Weekly Reading List

I don’t have a lot of links to bookmark this week.  However, I was fascinated to read about a new wireless technology being worked on by Steve Perlman known as pCell that supposedly revolutionizes how cellphone service is delivered.  Supposedly this new technology will speed cell data 1,000 fold but the obvious major hurdle is acceptance by the carriers. It would be a remarkable achievement if these speeds are attainable with pCell.  There are a number of videos on the web showing what pCell is and how it works.

Just this morning I also discovered the following page with an in-depth look and highly mathematical treatment of the technology.  There is a lot of information covered on that page and it’s a bit over my head and I will probably have to sit down some time and really digest what it is saying but it seems to indicate that pCell is indeed bigger than anyone realizes.

Another really interesting article I found this week comes courtesy of the Guardian about Google’s new director of engineering Ray Kurzweil and what he believes robots and computers will be able to accomplish and have in store for us in the future.  The article mentions the movie Her and after watching that movie I think we are probably still very far away from falling in love with our technology.  Ray Kurzweil is clearly a smart man and that is why he is working at Google.   I have read some of his books including The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence and The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology and some of his predictions have come true but I am not sure that the technological singularity that he promotes will arrive as soon as he thinks.  It still seems to me too optimistic to have machines with emotions and that can think like humans. I am more realistic and pragmatic and look forward to nearer future where natural language capabilities might be possible from computers.   IBM’s Watson computer shows lots of promise and I was impressed by the robotic capabilities demonstrated by a company like Boston Dynamics which Google now owns.  The future is unpredictable so Ray Kurzweil may be right. If he is we are in for some science fiction like future.

I am a big fan of Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) as I learned how to program assembly in university with it back around 1999-2000. Back then ARM wasn’t as widespread and ubiquitous as it is today but it was clearly the future of computing.  It’s fascinating to see how ARM was able to capture show much of the mobile market and I enjoyed reading the Bloomberg Businessweek article about The Unlikely Tale of How ARM Came to Rule the World.  For those that are curious it’s a really good look at the ARM and well worth reading.

The last thing I just want to mention is the blog post by Jeff Atwood entitled App-pocalypse Now.  What he says is so true.  The proliferation of useless apps in app stores is certainly something to lament.  I long for a time when the platform used to be the open web. It seems with app stores we are reinventing things for no real gain when we should be enhancing and improving in other ways.

Books

That’s it for this week.