Weekend tech reading: The computer keyboard's evolution

By on November 4, 2012, 1:48 PM

Past is prototype: The evolution of the computer keyboard When Bill Buxton worked at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center in the early 1990s, he examined the classic children's homemade telephones: two cups connected by a taut string. He wondered why that same concept couldn't improve computer keyboards. Think about it. The cup is both a microphone and a speaker. It uses the same "hardware" for input and output of sound. Why, Buxton asked, couldn't the same principle apply to text on computers -- using a single device for both input and output of text rather than using input from a keyboard to produce output on a screen? Computerworld

Inside the Titan Supercomputer: 299K AMD x86 Cores and 18.6K Nvidia GPUs Earlier this month I drove out to Oak Ridge, Tennessee to pay a visit to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). I'd never been to a national lab before, but my ORNL visit was for a very specific purpose: to witness the final installation of the Titan supercomputer. ORNL is a US Department of Energy laboratory that's managed by UT-Battelle. Oak Ridge has a core competency in computational science, making it not only unique among all DoE labs but also making it perfect for a big supercomputer. AnandTech

'Creepy Cameraman' pushes limits of public surveillance -- a glimpse of the future? People have come to accept surveillance cameras as a part of everyday life. But what happens when someone is carrying the surveillance camera instead? That's the question raised by a series of online videos in which an unidentified man takes a camera around Seattle and other parts of Washington state, walking up to people and recording them for no apparent reason other than to make a point: How is what he’s doing different than those stationary surveillance cameras...? GeekWire

Noam Chomsky on where artificial intelligence went wrong If one were to rank a list of civilization's greatest and most elusive intellectual challenges, the problem of "decoding" ourselves -- understanding the inner workings of our minds and our brains, and how the architecture of these elements is encoded in our genome -- would surely be at the top. Yet the diverse fields that took on this challenge, from philosophy and psychology to computer science and neuroscience, have been fraught with disagreement about the right approach. The Atlantic

How the Internet economy works: guns, butter and bandwidth Most people know certain things about the Internet. They know that cables run under the sea, that wires come into your homes, and that modems carry the digital signals to your devices. But they've probably never heard of Internet Exchange Points, and that's where the magic of the Internet really happens. Internet Exchange Points (aka IXPs) are the manufacturing floor of the Internet -- that is where bandwidth is created and deployed. GigaOM

A world without Windows "A world without walls" is a statement used in numerous campaigns and marketing pushes by organisations and companies across the globe. But what if we lived in a world without Windows? There are numerous postings and blogs about how ‘Linux owns’ (old site), or detailing the apocalyptic vision of computing if Microsoft ceased to exist, but I want to focus on the market and how 'the big three' offer consumers the best choice of hardware and software in decades! Neowin

Death march: the long, tortured journey of Homefront It was a holiday party, but it hardly felt like a happy occasion for many of the Kaos developers and their partners. Mid-December of 2010 was a fleeting break in the middle of a brutal crunch as the studio tried desperately to finish Homefront, publisher THQ's most ambitious stab at breaking into the alluringly lucrative AAA military shooter market. The work schedule was so all-consuming that one developer likened it to exile in Siberia... Polygon

Going boldly: Behind the scenes at NASA's hallowed Mission Control Center Astronauts have been saying "Houston" into their radios since 1965. The callsign refers in general to the Johnson Space Center in Texas, and the people who answer to it sit in the Mission Control Center, located in Building 30 near the south end of the The Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC) campus. "Mission Control" has been the subject of movies, television shows, and documentaries for decades. Ars Technica

Let's limit the effect of software patents, since we can't eliminate them Patents threaten every software developer, and the patent wars we have long feared have broken out. Software developers and software users -- which in our society, is most people -- need software to be free of patents. The patents that threaten us are often called "software patents," but that term is misleading. Such patents are not about any specific program. Rather, each patent describes some practical idea... Wired

Q&A: Electronic Arts COO fights to lead the new game industry As the game business undergoes a tectonic shift, industry giant Electronic Arts wants to make sure it’s not swallowed up by the ground. The company's chief operating officer, Peter Moore, a game industry veteran formerly of Sega and Microsoft’s Xbox division, is the company's most eloquent and emphatic spokesperson detailing its desire to transform along with players' tastes. Wired

ARM Cortex-A15 explained: Intel’s Atom is down, but not out For the past two years, smartphone advances and the tablet market have been driven by ARM's Cortex-A9. The diminutive mobile processor has proven to be extremely capable, but it's also getting a bit long in the tooth. Custom chips from Qualcomm and Apple have taken the wind out of A9-based hardware in recent months, which makes the Cortex-A15's debut downright timely. ExtremeTech

Google Wallet may appear in physical card form The search engine giant's electronic payment system, Google Wallet, may still be a fledgling technology, but the company is getting ready to introduce a physical, card-based version of the platform, according to screenshots posted on the website Android Police, which published images showing the card, which would be accepted wherever debit and credit cards are accepted. eWeek

The man who made Star Wars Modesto is a small California town that gains its livelihood from its shops and its farms. Beyond its few streets lies the walnut ranch where George Lucas was raised. The town has one cinema on its main street. "Films by Jean-Luc Godard," George Lucas says, "do not play Modesto." It follows that Lucas grew up away from the sophisticated influence that a major city would have offered. The Atlantic

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