Chapter 1 Exploring Our Digital Planet

Nicholas Negroponte has been predicting—and creating—the future for decades. In this TED talk he walks us through those decades, pointing out what the future looked like from many vantage points in the past, and ending with a startling prediction. Given his track record for correctly predicting the future, do you think he’s right on this one?

ted.com/talks/nicholas_negroponte_a_30_year_history_of_the_future

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ANACOMIn Digital Planet we tell the stories of many of the pioneers of the digital age—people who invented or discovered ways of doing things that weren’t previously possible. In his book The Innovators, Walter Isaacson weaves many of those stories, and others, together into a larger story—the story of the creation of the Internet. In this Fresh Air interview, he makes it clear that great changes often result from the work of many people over time.

npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/10/06/353269811/how-the-cold-war-and-george-orwell-helped-make-the-internet-what-it-is

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Apple and Technology Intimacy

September 10, 2014

As one of the most innovative and profitable companies on the planet, Apple makes headlines when it makes announcements. This week Apple announced several important new products, each of which represents trends in a fast changing industry. Larger iPhones bridge the gap between smart phones and tablets. A mobile payments system designed to bypasses credit […]

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What a Difference 30 Years Makes….

February 6, 2014

In 1984 Apple rocked the advertising world with a Superbowl commercial directed by Ridley Scott. The commercial depicted a futuristic dystopian dictatorship being challenged by a courageous young heroine with a vision; a not-at-all-subtle metaphor for the soon-to-be-introduced Macintosh computer. The commercial won countless awards when it was aired, and many of the revolutionary features of the Macintosh were quickly adopted by Microsoft, the company that the commercial suggested was the enemy of freedom. Three decades later, Apple is no longer a feisty young rebel.

This new Apple commercial, filmed completely with iPhones, captures a much more optimistic vision of the role of digital technology in our future.

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Doug Engelbart (1925–2013): The Man Who Saw the Future

July 8, 2013

If you’re reading this, take a moment to thank Doug Engelbart. At a time when computers were big, expensive, isolated, finicky, and terribly difficult to program and use, this unassuming genius had a vision of a digital future that was so far ahead of its time that few of his peers took it seriously. He is widely credited with inventing the mouse, but that’s just a tiny part of his grand vision. Graphical user interfaces, interactive computing, the Internet, and more, owe their existence at least in part to Engelbart’s visionary work. Thank you, Doug.

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Are You Ready for a Face Phone?

May 14, 2013

When Apple released the iPhone, the world changed. People were carrying powerful computers in their pockets and purses. Developers released a bevy of creative apps to harness that always-available computing power. Today it’s hard to imagine a world without smart phones. Could Google Glass, the wear-on-your-face computer from Google, be the beginning of the next revolution in personal computing? This short NPR story explains how early adopters plan to use their prototype high-tech specs.
Of course, not everyone views Google Glass through such rose-colored lenses. This Saturday Night Live skit mocks the idea that Google Glass can be used discreetly; other detractors question our need to become even more dependent on our technology.

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Five Minutes, Ten Tips. How Many Hours Will You Save?

May 3, 2013

David Pogue is one of the most prolific–and entertaining–tech writers we know. In this short TED talk, he runs through a list of tips that can save you time every day.

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Android Phones Show a New Face(book)

April 5, 2013
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Rumors of a Facebook phone have rattled around the tech world for quite a while. Today Facebook announced not a a phone, but software that can convert many Android phones into Facebook machines. Facebook is available in app form on most smart phones. But the new Facebook Home software will replace the Android home screen with a Facebook-centered home, making it possible for social networkers to keep Facebook at the center of their phone experiences.

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Super Competition for the Fastest Supercomputer

November 2, 2012
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The balance of power is shifting westward in the high-stakes competition for the most powerful computer in the world. The latest US champ is based in part on technology pioneered in the gaming industry. Like most supercomputers, this one will be used to produce ever-more-accurate simulations for scientific research and engineering applications.

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The Changing World of Windows

October 26, 2012
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Microsoft will soon offer two new versions of its ubiquitous Windows operating system. Windows 8 is designed to replace Windows 7 as the flagship PC OS. Windows RT will run mostly on Microsoft’s new Surface and other tablet devices. This CNET article gives an overview of the two OSs and how they fit into a world where the line between tablets and laptops is blurred by all kinds of hybrid devices.

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