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Technology is a wonderful thing, but in the words of Spider-Man's Uncle Ben, "With great power, comes great responsibility." If we are not careful, the technology we know and love could be used against us, even subtly. In the year 1984, Apple thought IBM was the bringer of "Big Brother." In reality, the technology of today better resembles George Orwell's dystopian vision than a 1980s era PC. Every day we are in the process of becoming a more connected society. With social networks, cloud computing and even more specific, less-thought-about tech such as Internet-connected home surveillance systems, we may find ourselves in a delicate balance of trust and paranoia.
We're talking NCC-1701, a Constitution-class starship, more than 200 years ahead of schedule. A brilliant (we hope) engineer, identified only as "BTE Dan," has worked out not only how to build us the pinnacle of our geekiest Trek dreams, he has worked out how to pay for a space-worthy USS Enterprise, too.
A lot of the designs and technology that inspired today's gadgets are finding a new life with retro lovers. Old-school telephones, "simple" but fun computers and game consoles, record players with some modern guts in them — all this and more you can find below.
Gadget-stuffed watches have been a science fiction staple since the days of Dick Tracy. If you can miniaturize it and put it in a watch we’ve got it here for you, along with some other gadgetry/science fiction themes that are sure to please. Here are 25 of the coolest things you can slap to your wrist, and they make great gifts, to boot.
We all dream of having the revolutionary idea that makes us successful. In fact, the number of patents filed each year almost doubles every ten years to almost half a million in 2010 alone. Unfortunately, being first to market with a new technology product, even a great product, doesn't necessarily guarantee success. For your enjoyment, we've compiled a list of "successful" technology firsts that weren't quite so successful in their original incarnation. Whether it was poor marketing, some supporting technology just wasn't "there" yet, or something unforeseen, you have to admire these brave first attempts. The lessons taught by these technological firsts is all the more apt on this, the day of the iPod's 10 birthday, considering the iPod itself followed in the footsteps of another, now forgotten MP3 player.
Pushing your music, photos, files and digital goodies "to the cloud" has become a common selling point. In commercials, after the pronouncement of those seemingly magical words, people are able to instantly watch their movies and listen to their music from almost anywhere. These promises aren't false. In a world where any device with a Wi-Fi connection was plugged into the cloud, you really could access your files anywhere. The problem is that we're on the frontier of such a reality, and there are dangers — serious dangers — that we'll have to tackle alongside the strengths offered by the cloud. Here's our forecast for the future of cloud computing.
When Chinese scientists recently declared that time travel is impossible, it really got my flux capacitor in a twist. Call me old fashioned, but I believe that all of our science fiction dreams can come true one day, from sonic screwdrivers to warp drives. After reading the article, we at DVICE — and many of you, no doubt — concluded that the test results do not eliminate all of the methods for time travel that science fiction has given us. With respect to those scientists, and in support of the farsightedness of people such as H.G. Wells and his book, The Time Machine, we present you five time travel methods that the Chinese experiment does not de-bunk.
Think you're a Star Trek fan? In 1996, Barbara "The Commander" Adams shocked a lot of people by showing up for jury duty in a full Next Generation uniform, complete with Tricorder and possibly a phaser (she would have to check the sidearm at the door). She was very boldly trying to live in Gene Roddenberry's vision of the 23rd and 24th centuries. The world of 2011 may not seem much closer to the world of Trek than 1996, but it's actually possible for the average person to enjoy some of the technology and indeed even the environment of Star Trek in every day life. While some of the future technology, like transporters, tractor beams and cloaking devices are still in the laboratory, below is a list of items available to the consumer to either buy or build.
In the early 1980s I attended a BASIC programming contest in Philadelphia with some fellow "whiz kid" friends. For those of you who came up after that era, it was a colloquial term for computer geeks in the '80s. Our coding for the contest was on Apple IIe machines, which I remember fondly. At the end of the contest, we gathered in the lecture hall auditorium for the awards ceremony. In the forefront, set out on display podiums like queen's jewels were something we had never seen before: Macintosh computers. Unlike today, there had been no websites with leaked photos and we had only vague news of what this was from the magazines of the period. One thing was certain, we were in awe. Three of these "gems" (Mac 128s, pictured above) were for us to try, at the end of the awards presentation we were each allowed to briefly give one of them a test drive. I opened up Mac Paint, I dragged and dropped, and I clicked on things for the very first time. I was in love.