Sound Effects Genius Michael Winslow Performs the Sounds of 32 Typewriters (1898-1983)

≡ Category: Technology, Writing |Leave a Comment

“When forced to leave my house for an extended period of time, I take my typewriter with me,” once wrote essayist-humorist David Sedaris. “Together we endure the wretchedness of passing through the X-ray scanner. The laptops roll merrily down the belt, while I’m instructed to stand aside and open my bag.


Learn to Make Buttons with Filmmaker Miranda July

≡ Category: Comedy, K-12, Random, Technology |1 Comment

We humans have relied on the deceptively humble button since its first appearance in the Indus Valley some 5000 years ago.


Thomas Dolby Explains How a Synthesizer Works on a Jim Henson Kids Show (1989)

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We’ve all heard the musical fruits of audio synthesis, especially if we regularly listen to the pop of the 1980s. But how, exactly, does a synthesizer work? Ask a modern electronic-music enthusiast and the answer may come out too technical, and at too much length, to bear.


Short Film Takes You Inside the Recovery of Andy Warhol’s Lost Computer Art

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A couple weeks back, we told you how Carnegie Mellon’s Computer Club used its tech savoir-faire to recover nearly 30 paintings that Andy Warhol made on the Amiga computer back in the 1980s.


Andy Warhol’s Lost Computer Art Found on 30-Year-Old Floppy Disks

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If you saw our post on Andy Warhol digitally painting Debbie Harry at the 1985 launch of the Commodore Amiga 1000, you know how effusively — effusively by the impassive Warholian standard, anyway — the artist praised the computer’s artistic power.


Close Personal Friend: Watch a 1996 Portrait of Gen-X Definer Douglas Coupland

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Whether we lived through them as kids or as grown-ups, few of us feel sure about whether we miss the 1990s. No generation did more to define the decade before last, at least in the West, than the unmoored, irony-loving, at once deeply cynical and deeply earnest “Generation X” that succeeded the wealthier, more influential Baby Boomers.


Two Artificial Intelligence Chatbots Talk to Each Other & Get Into a Deep Philosophical Conversation

≡ Category: Philosophy, Technology |6 Comments

The folks at the Cornell Creative Machines Lab are “interested in robots that create and are creative.” Here’s one such example of robots getting creative. Above, the lab lets two chatbots (essentially computer programs designed to simulate an intelligent conversation) start chatting with one another.


Before The Simpsons, Matt Groening Illustrated a “Student’s Guide” for Apple Computers (1989)

≡ Category: Comics/Cartoons, Technology |Leave a Comment

A friend once told me of his older cousin who, for the freakish act of installing a computer in his college dorm room, found himself immediately and irrevocably dubbed “computer Jon.” This happened in the early 1980s, and boy, have times changed.


Free: Watch the First Episode of Silicon Valley, Mike Judge’s New HBO Series

≡ Category: Technology, Television |1 Comment

Mike Judge’s 1998 movie Office Space struck a nerve with just about anyone who ever wound up in a thankless low-end white collar job. Few movies before or since have been able to articulate the petty indignities, the inanities and the general soul gnawing awfulness of such gigs.


New York Public Library Puts 20,000 Hi-Res Maps Online & Makes Them Free to Download and Use

≡ Category: History, Maps, Technology |6 Comments

When I was a kid, my father brought home from I know not where an enormous collection of National Geographic magazines spanning the years 1917 to 1985. I found, tucked in almost every issue, one of the magazine’s gorgeous maps—of the Moon, St. Petersburg, the Himalayas, Eastern Europe’s ever-shifting boundaries.


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