It's not misspelled, and it's not edible; Raspberry Pi is a small, low cost, single-board computer with a cute name. About the size of a credit card, it originated in the UK with the intention of providing an inexpensive platform for use in schools. There are other small and inexpensive computer packages - but Raspberry Pi seems to have caught folk's imagination, with over a million sold in 60 countries. It has a CPU, RAM, audio and video outputs, and network and USB ports. Hobbyists love it because it's cheap (around $40), and with some tinkering you can do all kinds of stuff with it. What sort of stuff? It's one of those things like Lego - a simple platform that is seemingly only limited by the builder's imagination; there have been media center PCs, home automation systems, automated cat feeders, Nerf dart-shooting robots...you get the idea.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
Sunday, May 19, 2013
What's the big deal about computer updates, you may ask? Computer software, including the operating system itself (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux) is not perfect, and may be updated rather frequently in an effort to fix problems and to close security holes - the latter probably being the most important reason to update.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
The new Star Trek movie "Star Trek Into Darkness" hits theaters in the US this weekend to favorable reviews and the potential to make a lot of money for Paramount. Star Trek, as a franchise, has been around for almost 50 years now and is the latest in a line of movie "reboots" of popular properties. The movie is the first sequel following the franchise reboot with "Star Trek" (2009). Sequels and reboots seem to almost be the norm these days. The first movie sequel was "Fall of a Nation", the sequel to "Birth of a Nation" way back in 1916 - so it's hardly a new concept. The first numbered sequel appears to have been "The Godfather: Part II" in 1974.
|The Enterprise looks like it may need to be rebooted itself...|
Friday, May 17, 2013
If you had to explain a computer to a time traveler from the 1800's, what would you tell them? It's interesting to ponder; telling them it's "a typewriter with a TV screen" might sound tempting, but there were no TVs and typewriters were only introduced in the 1860's. The hardware part of a computer is so foreign to people from that era (and indeed to many of us today), that it might be easier to try to give a sense of what a computer can do, rather than what it is. It's a tool, but unlike any tool they might conceive of. It's a camera, a canvass on which to draw or paint, a musical instrument (in fact, many instruments), an abacus, a slide rule, a map and compass, a theater, an opera house, a museum, a library, a meeting place, a school, and so on. Such a fantastic device, and yet it can be made so small as to fit into a purse or jacket pocket - and it does not cost a king's ransom.
How would you describe a computer to the gentlemen below?
|And what, pray tell, is this "Eye-pad" of which you speak?|
Siri - Apple's Digital Virtual Assistant - was a big hit when it launched in 2010. The software allows you to interact with your Apple phone or tablet in a natural way, by speaking questions or commands instead of typing. Google Now is the Android version of Siri, if you like - a similar product that allows you to ask questions of your Android phone or tablet. The natural question that probably pops up is "which is better?", and CNET has a video showing current versions of both products working side by side, so you can get a feel for the experience under the same conditions.
To make it as scientific as possible, both phones were disconnected from their mobile networks and connected to the same Wi-Fi network. With a couple of exceptions, the same question was asked at the exact same moment. And, both are muted so that we weren't distracted by these ladies competing for air time.