Archive for February, 2011

The Naked Chef goes 3-D

February 25, 2011

Thanks to the monastic life imposed on me by the demands of writing a book it has been some time since the I had an opportunity for a pukka tech lunch. So I relished the chance yesterday for a business meeting at Nottingham’s new Jamie Oliver restaurant in Low Pavement.

To add to my prandial joy there was the opportunity to view pictures of the dishes on the menu in 3-D using a device called an Image3D. These devices were meant for the kids I think (allowing them to see what they were ordering rather than reading the menu). However, children of my age will remember these toys  – then called ViewMasters – from the 1970s (see picture).

After exploring the technology for a while it was time for the main event. As a lover of pasta I was in seventh heaven and can thoroughly recommend the Turbo Fusilli Arrabiata. Sorted.

View Master (Source: Enokson, licenced under CC BY-NC 2.0)(


Richard Stallman in UK

February 18, 2011

He’s back. Richard Stallman, the digital rights pioneer will be presenting his own unique take on free and open source software at events during March in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Sheffield and Preston. If you’ve not come across his work with the Free Software Foundation have a look my report from his 2008 trip to Manchester. All in all a fascinating, and hugely entertaining, evening. Recommended.

Further details:

Ken Olsen

February 11, 2011

I have fond memories of the PDP11 minicomputer from my days as an undergraduate in the 1980s. So I was sad to hear about the death of Ken Olsen, the founder of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), the company that made the machine. In a society awash with iPads, smartphones and other miniature computing devices it is easy to forget the role that DEC’s minicomputers had in the history of the industry. They provided a bridge between the room-sized mainframes of the 1960s and the invention of the PC, and helped train a generation of undergraduates and researchers.

It was the PC that was DEC’s downfall and unfortunately Olsen is mostly remembered for his failure to spot the evolution of smaller computers beneath DEC’s feet. I however will remember Olsen with gratitude for the hours of pleasure in the computer room at Leeds University, learning to code in ‘C’, and occasionally being distracted by the flash of my mate Punkah’s orange cagoule as we sent each other messages on the computer’s rudimentary email system. Just because we could.