Weekend tech reading: Remembering literary legend Ray Bradbury

By on June 10, 2012, 3:13 PM

Brought Mars to Earth with a lyrical mastery Ray Bradbury, a master of science fiction whose imaginative and lyrical evocations of the future reflected both the optimism and the anxieties of his own postwar America, died on Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 91. His death was confirmed by his agent, Michael Congdon. By many estimations Mr. Bradbury was the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream. His name would appear near the top of any list of major science fiction writers of the 20th century... The NY Times

Newton, reconsidered In the grand scheme of things, 1992 is such recent history that it barely qualifies as history. When it comes to portable gadgets, however, it’s an era that’s nearly unrecognizable to we 21st-century humans. Sure, there were pocketable gizmos back then: The Game Boy, for instance, had been around since 1989, and the Sony Watchman was hot stuff. There were even miniature computers, such as HP’s 95LX. But in 1992, nobody had an MP3 player. Or a GPS handheld. Or a smartphone. (Less than five percent of people in North America had a mobile phone, period.) Time

The war for India's Internet "65 years since your independence," a new battle for freedom is under way in India -- according to a YouTube video uploaded by an Indian member of Anonymous, the global "hacktivist" movement. With popular websites like Vimeo.com blocked across India by court order, the video calls for action: "Fight for your rights. Fight for India." Over the past several weeks, the group has launched distributed denial-of-service attacks against websites belonging to Internet service providers, government departments, India's Supreme Court, and two political parties. Foreign Policy

PC gaming: E3′s dirty little secret It’s a bit odd to cover E3 with a PC-focused slant. Initially, I felt horrifically out of place roaming the LA Convention Center’s banner-plastered halls. The Kratoses and Master Chiefs of the world leered at me from their billowing sky perches, and I longed for the warm embrace of, say, a game about embracing people -- as Rambo. Xbox controllers and PlayStation pads contorted showgoers’ hands into unnatural, vice-like claws, and I could only grasp feebly for a mouse that failed to materialize. RPS

Evaluating the harm from closed source Some people are obsessive about never using closed-source software under any circumstances. Some other people think that because I’m the person who wrote the foundational theory of open source I ought to be one of those obsessives myself, and become puzzled and hostile when I demur that I’m not a fanatic. Sometimes such people will continue by trying to trap me in nutty false dichotomies (like this guy) and become confused when I refuse to play. Armed and Dangerous

Kodak's patent allure fades Eastman Kodak Co.'s effort to draw interest in the sale of its digital patent portfolio is flagging, people familiar with the matter said, complicating the 132-year-old photography pioneer's chances of emerging from bankruptcy court.  The people said the company hasn't been able to attract what's known as a stalking-horse bidder, one who agrees ahead of time to purchase the assets for a certain price, a tactic that can push prices higher. The WSJ

The silent majority: why Visual Basic 6 still thrives Microsoft recently extended "It Just Works" compatibility for Visual Basic 6 applications through the full lifetime of Windows 8 (see this month’s Editor’s Note, "Old Soldiers Never Die"). Visual Basic 6 first shipped in 1998, so its apps will have at least 24 years of supported lifetime. Contrast that with the Microsoft .NET Framework 1.0 (2002), which is incompatible with Windows 7 (2009). Microsoft

Where are all the high-resolution desktop displays? When we covered LG’s new 440 PPI display, several of you asked why small panels were getting all the high-resolution lovin’, and when we might see high-rez desktop and laptop displays. We’ve discussed the concept of a "Retina display" as it relates to both handheld devices and widescreen televisions, but we’ve not touched on desktop displays all that much. ExtremeTech

How many seconds would it take to break your password? Security breaches of mind-numbing size like those at LinkedIn and EHarmony.com set crypto- and security geeks to chattering about weak passwords and lazy users and the importance of non-alphanumeric characters to security. And insisting on a particular number of characters in a password is just pointless security-fetish control freakishness, right? Nope. ITworld

Porn, gambling, and malware: Bitcoin as the 'Net's Wild West On June 8, 2011, the same day Ars Technica ran its first story about Bitcoin, the peer-to-peer digital currency's value jumped to an all-time high of $32. Bitcoins had been worth less than $1 just two months earlier, and that day proved to be the peak of the bubble. The value of a Bitcoin fell below $20 within a week, and by November it had fallen to $2. Ars Technica

Pre to postmortem: the inside story of the death of Palm and webOS Thirty-one. That’s the number of months it took Palm, Inc. to go from the darling of International CES 2009 to a mere shadow of itself, a nearly anonymous division inside the HP machine without a hardware program and without the confidence of its owners. Thirty-one months is just barely longer than a typical American mobile phone contract. The Verge

A tour of the Phoronix office As I am frequently asked about my unique monitor setup, brand preference on different computer peripherals and other questions about my personal hardware choices as it pertains to Linux, here's a tour of my Phoronix office for this weekend article. There's also some additional thoughts beyond what you will find in previously-published Phoronix reviews. Phoronix

500 free movies online: great classics, indies, noir, westerns, etc. Where to watch free movies online? Let’s get you started. We have listed here 500+ quality films that you can watch online. The collection is divided into the following categories: Comedy & Drama; Film Noir, Horror & Hitchcock; Westerns & John Wayne; Silent Films; Documentaries, and Animation. OpenCulture

iPads on a plane let Scoot save fuel by shedding TV tons Scoot Pte is offering Apple iPads to budget long-haul travelers after ripping out aircraft entertainment systems weighing more than two tons to save fuel. The tablets helped the carrier cut 7% off the weight of planes obtained from parent Singapore Airlines even after a 40% increase in seating... Bloomberg

User Comments: 22

Got something to say? Post a comment

thats sad that he passed, he will be remembered....

Guest said:

I thought Fahrenheit 451 was simplistic drivel, frankly. Never bothered reading anything else by Bradbury after that.

Guest said:

I think previous guest is a drivelly simpleton, no-one is likely to read much at all by him.

RIP Ray...

Guest said:

No need to get upset over a difference of opinion, guest. I just think the whole dystopia genre was done far better previously by the likes of Orwell and Huxley, and Bradbury's effort felt like a dumbed-down imitation (ironic, considering the theme). It also felt rather pretentious - implying reading is somehow inherently more high-brow than other mediums (it isn't), and that it was up to a elitist group of intellectuals (Granger's group) to save society from the ignorant masses. Reading between the lines it came across as more like a bitter personal diatribe, rather than anything though provoking or complex. Again, just my opinion, but I'm entitled to it just as much as you are yours. No need to get defensive or insulting about it.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Well, Guest, perhaps in all your haste to be erudite, you neglected to realize that perhaps someone who thinks Bradbury is a good author, and 451 is a great book that they find intellectually stimulating would find its characterization as simplistic drivel to be insulting. Because no matter how neutral you make it sound, or how you say you had no ill intentions, when you call something simplistic drivel, you're making a whole lot of implications about people who like or even admire the book.

tl;dr you're a troll

Guest said:

It's your prerogative to feel it's insulting if you want to. It must be hard to go through life if you feel insulted every time someone has a different opinion (Protip: the "I thought" is the part of the sentence that gives you the cue that the subject is about to state their opinion) from you, though.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Trolls will be trolls. And knolls will be knolls. But a troll on a knoll is not like a knoll on a troll.

I will not say what I think about Bradbury unless we manage to get a troll free environment, but thanks for reminding me that I wanted to blog about his death.

Guest said:

It's interesting how troll used to have a specific definition and now it just means "anyone on the Internet who says something I don't like". You guys lowered the tone of the comments, not me.

Raswan Raswan said:

Let me guess: the only other dystopian books you've read were 1984 and BNW, right? Wow, you are one learned man. I should have just come to your house and sit in your living room instead of going to a four-year institution to get my MA in lit. Would you still be up for this arrangement? I would be willing to pay extra for air conditioning, to offset all of the extra hot air produced by lengthy lectures on what is "drivel" and what is not, as well as chip in some old My Little Pony and Digimon comics my sister used to read when she was eight. That stuff sounds like it's a little more up your alley, no?

Best, Raswan.

Doctor John Doctor John said:

My Little Pony and Digimon constitute a much derided and frequently overlooked sub-genre of popular literature, and while occasionally prone to gratuitous and sometimes prolonged tangential excursions into the overworked realms of sub-teen fantasy, nonetheless represent a worthwhile and occasionally penetrating insight into......oh alright I am kidding.

RIP Ray Bradbury, fine mind, great writer :'(

Guest said:

I like how no-one was actually able to refute any of my points, or give their own reasons for why they thought Fahrenheit 451 was worthwhile, but instead make baseless assumptions and insults while at the same time accusing me of being the immature/insulting one. Hilarious. Welp!

Guest said:

Previous guest, why would any one "refute" your pointless noise when it has zero to do with the thread? Perhaps if you were to be relevant? If you have pretentions to intelligence, try reading the title and OP (at the top) then you won't come across as a half-wit.

Guest said:

"why would any one "refute" your pointless noise when it has zero to do with the thread"

Well they felt the need to address it in other, less constructive manners, so that line of argument doesn't really apply. The pointless noise here has been caused by all the posters who couldn't seem to fathom that someone else might not share their opinion that Bradbury was all that great a writer, lashing out with childish insults and completely derailing the comments in the process. If I was a troll (which I'm not, but some are accusing otherwise) then I would be laughing my ass off right now out how successful I'd been in ruining the conversation.

Doctor John Doctor John said:

As the other guest spelt out in plain English, the thread is about remembering Ray Bradbury, not an anonymous poster trying to upstage it by provoking a bunfight. Grow up.

1 person liked this | ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Guest, I referred to you as a troll because it looked like you were trying to provoke an emotional response by using "simplistic drivel" and some other things you said. But upon reading your further messages it looks to me like you're just a jerk, and not a real troll. I might have offered some sympathy for your opinion if I had some sympathy for you, but the way you talk just doesn't make me want to do that.

Guest said:

Actually John, I was just expressing my opinion that Bradbury might be overrated, based on how I found his most celebrated work to be not very good. You can blame the hypersensitive knee-jerkers for it turning into a full blown, off-topic pissing match.

Guest said:

And looks like you're still frantically checking in and contributing to it, Guest. :)

Guest said:

I confess I thought he died years ago, (no disrespect!)

Guest said:

"If I was a troll (which I'm not, but some are accusing otherwise) then I would be laughing my *** off right now out how successful I'd been in ruining the conversation." Congratulations, troll, you seem to have stopped the intelligent part of conversation very effectively!

Doctor John Doctor John said:

Actually, tedious guest two days ago, firstly that is still irrelevant, secondly John is my second name not my first, and finally I'm not on first name terms with trolls anyway.

Wrong again on all counts. Now I'm unwatching this thread so you can rant to yourself.

Guest said:

"secondly John is my second name not my first, and finally I'm not on first name terms with trolls anyway"

Then presumably you could have just interpreted me referring to you as "John" as addressing you by your surname, and therefore saved us all from your quite pathetically embarrassing hissy fit.

Guest said:

as predicted.

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