Why are aircraft flight recorders called black boxes? Good question

Thursday, 23 June, 2016

An introduction to aircraft flight recorders, often known as black boxes. That’s a misnomer, if ever there were one, as they are usually orange in colour.

What’s also interesting is that no one in the aviation industry exactly knows how fight recorders became known as black boxes in the first place. Perhaps the term was made popular by the media? Black box certainly has more presence than orange box, so possibly that explains it?

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When content was king, blogging like it is 1999

Friday, 10 June, 2016

1999.io allows writers to blog like it is 1999, that is, using a simple interface, free of the bells and whistles of some latter day content management systems.

Other blogging software can be hard to navigate for writers who want to quickly record an idea and get back to what they’re working on.

Sounds like fun to me.

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Tetris, the story of the pieces that don’t always fit together

Wednesday, 8 June, 2016

The story behind video shape puzzle game Tetris, that was created thirty-two years ago, is almost as fascinating, and, at times, perplexing, as the game itself.

It’s here that the rights issue surrounding Tetris became somewhat fraught. The UK company Andromeda was forced to negotiate a proper licensing deal with Elorg when the latter’s director, Alexander Alexinko, noticed that Andromeda was selling on rights that it didn’t actually own. Meanwhile, Spectrum HoloByte sub-licensed its rights to Henk Rogers’ company, Bulletproof Software, which planned to sell Tetris in Japan, without realizing that Mirrorsoft had also sub-licensed the game to Atari, who planned to sell it not only in America, but also in Japan.

Just goes to show, that when you’re onto a good thing, everyone wants not one, but a couple of slices of the pie.

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Strong passwords don’t need to be too complex

Tuesday, 7 June, 2016

I’m fairly I’ve sure set up some passwords that are a little too complex. So much so, I have trouble recalling them, and sometimes need to rely on hints that I’ve recorded. Now it looks like I may have gone a little too far in trying to make my passwords strong enough.

It seems using a relatively easy to remember combination of words and numbers is ok, the key though is to use phrases that are not too common, in passwords. For instance, “ieatkale88” is (or was), far stronger than “iloveyou88”, while still being fairly easy to recall.

For example, study participants expected ieatkale88 to be roughly as secure as iloveyou88; one said “both are a combination of dictionary words and are appended by numbers.” However, when researchers used a model to predict the number of guesses an attacker would need to crack each password, ieatkale88 would require four billion times more guesses to crack because the string “iloveyou” is one of the most common in passwords.

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On eye contact with friendly strangers walking along the street

Monday, 6 June, 2016

What to do when you’re approaching someone – along a street, or a long hallway for instance – you know, but don’t really know? How do you conduct yourself until you’re close enough to exchange a greeting? It’s a tough one, but the staff at the New York Magazine are on the case.

It’s not technically a corridor, since it’s bordered on one side by cubicles rather than a wall, but it’s been dubbed the horrordor nonetheless. That’s because when you see someone at the other end of it whom you barely know – and when you’re at work, you’re constantly crossing paths with people you barely know – it’s quite awkward, at least if you’re an awkward person (which I am). For the next 15-20 seconds, you know you’ll be walking toward this person. Do you nod? Smile? Ignore? Some combination of the above? It’s weirdly, deeply unpleasant.

Wouldn’t most people make out they were glancing at Instagram or Snapchat, until the appropriate moment, as a latter day… solution?

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Portugal is now the go-to country for digital nomads

Monday, 6 June, 2016

I once went to Portugal for two weeks, and ended up staying two months. If I had not planned to meet friends in the Sinai, I might have looked into staying on longer. Word that the country is now a haven for digital nomads, and other location independent workers, has me thinking of an extended return visit. If only that were feasible…

Nestled on the south-western edge of Europe, Portugal has more rugged landscapes, empty beaches, mountainside vineyards, ancient cities, and fairytale castles than you can shake a stick at. It was awarded the Entrepreneurial Region of the Year just last year. Alongside its relaxed pace of life, relatively low cost of living and great internet connectivity, it’s no surprise then that Portugal is becoming a European hub for Startups, digital nomads, and location independent workers.

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A shocking form of retail… therapy surely?

Thursday, 26 May, 2016

A smart wristband, that is linked to a wearer’s bank accounts, can be programmed to dispense an electric shock if they spend too much money at a time.

When the user goes on a shopping rampage, as they near the threshold, they’ll receive a notification on their phone. If they pass this threshold, Interact IoT will send a ping to their wristband, and the account owner will receive an electric shock.

My question, does it zap someone before they are about to spend over their limit, or after they already have?

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Read once, write always, should software developers read novels?

Wednesday, 25 May, 2016

Could reading the novels of Virginia Woolf hone the skills of a software developer?

It may help, possibly:

But if anything can be treated as a plug-in, it’s learning how to code. It took me 18 months to become proficient as a developer. This isn’t to pretend software development is easy – those were long months, and I never touched the heights of my truly gifted peers. But in my experience, programming lends itself to concentrated self-study in a way that, say, “To the Lighthouse” or “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction” do not. To learn how to write code, you need a few good books. To enter the mind of an artist, you need a human guide.

How about the works of Jane Austen? I’m reading Mansfield Park at the moment… it makes me feel as if I am parsing code at times.

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No advances in vacuum cleaner technology since 1910

Wednesday, 25 May, 2016

Well this is disappointing, it seems latter day vacuum cleaners are no more effective than their counterparts, that date from the early years of the twentieth century.

“A vacuum cleaner from 1910 would clean the rug just as well as a modern vacuum cleaner from today,” says Tom Gasko, one of America’s foremost vacuum cleaner historians and the curator at the Vacuum Cleaner Museum at Tacony Manufacturing in St. James, Missouri.

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What do you call augmented reality overload? Hyper-Reality

Tuesday, 24 May, 2016

If you think information overload is a problem now, trying to keep up with the latest on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and what not, you ought to sample some Hyper-Reality. This isn’t augmented reality, this is overwhelming reality.

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