The Great Tech War Of 2012
Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook vs. Amazon.
Apple vs. Google vs. Facebook vs. Amazon.
An interview with futurist Ray Kurzweil on the “Singularity” and the overlap between technology and spiritualism.
Mr. Jobs's pursuit for aesthetic beauty sometimes bordered on the extreme. George Crow, an Apple engineer in the 1980s and again from 1998 to 2005, recalls how Mr. Jobs wanted to make even the inside of computers beautiful. On the original Macintosh PC, Mr. Crow says Mr. Jobs wanted the internal wiring to be in the colors of Apple's early rainbow logo. Mr. Crow says he eventually convinced Mr. Jobs it was an unnecessary expense.
How amateur tinkerers electronically contacted Russia during the Cold War:
The object of Joel's attention at this moment, however, as it is much of the time, is his four-pound, briefcase-size Radio Shack Tandy Model 100 portable computer. "I bought this machine for $399. For $1.82 a minute - $1.82! - I can send a telex message to Moscow. This technology is going to revolutionize human communications! Think what it will mean when you can get thousands of Americans and Soviets on the same computer network. Once scientists in both countries begin talking to each other on these machines they won't be able to stop. And we'll be taking a running leap over the governments on both sides.
On Sam Jain and Daniel Sundin, the fugitive kings of scareware.
As part of his obsessive search for evidence of UFOs, Gary McKinnon worked his way into thousands of government computers. The U.S. charged him with terrorism. Doctors diagnosed him with Asperger’s. And his lawyers started arguing a new version of the insanity defense.
On the Google conundrum:
It’s clearly wrong for all the information in all the world’s books to be in the sole possession of a single company. It’s clearly not ideal that only one company in the world can, with increasing accuracy, translate text between 506 different pairs of languages. On the other hand, if Google doesn’t do these things, who will?
On Jeff Bezos, Amazon, and the genesis of the Kindle.
On the battle between Shaquille O’Neal and his former IT guy, who’s in control of much of O’Neal’s archived (and often damning) correspondence.
On cell phones and the decline of public space.
One of the great irritations of modern technology is that when some new development has made my life palpably worse and is continuing to find new and different ways to bedevil it, I'm still allowed to complain for only a year or two before the peddlers of coolness start telling me to get over it already Grampaw--this is just the way life is now.
On video game collectors’ “holy grail” – a Nintendo World Championships cartridge:
Wired.com tracked down some of the Nintendo World Championships participants and serious videogame collectors whose lives have touched by these coveted artifacts of a bygone 8-bit era. Here are their stories.
In Silicon Valley, up all night coding in the dorms with the aspiring Mark Zuckerbergs of tomorrow.
The idea that people would “inexpensively have access to a tremendous global computation and networking facility” was supposed to create wealth and wellbeing. Has it instead created a technologically advanced dystopia?
In the first seven months of 2011, 94,000 people were sued for illegally downloading porn. Not one case has been decided by a jury. On the industry’s new strategy to make downloaders pay.
A profile of Tarn and Zach Adams, creators of the computer game Dwarf Fortress:
Dwarf Fortress may not look real, but once you’re hooked, it feels vast, enveloping, alive. To control your world, you toggle between multiple menus of text commands; seemingly simple acts like planting crops and forging weapons require involved choices about soil and season and smelting and ores. A micromanager’s dream, the game gleefully blurs the distinction between painstaking labor and creative thrill.
A cautionary inquiry into the unchecked hive mind.
A profile of Jaron Lanier, virtual reality pioneer and the author of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto.
On a decade-long war:
Hackers from many countries have been exfiltrating—that is, stealing—intellectual property from American corporations and the U.S. government on a massive scale, and Chinese hackers are among the main culprits.
On how search and advertising became indistinguishable, the finer points of not being evil, and why privacy is by nature immeasurable. How Google made us the product:
“Google conquered the advertising world with nothing more than applied mathematics,” wrote Chris Anderson, the editor of Wired. “It didn’t pretend to know anything about the culture and conventions of advertising—it just assumed that better data, with better analytical tools, would win the day. And Google was right.”
Codenamed “Synapse”, the Match algorithm uses a variety of factors to suggest possible mates. While taking into account a user’s stated preferences, such as desired age range, hair colour and body type, it also learns from their actions on the site. So, if a woman says she doesn’t want to date anyone older than 26, but often looks at profiles of thirty-somethings, Match will know she is in fact open to meeting older men. Synapse also uses “triangulation”. That is, the algorithm looks at the behaviour of similar users and factors in that information, too.
Around the world, governments and corporations are in a race for code that can protect, spy, and destroy—hacks some secretive startups are more than happy to sell.
The story of a small Latvian counterfeiting business that got far too big for its own good.
Is the streaming Swedish music service, now making its U.S. debut, the best shot the industry has at staying profitable and relevant?
How a musical subculture evolved alongside a technological subculture:
Rave's rise mirrors the Web's in many ways. Both mixed rhetorical utopianism with insider snobbery. Both were future-forward "free spaces" with special appeal to geeks and wonks.