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The Surprising Complexity of Old-School Calculators →

November 20, 2014 |

Jordan G. Teicher, Wired:

Before the electronic calculator, there was the mechanical calculator, a heavy device often about the size of a small computer that cost thousands in today’s dollars. They were indispensable tools used for the most complex business and engineering problems of the time. The machines that have survived are of little value now, and often in need of repairs.

Kevin Twomey captures their mechanical beauty in his series Low Tech. His images are as complex as the machines; Twomey takes several shots at different focus distances, then uses a program called Helicon Focus to stitch them together so every detail is perfectly clear and sharply focused. The photos reveal a crowded cacophony of rods, springs, and even motors.


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The New Way to Edit Photos →

November 20, 2014 |

Ben Brooks has a great article for those looking for an alternative to Adobe Lightroom:

I briefly thought about buying or subscribing just for Lightroom, but that seemed silly. So I kept thinking and I came across a new app in my Reading List: Flare 2.

I never gave Flare a go, it looked gimmicky to me when it came out — like Instagram for the Mac — but in truth it is exactly what I want. And probably just about what every normal photographer needs: a quick way to get your photos ready to share.

It’s dead simple.

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This Could Help, the new book by Patrick Rhone, is available today →

November 20, 2014 |

What an unexpected and delightful surprise. But what’s this book about? Patrick explains:

I’m not sure what this book will mean to you, personally. All I know is that it could help.

Help what? I’m not entirely sure. In fact, I can’t even say for sure it will help everyone who reads it — though I certainly hope it will.

What I do know is that some part of this could help you in some area of life. It could help you in your job. It could help you in a relationship. It could help you get through a trying time or a creative struggle. Or, it could just let you know you are not alone — that there is at least one other person who has faced similar struggles and sought to help you with yours.

So, if you find yourself in the middle of a problem, a crossroads, or a barrier, read this book. It could help.

One of the things I most enjoy about Patrick’s writing is how he doesn’t pretend to know everything. Instead, by reading his words you get a very real look at a very real person. A person with struggles just like yours, and fears you perhaps thought nobody else had. Best of all, a person with a seemingly infinite capacity for empathy and selflessness.

If that wasn’t enough to convince you, you can use coupon code FLASH30 for a 30% discount valid through today.

You’re nuts if you don’t buy it right now.

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All Aboard AirBnB's Airplane Apartment →

November 20, 2014 |

Messy Nessy:

As part of Airbnb’s “Night At” campaign, the company giving away the chance to stay in this 366m², 116 window KLM airplane. Three dates are up for grabs this month to stay in the recently decommissioned aircraft that had crossed globe 3675 times and now sits beside the runway of Amsterdam’s bustling Schiphol airport. Beautifully decorated inside by Dutch design company TANK, to honour the plane’s retirement, the blue and white jet has been converted into a luxury loft that sleeps four (but conveniently has more than 8 bathrooms).

This is one of the weirdest — and strangely, one of the most interesting — things I’ve seen in a long time.

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John Hodgman is deleting Uber from his phone now →

November 19, 2014 |

John Hodgman has decided to stop using Uber after one of its executives suggested they should dig up some dirt on several journalists — particularly Sarah Lacy from PandoDaily — to protect the company from negative press coverage:

I like Uber. I know some don’t. I don’t intend to blackmail them.

And I really don’t want to take that crummy car I was so glad to hang up on two years ago.

But I just can’t get into a car with those guys anymore.

Well said.

For a series of unrelated reasons, Uber is struggling to gain traction in Madrid. I admit I was curious to try it but after this, there’s no way I’m using the service.

It’s unfortunate, but companies like Uber listen only when customers speak with their wallets.

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The Untitled Sanspoint Podcast Project →

November 19, 2014 |

Richard J. Anderson is back on the podcasting seat:

The Untitled Sanspoint Podcast Project is a weekly podcast, about technology and culture. It’s fifteen minutes or less, and features only me, talking about what’s caught my attention. It also will feature a plug for something cool. New episodes will be released every Monday, but Episode 1 is available now, for your listening pleasure. It’s not on iTunes yet, but should be shortly. In the interim, you can subscribe by dropping this link in your podcast client of choice.

Interesting format. Finding the exact sweet spot both in terms of length and frequency of episodes for a one-man tech podcast is a tricky thing to do well. I find the 15-minute mark to be a natural choice for this type of shows, and here it seems to work well.

From what I’ve seen so far, I’d say The Untitled Sanspoint Podcast Project is off to a great start.

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Barbie Fucks It Up Again →

November 19, 2014 |

Pamela Ribon takes Susan Marenco to the woodshed on account of her new Barbie double-book, titled “I can be an Actress / I can be a Computer Engineer”:


Despite having ruined her own laptop, her sister’s laptop, and the library’s computers, not to mention Steven and Brian’s afternoon, she takes full credit for her game design– only to get extra credit and decide she’s an awesome computer engineer! “I did it all by myself!”

Wait, there’s more:

When you hold the book in your hands to read a story, the opposite book is upside down, facing out. So the final insult to this entire literary disaster is that when you read “Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer,” it appears that you are so fucking dumb, you’re reading “Barbie: I Can Be an Actress” upside down.

See also, Brianna Wu’s take on the same book.

Like they say, “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions”.

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