Technology Blog

True Reality TV

Imagine a crew of Norwegian lumberjacks cutting down a tree and chopping it up for firewood over the course of four hours. That’s the reality of entertainment in Norway, where marathon televised coverage of mundane events is a nationwide hit called Slow TV.

It may sound like the American Yule Log program broadcast annually over the holidays of a log crackling in the fireplace, sometimes accompanied by Christmas music. However, rather than passively providing holiday ambiance, Slow TV is broadcast live, unedited, and uninterrupted by commercials on national television, and half the country is intently watching. Slow TV is like Yule Log cranked up to eleven.

Mouses and Mice

The average mouse doesn’t look much different from ones developed 50 years ago. The trackball became a popular alternative, but even that style caused repetitive motion injuries. Here are four alternative mice (or mouses) that may aid those who have physical difficulty moving the traditional mouse and help computer users avoid or relieve injuries.

Mapping Old Sarum

Emerging technologies are exciting. They can offer new perspectives on the world, save us time and labor, and can enormously change and benefit society. Thus far in my time writing this blog, I’ve explored a number of the fun possibilities that tomorrow may bring: consumer jetpacks, simpler CAPTCHAs, and burrito vending machines, to name a few. However, some of my own favorite uses of technology don’t bring humankind closer to an idealized potential future, but connect us more firmly to the past.

I Am Not a Robot

If you've ever created an online account or posted to an internet forum, you've probably had to struggle through correctly transliterating a few distorted letters and numbers. That's a CAPTCHA. Luckily, (some of) your CAPTCHA-related worries may be over: Google recently announced it would transitioning to other tests for users to demonstrate their humanity.

Is It a Bargain?

I’ve been doing the bulk of my shopping on-line for a few years now, and I am convinced that there is no better way to shop. I avoid the crowds, the parking problems and inclement weather. My orders are delivered right to my door. Best of all, I can shop when I want to without walking for miles in search of the best price.

How can you tell whether an advertised price is really a bargain? Here are two websites that can help.

A Genius in Your Pocket

Do you ever have moments when you really could use a scanner, but don’t want to spend your hard-earned money on another gadget that you will rarely use? The library has a great scanner that scans documents to e-mail and flash drives, and you can use it for free. For those times when you don’t have the time to travel or wait, Genius Scan is an app for your tablet or smartphone that turns your device into a handheld scanner.

A Wiki of the Unexplained

Halloween is over, so you’ll soon be sick of candy, bored of the colors orange and black, no longer amused by how easily your costume fell apart, and probably aren’t really interested in watching cliche horror films about creepy dolls. But while you may be done with scary, for some people the terrifying and abnormal is just a day at work.

These people belong to the Foundation, an organization tasked with securing anomalous objects or entities, containing them in special facilities, and protecting us from their bizarre and otherworldly effects.

A Tiny Pinhole Camera

Engineers often attempt to optimize technologies by making them as compact and efficient as possible. Occasionally these smaller technologies enable the development of brand new technologies—the microchip, for example. Arguably this is also why many consumer electronics like PCs, laptops, televisions, and cell phones (excluding the phablet phenomenon) have gotten progressively smaller since their introduction. But oftentimes shrinking down a technology to its most basic elements is simply a fun exercise in taking things apart and rebuilding them more simply. 

 Ryan Howerter, a graphic design student at Colorado State University, has done just that with the pinhole camera. Howerter fashioned a tiny fully-functional pinhole camera from a two-by-two square Lego brick.

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