Archive for the 'tech' Category

The lost genius of the Post Office

June 19, 2017

The lost genius of the @USPS Innovator (which once pioneered pneumatics & even missile delivery), now sclerotic


“The first half of the 20th century was a dynamic time for the Post Office. It immensely improved mail receipt and delivery by adopting innovations from the private sector and abroad. Train cars were designed to mesh two separate aspects of mail delivery: mail sorting and delivery. Rather than have mail delivered to a post office in a jumble and then sorted by postal clerks, clerks on rail cars sorted the mail while it was en route. Bags of sorted mail were hung on posts outside train stations and post offices without the train even needing to stop.

The agency even toyed with moving mail by missile. Why schlep over ground when letters could be launched through the air at 600 miles per hour? “Before man reaches the moon,” Postmaster General Arthur A. Summerfield proclaimed in 1959, “mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to England, to India or to Australia by guided missiles.”

OVERSHADOWING ALL THE invention, however, was the creeping sclerosis of the Post Office as an institution. As a monopoly, it was insulated from competitive pressures, allowing inefficiency to creep into its operations and management.

Things began to change in the 1960s. Postal workers unionized, and President John F. Kennedy authorized them to bargain collectively in 1962. Despite growing mail volume, the Post Office ran perennial deficits, and its investment in the guts of the system—mail receipt and sortation—lagged. The system broke down in Chicago in 1966, and 10 million pieces of mail were backlogged for days.”

Apple just updated its thinnest, lightest MacBook — here’s what’s new

June 13, 2017

“…ports it’s packing; comparable Windows laptops typically go for less.

But it is well-made, and with the Mac becoming less and less relevant to Apple’s bottom line, the company’s laptop business seems to be focusing exclusively on the high-end.”

How important the Mac is to Apple’s revenue: CHART – Business Insider

June 13, 2017

How important the Mac is to $AAPL’s revenue? Not much: now 11% from 86% in ’00. Why MacBook users are irrelevant!

This chart from Statista helps explain why Apple may be so slow to update Mac hardware in recent years, though. Put simply, it’s just not as big a deal anymore: With the iPhone and iPad helping to change the way we use computers, the Mac now makes up just 11% of Apple’s yearly revenue. It is a phone company, first and foremost.

Google discontinues the RSS feed from Google Calendars

June 13, 2017

$GOOGL ends #gcal RSS & public #photos homepage; thought I could trust it for stability!msg/photos/8QqjlFdYzyc/1_YCwkYWBwAJ
+ On Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 10:54 PM, Mark Gerstein wrote:

Nest cams back from the dead with new home monitoring device

June 13, 2017

.@Nest cams back from the dead with new…monitoring device Creepy: it can distinguish family members from strangers


“Using some deep-learning tech from Google, the Cam IQ can accurately detect what’s moving within its field of vision — whether it’s just your pet, for instance, or a shadow cast by the changing light. If it’s something more sinister, like a person, the camera can then automatically zoom in and track that person as they move around the room. Should you opt to subscribe to the Nest Aware service ($10 per month or $100 per year), the Cam IQ will also offer a facial recognition facility that will sort between known friends or family members and any strangers, and alert you accordingly. Additionally, making use of those extra mics, Nest Aware can now also pick up audio cues for alarm, whether it be a dog barking, humans talking, or a window being smashed.”

Seeing with Your Tongue – The New Yorker

June 6, 2017

Sight Unseen New devices let one see w/ one’s tongue; they also open the
possibility for new types of #perception

Insurance: Where Humans Still Rule Over Machines

June 1, 2017

#Insurance: Where Humans Still Rule Over Machines Perhaps future rates will be determined by a man-machine hybrid

The digital age of data art | TechCrunch

May 27, 2017

Cell-free biotech will make for better products

May 8, 2017

Cell-free biotech will make for better products Gr8 screening, quickly making proteins from oligos HT @EmilyLeproust

“A typical recipe for making cell-free protoplasmic gloop is this. Take four litres of culture containing E. coli (a gut bacterium favoured by genetic engineers). Split the bacterial cells open by forcing them through a tiny valve at pressure, thus shredding their membranes and DNA, and liberating the ribosomes. Incubate the resulting mixture at 37°C for an hour, to activate enzymes called exonucleases that will eat up the fragmented DNA. Centrifuge, to separate the scraps of cell membrane and other detritus from the gloop that contains ribosomes. Dialyse to remove unwanted ions. Then stir in amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), sugar and an
energy-carrying molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to power the process. Finally, add a pinch of new DNA to taste, to tell the gloop which proteins it is supposed to produce.”

Inside the Hunt for Russia’s Most Notorious Hacker

April 28, 2017

Inside the Hunt for Russia’s Most Notorious #Hacker A
progression: Zeus, the Business Club & then espionage

“As far as anyone could tell, GameOver Zeus was controlled by a very elite group of hackers—and the group’s leader was Slavik. He had reemerged, more powerful than ever. Slavik’s new crime ring came to be called the Business Club. A September 2011 internal announcement to the group—introducing members to a new suite of online tools for organizing money transfers and mules—concluded with a warm welcome to Slavik’s select recipients: “We wish you all successful and productive work.””