Archive for computers

Laser Day

maimanToday they’re on everything from our pens to the heads of villainous frickin’ sharks, but before 1960, lasers were just a dream. In that year, Theodore Harold Maiman invented the laser using a pink ruby, proving that diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but they won’t remove that regrettable tattoo. Maiman was born today in 1927, and to say his work at Hughes Research Laboratories changed the world is an understatement. Lasers have revolutionized medicine, electronics, communications and, of course, pop culture. Without lasers, could you have the idea of a lightsaber? Or a phaser?

Maiman created his own company around his invention in 1962, and continued to be a major part of the high technology world until his death in 2007. Celebrate his creation today by digging out the laser pointer and entertaining the cat.

First Tweet Day

Seven years ago today, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey sent out the very first tweet, spawning a micro-blogging sensation that has changed how we communicate. Twitter has more than 300 million users, and it’s helped topple regimes, break news and connect us to everyone from Ashton Kutcher to the the Dalai Lama. Celebrate this day like you every day, by tweeting your little heart out until the fail whale strikes. By the way, you can still check out that first tweet.

 

 

 

Douglas Adams Day

douglasadamsHe was an honorary Python, wrote for Doctor Who, and gave us Zaphod Beeblebrox, Arthur Dent and Dirk Gently; Douglas Adams, born on this day in 1952, was a giant of a man in many ways, especially his contributions to science fiction and comedy. He left us far too soon, but his impact on geekdom and science fiction is still powerful today. Who else could inspire a massive inside joke with a simple “42?” He also loved technology and would have been awesome on Twitter, better than Steve Martin and Nathan Fillion combined. Yeah, we said it.

Celebrate today by carrying your towel or donating a little cash to save endangered animals, one of his favorite causes. If you don’t know who Adams is and you think BabelFish is just a translation website, get yourself to a bookstore immediately for a copy of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Also, check out the lovely Google Doodle in his memory today, or watch his last interview filmed shortly before his untimely death in 2001 on the now defunct TechTV show, Big Thinkers.

Valentine, Schmalentine…Let’s Go Full Werewolf

Charles Babbage Day

Mathlete, genius and all-around eccentric Charles Babbage was born on this day in 1791. Best known for inventing “engines” that were the early forerunners of computers, Babbage also designed several other inventions for the day’s cutting-edge travel: the railroad. He thought up the concept of a “black box” to explain what went wrong in a crash, and invented a cow-catcher to clear  obstacles (both inert and mooing) from the front of a passing train.

A fan of lock picking, Babbage also made advances in cryptography, and his cipher-breaking ideas were used to the benefit of the British military for years.

But it was the difference and analytical engines that defined him; the first was essentially a calculator way too big for any pocket. The analytical engine was truly the great-great granddad of that iPad or laptop you’re holding. It could be programmed with punch cards, used programming functions like looping and parallel processing, and could even spit out a hard copy print out.

Celebrate Babbage’s accomplishments by doing something worthy like learning a new programming language or helping scientists unlock DNA. Or you could do what you’ve planned, and play Skyrim until the Christmas leftovers call your name.

Armin Shimerman Day

Geek world, meet your ersatz demi-god. It’s Armin Shimerman’s birthday, and he’s been in almost everything you’ve played or seen.

Warehouse 13? Yep. Batman: The Brave and the Bold? You know it. The Real Housewives of Ferengi? It’s only a matter of time.

Best known as DS9’s Quark, he’s also been a Nox in Stargate: SG-1, the school principal in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and has voiced characters in tons of games like BioShock, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 3, God of War 2, X-Men Legends 2, Diablo III and many more.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Shimerman. For the love of Odo, take a day off and enjoy a little cake.


5 Geeky Alternatives to Valentine’s Day

If you’re tired of candy, dead flowers and backstreet massacres on Valentine’s Day, try out another holiday on Feb. 14!

Too cheap to buy a Valentine's Day card? Send this as an ecard with the link above.

Obsolete Computer Day

No one ever brags about their thumb drives. Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/regorius/

Are you pining for your Palm Pilot? Verklempt over your VIC-20? Celebrate the technology of yesterday by dusting off that Commodore 128 for a rousing game of “Zork” or whip out that 1st Gen iPad and remember all the good times you had in 2010, back when you were young and innocent.

Remember, it doesn’t matter when you bought it, as soon as it’s out of the box, it’s obsolete. Besides, that Timex Sinclair or Commodore 64 still has a lot of life left in it.  Anyone up for a little “Maniac Mansion”?