Category Archives: Technology

Modded iMac G3 running El Capitan

Well, really it’s a Mac Mini with a new display stuffed into an iMac G3 case. However, you gotta respect the work he did and the amazing final product. I’d totally use one of these.

Video of the first digital additive synthesizer

This video was thought lost until last week when the Bell Labs engineer and inventor Hal Alles uploaded the clip to YouTube. The Bell Labs Digital Synthesizer, also known as Alice, is considered the worlds first true digital additive synthesizer.

This video was made as an backup accompaniment to a live demo done on the stage at the Palladium in Hollywood in 1977.

Built in the 1970s Alice used 72 computer controlled oscillators to instantly create the different timbres and sounds. This synth gave the user the opportunity to store banks of preset patches and autonomous accompaniment, which at the time was unheard of.


The demise of Alice is quite a sad story, after only four years the the synthesizer was dismantled as it was far too expensive too be commercially viable. In it’s short life it only had one full composition written on it…

Watch Laurie Speigal play it below to hear more of this unique synth!

Cortana coming to Android and Xbox!


Cortana on Xbox One

Cortana really gets around. A beta version of Microsoft’s digital assistant will arrive on Android next month, before coming to the Xbox One this fall.

Microsoft in May announced plans to extend Cortana to iOS and Android devices as a companion to the service on Windows.

The iOS and Android app can do most of the things Cortana does on a PC or Windows Phone, save for toggling settings, opening apps, and turning on hands-free access. The Notebook feature—where you set up interests, calendars, and a daily routine—will sync across all devices. Microsoft did not announce a specific Android launch date, but Windows 10 arrives on July 29.

On the Xbox One, meanwhile, Cortana will arrive “this fall” in the U.S. and U.K. Once rolled out, the digital assistant will be able to accomplish common tasks via a simple voice command. Use Cortana to invite friends to play, record and share game clips, find information, and earn achievements. Or test her knowledge by asking what tomorrow’s weather will be like.

“Cortana is there to connect your worlds and works for you across your devices, in ways that are specially tuned for the device you’re on,” Microsoft’s Marcus Ash wrote in a blog post. “Regardless of the operating systems you choose across your devices, everything important to you should roam across the products you already own.”

Cortana is also getting some updates on Windows Phone. Redmond on Tuesday unveiled the new Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview build for Windows Insiders, which includes “a rich set of improvements” for Cortana. Folks with a Windows Phone 8.1 handset who opted into the Fast ring can test out the new mobile features, like one-handed mode (for phones 5-inches or larger).,2817,2486203,00.asp

El Capitan! Seriously, what were you thinking Apple?


While Microsoft has been busy cramming lots of new features into Windows 10, Apple is taking a different, iterative approach with OS X 10.11, called El Capitan. Yes, like the headline says, that is the actual name. The focus is on refinement, with the biggest changes to the latest Mac operating system being a more polished and beefed-up user interface, improvements to the built-in software and better performance.

Visually, OS X 10.11 El Capitan introduces new gestures, like swipe to delete emails in Mail, an improved Safari user interface, which now gives users the option to pin tabs by swiping and the ability to quickly mute audio in individual tabs. The most-obvious and interesting change in this area, however, is related to multitasking.

Apple has followed Microsoft in offering split-view in the OS X 10.11 El Capitan user interface, which works much like Modern UI in Windows 8.x. Users can change the ratio between the windows that are shown at the same time by moving the bar between them.

The Spotlight panel can be resized and moved where the user wants, but it also gains more contextual awareness. Users can type more natural search queries, with the appropriate results showing up for, say, “documents that I created in January”.

OS X 10.11 El Capitan also features more powerful inter-app communication, with users able to pull content from one app to another app, like a link from Safari to Mail. The notes app — Notes — comes with better formatting functionality.

Apple claims that performance has been improved throughout OS X 10.11 El Capitan. The figures: 1.4 times faster app launches, 2 times faster app switches, 2 times faster email pulls, and 4 times faster PDF openings.

That is not all, however, as OS X 10.11 El Capitan also gets Metal, which Apple introduced in iOS 8, and it enables 50 percent faster rendering, 40 percent lower CPU loads and, as a byproduct, improved battery life. Apple says that, using Metal, Adobe has seen performance increase by up to 800 percent in its software.

There is no word yet on availability, but we should expect OS X 10.11 El Capitan to come after iOS 9 this fall. Apple has previewed its latest mobile operating system following OS X 10.11 El Capitan.