Computing Legend Alan Kay Explains CES Comments (In Detail)



Computing legend and former Apple Fellow Alan Kay has kindly written a detailed note explaining a comment he made at CES, facetiously reported here. Looking for a newsy nugget from Kay’s complex talk, I was trying to make a joke about something profound being revealed at the CES gadget orgy. (“We all thought it was pretty funny too,” said Kay in a separate email).

Kay’s note explains a comment he made about the logical expression NOT BOTH underlying all human thinking.

“What I said was that all human symbol/logical REPRESENTATION systems and all computers past present and future can be made from NOT BOTH,” Kay says.

Kay’s full, fascinating email after the jump.

CES: Blue Microphones Overhauls The Diminutive Mikey, Adds Blue Fire App


blue mic1

LAS VEGAS — The audio fanatics over at Blue Microphones have popped out the second-gen Mikey, a major overhaul to their plug-n-play iPod microphone.

The original Mikey was a plug-n-play, $80 microphone with on-board software that turned any iPod into a recording device. But it had several drawbacks: It didn’t play well with the iPhone unless you switched on airplane mode and it was only adjustable in one direction (it didn’t swivel). The second-gen Mikey is now $100, swivels, has a USB pass-through and works seamlessly with the iPhone; and like the original, it’s equipped with a three-way sensitivity switch. It’s also even lighter than its predecessor.

As a bonus, Blue Microphones has introduced Blue Fire, a free, feature-rich recording app available from the App Store that can be paired with Mikey to maximize performance.

CES: Free Broadcast TV, Coming Soon To An iPhone Near You


Cydle atsc tuner

LAS VEGAS — Finally, someone is going to turn iPhones everywhere into tiny, portable TV receivers. I found this little guy tucked away in a corner at a booth manned by Cydle, a young South Korean company better known for their car gadgetry. It’s a receiver/tuner that plugs neatly into an iPhone and pulls in digital ATSC broadcasts.

Why not sooner? A few months back, in October to be exact, the way was finally cleared (according to Macworld) for mobile devices to receive broadcasts from the new digital ATSC standard. South Korea is one of only two countries — the other being Taiwan — outside North America using the ATSC system.

I wasn’t able to use the system, but Cydle says it’s ready to go and will be priced at $150 — just don’t break out the mini-kegs quite yet in anticipation of watching the Saints claim their first Superbowl victory (yes, I just stamped my prediction here in this post) on the iPhone’s glorious 3.5-inch screen — the little tuner won’t ship until March.

CES: Zoom’s Q3 Serves Up Meaty Sound With A Side Of Video


zoom q3

LAS VEGAS — Most video camera makers concentrate on the video, then poke one (or if you’re really lucky, two) tiny pinholes in it to record sound through. Yeah, like that’s enough.

So Zoom’s approach is to take a honking great, smurf-colored stereo microphone and stick a vidcam, screen and controls on it.

While sound from the mic seemed pretty darn impressive, the $250 Q3’s video capability is bare-bones, recording in 640×480 at 30 fps (but in a Mac-friendly Quicktime format) with only a 2x digital zoom.

But that’s the idea — to put sound first. The guys at the Zoom booth said the idea behind the Q3 was to give sound recordings a little video accompaniment, like say as a way to record what guitar chords sound like for a music student, along with accompanying video of technique.