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IBM

Graphic of Facebook Privacy

One Matt McKeon of IBM has created a terrific graphical timeline of privacy erosion on Facebook. It's pretty alarming.

A pundit at Wired suggests the development of an open-systems alternative. It's an interesting idea.

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Some Tech Lives Forever

The Whirlwind is my favorite first-generation computer. It is also the basis of SAGE, a nationwide air defense system built by IBM in the '50s. Nuclear missiles made SAGE obsolete pretty quickly. By the mid '60s, big chunks of the SAGE computers, affectionately called the AN/FSQ-7, started showing up in surplus.

These parts soon made cameo and even starring appearances in TV shows and movies. Mike Loewen has constructed a web site that tracks "sightings" of Q-7 parts in movies.

Q7 console - Computer History Museum

We've all seen them: those rows of blinkenlights installed at a slight angle and often rigged with pyrotechnics. They appeared in almost every science fiction TV show from the '60s, and many movies. Surprisingly, these ancient panels still show up occasionally. Most recently, panels appeared in the background of a Comcast ad.

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A Microsoft-Centric World

Back in the 1970s when many of us were struggling to free ourselves from mainframes, the mantra in the computing world was "Nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM." No doubt Bill Gates was inspired by this to build his own empire. Today, people unblushingly swap "IBM" for "Microsoft" in that mantra.

Since converting back to the Macintosh I've been learning a lot about Microsoft-centric software. Several programs that ran on both systems have essentially withered, especially since the conversion to OS X. I'm most directly affected by Microsoft-centric teams at Intuit and at Adobe.

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Thumbs Down: Another Top Ten Computer List

A site called "Live Science" has posted a "Top 10 Revolutionary Computers." This was obviously written by someone who doesn't know a lot about what makes a computer significant, beyond advertising.

The TRS-80 (aka the Trash 80)? The latest IBM parallel monster? Give me a break. These were all reruns of well-understood concepts. Nothing new. They listed the Alto, so why list the Macintosh?

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