Tag Archives: computers

The Superbook, the decline of the Personal Computer, and the future of computing

Superbook, a $99 computer project on Kickstarter, is impressive in itself. Based on the sponsorship of this project, many agree with me.

Essentially it extends your phone like a Smart Watch does, but instead of the form factor diminishing, it’s increasing. In some ways, it does what the Chromebooks do, but with the use of your phone. If it works well, it is one more nail in the coffin of the personal computer. Already tablets and other devices have distributed computing away from the personal computer. I can only see this trend increasing as displays and memory and CPUs get better. Sooner than later, the attachment of the display to the keyboard will dissolve, and people will assemble “personal computers” from a variety of tablets and other displays, keyboards, and whatever smart phones they have. The next step is better designed and detachable keyboards, along with more powerful phones. (The phone isn’t a phone anyway: it’s a handheld computer with built in telephony capability).

Networks are going become more pervasive, faster and cheaper. Displays are going to become cheaper. Phone makers are going to need to give you more reasons to buy phones. All of these things point to computing devices like this becoming more prevalent and personal computers getting further and further displaced.

You can find out more about the project, here here.

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Forget Google Glass: here is where wearable technology is going

As digital technology gets more and more compact, expect to start seeing it combined with new and unexpected things. Wearables will not just be watches and sports-bands, but clothing and jewellery. For example: Meet Ear-o-Smart The World’s First Smart Earring.

Anything you wear, anything you touch, anything you own: all of it will soon have sensors and digital technology in it to talk to your computer and your phone. This is just starting.

CP/M and Computer History Museum


If you are an old geek or interested in computing history, especially the early days of the PC, then I highly recommend you check out the section of the Computer History Museum on CP/M. Before Microsoft and Apple there was CP/M. You can even download the source code! Fun! 🙂

See Early Digital Research CP/M Source Code | Computer History Museum.

How to prevent sites from tracking you – five good links

Do you find it weird when you search for something, then go to other sites, and it seems like the product is following you around? Do you worry that sites are tracking information about you and you want to stop it?

I’d like to say there is an easy way to put an end to such tracking, but it doesn’t seem to be so. If anything, companies like Facebook, Google and others have a big financial interest in tracking you, regardless of what you think, and they are going to make it hard for you to put an end to it all.

That said,  if you still want to take action, I recommend these links. They highlight tools you can use and steps you can take to limit tracking. You don’t have to be technical to read them, but you have to be comfortable making changes to your system.

  1. How to prevent Google from tracking you – CNET – this may be the best article that I read. Mostly focused on Google. There are useful links to tools in here and plugins you can use, like Disconnect and Ghostery. Somewhat technical.
  2. Facebook Is Tracking Your Every Move on the Web; Here’s How to Stop It – This Lifehacker article has more on how to deal with Facebook tracking you than Google, but it is also good.
  3. How to Stop Google, Facebook and Twitter From Tracking You – this piece from ReadWrite talks mostly about the Disconnect tool, but it does it in conjunction with discussion of some other tools. Seems less technical than the first two, if you found the first two links too hard to follow.
  4. How to Stop Google From Tracking You on the Web on NDTV Gadgets has tips that are more manual in nature, if you don’t want to download tools. Also some good information on how to deal with mobile phone tracking.
  5. Delete searches & browsing activity – Accounts Help via Google comes straight from the source of the tracking.

Some thoughts of my own:

  • Consider using two browsers: one for your Google use (e.g. Chrome) and one for other uses (e.g. Firefox or Safari). The non-Google browser you can lock down with blockers and other tools, while the Google oriented browser could be limited to just what you need to integrate with Google.
  • Avoid sites that track you, like Facebook.I know, it isn’t easy. If you have to go on Facebook — you get a call from a sibling asking why you haven’t commented on the new baby pictures there — limit yourself to a few thumbs up and leave it at that. (Knowing Facebook, they will still find a way to do something with even that data.)
  • If you are really concerned, avoid Google altogether and use other search engines, like DuckDuckGo, and other email services, such as Outlook.com. There can still be tracking, but in theory this should make it harder.
  • If you use any of tools, get into a habit of using them and keeping them up to date.
  • Don’t forget to do the same thing on your mobile devices. Facebook can track your activity on your mobile phone, regardless of what you may be doing on the web. You can be tracked via apps just as easily as you can be tracked from your browser.
  • If you do anything else, install the Disconnect plug in and then activate it and go to a newspaper site. You will be amazed just how much tracking is going on. (Also, you do NOT have to sign up for the premium version to get it working.)

Is there no limit to how small computers can get?

Right now it doesn’t seem it when I see a general purpose computer shrunk down to this size:

You can find out more about that computer here: Inverse Path – USB armory.

I believe that soon everything you buy will come with computing built into it, by defaul. When this occurs,people may find it weird to think about non-digital devices, just like younger people might find it weird to see people working from previous generations doing work and not using computers.

It’s Monday. Your Windows computer sucks. Here’s how to make it less sucky!

First, take this list: 25 tricks to make working with Windows faster, better and more fun.

Second, apply as many as you can. Even if you aren’t technically savvy or comfortable with changing things, look through the long list and find some you are comfortable with and apply them.

Third, ask for help with the ones you can’t do (either because you aren’t comfortable or their are restrictions regarding what you can change on your computer).

There! Your computer is better and less sucky already. And a less sucky computer means a less sucky work week.

Good luck! Thank me later! 🙂 Also thank ITBusiness, which is where I found it.

Eight quick thoughts on the Apple Watch: its more than watch, more than IT.

Here’s eight quick things I concluded while watching Apple talk about their latest product: the Apple Watch

  1. In the future, you won’t own one Apple Watch, you will own several. For the record I have two shuffles and a number of iPods. I can see the same with Apple Watches.
  2. I expect Apple to experiment with different face types over time. The only thing that changes more than IT is fashion. So expect a steady stream of changing Apple Watches, which will embed fashion and IT.
  3. I also expect Apple to launch partnerships with an array of other companies like high end fashion houses. Just like others make sunglasses for Tom Ford, Prada, etc., I expect Apple to make watches for them. They will be able to use higher end materials, like gold and expensive leather. They might even come with high end apps. Jony Ive was right to say that high end watch makers should be nervous. Apple can work with others to make high end watches that have sophisticated IT: not many (any?) can claim the same thing?
  4. This is also tough for copycat IT companies like Samsung. Apple can now move at the pace of fashion, which is faster than the pace of IT. Plus fashion is about taste, which is an essential part of Apple. It is in their DNA, so to speak. Not so with other mobile device makers.
  5. The Apple Watch is not simply a watch, any more than the iPhone was simply a phone. There is alot of emphasis on the watch part right now, just like there was alot of discussion about the phone part of the iPhone at first. I expect that to change over time.
  6. Right now the Apple Watch depends on the iPhone or other device: it is secondary. I expect the Apple Watch will become the primary device over time, especially with advances in IT. It will be possible to become primary and that makes sense, because you don’t have to carry it: you simply wear it.
  7. Apple has two wearable devices right now: the Apple Watch and Beats. Expect more and more. I expect even Apple eye wear. Unlike the fiasco that is Google Glass, it will be done correctly the first time. And like the watch, you will have more than one pair.
  8. I don’t expect Apple to make a wide range of wearable computing devices. Apple tends to focus. They have a limited range of personal computing devices: I expect them to have a limited range of wearable devices.

P.S. The Apple Watch is not the iWatch. A small shift. Also, this has been a good day for Tim Cook. He is an understated CEO, but he has transitioned Apple from Steve Jobs very well. His first priority was to steady the company. Now he is charting a new course.  Apple shareholders are lucky.

Lastly, these are my opinions only, and not my employers.