The March Of Technology

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#1
Apple's first Macintosh turns 25

The Macintosh - the first Apple computer to bear the name - turns 25 on 24 January.

The machine debuted in 1984 and kicked off a product line that were Apple's flagship computers for many years.

The Macintosh helped popularise the combination of graphical interface and mouse that is ubiquitous today.

The machine was unveiled using a hugely expensive TV advert, directed by film maker Ridley Scott and shown during the US Superbowl on 22 January 1984

The project to create the Macintosh was started by legendary computer maker Jef Raskin and the original machine had a 9in screen in an upright beige case, 128k of RAM, internal floppy drive, and came with keyboard and single-button mouse.

Apple had previously produced computers using a graphical user interface (GUI), such as the Apple Lisa. But those machines cost far more than the original Macintosh.

Although Microsoft had launched its operating system - MS DOS - in 1981 it was not until 1985, a year after the Macintosh made its debut, that it introduced its own GUI, Microsoft Windows. However, this did not enjoy significant popularity until the advent of Windows 3.x in 1990.

The Macintosh's relatively low price tag of £1,840 ($2,495) made it very affordable, said Mark Hattersley, editor in chief of Macworld UK.

"It was a hugely popular machine," said Mr Hattersley.

"It took desktop computing away from IBM and back to Apple for a good number of years," he said. "It brought the notion of the desktop graphical interface to the mass market."

The "Macintosh" moniker was reportedly taken from the name of Mr Raskin's favourite Apple - the McIntosh.

However, this form of the name had to be altered to avoid legal wrangles with another company already trading under that name.

Once successors to the first Macintosh were introduced by Apple, the original machine was re-badged as the 128k version.

The initial production run of the first Macintosh reputedly have the signatures of the design team burned in to the inside of the case.

In the UK, science-fiction author author Douglas Adams was the first to buy one of the original Macintosh machines. Second in line was Stephen Fry.

Sadly, he said, he no longer possesses the early machine.

He told the BBC: "Oh I wish I still had it. I remember giving it away in 1986 to a primary school in a village in Norfolk."


Apple has retained the Macintosh name for many of its products - in particular the shortened form re-emerged in 1998 with the launch of the iMac.

Jason Fitzpatrick, from the Centre for Computing History in Haverhill, said that it was now hard to find a working 25-year old Macintosh.

Many, he said, have suffered what is known as "bit rot" in which the memory chips inside the machine decay, leading to a gradual loss of functionality.

Kevin Murrell, director of the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park, said it had many working Apple machines even older than the 25-year-old Mac.

Even new, he said, the Macintoshes had their quirks. The external hard drive available for later versions of the Macintosh had to be placed on the left side of the machine to avoid interference with its power supply.

The lack of hard drive meant that anyone working with the machine had save everything on a floppy disk, leading to an awful lot of disk swapping.

But despite this, he said, many people had very fond memories of the time they spent with an original Macintosh.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7846575.stm
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#2
Britain's oldest microwave still going strong after 40 years - and 150,000 meals
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:41 AM on 24th January 2009

They are part and parcel of most kitchens now. But in the Swinging Sixties, microwave ovens were cutting-edge technology.

Frederick Stephens was among the first in Britain to buy one and 150,000 meals later, it is still going strong.

The 78-year-old believes it is the country's oldest still in everyday use.

He paid £230 - equivalent to more than £3,000 in today's money - for the brown Panasonic NE-691 and has used it every day in the four decades since.

There were so few microwaves on the market, that Mr Stephens and his late wife Francis needed a demonstration on how to use it.

'I'm so surprised it has lasted this long,' he said. 'It was a real novelty when we bought it as there weren't many around in those days.

'At the time, it was life-changing and since then it's become one of those everyday things you wonder now how you could ever live without.'

Mr Stephens, a grandfather-of-four from Cheltenham, added: 'I use it all the time to heat up ready meals and to do my Horlicks before I go to bed every night. It's marvellous really.'
Mr Stephens bought the oven from an electrical shop in Gloucester in the mid or late Sixties - and it has outlasted the store, which has since closed. He said: 'It's a slice of history and is amazing to think how long it's lasted.

'At the time of buying it, there were so few around we had to have a demonstration in the shop on how to use it and it was like looking at the future. We must have eaten thousands of meals over the years which have been heated in it.

'Francis used to cook the Christmas puddings in it and would make food in it for the kids.

'Even the shop which sold it has gone now, but the microwave is still going strong. We've definitely had our money's worth.' :D

Since being widowed in 2005, he said the microwave has been a great help heating up his meals and nightly hot milks.

'It's never had to have any sort of maintenance and the only thing that's ever gone is the lightbulb for the door,' added Mr Stephens.

The world's first microwave oven was built in America in 1947 by technology firm Raytheon, which filed the first patent after employee Percy Spencer made the breakthrough.

Dr Spencer, a self-taught engineer, was testing a new vacuum tube during radar-related research when he noticed the chocolate bar in his pocket melted. :shock:

By late 1946, the company filed a patent proposing that microwaves be used to cook food.
The first one produced weighed 340kg, stood 6ft tall and cost $5,000 (£3,664).

But years of work were needed to make the invention affordable and small enough for kitchens.
Between 1952 and 1955, the first home model was introduced by Tappan at $1295 (£951), and by 1967 Raytheon released the first counter-top, domestic oven.

The 100-volt microwave oven cost just under $500 (£366) and was smaller, safer and more reliable than previous models.
After a slow response to the large cumbersome models, the smaller models became more accepted, particularly in certain industries.
The microwave oven allowed restaurants and vending companies to keep products refrigerator-fresh up to the point of service and then heat them to order.
They could serve fresher food, with less waste and costing less money.

By 1975, microwave sales had taken over those of gas ranges.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... meals.html
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#3
Sight fears over low-energy bulbs

Charities and eyesight specialists are calling on the government to halt its plans to phase out the sale of traditional light bulbs.

Campaigners want retailers to disregard a promise to phase out the incandescent bulbs by 2012.

They say replacement lower energy bulbs do not provide enough light, causing problems for people with poor vision.

The government admitted there was a problem but said that alternatives were still available.

Under European Union rules, all incandescent bulbs for sale must be replaced by energy efficient compact fluorescent lamp (Cfl) bulbs by 2016.

By September 100 watt bulbs will have been taken off UK shelves.

But David Adams, spokesman for The Royal National College for the Blind, said lower energy bulbs made things more difficult for those with a sight condition.

He said: "They do come on slowly and if there are steps or objects in the way, people can fall over, have accidents and that's the biggest danger."

He said most blind people did not have a total loss of vision and therefore would want to make the best of the amount they had left.

Greenpeace has said that the traditional bulbs waste 95% of the energy they use.

They calculated that phasing them out in the UK would save more than five million tonnes in CO2 emissions a year.

The compact fluorescent lamp bulbs have 80% less power and provide a diffused light whereas the traditional bulbs give out spots of light and have a high contrast.

John Clingan, who is partially-sighted, said he was concerned about how he would cope without the stronger light.

He said: "If I try to read a book under one of the new lights - I just can't read properly for long because the light levels are just not high enough."

Larry Benjamin, of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, said the situation needed fixing:

"Incandescent bulbs give a general bright lighting source and the worry is that if they disappear, patients won't be able to have the same level of lighting in their homes.

"There's quite good evidence that low lighting can lead to a greater number of falls in people with low vision. So it is quite important."

There have been reports of people stockpiling the traditional bulbs.

Jane Milne from the British Retail Consortium said shops would continue to offer consumers a choice.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said alternatives were available.

She said: "We recognise that compact fluorescent lamps do not offer the same 'contrast' that incandescent lamps offer as they give off diffused light.

"To address these concerns halogen lamps, which do provide contrast lighting, will remain on the market.

"These offer 30-45% energy savings in comparison to incandescent lamps."

She said that the price of the bulbs will come down and the technology will improve.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7848859.stm

I used to dislike the slow start-up of compact fluorescent lamps, but I've learned to realise that when you switch them on in a dark place, they give your eyes time to adjust, whereas incandescent bulbs could dazzle you.

I think we use far more artificial light than is really necessary, switching lights on far earlier than they are really needed.
 

liveinabin

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Oct 19, 2001
Messages
1,920
Likes
96
Points
79
#4
I really don't understand why people bitch about the cost of long life bulbs.

I bought 5 about 10 years ago and they are still going strong. In those days they cost about £5 each.

However I thought that one of them was about to go so went to buy a new one. They were 99p each or 5 for £1

They are not expensive.

I do agree that the light they give is not as bright as old fashioned, what about some kind of LED bulb as an alternative?
 

ArthurASCII

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Feb 26, 2002
Messages
1,538
Likes
30
Points
69
#5
Modern low energy bulbs can provide 60 - 80watts output. Have a browse around your local DIY shop - you'll be surprised how technology has moved on from the days of the 40 watt rubbish that's still given away by energy companies.
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#6
Text messages could be used to stop stolen cars
Police could use text messages to switch off the engines of getaway cars.

By David Millward, Transport Editor
Last Updated: 10:05PM GMT 22 Jan 2009

They could be given the power to stop cars remotely as a result of trials being carried out by the Home Office.

It has asked for companies to come up with schemes for "vehicle stopping technology" which would enable officers to stop stolen and getaway cars.

The aim is to cut the number of high speed car chases, which have led to the deaths of officers and civilians.

"If new technology can help police stop vehicles more safely and more effectively then it is right that we look at all the options carefully," the Home Office said.

"We have asked companies to propose possible electronic solutions and we will be in a position to say more once all the options have been properly tested and fully evaluated."

According to Police Review, they could include "intelligent transport systems", commercially available technology which enables owners to use a mobile phone to regain control of their cars when they are stolen.

This tracking system uses satellite navigation to locate a car, whose position is shown on a website. The car is also fitted with a receiver which can receive text messages.

Should the car be stolen the owner – or a company acting on his or her behalf – can use a text message to send instructions to the car's on-board computer.

It can switch on the headlights, sound the horn, slow the car down or – if it is stopped – immobilise it completely.

According to Police Review, officers would welcome access to the technology as an alternative to devices such as "stingers", which they currently use.

Stingers throw spikes into the path of the car, which burst the tyres.

Alan Jones of the Police Federation welcomed the Home Office initiative.

"If the police service can use technology to its benefit to improve policing and ensure it is far safer for both police officers and members of the public, then ultimately we should applaud those developments.

"But we also recognise that it is sensitive area and we need to have a proper debate and discussion about where it may go."

A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers added. "The police service nationally is involved in pursuits which, by their very nature, involve an element of risk, on a daily basis. Safe resolution of pursuits is essential and while current methods of stopping vehicles have proven effective, we must not be complacent.

"The service is constantly looking to improve practices and research technologies which may have the potential to offer new ways of delivering front line policing in a safer, more efficient manner."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... -cars.html
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#7
Websites 'must be saved for history'
The British Library's head says that deleting websites will make job of historians harder
David Smith, technology correspondent The Observer, Sunday 25 January 2009

Historians face a "black hole" of lost material unless urgent action is taken to preserve websites and other digital records, the head of the British Library has warned.

Just as families store digital photos on computers which might never be passed on to their descendants, so Britain's cultural heritage is at risk as the internet evolves and technologies become obsolete, says Lynne Brindley, the library's chief executive.

Writing in today's Observer, Brindley cites two examples of losses overseas. When Barack Obama was inaugurated as US president last week, all traces of George Bush disappeared from the White House website, including a booklet entitled 100 Things Americans May Not Know About the Bush Administration, which is no longer accessible.

There were more than 150 websites relating to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, she continues, but these, too, vanished instantly at the end of the games and are now stored only by the National Library of Australia. "If websites continue to disappear in the same way as those on President Bush and the Sydney Olympics - perhaps exacerbated by the current economic climate that is killing companies - the memory of the nation disappears too," Brindley writes. "Historians of the future, citizens of the future, will find a black hole in the knowledge base of the 21st century."

Historians have become increasingly concerned that while the Domesday Book, written on sheepskin in 1086, is still easily accessible, the software for many decade-old computer files - including thousands of government records - already renders them unreadable. The ephemera of emails, text messages and online video add to the headache of the 21st-century archivist.

"Too many of us suffer from a condition that is going to leave our grandchildren bereft," Brindley states. "I call it personal digital disorder. Think of those thousands of digital photographs that lie hidden on our computers. Few store them, so those who come after us will not be able to look at them. It's tragic."

She believes similar gaps could appear in the national memory, pointing out that, contrary to popular assumption, internet companies such as Google are not collecting and archiving material of this type. It is left instead to the libraries and archives which have been gathering books, periodicals, newspapers and recordings for centuries. With an interim report from communications minister Lord Carter on the future of digital Britain imminent, Brindley makes the case for the British Library as the repository that will ensure emails and websites are preserved as reliably as manuscripts and books. "This vision of a digital Britain must include the critical public service of preserving digital Britain's collective memory and digitising the unrivalled content within the British Library."

The library plans to create a comprehensive archive of such "notoriously ephemeral" material from the UK web domain - there are about eight million .uk domain websites, growing at a rate of 15-20% every year. It also has a collecting and archiving project for the London 2012 Olympics.

In 2007 the library worked with Microsoft and the National Archives at Kew to prevent a "digital dark age" by unlocking millions of unreadable stored computer files. Microsoft installed the Virtual PC 2007, allowing users to run multiple operating systems simultaneously on the same computer and unlock what are called "legacy" Microsoft Office formats dating back 15 years or more.

The library and national archives have set up projects to capture daily exchanges of information almost entirely now transmitted by emails and texts. Government departments are storing emails and archiving them at Kew, and the library is encouraging individuals to store theirs voluntarily.

Historians regard some of today's electronic data as a vital legacy that must be protected. Tristram Hunt, of Queen Mary College, London University, said: "It's essential that mainstream institutions such as the National Gallery or the White House or the Ministry of Defence keep email correspondence, and I think they're quite good about that now. We saw all that come out in the Hutton report and it was fascinating. That's an absolutely essential historical record."

But Hunt argued that libraries and other institutions need to be selective. "On the other hand, we're producing much more information these days than we used to, and not all of it is necessary. Do we want to keep the Twitter account of Stephen Fry or some of the marginalia around the edges of the Sydney Olympics? I don't think we necessarily do." 8)

There is already one stark warning from history. The BBC's Doomsday Project of 1986, intended to record the state of the nation for posterity, was recorded on two 12inch videodisks. By 2000 it was obsolete, and was rescued only thanks to a specialist team working with a sole surviving laser disk player.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/20 ... al-archive
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#8
All aboard world's longest busway that will replace the train
Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent

Drinking hot coffee on a bus is normally a bad idea, but passengers will be encouraged to try it on a new service that promises to be as smooth as the most modern train.

No one will need to “hold on tight”, as Routemaster conductors used to cry. Indeed, the driver will be instructed to take his hands off the wheel and allow the bus to steer itself.

The only difference between the St Ives to Cambridge buses and their standard counterparts is two small guide wheels attached in front of the regular wheels. These engage with a concrete channel that is being built along 16 miles of disused railway line across the Fens.

When the service begins in late summer it will be by far the world's longest guided busway, more than twice as long as the current longest in Adelaide. Its impact will be felt far beyond the severely congested A14 commuter corridor in Cambridgeshire. The Department for Transport (DfT) is determined to prove that guided buses are much cheaper and more flexible than trains or trams. Several other disused railway lines are earmarked for conversion to busways and, in the longer term, some branch lines could be concreted over and carry rubber tyres instead of steel wheels.

Unlike trains, buses can pick passengers up in scattered villages before joining the busway for an uninterrupted 60mph glide across the countryside. In the city, they switch back to roads. The DfT also believes that busways will be far cheaper to maintain than railways. The Cambridgeshire busway is designed to operate without any significant maintenance for 40 years. A railway needs weekly inspections, regular repairs to damaged points and rails, as well as an expensive signalling system.

If a busway has to be closed, the buses would simply avoid that section by switching to roads. Cambridgeshire County Council, which is building the busway, estimates that the maximum delay from such a diversion would be five minutes, compared with an hour or more if a railway line closes.

The council believes that the busway will be safer than rail because the braking distance of buses is a tenth of that of trains. Buses also accelerate more quickly than trains, so they can stop more frequently to pick up passengers without adding to journey times unduly. The busway will carry a bus every eight minutes; comparable branch lines carry one train an hour.

The £116million cost of the busway is being funded by the taxpayer, but the operating costs, including the buses themselves, will be paid by the bus companies. They will also pay a small access fee to cover the cost of busway maintenance. Branch lines require large annual subsidies for train services and maintenance.

Bob Menzies, the head of the busway project, said: “We think [people] will be attracted by the smoothness of the ride, leather seats and free wi-fi. We want people to be able to ride on the busway having a cup of coffee with their laptop open, catching up on e-mails.”

St Ives to Cambridge city centre takes 50 minutes in the peak period by car but will take 32 minutes by bus.

Disused railways being considered for busways include routes from Luton to Dunstable, Bath to Bristol and some old track beds near Portsmouth.

Bruce Williamson, of Railfuture, which campaigns for rail expansion, said: “The DfT has gone for a cheap and nasty option after riding roughshod over local opinion in favour of reopening the train line. Trains are greener than buses because steel wheels on steel rails have much less rolling resistance, and therefore use less energy, than rubber on concrete.”

Matt Bradney, the council's cabinet member for transport, claimed that busways would win enthusiasts as passionate as those who support the railways — but he admitted “it might take another 150 years”.

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/b ... 586560.ece
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#9
Michel Desjoyeaux less than day from Vendée Globe race finishing line
Peter Nichols

Some time Sunday morning a Frenchman, Michel Desjoyeaux, will reach the port of Les Sables d'Olonne in France and win the sixth Vendée Globe race after sailing alone, without stopping, 24,000 miles around the world. Probably.

Even after 83 days at sea, and with Desjoyeaux enjoying a 1,000-mile lead over the second-placed Roland Jourdain, the race organisers were hedging their bets.

From an original field of 30 starters, only 12 competitors, among them two British women, remain in this, possibly the toughest race in the world. At sea, anything could happen, whether it is in the farthest reaches of the Southern Ocean or a few miles off the French coast, and even as Desjoyeaux fought towards the finish line in 25-knot winds, nothing was being taken for granted.

It was the 2001 race that propelled Ellen MacArthur to fame after pictures were beamed home of her scaling the mast to make repairs to her boat, Kingfisher, in horrendous conditions. The 2008-09 edition, though, has possibly been even more gripping.

On the first night of the race, within 100 miles of leaving, the fleet met appalling Biscay weather. Two boats were dismasted. A third ruptured her hull. Four, including Desjoyeaux, returned to port to make repairs.

On January 6 the Frenchman Jean Le Cam radioed that he was in difficulty west of Cape Horn. A few hours later a Chilean navy rescue aircraft reported spotting the yacht floating upside down. Two Vendée Globe competitors, only hours away, began streaking toward Le Cam's position. The first to arrive was another French sailor, Vincent Riou, who manoeuvred alongside Le Cam's yacht. Le Cam emerged from under his boat in a survival suit and clambered aboard Riou's yacht, PRB, which was damaged during the rescue, putting him out of the race.

On the face of it, sailing around the world in an era of global positioning systems, sat-phones and high-tech, million-pound boats can seem unremarkable. It is events such as this that hammer home just how cut off and exposed to the wilds these sailors are.

While nearly 500 astronauts have voyaged into space since Yuri Gagarin's historic flight in 1961, by the end of this year's Vendée Globe there will still be only about 270 solo circumnavigators, and only 60 or so have done it without stopping.

Circumnavigating in a boat and orbiting the Earth in a space capsule share similarities: a small, fragile, podlike vehicle, same circular course, same destination (the end is where you started from). Both endeavours have essentially the same motivation. No one is really pretending that it is anything less elemental than George Mallory's answer to why he wanted to climb Everest: because it's there.

In the first solo, non-stop, round-the-world sailing contest, the 1968-9 Golden Globe Race, sponsored by The Sunday Times, the competitors were amateurs. Chay Blyth did not know how to sail or navigate on the day he departed from Hamble in a 30ft weekend cruiser. Shooting the sun and stars with sextants, the Golden Globe racers lived in a distant maritime age, closer to Columbus's. Yet, while they crawled across the oceans averaging little more than a walking pace, Apollo 8 orbited the moon above them.

Once over the horizon, the competitors vanished. Their whereabouts and progress could be known only when they reported in on the shortwave radios that almost all the boats carried.


The darkest story of the Golden Globe belonged to Donald Crowhurst, a charismatic, unstable electronics engineer from Devon, who appeared to be streaking around the world at an unheard-of pace, until his trimaran was found abandoned in the middle of the Atlantic. The logbooks aboard revealed that Crowhurst had faked his progress with false position reports, never left the Atlantic, and had finally gone mad and stepped overboard.

All that has changed. Digital cameras, e-mail, a website for each contestant, GPS and satellite transponders provide minute-by-minute audio, video and blog updates from every boat. No one can get lost: we know at all times where they are. Today's racers sail an up-to-the-last-minute carbon fibre capsule, the Open 60, as uniform as Formula One race cars.

Modern sailors are almost equally evolved. They are more socially integrated creatures. Samantha Davies, an English sailor lying fourth in her boat Roxy (the other, Dee Caffari, is lying seventh), says: “I don't get lonely because I'm not really alone. There are other racers out there, and we talk to each other by satellite phone and e-mail.”

Before ever stepping aboard a boat, today's round-the-world solo sailors must successfully navigate the world of corporate sponsorship. They are professional sportsmen and women; racing is their living and the more success they have, the higher their earning potential.

And yet, this is not cricket. The sea is unchanged. The high-tech approach has only made the challenge more ferocious. Prudence and caution, in the sense once understood as seamanly virtues, have been jettisoned along with wooden planks and copper nails. They hurtle across the world's roughest oceans, among icebergs, at racehorse speed, while they work, navigate, eat, and try to sleep.

If they do manage to drop off despite nerves stretched as tight as rigging wire, all sorts of alarms, for wind change, course change, excessive angle of heel, wake them up. Most of them at some point encounter serious problems. And a few die. Nigel Burgess, a Briton, was swept overboard in 1992, Gerry Roufs, a Canadian, in 1997. Mike Plant, an American, was lost in the Atlantic on his way to the race start in 1992. The Vendée Globe has a fatality rate of 4.5 per cent. The rate for space travel is 3.7 per cent.

All these sailors, like astronauts, have found inside themselves the Right Stuff. This is the only race where you are competing 24 hours a day for weeks, months on end, thousands of miles from home and, in the Southern Ocean, beyond the range of any rescue helicopter, your life utterly dependent on your craft staying intact. Yet it is not the ships but the sailors in them. Therein lies the key to the appeal of this extraordinary race.

Peter Nichols is author of A Voyage for Madmen, the story of the Golden Globe race, published by Profile.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/ ... 622444.ece
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#10
World's first computer was used to generate love poetry
A "love poetry generator" developed for the world's first computer has been recreated on the internet.

By Nigel Bunyan
Last Updated: 3:03PM GMT 10 Mar 2009

Back in 1952 a team of scientists was desperate to test the capabilities of Mark One `Baby`, the computer built at Manchester University.

One of them, Christopher Strachey, devised a quirky software programme by entering hundreds of romantic verbs and nouns into the new machine.

He then sat back as Mark One `Baby` trawled the literary database to create a stream of light-hearted verse.

In much the same way as magnetic letters are displayed on fridges today, he and his team would print off the computer’s best efforts and put them on a notice board.

David Ward, a German computer `archaeologist` unearthed the program while researching Strachey’s papers at the Bodelian Library, Oxford, and then spent three months creating his own version of the software.'

His website allows vistors to generate their own random `poetry`.
http://www.alpha60.de/research/muc/

Meanwhile, Mr Ward has also created a working replica of the One `Baby’ computer which will run the love letter programme for an exhibition in Germany.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandte ... oetry.html
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#11
A hi-tech aid to an age-old crime:

Builder used Google Earth to pinpoint historic buildings before stripping them of lead in £100,000 raids
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 12:33 PM on 16th March 2009

A builder used Google Earth to zoom in on historic buildings before stripping £100,000 of valuable lead from their roofs.
Tom Berge used the internet tool, which shows aerial photographs of towns across the world, to pinpoint museums, churches and schools across South London.

During the six-month spree he picked out those with lead roof tiles because of their darker colour.
After identifying a potential target he would scale its roof, take the metal then abseil down the side of the building before selling it on to scrap metal dealers.

The 27-year-old, from Sutton, South London, admitting using his computer to carry out more than 30 separate offences.

He was given an eight-month suspended jail term, 100 hours of community service and put on curfew.
Detective Sergeant Chris Grant, who led the investigation, said 'He was a prolific offender up until the time he was arrested.
'Since then our crime figures for theft of lead have reduced significantly.'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... raids.html
 

Analogue Boy

The new Number 6
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
9,633
Likes
7,519
Points
294
#12
More on those energy saving lightbulbs and the extreme dangers they can cause in the home. Apparently, they're just like dirty bombs waiting to go off.

Doctors say scores of people are coming forward with skin complaints after being exposed to the ultra-violet light emitted by the new-style bulbs. And the mercury powder inside them makes handling a broken bulb extremely dangerous.

Exposure to high levels of mercury can cause itching, burning, skin inflammation, kidney problems and insomnia.

Alarming guidelines issued by the Government warn that anyone breaking a low-energy bulb should leave the room immediately.
The guidelines, published on the Defra website, say: “Vacate the room and ventilate it for at least 15 minutes.
“Do not use a vacuum cleaner but clean up using rubber gloves and aim to avoid creating and inhaling airborne dust.”
The debris must be disposed of at a secure site for contaminated material or returned to the retailer.

http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/89185
 

OneWingedBird

Beloved of Ra
Joined
Aug 3, 2003
Messages
15,651
Likes
6,787
Points
284
#14
A builder used Google Earth to zoom in on historic buildings before stripping £100,000 of valuable lead from their roofs.
the images on google earth are a good year or two out of date.

i was just thinking it would serve the bugger right if he went on a job and founf out someone else had done it first!
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#15
Wind-up walking stick unveiled by Trevor Baylis
Trevor Baylis, the pensioner who invented the wind-up radio, has unveiled his latest gadget – a walking stick which uses elbow grease to power a built-in torch and safety lights.

Last Updated: 1:14AM GMT 21 Mar 2009

The lightweight collapsible Slik-Stik also carries a personal alarm and has a magnet to solve the tricky issue of how to pick up dropped keys for those who are not as flexible as they once were.

The stick was the brainchild of Denise Anstey, who realised the gap in the market after she was left with severe mobility problems after a car accident.

She got in touch with Mr Baylis's company, TCL Products, who turned her idea into the finished product which is to go on sale priced around £35.

Mrs Anstey, 44, from Bristol, said: "When I was walking I felt very vulnerable, a walking target.

"I thought it would be good for the elderly to have something they could immediately press to alert people to help.

"I didn't want batteries which are very costly and difficult to change. I found the wind-up technology and didn't know whether it would be powerful enough to power the stick – fortunately it was.

"I contacted the company on the Monday and on the Friday they were in China to get it manufactured."

The stick has won the approval of Mr Baylis, 71, whose own wind-up radio, patented around 17 years ago, used a clockwork system, powered by a spring.

Modern wind-up systems produce electricity, giving the devices longer life.

Mr Baylis, who lives near Twickenham, said: "It all came on the back of that radio, which is extraordinary. I never thought it would go as fast as it has.

"Batteries are hideously expensive and with this technology you can forget them. If you run out of power all you have to do is wind it up."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... aylis.html
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#16
Wind-powered car breaks record

A British engineer from Hampshire has broken the world land speed record for a wind-powered vehicle.

Richard Jenkins reached 126.1 mph (202.9 kmh) in his car Greenbird on the dry plains of Ivanpah Lake in Nevada.

Mr Jenkins told the BBC that it had taken him 10 years of "hard work" to break the record and that, on the day, "things couldn't have been better".

American Bob Schumacher set the previous record of 116 mph in 1999, driving his Iron Duck vehicle.

"It's great, it's one of those things that you spend so long trying to do and when it actually happens, it's almost too easy," Mr Jenkins told the BBC. :D

The Greenbird is a carbon fibre composite vehicle that uses wind (and nothing else) for power. The only metalwork used is for the wing bearings and the wheel unit.

The designers describe it as a "very high performance sailboat" but one that uses a solid wing, rather than a sail, to generate movement.

Mr Jenkins, from Lymington, spent 10 years designing the vehicle, with Greenbird the fifth vehicle he has built to try and break the record.

Due to the shape of the craft, especially at such high speeds, the wings also provide lift; a useful trait for an aircraft, but very hazardous for a car. To compensate for this, the designers have added small wings to "stick" the car to the ground, in the same way Formula 1 cars do.

"Greenbird weighs 600kg when its standing still," said Mr Jenkins. "But at speed, the effect of the wings make her weigh just over a tonne." :shock:

Richard Jenkins spent much of his childhood sailing on the south coast and from the age of 10 was designing what he calls "radical contraptions".

He has also built a wind powered craft that travels on ice, rather than land.

"Now that we've broken the record, I'm going back onto the ice craft. There's still some debate as to whether travelling on ice or land will be faster," he said

"But I think we've got some time. 126.1 mph was a good margin to beat the record and I think it will be some time before anyone else breaks it."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7968860.stm

Old sailor rynner is glowing with green and patriotic pride! :D

http://www.greenbird.co.uk/
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#17
Now hear this:

Sounds good: The flat loudspeaker that is as thin as a sheet of foil
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 10:48 AM on 01st April 2009

A groundbreaking new loudspeaker that can be printed on and used as a wall poster has been developed by British engineers.

The lightweight and flexible speakers are less than 0.25mm thick and could also be concealed in car interiors or ceiling tiles.

They were developed by the University of Warwick spin-out company, Warwick Audio Technologies, who plan to start selling them later this year.

Steve Couchman, CEO of Warwick Audio Technologies said: 'We believe this is a truly innovative technology.

'Its size and flexibility means it can be used in all sorts of areas where space is at a premium.'

All speakers work by converting an electric signal into sound. Usually, the signal is used to generate a varying magnetic field, which in turn vibrates a mechanical cone to produce a sound.
The new 'Flat, Flexible Loudspeaker' uses a bendy laminate made up of thin, conducting and insulating materials, which when vibrated by an electrical signal produces a clearer, crisper noise.

The makers say the sound is projected further and doesn't deteriorate in quality or volume like conventional speakers. It can also be angled in a certain direction.

The FFL was first developed by Dr Duncan Billson and Professor David Hutchins, both from the University of Warwick, with early trials using just two sheets of tinfoil and an insulating layer of baking paper to produce sound.
They hope they will one day replace all traditional speakers used in our homes and cars.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... -foil.html
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#19
Pietro_Mercurios said:
rynner2 said:
Now hear this:

Sounds good: The flat loudspeaker that is as thin as a sheet of foil
By Daily Mail Reporter
....
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... -foil.html
If only they hadn't published the story on the 1st of April. ;)
The story is all over the e-media. An April Fool prank would probably have given the inventors silly names as a pointer, and probably wouldn't have gone as far as producing a detailed website (not mentioned in the Mail story) as back-up :

http://www.warwickaudiotech.com/

(complete with address and contact phone and email) ;)

Probably! 8)
 

JamesWhitehead

Piffle Prospector
Joined
Aug 2, 2001
Messages
12,605
Likes
10,126
Points
309
#20
There have been alternatives to cone drivers for loudspeakers for many years now, notably the electrostatic models, in which a flat surface produces the sound. There, a thin diaphragm is suspended in an electrical field. The notion of a laminate producing sounds without the need for such suspension doesn't violate any fundamental laws of physics. The questions will concern quality and cost.

Mind you, when I look at the quality of sound and vision that some punters tolerate on their audiovisual equipment, maybe only cost matters now. :?
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#21
Back to the future (or something...)

Cinema's third attempt at 3D
By Mark Savage
BBC News entertainment reporter

" It comes off the screen right at you! ", screamed the poster for the 1953 schlock-horror film The House Of Wax 3D.

Audiences, filled with anticipation for the first major studio 3D movie, flocked to cinemas to see the ghoulish spectacle of.... a man bouncing a paddleball into their faces.

This gimmicky showboating set a template for 3D cinema which endured through the medium's two big boom periods in the 1950s and 1980s.

Films like Andy Warhol's visceral Frankenstein 3D brought "horror right into your lap", while the sixth instalment of Nightmare On Elm Street splattered viewers with Freddy Kreuger's bloody entrails.

Bwana Devil, released the same year as House Of Wax, went so far as to ask the question: "What do you want? A good picture, or a lion in your lap?"

It turned out to be the former. Audiences dismissed 3D as a cheap parlour trick... if they hadn't already been put off by the poor image quality, headaches or nausea.

So why have some of Hollywood's biggest names suddenly gone crazy for the technique?

Stephen Spielberg and Peter Jackson are filming the Tintin trilogy in 3D; Animation giant Pixar is retooling Toy Stories 1 & 2 with added depth; and James Cameron is making his first feature film since Titanic in full 3D.

"There's a great pioneering wave of filmmakers who are looking at this technology and saying, 'wow, that's got huge potential,'" says Daniel Glennon of the Odeon cinema chain.

"The advances in the technology are staggering," agrees Mark Dinning, editor of movie magazine Empire. "It's so much more sophisticated now."

To the audience, the main change is aesthetic - those cheesebucket red-and-green glasses have been replaced by cool, durable Aviator-style shades.

But the real breakthrough has been in digital projection. Cinema staff no longer have the tricky task of positioning and synchronising two projectors - one for each eye.

Nowadays, 3D films arrive on a 500GB hard drive while a special adapter fits onto the front of a single projector to separate the left and right images.

The lack of moving parts gives the film extra clarity, and helps to eliminate migraines and motion sickness, explains Nik Blair, technical manager for Odeon Greenwich.


"If you have a traditional 35mm projector, you've got motors running, you've got belts running, there's cogs and there's film being pulled through it - so, with all the good will in the world, you will always get some picture shake.

"But 3D is picture perfect. It's absolutely stable."

The system used by Odeon - Real D - also reduces flicker by projecting each frame of film three times for each eye - a total of 144 frames per second, compared to 24fps for regular film.

And cinemagoers seem to be enticed by the promise of a new, more immersive experience.

Animation Monsters vs Aliens, which stars Reese Witherspoon and Hugh Laurie, took $58m (£40m) at the US box office last weekend - the biggest opening of the year to date.

"I think that if you use it wisely, 3D does nothing but enhance your storytelling," says the film's producer, Lisa Stewart.

"In the beginning, we were very nervous and hesitant," admits director Conrad Vernon. "We said: 'Our story deserves more than just to be overrun by a gimmick.'"

"So we went in and we learned how to use it the same way a filmmaker would use colour to create a mood, or sound to create an emotion up on the screen. We used 3D to do that."

Having said that, Monsters vs Aliens does feature a character bouncing - yes, you guessed it - a paddleball into your face.

But a set piece battle on the Golden Gate Bridge gains an epic sense of scale as the monsters clash and debris falls all around the theatre.

.....

What's more, 3D films pose a challenge to the black market.

"Ninety per cent [of piracy] is due to someone taking a camera into a movie theatre," Jeffery Katzenberg, president of DreamWorks Animation told CNN.

"You can't camcorder 3D. So the by-product of this is that it will have some serious implications about that."

etc....

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7976385.stm
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#22
Very long but interesting article:

In search of Lithium: The battle for the 3rd element
The good news: A wonder metal that fires your phone, iPod and shiny new electric car is so clean it may save the planet. The bad news: More than half of the world's lithium is beneath this Bolivian desert...and getting it is so dirty it inspired the latest Bond plot

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive ... ement.html

Technology, ecology and politics clash.

An informative article, worth skimming if only for the photos of the Salar De Uyuni in Bolivia, "a little-known but expansive desert of Cactus, rainwater lagoons and ten billion tons of salt covering nearly 5,000 square miles"
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#23
Terrified woman watches live online as burglars break into her home
By Richard Luscombe
Last updated at 11:15 AM on 10th April 2009

Tony Thomas laughed when his wife Jeanne spent £200 on a video security system that allowed her to monitor their house from her office desk 25 miles away.

He joked that the only crime the webcam was likely to capture would be her two dogs jumping on the sofa. :D

But her investment paid off when she spotted two burglars walking through her living room clutching her son’s Wii game system and eating cheese they had taken from her fridge.
She called police to report what she was watching live on the internet and gave a running commentary as the intruders walked in and out of the picture with her jewellery, flat-screen TV, a safe and other belongings.

'I’m watching my home on my online monitor and there’s a man in my house and he’s robbing it,' she said in a 911 call. 'He’s in my bedroom now.'
Officers swooped on the house in Boynton Beach, Florida, to catch the intruders red-handed.
Four men - the two inside the house and two accomplices caught nearby - are now facing charges of burglary and grand theft.
Enlarge Minutes after Ms Thomas called police, 18 officers had surrounded the house and burst inside

'A full panic, just a full panic,' Thomas said, describing her ordeal. 'I could barely talk. I was just scared to death. Somebody's in my home. All I could tell the 911 operator is, 'Please get someone to my house quickly.''
Last night, extraordinary footage of the raid was released by the Boynton Beach Police Department.

The video shows two of the suspects, Steven Morales and Curtis Williams, moving from room to room and rifling through the family’s property.
They are closely watched by a curious cat and followed by the two dogs. :roll:
At one stage, the burglars close in on the camera, disguised as an air freshener, but fail to spot what it is.
Towards the end of the five-minute sequence the men realise that police have arrived and begin to run about the house looking for a way out.

'You could see them on the video freaking out,' Thomas told the Palm Beach Post.
As they disappear from view, one of them dumping his bag of swag on the way, four cops appear at the front door and come into the living room with their guns drawn.
Officers arrested Curtis Williams, Scott George, Jonathan Cruz, all 20, and 19-year-old Steven Morales. They were charged with burglary and attempted grand theft.

Thomas said she had known Cruz, a neighbour, since he was 8 years old.
Thomas said she bought the surveillance system after her home was burgled last October and she lost thousands of dollars worth of rare coins and jewellery.
She said she would come home from work and spend hours watching the video, seeing nothing more interesting than her pets’ movements through the day.

On the day of the burglary, she said 'a strange feeling' prompted her to turn the monitor on at work.

'I had a feeling something wasn’t right and when I went online there was a person standing in my house,' she said.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldne ... -home.html
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#24
The March of Technology hasn't always been a smooth progression:
The 10 greatest flops in computer history
They were way ahead of their time and could have advanced the power of mass home computing by years. But these revolutionary concepts became the biggest failures in digital history.

...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandte ... story.html
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#25
The end of an era:

Kodachrome film production to end
For those who have been forced to sit through the interminable slide show of holiday photos, the end is in sight.
By Murray Wardrop
Published: 7:00AM BST 23 Jun 2009

Kodak announced yesterday that Kodachrome film will no longer be produced.

Kodak said it will cease making its most famous colour film later this year due to overwhelming competition from digital cameras.

During a 74-year stint in production, Kodachrome was once the film of choice for a generation of photographers and families reliving their holidays with slide shows.

However, sales have fallen steadily to the point where Kodachrome accounted for less than 1 per cent of the company's total sales of still-picture films.

Mary Jane Hellyar, president of Kodak's film, photofinishing and entertainment group, said: "The majority of today's photographers have voiced their preference to capture images with newer technology – both film and digital."

Kodachrome gained such revered status that it was celebrated in the mid-1970s with a song of the same name by Paul Simon, with the catchphrase: "Mama don't take my Kodachrome away."

The film's durability and ability to capture rich, vibrant colours also made it a favourite among professional photographers, including Steve McCurry, known for his portrait of an Afghan girl with green eyes for the cover of the National Geographic Magazine in 1985.

Kodak said 70 per cent of its revenue now comes from its retail and commercial digital businesses.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandte ... o-end.html

Longer article/tribute here:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/w ... 557848.ece
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#26
..and the end of a successful mission:

Light goes out on solar mission

After more than 18 years studying the Sun, the plug is finally being pulled on the ailing spacecraft Ulysses.

Final communication with the joint European-US satellite will take place on 30 June.

The long-serving craft, launched in October 1990, has already served four times its expected design life.

The Esa-Nasa mission was the first to survey the environment in space above and below the poles of the Sun.

.....

Final communication with the craft will begin at 1635 GMT and run until 2120 GMT on 30 June, after which no further contact is planned. The craft will in effect become a man-made comet.

"[It] will be a very sad day when we send the last commands to Ulysses," said Nigel Angold, Esa Mission Operations Manager.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8121625.stm
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#27
Walkman turns 30 as Sony struggles against MP3 rivals
Thursday, 2 July 2009

When the Sony Walkman went on sale 30 years ago, it was shown off by a skateboarder to illustrate how the portable cassette-tape player delivered music on-the-go - a totally innovative idea back in 1979.

Today, Sony is struggling to reinvent itself and win back its reputation as a pioneer of razzle-dazzle gadgetry once exemplified in the Walkman, which yesterday had its 30th anniversary marked with a special display at Sony's corporate archives.

The Japanese electronics and entertainment company lost 98.9 billion yen in the fiscal year ended March - its first annual loss in 14 years - and is expecting more red ink this year.

The manufacturer, which also makes Vaio personal computers and Cyber-shot cameras, hasn't had a decisive hit like the Walkman for years, has taken a battering in the portable music player market by Apple's iPod.

Sony has sold 385 million Walkman machines worldwide in 30 years as it evolved from playing cassettes to compact disks then minidisks and finally digital files.

Apple has sold more than 210 million iPod machines worldwide in eight years.


There is even some speculation in the Japanese media that Sony should drop the Walkman brand - a name associated with Sony's rise following its humble beginnings in 1946 with just 20 employees to one of the first Japanese companies to successfully go global.

"The Walkman's gap with the iPod has grown so definitive, it would be extremely difficult for Sony to catch up, even if it were to start from scratch to try to boost market share," said Kazuharu Miura, analyst with Daiwa Institute of Research in Tokyo.

...

When the iPod began selling like hotcakes several years ago, a Japanese reporter asked Shizuo Takashino, one of the developers of the original Walkman, why Sony hadn't come up with the idea. Afterall, the iPod seemed like something that should have been a trademark Sony product.

Takashino had been showing reporters the latest Walkman models, which played proprietary files. Sony has been criticised for sticking to such proprietary formats. One major reason for the iPod's massive popularity was that it played MP3 files, which are widely used for online music and compatible with many devices.

In a special display at Tokyo's Sony Archive building, opening to commemorate the Walkman's 30-year history, an impassioned Akio Morita, Sony's co-founder, speaks to employees in a 1989 video to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Walkman.

"We can deliver a totally new kind of thrill to people with the Walkman," said the silver-haired Morita, proudly wearing a gray factory-worker jacket and surrounding himself with dozens of colourful Walkman machines. "We must make more and more products like the Walkman."

Morita acknowledges in the video that the Walkman doesn't feature any groundbreaking technology but merely repackaged old ones - but did so in a nifty creative way. And it started with a small simple idea - enjoying music anywhere, without bothering people around you.

The original Walkman was as big as a paperback book, and weighed 390 grams. It wasn't cheap, especially for those days, costing 33,000 yen .

But people snatched it up.

Other names were initially tried for international markets like "soundabout" and "stowaway." Sony soon settled on Walkman. The original logo had little feet on the A's in "WALKMAN."

Many, even within Sony, were sceptical of the idea because earphones back then were associated with unfashionable, hard-of-hearing old people. But Morita was convinced he had a hit.

The archival exhibit shows other Sony products that have been discontinued or lost out to competition over the years - the Betamax video cassette recorder, the Trinitron TV, the Aibo dog-shaped robotic pet.

The Walkman exhibit, which runs through until December 25, shows models that are still on sale, some about the size of a lighter that play digital music files.

Also showcased are messages from Morita and his partner Masaru Ibuka, who always insisted a company could never hope to be a winner by imitating rivals but only by dashing stereotypes.

"All we can do is keep going at it, selling our Walkman, one at a time," said Sony spokeswoman Yuki Kobayashi. "Thirty years is a milestone for Sony. But we hope the Walkman won't be seen as just a piece of history."

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style ... 28367.html
 

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
(ACCOUNT RETIRED)
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,239
Likes
8,990
Points
284
#28
Long and very interesting article here:
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style ... 34267.html

It examines the economics of an IT industry where so much is now provided for free ('freeconomics'). How can YouTube survive, when it loses millions every year? Where does advertising fit in, now many people actively avoid it? Does your understanding of how the internet should work depend on your age? etc....
 

OneWingedBird

Beloved of Ra
Joined
Aug 3, 2003
Messages
15,651
Likes
6,787
Points
284
#29
There have been alternatives to cone drivers for loudspeakers for many years now, notably the electrostatic models, in which a flat surface produces the sound. There, a thin diaphragm is suspended in an electrical field. The notion of a laminate producing sounds without the need for such suspension doesn't violate any fundamental laws of physics. The questions will concern quality and cost.
True, but it is still quite a leap from existing electrostatics to something that can produce the full range while being compact, close to truly flat, and without the stonkingly lethal voltages that are needed to generate the electrostatic field, or the protection from them.

edit: the earlier news item looks like it may be legitimate:

http://www.warwickaudiotech.com/content.php?menu_id=4

though there doesn't appear to be a tangible product line at this time.
 

Mythopoeika

I am a meat popsicle
Joined
Sep 18, 2001
Messages
37,489
Likes
24,812
Points
309
Location
Inside a starship, watching puny humans from afar
#30
rynner2 said:
Long and very interesting article here:
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style ... 34267.html

It examines the economics of an IT industry where so much is now provided for free ('freeconomics'). How can YouTube survive, when it loses millions every year? Where does advertising fit in, now many people actively avoid it? Does your understanding of how the internet should work depend on your age? etc....
I had wondered how it will all end...there are so many unsustainable 'businesses' on the Internet. With the recession, advertising revenues are down by a massive amount anyway.
Now the idea of free stuff has been plastered over the Internet for such a long time, people have got used to it. It may be impossible to go back to a 'pay as you use' culture.
 
Top