Tag: Technology

Time Capsule: Vintage Coin-Operated Machines (Life Magazine, 1947)

Time Capsule: Vintage Coin-Operated Machines (Life Magazine, 1947)

Capsules
Sometimes the coolest photos from Life magazine were crammed into incidental articles in the back of an issue. Take, for instance, an article on coin-operated machines -- "Brave New Machines" -- from the March 17, 1947 edition. The original images, taken by staff photographer Wallace Kirkland, showcase beautifully designed machines that would now probably fetch hundreds or thousands of dollars on the antiques market. But in '47 they warranted little more than small pictures tucked into the very back of the magazine. Here they are in their original splendor. Click on any image for the full-size version.
A How-To Guide for Scanning View-Master Reels

A How-To Guide for Scanning View-Master Reels

Mental Debris
Recently a visitor to my View-Master gallery wrote in and asked how I scan my reels and get them ready for publication. So as a public service I'll go through the steps I take to get an image from a reel to you. Note that I don't profess to be an expert in this area, and by no means do I claim to have the best technique. I also tend to make things much more complicated than necessary, so keep that in mind. So here is my humble guide to scanning View-Master reels and getting them cleaned up. The Hardware For my reel scanning I use an Epson Perfection 1660 Photo Scanner. It's a rather old model -- at least a decade -- but does the job. If memory serves it came with plastic photo scan adapters, but they have long since been lost. See that opaque strip in the middle of the lid's un...
Check Out This Vintage 1950s RCA Color Television Camera

Check Out This Vintage 1950s RCA Color Television Camera

Auction Finds
The RCA TK-40/41 is considered to be the first color television camera. It began production in late 1953 and was produced in greater quantity in 1954. This particular camera (MI-40534) was made in 1954 and bought by WBAP (later KXAS) of Fort Worth, the first television station in Texas (debuted in 1948). Outfitted with three lenses, it is a live pick-up camera used to separate a color image into its primary red, blue, and green component images and convert them into signals required for the RCA color television system. Beginning with The Colgate Comedy Hour on November 22, 1953 these cameras were in wide use at TV networks and affiliate studios, as well as independent TV production facilities through the 1960s. Notice the sweet CBS period logo, which actually hasn't changed that muc
Computers Have Taken Our Jobs, Now They Want Our Games

Computers Have Taken Our Jobs, Now They Want Our Games

Funny Stuff, Listcruft
We've grown accustomed to machines taking over routine jobs that humans used to perform (think auto assembly, telephone operators, etc.). But now, the machines are even taking away our fun. Recently, researchers at Japan’s Ishikawa Oku Laboratory unveiled a robotic hand that is unbeatable at the time-honored game of rock-paper-scissors (Roshambo). That’s right, the friggin' machines have taken rock-paper-scissors away from us. And this is simply the latest example of artificial intelligence ruining our cherished games and acting like a giant buzzkill with circuits in the process. “What Is an Ass-Kicking?” In 2011, IBM’s Watson supercomputer appeared on Jeopardy! and wiped the floor with two of the show’s greatest champions, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Even after missing
A polite request for Steve Jobs bashers to STFU

A polite request for Steve Jobs bashers to STFU

Mental Debris
I can't pretend to be personally moved by Steve Jobs' death. I can acknowledge the impact he had on modern technology and our society, and still not be all that upset that he's no longer with us. But here's the thing -- last night, while the internet poured out its sympathy and grief over Steve Jobs, I decided that instead of being a phony I just wouldn't say anything at all. I really wish some of you Steve Jobs/Apple bashers would do the same. I read a lot of negative commentary yesterday regarding Jobs, and it seems to break down into a few major gripes. Allow me to address them here. You say: Why should I care about Steve Jobs? I don't even own an iPod. I say: Good job on demonstrating your short-sightedness. The fact that you don't own an iPod or any other Apple products, beli...
Say hello to Elektro, the Westinghouse Robot

Say hello to Elektro, the Westinghouse Robot

History
He's all but forgotten today, but at one time Elektro was king of all robots. He was assembled by Westinghouse at their Mansfield, Ohio facility in 1937/38 and made his public debut at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Elektro stood at a height of seven feet, six inches and weighed 260 pounds. 60 of those pounds were his brain, which was comprised of "48 electrical relays." At the Westinghouse Pavilion of the World's Fair, Elektro the Moto-Man demonstrated a wide variety of skills such as speech, counting, stand-up comedy, and of course, smoking! Witness the marvels of modern 1930s technology in this excerpt from the 1939 promotional film The Middleton Family at the New York World's Fair. "Stand aside puny human, as I enjoy the mild, refreshing tobacco flavor of Philip Morris!" ...
I love you, internet: iPhone 4 captures oscillation of guitar strings

I love you, internet: iPhone 4 captures oscillation of guitar strings

Internet
So this is pretty cool, no? Some guy plopped an iPhone inside his guitar -- I know, crazy right? -- and he was able to capture the oscillation* of the guitar strings as he strummed Eric Clapton's unforgettable dead son ballad, "Tears in Heaven." He says the effect was achieved because of the camera's rolling shutter, whatever that means. God science is so boring. But this is neat: *a fancy word for vibration