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This 1981 BYTE magazine cover explains why we're so bad at tech predictions

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  2 days ago

harrymcc (1641347) writes "If you remember the golden age of BYTE magazine, you remember Robert Tinney's wonderful cover paintings. BYTE's April 1981 cover featured an amazing Tinney image of a smartwatch with a tiny text-oriented interface, QWERTY keyboard, and floppy drive. It's hilarious--but 33 years later, it's also a smart visual explanation of why the future of technology so often bears so little resemblance to anyone's predictions. I wrote about this over at TIME.com."
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The inside story of Gmail on its tenth anniversary

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  about two weeks ago

harrymcc (1641347) writes "Google officially--and mischievously--unveiled Gmail on April Fools' Day 2004. That makes this its tenth birthday, which I celebrated by talking to a bunch of the people who created the service for TIME.com. It's an amazing story: The service was in the works for almost three years before the announcement, and faced so much opposition from within Google that it wasn't clear it would ever reach consumers."
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Tim Berners-Lee's amazing 1989 proposal for the web

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  about a month ago

harrymcc (1641347) writes "It's well known that the World Wide Web originated in Tim Berners-Lee's 1989 proposal for an information-management system for his employer, CERN. That document turns 25 today, and there's no better way to celebrate the web's birthday than to celebrate it. What Berners-Lee proposed was simple, expandable, social, compatible and distributed — so smart an approach to sharing information that it's easy to envision it going strong generations from now. Over at TIME.com, I posted an appreciation."
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Project Ara: Inside Google's modular smartphones

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  about 2 months ago

harrymcc (1641347) writes "Google is releasing more details on Project Ara, its effort — originally spearheaded by Motorola — to reinvent the smartphone in a form made up of hot-swappable modules that consumers can configure as they choose, then upgrade later as new technologies emerge. Over at TIME, I have an in-depth report on the product, which Google is aiming to release about a year from now."
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LinkedIn kills controversial Intro service for iPhone

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  about 2 months ago

harrymcc (1641347) writes "Back in October, LinkedIn unveiled Intro, which inserted contact info into the iPhone's Mail — even though that app has no mechanism for plugins. Intro worked by serving as a middleman between your e-mail account and your phone, and injecting HTML, a technique which got it lots of extremely negative feedback from the blogosphere.

And now LinkedIn is discontinuing Intro, though it's being vague about why it's giving up after slightly over three months. People who are using it will need to go through several steps to get rid of it, or their mail won't work as of March 7."

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the story of tech, as told by Google Books Ngram Viewer

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  about 3 months ago

harrymcc (1641347) writes "Google's Ngram Viewer is a fascinating way to chart the ups and downs of different phrases over time. I plugged a bunch of tech-related terms in, and cranked out graphs which succinctly show the story of browsers, operating systems, electronics retailers and other rivals over the past few decades. The results are over at TIME.com."
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The $100 3D-Printed Artificial Limb

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  about 3 months ago

harrymcc (1641347) writes "In 2012, TIME wrote about Daniel Omar, a 14-year-old in South Sudan who lost both arms to a bomb dropped by his own government. Mick Ebeling of Not Impossible Labs read the story, was moved — and went to Sudan, where he set up a 3D printing lab which can produce an artificial arm for $100. Omar and others have received them, and Ebeling hopes that other organizations around the world will adopt his open-source design to help amputees, many of whom will never receive more conventional prosthetics."
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The 47 dumbest moments of 2013

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  about 4 months ago

harrymcc (1641347) writes "Over at TIME.com, I rounded up the year's dumbest moments in technology. Yes, the launch of Healthcare.gov is included, as are Edward Snowden's revelations. But so are a bunch of people embarrassing themselves on Twitter, both BlackBerry and Lenovo hiring celebrities to (supposedly) design products, the release of glitchy products ranging from OS X 10.9 Mavericks to the new Yahoo Mail, and much more."
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Grace Hopper's job recommendation for my friend Ann's dad

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  about 4 months ago

harrymcc (1641347) writes "In 1953, Dr. Grace Hopper — at the time, the creator of the Univac 1's compiler, and now remembered as one of computer science's most legendary figures — provided a job recommendation for Second Lieutenant Herb Finnie. She wrote Finnie about it, and decades later, his daughter, my friend Ann Finnie, discovered that charming piece of correspondence in her father's foot locker. Google's Google Doodle yesterday celebrating the 107th anniversary of Hopper's birth inspired Ann to share the letter, which I've published and written about at TIME.com."
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Microsoft compliments Chromebooks by attacking them

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  about 5 months ago

harrymcc (1641347) writes "The latest round in Microsoft's "Scroogled" campaign against Google is a simulated episode of PAWN STARS in which the pawn shop rejects a Chromebook. Over at Time.com, I assess it — and conclude that by making fun of Chromebooks, even though their market share is tiny, Microsoft is acknowledging that they do present a threat to Windows."
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For one night only, the Homebrew Computer Club reconvenes

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  about 5 months ago

harrymcc (1641347) writes "In the mid-1970s, Silicon Valley's legendary Homebrew Computer Club did as much as any one organization to jumpstart the PC revolution, playing an instrumental role in the creation of Apple and numerous other important companies. On Monday night, dozens of its former members — including Woz himself — attended an amazing reunion that was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign. I attended and covered it for TIME."
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Everything you needed to know about the Internet in May, 1994

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  about 7 months ago

harrymcc (1641347) writes "On Saturday, I picked up a copy of a book called How to HOW TO USE THE INTERNET at a flea market. It was published in May, 1994, and is a fascinating snapshot of the state of the Net at that time — when you had to explain to people that it wasn't a good idea to say "thank you" when issuing commands to a machine, and the World Wide Web was an alternative to Gopher that warranted only four pages of coverage towards the end of the book. I selected some choice excerpts and wrote about them over at TIME.com."
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PCWorld magazine is no more

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  about 9 months ago

harrymcc (1641347) writes "After slightly more than 30 years, PCWorld — one of the most successful computer magazines of all time — is discontinuing print publication. It was the last general-interest magazine for PC users, so it really is the end of an era. Over at TIME, I paused to reflect upon the end of the once-booming category, in part as a former editor at PCWorld, but mostly as a guy who really, really loved to read computer magazines."
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The great 1980s TIME giveaway gadgets

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  about 10 months ago

harrymcc (1641347) writes "If you were watching TV in the 1980s, you saw the TV commercials in which my employer, TIME magazine, sold subscriptions — "Hi, I'm Judy, an operator here at TIME magazine." — and gave new customers gadgets such as phones, clocks and even 35mm cameras. By 2013 standards they're all quaint, cheesy and/or silly. And they're preserved via YouTube versions of the commercials. I rounded them up over at TIME.com."
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How Facebook ruined comments (at least for me)

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  about a year ago

harrymcc (1641347) writes "Back in late March, Facebook finally introduced a feature which lets you reply to a specific comment on an update. But at the same time, it started reshuffling the order of comments in an attempt to put the best ones at the top. The change only applies to Pages and to the Profiles of people with more than 10,000 followers, but it's driving me crazy. Over at TIME.com, I explain why."
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IBM makes a movie out of atoms

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  about a year ago

harrymcc (1641347) writes "IBM's Almaden Research Center has a scanning tunneling microcope, a device invented by the company. It uses it to move individual atoms around — mostly for storage research. But it's created a 242-frame cartoon, A Boy and His Atom, using individual atoms as pixels. Guinness has certified it as the world's smallest movie."
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Computer pioneer Harry Huskey, 97, is honored

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  about a year ago

harrymcc (1641347) writes "Harry Huskey was a member of the team that developed ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic computer, during WWII. He went on to design what was the world's fastest computer for a time, and one that was arguably the first personal computer. He also guested on Groucho Marx's You Bet Your Life, back when the idea of an "electric brain " sounded comical. And he's still around to talk about it. Over at TIME, I wrote about his induction last weekend into the Computer History Museum's Hall of Fellows."
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iOS vs. Android: all the numbers

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  1 year,13 hours

harrymcc (1641347) writes "When analyzing the competition between iOS and Android, folks like to fixate on one statistic — be it phone shipments or web usage or profit margin — and declare one operating system or the other as the winner. But it's rare to see a lot of data in one place. So I gathered and graphed the results of many recent studies, covering an array of factors, over at TIME.com."
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An interview with Alan Kay

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  1 year,14 days

harrymcc (1641347) writes "Over at TIME.com, we've published David Greelish's interview with Alan Kay, the famously quotable visionary whose Dynabook proposal has provided much of the inspiration for advances in mobile computing for over 40 years now. Kay talks about his work, laments that the computer has failed to live up to its potential as an educational tool, and says that the iPad betrays the vision that he and others created at Xerox PARC and elsewhere in the 1970s."
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83-Year-Old Inventor Wins $40,000 3D Printing Competition

harrymcc harrymcc writes  |  about a year ago

harrymcc writes "The Desktop Factory Competition was a contest to create an open-source design for a low-cost machine capable of turning cheap plastic pellets into the filament used by 3D printers, with a price of $40,000. The winner is being announced today — and he was born during the Hoover administration. I interviewed 83-year-old retiree Hugh Latham — a proud member of the maker movement — and the contest's organizers for a story over at TIME.com."
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