It's Father's Day and time for my annual re-posting of Groucho Marx singing the greatest song dedicated to that occasion of all time. Happy F-day to all the dads out there -- especially my own dad and my brother Neil; to Mark and Pesco and Jason, and to your own old man. This morning, I was serenaded with this selfsame song, given a box of my favorite chocolates, taken for a slap-up breakfast and a swim, and given a deluxe card with a World's Best Dad badge. Popular Mechanics interviewed a bunch of people about their fathers; including me:
My dad was really good at making me think everything through. The scientific method is a totally counterintuitive thing because it begins by saying: You can't trust your memory or your senses. You have to measure things empirically and write them down because otherwise everything you remember and everything you know is colored by your biases and experiences and hopes and aspirations. And essentially your brain lies to you all the time. This is a very hard thing to get a 5-year-old to understand.
One thing my dad was quite good about was giving me enough rope to hang myself and leaving me alone in front of a computer. When we got an Apple II Plus in 1979 there was virtually no software on it. Basically, we got two floppy disks' worth of demos, none of them super exciting. I remember there was a simulator for running a lemonade stand and a Mad Libs program. But there were magazines like Byte that had thousands of lines of BASIC, which you could type into a computer and use it to make programs—that is, if you could type thousands of lines without making a typo (not easy for a 9-year-old.) He provided me with the technology and handed me an issue of Byte and he turned me loose.
Bonus track: Everybody Works In Our House (Except My Old Man)
If you’re a student journalist and want to attend HOPE XI, the Eleventh Hackers on Planet Earth conference (July 22-24, NYC) you can win free admission (and an interview with me!) by submitting an article about any of the topics come up at HOPE conferences! Get writing!
Earlier this month, I gave the afternoon keynote at the Internet Archive’s Decentralized Web Summit, and my talk was about how the people who founded the web with the idea of having an open, decentralized system ended up building a system that is increasingly monopolized by a few companies — and how we can prevent the same things from happening next time.
Designer Art Donovan writes, “I’m always looking for new and unique inspiration for my lighting commissions and the latest, cutting edge scientific devices offer a boatload of great design inspiration. From the cool, new ‘James Webb Space Telescope’ to the myriad of complex details in the L.H.P.C. at Cern- it’s a cornucopia of rich imagery.”
Some truths are universal. For one, your phone will always run out of power when you most need it. For another, the charging cords that come packaged with your Apple device will fray, split, and rip faster than Usain Bolt in a game of tag.Instead, pick up a charging cord that anyone would have a tough […]
Some people say magic tricks are nerdy and best left to your 12-year-old asthmatic cousin. But others see value in perfecting the slight of hand and showmanship associated with a perfectly executed routine. We’re firmly in the latter camp. And now, we’re giving you the ability to put a few parlor tricks up your sleeve with the Penguin […]
Bluetooth speakers may be convenient to use, but many of them just aren’t that powerful. Sure, it may be fine if you’re seated in front of the speaker. But move across the room, and you may strain to hear what’s coming from those tiny drivers.There’s a reason why the G-BOOM Wireless Bluetooth Boombox (now $79.99 in the Boing […]