Guide to Computing

This colourful series of ten historic computers, created in close collaboration between INK and Docubyte, documents the beginning of our computing history.

Featuring such famous machines as the IBM 1401 and Alan Turing’s Pilot ACE, Guide to Computing showcases a minimalist approach to design that precedes even Apple’s contemporary motifs.

What’s more, the combination of Docubyte’s photography and INK’s skilful retouching and post-production techniques has resulted in something wholly unique: the ageing historical objects as photographed by Docubyte have been ‘digitally restored’ and returned to their original form. As a number of these computers predate modern colour photography, Guide to Computing therefore showcases them in a never before seen context.

Photography by Docubyte. Retouching by INK.

See also

Miscellany

Colourful digital restorations of historic computers

This colourful series of ten historic computers, created in close collaboration between INK and Docubyte, documents the beginning of our computing history.

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Crowd Supply: Circuit Classics

Star Simpson: Forrest M. Mims III is a trusted name in the electronics world for good reason: his charming and engaging texts have drawn millions of people into the world of electronics for the first time. I am bringing some of those hand-drawn circuits projects to life by creating an exquisitely designed series of finely crafted and highly detailed boards. These are the Circuit Classics. They make a great gift for a first-time learner, an expert tinkerer, or even just as a fun conversation piece for your desk.

See also

Moog Werkstatt logo

The Moog Werkstatt-Ø1 is a patchable, 100% analog synthesizer whose design is based on classic Moog circuits. Assembly is extremely simple: Any user can quickly build this analog synthesizer with minimal tools and expertise.

It was originally created as a kit, to be the foundation for exclusive “Engineering VIP” workshops at Moogfest 2014. Werkstatt was created to be an educational tool, but it is also a formidable, compact analog synthesizer from Moog.

Analog synthesizers have long had their own maker culture born of curious engineers, physicists and hobbyists who have created and crafted their sounds through electronic experimentation. It is our goal to share our love for learning, music, and electronics by encouraging everyone to create the world they want to hear, one mod at a time.

Pitch Bend Mod

(via Wired)

See also

  • The Artiphon multiple instrument“A guitar is designed to be strummed; piano keys are pressed; drum pads are tapped; violins are bowed. But what if a single instrument could be played with any of these techniques? That’s exactly what we’re creating – one instrument that lets you be the whole band.”
  • Seaboard’s innovative piano keyboard“…a radically new musical instrument that reimagines the piano keyboard as a soft, continuous surface.”
Craft and creativity

The Moog Werkstatt-Ø1: Synthesizer kit for makers and learners of all ages

“Through assembly and inspired investigation, the Werkstatt-Ø1 is an excellent platform for exploring the world of analog synthesizer circuits. A lifetime of experimentation, knob twisting, and sound design awaits.”

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Life on the Internet

That emoji does not mean what you think it means

Gizmodo: Since emoji are designed differently across platforms, sometimes your text messages might get lost in translation. But how differently might your well-intentioned emoji be displayed?

Grinning face with smiling eyes

The most widely misinterpreted is the “grinning face with smiling eyes” emoji, which—depending on the platform—can range from the rosy-cheeked cherubic face of glee to the anguished clenched-teeth look of constipation.

Same emoji, different emotion

That wide range between sentiment rankings was named “misconstrual” by the researchers. You can see how the 22 emoji tracked across platforms, with “smiling face with open mouth and tightly closed eyes,” “face with tears of joy,” “sleeping face,” and “loudly crying face” all having their own issues of interpretation. But “grinning face with smiling eyes” is still the clear winner when it came to sending the wrong message.

Sentiment misconstrual scores

Across-platform sentiment misconstrual scores grouped by Unicode. Each boxplot shows the range of sentiment misconstrual
scores across the five platforms. They are ordered by decreasing median platform-pair sentiment misconstrual, from left to right.

See also

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Shape of things to come

Build your own Amazon Echo with a Raspberry Pi for $60

The Next Web: Amazon’s Echo is a nifty little gadget that’s powered by the company’s Alexa voice assistant and listens for voice commands to do things like order your groceries, update you on the weather and play your favorite tunes. The only problem is, it costs a pretty penny — $180 to be precise.

Thankfully, you can build your own for about $60.

Raspberry Pi + Alexa Voice Service

Project: Raspberry Pi + Alexa Voice Service

This guide provides step-by-step instructions for obtaining the sample code, the dependencies, and the hardware you need to get the reference implementation running on your Pi.

The hardware you need

  1. Raspberry Pi 2 (Model B)Buy at Amazon
  2. Micro-USB power cable for Raspberry Pi (included with Raspberry Pi)
  3. Micro SD Card – To get started with Raspberry Pi you need an operating system. NOOBS (New Out Of the Box Software) is an easy-to-use operating system install manager for the Raspberry Pi. The simplest way to get NOOBS is to buy an SD card with NOOBS preinstalled – Raspberry Pi 8GB Preloaded (NOOBS) Micro SD Card
  4. An Ethernet cable
  5. USB 2.0 Mini Microphone – Raspberry Pi does not have a built-in microphone; to interact with Alexa you’ll need an external one to plug in – Buy at Amazon
  6. A USB Keyboard & Mouse, and an external HDMI Monitor – we also recommend having a USB keyboard and mouse as well as an HDMI monitor handy if for some reason you can’t “SSH” into your Raspberry Pi. More on “SSH” later.
  7. WiFi Wireless Adapter (Optional) Buy at Amazon

More Raspberry Pi projects

…and other posts tagged ‘Raspberry Pi’.

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The Chart of Cosmic Exploration

Probe the solar system from Mercury to Pluto with this stellar schematic of space exploration! From the Luna 2 in 1959 to the DSCOVR in 2015, this color-coded chart traces the trajectories of every orbiter, lander, rover, flyby, and impactor to ever slip the surly bonds of Earth’s orbit and successfully complete its mission—a truly astronomical array of over 100 exploratory instruments in all.

Available as a 39″ × 27″ poster from Pop Chart Lab.

(via Mental Floss)

See also

Miscellany

Chart of human space exploration

“Featuring hand-illustrated renderings of each spacecraft juxtaposed against the serried giants of our solar system, this galactic survey is a testament to man’s forays into the grand cosmic ballet.”

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Four years of Pi

This February 29th the Raspberry Pi will be four years old.

Four years. One leap year. 8 million Raspberry Pis.

Matthew Timmons-Brown

Matthew Timmons-Brown (aka The Raspberry Pi Guy): I was an 11 year old school boy when I first heard about the Raspberry Pi in 2011. It seemed pretty darn cool that I could own a personal computer for under £30. I followed the progress of this little British invention for the next 6 months, a total novice, and witnessed the launch on the 29th February 2012: the world’s affordable computer had been born.

See also: Other posts tagged ‘Raspberry Pi’

Cosmo Wenman: The Times reports that artists Al-badri and Nelles used a modified Microsoft Kinect scanner hidden under clothing to gather the scan data of the bust. Following the Times story, there have been several independent and exhaustive descriptions of how their scan data simply cannot have been gathered in the way Al-badri and Nelles claim. […] They correctly point out that the Kinect scanner has fundamentally low resolution and accuracy, and that even under ideal conditions, it simply cannot acquire data as detailed as what the artists have made available. The artists’ account simply cannot be true.

All of this confusion stems from bad institutional practices regarding secrecy: The Neues Museum is hoarding 3D scans that by all rights it should share with the public, and The New York Times has allowed anonymous sources into the chain of custody of the facts of its story.


The Other Nefertiti — Artists release the 3D data of Nefertiti’s head

Nefertiti 3D print

Hyperallergic: Last October, two artists entered the Neues Museum in Berlin, where they clandestinely scanned the bust of Queen Nefertiti, the state museum’s prized gem. Three months later, they released the collected 3D dataset online as a torrent, providing completely free access under public domain to the one object in the museum’s collection off-limits to photographers.

Nora Al-Badri and Jan Nikolai Nelles

Nora Al-Badri and Jan Nikolai Nelles

“The head of Nefertiti represents all the other millions of stolen and looted artifacts all over the world currently happening, for example, in Syria, Iraq, and in Egypt,” Al-Badri said.

Updated March 9, 2016 with the news that this story is likely a hoax.

See also

  • The story of “Sweetie” — How a computer-generated 10-year old girl from the Philippines caught over 1,000 pedophiles in only two months.
  • The New Aesthetic and its PoliticsA photograph of Eric Schmidt wearing a flak jacket – as he does in his Twitter avatar – is a spur to investigate the circumstances of the photograph and the self-presentation of the corporation. It was taken on a visit to Iraq in 2009, when Google promised to digitise what remains of the National Museum’s collection, raising further questions about the digitisation and subsequent ownership of cultural patrimony, and of Google’s involvement in political activity and international diplomacy through its Google Ideas think-tank, which actively supports a programme of regime change in certain parts of the world.
Shape of things to come

Artists covertly scan bust of Nefertiti; release the 3D model for free online

“The Other Nefertiti” is an artistic intervention by the two German artists Nora Al-Badri and Jan Nikolai Nelles. Al-Badri and Nelles scanned the head of Nefertiti clandestinely in the Neues Museum Berlin without permission of the Museum and they hereby announce the release of the 3D data of Nefertitis head under a Creative Commons Licence.

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The Freewrite ‘smart typewriter’ with an e-ink display.
A “distraction-free tool for writing composition.”

Astrohaus Freewrite - top

Boing Boing: The $500 price is high, and driven by the device’s high-spec manufacturing: the full-sized mechanical keyboard’s kitted out with Cherry MX switches, and the body of the device is machined aluminum. It weighs four pounds and you carry it by pulling out a recessed handle.

The Freewrite originally launched on Kickstarter (as the ‘Hemingwrite’) and is currently at a special promotional price.

TechCrunch: The FreeWrite will be available today for a 24-hour flash sale at $449, after which the price will increase to $499 through March, with a final MSRP of $549. Shipments will begin this March.

Wired: Freewrite weighs four pounds—about halfway between the weight of the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro. But you won’t need to bring the Freewrite’s charger to the coffee shop, because get this: It gets more than four weeks worth of battery life from a single charge.

See also

Craft and creativity

Freewrite: A ‘smart typewriter’ with an e-ink display

“We are quickly seeing people becoming more disenchanted than ever with the nag of constant consumption,” explains Adam Leeb, cofounder of Freewrite manufacturer Astrohaus. “Everyone, particularly the millennial generation, understands that we now have to fight for our own attention from the outside world. Instead of allowing it to be a general purpose computer, we focused on one purpose, making the best possible writing experience.” — Wired

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Welcome to my bathroom. Please excuse the carefully arranged mess around the medicine cabinet and its pristine mirror surface.

To the right of where my face would be we have the time and date. To the left is the current weather and a 24-hour forecast. Below are some recent news headlines.

Other concepts I’m playing with are traffic, reminders, and essentially anything that has a Google Now card. The idea is that you don’t need to interact with this UI. Instead, it updates automatically and there’s an open-ended voice search interface for anything else.

Medium: My Bathroom Mirror Is Smarter Than Yours

See also

Shape of things to come

Stylish homemade smart bathroom mirror

When Max Braun couldn’t buy a smart mirror he made one instead: “There doesn’t seem to be anyone selling the product I was looking for. The individual parts, however, were fairly easy to get.”

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At this year’s CES Kodak announced a brand new 8mm film camera, of all things. The industrial design is by Yves Béhar (the man behind the Jambox and OLPC) and his team at FuseProject. It’s a fascinating thing to look at.

The Kodak Super 8 Revival Initiative reaches far beyond the introduction of a new camera. The company has built a roadmap that includes a range of cameras, film development services, post production tools and more. “It is an ecosystem for film” said Jeff Clarke, Eastman Kodak Chief Executive Officer.

Shooting analogue has never been so easy. When you purchase film you will be buying the film, processing and digital transfer. The lab will send you your developed film back and email you a password to retrieve your digital scans from the cloud so you can edit and share in any way you choose.

The Verge: The (non-working) prototype is on display at CES. Kodak plans to ship limited edition of the camera in the fall for somewhere between $400 and $750, according to the WSJ. A less expensive model is expected in 2017. Processing the film should cost $50 to $75 a cartridge.

Wired: Those seeing the new camera at CES have been quick to call it “old-school,” but Béhar dismisses the descriptor. “This is not a retro design job,” he says. “I was not interested in being directly inspired in what was done back then. The reason it looks retro is the size and the mechanical restraint of using a [film] cartridge.”

The 8mm camera return explained by Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke

The Verge’s Sean O’Kane talked to Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke about how it works, why JJ Abrams loves it, and why the company is going retro.

See also

  • The History of Aspect Ratios — John Hess traces the evolution of the screen shape from the silent film days through the widescreen explosion of the 50s, to the aspect ratio of modern digital cameras
  • The acclaimed documentary Tangerine was shot using the iPhone 5S (three actually), $8 camera app Filmic Pro, a Steadicam rig and special anamorphic lenses made by Moondog Labs
  • AMPC: A modern computer built inside a case inspired by older amplifiers
  • All trousers: The Novo digital cinema camera

…and other posts tagged ‘filmmaking’

Light-based media

Kodak’s Super 8 Camera revival

“The hope, at Kodak and according to Béhar, is for the new Super 8 to be something of a bridge, not just between film and digital, but between entry-level and professional movie-making.” — Wired

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The ethical dilemma of self-driving cars

Self-driving cars are already cruising the streets today. And while these cars will ultimately be safer and cleaner than their manual counterparts, they can’t completely avoid accidents altogether. How should the car be programmed if it encounters an unavoidable accident? Patrick Lin navigates the murky ethics of self-driving cars.

(via Laughing Squid)

Kangaroo PC
Shape of things to come

Kangaroo: a $99 Windows 10 pocket PC

Kangaroo is a $99 ‘mobile desktop’ that runs the full Home edition of Windows 10.

VentureBeat: The pitch is simple: Kangaroo offers the power of a cheap full-sized computer with the convenience and mobility of a cell phone. The black satin aluminum device is powered by an Intel Cherrytrail (Z8500) SOC, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage (only about 18GB is free when you first start it, but storage is expandable via a microSD card), and an on-board battery (up to four hours of “casual use”). The standalone Kangaroo Dock, which you can swap out for other future docks, includes an HDMI port and two USB ports.

Kangaroo PC

Windows Hello integration means the fingerprint reader on the side of the Kangaroo lets you log in without a password or PIN.

Kangaroo PC with dock

The included Dock is supposed to let you connect the Kangaroo to PC monitors, big screen TVs, projectors, or even Apple’s iPad.

Kangaroo PC connected

Aside from slow Wi-Fi in some cases and some cropping issues depending on the type of screen you’re plugging the Kangaroo into, this is definitely worth the $99. InFocus plans to unveil more products and accessories at CES 2016 in an attempt to build a Kangaroo ecosystem: A Kangaroo monitor, dedicated storage expansion, and various port expansion docks are all in the works.

VentureBeat: Kangaroo is an amazing $99 Windows 10 portable PC

See also

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MIT Media Lab Knotty Objects: Phone

What changes when you stop designing phones for companies and start designing them for people?

This video is one of a series of videos in collaboration between m ss ng p eces and MIT Media Lab for the Knotty Objects Summit, the first MIT Media Lab Summit devoted to design.

(via kottke.org)

Other videos in the MIT Media Lab Knotty Objects series

  • BrickThe brick invites questions about modular building and construction practices across all aspects of contemporary life, and how these are changing as they come to incorporate living materials instead of constraining them.
  • SteakThe steak is a vivid reminder that all manufactured consumables have consequential origins, whether those origins are living, breathing animals, or cells in vitro.
  • BitcoinThe bitcoin defies simple distinctions between currency, asset, and platform, and changes not just the imagining and practice of money, but of trust, reputation, value, and exchange.

See also

  • MIT Media Lab on Medium: Knotty Objects celebrates the chimeric nature of design. The event is therefore centered around four objects–the brick, the bitcoin, the steak, and the phone–that cut across research fields and defy a discipline-specific approach.
  • Casio F-91W: terrorist watchIt is cheap, basic and widely available around the world. Yet the Casio F-91W digital watch was declared to be “the sign of al-Qaida” and a contributing factor to continued detention of prisoners by the analysts stationed at Guantánamo Bay.
  • How the design firm behind the Xbox built the bike of the futureOregon Manifest’s three pillars for the competition were safety, security, and convenience.
  • Adam Savage’s Ten Commandments for Makers — From an address to the Bay Area Maker Faire.
Craft and creativity

Phones for the people

“The phone lies at the foundation of 21st century human (and non-human) communication, and shapes these exchanges for the hand, for the eye, and in the mind.”

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OXO On 12-Cup Coffee Brewing System

With the thermos carafe, showerhead dripper and a variable temperature kettle that can be used separately, this machine has the potential to be a great coffee maker. I’ve been using a Clever Dripper for a few years now, but I do miss some of the convenience of using a drip machine. This could be the one to take me back.

OXO On 12-Cup Coffee Brewing System

If the clever pump that goes through the handle, over the top and out the spout of the kettle works as well as it seems (without leaking or making a huge amount of noise or anything) then this could well be one of the best coffee makers.

Seattle Coffee Gear overview

See also

Silent Circle logo

Silent Circle Blackphone 2

On the surface, the phone looks like your standard 5.5-inch screened smartphone—the same size as the iPhone 6 Plus. The original Blackphone had an odd rounded back cover and “Blackphone” embossed into its plastic, and the Blackphone 2 is almost anonymous by comparison. The Silent Circle and Blackphone logos are subtly printed on its back and easily covered by a case for those who prefer not to drop a phone that screams, “I am carrying a secure phone!” into a security checkpoint x-ray machine basket.

[…] it might not have a stylus, the fastest processor, or the most powerful graphics engine, but it will serviceably perform as a smartphone while not giving you up to surveillance. The Blackphone 2 is the phone your chief information security officer will want your CEO to carry.

See also:

Shape of things to come

Paranoid Android: Silent Circle’s Blackphone 2

“Silent Circle—founded by Phil Zimmerman (creator of PGP), former Entrust Chief Technology Officer John Calas (the man behind much of the security in Mac OS X and iOS), and former Navy SEAL and security entrepreneur Mike Janke—bought out Geeksphone and absorbed the joint venture. The company hired a new CEO (former Entrust CEO and Nortel President Bill Conner), renamed and rebuilt its Android-based operating system, upgraded the infrastructure of its encrypted voice and text communications network, and built an entirely new hardware platform based on a somewhat more industry-standard chipset. All of that has led the team toward Blackphone 2.” — Ars Technica

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ZERO-DAY by beeple

The next world war will not be invisible.

After the success of STUXNET, a virus written by the United States to destroy Iranian uranium enrichment facilities, the U.S. government could no longer deny it was developing cyber weapons meant to do physical damage. With US companies and agencies under constant attack from state-sponsored Chinese hackers, it is only a matter of time before tensions boil over and more sensitive infrastructure is targeted. As more or our devices (cars, homes, etc) become connected, we will become more and more vulnerable to the physical threat of cyber warfare.

More stills on Behance
Equally awesome process video after the jump →

Everything is a Remix Remastered (2015 HD)

Kirby Ferguson:

In the five years since the series launched, Everything is a Remix has been viewed over two million times and produced a popular TED Talk. Amazingly, Remix continues to change the way people think about creativity, originality, and copyright.

To celebrate the five year anniversary, I’ve polished up the original four parts and merged them into a single video. For the first time now, the whole series is available as a single video with proper transitions all the way through, unified styling, and remixed and remastered audio. Part One has been entirely rebuilt in HD.

You can get some merchandise on Kickstarter, if you feel so inclined.

Over the years there have been many requests for Everything is a Remix merchandise and I’m taking this anniversary as an opportunity to finally produce some. With your support, we’ll do a run of t-shirts and posters. There are no limits, we’ll produce and ship as many as we sell.

Update →

I was struck by how many smartwatch features considered groundbreaking today were around in some form years or decades ago.

“It was certainly intriguing not only to see an unparalleled array of gadgetry on display, but to hear the corporation responsible say it didn’t have much interest in adding to the list.”

…more on The Verge.

See also: Casio F-91W: terrorist watch

Shape of things to come

Casio’s original smartwatches

“Casio is showing off its rich history of unusual wristwatches, which range from the forward-thinking to the bizarre. It’s a pretty amazing collection, with features I never knew existed in digital timepieces.” — The Verge

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Grovemade produce gorgeous handcrafted accessories for your technology.

Grovemade walnut desk

The keyboard tray is particularly clever. (There’s a Magic Trackpad version too.)

The iPhone dock is another of my favourites. I personally don’t like cases that cover the screen, but this one with the leather flap looks very smart.

I’m not a huge fan of the watch either, but it does look lovely. I wonder if they’ll make anything for the Apple Watch?

This sleeve design however is just incredible. There are versions for the iPad Air, Mini and for the 13 inch MacBook Air. Like everything, it’s available in maple and walnut.

Grovemade iPad

They have loads more lovely product shots and behind-the-scenes photographs on Instagram too.

(via Bless This Stuff)

See also

Craft and creativity

Grovemade make gorgeous handcrafted tech accessories

Based in Portland, Oregon (where else?) Grovemade produce gorgeous tech accessories that I really, really want. Seriously! I mean, this isn’t a paid ad guys but if you want to send me a maple monitor stand you can consider me paid!

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Casey Neistat has a somewhat, erm, guerrilla approach to technology. So far he’s adapted two Apple Watches to suit his personal tastes. Look away Apple fans!

Louis Vuitton Apple Watch

Plus how (not) to etch your name into your expensive new Apple gadget.

How to Turn Your Apple Watch Gold

A bit of spray paint turns a $399 apple watch into a $12,000 ‘edition’!

The Making of a Viral Video

Casey explains how and why he made his ‘How to Turn Your Apple Watch Gold’ video.

See also

Craft and creativity

Watch Casey Neistat customise / vandalise the Apple Watch

How to turn your Apple Watch gold and how about a fancy Louis Vuitton strap too? Look away Apple fans!

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PaPiRus with optional slimline switches installed
Craft and creativity

PaPiRus: ePaper screen for Raspberry Pi

This seems like it could be the perfect screen for any number of Raspberry Pi projects. It’s a shame they don’t show any pictures of the display actually working, but Pi Supply have a good Kickstarter track record, so I wouldn’t be overly concerned.

Kickstarter: PaPiRus – the ePaper Screen HAT for your Raspberry Pi

PaPiRus is a versatile ePaper display HAT for the Raspberry Pi with screens ranging from 1.44″ to 2.7″ in size.

ePaper is a display technology that mimics the appearance of ink on paper. Unlike conventional displays, ePaper reflects light – just like ordinary paper – and is capable of holding text and images indefinitely, even without electricity.

Because of this, ePaper displays and Raspberry Pi’s are a match made in heaven as together they use a very small amount of power whilst still bringing a display to your project.

See also: Other posts tagged ‘Raspberry Pi’

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ZXX_ABC

z-x-x.org – an experimental typeface designed by Sang Mun to raise awareness of surveillance issues.

The name ZXX comes from the Library of Congress’ Alpha-3 ISO 639-2 — codes for the representation of names of languages. ZXX is used to declare No linguistic content; Not applicable.

“Just like the animals we need to start adopting new ways to conceal ourselves from the autocratic predators, in this case governments and corporations.”

See also:

Shape of things to come

ZXX: A typeface to open up governments

“Over the course of a year, I researched and created ZXX, a disruptive typeface. I drew six different cuts (Sans, Bold, Camo, False, Noise and Xed) to generate endless permutations, each font designed to thwart machine intelligences in a different way. I offered the typeface as a free download in hopes that as many people as possible would use it.” – Sang Mun

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Casio F-91W range
Miscellany

Casio F-91W: terrorist watch

Casio F-91W disassembled

Reading a blog post about the Apple Watch today, I became aware of the fact that the old Casio F-91W I wore as a teenager is still in production! Then I was reminded of the story from 2011 that this model of watch is favoured by hipsters and… terrorists:

It is cheap, basic and widely available around the world. Yet the Casio F-91W digital watch was declared to be “the sign of al-Qaida” and a contributing factor to continued detention of prisoners by the analysts stationed at Guantánamo Bay.

Osama bin Laden wearing a Casio F-91W

Osama bin Laden wearing a Casio F-91W. The image is genuine, as far as I can tell.

The report states: “The Casio was known to be given to the students at al-Qaida bomb-making training courses in Afghanistan at which the students received instruction in the preparation of timing devices using the watch.

Casio A-159W

Casio A-159W

“Approximately one-third of the JTF-GTMO detainees that were captured with these models of watches have known connections to explosives, either having attended explosives training, having association with a facility where IEDs were made or where explosives training was given, or having association with a person identified as an explosives expert.”

More than 50 detainee reports refer to the Casio timepieces. The records of 32 detainees refer to the black Casio F-91W, while a further 20 make reference to the silver version, the A-159W.

Al Qaida watch timer on perf board

This improvised timer for a time bomb was captured in the early 2000s


“We purposely don’t market it as anything cool or trendy,” Tim Gould, head of marketing at Casio UK told the BBC.

“It’s not pretentious and doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not. It just a basic watch that is reliable and good value.”


The Casio Retro Range

I’m definitely going to buy one of these watches — in fact I may get a variety of colours and the steel A-159W. I’m also tempted to get one of these ‘Reworks’ editions…

Finn Magee – Reworks

The reworks series gets inside the Casio F-91W digital wristwatch, one of the most commonplace items of consumer electronics.

Casio F-91W Rework - Steel colour range

Mass produced Casio F-91Ws are stripped down and their components reworked using a combination of industrial and craft processes. They’re then carefully reassembled to build at once familiar and unique timepieces.

The Reworks story begins with growing up in the 1980’s. Back then a Casio digital watch was mandatory and when the F-91W was introduced 1991 it was the model to have. The watch felt hi-tech and was reliable, accurate and cheap too. It achieved near ubiquitous product status, gracing first and third world wrists alike.


Further reading

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Sam Harris
Shape of things to come

Sam Harris on the problem of artificial intelligence

“The fact that we seem to be hastening towards some sort of digital apocalypse poses several intellectual and ethical challenges. For instance, in order to have any hope that a super-intelligent AGI would have values commensurate with our own we would have to instil those values in it, or otherwise get it to emulate us. But whose values should count? Should everyone get a vote in creating the utility function of our new colossus?

“If nothing else the invention of an AGI would force us to resolve some very old and boring arguments in moral philosophy.

“It’s interesting that once you imagine having to build values into a super-intelligent AGI, you then realise that you need to get straight about what you think is good, and I think the advent of this technology would cut through moral relativism like a laser. I mean, who is going to want to engineer into this thing the values of theocracy?”

Sam Harris in the most recent episode of his podcast.

See also: Sam Harris on the mechanics of defamation and other posts tagged ‘philosophy’

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Wired has some gorgeous UI graphics in its feature on the Apple Watch

In a sense the first true Apple Watch prototype was, like 10,000 Kickstarter projects, just a weird iPhone case with a strange accessory sticking out of it.

On such a small display, small things assume outsize importance, and the human interface team designed some novel ways of interacting with the device. There’s the digital crown, of course, and also the so-called Force Touch that lets you press a little harder on the screen to access hidden menus. They also designed an entirely new typeface, called San Francisco, which is more readable on a small display than Apple’s standard Helvetica. The letters are more square, Dye says, “but with gentle, curved corners,” mimicking the Watch’s case. It’s wide and legible at small sizes, but when it gets larger the letters tighten up a little more.

Options were central to the plan from the beginning: two sizes, three tiers, easily interchangeable straps, and tons of watch faces and so-called complications, digital add-ons that show relevant information like the weather and your activity level, to make your Watch uniquely yours. (The term complication is a nod to high-end watchmaking and refers to a function a watch performs beyond telling the hour and minute.)

Personal note →

Shape of things to come

A close look at the interface design of the Apple Watch

“Questions started coalescing around the idea of a watch: What could it add to people’s lives? What new things could you do with a device that you wear? Around this time, Ive began a deep investigation of horology, studying how reading the position of the sun evolved into clocks, which evolved into watches. Horology became an obsession. That obsession became a product.” –Wired

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TeleGeography's Submarine Cable Map

TeleGeography’s Submarine Cable Map has been updated for 2015. The latest edition depicts 299 cable systems that are currently active, under construction, or expected to be fully-funded by the end of 2015.

The map depicts routes of 278 in-service and 21 planned undersea cables. Capital cities for each country are also provided.

Submarine cable map detail

(via Vox)

See also

Life on the Internet

Ye olde submarine cable map

“To bring back the lost aesthetic that vanished along with these whimsical details, TeleGeography referenced a variety of resources in the design process. One of the most invaluable was Chet Van Duzer’s Sea Monsters in Medieval and Renaissance Maps book, which provides arguably the most complete history of the evolution of sea monsters and map design from this period. Our final product is a view of the global submarine cable network seen through the lens of a bygone era.” — TeleGeography

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The recreated ZX Spectrum is a flawless copy of the original device, and will ship some time later this year with a companion app for iOS and Android, as well as a number of ZX Spectrum games such as Chuckie Egg — one of the machine’s greatest hits. The games work on both smartphones and tablets, but the device itself also functions as a straightforward Bluetooth keyboard.

Pre-order at sinclairzxspectrum.elite-systems.co.uk

The original ZX Spectrum

An issue 2 1982 ZX Spectrum

The original ZX Spectrum is remembered for its rubber keyboard, diminutive size and distinctive rainbow motif. It was originally released on 23 April 1982 with 16 KB of RAM for £125 or with 48 KB for £175.
Wikipedia

Shape of things to come

Gorgeous Bluetooth keyboard replica of the ZX Spectrum

I find this amusing. The squishy rubber keyboard was apparently the worst feature of the Spectrum. This product is an admirable reproduction and I can certainly see the nostalgic appeal, but I think I’ll pass. It may be a gorgeous replica, but I doubt it’s a good keyboard.

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The Artiphon Instrument 1 has already raised over $600k of its $75k goal on Kickstarter, with 31 days still to go!

A guitar is designed to be strummed; piano keys are pressed; drum pads are tapped; violins are bowed. But what if a single instrument could be played with any of these techniques? That’s exactly what we’re creating – one instrument that lets you be the whole band.

Artiphon Instrument 1

It works with any music creation software that uses the MIDI standard, which is the universal language of digital music. MIDI has been around for over 30 years, and lets electronic instruments tell each other what notes to play and how they should sound. But don’t worry: we’ve made it easier than ever to get started making digital music; no acronyms required.

Artiphon

  • Play any instrument, style, and sound with a single device that connects directly to your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
  • Our patented multi-instrument technology transforms the INSTRUMENT 1 into a guitar, violin, bass, piano, drum machine… it’s any instrument you want it to be.
  • Plug in and play 100’s of apps like GarageBand with universal musical gestures: strumming, tapping, bowing, sliding, and more.
  • Digital string-like interface works with any MIDI-compatible software.
  • The unique ergonomic design can be held in multiple positions, and is fully ambidextrous.
  • Design new instruments and custom tunings via the Artiphon companion app.
  • It’s compact, portable, durable, self-powered, and simple.
  • Designed and engineered in Nashville, TN.

(via fubiz)

Shape of things to come

The Artiphon multiple instrument

“A guitar is designed to be strummed; piano keys are pressed; drum pads are tapped; violins are bowed. But what if a single instrument could be played with any of these techniques? That’s exactly what we’re creating – one instrument that lets you be the whole band.”

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I don’t know why I find these kinds of workspace photographs so appealing.

I know they reek of pretentiousness and elitism and just plain showing-off (either “look at what expensive toys and good taste I have” or “look how well I’ve got my life organised”), but I still aspire.

Of all these workplaces, the Ugmonk studio has to be one of my favourites.

I’m also endlessly fascinated by these workbag displays. So many things I need to buy to make my life complete.

Craft and creativity

Apple porn

I know it’s not strictly an ‘Apple’ thing – I’ve seen plenty of people showing off PC workstations and ultra-nerdy open source setups too – but let’s be honest, Mac geeks in particular love to show off.

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