Working with NASA and JPL, Cerf has helped develop a new set of protocols that can stand up to the unique environment of space, where orbital mechanics and the speed of light make traditional networking extremely difficult. Though this space-based network is still in its early stages and has few nodes, he said that we are now at “the front end of what could be an evolving and expanding interplanetary backbone.”
Ms. Stark is one of the Postal Service’s data conversion operators, a techie title for someone who deciphers unreadable addresses, and she is one of the last of a breed. In September, the post office will close one of its two remaining centers where workers try to read the scribble on envelopes and address labels that machines cannot. At one time, there were 55 plants around the country where addresses rejected by machines were guessed at by workers aided with special software to get the mail where it was intended. But improved scanning technology now allows machines to “read” virtually all of the 160 billion pieces of mail that moved through the system last year. As machines have improved, workers have been let go, and after September, the facility here will be the post office’s only center for reading illegible mail.
I guess we all know that certain of our activities online are being monitored to some degree, even if that’s only a log kept by internet service providers, that probably no one bothers to pay much attention to. Some of this information however is being harvested by data brokers, who may subsequently be putting it to all sorts of uses:
Every day, without even knowing it, you share intimate personal details about your life with people you’ve never met. The medical symptoms you search online follow you: first to the pharmacy where you pick up a prescription, then to a database of specialists looking to add you as a patient, or to an insurance company creating a risk pool. The car you’ve researched on the Web has been broadcast to your local dealerships before you’ve even left the house. When you walk in the door, the salesman already knows which color you want – as well as your salary and driving history – and pulls the shiny new car of your dreams around front.
With KALQ, all vowels except “Y” are handled by the right thumb, while the left thumb is responsible for more letters overall; the result is that, in commonly used words, 62 percent of keystrokes alternate between sinistral (left) and dextral (right) digits. Instead of a spacebar, which requires the thumb to travel all the way to the bottom of the screen, two “blank” keys – one for each thumb – are found on the centrally located home-row. Frequently used letters are clustered where they can be easily reached; obscure letters are relegated to the margins.
Footage of Bob Barnett, former CEO of Ameritech, making the first commercial mobile phone call in the US in October 1983, in Chicago. No one seemed to think much of the idea of mobile phones at first, and it was thought no more than a million people would ever want to own one.
Barnett and his colleagues wondered “will people walk down the street and talk to themselves on a phone?” Oh, is that what people are actually doing? Mimicking a phone call, but in reality talking to themselves? If that’s so, then it turned out to be an incredibly popular pastime. And enjoyed by more than a mere million people I think.
The job has changed since the days of P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves, however. A modern butler is a blend of personal assistant, valet, housekeeper, driver and event planner. “I use a computer all the time, telephone, email – but I still have to check the wine and polish silverware and the glassware,” says Christopher Cantlon, 58, an instructor at the International Butler Academy in the Netherlands who also works at a private home.
Amazon – we’ll sell books online, even though users are still scared to use credit cards on the web. Their shipping costs will eat up any money they save. They’ll do it for the convenience, even though they have to wait a week for the book.