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Title: Technology-based awes


Pixellated - May 4, 2011 10:57 PM (GMT)
Yet another major breakthrough in getting computing power that much better.

It begs the question, though: what technological advancements in our generation, when you think about it, leave you in awe? For me, it's the fact that for my previous major project, the basic motion-tracking I did would have cost millions for a film studio some twenty, thirty years ago.

J29 - May 4, 2011 11:30 PM (GMT)
I want a robot body by the time I die. They've already got robot limbs that can be controlled by the brain, I just need a way to sustain brain function indefinitely.

csadn - May 4, 2011 11:30 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Pixellated @ May 4 2011, 10:57 PM)
It begs the question, though: what technological advancements in our generation, when you think about it, leave you in awe?

I am a Science Fiction Fan -- *NOTHING* so far impresses me. Call me when you can get me off this fucking rock, and to another habitable star system.

Korvaz - May 4, 2011 11:38 PM (GMT)
Technology is evolving. End user knowledge is not. People willingly sign away their identity to companies who will gladly sell them on for a quick buck. It's becoming harder and harder to use the net without becoming a member of a mailing database.

Technology will keep going on and on, and user knowledge needs to start catching up, before it bites them. hard.

Fangle Spangle - May 5, 2011 02:28 AM (GMT)
put simply, the internet. The things that the internet is being used for today would be seen as pure crazy by most people probably as little as 10 years ago, let alone when the Internet first came about. Any old commoner can have portable, real time video calls from any point on the planet (so long as you have a satellite pointing at it)

Hell I mean I'm spouting crap at people I have never met who probably live at least a good 100 miles away whilst eating a packet of Nik-Naks.

Retrogamer! - May 5, 2011 03:21 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (Fangle Spangle @ May 5 2011, 02:28 AM)
put simply, the internet. The things that the internet is being used for today would be seen as pure crazy by most people probably as little as 10 years ago, let alone when the Internet first came about. Any old commoner can have portable, real time video calls from any point on the planet (so long as you have a satellite pointing at it)

Hell I mean I'm spouting crap at people I have never met who probably live at least a good 100 miles away whilst eating a packet of Nik-Naks.

This. So much this.

The internet truly is our generation's "moon mission" moment. It's changed the world more than any single technology I can actually think of at all. And believe me, I tried.

csadn - May 5, 2011 11:50 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Retrogamer! @ May 5 2011, 03:21 AM)
The internet truly is our generation's "moon mission" moment. It's changed the world more than any single technology I can actually think of at all. And believe me, I tried.

Bah. Humbug.

Teh Intertoobz is nothing more or less than the ultimate in navel-gazing -- turning away from the outside and new experiences in favor of internalization and concentration only on what already interests one.

Never mind being the literal exponent of Churchill's remark about "a lie travels halfway around the world before the truth even puts on its boots" (x-ref: Snopes.com).

And, of course: One Big-enough EMP, and this technological terror goes bye-bye. (Same for One Big-Enough Rock falling from space.)

It is an advancement, of sorts -- but it is not in any way impressive.

Feldoon - May 6, 2011 12:33 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (csadn @ May 6 2011, 12:50 AM)
Teh Intertoobz is nothing more or less than the ultimate in navel-gazing -- turning away from the outside and new experiences in favor of internalization and concentration only on what already interests one.

Except it's really not. It's the ultimate learning aid and can teach you anything you want to know. Human civilisation was built upon the sharing of information and that's exactly what the Internet is. And on a global scale.

Taneis - May 6, 2011 06:30 AM (GMT)
:) I love the internet. I will truly miss it when our civilization collapses - and it will. All civilizations collapse. Though csadn has a point.

Eastwood - May 6, 2011 09:06 PM (GMT)
Jesus Clockwork Christ some of you are miserable conjurers.

Korvaz - May 6, 2011 09:22 PM (GMT)
I prefer to think of myself as a sensible conjurer.

csadn - May 6, 2011 09:43 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Feldoon @ May 6 2011, 12:33 AM)
It's the ultimate learning aid and can teach you anything you want to know.

I wouldn't be quite so optimistic -- between the "deletionists" on Wikipedia, and the websites being advertised in my spam-filter (like "why the Jews really run everything" -- yeah, that kind of bullshit), there's as much opportunity for *mis*information as information.

It might be useful for finding staring points from which to get to actual data, but as a be-and-end-all, it's not there yet. Maybe later -- not now.

And I don't Conjure -- I Abjure. :)

Eastwood - May 6, 2011 09:53 PM (GMT)
For those playing at home, conjurer is a swear-filter replacement for another word. Try and guess just what.

Feldoon - May 6, 2011 10:00 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (csadn @ May 6 2011, 10:43 PM)
there's as much opportunity for *mis*information as information.

Just like people.

Just like books.

So yes, it is "there yet".

I happily accept your concession to the argument.

Dakatsu - May 6, 2011 10:10 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Eastwood @ May 6 2011, 05:53 PM)
For those playing at home, conjurer is a swear-filter replacement for another word. Try and guess just what.

It rhymes with punt. Only replace the 'p' with a 'c'.

The Virus - May 7, 2011 05:47 AM (GMT)
Along with a vastly greater potential for information comes a proportional potential for misinformation, that's fairly obvious. Doesn't stop the internet being an amazing thing, and it's irrefutable that it has dramatically changed the world, and will continue to for some time yet. I live in fucking Canada because of the internet. Canada. Didn't see that coming!

Talking about the internet in general, that's all very broad, might be more interesting to look at specific anecdotal moments of revelation. I heard a song recently where somebody had sampled a dial-up modem mixed in as part of the track. That's a horrible sound, painful thing to put in a song, but it did spark a sense of wonder, comparing our online experience nowadays as contrasted to those days, not so long ago at all, when we had to click that icon and wait to dial in before we were online. And only one person could be on at a time, so you had to haggle for booking times with family members. In our house we had free internet at off-peak times, so we'd have to wait til 6 o'clock before we could 'surf the web', otherwise we might run up a big phone bill. And then you'd potter around mostly-text websites, because if you ran into a fair number of images, it could be a considerable wait before they loaded in, a line at a time, top to bottom. And gods help you if you wanted to download an MP3 or video. Tell you what, you had to be really committed to that 30 second porn clip, 'cause it might be another 20 minutes before you could watch another one.

So internet as a whole yes, but even the jump from then has been huge. Now I can stream video after video all night long! (Of My Little Pony parodies, of course. Hm, is that more or less shameful than porn?) It's always on, you don't give it a second thought, and if I want a reference image, I can call up hundreds of images in seconds. Can download entire series of TV shows overnight. It's very strange to be able to do a "in my day, we didn't have it as good" old man routine about something so recent. But that's how fast the technology has moved. Less than 10 years. Hell, I'm sure I uploaded EN comics on dialup for at least a couple of years, so it might be only six or seven (my family was rather late getting broadband, up in the squalid, rural North).

Pixellated - May 7, 2011 07:19 AM (GMT)
I just like that the closest thing I currently get to doing this is when I render a huge video, and even then I can run VLC without much consequence or just hop on my laptop for the duration.

Korvaz - May 7, 2011 07:33 AM (GMT)
I guess i get a moment when i look at a computer that someone's just bought, and realise the one i built a year and a bit ago kicks the arse out of it. Is the bundled software REALLY worth the premium they charge?

Eastwood - May 7, 2011 10:20 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (Korvaz @ May 7 2011, 07:33 AM)
Is the bundled software REALLY worth the premium they charge?

It's convenience. Not everyone has the time, abilities or inclination to build their own PC from scratch. I work with people who buy Macs because they believe they're better than desktop PCs. Even I could put together a rig that could whip anything Apple sells for under a grand. Sure, it wouldn't look as fancy, but it'd work.

Pixellated - May 7, 2011 11:26 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (Eastwood @ May 7 2011, 11:20 AM)
Sure, it wouldn't look as fancy, but it'd work.

MacPro cases are actually pretty dull, and since your target price to beat is 2000, you could actually spend a good chunk of money getting an upper range case.

LGHunter - May 7, 2011 02:19 PM (GMT)
It's true that there's a lot of mis-information on the web. Let's look at Wikipedia for a moment. Anyone can edit a page on Wikipedia. "Skeletor wuz here"-esque statements have popped up on several occasions. Even the son of a Canadian (mediocre, seriously unfunny though she tries, last-to-know) Hollywood gossip columnist changed his part of the family group to read "I am the best son" or some-such which she made him change back to what it was.

Two or three years ago there was an Irishman who went onto Wikipedia, and created a quote for an author who died, which almost every newspaper in the world ran. He came out a while later and said, "That's a fake; I wrote that as a test to see who actually checks the references on Wikipedia as there was no citation left on it", and they were all blaming him for their stupidity.

Moving away from Wikipedia to general web-space, there is a supposed picture of Osama bin Laden's bullet-ridden corpse. Turns out, that's a photoshop, used to satisfy the curiosity of the gullible. And let's face it, it's not even that good!

Even Facebook is full of it (however the following was inadvertant). This young woman put a sentence of her thoughts on OBL's death, before doing a Martin Luther King Jr. quote, which people picked up on and thought the entire quote was MLK's, simply editing out the (proper) quotation marks. It was on Failbook a few days back (which I sent to Snopes to help them fix up their entry on this subject!)

I do a search on weight loss, and I get nothing but ads for scams, or too-good-to-be-true diet plans. Exercise is another one. Anyone on the web can call themselves a "professional", a "doctor", a "respected source", a "legitimate business" and it's up to the gullible to fall for it.

I mean, hell, there are all kinds of ads for "work from home", "take surveys to earn cash", "Google AdSense" that all promise thousands of dollars a month, which just doesn't happen. The Better Business Bureau is full of complaints because of them.

The thing is, anyone can go online and say what they want. You can say "The sky is green because of alien intervention" and some nutters out there will believe you. You can say "Peanut butter is the absolute worst thing you can eat because of this report", and people will stop buying it, despite their not going into the report and seeing that it was actually inconclusive, or doing actual research on it; they just blindly accept it as truth.

We all fall for these things at some point in our lives. Hell, just last week, I think I fell for one in the health food store. Celery root water twice a day, and four little pills at night (it's a concentrated cabbage soup diet in water and pill form) will help you lose weight this month!

I only went in for a multi-vitamin and a calcium/magnesium combo to help me sleep at night. I do admit to feeling a bit better, but whether that's just a placebo effect or not, only the scale will tell.

csadn - May 7, 2011 11:19 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (LGHunter @ May 7 2011, 02:19 PM)
It's true that there's a lot of mis-information on the web. Let's look at Wikipedia for a moment. Anyone can edit a page on Wikipedia. "Skeletor wuz here"-esque statements have popped up on several occasions. Even the son of a Canadian (mediocre, seriously unfunny though she tries, last-to-know) Hollywood gossip columnist changed his part of the family group to read "I am the best son" or some-such which she made him change back to what it was.

Two or three years ago there was an Irishman who went onto Wikipedia, and created a quote for an author who died, which almost every newspaper in the world ran. He came out a while later and said, "That's a fake; I wrote that as a test to see who actually checks the references on Wikipedia as there was no citation left on it", and they were all blaming him for their stupidity.

Moving away from Wikipedia to general web-space, there is a supposed picture of Osama bin Laden's bullet-ridden corpse. Turns out, that's a photoshop, used to satisfy the curiosity of the gullible. And let's face it, it's not even that good!
[...]
I mean, hell, there are all kinds of ads for "work from home", "take surveys to earn cash", "Google AdSense" that all promise thousands of dollars a month, which just doesn't happen. The Better Business Bureau is full of complaints because of them.

Yup -- and time was, one actually had to build an infrastructure to disseminate said BS. Said infrastructure required lots of resources -- and lots of money -- to operate (plus the odd tax-shelter, so one could keep more of one's money).

Now? We have botnets. The ability to scatter bullshit far-and-wide like a farmer with epilepsy has come down to where sub-Saharan-Africans who might not even have a house to live in can sucker idiots into divulging credit-card and other such info; used to be, they had to emigrate here, get a job with the trash company, and actually pick up the garbage so they could root through it to get the paperwork. (I admit I'm exaggerating, but not by much. It was much harder back then.) $100 computer; $20 'net connection; infinite irritation.

As to the Wikipedia BS Dispenser: Used to be, one had to have one's sources in order, and listed in a bibliography, where folks could then look at them and say "OK, that checks" or "Oh dear, that's been quoted-out-of-context" or "That guy was disproved long ago". (WP has a bit of that, but whenever I see "citation needed", I get nervous.) What was published was the stuff which had been vetted; the BS was kept to a dull roar.

Better yet: With a book, the information, once set to page, stays there; if it changes, there's an edition and/or print-run number one can point to and say "OK, it's *that* vintage". Most online sources lack this revision history (a few do, but they're the exceptions, not the rule.) See above re the Irish fake quote.

Photoshop? I'll give that one a pass -- I've seen fake "spirit photos" from the 19th century which were more convincing that some 'shops.

So: There was bullshit before the 'net. What the 'net allowed was for the bullshit to become larger and more rampant, by making it very much easier to create and distribute. This doesn't impress me.

If I want to be impressed, there's a whole bunch of folks down in Mojave, CA, who are actually doing stuff which warrants being impressed over. Most people can type; how many people can fly a rocket?

Korvaz - May 7, 2011 11:50 PM (GMT)
The future of spam.

Miniturisation. you can fit hundreds of these little bastards into a room.

Eastwood - May 8, 2011 08:10 AM (GMT)
You're not improving my initial reaction, you know.

Pixellated - May 8, 2011 08:50 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (Eastwood @ May 8 2011, 09:10 AM)
You're not improving my initial reaction, you know.

Burrrugh, technology's rubbish and I hate how it allows us all to seemingly magically talk massive distances instantaneously here

The Virus - May 8, 2011 09:19 AM (GMT)
Fucking internets, how do they work?

Pixellated - May 8, 2011 09:22 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (The Virus @ May 8 2011, 10:19 AM)
Fucking internets, how do they work?

Here's one for you. Why did Ms. Frizzle teach the kids about science using a magic school bus?

Korvaz - May 8, 2011 09:25 AM (GMT)
Working in IT has made me very bitter about it. It doesn't show, though, does it? ;)

csadn - May 8, 2011 08:37 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Pixellated @ May 8 2011, 08:50 AM)

Burrrugh, technology's rubbish and I hate how it allows us all to seemingly magically talk massive distances instantaneously here

Which was my initial point: It's easy; anyone can do it; therefore *it is not Special*.

Me? I spent my formative years around folks like "Buzz" Aldrin. How many people have an Internet connection? Now, how many people have *WALKED ON THE MOTHERFUCKING MOON*? (And that with *how much* memory and processor power?)

Tech which impresses me: Private citizens now have it in hand to put payloads into orbit. Hell, a mere thirty years ago, that shit was Government Only (and see where that got us).

Pixellated - May 8, 2011 09:04 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (csadn @ May 8 2011, 09:37 PM)
QUOTE (Pixellated @ May 8 2011, 08:50 AM)
Burrrugh, technology's rubbish and I hate how it allows us all to seemingly magically talk massive distances instantaneously here

Which was my initial point: It's easy; anyone can do it; therefore *it is not Special*.

So, the fact that near-instantaneous communication from almost everywhere that humans have ever set foot has been invented and refined in the past few decades, and the part that makes it not special to you is that it's available to everyone?

Just because anyone can use it, it doesn't make it not special; it makes it more special, it makes it extraordinary. The amount of time, money, energy, manpower, research and upkeep it has taken to create a worldwide system so simple to be constantly and easily accessible no matter where, when or who is the special and most impressive part.

QUOTE
Me? I spent my formative years around folks like "Buzz" Aldrin. How many people have an Internet connection? Now, how many people have *WALKED ON THE MOTHERFUCKING MOON*? (And that with *how much* memory and processor power?)

Let's say we take the Apollo 11 astronauts, and take them hundreds of years in the future, to a time when travel to the moon and back is as simple as the daily commute to work. Would they either:

a) Be insanely proud to be at the very start of what is essentially a massive human advancement, and be amazed and happy at how far it's come
or,
b) Act like shallow hipsters who deplore everyone doing it in the future, because they did it when it was cool and everyone else hadn't found it.

QUOTE
Tech which impresses me: Private citizens now have it in hand to put payloads into orbit. Hell, a mere thirty years ago, that shit was Government Only (and see where that got us).

While it certainly is impressive that we're at this point, it worries me that your ideal world is a world in which all technology advances with an insular state, never released to a public: the public only seem to get it when they can figure out how to make it from scratch by themselves.

Be happy that all this technology is advancing to a global state. And if you're unable of doing that, be happy that it enables people to make all sorts of new things which they can keep to themselves and feel "special" that they've got it and no-one else does.

Feldoon - May 8, 2011 09:14 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Pixellated @ May 8 2011, 10:04 PM)
Let's say we take the Apollo 11 astronauts, and take them hundreds of years in the future, to a time when travel to the moon and back is as simple as the daily commute to work. Would they

Be greeted to the sound of this? Yes.

DanThe57 - May 8, 2011 09:40 PM (GMT)
The fact this technology was developed in the first place is probably more impressive than anything any of us have done or made ourselves...

csadn - May 9, 2011 10:04 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (Pixellated @ May 8 2011, 09:04 PM)
Just because anyone can use it, it doesn't make it not special; it makes it more special, it makes it extraordinary. The amount of time, money, energy, manpower, research and upkeep it has taken to create a worldwide system so simple to be constantly and easily accessible no matter where, when or who is the special and most impressive part.


No -- it makes it commonplace; no more special than air, or dirt.

(And given how often I have to have four-letter-words with Verizon's customer-service department: Do *not* get me started on "so simple to be constantly and easily accessible". :P )

QUOTE (Pixellated @ May 8 2011, 09:04 PM)
Let's say we take the Apollo 11 astronauts, and take them hundreds of years in the future, to a time when travel to the moon and back is as simple as the daily commute to work. Would they either:

a) Be insanely proud to be at the very start of what is essentially a massive human advancement, and be amazed and happy at how far it's come
or,
b) Act like shallow hipsters who deplore everyone doing it in the future, because they did it when it was cool and everyone else hadn't found it.


Having met them: They'd probably say "What the hell took you so long?" -- which is what all-to-many of the all-too-few who remain* are saying about it right now.

[*: http://xkcd.com/893/ ]

That, or "Hey -- can I drive?". Thankfully, there are no astronauts named "Syrus".... :)

QUOTE (Pixellated @ May 8 2011, 09:04 PM)
While it certainly is impressive that we're at this point, it worries me that your ideal world is a world in which all technology advances with an insular state, never released to a public: the public only seem to get it when they can figure out how to make it from scratch by themselves.


Actually, my ideal world is one where people who actually get shit done are allowed to get shit done without interference from a bunch of self-appointed busybodies who can't seem to get it through their thick skulls "eventually that big bright thing in the sky is going to go away, and when it does, so does all of your soup kitchens, homeless shelters, welfare, and all the rest of the bullshit you think is so fucking important". That's where NASA has really failed -- instead of a permanent presence Out There, we get prestige projects so the fucking pols can say to the walking-dead out there "see what I got for you".

Assuming, of course, the dinosaur version of "rocks fall; everybody dies" doesn't happen first; or whatever mass die-off nature has planned for us next.

QUOTE (Pixellated @ May 8 2011, 09:04 PM)
Be happy that all this technology is advancing to a global state. And if you're unable of doing that, be happy that it enables people to make all sorts of new things which they can keep to themselves and feel "special" that they've got it and no-one else does.


I admit: Having this commo tech is nice -- but it doesn't impress me. Like the man's speechwriters wrote: "We choose to go to the moon [...], and do the other things, not because they are *easy*, but because they are *hard*". Space travel is *hard*.

Feldoon - May 9, 2011 11:30 PM (GMT)
You're doing rather well in proving your initial point of the Internet enabling people to talk complete shit and act like they're correct.

Pixellated - May 9, 2011 11:33 PM (GMT)
I don't even know what to say to all that.

Retrogamer! - May 10, 2011 12:38 AM (GMT)
I wouldn't bother Pix, eventually there's a point when simple common sense and basic logic get ignored in the favour of ego and arrogance, past that there's no worth in even trying to get someone to see reason.

DanThe57 - May 10, 2011 12:58 AM (GMT)
I just find it odd that he thinks the initial creation of this tech was something ignorable.

Pixellated - May 10, 2011 08:19 AM (GMT)
Anyway, speaking of communication, Microsoft are set to buy Skype for a good few billion.

DanThe57 - May 10, 2011 10:01 AM (GMT)
wonder what that will do to the PSP version of skype, none for NGP I guess

csadn - May 10, 2011 09:57 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (DanThe57 @ May 10 2011, 12:58 AM)
I just find it odd that he thinks the initial creation of this tech was something ignorable.

Considering the initial creation of this tech occurred behind a Department of Defense firewall, its creation did in fact pass more-or-less unremarked by the outside world; it wasn't until "the September that never ended"* that the mundane masses started really paying attention.

[*: http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/S/Septembe...ever-ended.html ]

We're still waiting for the equivalent to happen in the putting-things-into-orbit department (damn it).

[headshake at the ignorance of history being demonstrated, and concealed behind gratuitous invective]




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