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Equating Angels with Transistors: Shatner at His Best

In this 1976* AT&T promotional video, William Shatner explains the miracle of microprocessors. As an AT&T historian writes: "Back in 1976, microprocessors had a maximum of 8.5K transistors for 64bits of memory. The Queen of England sent her first email, and Steve Wozniak designed the Apple I." The video is very Seventies with its retro-futuristic music and narration. This is basically a LOST Dharma Station training video, but real.

Sample quote: "There was a time when philosophers argued the question of how many angels might fit on the head of a pin -- defying the laws of physics and reason. Well, today, if we take the liberty of equating angels with transistors, we can make the case for the existence of a modern kind of miracle: like fitting 7,000 transistors on one insignificant chip. In fact, by the time you hear me say this, that number will seem too modest." Indeed, today it's typical for CPUs to include hundreds of millions (or even billions) of transistors -- but very few angels.

Recommended for: nerds, Shatnerphiles, technology buffs, history buffs, and fans of sweet/smooth Seventies style (this video is so peaceful, it would make great bedtime viewing).

* = apparently this video was first created in 1976, then updated in 1980, hence the appearance of Apple ][ computers in some later shots.

(Via Kottke.org.)

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Apple Is Offering Free Battery Replacements for Some MacBook Models
iStock
iStock

Want to extend the life of your MacBook Pro battery? A new offer from Apple might let you replace it for free.

Some non Touch Bar, 13-inch MacBook Pros that were manufactured between October 2016 and October 2017 are eligible for the program, and you can see if your computer qualifies by entering your serial number on Apple’s website.

The company said some of the batteries in models manufactured during this one-year period may be faulty, which is what prompted the offer. Although it’s not a safety issue, a component in the battery could fail, causing the battery to expand. Affected customers who already paid to have their battery replaced can also contact Apple for a refund.

The service takes three to five days to complete and can be done at any Apple-authorized service provider or retail store. Computers can also be mailed in to a repair center.

Before sending it away for repairs, though, it's important to check for other issues with your computer. Apple notes, “If your 13-inch MacBook Pro has any damage which impairs the replacement of the battery, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement. In some cases, there may be a cost associated with the repair.”

[h/t The Verge]

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Amazon Will Now Deliver Packages to Your Car Trunk
Amazon
Amazon

Delivery drivers call them “porch pirates.” It’s a derisive term for people who take advantage of the fact that many residents aren’t home during the day and swipe packages from doorsteps. Bad weather, nosy neighbors, or general privacy concerns may be other reasons you’re not comfortable leaving shipments unattended. Now, Amazon has a solution: Today, the company is introducing Amazon Key In-Car Delivery, a new method for dropping off packages that virtually guarantees they’ll be in one piece when you get home.

When shoppers opt for Amazon Key at checkout and own a vehicle that supports app-based unlocking, the delivery driver will be able to pop open your trunk and deposit your items inside. Essentially, your car doubles as a storage locker.

Your car may be sitting in your office parking lot during the day, but that’s no problem. Drivers will be able to pull up to your car there and make the same drop-off. When you’re done with work for the day, your packages will be waiting. Your car can be parked anywhere within a two-block radius of the delivery address and still be eligible for the service.

But how would a driver find it? The In-Car Delivery program requires a few things in order to work. For one, you need Amazon’s Key app; you also need to give the company permission to lock and unlock your vehicle. Your car must support app-based access, like 2015 or newer GM cars with OnStar subscriptions or recent-model Volvos with a Volvo On Call account. These vehicles have partnership agreements with Amazon that make them compatible with the Key software, as well as GPS functioning that allows drivers to find them when parked offsite. You’ll also need to be in one of 37 markets where Amazon dispatches their own delivery staff.

If this delivery approach is embraced, it’s likely that other carmakers will help Amazon widen their distribution platform. Amazon Key also offers in-home delivery service in select cities, which allows drivers entry into your home to leave packages inside.

[h/t TechCrunch]

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