Technology Blog

In the Hot Seat

While I enjoy writing about cutting-edge technologies that remain theoretical science or exist only in labs paid for by billion-dollar grants (here’s lookin’ at you, jetpacks), I would be remiss if from time to time I didn’t also cover the technological triumphs we can achieve in our own garages and basements.

Archery: Even Cooler Than in the Movies

I like to think I started my blogging career here at the DGPL Technology Blog on the right foot. Rather than cover life-saving advances in medical technology or revolutionary consumer electronics, I chose to write about burrito vending machines. The week after that, I wrote about jetpacks. It’s been a good nine months since I started, but my goal has always been to explore fun and quirky technologies, regardless of their practical implications for life in Downers Grove. Today’s column, I’m happy to report, will be no different.

Permadeath

In the 1999 action film The Matrix, our protagonist Neo is awakened from the computer-simulated reality of the Matrix into a desolate world ruled by machines. The only way to fight back is by infiltrating the Matrix with his liberator and mentor, Morpheus. Before Neo’s first expedition into the Matrix, Morpheus famously warns him that his actions in the digital reality have real-world consequences: “If you die in the Matrix, you die in real life.”

Dead Drops

Sharing files over the internet isn’t always safe or easy. While there are reliable file-sharing services like Dropbox and Google Drive, other sites may be vulnerable to disseminating viruses, or have been shut down due to persistent copyright infringement. Since 2010, German artist Aram Bartholl has led the charge towards offline file-sharing with a system he calls Dead Drops.

The Return of the Practical Effects

The first trailer for the upcoming 2015 film Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens has been turning heads since its release over Thanksgiving weekend. But more exciting than the trailer’s Millenium Falcon cameo or strange crossguard lightsaber, however, was the accompanying announcement that the third trilogy of Star Wars films would utilize more practical special effects—models, puppets, makeup, and some clever cinematography—than the disastrous prequel trilogy. That ball droid at the 29-second mark in the trailer? Force Awakens crews built that. It’s a real robot!

View From The Director's Chair Screening

The library has always been a meeting place for creativity in the community, but that has never been more true than with the teens currently in our View From The Director's Chair program.  For the past couple of months, teens have been coming to the library to hone their skills and learn how to plan, script, film, and edit documentaries, and what they have been producing has been amazing.

Internet Memes

You see them on your Facebook feed. They crop up in emails and on message boards. Whole websites are devoted to their curation and study. So complete is their dominion over the realms of the internet that they have overflowed their bounds into other media and daily life. They’re internet memes, and there’s no escape.

True Reality TV

Imagine watching a crew of Norwegian lumberjacks cutting down a tree and chopping it up for firewood over the course of four hours. That’s the reality of entertainment in Norway, where marathon televised coverage of mundane events is a nationwide hit called Slow TV.

It may sound like the American Yule Log program broadcast annually over the holidays of a log crackling in the fireplace, sometimes accompanied by Christmas music. However, rather than passively providing holiday ambiance, Slow TV is broadcast live, unedited, and uninterrupted by commercials on national television, and half the country is intently watching. Slow TV is like Yule Log cranked up to eleven.

Mouses and Mice

The average mouse doesn’t look much different from ones developed 50 years ago. The trackball became a popular alternative, but even that style caused repetitive motion injuries. Here are four alternative mice (or mouses) that may aid those who have physical difficulty moving the traditional mouse and help computer users avoid or relieve injuries.

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