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Submission + - The forgotten tale of Cartrivision's 1972 VCR (

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.

Submission + - 20th anniversary of the Nintendo Virtual Boy's U.S. debut (

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.

Submission + - The Agonizingly Slow Decline of Adobe's Flash Player (

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.

Submission + - How two bored 1970s housewives helped create the PC industry (

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.

Submission + - Digg cofounder Jay Adelson on Reddit's meltdown ( 1

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.

Submission + - How Etak Built a Car Navigation System in 1985 (

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.

Submission + - Microsoft is building Surface Hub in a factory near Portland (

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.

Submission + - The Bizarre Process We Use for Approving Exemptions to the DMCA (

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.

Submission + - In 1984, Jobs and Wozniak talk about Apple's earliest days (

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.

Submission + - Tim Cook offered Steve Jobs part of his liver (

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.

Submission + - The threat of certificate-authority fraud, and how it's being fixed (

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.

Submission + - RIP, pioneering computer animation company PDI (

harrymcc writes: After a string of flops, DreamWorks Animation is shuttering its PDI/DreamWorks studio. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, PDI, along with Pixar, made short cartoons that were part demo, part entertainment--and helped pave the way for today's computer-animated features. Over at Fast Company, I assembled a mini-festival of the company's vintage work, originally seen at venues such as SIGGRAPH.

Submission + - The untold story of the invention of the game cartridge ( 2

harrymcc writes: In 1973, an obscure company which had been making electronic cash registers looked for a new business opportunity. It ended up inventing the game cartridge--an innovation which kickstarted a billion-dollar industry and helped establish videogames as a creative medium. The story has never been told until now, but over at Fast Company, Benj Edwards chronicles the fascinating tale, based on interviews with the engineers responsible for the feat back in the mid-1970s.

Submission + - On not going to CES ( 1

harrymcc writes: I attended my COMDEX in Las Vegas in 1991. Every year since, I've attended at least one enormous Vegas tech show--in this century, mostly CES. But I'm skipping CES next week,. Over at Fast Company, I explain why--and why I think that the notion that enormous shows such as CES were once more valuable than they are now is revisionist history.

Submission + - Three key reasons for Apple's Mac App Store troubles (

harrymcc writes: When Apple launched the Mac App Store in 2011, expectations were high. But it hasn't had anywhere near the success of its iOS counterpart, and recently, some major developers have pulled apps altogether. Over at Fast Company, my colleague Jared Newman talked to developers about their frustrations, which range from technical matters (highly restrictive sandboxing) to financial ones (no ability to sell paid upgrades).

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"