Rear Admiral Grace Hopper would have been 107 today, and is being honored with a great Google Doodle. It’s quite literally impossible for us to imagine, as we sit here reading about her on the internet, but people used to use things like paper and pencils and chalk and slide rules to solve (and often not solve) complicated problems. Grace Hopper quite simply helped usher in the modern age, her impact, I think, is no less than the steam engine or the cotton gin.
Some awesome stuff she did: Grace Hopper developed first compiler, allowing computer calculations to move beyond simple arithmetic and into more complex problems. She also developed first standardized computer language, COBOL, which laid the groundwork for all the languages we use today.
One day she found a dead moth disrupting one of the electronic relays in the Mark 1 computer, and upon removing it (and fixing the computer), the term “debugging" was born. Here’s her daily log from that day, with the offending moth taped to the page:
Beyond that, she was a charming scientific communicator, and she possessed a marvelous ability to make people, and mind you this was in a time when almost no one owned their own computer, truly appreciate both the importance and the complexity of computing technology.
She famously carried around a bundle of nanoseconds in her purse for illustrative purposes. Here she is charming the socks off of David Letterman, and giving him a nanosecond of his very own (don’t miss the picosecond joke, either) :
Sign Language Rings Convert Gestures To Speech
"Here’s how the rings work, in a nutshell. There are three detatchable rings that are worn on the the thumb and first two fingers of each hand, as well as a bracelet. As the user signs out whatever they want to say, the translation is then spoken through a digitized voice that comes from the bracelet. I’m not sure if it works real time or not, but that’s still some pretty amazing stuff. And that’s not all…
"The gesture-to-speak aspect works fine when the hearing-impaired person wants to talk to someone else, but what about vice versa? The bracelet carries the double duty of turning sound into text that runs across an LED display.
Coolest thing ever.
My only curiosity is the difference in sign production both individually and regionally. Very neat concept, though.
Tangible Augmented Reality Action Figure
Articulate figurine frame featuring many AR code points can alter poses of virtual models, put together by Alcyone - video embedded below (in Japanese):
The Story Of Innovation in a Minute
Promo put together by WIRED Italia shows a history of modern technology, with a file created on an early Apple gets transferred from machine to machine:
Innovation is not technology but culture. Something able to travel through time thanks to the enthusiasm and passion of people. Here’s the story of an information flow in its switching between different machines, different formats and file-extensions, different communication protocols and over almost 30 years of technology, from the ZXSpectrum of 1982 to the 3D printers of today.
This is how it works. A Macintosh SE/30 displays a file on its screen and saves it as WIRED.TXT on a floppy disk. The floppy is read using a serial peripheral device connected to an IBM Thinkpad. Changing the file-extension from .txt to .jpg, you are seeing the text for what it was originally: a barcode image, which you can open and display with dPaint. The barcode is interpreted by an app that uses a smartphone camera. It’s an http address. The address is copied and sent via SMS to an old Nokia5410i. This Nokia model was among the first to send emails, so it can transfer the SMS text to the email client of an iPad. The iPad activates the address which was written in the email. It’s a .htm page containing a link to a downloadable file: WIRED.WAV.
The file is played and connected with a mini jack to the audio port of a ZXSpectrum. The Spectrum detects it as a .TAP file, a faithful reproduction of audio cassette format which Spectrum used to play and save contents. The programme inside the WIRED.TAP file is a slideshow loading a single image: a QRcode. The QRcode is photographed using a small digital camera. The photo, stored in the SDCard, is read from a laptop and loaded into an album on Wired Facebook account. An eBook page appears in the browser mode. The eBook is scanned, the QRcode image is cropped and then printed on special paper for heat transfer and then ironed on a T-shirt. T-shirt is photographed with an iPhone that reads QRcode for the url it contains. The iPhone sends the address to a laptop: it’s a page containing the WIRED.STL file. The laptop uses this file to produce the Wired logo with a RepRap 3D printer. That’s it. Easy, right?
The Beauty of Scientific Diagrams is a typography set by Khyati Trehan that “integrates the [first] initial of scientists with the diagrams they were responsible for”.