Posts Tagged: Technology

Are You Already A Cyborg, Because Of Your Phone?

The human species is rapidly changing! Mostly not for the better, obviously, but some "futurists" believe their particular demographic (overeducated overpaid youngish professionals starting to worry about mortality) has already begun the process of becoming superhuman mutant cyborgs. Are you kind of depressed that you didn't get around to doing grown-up adult-type things until you were already (technically) middle-aged? Maybe it's okay, because you are the first generation of this new technological human-synthetic revolution! Or maybe you will physically and mentally deteriorate the way humans have always declined, unless they were lucky enough to be killed in a war or wiped out by a plague or eaten by saber-toothed tigers.


What's The Best Car Gear For A Roadtrip?

Summers are filled with road trips and road trips are about junk food pit stops, managing gas station bathroom filth and also the car itself. For some reason, every time I get a car, I begin to fill it with lots of extra little things that I imagine might come in useful in a pinch a far ways from the safety of home. I suppose that's how I ended up with an old VW Vanagon camper van with a tricked-out electrical system, closets, stove, and two full-sized beds. It's a special feeling of freedom combined with creature comforts when I take my van on a trip across the Western American [...]


It's The Future and Everything Is Still Boring

Google is rumored to be working on a pair of heads-up display glasses, which would allow information and text to appear in your immediate visual field. Futuristic! But before you get too excited:

According to the source, the HUD side attachment is not transparent and doesn’t have any 3D capabilities, thus it appears Google has simply affixed a Smartphone screen to the side of a pair of glasses….This new HUD device, if it ever does hit the market, doesn’t appear to fulfill the likely expectations of sci-fi and gadget enthusiasts who have for years been dreaming of having their own Terminator or more recently Iron Man type glasses [...]


How Much More Do Televisions Cost Today?

Sometime between July and September of this year, you may have heard that America’s poor are not really all that poor. Something like this bit of wisdom from Heritage Foundation researcher Robert Rector from July 27, 2011:

How poor are America’s poor? The typical poor family has at least two color TVs, a VCR and a DVD player. A third have a widescreen, plasma or LCD TV. And the typical poor family with children has a video game system such as Xbox or PlayStation.

My goodness, that almost makes you wish you were America’s poor, doesn’t it? (Or maybe you already are—congratulations!)

The implied redefinition of [...]


What Can Confession Mean Now?

The determined forays of hallowed Western faith traditions into the digital-media world rarely produce a non-embarrassing outcome. There are your teen-themed “Bible-zine” translations. There are your evangelical trade shows. There are your media churches. But the recent news that the Catholic Church was launching a quasi-official confession app on the iPhone was something else again—and not just because it got snapped up in the related Maureen Dowd column-generating software.

To be fair, the app—the brainchild of a pair of entrepreneurial Indiana-based Catholic brothers, Patrick and Chip Leinen—is not designed to supplant the traditional rite of confession, spoken in anonymity to a real-life [...]


I Just Deposited a Check in My Bank Using My Phone???

SERIOUSLY I just DEPOSITED A CHECK INSIDE MY BANK WHILE BEING INSIDE MY OWN HOME, by taking "pictures" of the "check" with my "smart phone" and then suddenly the "money" is "in" the BANK. (Well okay it is "pending," and if they "accept" it then I just get to "destroy" (their word!) the check? (I love to imagine how many lawyers worked on choosing "destroy" so that it would limit liability; "destroy" is so total but note that it does not specify a manner of destruction.)) So now I will never leave the house again, until my next "smart phone" breaks and I have to go buy a new [...]


The Google Maps Guessing Game

Oh no, work stopped, it's the Find Where In The World This Google Street View Shot Is From Game! Goes nicely with this gallery of Google Street View shots by Michael Wolf.


Nobody Home

This story is from Punch!, an app for the iPad which you can download for free here!

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The Bike Rides Around Baltimore That Become GPS Art

Godzilla vs Mothra 22.61 miles => 3 Hours 43 minutes 32 Seconds

Michael Wallace is a middle-school science teacher who lives in Baltimore. When he’s not teaching his kids about the Mesozoic Era (remember, “meso” means “between”), Wallace rides his bike around the city. Only, while he’s riding his bike, he’s also drawing something, using GPS tracking to trace his routes throughout Baltimore and forming them into different shapes, symbols that become fully detailed pictures. There’s “Jellyfish Invasion,” a giant jellyfish created over 16-plus miles and nearly three hours of riding, and “Gat,” a massive gun that took less than an hour over about 5.5 [...]


When Did The Remix Become A Requirement?

Consider this: according to, about 800 remixes were released in 1983. In 1990, more than 4,000; in 2000, almost 15,000. And in 2010, there were 22,750 remixes released, an increase of more than 450% in twenty years. Not surprisingly, as that number has leapt up, remixes also have come to represent a much larger share of what's being released: in 1983, they accounted for 2% of all releases; 7% in 1990; 17% in 2000; until, by 2010, a staggering 20% of all releases were remixes.

How did we get to the point where a one-hit-wonder band from the '90s like Marcy Playground can release an entire [...]


The Flip Video Story: 10 Years of Iteration, Fighting the Future and Selling Out

Pure Digital Technologies, Founded, San Francisco, 2001.


CES: Shiny Things To Actually Want

Recently I was talking with Paul Graham, of genius startup incubator Y Combinator, for a story, and, while on a tangent, he made a case to the tablet-adverse folks like me. "The tablet, I believe now it's pretty safe to say, is the next model of computer," he said. "I think twenty years from now, kids will say, 'What's a computer?' And we'll say, 'Oh back before you used an iPad or an Android device for browsing the web, you had to use this thing with a keyboard and a big monitor.'" And I was like, really? (People like me, who use computers for text, find this idea [...]


How to Watch TV at Work

TV is wonderful and full of so many delights these days! The second golden age of TV stretches on—we are spoiled with television's wider scope and room to breathe, which allows characters to feel much more real than any movie could allow.

Which means there's more good stuff on TV than any normal non-shut-in could possibly view at night, when all that TV is on. But it's crazily easy to watch said good TV when and where you want—and when and where would be a better time and place than at work, provided you can get away with it?


A History of Bob Stein, Full-Time Thinker

The extraordinarily abstruse Triple Canopy has a new issue up. Most of it is beyond my interests and/or understanding, however I greatly enjoyed this interview with Bob Stein, who for the last six years has run the think tank Institute for the Future of the Book (I don't know, really; one of its goals is that it has "no deliverables") and also founded the Criterion Collection and spent a lot of time thinking about LaserDiscs and HyperCard (oh man!) and also worked at Atari, trying to create the encyclopedia of the future. Basically he makes Clay Shirky's jobs look very task- and result-oriented.


The Littlest Printer, for the Curator™ in Your Life

For $259, this tiny thermal printer will live on your desk and print out things like your friends' Foursquare checkins and a black and white version of the Instagram photo of the day. Seriously, coming in October: "Connected to the Web, Little Printer has wide range of sources available to check on your behalf. We call them 'publications.'" Oh do you. Superb coinage. Anyway, you know I am susceptible to the ridiculous and the handmade and even the adorable, so I wouldn't particularly mind living in an alternate universe where there are zeppelins and tiny printers on our desks that spit out news twice a day. That's CUTE. (Also, I [...]


The Kids Are Deranged: The Best of NYU's ITP Student Show

Tonight is the second night of the NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program spring show, with thesis projects and schemes and fun things. It's sheer chaos, and you can stop by tonight from 4 to 8 p.m. if you want to see some good old fashioned wackiness.

A few of the student projects really stood out for me as art objects or as great thinking or excellent applied programming or as just plain fun. There were probably a lot of great things that I didn't "get" or didn't appreciate or just missed, so human error applies here.

Google Booth is a small constructed room. There's a slot on the [...]


Dreaming In Stereo: Why 3D Is Here To Stay


“For general use the single-tone [black-and-white] pictures will enormously prevail." — Rupert Hughes, screenwriter, 1923

“[Sound film] is an exhausted toy, ready to be cast aside.”—David Belasco, playwright, 1930

“Television won't last. It's a flash in the pan.”—Mary Somerville, radio broadcaster, 1948

Roger Ebert knows that 3D movies just don’t work—and they never will. This past January, he wrote: “The notion that we are asked to pay a premium to witness an inferior and inherently brain-confusing image is outrageous. The case is closed.”

As Exhibit A in support of this verdict, Ebert furnished a letter from Walter Murch, the acclaimed editor of The [...]


The Real Times Square Video Hijack

This time it's not a hoax: man can actually hijack Times Square screens. Congrats, Adi Isakovic!


Where To Watch TV (And Where Not To)

These days, you can watch TV pretty much anywhere. Be it on your actual TV, on your laptop, on your phone or on a tablet, they've made it pretty easy to entertain yourself wherever you are. But with all that freedom comes responsibility: responsibility to watch TV only when and where is appropriate. Let me help.

Your Living Room Obviously, this is fine. This is where you have always watched TV, and it is where you should continue to watch TV. I mean, come on. You don't need my permission to watch TV in your living room.

Your Office


The Screening Room: Reading On and Off Paper

"For a time, the iPad made everything worse. It was too easy to check social media, for example. When Dustin began feeling like an internet widow as I walked through the apartment, silently moving from device to device, we set rules on usage, which included talking to him again. The iPad then quickly disappointed: A visit to Hulu asked me to pay for something I could watch for free on my computer. My current print magazine subscriptions did not transfer to the iPad—I would have to either repurchase my magazines, an unpleasant idea, or switch to the iPad-only version, and at only a slight discount compared to the print-subscription rate. [...]