Weekly Recap: Apple I, Xpider robot, HP EliteBook Sure View, Parrot Disco and Excel Spreadsheet Jokes
Apple I sells for US$815,000
Yesterday (Thursday), a 1976 Apple I was auctioned off for US$815,000 (original price: US$666.66), to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Arizona. The half-million dollars bought the highest bidder a 1 MHz MOS 6502 processor with 8 Kb of RAM and a cassette interface (impossible to find nowadays). To top it all off, the original cassette tape is included in the lot and contains the Star Trek and Blackjack programs (the cassette was initially provided with the optional interface).
⇨ MacRumors, “Unique 'Celebration' Apple-1 Sells for $815,000.”
Xpider is a cute little six-footed robot with a chameleon’s eye weighing just 150g. Its developers were inspired by Pixar’s Mike Wazowski character, the little green cyclops in Monsters, Inc. Xpider’s various components were fabricated by a 3D-printer and its electronics run on the Curie SoC and the Edison computer-on-module, both by Intel. Xpider is soon going to be placed on-line for an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.
⇨ Mashable, “Pixar hit movie inspires innovative mini-robot from China.”
Want to keep your confidential project safe from nosy seatmates? As of September, HP’s EliteBook 1040 and 840 will come with an optional integrated privacy filter. The Sure View screen will allow you to reduce the field of visibility to 70° at the touch of a key.
⇨ Ars Technica, “HP’s Sure View screens strive to stop shoulder surfing.”
Parrot announced the launch, in September, of the Disco, a fixed-wing drone. This tiny, ultralight flyer can reach speeds of 80km/h with a flight autonomy of 45 minutes. The Disco is equipped with an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a magnetometer, a barometer, a Pitot tube, a GNSS (GPS+GLONASS) and a stabilized 14-megapixel wide-angle camera. It will sell for US$1,299.
⇨ Circuit Breaker, “Parrot’s Disco drone is coming next month for $1,299.”
Microsoft's Excel has been blamed for errors in academic papers on genomics. Researchers trying to raise awareness of the issue claim that the spreadsheet software automatically converts the names of certain genes into dates. Gene symbols like SEPT2 (Septin 2) were found to be altered to "September 2". On a review of 3,597 published scientific papers, 704 contained gene name errors created by Excel.
⇨ BBC News, “Microsoft Excel blamed for gene study errors.”