harrymcc writes: As this year's Grammy ceremony next week, the trophies presented to winners will have embedded cameras--Grammycams--which will live-stream the action from the perspective of the award itself. The new twist was made possible by building disassembled GoPro cameras, modified for RF wireless transmission, into the base of the iconic gramophone-shaped awards.
harrymcc writes: In 1995, the consumer web was new and Benj Edwards, age 14, decided to build his own homepage. He bought a book on Mosaic, downloaded and configured a TCP/IP stack for Windows 3.1, found an ISP which gave him 1MB of disk space, and got to work. Over at Fast Company, he provides a detailed, copiously illustrated walkthrough of the process--almost every step of which is charmingly archaic in the age of Facebook and Twitter.
harrymcc writes: Night Dive Studios is successfully reviving old video games--not the highest-profile best-sellers of the past, but cult classics such as System Shock 2, The 7th Guest, Strife, and I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. It's a job that involves an enormous amount of detective work to track down rights holders as well as the expected technical challenges. Over at Fast Company, Jared Newman tells the story of how the company stumbled upon its thriving business.
harrymcc writes: GoDaddy, the world's biggest domain registrar, remains most famous for its tacky Super Bowl ads and controversial founder, Bob Parsons. But in recent years, the company was sold, hired a CEO from Microsoft and Yahoo, and has made a major effort to reinvent itself as a serious, uncontroversial, technologically-savvy outfit. And now it's partnered with MIT's Media Lab in an ambitious experiment--which I wrote about over at Fast Company--involving placing sensors around downtown Boston to collect big data that could help the small businesses which line the city's streets.
harrymcc writes: In 1972--years before Betamax and VHS--a Silicon Valley startup called Cartrivision started selling VCRs built into color TVs. They offered movies for sale and rent--everything from blockbusters to porn--using an analog form of DRM, and also let you record broadcast TV. There was also an optional video camera. And it was a spectacular flop. Over at Fast Company, Ross Rubin tells the fascinating story of this ambitious failure.
harrymcc writes: On April 21, 1995, Nintendo's Virtual Boy launched in the U.S. The world's first stereoscopic game console, it was originally intended to be the Oculus Rift of its era--but evolved into a strange device which is remembered mostly for being an enormous flop. Over at Fast Company, Benj Edwards tells the remarkable story, and explains what went wrong with a machine that started out being quite visionary.
harrymcc writes: Security and performance issues with Adobe's Flash Player have led to countless calls for its abandonment. But a significant percentage of major sites still use it--and many of those companies aren't eager to explain why. Over at Fast Company, Jared Newman investigates why Flash won't disappear from the web anytime soon.
harrymcc writes: One of the first significant PC companies was Vector Graphic. Founded in 1976, it was an innovator in everything from industrial design to sales and marketing, and eventually went public. And alone among early PC makers, it was founded and run by two women, Lore Harp and Carole Ely. Over at Fast Company, Benj Edwards tells the story of this fascinating, forgotten company.
harrymcc writes: As Reddit has experienced a revolt of its community in recent weeks, many pundits have referenced Digg--the once-mighty social news site which predated Reddit and suffered its own member rebellion. But Digg's cofounder and former CEO, Jay Adelson, told Fast Company's Jared Newman that the two situations aren't as similar as they may appear.
harrymcc writes: Thirty years ago, a startup called Etak released the Navigator, an in-car navigation system. It provided turn-by-turn driving directions despite the fact that GPS did not exist, and stored its maps--which Etak had to create itself--on cassette tapes. And some of its data and technologies are still in use in today's navigation apps. Over at Fast Company, Benj Edwards tells this amazing story.
harrymcc writes: At its January Windows 10 launch, Microsoft introduced Surface Hub, a giant multi-touch computing device designed for conference rooms. What it didn't reveal: It's building it in its own factory in Wilsonville, Ore. Over at Fast Company, I write about the place and profile Jeff Han, the computing pioneer who's spearheading the project.
harrymcc writes: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act imposes severe penalties on those who overcome copy-protection technologies. It allows for exemptions for a variety of purposes--but in a weird proviso, those exemptions must be re-approved by the Librarian of Congress every three years. Over at Fast Company, Glenn Fleishman takes a look at this broken system and why it's so bad for our rights as consumers.
harrymcc writes: In 1984, Apple launched the Apple IIc computer. As part of its promotion, it produced a video with Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and other employees talking about company's founding and the creation of the Apple I and Apple II computers. Over at Fast Company, I've shared this remarkable, little-seen bit of history. It's full of goodies, from images of Jobs and Wozniak wearing remarkably Apple Watch-like timepieces to evocative photos of early computer stores.
harrymcc writes: Before Steve Jobs received his liver transplant, his Apple colleague Tim Cook discovered that--remarkably--he shared a rare blood type with Jobs and was capable of donating part of his own liver to him. He offered to do so, and Jobs turned him down. The tale will be in the upcoming book BECOMING STEVE JOBS by Brett Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, which is based in part on Schlender's unpublished interviews with Jobs and which will be excerpted in the next issue of FAST COMPANY.
harrymcc writes: The Lenovo adware that's in the news today reportedly inserts itself via man-in-the-middle attack via certificate-authority fraud. The technique presents real dangers for the entire web, and most people don't know about it. The good news is that several fixes are on their way. At Fast Company, my colleague Glenn Fleishman takes a look at the risks and the solutions.