-Updates Chapter 3 Hardware Basics: Peripherals Working Wisdom: Ergonomics and Health

Smart Phone, Dumb Posture

ergonics-and-mobileIt’s fairly well known that sitting at a desk staring at a computer all day can be hazardous to your spine (see page 86 of Digital Planet), but new research suggests that standing with your smart phone can also cause problems. This short Huffington Post piece explains why.

-Context 3.2 Output: From Pulses to People 3.5 Inventing the Future: Tomorrow's Peripherals

The 3D Printing Revolution

The name “3D printer” doesn’t come close to evoking the transformative potential of this rapidly emerging technology. In this intriguing TED Talk, Avi Reichental describes how 3D printers are revolutionizing medicine, manufacturing, and more. How does it change our world when complexity is free?
[ted id=2026 lang=en]

-Context 3.3 Storage Devices: Input Meets Output 3.4 The Computer System: The Sum of Its Parts 8.4 The Network Advantage 9.1 Inside the Internet Ports and Slots Revisited

The Flash inside the Cloud

When you post something on Facebook, stream a movie from Netflix, or share data with Dropbox, you’re using “the cloud.” Apple’s iCloud makes it possible for 250 million people to store their music, appointments, and documents “out there” and effortlessly access them via iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other digital devices. But what, and where, is the cloud, and how does it work? This slightly technical Wired article examines the futuristic technology inside the cloud—technology that’s likely to find its way into future PCs, tablets, and phones.

-Inventing the Future 10.5 Human Questions for a Computer Age 11.1 Where Computers Work 3.2 Output: From Pulses to People 4.6 Software Piracy and Intellectual Property Laws

3-D Printing Applications and Implications

We’ve heard about how 3D printers can be used to manufacture toys, small machine parts, and even some prosthetic devices for human bodies. But as applications emerge, so do some difficult questions.

  • According to this Wired story, a printed car might soon share the road with you. But for legal reasons, it might technically be a motorcycle.
  • This NPR story explores some of the intellectual property questions raised by 3-D printers.
  • It’s one thing to print a figurine of a copyrighted comic book character; printing a lethal weapon is something else altogether.
    This NPR story explains how 3-D printers muddy the waters in the debate over gun safety.
-Updates 11.1 Where Computers Work 13.3 E-Business 2.0: Reinventing Web Commerce 13.5 Inventing the Future: E-Commerce Tomorrow: The Never-Ending Game 3.2 Output: From Pulses to People

3D Printing May Change Everything—and Soon

We’ve been hearing about 3D printers for quite a while. But according to this Planet Money story on NPR, the 3D printer may soon be showing up all over the place, changing the way we live, shop, and work in profound ways.

-Updates 1.3 Computers Today: A Brief Taxonomy 3.4 The Computer System: The Sum of Its Parts 5.7 Calculated Risks: Computer Modeling and Simulation Chapter 1 Exploring Our Digital Planet

Super Competition for the Fastest Supercomputer

The balance of power is shifting westward in the high-stakes competition for the most powerful computer in the world. The latest US champ is based in part on technology pioneered in the gaming industry. Like most supercomputers, this one will be used to produce ever-more-accurate simulations for scientific research and engineering applications.

-Updates 1.3 Computers Today: A Brief Taxonomy 3.1 Input: From Person to Processor 4.4 The User Interface: The Human-Machine Connection

The Changing World of Windows

Microsoft will soon offer two new versions of its ubiquitous Windows operating system. Windows 8 is designed to replace Windows 7 as the flagship PC OS. Windows RT will run mostly on Microsoft’s new Surface and other tablet devices. This CNET article gives an overview of the two OSs and how they fit into a world where the line between tablets and laptops is blurred by all kinds of hybrid devices.

-Updates 11.3 Automation, Globalization, and Outsourcing 3.2 Output: From Pulses to People 3.5 Inventing the Future: Tomorrow's Peripherals

Print a Burrito For Me
3D printers are used to create plastic prototypes and parts for machines, among other things. But this is the first burrito printer we’ve seen. How long will it be until the global taco chains replace people with printers?

-Cross Currents 1.3 Computers Today: A Brief Taxonomy Working Wisdom: Green Computing

Can a Laptop Be Too Cool?
Apple’s latest laptop announcements offer consumers a clear choice. According to this Wired opinion piece, consumers will be choosing between cool and green, and the choices they make may have profound environmental implications.

-Context 3.2 Output: From Pulses to People 3.5 Inventing the Future: Tomorrow's Peripherals

What Can 3D Printers Do Right Now?
It’s easy to imagine a future filled with 3D printers doing all kinds of fantastic things. But 3D printers are already being put to work in all kinds of fascinating applications. You’ll probably be surprised by many of the pictures in this Wired photo essay.