Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Chocolate overdose?

The theme that came to mind for this week's post was clearing out miscellaneous and sundry. Sorta kinda like finishing up the Halloween leftovers. They (the  candy, not the eclectic post topics) can't lead me astray after they're all gone, right?

Let's begin with a seriously cool new computer design. As in, "HP’s New PC Can Project a Touchscreen Onto Your Desk." With this configuration, maybe Windows 8 does make a smidgeon (say, one M&M's worth) of sense for a desktop computer.

In addition to acting as a second screen projected onto the surface where your keyboard would normally be, Sprout’s camera/projector mount—dubbed the “HP Illuminator”—also acts as a scanner. The touch mat also has a special coating that renders it invisible to its cameras during scans. You can place documents or objects in front of the computer, scan them with the Sprout’s 14.6-megapixel and depth-sensing Intel RealSense cameras, and then use the multitouch mat to move those scanned objects around and resize them. That work is done in HP’s own Workspace software on the machine, but the company has released an SDK for app developers to tap into those scanning and input features.

You gotta magnify
As Douglas Adams expressed it (like everything else) so well, "Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space." And if you doubt, consider that "This is what North America would look like on Jupiter."

Halloween having come and gone, can winter be far behind? (The correct answer is "no," as even here in Virginia we've already had our first hard-frost alert of the season.) And so, we have a warning from the Onion, "Snowy Conditions Proving Hazardous For Nation's Idiots." Included on SF and Nonsense with the rationale we so want to believe that story is fiction ....

How often do you ask yourself, Whatever happened to Amelia Earhart? About as often as you go searching for a fruit-flavored Tootsie Roll? Me, too. That doesn't preclude the occasional promising article. This one seems more credible than most: "Why It Took 23 Years to Link Amelia Earhart’s Disappearance to This Scrap of Metal." An interesting bit of technological detective work.

Well-informed, responsible netizen that you are, you carefully read every terms of service, license agreement, and privacy policy before downloading any app or accessing a new data service. Of course you do (just like I read the nutritional labels on the leftover Halloween goodies). In your understandable avoidance of that purposefully, mind-numbingly written ... stuff ... you have plenty of company. Alas, understandable and predictable short cuts can have consequences. From IEEE Spectrum, see, "Browser Beware: Wi-Fi Users Sign Over First-Born Children."

(On the bright side, the first one involves a lot of trial and error.) (Did I hear a Snickers?)

Are you salivating for -- more than another Clark Bar -- the impending era of the Internet of Things, in which everything from your front door to your (LED) light bulbs is smart? So are hackers, hungry to use network-enabled gadgets in your home as a gateway to your WiFi-enabled phone and your computer. CNN reports that "'Bash' bug could let hackers attack through a light bulb."

Sticking (like a caramel on teeth) to the light-bulb theme, and observing that every so often the occasional conspiracy theory does have merit, consider (once again from IEEE Spectrum) the "The Great Lightbulb Conspiracy: The Phoebus cartel engineered a shorter-lived lightbulb and gave birth to planned obsolescence."

Who doesn't like a good comic about the Turing Test? Check out a favorite Brewster Rockit.

Isn't that sweet?

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