Category Archives: technology

qwerty.

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not me, but someone from back in the day 
who is frustrated by the illogical order of the keyboard.

have you ever wondered why the letters on the keyboard are organized the way they are? while it seems like the letters were randomly strewn across the keys, this method of organizing the keyboard was developed as way to slow down typists. back in 1872, typewriter users were typing too fast and causing the typewriters to jam. so, the QWERTY method actually kept the machines from breaking down and is still used today.

 

“wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast. ”    

-william shakespeare

 

 

source: mental floss, noam

 

the great escape.

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 A robot vacuum cleaner made a break for freedom after giving staff the slip at a Travelodge hotel.

The automated cleaner failed to stop at the front door of the hotel in Orchard Park in Cambridge, England on Thursday, and was still on the loose the following day.

Staff said it just kept going and “could be anywhere” while well-wishers on social media hoped the vacuum enjoyed its travels, as “it has no natural predators” in the wild.

It was found under a hedge on Friday.

Staff at the hotel posted the story of the robot vacuum’s great escape on social media, asking for it to be returned, if found.

“Today we had one of our new robot vacuums run for its life,” the assistant manager wrote.

“They normally sense the lip at the hotel entrance and turn around, but this one decided to make a run for it.”

The robot vacuum had enough of cleaning the lobby and made its bid for freedom from the hotel, which is next to the A14. Its disappearance was not noticed for about 15 minutes and despite a search, it appeared the vacuum had made a clean break for it.

While some readers joked about the robot’s adventures, one feared for its safety in the great outdoors, pointing out that “nature abhors a vacuum”.

However, much to everyone’s relief, the device was found nestled under a hedge on Friday afternoon by a (human) hotel cleaner sprucing up the front drive. It was dusted off and “is now back sitting happily on a shelf with the rest of its robot vacuum family”, the hotel confirmed.

“one basic law of the universe dictates that robots

must learn to make fast food before they can get driver’s licenses.” 

-leland mcknight

 

 

 

credits: eastofenglandnews@bbc.co.uk, n. chadwick/geograph

 

 

spam!

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 clearing out my spam yet again

there seems to be no end to spam

i love hacking away and getting rid of it

 like when you sweep the sand

out of a vacation cottage at the beach

you know there will be more of it

in just a few hours

but the deleting process

is strangely satisfying

in the moment.

 

“two years from now, spam will be solved.”

– Bill Gates’ prediction, seventeen years ago, at the 2004 World Economic Forum

diagnosis.

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my laptop suddenly went black and i couldn’t do anything to revive it

  soon left in the hands of my local miracle-working tech wizards

the diagnosis wasn’t the best

 it quickly landed in their icu unit

after some long days passed

and lots of finger-crossing

they somehow managed to save it

took it all apart

unwired, rewired, cleaned parts,

twisted things, fidgeted with things, checked things,

moved things, tested things,

put the puzzle all back together

 (the technical play by play)

and wow – it now works

i’m squeamish so i didn’t ask for too many details of the surgery

 the prognosis moving ahead was

“it will last for a while longer”

(like all of us)

 there could be many reasons

why it had a near-death experience

just happy that it’s working and back in action

and that’s a very good thing.

“a lot of people asked me if it was frustrating not having a clear specific diagnosis,

but i didn’t mind. i just chose the most optimistic diagnosis.”

-karen duffy

remotely interested.

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when not at home

i am often reminded

that there is always a learning curve

upon encountering new remotes 

as is often the case

they seem to have been designed 

by someone who wanted to add

lots of colorful or completely unmarked obscure buttons

i am far from winning or fully appreciating the options

luckily i have my secret weapons – my grandies

who can navigate their way around them with ease. 

 

“i couldn’t find the remote control to the remote control.”

-steven wright

toasted.

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Completely Customize Your Breakfast

With a Touchscreen Toaster

That Has 60 Different Settings

Revolution/Amazon
Toasters seem to have a mind of their own. One day your bagel pops out perfectly golden brown, and the next, the same setting burns it to a crisp. Revolution’s touchscreen toaster ($280) looks to take the guesswork out of your morning routine by offering 60 different toast settings for basically any form of carbohydrate you throw in there.

This toaster, which sports a 4.4-star rating on Amazon, works just as well with frozen waffles and multi-grain bread as it does for Pop-Tarts and bakery-fresh bagels. All you have to do is program the toaster with what food you want to crisp, the state it’s in (frozen, fresh, etc.), and what color level you want it to be when it pops out.

Once set, the countdown clock will start and an alarm will ring to let you know when it’s done. There’s even a built-in mechanism that adjusts to the size of whatever you’re toasting to ensure all of your food pops out high enough to grab safely with your fingers. The Revolution toaster doesn’t require any pre-heating time, and the company claims it’s 35 percent faster than other versions.

personal note:

this stresses me out just reading about it,

i would need a tech geek to come with the toaster.

“television is like the american toaster, you push the button and the same thing pops up every time.”

-alfred hitchcock

 

 

article source: Elaine Selna/Mental Floss

who’s zooming who?

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We humans may be tiring of video calls, Zoom birthdays and streamed performances, but the chimps at two Czech zoos are just starting to enjoy their new live online linkup. To make up for the lack of interaction with visitors since the attractions closed in December under Covid-19 restrictions, the chimpanzees at Safari Park Dvur Kralove and the troop at a zoo in Brno, 93 miles away, can now watch one another’s daily lives on giant screens.

There are no mute-button disasters as the sound is off, but there has already been plenty of interest in what the distant cousins are up to since the project got underway last week.

“At the beginning they approached the screen with defensive or threatening gestures, there was interaction,” said Gabriela Linhartova, ape keeper at Dvur Kralove, 84 miles east of Prague. “It has since moved into the mode of ‘I am in the movies’ or ‘I am watching TV.’ When they see some tense situations, it gets them up off the couch, like us when we watch a live sport event.” The chimpanzees have also adopted other human behaviors such as grabbing goodies like nuts to chew on while watching the action.

The video conferences, also aired on the safari park’s website, will run daily from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. until the end of March, when keepers will evaluate whether they should continue.

“it is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man.”

-H. L. Mencken

 

 

 

credits: David w. Cerney – Reuters

life is a mix tape.

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Lou Ottens, the Dutch inventor of the cassette tape, has died at home in the Netherlands, at the age of 94, his family has confirmed to CNN.  An estimated 200 billion cassette tapes have been sold worldwide, according to Philips, the company he began working for in 1952. Ottens also supervised the team that developed the compact disc (CD). Ottens was described by Olga Coolen, director of the Philips Museum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, as an “extraordinary man who loved technology.”

Ottens cut a block of wood that would fit into the side of his jacket pocket to find an ideal size for the new carrier. The block became the model after which the first portable cassette recorder was made, said Philips. Remarkably, his wooden prototype was later lost when used to prop up his jack while changing a flat tire.

In 1963, the development of the cassette and the playback device had done so well that they were presented at the Internationale Funkausstellung, a trade exhibition for audio products in Berlin. Guests from Japan were inspired by his invention and the cassette was quickly copied by Japanese manufacturers into a different format and sold onto the Japanese market. The cassette recorder was a huge hit around the world, but particularly with young people in the 1960s – 1980s.

The device helped capture iconic sounds, according to Philips, as recounted by Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, who wrote in his 2010 autobiography “Life”: “I wrote the song ‘Satisfaction’ in my sleep. I didn’t know at all that I had recorded it, the song only exists thank God to the little Philips cassette recorder. I looked at it in the morning — I knew I had put a new tape in the night before — but it was at the very end. Apparently, I had recorded something. I rewound and then ‘Satisfaction’ sounded … and then 40 minutes of snoring.”

In 2013, on the 50th anniversary of the cassette tape, a special exhibition was created to honor Ottens’ work at the Philips Museum. The first-ever cassette recorder still lies on display as “a testimony to his foresight and innovation,” Coolen, in a statement to CNN, added that his extraordinary inventions had “humble beginnings.”

“life is a mix tape.”

-author unknown

what songs would be on the mix tape of your life?”

 

story credit: CNN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


“am i living in a simulation?” – charlie brooker

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who could possibly part with this?

the hurricane simulator

is on the trash heap

behind a bowling alley

why has no one snatched it up?

has it lost its luster, its wind, its power to awe?

looks a time-travel machine to me if there ever was one. 

 

 

 

“nature isn’t classical, dammit,

and if you want to make a simulation of nature,

you’d better make it quantum mechanical,

and by golly it’s wonderful problem,

because it doesn’t look easy.”

-richard p. feynman (american theoretical physicist)

hum.

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Now you can hum to search Google for songs you can’t remember, but can’t forget. If you’ve ever had a song stuck in your head but can’t remember enough lyrics to search for it, Google has a solution: hum to search.

Google unveiled a new search feature Thursday that lets users search for songs by humming a few bars, in an attempt to help you identify music. This is now part of Google’s mobile app and Google Assistant, where you can say “what’s this song?” (add a “Hey Google” first on Google Assistant) and then hum, whistle, or sing for 10 to 15 seconds. The results will include several probable songs, along with the search engine’s estimation of how likely it is that each is the one you’re looking for.

Google said the feature will be available first in English on Apple’s iOS and in over 20 languages on Google’s Android mobile platform. Users don’t need to have perfect pitch in order to get the feature to work, according to Google.

Hum-to-search isn’t a brand new idea, though it is new to Google. Like many of Google’s search offerings, the feature uses machine learning: Essentially, software analyzes the tune you hum (or sing or whistle), turning it into a sequence of digits that can then be compared with tons of digitized songs to find a few that appear similar. The company has been working on using artificial intelligence for music recognition for a number of years.

The feature may be in high demand:  Google’s vice president who introduced it during Google’s streamed event on Thursday, said people ask Google “what song is playing” nearly 100 million times each month.

“but you make me sing like a guitar humming…”

-neil diamond

Credit: Rachel Metz, CNN Business

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