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April 4, 2011

In 1940, Woody Guthrie wrote, "This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the New York Island..." Though parts of his song made it into school songbooks and the public consciousness, it's underlying message runs counter to the notions of independent Americans. The land, Woody contends, belongs to all of us and not just people who put up fences around their property. While he would probably find that an extreme expression of his views, Author James Russel maintains that we all have a stake in the land, no matter who holds its deed.

April 8, 2010

Anyone who can seriously ask if an iPad is better than a Kindle is seriously missing the point. After a week of work and play with Apple's newest device, it's hard to imagine going back to whatever it was we used before the iPad. Which is not to say it's without flaws, and there are a number of things we'd like to see done differently, or just done at all. And could Apple get out of the room and leave the two of us alone? 

March 20, 2010

The original IBM Model M keyboards were marvels of solidity, noisy as hell, and felt terrific. Now some twenty five years later, the sound and feel of keyboards has changed as computers move away from their origins as electronic typewriters and into their own. We take a look at several of the best of the new breed as we plink away at keyboards with a lighter touch while looking back at the standard of excellence from the dawn of the PC age.

February 11, 2010

About the time Steve Jobs was telling the world that netbooks were horribly compromised laptops that "didn't do anything well," I was over at Staples plunking down $349.99 (plus tax) for a HP Mini 210...and happy to be doing it. Even though it's only got 1GB of RAM and a 160 5400 RPM hard drive, it outperforms most of the "full-powered" laptops I've had over the years, and does it at a bantam weight with power to spare for a full day of computing. Tablets are cool, but there's still a place for good netbooks like this.

February 2, 2010

You might think that getting a copy of The Farthest Shore on the same day at President Obama effectively shut down NASA's manned space program would mean that the book was outdated before it hit the shelves, but the reality is that it's right on time.

January 31, 2010

I expected to be intrigued by the technology packed into Ford's new Fusion Hybrid, but wasn't prepared for how impressed I'd be with it as a car. It's quick, comfortable, fun to drive, loaded with good ideas, and gets great mileage. Innovation appears to be "job one".


August 7, 2010

IImaget's not enough that we get books to review, I like to spend an hour or so each Saturday seeing what's come out that I might have missed, preferably while sipping a mocha frapachino. I'm waiting for Barnes and Nobles to tell me to stop photographing their books with my cell phone...but so far...

Zepplin hopping detective with savoir faire? I'll take a ticket for that.

April 12, 2010

I'm spending a week or so in Japan, a place I've never been before. Surrounded by signs in Kanji, towering over crowds like a man in a green rubber suit and coping with the jet lag caused by suddenly being half a day out of sync with everyone you know what seems odd to me is how un-odd it all seems. Is that because Japan has become so Americanized that I can't tell it apart from the US, or is something else entirely? Could my vision of the world have become Japan centric without my even knowing it?

March 18, 2010

Blue LED on switch glowing against a black fieldIn the middle of the night I wandered out into an electronic parody of some under sea scene where the utter blackness of the deep is broken only by glowing dots of bio-luminescent light hosted by fish hoping to invite other fish to be dinner. Blue dots, yellow-green dots, red dots. Some constant, some blinking, all glowing with the information that my appliances, gadgets and gear were ready to spring into action...and that it was way to early to be up. But my brain, like my electronica, is always on.



BMW's GINA is has a flexible skin over a spaceframe

If you can build a car without a skin, like the Ariel Atom, why not make a fabric skin that stretches over a spaceframe? GINA is a BMW product that takes design in a fabulous new direction.

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Men in Space? How about manikins in space instead? Robots have heroically gone where no man has gone before, and NASA and GM have teamed up to extend the robotic reach for the stars even further with Robonaut 2, a humaniform robot that can perform the same kinds of manipulations humans can. One thing Robonaut can't do is step out of a lunar lander and radio homeward, "A small step for a robot...., but a giant leap for robo-kind," since he's got no legs. Yet.

  • Banish data redundancy--and its ugly aftermath.
  • Seek and destroy shadow databases.
  • Test early. Test often.
  • Pursue success, not perfection.
  • Open the database--once and for all.
  • Query your database. Use the answers