Weekend tech reading: Profiles of Sid Meier and Jimmy Wales

By on June 30, 2013, 10:29 AM
jimmy wales, sid meier

The father of Civilization Before Sid Meier was Sid Meier -- the iconic video game designer whose name is stamped on classic titles like Pirates! and Civilization -- he was just another computer hacker. In the early 80s, the then-20-something programmer had a job at a company called General Instruments Corporation, where he worked alongside a gruff Air Force pilot-turned-businessman named John "Wild Bill" Stealey. Meier, who had graduated with a degree in computer science before there was a personal computer in every home, spent his spare time reading hacker magazines, fiddling with code on his Atari, and building his own versions of arcade games like Space Invaders and Pac-Man. Kotaku

Jimmy Wales is not an internet billionaire According to Wikipedia, the Tampa International Airport is a public airport six miles west of downtown Tampa, in Hillsborough County, Florida. It’s also where Jimmy Wales flies in and out of a couple times a month, in coach, to visit his 12-year-old daughter, Kira, who is named after the protagonist in Ayn Rand’s anti-communist novel, "We the Living." Kira lives with Wales’s ex-wife in a ranch-style home not far from the strip mall where Wales, along with a handful of colleagues he generally no longer speaks to, ran Wikipedia a decade ago. That was Wales’s old life. In his new one, he lives in London with Kate Garvey, his third wife, whom he often describes as "the most connected woman in London." The NY Times

Demonizing Edward Snowden: which side are you on? As I write this, a bunch of reporters are flying from Moscow to Havana on an Aeroflot Airbus 330, but Edward Snowden isn’t sitting among them. His whereabouts are unknown. He might still be in the V.I.P. lounge at Sheremetyevo International Airport. He could have left on another plane. There are even suggestions that he has taken shelter in the Ecuadorian Embassy in Moscow. What we do know is that, on this side of the Atlantic, efforts are being stepped up to demonize Snowden, and to delegitimize his claim to be a conscientious objector to the huge electronic-spying apparatus operated by the United States and the United Kingdom. The New Yorker

How Silicon Valley's tech reign will end Why is Silicon Valley in Silicon Valley? "You've got Stanford, you've got federal expenditures, and you've got an ecosystem" of start-up mentors and established institutions, said Bruce Katz, the founding director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. But Silicon Valley's stranglehold on West Coast innovation is in danger, he said at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Friday. The main problem? It's no fun to live in Silicon Valley. The Atlantic

Encryption has foiled wiretaps for first time ever, feds say For the first time, encryption is thwarting government surveillance efforts through court-approved wiretaps, U.S. officials said today. The disclosure, buried in a report by the U.S. agency that oversees federal courts, also showed that authorities armed with wiretap orders are encountering more encryption than before. The revelation comes as encryption has come front and center in the wake of the NSA Spygate scandal, and as Americans consider looking for effective ways to scramble their communications from the government’s prying eyes. Wired

The ARM diaries, part 1: how ARM’s business model works It must frustrate ARM just how much attention is given to Intel in the ultra mobile space, especially considering the chip giant’s effectively non-existent market share. Since 2008 Intel has tried, year after year, to break into smartphones and tablets with very limited success. Despite having the IP and technical know-how to do so, it wasn’t until 2012 that we saw Intel act like a company with even a sliver of a chance. Today, things are finally starting to change. AnandTech

Steve Wozniak on Newton, Tesla, and why the original Macintosh was a 'lousy' product Ford gathered journalists in its hometown of Dearborn, Michigan earlier this week for its Further with Ford conference, holding a variety of panels to discuss the past, present, and future of technology across a variety of industries (Warby Parker and Coca-Cola were both in attendance, for instance). One of those panelists happened to be the gregarious and always entertaining Steve Wozniak -- better known to most of us as "Woz"... The Verge

Number of federal wiretaps rose 71 percent in 2012 The number of wiretaps secured in federal criminal investigations jumped 71 percent in 2012 over the previous year, according to newly released figures. Federal courts authorized 1,354 interception orders for wire, oral and electronic communications, up from 792 the previous year, according to the figures, released Friday by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. There was a 5 percent increase in state and local use of wiretaps in the same period. The Washington Post

This time for sure: AltaVista to die When I read the sad news today that Yahoo is preparing to terminate AltaVista–the most important search engine of the pre-Google era–I got all misty. And then I had an odd sense of deja vu. It turns out that there was a false rumor back in 2010 that AltaVista was about to go away, and I came to terms with its impending doom and wrote about it at the time. And then it didn’t die, and I didn’t notice it was still around–which is a sad commentary on the site’s utter irrelevance right there. Time

Intel's new CEO focused on mobile chips, cautious on TV Brian Krzanich, an Intel manufacturing guru who took over as chief executive officer in May, also took a cautious tone about the top chipmaker's planned foray into television and said Intel continues to look at the business model. "We believe we have a great user interface and the compression-decompression technology is fantastic," Krzanich said. "But in the end, if we want to provide that service it comes down to content. We are not big content players." Reuters

Foxconn to speed up 'robot army' deployment; 20,000 robots already in its factories Manufacturing giant Foxconn Technology Group is on track with its goal to a create a "million robot army", and already has 20,000 robotic machines in its factories, said the company's CEO Terry Gou on Wednesday. Workers' wages in China are rising, and so the company's research in robots and automation has to catch up, Gou said, while speaking at the company's annual shareholder's meeting in Taipei. ITworld

Gold in them bits: Inside the world’s most mysterious Bitcoin mining company The more I dig into Bitcoin, the stranger it gets. There’s gray-market online gambling and Russian-operated futures markets—to say nothing of the virtual currency’s wild ride over the last several months. It’s full of characters with names like “artforz” and “Tycho,” supposedly two of the largest Bitcoin holders out there. Of course, like most things Bitcoin, it’s nearly impossible to know for sure. Ars Technica

Why is Google’s Glass $1,500, while comparable devices are only $500? Whether you think of Google’s face-computer, Glass, as the harbinger of the next wave of technology or not, it’s difficult to ignore the $1,500 price tag for such a seemingly limited device. Competing products with comparable hardware are significantly cheaper to the tune of $1,000. Why is Glass so expensive? ExtremeTech

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.