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

User Comments: 9

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cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Senator Dianne Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said, "I don't think this man is a whistle-blower... he could have stayed and faced the music. I don't think running is a noble thought."


But where are Snowden's defenders? As of Monday, the editorial pages of the Times and the Washington Post, the two most influential papers in the country, hadn't even addressed the Obama Administration's decision to charge Snowden with two counts of violating the Espionage Act and one count of theft.

If convicted on all three counts, the former N.S.A. contract-systems administrator could face thirty years in jail.

Right standing and waiting for a 30 year sentence is the noble thing to do after speaking the truth. No wait if he had of stood his ground, he wouldn't have had the chance to speak his mind. It was releasing truth about how our government has been violating everyones privacy that started it all.

Espionage Act of 1917

It originally prohibited any attempt to interfere with military operations, to support U.S. enemies during wartime, to promote insubordination in the military, or to interfere with military recruitment. In 1919, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Schenck v. United States that the act did not violate the freedom of speech of those convicted under its provisions.

  • I didn't realize we were at a state of war.
  • The release of documents were not supporting an enemy during a time of war.
  • I was under the impression this was a civil issue.
  • To silence Snowden is violating his freedom of speech.
Guest said:

Eh? Of course the USA is at a state of war. Sure it's not like WW2 or Vietnam, but legally the US is absolutely in a state of war, and has been since 2001.

I'm not advocating anything here in regards to Snowden, by the way, I just though that was a rather odd thing to say given the obvious facts to the contrary.

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

Eh? Of course the USA is at a state of war. Sure it's not like WW2 or Vietnam, but legally the US is absolutely in a state of war, and has been since 2001.
No we are not in a state of war, we are in a state of harassing others. There is a difference! War will come when others get fed up with our constant harassment. I'm tired of our government painting a red flag on my back, without my consent. And then they have the audacity to say we are fighting in retaliation, when we are finally attacked.

Guest said:

Well, you're talking emotionally, not legally. I'd probably be inclined to agree with your analysis, but that doesn't change the fact that in legal terms the USA is in a state of war and therefore your point on that is void.

On an unrelated note but concerning the roundup of articles, Jimbo Wales really does sound like one of the most sleazy, unsavoury, and generally unpleasant people around,

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Well, you're talking emotionally, not legally. I'd probably be inclined to agree with your analysis, but that doesn't change the fact that in legal terms the USA is in a state of war and therefore your point on that is void.

War is an organised and often prolonged armed conflict that is carried out by states and/or non-state actors. It is characterized by extreme violence, social disruption, and economic destruction. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political communities, and therefore is defined as a form of political violence or intervention. The set of techniques used by a group to carry out war is known as warfare. An absence of war is usually called peace.
With our current administration, we are as close to peace as we ever will be. Since you see my point as void, when will you say we are not in a state of war?

2 people like this | KG363 KG363 said:

Well, you're talking emotionally, not legally. I'd probably be inclined to agree with your analysis, but that doesn't change the fact that in legal terms the USA is in a state of war and therefore your point on that is void.

On an unrelated note but concerning the roundup of articles, Jimbo Wales really does sound like one of the most sleazy, unsavoury, and generally unpleasant people around,

Congress hasn't formally declared war since WWII.

2 people like this | psycros psycros said:

Congress hasn't formally declared war since WWII.

And that's the problem. Weakness is never respected, esp. not by the fundamentalist throwbacks in the Middle East. If the US was simply attacking terrorists wherever and whenever we could then I'd say we were on the right track. But we're also *aiding* them in the few counties whose regimes were NOT actively engaged in terrorist actions (at least against America). What exactly is Obama's endgame here?? If the enemy is Islamo-facism then why did this administration work so hard to overthrow Mubarak, who kept the Muslim Brotherhood in check? They've been undermining every Middle Eastern government that's not a theocracy. My personal theory is that the mooncalves in the White House think they can reshape the whole region into a peaceful Islamic superstate..a "middle eastern union", if you will. Or maybe they just want as much war as possible to boost the profits from oil and weapons. God only knows what these lunatics we keep electing are up to. The only safe bet is that it won't be good for anyone but them.

2 people like this | KG363 KG363 said:

Have you ever wondered why they attack? It's not because they "hate our freedoms", it's because of our aggression. We have boots on their holy sites and we send drone strikes to villages killing hundreds of women and children. Further, you're much more likely to be accidentally killed by the police than in a terrorist attack.

JC713 JC713 said:

Civilization 1-4 were amazing. Civ 5 ruined it.

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