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Video game stadiums, crosswind dramas, blood alcohol apps and Aussie science...
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Technology is always marching on, and for the most part, that’s a good thing. Gadgets get more efficient, more powerful, cheaper, smaller, all around nicer. But for every innovation that you don’t know how you ever lived without, there’s something — usually something little — that you miss. What old, antiquated gadget makes your heart swell with nostalgia, even if it’s demonstrably inferior to what followed it in just about every single way?
Just because it’s not the new model doesn’t mean it’s not worth using. But how far back does your regular gadget usage stretch?
If you loved last week’s timewarp back to Gizmodo ’79, then you’ll probably get a kick out of HP’s Virtual Tech Museum, an online repository for users to share photos of their old gadgets. Plus, prizes!
Ah, where would science be if not for the contributions of the humble microscope? Did you know that the development of the world’s first microscope began in 11th century Iraq, when scientist and polymath Ibn al-Haytham recorded all sorts of data about lenses, binocular vision, mirrors and observable properties of light his The Book of Optics? That would make this pioneering technology more than a thousand years old. BibliOdyssey has amassed a great collection of drawings of pre-20th century microscopes and some of them look more like art pieces than instruments of science. Check out my favourites: [Bibliodyssey via MAKE]
Which sounds like a better way to make the roads safer: rescind drivers licenses from people who are very old and have failing vision, or create a fancy system with lasers to allow them to keep driving. If you answered the latter, you’re in the same camp as General Motors. They’re hard at work on a fancy new windshield that uses lasers, infrared sensors and a camera to make it easier for your decrepit old granddad to see just where the hell he’s going.
You may have noticed that we’ve got a bit of a Windows Vista takeover happening at the moment on Gizmodo. Part of that is having a hub dedicated to Vista, where Microsoft’s “Professional Geek” Nick Hodge is blogging about helpful Vista features. One of the things he’s mentioned – Turning the Pages 2.0 – is actually pretty awesome.
Essentially, it’s digitised versions of 19th century (and older) diaries, books and records that you can read and flick through using Silverlight (there’s also a plain Vista version as well). It’s been done in conjunction with the British Library, and offers 15 of the library’s most precious books up for you to read.
I hope that one day, in 150 years time, whatever technology has replaced blogs will come up with some awesome method of rediscovering everything you’re reading today on Giz AU.
AT&T’s geezerphone, the Pantech Breeze, is designed with the elderly in mind. The Breeze has three big speed-dial buttons, simple menus, a loud speakerphone and large font. Now you can hear Gladys’s mahjong story and read Morty’s steamy text messages from anywhere in Del Boca Vista. A step up from the Jitterbug and the ClarityLife, other mobile phones for the olds, it has a camera to snap pictures of your grandkids, or the carpet while you’re figuring out how to make a call. The Breeze sells for US$70 up front with a two-year contract, or US$155 if you do pay-as-you-go, which is a good option if you don’t know where you’ll be three weeks from now. Bigger pics and press release after the jump. [AT&T]