If you’ve ever seen a cop show on TV you’ve probably seen examples of software that can magically take a photo of someone and search image databases to find all about them. Unfortunately, it doesn’t necessarily work that way in real life. Case in point, the Boston Marathon bombers were found through a combination of repeated views of surveillance video, information from social media and intense public interest and investigation. In fact. Boston police chief says that facial recognition tech didn’t help find bombing suspects at all even though both suspects had their pictures in government databases.
Believe it or don’t, the US actually built and flew a flying saucer in the 1950s. Technically, it was built by a Canadian aerospace company, Avro, but it did fly. Sort of. It never achieved stability in the air, and it never traveled faster than 30 knots or higher than 3 feet. The design relied on mechanical routing of the exhaust from three jet engines and lost too much thrust to friction to make it reach any higher.
The entire project was highly classified and only recently became available to the public. Some of the ideas from the saucer have been used as inspiration for more practical aircraft, including the Harrier Jump Jet.
The stability issue would not be a barrier today as computer controls enable many modern aircraft designs, which are inherently unstable, to fly without a problem.
Siri is the iPhone’s voice-activated/voice-enabled “personal assistant”. But the story of how Siri was originally developed is more than just about the iPhone or even Apple.
I don’t use Siri much on my iPhone, so I’m not really familiar with its capabilities. Still, this is tech with real potential and worth keeping an eye on.
Or, as I like to refer to them, The 10 Non-California Tech Companies That Won’t Hire Me.
If you woke up in North Korea tomorrow possessed by the desire to overthrow Kim Jong Un, your revolution would be over before it began. On a basic practical level, you would find yourself unable to coordinate anything on a scale large enough to effect change. But you would also find yourself in a paralyzing state of mind. Disconnected from others, unable to communicate, you would begin to wonder whether you were the only unhappy citizen. You would wonder whether you were wrong. Imagine the alienation you’d feel. Imagine the paranoia. Because for all you know, you’re the only one who feels the way you do, and decades of education, propaganda and policy have made contrarianism a source of deep shame and mortal fear. That is a scary, debilitating, ineffectual place to be. And that, more than any logistical hurdle, is the reason that North Korea has not staged its revolution.
Vanity Fair received an amazing level of access to Microsoft’s internal documents along with dozens of employees to publish Microsoft’s Downfall: Inside the Executive E-mails and Cannibalistic Culture That Felled a Tech Giant. While Steve Ballmer’s picture leads the article, it’s clear the issues with the software giant are not just its CEO. If you think that organizations don’t have their own culture or that such things don’t matter, you definitely need to read this.
I was reading this amusing article by Jarrett Bellini on $1,300 HDMI cables when I noticed he linked to a $6900 AC power cable on Amazon.
Yes, you read that correctly. A single AC power cable for $6,899.75. It’s only rated 4 stars, which is surprising given its astronomic cost but what do I know? But then I read the reviews and I was enlightened.
Alexis Madrigal has done an analysis of the dial-up modem sound, in case you wondered what it all meant.
This post assumes you have an idea what the terms “modem” or “dial-up” mean. If not, nothing to see here, move along.