Tag Archives: technology

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Adafruit goes to war against the coronavirus

That’s a bit dramatic, but Adafruit (a tech company I love) has been deemed an essential service and is helping to manufacture things needed in the fight against it. I am happy to see that.

Here’s a bit from them saying who they are and what they are doing. Awesome!

Adafruit is a 100% woman-owned, loan-free, VC-free. profitable, USA Manufacturing company. Please see our about page and press page to read about us. Our founder and lead engineer is Limor Fried, a MIT Electrical Engineer.

We have paused some operations in NYC due to COVID-19, we are paying all team members, contractors, and more. There are no layoffs for 130+ Adafruit team members.

Adafruit was deemed an essential service to distribute/make some PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) such as face shields, and manufacturer electronics for essential life-saving/preserving equipment and developement which is needed in New York and beyond.

Adafruit Industries located at 150 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013 by Executive Order 202.6, “Essential Business” by New York State:
https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026

via Adafruit Industries, Essential service and business: NYC – Executive Order 202.6 Capabilities and more #NewYorkTough #NewYorkStrong #adafruitchronicles @adafruit « Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers!

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Maybe Ballie the ball robot is a device we don’t need in our homes

Ballie is the cute little yellow ball above. Samsung unvailled ‘Ballie’ at the 2020 Consumer Electronic Show. If you go to the link, you can read all the things Ballie can do for you. What you don’t get to read is what Ballie is going to do for others. Because there’s never been a more potentially intrusive device in your house like this one. It can go around your house 24/7, recording not just sounds but images. Images (and sounds) that anyone back on the Internet can process.

Until companies and other organizations can demonstrate proper stewardship of such data, I wouldn’t recommend anyone get one of these things. They are far from essential and potentially harmful.

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The designer of the barcode (i.e. Universal Product Code (UPC)) Designer George Laurer has died

It’s iconic and feels like it’s been around forever, but the UPC is a fairly new invention. The inventor, George Laurer, worked for IBM and invented it in the 1970s. There’s a good write up on him and his invention, here: Universal Product Code Designer George Laurer Dies At 94 : NPR.

While IBM has been associated with many IT innovations, this one particular one likely touches more people’s lives than any other.

For more on how to read UPCs, and to appreciate just how much information is packed into one, go here.

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Thinking of getting a SmartTV?

Then read this:  How Smart TVs in Millions of U.S. Homes Track More Than What’s On Tonight – The New York Times.

It’s a year old, but I highly doubt the problem has gone away.  You may want to consider at least not buying from the brands listed. You may even go as far as having your TV unplugged when not watching it.  For more tips, see this.

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Can you replace a Mac with an iPad?


According to this iPad vs. Mac: Is a tablet better than a laptop for school and work? in The Washington Post, not yet.

I agree with that assessment. I think there will be a time soon when you can, but not this year. Read the piece before you try to go solo with a tablet.

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The problem with colonizing other worlds…

The problems with colonizing other worlds can be read here:  Humans Will Never Colonize Mars.

It’s a bucket of ice water to dump on the head of anyone who optimistically thinks it will happen. It may happen, centuries from now.  More likely places like Mars will be colonized by robots that will do a lot of the activities we once expected humans to do.

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Is Slack the end of email?

Slack may not be the end of email, but some version of it is likely going to result in a decline in email. If it won’t be slack, it might be one of the ones mentioned here:

Speaking of Google, the company has a Slack alternative of its own, called Hangouts Chat, as does Facebook, in Workplace. Microsoft has Teams, which is bundled with its Office software and which the company says is being used by more than 500,000 organizations. This multi-front attack on email is just beginning, but a wartime narrative already dominates: The universally despised office culture of replies and forwards and mass CCs and “looping in” and “circling back” is on its way out, and it’s going to be replaced by chat apps.

I doubt email will go away forever: that’ not how tech works. Dominant tech tends to fade away rather than outright collapse. That’s likely what will happen with email.

Will Slack et all be better? Good lord, no. Just different. Some aspects of it are better, and many aspects will be worse than email.

For the curious, here’s more on this idea:  Slack Wants to Replace Email. Is That What We Want? – The New York Times