Chapter 4 Software Basics: The Ghost in the Machine

Will Your Glasses Be Smarter than You?

April 5, 2012
This woman is demonstrating Google's experimental smart glasses.

The brave new world of augmented reality may be closer than you think. If it becomes a popular product, Google’s Project Glass may make touch-screen smart phones seem positively old-fashioned. This Huffington Post article describes this intriguing wearable technology, and the video gives you a sense of what it might feel like to spend time behind the lenses of smart glasses.

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Will Your Phone Read Your Mind in 2016? Ask IBM

January 5, 2012 As noted in Chapter 1’s Inventing the Future, predicting the future isn’t easy. But when the predictions are backed by one of the world’s biggest technology innovators, they’re worth considering. In this short, clever video, IBM describes and illustrates “5 in 5″— five technological breakthroughs that could reshape our lives within five years.

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Making the Cloud Clear

December 30, 2011
Dropbox illustration If you’re not completely clear about “the cloud,” reading or listening to this short NPR story should help. Even if you understand the basics, you’ll probably be surprised by the many different ways that cloud technology is changing our world.

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Touching the Future

December 29, 2011
Hands interacting with a tablet computer A few years ago touch-screen devices were novelties; today they’re everywhere. Hundreds of millions of smart phones and tablets are profoundly changing the ways people interact with tools, the Internet, and each other. This excellent NPR report covers the evolution of touch technology. Segments examine unusual uses, social implications, and future applications of this […]

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There’s an App for… Everything!

September 25, 2011

Is software taking over the world? In this Wall Street Journal article, Mark Andreessen argues that it is taking over the economic world. Most of today’s business stars, are, at some level, software companies. His predictions about the future of global business and the American economy are worth thinking about.

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Is a Smart Wristwatch in Your Future?

September 14, 2011
iPod Nano: The First Smart Wristwatch?

Wrist communicators were popular in science fiction and comic strips decades ago. Are they going to take off in the real world soon? This Fast Company article speculates about what might happen when a wrist watch connects to a smart phone. Is this the next small thing?

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Algorithms Everywhere

September 5, 2011
Thumbnail image for Algorithms Everywhere

Computer programs are designed using mathematical/logical constructs called algorithms. This fascinating TED talk by Kevin Slavin shows and tells how algorithms are finding their way into all kinds of unexpected places in our world, for better or for worse.

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Jobs Steps Down while Apple Rolls On

August 25, 2011
Steve Jobs portrait

During his tenure as CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs had a profound impact on computers, the music industry, home entertainment, phones, and (most importantly) our day-to-day lives. He transformed Apple from a garage startup into the most valuable company in the world. When he announced his resignation as CEO, the press responded with many thoughtful […]

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Patent Wars: Creativity vs Greed

August 4, 2011

Patents were originally designed to encourage creativity, but in the digital world they may be having the opposite effect. This engaging episode of public radio’s This American Life takes us inside the trenches of the intellectual property wars.

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Will Your Next PC Work Like Your Phone?

June 7, 2011
Windows 8 Start Screen

Within the span of a few days, Microsoft and Apple demonstrated radically different successors to their current operating systems: Apple’s Lion (OS X 10.7), coming in July, and Microsoft’s Windows 8, due in 2012. Both are departures from traditional desktop OSs, borrowing concepts popularized on phones and tablets. This Wall Street Journal article discusses the […]

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