Showing posts with label Windows. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Windows. 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.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

When geeks do hype

If we all paid as much attention to making actual good products as we do to bullshit, we wouldn't have to worry about how we'll ever manage to learn Mandarin.

So we can converse with our new Chinese overlords.

This is the Windows Phone 7 team celebrating, no doub
t, the inflicting of yet another so-so Microsoft product upon the world. Oy. So geeks think they can dance?

THEN the WinPhone peeps had a "funeral" for the iPhone. And took pictures with an Android phone.


Thus, the story of America today. All hype, no substance. All hat, no horse.

All bullshit, no side of beef.

How about this for a revolutionary, countercultural thing for tech hipsters to embrace? How about, when you make a new product, you make sure it's a good one, OK? And then you could, like, shut the hell up about it.

Celebrate by lifting a couple at the neighborhood tavern. Tell someone "Attaboy!"

Or "Attagirl!" We're not sexist.

JUST QUIT giving us reasons to think your mad tech skillz may be
, in reality, just as lame as your choreography. And your parade planning.

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.


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.