"The Secret Gestural Prehistory of Mobile Devices is cultural anthropology. It seeks to recover those moments of intuitive prehensile dexterity, when the famous and the ordinary alike felt the unconscious desire to occupy their hands for an as yet unknown purpose. Like Roy Neary's obsession with the image of Devil's Tower in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), this gesture was vague, uncanny and compelling. It is the intimation in images of a gestural second nature to come." [more inside]
The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on Earth by the end of 2012. (Never mind the phone chargers.) By 2016, there will be 1.4 mobile devices per capita.
He leaves his cellphone and laptop at home and instead brings "loaner" devices, which he erases before he leaves the US and wipes clean the minute he returns . In China, he disables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi , never lets his phone out of his sight and, in meetings, not only turns off his phone but also removes the battery , for fear his microphone could be turned on remotely. He connects to the Internet only through an encrypted, password-protected channel, and copies and pastes his password from a USB thumb drive. He never types in a password directly, because, he said, "Chinese are very good at installing key-logging software on your laptop." - Travel precautions in the age of digital espionage.
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]
Antique contraception & protection from the disease - (NSFW) male & female methodologies of birth control from antiquity to the 1900s in pictures and text (Translated from Russian) [more inside]
In February of 2008, Microsoft acquired the maker of the Sidekick, Danger Inc., for $500 million dollars and rolled the company into its Premium Mobile Experiences division, led by Roz Ho. The Sidekick retained a dedicated following after the merger despite some hiccups along the way. Twenty-six months after the acquisition, Microsoft unveiled the KIN One and KIN Two devices which would launch in May. The devices were backed by a huge and mildly controversial marketing push aimed at the young, hip social-networking addict niche. Reviews were generally negative and often cited needless complexity, software that was lacking basic functions and no support for third party applications. The devices ran a fork of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft's rewrite of their aging mobile operating system that had been rapidly losing ground to RIM, Apple and Google. Just seven weeks after launch, the KIN is dead. Engadget has some insight into the failure and the subsequent shake-up at Microsoft.
China produces 95% of the rare earth minerals needed for modern high-tech devices. "What would happen if the production of laptops, cellphones, and MP3 players suddenly halted? Oh, and no more hybrid electric vehicles and MRI machines?" Because China may soon stop exporting these minerals. [more inside]
FDA says your company's medical device isn't safe to market? No problem. Just hire a lobbyist. Afraid of being sued? Don't worry. The Supreme Court says you are immune.
"Of all the various types of optical objects known to exist, far and away the most magnificent and attractive are the optical fans." These sly spying devices, now rare collector curiosities, were once a more discreet and chic alternative for spying on your neighbors in fashionable gatherings than opera glasses, spyglasses, or jealousy glasses.
Historical medicine and health images - there's some fun browsing for aficionados of antique medical technologies, such as orthapedic devices, anatomical illustrations and models, public health materials, and much more. Each image can be enlarged and has explanatory text. (Just a small part of the 30,000+ image database of the wonderful site ingenious, previously brought to our attention by Fat Buddha.)
We've talked about the Archimedes death ray, but it is not the only mysterious ancient war machine the Greek scientist constructed. A contemporary Greek historian describes a wide number of clever devices developed by Archimedes during the siege of Syracuse by Roman forces - most notably a mysterious "Claw" that destroyed invading ships. You can see animations and scale models that attempt to reconstruct the Claw. Other, less-warlike, Archimedes secrets are being revealed as the Archimedes Palimpset, an overwritten text of some of the scientist's mathematical writings, has been gradually recovered using new techniques. Among the suprises is the Stomachion, a mathematical puzzle (tangrams, anyone?) and early discussion of combanitorics.
Concealed hearing devices of the 19th and 20th centuries. Great images in this delightful exhibit of wacky yet charming devices like auricle headphones, dentaphones, concealed beard receptors, barrettes, jewelry, hats, and acoustic chairs.
The museum of unworkable devices... Gravity -- it's not just a good idea, it's the law. Perpetual motion, and other wonderful things.
Pre-cinema devices & diversions - before film, multimedia amusements ranged from zoetropes and magic lantern shows to praxinoscopes and kinetescopes. Whether you're a film buff or a photographer or simply just prone to nostalgia for a day when the world seemed less jaded, you will love this site - take the time to take the tour.
"Are you ready to experience the future of digital pleasure?"' That link hit my inbox closely on the heels of my perusing this thread. From a 'moral standpoint', better than/worse than/same as inducing something internally?
More painful than a Ricki Lake Show marathon? I'll take an afternoon with King Phalari, thank you very much.