If you have friends or relatives who wonder how exactly computers work, here is a book to offer them which has probably the most lucid explanations that I’ve ever read on the foundations of computer science. This short book will not help neophytes distinguish between RAM and ROM-we have Wikipedia for that-but it’s hard to imagine more accessible explanations for laymen on subjects like Boolean algebra, multiprocessors and artificial intelligence. I can also imagine this book be great supplement for the general education of university-level computer science students. The real strength of Danny Hillis‘s approach is how he is able to simplify abstractions using everyday concepts and experiences to illustrate the higher-level ideas behind modern computers, hardly an easy task. The Pattern on the Stone is available at Amazon at the moment for $11.20.
As time goes on you’re aware that you’ve given permission to various apps to access information tied to online accounts you have with services such as Twitter, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Dropbox, Linked In, Instagram and Flickr, and possibly others. If you’re like me you can name only a few applications for which you have registered using these accounts. Wouldn’t be nice to have a handle on exactly what companies have access to your information; an easy way to determine if you’d like to continue to allow them access to it?
Well now you have one. Mypermissions.org gives you a simple way to check the entire list of apps for which you have previously agreed to allow to access your information, simply by clicking on an icon on their homepage. From there you [click to continue…]
Do you need a way to hide all the icons on your desktop before you make that screencast, or for another reason? It’s easier than you think, and this little tech tip I am going to share will make your presentation much cleaner with fewer onscreen distractions.
Simply go to the applications folder in your dock, then find the Utilities subfolder. Click on it and then find the Terminal application, and click on it. Then, simply paste this text into the terminal window:
– and hit enter. After that, you guessed it, paste this text into the Terminal window:
….and things are back to where they were. I think very few Mac users are inclined to get into the terminal because of its relatively unfriendly interface but if you read up on it little bit you will find that it’s a very powerful tool for accomplishing a lot of different things on OS X.
In fact, if you are feeling adventurous check out this article on how to create a hotkey toggle to do this for you, by making use of Automator.
There can be no better use of a single minute to make you want to travel:
I know that 2012 is coming and that I should be pretty jaded about the richness of You Tube and all the other Web 2.0 extravaganzas that surround us in a virtual river of information, but I’m not. Maybe I should even think that travel is passe when I can access the million cameras around the world or mash ups of near real-time photographs taken in every location I have ever been and 1000 others but I still don’t think travel is passé. The Internet has set before us an access that provokes further curiosity as to constant mysteries right around the corner, right at the tip of our mouse fingers.
Robert Scoble waxes damn near poetic on 40 minutes worth of audio as he describes what he calls the ‘game of games’, which is the way that Facebook and Google will encourage us to increase our involvement with them, as they get to know us ever better.
Google is building an ‘identity system’; it even calls itself an identity company. The future is starting to reveal itself and say what you want about Scoble: he has a front row seat, knows everybody and has the enthusiasm of a kid. The only question is whether or not Google’s marketing adequately describes a relentless technological march, which no one, not even Google, controls.
Here is a pretty amazing, potentially free offer that has some intrigue surrounding it as well. Dave Navarro is an Internet marketing guy who in my opinion always delivered a lot more value than most do on basically teaching you to translate whatever expertise you might have into products you can sell online, should you have the desire to do so.
I have no idea what has happened with Navarro but I’m on his mailing list and in his latest email he explains that he needs a break from the Internet for a while, and that he is going to give away 8 training modules on a pay-what-you-wish basis. He’d been charging about $1600 total for all of them so if you have ever felt the urge to quit your day job and become an entrepreneur, you might want to take a look: (not an affiliate link)
You might think that robots will get more capable of performing complex tasks, but the way forward may be simpler, and more complex… Take a look at this amazing video of footbots, handbots and flying eyebots all working together as a “swarmanoid”, a parallel distributed system, to accomplish a task. It’s just like ant colony full of individuals who behave in unison so that they resemble a single organism as much as they do many separate ones. What’s amazing here of course is that it’s Man who has created such an interesting amalgamation of functionality that it almost seems to add up to some form of primitive consciousness.
I have used a couple of WordPress plug-ins to create surveys for my sites in the past, but I just ran across a very fast tutorial on how to use Google docs to create surveys and embed them in blog posts. As the accompanying article points out not only are surveys handy for finding out what your readership values about your site as it is, survey responses can also be invaluable for helping you determine what direction you’re readers might like you to take the site or what subjects on which they like you spent more time. Oh yes, and remember that it’s free.
Interesting overview of Float, which aims to be the ‘Netflix of reading’ by using what it calls ‘spaceship navigation’ to make it more pleasurable to read everything you consume on all your devices, for a monthly fee. I’m not sure that reading needs this much help to make it somehow more compelling; maybe I should say that approaching the reading of the future is less interesting from a technological perspective than creating interesting new works of fiction! Well I suppose when I get my hands on my first Kindle I’ll change my tune, but until then a browser and Evernote seems to be enough for me to enjoy long-form reading.
The UP system from Jawbone, consisting of a sensor-filled wristband, will combine data that it records about the amount of sleeping and moving you’ve been doing with information you provide it about what you’re eating, and give you little ‘nudges’ as to what you can do to feel better and live healthier. All aided by your smartphone as you would imagine. Fascinating technology, not available yet but nice review on ReadWriteWeb. Wait until they make this into a game. A lot of smart people think that the next big thing will be incorporating our portable technology into health care in such a way that individuals are empowered to monitor what is going on with themselves as well as making it easier for physicians to diagnose and treat because all of the extra data that can be collected continuously.