My final story for Wired.com appeared August 31. It’s a look at some of the work that the scientists and engineers in Microsoft’s research division are doing to create the computer interface — and communications screens — of the future. REDMOND, Washington — Deep inside Microsoft is the brain of a mad scientist. You might […]
If you’re old enough to remember the energy policies of the Carter administration, green enough to have donated to the Nature Conservancy and young enough to get a rush of testosterone from dusting that polo-shirt-wearing jerk in his BMW, Nissan has the car for you. And though its styling walks a fine line […]
High on a rocky ridge in the desert, nestled among the brush, is the topmost part of a clock that has been ticking for thousands of years.
It looks out over the ruins of a spaceport, built by a rich man whose name was forgotten long ago.
1945: Arthur C. Clarke begins privately circulating copies of a paper that proposes using space satellites for global communications. It was a bold suggestion for 1945, as the war was just winding down and most people were undoubtedly more concerned about the necessities of life than they were with beaming radio waves down from space. […]
Decades after its birth, the laser is still irresistibly cool. How many other fifty-somethings can you say that about? Even though lasers are as common as dirt now, appearing in everything from DVD players to supermarket scanners to computer mice, there’s still a certain appeal to a beam of coherent, monochromatic light. Especially if […]
SEATTLE — Rusty Oliver sets things on fire. During our visit to his workspace, the aptly-named Hazardfactory, he demonstrated how two long propane-filled tubes can act as a kind of fiery audio EQ meter. He created a fierce ball of flame in the middle of a hoop-shaped sculpture he calls “The Singularity.” He showed […]
SAN FRANCISCO — Trust us. We’re not going to screw up Skype. That was the message Microsoft delivered Tuesday, hours after formally announcing that it was buying the internet telephony pioneer for a staggering $8.5 billion — staggering because it’s more than the Redmond giant has ever paid for anything, and because Skype doesn’t exactly print […]
SEATTLE — It’s hard to explain Archie McPhee. Instead, let’s start with some of the things you can buy here: Cthulhu water bottles. Bacon-flavored toothpaste. Devil duckies. Fire-spitting wind-up nuns. Band-Aids that look like bacon strips. Bacon-flavored gumballs. A plastic narwhal — complete with a penguin for it to impale. A yodeling plastic pickle. Bacon-flavored […]
Like multicore computer chips, Android smartphones, and Starbucks coffee, LCD TVs are getting cheaper—and bigger—all the time. Inevitably, your brother-in-law’s new 55-inch TV cost less than the 48-inch model you bought two years ago. Why? Science! See, flat-panel displays are made by machines that print arrays of circuits on sheets of glass and […]
My phone is about as integrated into my life as my left temporal lobe. I’m not going running without it. That’s why the H2O Audio Amphibx Fit Armband ($60) is a boon for technophile exercise-junkies like me. Sure, it’s ugly, and its large size dwarfs my skinny arms. But with my phone tucked inside, […]
Can a smartphone help you train better? Maybe — if you’re the kind of person who gets obsessed over logging every workout, tracking your pace and counting how many miles per week you’ve averaged. And if you’re that kind of person, there’s a host of apps and gadgets that can feed your mania for recording […]
It’s a comfortable 63.3 degrees on the roof of Wired headquarters, with a slight 3-mph breeze, and the barometer is at 30.14 inches and rising. A few blocks away, it’s 61.1 degrees and there’s a 4-mph breeze from the northwest. There was a little mist yesterday, 0.06 inches of precipitation to be exact. […]
Game of Thrones opens with violence, nudity, foul language and a soundtrack dominated by cello and kettledrums. A medieval-looking haze of smoke hangs over the computer-generated cities of Westeros. Mud and filth fill the castles. Characters drop their silks and furs to engage in flesh-smacking sex inside ancient stone towers. There are two decapitations in […]
One of the first planes to dock at Virgin America’s new San Francisco International Airport terminal was a spaceship. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo arrived hitched between the twin fuselages of WhiteKnightTwo, its mothership and launch platform. “For the first time we’ve brought the spaceship and WhiteKnight to a commercial airport…. It’s just a fantastic, exciting […]
Considering the expense, precision and difficulty of manufacturing computer chips, you would think the engineers designing them are pretty serious people. But it’s not all business inside a chip fab, as these microscope photos reveal. In fact, the designers of microchips frequently hide tiny cartoons, drawings and even messages alongside the super-tiny circuits and semiconductors […]
Gallivanting billionaire Richard Branson is well on his way to space. Now he plans to explore the deepest parts of the ocean as well. Branson announced his undersea exploration venture, Virgin Oceanic, on Tuesday. Unlike his suborbital-space-flight company, Virgin Galactic, the new venture is not accepting paying passengers. Instead, it will comprise only five deep-sea dives, […]
The portable computer was born 30 years ago this weekend, when Adam Osborne unveiled the Osborne 1 in San Francisco. Osborne, a journalist and book author, made the transition to entrepreneur on the strength of his personality, ambition and vision. And for a short few months, his computer company was on top of the world, […]
A strange legacy of the Japanese power system’s infancy in the late 1800s is complicating efforts to keep Tokyo supplied with electricity. The problem, as explained by IDG News Service’s Martyn Williams, is that half of the country uses power whose current alternates at 60 Hz, while the other half gets its power at 50 Hz. […]
Silicon chips have billions of transistors in every square inch. But sometimes there’s enough room left over for chip engineers to insert a little joke. While using a scanning electron microscope to examine the microcircuitry of a chip found in Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Galaxy S phone, consulting company Chipworks discovered a surprise. Underneath six […]
“In an all-white environment, the white version of the iPad 2 will have a better chance of hiding from predators.” via Gallery: Apple’s Jobs Unveils Upgraded, More Colorful iPad 2 | Gadget Lab | Wired.com.