Mar 312011

This comic gave me a little giggle. If you like Isaac Asimov, check it out.

http://www.sheldoncomics.com/archive/101109.html

Posted by Stettin
Mar 222011

Quarreling parents, an annoying kid, and a lovable robot make this short film a fun trip into the near future. Who hasn’t wanted a robot playmate of their own? Blinky is no Robbie, but at least he tries. Check the 12 minute movie out for a treat. Be sure to go full screen and turn on HD if your connection can handle it.

—Edit— The original video was taken down for quite some time, but is back!

Blinky™ from Ruairi Robinson on Vimeo.

It looks like the original video was password protected. I found this version with Spanish subtitles.

via Geekologie

Posted by Stettin
Mar 182011

This review for King’s Test will have a few spoilers for The Lost King. If you haven’t read The Lost King yet, stop now and check out that review, which is pretty much spoiler free. Continue reading »

Posted by Stettin
Mar 122011

I ran across this ad recently for an amazing new product, promoted by my own favorite science fiction author, Isaac Asimov.

Radio Shack’s TRS-80 Pocket Computer turned my dreams into a reality. Now I can take the power of a true computer with me wherever I go.
— Isaac Asimov

The marketing guys chime in a few paragraphs later.

And it can also function just like a calculator — something a desktop computer can’t do.
— Radio Shack

Wait, what!? With a standard calculator included in just about every phone that I can think of, it is hard to imagine a desktop computer ever existing without that ability. Crazy, right? Now that I think of it, it wasn’t too far in the distant past that desktop computers couldn’t be used for voice communications, something a simple phone could do. So what does $169.95 actually get you?

From Dave Dunfield’s old computer page:

The machine was actually a Radio Shack branded version of the Sharp PC-1211, which features:

  • Sharp SC43177/SC43178 4-bit CPU running at 256khz
  • 1×24 character LCD display
  • 57 key “Qwerty” keyboard
  • 1.5k of RAM for user program storage
  • Pizoelectric buzzer

Be sure to check out the full breakdown at Dave’s TRS-80 Pocket Computer page

As a point of comparison, here are a few highlights of Motorola’s Droid 2 tech specs:

  • 1 GHz processor
  • 480×854 Pixel display (Characters displayed depends on the font)
  • QWERTY keyboard
  • 8GB flash (expandable to 32GB)
  • Support for stereo bluetooth (not sure if actual speaker is stereo or not)
  • 100’s of other features like camera, video capture, streaming video, and get this includes the ability to make phone calls. Sadly though, it can’t make you breakfast… yet.

Let me whip out my calculator on my i7 Desktop Computer! The Droid 2 has a 3,906.25 times faster processor (just based on clock rate, not actual computational power) and has 5,592,405.33 times more storage. That seems crazy right? The TRS-80 pocket computer came out in 1980, about 20 years ago. I wonder how people will feel about our state of the art smartphones in 2020? That is assuming we haven’t been taken over by robots gone wild, destroyed ourselves with nukes, or succumbed to a raging nano-plague. But that is all just science fiction.

Isaac Asimov promotes Radio Shack's TRS-80 Pocket Computer

Isaac Asimov promotes Radio Shack's TRS-80 Pocket Computer

Posted by Stettin
Mar 062011

I’ve said here many times that Isaac Asimov is my favorite author. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I read “The Last Question,” Asimov’s favorite short story written by himself. Last night I stumbled across a story called “The Last Answer.” At first I thought, “hey, I’ve read this before,” then did a double-take. It was “Answer,” not “Question.” This story focused on the afterlife instead of entropy. They are both good stories, however I agree with Asimov in his opinion that “The Last Question” is better. I highly suggest reading them both, but I’m not sure what order to recommend. I’ll list the links in order of publication, so you decide. Read both stories before looking at the comments on either one, because they are filled with spoilers.

“The Last Question” – Isaac Asimov (1956)

“The Last Answer” – Isaac Asimov (1980)

Posted by Stettin
Mar 052011

I’ve been huge Star Wars fan since childhood, but was a bit disappointed overall with some of the inconsistencies that cropped up when the prequels were released.  Keith Martin helps make sense of it all. He ties the prequels together with Star Wars: A New Hope (later to be called Episode IV) in his post “A New Sith, or Revenge of the Hope.” It is packed full of insights, some of which I’ve seen tossed around here and there, but he also adds a bit of humor in just the right places.

If we accept all the Star Wars films as the same canon (as it seems we must) then a lot that happens in the original films has to be reinterpreted in the light of the prequels. As we now know, the rebel Alliance was founded by Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Bail Organa. What can readily be deduced is that their first recruit, who soon became their top field agent, was R2-D2.

Check out the full post over at Keith’s live journal page:

Posted by Stettin

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