Ada Lovelace at 17
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The First Programmer Was a Lady

Over a hundred years before a monstrous array of vacuum tubes surged into history in an overheated room in Pennsylvania, a properly attired Victorian Gentleman demonstrated an elegant little mechanism of wood and brass in a London drawing room. One of the ladies attending this demonstration brought along the daughter of a friend. She was a teenager with long dark hair, a talent for mathematics, and a weakness for wagering…

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Jeff Bezos Plan for News: The Washington Post Becomes an Amazon Product

For the past few months, a group inside the Post has been working on a new application that will offer a curated selection of news and photographs from the daily newspaper in a magazine-style, tablet-friendly format. The application will come preinstalled on Amazon’s newly updated Kindle Fire tablet, expected to be launched later this fall with the larger 8.9-inch screen, according to people with knowledge of the Post’s plans. The…

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The Emma Watson nude pictures hoax shames our ‘news’ culture

Did you hear that a shady group of antisocial hackers threatened to release nude pictures of Emma Watson after she gave a highly visible speech at the United Nations? It turns out that was just one of many hoaxes that professional journalists unwittingly helped to propagate last week. By Wednesday, a supposed PR firm had stepped up to claim responsibility for the threats against Watson, as part of an effort…

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The magic of words opens a whole new world of fun

Emily Short’s work is always worth seeking out and exploring; she’s been a visionary in the world of text-based games for years and her personal blog is a masterclass in both reading and writing interactive fiction. I’d recommend starting with her short game, made with Liza Daly, The First Draft of the Revolution, in which your choices about how you edit letters between a husband and wife drive how the…

iPod

On Death and iPods: A Requiem

I never owned a classic iPod, though I did have a B&W PalmPilot and a color successor. They day SHU gave me an iPad, I carefully collected all the cords and manuals and put my Palm away in its original box. I still feel a little guilty that I didn’t even bother to synch it one last time. Less dramatic was the decline of my relationship with digital voice recorders. I…

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Younger Americans and Public Libraries

Millennials are quite similar to their elders when it comes to the amount of book reading they do, but young adults are more likely to have read a book in the past 12 months. Some 43% report reading a book—in any format—on a daily basis, a rate similar to older adults. Overall, 88% of Americans under 30 read a book in the past year, compared with 79% of those age…

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Apple Watch is ugly and boring (and Steve Jobs would have agreed)

I am not feeling the love for Apple’s iWristBrick. What do most contemporary smartwatches have in common? They’re mostly squarish, clunky, bulky, flat things with a screen that go on your wrist. They mostly do things your phone does, and they mostly rely heavily on your phone for a good portion of their functionality. They’re fairly expensive, and it’s not really clear that they do anything amazing that your other…