30 years since the launch of the first Macintosh computer

And little has been the same ever since. But as tech reporter Chris O’Brien reminds us, Apple’s revolutionary personal computer didn’t have the easiest of debuts:

Apple sold 70,000 Macintosh computers by April. But by the end of the year, it was selling only 10,000 a month. By January 1985, with the company discontinuing the Lisa [another of its computers], Apple was plunged into a crisis. 

The result over the next several months was a showdown of sorts between Sculley and Jobs that the latter eventually lost, leading to his departure from Apple that summer. 

Less than 18 months after the launch of the Macintosh brought Jobs international acclaim, he was out of the company he founded.

Head to Tech Now for more the Macintosh’s 30th anniversary.

Happy birthday to the Internet!

You know, that thing that brings us cats and stuff. Forty-four years ago today, a message moved between two computers connected through a network designed to enable the sharing of information between various government funded science projects.

Columnist Michael Hilzik looks back at the web’s infancy, including a forward-looking 1968 paper titled “The Computer as a Communication Device,” co-written by Robert W. Taylor, one of the lead officers at the Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency.

"In a few years," the paper began, "men will be able to communicate more effectively through a machine than face to face."

Communicating online, he concluded, “will be as natural an extension of individual work as face-to-face communication is now.”

Read more on the Internet’s origins here, or just click around pretty much anywhere else on this page because, amazingly, you’re on the Internet right now!

Can dreams be decoded?
Researchers in Japan are making progress toward the goal of deciphering dreams, announcing yesterday that they’ve been able to teach computers how to inspect the images produced by the brain during the initial moments of dreaming.Allowing research subjects to fall asleep, then waking them up after a few minutes to get them to recount what they had dreamed of - as groggy as they may have been, the computers were able to match the subject’s responses 60% of the time.
So how did the computers actually figure out what had been going on in the initial dreams?

The rest was a giant math problem. The scientists wrote a computer program to sort through the patterns of brain activity captured by the functional MRI in both waking and sleeping states; then the program looked for links between those brain activity patterns and specific images.

Read more from reporter Geoffrey Mohan here.
Photo: Richard Drew / Associated Press

Can dreams be decoded?

Researchers in Japan are making progress toward the goal of deciphering dreams, announcing yesterday that they’ve been able to teach computers how to inspect the images produced by the brain during the initial moments of dreaming.

Allowing research subjects to fall asleep, then waking them up after a few minutes to get them to recount what they had dreamed of - as groggy as they may have been, the computers were able to match the subject’s responses 60% of the time.

So how did the computers actually figure out what had been going on in the initial dreams?

The rest was a giant math problem. The scientists wrote a computer program to sort through the patterns of brain activity captured by the functional MRI in both waking and sleeping states; then the program looked for links between those brain activity patterns and specific images.

Read more from reporter Geoffrey Mohan here.

Photo: Richard Drew / Associated Press

Want Google to put a computer on your face? The technology juggernaut is currently looking for “explorers” to test out it’s new Google Glass technology. Google’s grand hope is that one day, you’ll be just as comfortable wearing fancy glasses are you are looking down at your smartphone.

But until then, you’ll have to send over a brief application, and $1,5000, to Google.

Read more over at Tech Now.

The Red (computer) Scare: Is the Chinese military behind hundreds of hacking instances since 2006? One U.S. computer security firm believes so, fanning concerns that U.S. digital infrastructure, both private and governmental, isn’t up to snuff. From reporter Michael Muskall’s look at Mandiant’s findings:

The hacking activity was likely part of the mandate of the Unit 61398 of China’s People’s Liberation Army, identified in the report as “one of the most persistent of China’s cyber threat actors.” The unit is based in the Pudong New Area, outside of Shanghai from where the computer attacks originate.

Read the report for yourself here, and see if you agree that the recent hacking spree, which has targeted companies from Facebook and Apple to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, is being dictated by the Chinese government.
Photo: Keith Bedford / Bloomberg

The Red (computer) Scare: Is the Chinese military behind hundreds of hacking instances since 2006? One U.S. computer security firm believes so, fanning concerns that U.S. digital infrastructure, both private and governmental, isn’t up to snuff. From reporter Michael Muskall’s look at Mandiant’s findings:

The hacking activity was likely part of the mandate of the Unit 61398 of China’s People’s Liberation Army, identified in the report as “one of the most persistent of China’s cyber threat actors.” The unit is based in the Pudong New Area, outside of Shanghai from where the computer attacks originate.

Read the report for yourself here, and see if you agree that the recent hacking spree, which has targeted companies from Facebook and Apple to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, is being dictated by the Chinese government.

Photo: Keith Bedford / Bloomberg