(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Dick Tracy

“In a world of change, the learners shall inherit the earth, while the learned shall find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists”*…

In the 21st century, innovation has become the heart and soul of economic policy. Developed and developing nations alike are in the race to leave industrialization behind, adapting instead to technology-focused, entrepreneurial societies.

Customized cancer treatment, faux meat products, and the smart home technologies are frequently positioned as ‘the next big thing’. But which countries are consistently innovating the most?…

The seventh annual Bloomberg Innovation Index highlights the 10 most innovative economies, and the seven metrics used to rank 2019’s top 60 contenders, e.g.:

Review it in full at “The World’s 10 Most Innovative Economies.” (But do note that the metrics are largely scaled to the size of the countries and their economies: e.g., China, which ranks 16th on that mainly proportionate basis, surely ranks higher when one considers the absolute scale/impact of innovation there.)

* Eric Hoffer

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As we ponder progress, we might recall that it was on this date in 1946 that Al Gross went public with his invention of the walkie talkie.  Gross had developed it as a top secret project during World War II; he went on to develop the circuitry that opened the way to personal pocket paging systems, CB radio, and patented precursors of the cell phone and the cordless phone.  Sadly for him, his patents expired before they became commercially viable.  ”Otherwise,” Gross said, after winning the M.I.T. lifetime achievement award, ”I’d be as rich as Bill Gates.”

200px-ALGROS2

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While Gross himself is almost unknown to the general public, he did achieve one-step-removed notoriety in 1948 when he “gifted” his friend Chester Gould the concept of miniaturized radio transceivers, which Gross had just patented.  Gould put it to use as the two-way wrist radio in his comic strip Dick Tracy.

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 20, 2020 at 1:01 am

“I want the entire smartphone, the entire Internet, on my wrist”*…

 

As the world watches the clock for the release of the Apple Watch, the Computer History Museum reminds us that watches-that-compute have a very long history…

Ubiquitous, wearable computers have been a dream since at least the 1930s. Chester Gould’s comic strip Dick Tracy introduced the 2-Way Radio Watch worn by members of The City police force. At first merely a combination radio and wristwatch, eventually Tracy’s watch added television and other technical capabilities.

This comic strip, in turn, influenced Gene Roddenberry’s communicators on the television series Star Trek, and other images of watch-like communication/computation devices can be found throughout science fiction. The recent announcement of the Apple Watch has renewed interest in computerized wristwatches and revived the idea of a wrist-worn computer that is cool. Of course, the idea is hardly new but it took a long time for the wristwatch computer to reach levels that Dick Tracy achieved.

The earliest combination of the watch form factor with a computational device dates from late 19th century. English company Boucher’s received a patent for a circular slide rule in a pocket watch shape in 1876.

Boucher’s Calculator – circular slide rule

 

French company Meyrat & Perdrizet made a slide rule chronograph in 1890. The central portion of the device was a standard pocket watch face, with a circular slide rule with an independent hand surrounded it. Two dials at the top of the watch allowed it to perform calculations…

Follow the story– the introduction of wrist instruments in the early 20th century, the advent of electronics– at “It’s About Time: The Computer on Your Wrist.”

* Steve Wozniak

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As we strap it on, we might send timely birthday greetings to John Harrison; he was born on this date in 1693.  A self-educated English carpenter and clockmaker, Harrison invented the marine chronometer,  In the absence of a way for ships at sea accurately to ascertain their longitude, sailing was dangerous; cumulative errors in dead reckoning over long voyages led to ship wrecks and loss of life.  Indeed, the perceived threat– thus, the desire of a defense– was so great that Parliament offered a Longitude prize of £20,000 (£2.75 million) for a solution.  Harrison’s approach, which won that prize, was to create a clock so accurate that it could eliminate those errors. His “chronometers” were accurate to within seconds over long periods; his winning clock was off only 39.2 seconds over a voyage of 47 days… and helped create the conditions in which the Age of Sail flourished.  (More detail on the longitude problem and Harrison’s answer here.)

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

March 24, 2015 at 1:01 am

How are you supposed to make a fish act that way? Some kind of local weed in the water or something?*…

On screen, Dick Van Dyke has been rescued from untimely death by flying cars and magical nannies. Off screen, the veteran star of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins had to rely on the help of a pod of porpoises after apparently dozing off aboard his surfboard. “I’m not kidding,” he said afterwards.

Van Dyke’s ordeal began during an ill-fated trip to his local beach. “I woke up out of sight of land,” the 84-year-old actor told Craig Ferguson on his TV chat show. “I started paddling with the swells and I started seeing fins swimming around me and I thought ‘I’m dead!'”

Van Dyke was wrong. “They turned out to be porpoises,” he said. “And they pushed me all the way to shore.” The porpoises were unavailable for comment.

Van Dyke made his screen debut on the Phil Silvers Show before bagging his own TV sitcom in 1961. His film credits include Bye Bye Birdie, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Dick Tracy, while his TV drama Diagnosis: Murder ran from 1993 to 2001. In recent years he has appeared on screen in Night at the Museum and its 2009 sequel.

Via The Guardian.

* How are you supposed to make a fish act that way? Some kind of local weed in the water or something? – Flipper’s New Adventure (1964)

As we celebrate cooperation across the animal kingdom, we might recall that this date in 2002 a U.S. patent for “Registered pedigree stuffed animals” was issued to David L. Pickens of Honolulu, Hawaii (No. 6,482,067). The toy animals are designed “to simulate the biological laws of inheritance both for educational, recreational and aesthetic purposes.”  Pairs of opposite sex “parent” toy animals were to be sold with serial numbers encoding the parents’ genotype and phenotype. So, owners of the “parent” toy animals, having registered with the manufacturer, could later request “breeding”– and receive at least one “offspring” toy animal randomly selected from a litter having traits determined according to the registered genotypes of the parents, as dictated by the Mendelian laws of inheritance.

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The interspecies possibilities were alluring; but sadly, the concept never found commercial acceptance.

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