Thursday, 6 October, 2016
A Von Neumann Machine is more like an entity, an artificially intelligent device, that is capable of self-replication. They could serve all sorts of purposes, and we may one day use them to explore and colonise the galaxy.
It is also possible they may already be in use, right now, by other, more advanced alien civilisations. A bunch of these things might be making their way towards us, as I write this. Let’s hope not, things may not end well if they do show up.
extraterrestrial life, technology, video
Tuesday, 4 October, 2016
I’m a little behind on things at the moment. An update to my operating system has hobbled my main laptop, and I’ve been forced to work from my older, much slower, backup device since. One of my wi-fi ports is also out, so that’s not helping either. I’m hoping all will back to normal soon.
disassociated, news, technology
Friday, 9 September, 2016
Oh dear, the people who refuse to move with the times. Embrace social media. Or buy a smartphone. Things like that. There’s a name for these “holdouts”, that isn’t pretty, according to Stephanie Buck, writing for Timeline:
Laggards likely don’t start out being ironic. One trait that this group tends to share is skepticism, which is linked to “processing fluency,” the ease with which our brains can handle change or challenge. “While skepticism can generally be regarded as a very healthy,” says Enrique Dans, Professor of Innovation at IE Business School in Madrid, “truth is that most skeptics don’t go the extra mile to validate new ideas, and just become skeptics because they just refuse to get additional experience or information.”
I doubt that not having a Facebook page is a crime. However, I don’t think the group of people who go without an email account, or won’t buy goods and services online, needs to be as large as it might be. Some of these technologies have been around for decades now. It’s not as if anyone can feel as if they’re railing against something “new” by now.
psychology, technology, trends
Tuesday, 6 September, 2016
You might want to hold off upgrading to the latest model of whatever smartphone you use, until you’ve seen Death by Design, a new documentary by US television producer, Sue Williams. Not easy, I know, many people like to get hold of the newest phone every year, if they can.
The feature takes a look at the manufacturing process of these devices, and the fate that awaits phones ditched in favour of a newer model. Both take their toll on the environment.
Williams isn’t saying never upgrade, rather she urges people to consider keeping their current phone for a few years, before replacing it.
film, smartphones, technology
Tuesday, 6 September, 2016
If you were born before 1985, then you have lived with, and without, the internet. What do you think your life might be like today, had the internet not come along? I’m not sure I could imagine a world without anymore. In fact, I’m not sure that I’d want to. Life might be simpler, but it would also be a lot more, well, cumbersome.
Think of having the world at your finger tips, which we do to a degree, against having to go out into the world to attend to everything yourself. That’s not to say there aren’t downsides to being constantly plugged into an all seeing, all knowing grid, so maybe it could be said we’re neither better nor worse off, overall.
These people, says Harris, are the last of a dying breed. “If you were born before 1985, then you know what life is like both with the internet and without. You are making the pilgrimage from Before to After,” he writes. It is a nice conceit. Harris, like your correspondent, grew up in a very different world, one with limited channels of communication, fewer forms of entertainment, and less public scrutiny of quotidian actions or fleeting thoughts. It was neither better nor worse than the world we live in today. Like technology, it just was.
history, internet, technology
Friday, 26 August, 2016
London based photographer James Ball, in collaboration with digital production studio INK, recently retouched vintage photos of early computers, to make them appear to look brand new.
Included in the collection of images, that is titled Guide To Computing, are the Pilot ACE, designed by Alan Turing, and the IBM 1401, that dates from 1959.
computers, history, photography, technology
Monday, 22 August, 2016
Today it might seem strange that the elevators, or lifts, in many buildings once had human operators, whose job was to drive it. Open and close the doors. Push start and stop buttons. Be prepared to announce the floor the elevator had arrived at, and what might be there.
It makes me wonder, did operators require a drivers license, before they could take charge of a lift? Of course, elevators weren’t quite as automated as they are today, so some level of skill was required to work one.
But seventy-five year old Ruben Pardo, who has been driving the elevator in a high rise on Los Angeles’ Wilshire Boulevard since 1976, could tell you more about that. His work may have been made redundant by technology just about everywhere else, but I doubt that the people who use his lift mind that there is still a human driver.
history, technology, video
Wednesday, 17 August, 2016
One day, perhaps in the not too distant future, we may be able to control our smartphones remotely, by way of a temporary tattoo that acts as a touchpad. I could think of other devices that I’d rather control in this fashion, since I almost feel as if my smartphone is attached to me anyway, but the concept has promise.
A good tattoo artist could probably devise some more personalised designs, giving the idea further appeal. If nothing else, the notion beats chip-implants, or brain caps. More information about the technology that makes these touchpad tattoos work, can be found here.
design, smartphones, tattoos, technology
Tuesday, 16 August, 2016
Every now and again I’ll think I can discern a shape, or pattern, in a slice of bread that’s just popped out of the toaster. It can be a little like looking at clouds, and seeing the outlines of animals, or countries, drifting across the sky.
When it comes making out patterns in cooked toast though, there’s no need to leave it to the imagination anymore. Toasteroid is an in-development app, that will allow toast makers to cook individual, personalised, shapes, patterns, and even messages, into their toast each morning.
All you’ll need is a Bluetooth enabled smartphone, the app, and a Toasteroid toaster. If you want toast that really makes a statement, find out more here.
food, smartphones, technology
Monday, 8 August, 2016
Johan and Pierre, two university students, became interested in the idea of industrial robots being purposed to give people tattoos, while they were studying at French design school, ENSCI-Les Ateliers.
From the looks for things, their creation, developed in partnership with Autodesk, a US software and engineering company, applies a mean tattoo. Having said that, it’s recommended you don’t try this sort of thing at home. That makes sense.
design, tattoos, technology, video