Apr 25, 2014
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Raspberry Eye, a $100 wearable computer
/via adafruit

Raspberry Eye, a $100 wearable computer

/via adafruit

Apr 16, 2014
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Apr 3, 2014
2 notes
saila:

"I’m just going to assume that cassettes sound bad"—Andrew Kim
A review of the iconic Walkman, thirty-five years after its release, by a man who had never owned a cassette player.
(ht NextDraft)

saila:

"I’m just going to assume that cassettes sound bad"—Andrew Kim

A review of the iconic Walkman, thirty-five years after its release, by a man who had never owned a cassette player.

(ht NextDraft)

Jan 6, 2014
0 notes
The new Pebble smartwatch looks a bit more tempting. Disappointed by the lack of wood grain gadgets at CES so far though. 

The new Pebble smartwatch looks a bit more tempting. Disappointed by the lack of wood grain gadgets at CES so far though. 

Sep 19, 2013
0 notes
My latest feature for Engadget, also in the most recent issue of Distro.
Gaming the system: Edward Thorp and the wearable computer that beat Vegas

"My name is Edward Thorp."
"My name is Edward Thorp."
"My name is Edward Thorp."
It’s 1964 and Edward Thorp is on the television game show To Tell The Truth, sitting alongside two other well-dressed men also claiming to be Edward Thorp, a man so adept at card counting that he’d been barred from Las Vegas casinos. Thorp, the quiet man on the right, every bit the mathematics professor with black-rimmed glasses and close-cropped hair, is the real deal.
Two years earlier, Thorp’s book, Beat the Dealer, was published, explaining the system for winning at blackjack he developed based on the mathematical theory of probability. The system worked so well that Las Vegas casinos actually changed the rules of blackjack to give the dealer an added advantage. Those changes would prove to be short-lived, but Thorp’s book would go on to become a massive bestseller, and remains a key guide to the game of blackjack to this day.
That all this happened as the computer age was flourishing in the 1960s isn’t coincidental. While working to beat the house, Thorp was also working at one of the hotbeds of that revolution: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, he had access to two things that would prove invaluable to his research. One was the room-filling IBM 704 computer, without which, he writes in Beat the Dealer, “the analysis on which this book is based would have been impossible.”
The other was MIT professor Claude Shannon, who worked on cryptography and code-breaking during World War II, and would go on to become known as the father of information theory — and, indeed, the information age. It’s with Shannon that Thorp would revisit a question he had considered years earlier: whether he could apply mathematics to beat the game of roulette as he had done with blackjack. Thorp and Shannon would develop a friendship and, in the process of answering that question, build what is widely regarded to be the first wearable computer.

My latest feature for Engadget, also in the most recent issue of Distro.

Gaming the system: Edward Thorp and the wearable computer that beat Vegas

"My name is Edward Thorp."

"My name is Edward Thorp."

"My name is Edward Thorp."

It’s 1964 and Edward Thorp is on the television game show To Tell The Truth, sitting alongside two other well-dressed men also claiming to be Edward Thorp, a man so adept at card counting that he’d been barred from Las Vegas casinos. Thorp, the quiet man on the right, every bit the mathematics professor with black-rimmed glasses and close-cropped hair, is the real deal.

Two years earlier, Thorp’s book, Beat the Dealer, was published, explaining the system for winning at blackjack he developed based on the mathematical theory of probability. The system worked so well that Las Vegas casinos actually changed the rules of blackjack to give the dealer an added advantage. Those changes would prove to be short-lived, but Thorp’s book would go on to become a massive bestseller, and remains a key guide to the game of blackjack to this day.

That all this happened as the computer age was flourishing in the 1960s isn’t coincidental. While working to beat the house, Thorp was also working at one of the hotbeds of that revolution: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, he had access to two things that would prove invaluable to his research. One was the room-filling IBM 704 computer, without which, he writes in Beat the Dealer, “the analysis on which this book is based would have been impossible.”

The other was MIT professor Claude Shannon, who worked on cryptography and code-breaking during World War II, and would go on to become known as the father of information theory — and, indeed, the information age. It’s with Shannon that Thorp would revisit a question he had considered years earlier: whether he could apply mathematics to beat the game of roulette as he had done with blackjack. Thorp and Shannon would develop a friendship and, in the process of answering that question, build what is widely regarded to be the first wearable computer.

Jul 17, 2013
0 notes
New from me at Engadget, and in the current issue of Distro:
This is Your Life: Facebook and the business of identity

"The story of your life."
With that phrase, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced the company’s new Timeline profile in the fall of 2011. The social network’s original profile page, he explained, was the first place where most people “felt safe expressing their real self” on the internet, but it was only the “first five minutes of your conversation.” A major redesign in 2008 extended that to “the next 15 minutes.” Timeline, though, was the “next few hours.” Your true self, in full.
To illustrate the point, Zuckerberg went on to show a promotional video that put This Is Your Life to shame by recapping one man’s life from his own birth to the birth of his child (and then some) in just over a minute. Facebook has always wanted to be your online identity — your internet, in many ways — but it was now also bringing something else to the fore that once had a tendency to fade into the background; your memories.

New from me at Engadget, and in the current issue of Distro:

This is Your Life: Facebook and the business of identity

"The story of your life."

With that phrase, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced the company’s new Timeline profile in the fall of 2011. The social network’s original profile page, he explained, was the first place where most people “felt safe expressing their real self” on the internet, but it was only the “first five minutes of your conversation.” A major redesign in 2008 extended that to “the next 15 minutes.” Timeline, though, was the “next few hours.” Your true self, in full.

To illustrate the point, Zuckerberg went on to show a promotional video that put This Is Your Life to shame by recapping one man’s life from his own birth to the birth of his child (and then some) in just over a minute. Facebook has always wanted to be your online identity — your internet, in many ways — but it was now also bringing something else to the fore that once had a tendency to fade into the background; your memories.

May 28, 2013
0 notes

Switched on Bach: David Cope's computer compositions

Professor David Cope speaks in purposeful abstraction, attempting to brace us for what we’re about to see. We’ve been on the road for a while now, I tell him. We’ve seen a lot of strange and wonderful things — robots and space shuttles and ghost hunts. “Yes, well,” he answers quietly, as we ascend the stairs of his Santa Cruz, Calif., home. “I guarantee you’ve never seen a laboratory like this.”

May 28, 2013
8 notes

Second Life Founder's New Virtual World Uses Body-Tracking Hardware | MIT Technology Review

(Source: emergentfutures)

May 27, 2013
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Inside Google's Secret Lab

Teller says things like, “We are serious as a heart attack about making the world a better place” with a straight face. He compares Google X to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, a magical workshop that needs to be insulated from the world’s judgmental eyes. He recently printed up yellow and green “Save the Oompa Loompas” stickers, which are popular around the lab.

May 14, 2013
5 notes
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About
Don Melanson is a freelance writer living in New Brunswick, Canada. He writes about technology and other things. Subscribe via RSS.