Back in 1910 the Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette in Iowa published a list of predictions for humanity in the next century. As you’d expect from something so forward-looking, they were right about some things and wrong about others.
England’s Bletchley Park wasn’t just the home base of Alan Turing and the efforts to break the Nazi’s Engima machine, it also collected communication transcripts, communiques, memoranda, photographs, maps and other material relating to key events that took place during the war. Now a donation of document scanners will allow volunteers to digitize the entire collection and make it available to researchers and historians. Expect a lot of untold stories to come to light in the next few years.
Recently a couple of “Twiggy” Macs, original prototype 128K versions from 1984 using the unreliable Twiggy drives from the Apple III, were restored to working order. In honor of that, a reunion of early Apple employees was held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. Among the attendees was Woz, Andy Hertzfeld, Guy Kamasaki and Chris Espinosa.
Every engineer dreams of making a great product that is well-remembered but few ever get that chance. These guys got that chance.
Dave Pell posted The Answer is a Click Away on Medium. It’s all about our paradoxical thinking that the solution to our problems with technology is more technology.
Yes, the irony of reading it on a computer or smartphone is totally intended.
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.