Creator of artificial intelligence dies

John McCarthy

John McCarthy, a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence died at age 84.

The university announced that McCarthy died early Monday, October 24th 2011 at his home in Palo Alto, California.

McCarthy was a leader in artificial intelligence technology and coined the term “artificial intelligence” in a 1955 research paper. He believed computers could be programmed to simulate aspects of human intelligence.

He also created the programming language, Lisp, which paved the way for voice recognition technology like Siri, the personal assistant on the newest iPhone.

The future of the deceased, QR Codes on headstones

QR Codes or Quick Response code was first designed for the automotive industry in Japan back in 1994 to track vehicles during manufacturing. Today QR Codes have become popular around the world as a quick link to web sites via your smartphone.

Advertisers, newspapers and bloggers would post and print QR Codes for people to find in order to drive traffic to their website or blog. Some people and companies have even started placing QR Codes on business cards.

Using an iPad a visitor scans the QR Code on a gravesite. ~ Photo Courtesy: Quiring Monuments

Now a new and interesting trend is starting. QR Codes on gravesites.

Quiring Monuments a Seattle-based tombstone company manufactures code-adorned “living headstones.” Using a smartphone mourners and visitors can scan the code off the headstone and get the life history of the deceased.

In Israel, Yoav Medan could not decide what to write on his mother’s tombstone do to a lack of space so he had a QR Code etched onto it.

And in Japan, Memorial stone maker Ishinokoe of Yamanashi will produce grave stones with QR Codes embedded in them. He calls the concept Kuyou no Mado, roughly meaning “Memorial Service Window.”

The future

Imagine years from now your grandchild taking their children to visit your grave. With their media device they scan the QR Code on your headstone. Your great-grandchildren have never met you but with their media device they see photos, videos and your life history, and a prerecorded message from you.

Related stories

QR Codes Everywhere Even on Grave Markers (
QR Code on Tombstone Creates Dynamic Memorial (
QR code graves give a “Memorial Window” (

iPhone app controls military drone flying 3,000 miles away

Concept art showing a Fire-X helicopter drone. Credit: Northrop Grumman Corporation.

Military mobile apps may one day help soldiers on the battlefield.

Engineers and researchers at Boeing Co. and MIT have developed an iPhone application to fly a miniature drone rotorcraft from some 3,000 miles away.

It just takes a few taps and swipes of the operator’s finger in Seattle to make a drone at a baseball field on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Mass., start to hover, rotate and zip around.

“These applications could allow (drones) to be used more effectively for tasks that are dirty or dangerous, as well as for missions that may be too long and tedious to have a human be continuously at the controls,” the company said on its website.

The Pentagon is testing all manner of smart devices, including iPhones and iPads, for action in war zones. It has kicked off a race among software companies and defense firms to develop innovative apps for future soldiers to operate.


Miniature rotorcraft controlled by digital devices have been available to the general public for the last few years.

AR.Drone manufactures and sales remote-controlled miniature rotorcraft that use your iPhone, iPad or Android as the control device. The app features a number of sensors, including a front camera, a vertical camera and an ultrasound altimeter.

The AR.Drone can also be used in video games, such as AR.FlyingAce, a dogfight between two AR.Drones.

Related stories

AR. Drone (ardrone)
Parrot AR Drone iPhone Controlled Helicopter (EarlyTechNews)
U.S. Military Orders Helicopter Drones to Report for Duty (

10 products that defined Steve Jobs’ career

Steve Jobs

Now that Steve Jobs has retired as CEO of Apple, let’s use Apples Time Capsule and take a look at the 10 of most significant products created under his direction.

1. Apple I (1976) — Apple’s first product was a computer for hobbyists and engineers. Steve Wozniak designed the computer, while Jobs acquired the funding and handled the marketing.

2. Apple II (1977) — One of the first successful personal computers, the Apple II was designed as a mass-market product rather than something for engineers or enthusiasts. It was still largely Wozniak’s design. Several upgrades for the model followed, and the product line continued until 1993.

3. Lisa (1983) — Jobs’ visit to Xerox Corp.’s research center in Palo Alto inspired him to start work on the first commercial computer with a graphical user interface, with icons, windows and a cursor controlled by a mouse. It was the foundation for today’s computer interfaces, but the Lisa was too expensive to be a commercial success.

4. Macintosh (1984) — Like the Lisa, the Macintosh had a graphical user interface. It was also cheaper and faster and had the backing of a large advertising campaign behind it. People soon realized how useful the graphical interface was for design. That led “desktop publishing,” accomplished with a Mac coupled to a laser printer, to soon become a sales driver.

5. NeXT computer (1989) — After being forced out of Apple, Jobs started a company that built a powerful workstation computer. The company was never able to sell large numbers, but the computer was influential: The world’s first Web browser was created on one. Its software also lives on as the basis for today’s Macintosh and iPhone operating system.

6. iMac (1998) — When Jobs returned to Apple in 1996, the company was foundering, with an ever shrinking share of the PC market. The radical iMac was the first step in reversing the slide. It was strikingly designed as a bubble of blue plastic that enclosed both the monitor and the computer. Easy to set up, it captured the imagination just as people across the world were having their eyes opened to the benefits of the Internet and considering getting their first home computer.

7. iPod (2001) — It wasn’t the first digital music player with a hard drive, but it was the first successful one. Apple’s expansion into portable electronics has had vast ramifications. The iPod’s success prepared the way for the iTunes music store and the iPhone.

8. iTunes store (2003) — Before the iTunes store, buying digital music was a hassle, making piracy the more popular option. The store simplified the process and brought together tracks from all the major labels. The store became the largest music retailer in the U.S. in 2008.

9. iPhone (2007) — The iPhone did for the phone experience what the Macintosh did for personal computing — it made the power of a smartphone easy to harness. Apple is now the world’s most profitable maker of phones, and the influence of the iPhone is evident in all smartphones.

10. iPad (2010) — Dozens of companies, including Apple, had created tablet computers before the iPad, but none caught on. The iPad finally cracked the code, creating a whole new category of computer practically by itself.

Thank you to Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer for compiling the list.

Related Story

Steve Jobs resigns as CEO of Apple, The Post and Courier, published 8/24/11

Sprint may get iPhone 5 this fall

The word on the street is Sprint Nextel Corp. is expected to start selling the new iPhone 5 and the current iPhone 4 in October 2011. AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless are also planning sell the iPhone 5 in October.

The introduction of Sprint selling the iPhone will undoubtedly create even more competition among the wireless providers for costumers interested in the Apple phone.

The Wall Street Journal reported the rumor today but like most iPhone rumors on the Web they are often inaccurate. So I would view this bit of news with some skepticism until official announcements are made.

%d bloggers like this: