By Rena Marie PacellaPosted 06.01.2011 at 3:52 pm 0 Comments
We’re just starting to figure this one out. The companies that keep our data on remote servers have inconsistent, confusing or nonexistent policies for what happens after a customer passes away. As a result, many “digital estate” services are popping up that can help you plan ahead.
Plenty of once-amazing technologies like the Sony Walkman and Betamax now belong in a museum, and every year the pace of obsolescence gets faster--something not everyone is happy about. Analysts predict that video, music and cellphones are the next categories likely to see familiar equipment die off in the years ahead.
If you’re looking to gin up a project that can interface with the world--say, a device that tells the weather using sensors--you’re probably going to need a microcontroller, a simple computer system on a circuit board that consists of a processor, memory and an input/output system. They are the centerpiece of many of my past PopSci projects, such as a desk clock that keeps superaccurate time by pulling in a signal broadcast from an atomic clock.
Pushing back the night with light of our own making was the first and greatest of humankind's achievements. What a thrill it must have been to discover that the setting sun no longer had to mean darkness and fear. We've come a long way since that first campfire, but it's just recently that technology has topped the most advanced form of open-flame light.
The sun makes an excellent coffee roaster, it turns out
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 04.27.2011 at 10:11 am 0 Comments
In 2004, artist Dave Hartkop was looking for a way to move out of his parents’ house. Pairing his interest in alternative energy with his brother Mike’s passion for coffee, he decided to start an online coffee business, and designed a huge solar-powered roasting system to supply it. Now the brothers are on their fourth, and by far largest, version of the roaster. Dubbed Helios 4, it’s made up of more than 600 mirrors and has a 35-foot-by-35-foot footprint.
Most people probably don’t think of Corning as a crime fighting company, but when it sold its Pyrex brand to World Kitchen in 1998, the company accidentally made the illegal manufacture of crack cocaine more difficult—a fascinating example of unintended consequences.
Ordinary glass shatters if it’s heated too quickly: Pour boiling water into a common flintglass tumbler, and it’s likely to fall apart seconds later. The glass on the inside expands when it gets hot, putting stress on the cold glass on the outside. When the stress gets too great, it cracks.
Chris McIntosh's first recliner was not your standard La-Z-Boy—it was electric-powered and capable of going 15 mph. After finishing it a year and a half ago, he used it to pull a doughnut on his high school's front lawn, circle the gym during a pep rally, and rule the street near his home in Orinda, California. Now a freshman at the University of Southern California, McIntosh spent his youth building ad-hoc vehicles (he once made a mini hovercraft out of a leaf blower), so when the chair's paltry electric motor burned out, he decided it was time for a monster makeover.
Pearl, my beloved labradoodle, dutifully watched me build myself a new house for the past three years. So when I was almost finished, I decided to build her a place of her own. A standard model just wouldn't do, though, so I went a little overboard. After creating the design with CAD software, I added a solar hot-water radiant-heating system and made a green roof that retains rainwater, creates oxygen, and improves insulation.
I've accidentally dropped an engine on my foot, set myself on fire, fallen off all sorts of things—and now I'm here to tell you about safety. Four of the biggest risks to DIYers are ones that often don't get taken seriously, but they all can be mitigated with some easy-to-find gear.
By Robert HeronPosted 03.25.2011 at 1:04 pm 9 Comments
Television manufacturers are already starting to produce equipment with an image resolution that far exceeds today’s HDTV standards. In part, that’s because passive 3-D glasses cost you picture resolution, so LG, Vizio and others plan to compensate by doubling the resolution of 1080p screens by next year—and double it again by 2013. Those sets will be able to display an amazing picture.