A couple days ago, the online gadget guide Gizmodo posted and masturbated to a photo of the contents of Steve Wozniak’s travel backpack. In the photo (taken and annotated by The Woz himself), an iSimCity of redundant -pads, -phones, -books, -pods and so on is neatly nestled together, row after row, much like Sol Rosenberg’s shoes and glasses (so he has them). The photo, while farcically lame, is not grounds for labeling Woz a PC—we imagine Justin Long travels with a comparable load.
Textured plastic has taken over almost all of our work-based accoutrements, so it’s nice when we can take on back. Think of a metal fountain pen, a canvas notebook—or an optical mouse carved entirely out of wood, right down to the USB plug. Of course, you won’t be able to pick it up for less than a thousand dollars…but it’s a fair price for spending all day handling ebony.
You can usually count on Apple to be at least one gadget ahead of everyone else. So now that iPhones are rendering the average iPod obsolete, it’s a pretty safe bet they’ve got a third item up their sleeve ready to change the game yet again.
It’s all still guesses, but the smart money is on a tablet computer dropping just in time for Christmas, codenamed Cocktail and resembling either an enormous iPod touch or a hyper-intelligent dinner tray. (The above pic is an unofficial rendering, naturally.) It’s a gadget type that’s been seen at press events for years now, most notably from Microsoft, but they’ve never quite made it into stores. More importantly, it’s the ideal tool for the artsy endeavors Apple specializes in—graphic design, software editing, digital collage, and so on—provided they can convince their users to get rid of that keyboard.
More than Microsoft or even Apple, Google has always been interested in blowing minds. So when they get into the OS racket, they do it with a web browser—apparently just to mess with us.
Late last night, Google announced their new Chrome OS, a stripped-down operating system based on Linux and promising to get the average computer booted up and onto the internet in a matter of seconds. Compared to Microsoft’s increasingly glacial startup times, it should be quite a jolt, and perfect for a new generation of web-based apps. Looks like their heads are still in the cloud.
We’ve already stopped remembering phone numbers and writing down directions, but the flood of technology is about to wash away a genuinely useful skill. In just a scant few years, writing in cursive may join the ranks of useless abilities, alongside long division and parkour.
One of the sleeper themes at CES was the rise of the designer laptop sleeve…but we can’t say we love where this is headed.
The Finnish brand Golla led the pack with a few enormous Bowie-inspired posters and a whole lot of very expensive marketing. They tend to be a bit too fond of flowers and all those bright colors are Scandanavian enough to overpower the usual slate gray laptop, but it’s probably step above most of the laptop bags out there.
Still, it does look an awful lot like something you’d find at a Best Buy…
We’ve always said you’d miss analog when it’s gone, but we didn’t expect things to go this far.
Now that the down-and-dirty look of the Polaroid has gone the way of the dinosaur, we’re scrambling to get it back. Poladroid is a program that takes digital camera images and adds a touch of blurring, that familiar light green tint, and ends up with something that looks like it was printed from a handheld camera and shaken impatiently until it developed. Just like grandma used to make!
The only thing better would be if they started making actual Polaroids again.