technology

…if you wanted — let’s just say — to read the original account of Newton and the falling apple, you’d have to research which museum, school, or library had the manuscript, arrange a costly visit overseas (if you were not already located in Europe), and try to convince a librarian that you had good reason to look at the original and that you’d be ever so careful with it. If you were lucky, you might be allowed into the collection to see it — look, but don’t touch!

No longer. Turning the Pages has placed some — admittedly few, to date — manuscripts online. Now you can look at the fragile paper manuscript from the 18th century which tells the story of Newton’s development of his theory of gravity from the comfort of your own home. No, you can’t actually handle the manuscripts at Turning the Pages, but it’s unlikely you’d have been allowed to do so had you made that theoretical trip, either.

We’ll call this one more entry into the list of reasons that I’m glad to live in the Internet age.

Who knew when the Wii came out that those miraculous little Wiimotes could be used for so many cool things. Granted, the whole idea of playing a video game with a wireless controller that responded to movements was pretty darned revolutionary to begin with. The fact of the matter is, techno-geeks have since been doing things with Wiimotes that perhaps only they could imagine. You might call it Wiimote meets Star Trek. The Star Trek franchise is the only place I can think of where we even dared to imagine that we might be able to feel a hologram.

Yep, really. Everyone who needs something to amuse them while driving to work needs to check out the free audio book website. You’re not likely to find the latest NY Times bestseller there, but there are lots of classic stories, non-fiction, and even free university courses, all available for free.

Check it out!

Watch a real time re-enactment of the Apollo 11 launch.

Families crowded around black-and-white television sets in 1969 to watch Neil Armstrong take man’s first steps on the moon.

Now, they’ll be able to watch the Apollo 11 mission recreated in real time on the Web, follow Twitter feeds of transmissions between Mission Control and the spacecraft, and even get an e-mail alert when the lunar module touches down. Those features are part of a new Web site from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum commemorating the moon mission and Kennedy’s push to land Americans there first.a href=”http://news.bostonherald.com/entertainment/arts_culture/view/20090712web_site_recreates_apollo_11_mission_in_real_time/srvc=home&position=recent”> (Boston Herald)

This virtual space launch is scheduled for Thursday morning at 9:32am Eastern time. The site will go “live” at 8:02am, 90 minutes before launch time. In the mean time, the virtual rocket sits on its virtual launch pad and offers photo galleries as well as listen to a pretty realistic soundtrack of birds, helicopters and pre-launch chatter.

Spend a little time while you wait listening to one of John F. Kennedy’s speeches that has gone down in history as one of the most stirring ever offered.

For CNN junkies, you’ll be pleased to know that Miles O’Brien has another gig. For the rest of you, this is probably the closest you’ll get to a shuttle launch without coming to Florida. For myself, I think I’ll be at the beach. There’s nothing quite like an almost-night launch. As the shuttle rockets off into space, the contrail rises up past the grey line and goes from a darkly clouded column of steam at its base to beautifully lit with sunset colors. I wish I had a good camera so I could try to get a picture to share of Endeavour blasting off tonight, but pictures really don’t do the sight justice.

EDIT: I removed the live stream, but you can find plenty of video coverage of the flight here:  http://spaceflightnow.com/


In an attempt to tap into Web 2.0 Doritos is running a special new promotion linked to their “Late Night” category of chips. I have no idea if these chips are any good; I tend to stick with the old fashioned original, or sometimes the cool ranch variety. I do dig cool things, after all. If you like Blink 182 or Big Boi, your exclusive concert courtesy of Doritos is just one purchase and a webcam away.

RUDY WILSON: And all you’ll see is the bag and all of a sudden the bag will rip open and explode.

On your computer screen, that is. Then, punk band Blink-182 busts out with its song “The Rock Show.” And if you move the bag of chips around in front of the webcam, you can get the video to do things. The technology’s called “Augmented Reality.”

WILSON: So if you’re watching this concert, you can twist it and turn it, you can get really close and pull it back. But if you actually start pushing it up and down or moving it around, the backstage will actually start to crumble.

And if the crowd of Dorito-eaters huddled around your PC shouts loud enough, the band plays an encore

Now, I’m not a huge fan of either band and don’t have a ton of desire to try these oddly named Doritos (let alone a webcam), but the idea of an interactive concert on the Intertubes sounds pretty darned nifty. If I had a webcam, I might even buy the chips just to see this thing. And that, I expect, is the point.