Picture of the Day:
Inspires the imagination, does it not?6 comments | Write Comment
I was digging around in my folders and came across some images I'd saved and this (along with a few others) caught my eye.
Created by Nick Herres somewhere around 2000, 2001. Rendering of the Descent 3 Phoenix Intercepter done in Bryce3D. Additional credit goes to Kumen who's 3DsMax model was used as a reference.
Copyright belongs to Nick Herres.
I was going to ask and get his permission before posting this, but I haven't managed to find an email address (the email link at the site referenced didn't seem to work).
Soupe Du Jour:
Just yesterday, I received a refurbished Gateway netbook from good ole' Acer computer company, all while the ink regarding ASUSTeK's and Acer's decision to finally stop producing netbooks was still hot off the press. Not coincidentally, ASUSTeK and Acer were the only two companies still producing the miniature laptops at the end of 2012, so this news comes as a bit of a death sentence to the niche market.11 comments | Write Comment
I find this news to be disturbing. I started thinking... And I just thought I'd share here. Because, you know, this is a Descent forum. Where we, uh, talk about unrelated stuff.
I'm not sure I like where the future of technology is headed. The netbook was devised as a simple form of laptop that sacrificed performance for low power, high portability mobile computing. And it was good! Hence why I purchased one. And it's no slouch - a 1.6Ghz dual-core/quad-thread processor, 1GB of DDR3 RAM, 320GB HDD, and 10.1" 1024x600 WSVGA screen. All for 180 dollars. Not bad - and to all those naysayers, I haven't had a single hiccup in performance yet.
Conversely, my Kindle Fire (which I do actually like), costs 200 dollars, has a 7" touchscreen, an ARM-based dual-core processor, and 512MB of RAM. I typically use it for reading and occasionally playing Pandora while cooking in the kitchen. And yet, it's these touchscreen devices that are skyrocketing in popularity. All because it fixes a problem that no one had - the mouse and keyboard.
It seems to me the age of productivity is gone. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, and I will confess that the touchpad is a poor replacement for an actual mouse, but touch-tech and screen keyboards are only so useful. They're designed more for updating a Twitter account than for writing a persuasive essay, more for drawing stick-figure comics than for digital artistry. Small screens also often require full-screen apps to run, which eliminates the ability to multitask. Here, as I write, I'm literally copying an OS to a bootable USB drive so I can install it to said netbook. Try doing that with an MS Surface RT.
The irony in all this is the rise - and impending fall - of another niche market: the ultrabook. Ultrabooks are so named because they're super-light and super-thin: pioneered by the Apple Macbook Air, which I heavily criticized upon it's debut and continue to heavily criticize to this day. There is simply no conceivable situation that can arise in which the difference in thickness between a normal laptop and an ultrabook would cause a spatial complication so frustrating that it would be necessary to spend the extra cash on an ultrabook. I've never that the depth of the screen on my laptop was too thick for me to fit on my desk. Likewise, a difference of a half-pound would probably be imperceptible to most - I'd be more worried about a laptop burning my thighs during mobile use than whether or not it might cause slightly more shoulder strain (something I've never encountered with even the heaviest mobile PCs).
The concept of spending more for less is absolutely absurd. But the truth is that the "coolness" of a device is almost always determined by it's thinness. Never mind the fact that most people attach cases to their ultra-thin smartphones so that it adds enough bulk to be handled without it slipping out of their hands (my Samsung Galaxy SIII is a perfect example of this).
Have we been so duped by sci-fi movies and technological gimmickry that...