script.
Mechanical Marvels: Clockwork Dreams Detailed and thoughtful exploration of clockwork and automata as a phenomenon in the 17th Century and their development into machines that could imitate human activity - eventually leading to the famous Mechanical Turk (eventually exposed as fake) and the truly astounding "Silver Swan" built by John Joseph Merlin. (Definitely not a fake) [more inside]
"I am a master at sullying my own name and, all things considered, being associated with the worst software on the planet ranks way down the pole." John McAfee (previously) answers questions about his latest shenanigans
As Microsoft prepares to retire its unfashionable Hotmail in favor of Outlook.com this summer, let's remember the viral marketing revolution that Hotmail invented. Journey back seventeen years to Hotmail's origins, the birth of the dot.com millionaire, and the boozy optimism of a pre-crash web industry in full-growth mode (Wired, December 1998) .
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]
"Of all the things the Internet was expected to become, it is safe to say that a seed for the proliferation of backup diesel generators was not one of them." Power, Pollution and the Internet [sl NY Times]
John Goerzen, an IT development manager in Kansas and a developer for Debian, has been teaching his two sons, ages five and two, respectively, how to use Linux. [more inside]
Happy 100th birthday, Alan Turing! 2012 is the Alan Turing Year, with celebratory academic events around the world all year. BBC News has a set of (brief) appreciations, including one in which two of Turing's colleagues share memories. Google has an interactive Doodle of a Turing Machine today (that article has some explanation and links to a useful video if the doodle's confusing). [more inside]