Goodbye Radio Shack

Hack A Day has a great piece on the news about Radio Shack declaring bankruptcy.

This is not a eulogy; Radio Shack isn’t quite dead just yet, and eulogies are reserved for the loved ones in our lives. Radio Shack is neither. We all have a rich history with Radio Shack, and next time you’re buying some resistors on Mouser or Digikey, just remember we’re living in a different world now.

Yup, a store that will gladly sell you a cell phone, satellite TV or an old digital camera, but you’re much better off looking for that resistor you need in the shelf yourself.

3D printed hand makes playing guitar possible

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Meet Diego, a young guy from Colombia who can now play the guitar thanks to his 3D printed prosthesis. Diego was born without his right hand, and while he had a prosthesis that allowed him to hold a glass of water, he had a hard time actually learning to play the guitar. A company called 3Dglück, and its cofounders Juan Camilo Monroy, and Andrea Monroy set out to design and print a specialized prosthesis that could hold a guitar pick the right way. Check out the full story below.

One-Handed Boy Plays One Heck of a Guitar Thanks to Custom 3D Printed Prosthesis – 3DPrint.com.

Smart people fear Artificial Intelligence. I should too!

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First Stephen Hawking warns us of the dangers of artificial intelligence:

He told the BBC:”The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”

Then Elon Musk, of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX fame, makes similar statements:

“I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful,” said Musk. “I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish.”

Now, Bill Gates, billionaire extraordinaire and humanitarian comes out basically saying the same thing on his 3rd AMA on Reddit.

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence. First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned.

Ok guys. Stop. You are seriously freaking me out. You can’t be pioneers in science, computer programming and the web and just lay this out for us like that. Give us mere mortals a solution. A glimmer of hope. Isaac Asimov’s laws of robotics anyone?

Curved TVs

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Not only is the carton drawing about funny, but it really strikes a nerve. Let me present the two point of views:

A. From the perspective of a regular consumer that might already have a big TV in their living room

“This seems like a gimmick. I won’t buy another TV. I already got the latest. In this order. HDTV. Plasma. LED. 120 mhz refresh rate. 240 mhz refresh rate. 3D screen. SmartTV. Now a curved TV? You’ve got to be kidding me”!

“My wall is flat, and my new TV is curved. Now what”?

B. From the perspective of a TV maker.

“Well, you just can’t buy one TV and be done with it. Otherwise you’d be stuck with a black and white set and knobs”.

“Innovation drives technology and curved TVs are the future”.

As someone in the market for a new TV set because we now have a bigger living room and the 46″ TV we have now seems small, all I need is the following: a 60″ flat screen that does great 1080p (no 4K/UHD for me for now, thanks!) with 1 HDMI input. Let it be dumb. I don’t need speakers. How about that Vizio? Some of us just want our TVs to display a great image. Period. We’ve got Apple TVs/Rokus/Chromecasts for the smart part and an audio receiver that handles inputs and audio.

AT&T vs T-Mobile: Spy vs Spy

In the never-ending battle for your subscribers, AT&T (disclaimer: my carrier for 8 years now) has announced that they too will let you roll-over your unused data, just like T-Mobile does, but only for 1 month.

I used to have their 10GB plan, shared between all my lines, but after going over a couple of times, I decided to take advantage of their double-your-data plan, so I upgraded to the 15GB plan that doubles to 30GB, which is plenty now. We are constantly streaming audio via podcasts, SiriusXM, Spotify and the occasional video via Netflix, DirecTV or Plex.

At first I was a little upset about AT&T only rolling over the data for a month, I quickly realized that I realized that I probably won’t need that much data. Right now, we use about 12GB a month, so lets round it up to 15GB, now I effectively get 45GB of data a month, since last month’s 15GB are going to roll over. That is a ton of data.

I’m rooting for T-Mobile, because it seems like AT&T usually reacts by offering similar options later on. Competition is good for the consumer. Bring it on!

AT&T offers data rollover, but with much stricter limits than T-Mobile | Ars Technica.