Everyone is a Linux user, but almost no one knows it. The operating system is a strange beast. You'd be hard pressed to come up with another tool so widely used, so widely deployed, and so absolutely necessary to the functioning of the modern world that is simultaneously so utterly unknown outside the tech community. From ATMs, to phones, to in flight displays, to the Web server your browser got this page from, we are all using Linux every day even if we don't all realize it. Yet even with that ubiquity, there's one place Linux has never really succeeded: the desktop. Despite passionate communities of users (as seen in place like Ars comment threads), Windows and macOS dominate the desktop and that's unlikely to change in the near term. Though if it ever does, it will likely be because of projects like elementary OS—an operating system that seeks to bring the polish of commercial desktops to the world of Linux.Further ReadingUbuntu 18.04: Unity is gone, GNOME is back—and … [Read more...] about A tour of elementary OS, perhaps the Linux world’s best hope for the mainstream
Hopes for the future essay
Technology and business books have had two big themes over the past year: artificial intelligence and privacy (particularly with regard to the General Data Protection Regulation). For this seasonal round-up, we will therefore avoid them. I was 17 when I first saw a computer -- an air-conditioned roomful of a machine, operated via punch-cards -- and 28 when I first had one of my own. Boxed up, it was about the size of a 26-inch CRT television. The smartphone in many people's pockets is vastly more powerful and less expensive than either. However, almost every transaction you make with that smartphone still connects to a mainframe for payment processing and shipping. The mainframe makes an appearance in The Computer Book: From the Abacus to Artificial Intelligence, 250 Milestones in the History of Computer Science, in which Simson L. Garfinkel and Rachel H. Grunspan trace the development of the field. Illustrated with a full-page picture per entry, the book is a solid backgrounder. Think … [Read more...] about Five top tech books for the holiday period
From the moment I became involved in the creation of new technologies, their ethical dimensions have concerned me, but it was only in the autumn of 1998 that I became anxiously aware of how great are the dangers facing us in the 21st century. I can date the onset of my unease to the day I met Ray Kurzweil, the deservedly famous inventor of the first reading machine for the blind and many other amazing things. Ray and I were both speakers at George Gilder's Telecosm conference, and I encountered him by chance in the bar of the hotel after both our sessions were over. I was sitting with John Searle, a Berkeley philosopher who studies consciousness. While we were talking, Ray approached and a conversation began, the subject of which haunts me to this day. I had missed Ray's talk and the subsequent panel that Ray and John had been on, and they now picked right up where they'd left off, with Ray saying that the rate of improvement of technology was going to accelerate and that we were going … [Read more...] about Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us
On the cover of WIRED's eighth issue, the Pillsbury Doughboy stands against a wall, flanked by two men wearing neckties. All are blindfolded, stricken with terror. Together they face a firing squad of mismatched TV remotes. The cover line reads: “Is Advertising Finally Dead?” By all appearances, the cover promised yet another gleeful epitaph for the declining institutions of the analog age. In just over a year, WIRED had already predicted the imminent demise of public education and The New York Times. Michael Crichton proclaimed in the fourth issue that “it is likely that what we now understand as the mass media will be gone within 10 years. Vanished, without a trace.” Advertising, it seemed, was the next industry marked for obsolescence. But the cover story itself—an essay by MIT Media Lab fellow Michael Schrage—was not, in fact, an epitaph at all. Instead, the article imagines how advertisers will adapt to, and eventually come to dominate, digital … [Read more...] about 25 Years of WIRED Predictions: Why the Future Never Arrives
Sections SEARCH Skip to content Skip to site index Style Subscribe Log In Subscribe Log In Today's Paper Advertisement Supported by A queer online dating community has formed around an old-school format for hookups. ByJamie Lauren Keiles Aug. 4, 2018 People complain about online dating all the time but rarely present solutions for improving it. Meeting in person? (Scary!) Through friends? (What friends?) At work? (Not in 2018!) Kelly Rakowski has a new idea. Well, sort of. Old-school personal ads — once the domain of newspaper back pages before Craigslist — are the currency of Personals, an Instagram dating community she has built for lesbians; bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual women; and gender-nonconforming and nonbinary people. (Basically, anyone who isn’t straight and/or a cisgender man.) There, a “late 20’s glitter femme” who loves to cook summons an “andro/moc/butch … [Read more...] about The Future Is … Personal Ads?