I had a funny moment earlier this week when I showed Google's Chrome to one of my friends. She was floored that one of the top nine most visited sites featured on the browser's start page was Woot.com. Given how much browsing I do as part of this job I suppose it was surprising even to me, but it's also a hint of how intriguing your browsing history can be to others.
Mike Nolet of blog Mike on Ads has put together a fun little diversion that gives your browser history a quick once over and cross-references it with sites on the Quancast top 1000. Using the gender ratio on each site (according to Quancast) it will cobble together an overall percentage of what gender it thinks you are based on those results.
Not surprisingly most of us in the office, including my colleague Erica Ogg, have come up as male, with many tech sites having higher ratios of male users. The tool will give you a complete rundown of all the … Read more
Robert Rauschenberg died this year.
For now we have Robot Rauschenberg.
Well, technically speaking (which we try not to here), his name is Viktor.
Just one name, like only the finest artists, Viktor is a drawing and painting machine. He's made from bits taken from other machines, ones that were made for entirely different purposes. (I suppose he will one day describe them as his muses.)
Viktor is really an amalgam of ordinary design software and industrial motors of various kinds.
Instead of drawing graphs for presentations, Viktor creates art for the world. Or, at least, what … Read more
Dean Takahashi sent me an e-mail pointing to a piece he wrote on VentureBeat describing statements Wednesday by Intel's Chief Technical Officer Justin Rattner targeted at NVIDIA. CNET's own Brooke Crothers covered the same story and provides additional background here.
The technology at issue relates to 3D graphics for PCs. All current PC graphics chips use what's called polygon-order rendering. All of the polygons that make up the objects to be displayed are processed one at a time. The graphics chip figures out where each polygon should appear on the screen and how much of it will be visible or obstructed by other polygons.
Ray tracing achieves similar results by working through each pixel on the screen, firing off a "ray" (like a backward ray of light) that bounces off the polygons until it reaches a light source in the scene. Ray tracing produces natural lighting effects but takes a lot more work.
(That's the short version, anyway. For more details, you could dig up a copy of my 1997 book Beyond Conventional 3D. Alas, the book is long since out of print.)
Ray tracing is easily implemented in software on a general-purpose CPU, and indeed, most of the computer graphics you see in movies and TV commercials are generated this way, using rooms full of PCs or blade-server systems.
Naturally, Intel loves ray tracing, and there are people at Intel working to… Read more
Someday, browsers will make it easy to retrace our Web steps by providing total recall of every page we've opened. Until then, we get the imperfect history features in Internet Explorer and Firefox.
They're imperfect because they seem to remember every page I've visited except the only one I actually need to return to. At least Firefox gives you a few more options for changing how it records your surfing history. With Internet Explorer, the only two options you get are to 1) change the number of days your history is stored and to 2) clear your … Read more
Spotted on Shopper: the Creative Zen Vision:M in the 30GB black variety. No, I am not playing a cruel joke on Zen lovers. You really can still buy the player. Of course, you'll be shelling out more than $500 for one, but that's worth it for a piece of tech history, right? Or...no? You tell me. I can't be the only one that mourned the retirement of this chunky-yet-fabulous portable media device, but I won't be shelling half a grand for one anytime soon. Of course, I still have a functioning one (in green, … Read more
Part of the challenge of making semiconductors in the 1950s was developing your own equipment.
"All of the equipment for the photo lithography had to be developed from scratch. Photo lithography had been used for printed circuit boards, but we wanted to really apply it to production silicon technology, and that required everything new," said Gordon Moore, Intel co-founder and one of the "traitorous eight," in an interview with SEMI, the semiconductor manufacturing equipment trade group.
"We had to develop the mask-making technology as well as the techniques for coating wafers with the photo resist … Read more
Update: This story has been corrected to reflect that the date of the public opening of the exhibit is May 10.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--"Excuse me, Richard, we have a very large parcel."
With those words, spoken by John Shulver of London's Science Museum, a day of supreme geekery unfolded at the Computer History Museum here.
To be precise, the package in question was the delivery and installation of a difference engine, a brand new model of a 19th-century-era machine designed--but never actually built--by Charles Babbage. It was designed to be a mechanical calculator which can … Read more
Vaporware may sound like a technical term to describe the gradual corrosion of a kettle, but today we're using it to describe a product announced by a company with great fanfare, hoohah, and occasionally hullaballoo--but that never materializes.
Continual delays, setbacks, and excuses are the calling cards of a product that becomes vaporware. Windows Vista ran the risk of joining the club, and the terrific multiplayer first-person shooter Team Fortress 2 was in production for almost a decade before it was released in 2007. Devoted TF fans feared it would become a distinguished entrant in the who's who … Read more