Showing posts with label PC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PC. Show all posts

Friday, May 17, 2013

Everything I need to know about science . . .

. . . I learned from Star Trek.

If you like, I can share it with you via my Surface. And you can read it on your iPad.

UNLESS, of course, you'd rather that I just contacted you via your communicator -- uh . . . cell phone.

BUT DON'T go totally booger-eater on me here, OK?

I SHOULD have told you the booger-eater thing earlier, shouldn't I? Siri?


OH, SIRI . . . while I'm thinking about it, could you give me an update on how that warp drive is coming?
In the "Star Trek" TV shows and films, the U.S.S. Enterprise's warp engine allows the ship to move faster than light, an ability that is, as Spock would say, "highly illogical." 
However, there's a loophole in Einstein's general theory of relativity that could allow a ship to traverse vast distances in less time than it would take light. The trick? It's not the starship that's moving — it's the space around it. 
In fact, scientists at NASA are right now working on the first practical field test toward proving the possibility of warp drives and faster-than-light travel. Maybe the warp drive on "Star Trek" is possible after all. 
According to Einstein's theory, an object with mass cannot go as fast or faster than the speed of light. The original "Star Trek" series ignored this "universal speed limit" in favor of a ship that could zip around the galaxy in a matter of days instead of decades. They tried to explain the ship's faster-than-light capabilities by powering the warp engine with a "matter-antimatter" engine. Antimatter was a popular field of study in the 1960s, when creator Gene Roddenberry was first writing the series. When matter and antimatter collide, their mass is converted to kinetic energy in keeping with Einstein's mass-energy equivalence formula, E=mc2.In other words, matter-antimatter collision is a potentially powerful source of energy and fuel, but even that wouldn't be enough to propel a starship faster-than-light speeds. 
Nevertheless, it's thanks to "Star Trek" that the word "warp" is now practically synonymous with faster-than-light travel. 
Is warp drive possible? 
Decades after the original "Star Trek" show had gone off the air, pioneering physicist and avowed Trek fan Miguel Alcubierre argued that maybe a warp drive is possible after all. It just wouldn't work quite the way "Star Trek" thought it did. 
Things with mass can't move faster than the speed of light. But what if, instead of the ship moving through space, the space was moving around the ship? 
Space doesn't have mass. And we know that it's flexible: space has been expanding at a measurable rate ever since the Big Bang. We know this from observing the light of distant stars — over time, the wavelength of the stars' light as it reaches Earth is lengthened in a process called "redshifting." According to the Doppler effect, this means that the source of the wavelength is moving farther away from the observer — i.e. Earth. 
So we know from observing redshifted light that the fabric of space is movable. [See also: What to Wear on a 100-Year Starship Voyage] 
Alcubierre used this knowledge to exploit a loophole in the "universal speed limit." In his theory, the ship never goes faster than the speed of light — instead, space in front of the ship is contracted while space behind it is expanded, allowing the ship to travel distances in less time than light would take. The ship itself remains in what Alcubierre termed a "warp bubble" and, within that bubble, never goes faster than the speed of light. 
Since Alcubierre published his paper "The Warp Drive: Hyper-fast travel within general relativity" in 1994, many physicists and science fiction writers have played with his theory —including "Star Trek" itself. [See also: Top 10 Star Trek Technologies] 
Alcubierre's warp drive theory was retroactively incorporated into the "Star Trek" mythos by the 1990s TV series "Star Trek: The Next Generation." 
In a way, then, "Star Trek" created its own little grandfather paradox: Though ultimately its theory of faster-than-light travel was heavily flawed, the series established a vocabulary of light-speed travel that Alcubierre eventually formalized in his own warp drive theories.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The iMac and the typewriter should be friends

Hey, steam punks! Watch this!

This isn't just making modern technology look and act old-school; this is the actual fusion of old and new tach tech. The typewriter isn't just an artsy keyboard evacuated of its ortiginal original function . . . its essence.

No, this is all typwwriter typewriter and all keyboard, as well. It's positively theological.

It's also pricey. And being more cheap than intrigued, I'll likely be forgoing this particular tech fusion.

ON THE OTHER HAND, I can see myself squirreling away my pennies (andq and dimes, quarters, 50-cent pieces and dollars) to get me one of these to USBify and hook up to the fambly PC.

You juset just can't beat the combination of heavy metal and hot lead. No siree, Bob.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Your Daily '80s: Fight the last war, lose the next

Fall 1983.

Apple and its co-founder, Steve Jobs, have massed it forces for a frontal assault on the Evil Empire, otherwise known as IBM. The Macintosh attacked the Empire early in 1984, then fell back under a withering assault from . . . Microsoft and its new Windows operating system.

Jobs left Apple in 1985, victim of a botched coup d'etat against the CEO he hired, John Sculley. Apple was nearly broke by 1997 . . . at which point Jobs came back to lead a renaissance of the company, which began to dominate in products not Macintosh.

Now behemoth Apple girds for battle with behemoth Google as behemoth Microsoft continues being Microsoft but can't compete with Jobs in anything except the operating-system market. Right now, Apple looks unbeatable.

And it will until it is.

There's a moral in that -- not that anybody ever pays attention to it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Your Daily '80s: Before there was AOL. . . .

Long ago, in a universe far away, there was no such thing as the World Wide Web.

There was a primitive Internet in this primitive universe, and there were extremely slow telephone modems, and there were Commodore 64 computers, too. Likewise, there was a service called Quantum Link.

A few years later, you would know it by a more familiar name -- America Online. Which is now AOL.

Which is kind of peripheral to what we do on the Internet.

Once upon a time, though, this promotional video was selling us what we imagined to be a George Jetson world, and today was barely imaginable.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Your Daily '80s: The computer for the rest of us

In 1983, this was personal computing:

C:\>dir "C:\audio files"

C:\Audio files>dir "revolution 21"
THEN CAME the Macintosh in 1984. It had something called a "graphical user interface." It also had something called a "mouse."

You could click on an icon representing what you wanted or where you wanted to go.

It was a miracle.

TECHNOLOGY. What would we do without it?

That's a great question. Just don't ask Steve Jobs.

Twenty-six years after he made the world safe for personal computing, he'd rather that you just don't bug him.
Or Apple.

A college journalism student learned this the hard way when Apple media relations screwed her around, and she sent an E-mail to the top of the pecking order.
That would be Jobs.

After the Apple boss deigned to send her back a snotty-tot reply, a brief exchange ensued, and then Jobs got the last E-word:
"Please leave us alone."

In a market economy, that can be arranged. Sigh.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Your Daily '80s: It's a modern miracle, I tells ya!

Behold the Tandy 4000, available only at Radio Shack!

It's a price breakthrough for a business-class personal computer! Just $2,599!

A powerful 386 processor!

Runs at a blazing 16 MHz!

Ready for next-generation operating systems, like OS/2!

Will wonders never cease in this George Jetson world of 1988!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The big Mac attack

You know, it's said that if you hold on to something long enough, it will come back into style.

World, meet my ubercool, old-school Mac.

This is it in the bottom of the basement closet, where it's been sitting for years. In fact, the 1993-vintage Performa 450, with a whopping 32 MB of RAM and a massive 120 MB hard drive, hasn't been hooked up and turned on in eight or nine years.

Ever since we got . . .
ahem . . . a Windows machine.

Mac didn't mind, however. It was in the closet plotting world domination. And, lo, it might just happen.

When nobody was looking -- or at least looking at iPhones, iPods and iPads -- the cool but hopelessly niche Macintosh computer was getting popular.
Really popular.

And now people are saying Microsoft may be in trouble.

IT STARTED with this little article in The Washington Post:
Shares of Microsoft Corp. edged lower Wednesday after Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry downgraded the software giant in part due to increased competition from Apple's Macs to its Windows operating system.

THE SPARK: Chowdhry, who downgraded Microsoft to "Equal Weight" from "Overweight," said in a note to investors he does not expect the company to see any upside to his estimates for the next 12 to 18 months.

Increasingly, companies are giving their employees a choice to either use Microsoft Windows PCs or Apple Inc.'s Macs, the analyst said. And, increasingly, employees are choosing Mac over Windows. To boot, Chowdhry said 70 percent of college freshman are entering school with Macs, up about 10 percent to 15 percent from a year ago.
AND THAT got picked up by the tech media. The Mac blog OSXDaily was downright giddy:

I hope the raw statistics and research data is released so we can get the precise details, but speaking from experience I can definitely say that Macs and Apple hardware are overwhelming college campuses. Sure you’ll see other computers and electronics around too but a clear majority of people are using at least one of Apple’s signature products, whether it’s a Mac, iPhone, iPod, or iPad.

So Apple is pretty much taking over, dominating college campuses, the USA, and reaching to the highest levels of power with President Obama and the White House staff all using Macs and iPads. Amazing.

THEN TOD MAFFIN, lecturing at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, decided to do his own college computer survey. He asked the students to hold up their MacBooks. The lecture hall was awash with glowing Apple logos.

He then asked the students to hold up their PCs. One student held up a lonely Windows machine.

SENSING the time was ripe, I dug the old Mac out and set it up. After nearly a decade in the closet, would it work? Could it work?

IT WORKED. Started right up. Now we're partying like it's 1995.

I think my next computer is going to be a Mac.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Thank GOD for free shipping

What I want is a bad-ass Mac Pro to fly through multimedia chores -- to put together podcasts with the greatest of ease.

I can see it now.

Dual quad-core Intel processors, 32 GB of RAM and four 2 TB hard drives in a RAID array. An NVIDIA GeForce graphics card. Two SuperDrives. A 24-inch Apple cinema display.

HANG ON, I'm just getting started, y'all.

An Apple Magic Mouse. An 802.11n Wi-Fi card. Logic Express 9 and Final Cut Express 4 (Hey, I'm not greedy . . . I didn't go for the Pro versions). Aperture 2 photo-editing software. Microsoft Office (Ick, but what'cha gonna do?)

A Mini Display Port-to-DVI adapter, just in case.

And a Canon PIXMA printer.

Oh . . . and don't forget the AppleCare package -- a no-brainer here.

AS YOU probably can tell, I went to the online Apple Store to configure me one of these bad boys. Likewise, you probably will not be shocked by what I say next.

Brother, can you spare $15,042.90?

Sigh. Windows sucks, but at least it's an affordable sort of suck.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

They're a PC

They say Mac faked this video to embarrass PC.

Somehow, I doubt it. Now, if Ogre had run into the Microsoft Store in Mission Viejo, Calif., and screamed "NERDS!" while this "line dance" was going on, that would have been too perfect, thus leading me to think it a fake.

BUT THERE IS, starting at about the 2:11 mark in the video, a line-dancing shopper seemingly availing herself of a five-finger discount on a Microsoft product that likely will mete out rough justice to her in its own special way. And at 3:47, it appears a kid might be doing the same.

That child had better give his heart to Jesus, because his ass is going to belong to the Blue Screen of Death.

Of course, it could be that the lad was driven -- allegedly -- to a life of crime by a new Microsoft innovation. Allow to introduce you to the brand-new
Black Screen of Death:

Microsoft says recent security updates made to computers running Windows 7, Vista and XP operating systems are not to blame for the "black screen of death" some users are having on their machines, which results in the computer shutting off.

However, it was still unclear Tuesday what the source of the problem is. It is the first of any scope to affect users of Windows 7, the software maker's newest operating system which became available in late October. Microsoft said if there is a problem, it may be tied to malicious software, or malware.

"Microsoft has investigated reports that its November security updates made changes to permissions in the registry that are resulting in system issues for some customers," said Christopher Budd, security response communications lead member for the company. ( is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

The company, Budd said, "has found those reports to be inaccurate and our comprehensive investigation has shown that none of the recently released updates are related to the behavior described in the reports."

Windows users are familiar with the "blue screen of death," when their computers essentially shutdown because of an operating system problem. The new "black screen of death" appears to occur when the computer is first turned on, then shuts down.

"We’ve conducted a comprehensive review of the November Security Updates, the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool and the non-security updates we released through Windows Update in November," the company says on its blog.

"That investigation has shown that none of these updates make any changes to the permissions in the registry. Thus, we don’t believe the updates are related to the 'black screen' behavior described in these reports."
WELL, that's it. Gotta post this sucker before the computer locks up.

Friday, October 02, 2009

And next, we'll make felt banners!

Hey, Mac! You have GOT to come see what PC is up to now!

Really, Mac. Look at this instructional video for playing host to a Windows 7 launch party later this month. The only thing they left out are the Windows 7 pocket protectors.

I MEAN, this isn't a really kewl launch party for a really neato-keen operating system that locks up on you 15 percent less than Windows XP if the wind is blowing right and you don't actually run any Microsoft applications. No, this is your church youth group with the possibility of adult beverages.

My God, it even has the same kinds of "activities."

And when all the party hosts get the bright idea to play Windows 7 "sardines," it'll be easy enough to find where everybody's hiding.

That would be the Apple Store.

HAT TIP: Crunchy Con.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mac is starting to pity PC

Here's a couple of the new ads for Windows featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld.

Apparently, the $300 million Microsoft campaign is supposed to combat Apple's wildly successful "Mac vs. PC" ads. Ummmmmmmmm . . . yeah.

There may be a point somewhere in the first two Gates-Seinfeld commercials, but it will take half the world's intelligence services to decipher what that might be.

Until the intelligence estimate arrives, just look at the Windows campaign much as you might the operating system itself -- an antiquated notion smothered by a mountain of bloated code and ready to lock up on us any second now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Best ad campaign ever

The folks behind the best ad campaign ever give us perhaps the best Web ad ever.

If Internet advertising were this consistently clever and entertaining, I don't think newspapers would have a big problem in monetizing their Internet editions. I want to go out and buy a Mac right now, don't you?

Well, actually, I've wanted to for a while now. There's just this little issue called money standing in the way.

The NECreative blog, via Twitter.