Console Game Memories, Low Cost Internet, and Facial Recognition

by Jon Follett

Here’s what we’re reading online, this week at Involution, on design, tech, and the digital life, in our links round up.

The History of the Game Console
If you were a console gamer back when it all began in the late '70s, and have sweet, sweet memories of playing Atlantis on the Magnavox Odyssey 2 or TRON Deadly Disks on Intellivision, then you'll revel in the nostalgia of Consollection, a Web site collection of (almost) every gaming console ever made. Over 170 consoles are featured on the site, all from the personal collection of Phil Penninger. Consollection truly gives us the history of video gaming product design; with an overview page dedicated to each and every system.

There's also a gorgeous accompanying book, which, unfortunately, seems to be out of print. (Count us in for a copy, if it hits the press again, guys.) In the meantime, if the Web site isn't enough to satiate your console lust, you can check out the free e-book version.

Bridging the Digital Divide?
In order to satisfy government regulators, the new business entity formed by the merger of Comcast and NBC was required, as a prerequisite, to make broadband internet more easily available to low income households. Enter Internet Essentials, a new program from Comcast, that allows families who have at least one child receiving free school lunches through the National School Lunch program, to subscribe to Comcast service for about $10 a month.

Given the strong need in the US to bridge the digital divide between those who are connected and those who are not, this seems like a good first try. Only time will tell if this heralds real progress or remains a well meaning but ultimately hollow attempt.

Wide Awake in Boston
Fans of product design, prototyping, and caffeinated beverages, will drink in "The Buzz Machine", an in depth article from the Boston Globe on the innovative roots of the billion dollar Keurig coffee empire. The piece details the trials and tribulations of founders John Sylvan and Peter Dragone as they sought to produce a single serve coffee maker. From prototypes that leaked on a potential investor's conference room table and exploding hand made K-cups to a 13% market share in the American workplace (25% in Boston), Keurig has risen from humble beginnings to become one of Boston's big success stories of the past decade.

Happy 20th WWW
On August 6, 1991, Tim Berners-Lee created the world's first Web site while working at the European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN). Appropriately, the first Web site contained information about the WWW project itself, and the self-referential nature of the medium has never wavered. Twenty years and billions of pages later, we're starting to get the hang of what's possible in the digital realm. Happy 20th World Wide Web!

Hide Your Face, Save Your Identity
If facial recognition technology is the critical piece of data connecting our online and offline selves, privacy advocates will soon have a lot more to worry about. A slightly paranoid, but interesting article from ComputerWorld, cites proof-of-concept demonstrations in which hackers can connect facial recognition data with one of your social network profiles and then quickly find additional sensitive information. The idea that you could be walking down the street and have a stranger discover everything about you in just a few minutes, is a frightening prospect. We can only hope that this danger is exaggerated, but there's no doubt that the days of real privacy, if we ever had it to begin with, are waning quickly. Soon we might all be hiding our faces … or at least hoping our Facebook photos are a little blurry.

Topics: game consoles, internet, privacy, facial recognition, Analysis, web, Blog, comcast