My friend Charles Platt (author of the excellent introductory guide Make: Electronics, which was O'Reilly's best-selling title) has written a 3-part reminiscence about his father, Maurice Platt, who worked for a British GM subsidiary, and the trip that Charles made with him to Detroit in 1957 when he was 12 years old.
In 1957, I was a sickly 12-year-old English schoolboy when I went with my parents on a pilgrimage to General Motors headquarters in Detroit. My father, Maurice Platt, was Chief Engineer and a Director of GM’s British subsidiary, Vauxhall Motors. His position required him to visit Detroit annually, where he would spend three weeks discussing designs for cars that he felt would appeal to people who weren’t Americans.
I don’t recall exactly why my mother and I were invited along on this particular trip, but I suspect that a polyp in my throat had something to do with it. There had been speculation, only revealed to me later, that I might be dying of throat cancer. The polyp turned out to be benign, but by the time it was removed I had enjoyed an insider’s view of GM. At long dinners where business was often discussed, no one imagined that a 12-year-old sitting in the corner might be listening attentively.
The Corporation: The Story Of My Father, A GM Executive; Part 1 – The Visit To GM Headquarters
The Corporation: The Story Of My Father, A GM Executive Part 2 – From Churchill Tanks To Body Rot
Former NASA engineer Mark Rober has invented a fancy in-dash car horn with three custom settings. The first one is sort of a swift and friendly ‘toot, toot’ for when your regular horn is too aggressive. The other two? Well, I won’t spoil it but one is even friendlier than the first and the other […]
Here is delightful factory footage from 1965 of Matchbox car manufacturing in the London Borough of Hackney. From Wikipedia: The Matchbox name originated in 1953 as a brand name of the British die-casting company, Lesney Products, whose reputation would be moulded by John W. “Jack” Odell (1920–2007), Leslie Charles Smith (1918–2005), and Rodney Smith (hence […]
An upstanding citizen submitted this photo to Baltimore 311, the city’s service request system. (via DIGG)
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]