Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

In 2016, North Korea accidentally leaked its DNS data, showing they only have 28 “.kp” domains. In comparison, there are 10 million “.uk” domains.



Just like the old days.

record phonespeaker

So you go on a date and this happens. Your date is on his or her phone constantly. Uncommon? Sadly, not today. Annoying? Hell yes. So I ask you – how would you handle it? Asked him or her to stop? Walk out? Get out your own phone? Or just smile and put up with it? Or is this normal behavior nowadays and I’m just too old fashioned? What are your thoughts?





[click to enlarge]


Yeah, we all need to stop. Powerful stuff.


Yeah, we’ve all heard of Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin, Henry Ford and all the other famous inventors. However, there are many more inventions that we use every day that were invented by people you’ve never heard of. Read on . . .


No, I’m not talking about the Johnnie Walker who created the scotch whiskey some folks prefer. I’m talking about the other John Walker, the dude who invented friction matches. It might surprise you to learn that matches weren’t invented until 1827. That’s too bad because Lewis and Clark could have used some. Anyhoo, Walker marketed them as “friction lights,” which is cool as hell but most people called them “lucifers” which was even cooler. Walker was never satisfied with his invention and did not patent it, which led to him making zero dollars for an invention that is still widely used today. Crazy, man.




Almost every day of your lives, we as adults use something Ron Klein invented. Anybody? Bueller? Bueller? Nobody? Well, Mr. Klein invented those magnetic strips on the back of ATM or Credit Cards. Before we were able to imprint account numbers on cards, vendors had to consult a large printout of credit accounts before accepting charge cards. Klein saw this pain in the ass and as something he could fix. Using the recently developed magnetic tape being used in the recording industry, he invented a method of encoding magnetic tape with simple information, like an account number, and applied this to the back of a credit card. Freaking genius, bro.



Ah, my favorite. The aptly named Mr. Crum invented something that’s probably in everybody’s cupboard as we speak – the potato chip. And guess what? He did it out of spite. While working as a chef at Moon’s Lake House in 1853, George Crum served a plate of French fries to a customer who complained that the fries were too thick and soft. Deciding to stick it to this irate customer, Crum sliced the potatoes so thin that they came out as fried chips instead of the normal french fries. Incredibly, the thinly sliced chips were a huge hit and George ended up making them so much that when he finally opened his own restaurant, he had a bowl laid out on every table. He called his invention “Saratoga Chips” and the rest is history.


Tasty, man.


This guy invented something most of you touch every day. You grab it, move it around, and it takes you places that only you know. Yep, Doug Engelbart invented the computer mouse. Engelbart demonstrated the mouse in 1968 alongside other innovations, including what would become hypertext, windows, shared screens, and even video conferencing. And once again, although he holds more than 20 patents, he doesn’t hold one for the mouse. He developed it simply as an intuitive device to operate his computer in 1964 and never considered the full commercial applications of it. So sad.



Gotta love Harvey, man. He’s responsible for an American Icon – the Smiley Face. The design took Harvey only 10-minutes to come up with and earned him a tidy sum of $45.00, worth about $350.00 today. He was working as a freelance artist at the time and was commissioned by State Mutual Life Assurance Company to introduce an image to raise morale. Ball’s design was made into buttons for the company and eventually went on to T-shirts, posters, and just about anything and everything else, even inspiring everyone’s favorite emoticon in today’s world. The image has earned billions over the decades, but Ball only ever received that one initial $45.00 check.

The one and only original.

The one and only original.

Honorable Mention would have to go to George Lyon, the man who invented . . . wait for it . . .  the automobile bumper. Dude may have saved more lives than anybody in history.

Fun Invention Fact: Bubblewrap, the popular, poppable packing material was actually invented serendipitously. Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes were trying unsuccessfully to design a plastic wallpaper, and in the process discovered that their invention made an effective packing material. The entrepreneurs went on to found the Sealed Air Corporation, a company that now produces annual revenues exceeding $8-billion, and it employs 26,300 people in 175 countries. Cool beans.

So, did ya learn anything today? Of course you did.

Seems like Norway pops up on my site with regularity, usually because of its natural beauty or beautiful architecture. This time, however, Norway appears because of their plans to build floating underwater tunnels.  Norway’s many fjords pose unique infrastructure challenges, ferries being too slow to handle traffic and bridges being too susceptible to harsh weather conditions, so they’ve decided to venture into the waters themselves to come up with a solution. Underwater tunnels built to accommodate two lanes of traffic will float 100 feet below the surface, possibly bolted to the bottom to create additional stability. The groundbreaking system is set to be completed by 2035.

Man, I have to get to Norway.


Bloomberg: The audio cassette tape is not dead. In fact, one Springfield, cassette-tape-stockbyte-630x419Mo., cassette maker has had its best year since it opened in 1969.

“You can characterize our operating model as stubbornness and stupidity. We were too stubborn to quit,” said National Audio Company President Steve Stepp.

NAC is the largest and one of the few remaining manufacturers of audiocassettes in the U.S. The profitable company produced more than 10 million tapes in 2014 and sales shot up 20 percent in 2015.

“Probably the thing that has really enlarged our business at a faster phase than anything is the retro movement,” Stepp said. “There’s the nostalgia of holding the audio cassette in your hand.”

 NAC has deals with major record labels like Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group as well as a number of small contracts with indie bands. About 70 percent of the company’s sales are from music cassettes while the rest are blank cassettes. 

 “There was a drive from the independent bands to get that warm analog sound again, and it just continued to grow and grow,” said NAC Production Manager Susie Brown.

The company still uses machines built in the 1970s in its production lines.

Who knew? I thought the cassette was dead, man!

Seriously man, I love this. There’s something about this article that makes me happy. I know that LPs have been popular for years, but cassettes? Yep, I love it and I understand it. There was something satisfying about popping that cassette in your player, snapping it shut, pushing the button down and listening to your tunes. It was much better than silently touching icons on your cell phone to bring up you music.

On a related note, I knew that saving all my old cassettes was a good idea.


Analysis of GPS data has revealed new areas of motion around the San



Andreas Fault System. Using data collected by the EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory’s GPS array, researchers identified 125-mile wide “lobes” of uplift. Computer models simulating the San Andreas Fault System have predicted such crustal movement, but the areas of motion hadn’t been physically identified until now.

“While the San Andreas GPS data has been publicly available for more than a decade, the vertical component of the measurements had largely been ignored in tectonic investigations because of difficulties in interpreting the noisy data,” lead author Samuel Howell, a researcher at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, explained in a news release

First of all, Samuel Howell, quit talking like a freaking know-it-all scientist. “Noisy data?” Stop  it. Bottom line, everybody in California is going to die soon. Just come out and say it. The whole state is going to snap off and drop into the Pacific Ocean like a dead tree limb in the forest. It’s inevitable. Let’s just hope the Kardashians are home at the time.


Eric Blair, better known as George Orwell. He knew.

Turns out Eric Blair was really on top of things, man. Blair, who went by the pseudonym George Orwell, wrote a book that was published back in 1949 called 1984. The subject matter included what the world would be like 35-years down the road. Great book, by the way, but the descriptions contained within the book regarding the future are pretty startling. Blair foresaw advances in technology, the complete surveillance of society, the decomposition of history, and the limiting of freedoms. Eric Blair was a genius, a foreseer, a man who prophesied what lie ahead. Eric Blair foresaw and wrote about technology that was unheard of at the time.

Let’s take a look . . .

  • Eric Blair wrote of “telescreens” in the novel that would work both ways. These telescreens could watch you as you watched them. Sure, we had TVs in 1949 but we were nowhere near being able to communicate through them. Still, Eric saw it coming, and we have that technology today. FaceTime, anyone?
  • Blair also mentions microphones a few times in his novel. The character Winston mentions “the danger of concealed microphone by which your voice might be picked up and recognized.” Winston worries about hidden microphones when he has his journey with Julia in the woods. Microphones were around in 1949, but they were big and bulky, while nowadays they can be small enough to fit in a pen or a button. On a related note, the United States military has created a mechanical hummingbird. The army says that “Nano Air Vehicles relay real-time videos from a tiny on-board camera back to its operator. Weighing less than a AA battery and resembling a live hummingbird, the vehicle could give war fighters an unobtrusive view of threats inside or outside a building from a safe distance.” Hear that? They look like a real hummingbird. Wild, man.
  • In the novel, the character O’Brien explains “Our surgeons can alter people beyond recognition.” Plastic surgery has advanced greatly since the 1940s and doctors can now literally change a person’s appearance. This was just a dream for doctors living in Blair’s day. The most recognizable part on a person’s body is obviously the face, and the first successful face transplant occurred in the year 2005. And Eric Blair clearly wrote about O’Brien being able to change his appearance completely, which would have been impossible in his time period.
  • Winston (the character in the book) says “There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often the Thought Police were plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live under the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, every movement scrutinized.” Think about your day today. How many times were you on camera somewhere? There are cameras everywhere, so you were probably on video way more than you can imagine. In addition, Winston would also have to control his facial features to avoid something Blair called “facecrime.” Yep, we have facial recognition software now. Once again, Blair was ahead of his time.
  • The central theme of Blair’s book 1984 was how “Big Brother,” in the future, would be watching and listening to our every move. Well, about a month after 9/11, president George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act, which could be a oxymoronic name depending on your perspective. The Patriot Act takes limitations away from government agencies to help them gather intelligence easier. This allows the US government to wiretap phones without warrants, read text messages and emails without permission, and to invade anyone’s privacy that is suspected of being a terrorist. Hey, I’m all for stopping terrorists, but did you know that every person’s text goes through a database where it is judged as an innocent message or a message that resembles a threat? As an example, if you texted “Thanks Mom! That bologna sandwich was the bomb!” It might be flagged because of the word “bomb” and you’d be investigated. Privately, of course, and you’d never know it. The president also has the power to order warrantless surveillance, including a new capability to force companies and organizations to turn over information on citizens’ finances, communications and associations. Yep folks, your bank accounts can be surveilled as well. Worth the price of feeling safer from the bad guys? That one’s up to you. Whatever your opinion, Mr. Blair saw this coming in 1949. 
  • There is a brief passage in the book 1984 where Winston actually explains and describes the modern lottery. The character says “the lottery, with its weekly pay out of enormous prizes , was one public event to which the government paid special attention. The prizes were largely imaginary. Only small sums were actually paid out, the winners of the big prizes being non-existent persons.” This makes perfect sense because the Mega Millions are nearly impossible to win. According to the New York lottery, the chances of winning the jackpot for the mega million is 1 in 175,711,536. These odds are outrageous and this supports Orwell’s theory that smalls sums were only paid out.
  • Here’s an Eric Blair quote from the 40s: “War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.” I guess that one’s actually sort of timeless though, right?

Finally, regarding all of the above Eric Blair once said this:

“I do not believe that the kind of society I describe necessarily will arrive, but I believe that something resembling it could arrive.”

Like I said, Eric Blair knew. And he knew almost 70-years ago.

Listen, I’m 100% behind this idea. Hiding these ugly-ass towers can only be a positive, amirite? That said, in some cases they may be uglier than the original towers. Take a look at the slideshow below and I think you’ll agree. My brief comments are captioned under the photo.

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Watch until the bonus footage at the end!


Seriously, where are all the jet packs?

When I was a kid, everyone thought we’d have all sorts of cool stuff in the 21st Century. There were several predicted inventions we all assumed would someday be commonplace but they simply never have. And for that, I for one am disappointed. Sure, the internet and iPhones and stuff are cool, but I’ve come up with seven inventions predicted in the 50’s and 60’s that I want to see in my lifetime. C’mon, people who invent things! Get it together!

After I list my Top 7 Inventions That Haven’t Been Invented Yet But Should Have, I shall list some inventions that I just may invent myself. And I know what you’re thinking – they’re g-o-o-o-o-d.

Let’s roll . . .


That's what I'm talkin' 'bout.

That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

Der. We can’t buy flying cars yet? What the hell? We can send a rocket to Mars for God’s sake. What’s the dizzle? Sure, I know the occasional flying car has been spotted but we we’re supposed to be taking the damn things to the supermarket by now. Incidentally, when flying cars become commonplace we might someday have this conversation:

“Did you hear? Rod was killed by a drunk driver.”

“Wow. That’s too bad. Was he out on the highway?”

“Nah. He was shingling his roof.”

On a related note, when writing the title I accidentally typed in “Flying Cats.” Now that would be scary.


Cool beans.

Cool beans.

I swear, back in the 60’s everybody, and I mean everybody, expected to be flying around with a jet pack by now. I remember seeing them when I was a little kid on TV. Hey, we can leap off a mountain with one of those Squirrel Suits but I can’t fly down to the Dairy Hut with my jet pack? We have failed as a nation.

Oh, and when doing my exhaustive research I came across this gem:

You’re welcome.



They couldn’t give her opposable thumbs?

Yessir! Now we’re talkin’. Who wouldn’t want a robot servant like Rosie the Robot Maid on The Jetsons? And I just noticed they made Rosie fat. What’s up with that? Oh, and if I ever have a robot maid she’s gonna do way more than dust.



You know, like in Star Trek. Just hop on and be teleported wherever you want in seconds. Teleport away from a nagging wife or an assclown boss. Just punch in an address, push a button and you’re in Paris having Brandade de Morue within seconds. Sign me up!



Looks delish!

Yep, we were supposed to be so busy we wouldn’t have time to cook. Hence, steak dinner in a pill. Bleh. What a horrible idea. Just awful. And we eat because we like the taste, right? Even after we’re full we eat for the taste, right? Isn’t that why we get fat? Wait. Maybe they’re on to something here.



Not sure how that garden would work.

Yep, we were supposed to be living in space by now for sure. We should’ve had space cities years ago. Seriously, it can’t be that hard, can it? Build some big bubbles like you see up there, pump in some oxygen and go to town. Just no rock throwing, please.



It probably won’t look like this.

Ah, the Time Machine. You know it’s possible, right? We just don’t have the technology to go fast enough. Seriously, I can explain how time travel is possible. Not even kidding. That said, where would you go? Forwards or backwards? I could talk about time travel all day.


Why would anyone want a cure for baldness?


Well, hello there.

Just kidding. Not everyone has as magnificent a dome as I.

And now for some inventions we’re currently working on in the Shoe: Untied Underground Laboratories. Seriously, here are some things this world of ours desperately needs:


Bingo! Now you know I’m not messing around, amirite? Just pop a beer into my Refridgowave, hit 17-seconds or so, then reach in and grab your ice cold, ice crystal filled brew. Someone mentioned you could use it for sodas too if you’re into that sort of thing. Hey, have you ever brought home your groceries and want a popsicle but they’re a little soft and drippy? The Refridgowave is your answer. And here’s the kicker – you’ll never run out of ice again. Thank you and goodnight.


Why should we have to spit out our mouthwash? Everyone’s thirsty in the morning, right? Just take a big swig, swoosh it around in your mouth, and swallow it. My drinkable mouthwash will come in 21-flavors, including Cabernet and Zinfandel.


Here’s the plan. My Shoe: Untied team of scientists are perfecting a pill that you simply drop into your beverage of choice. Sort of like Alka-Seltzer but tasteless. As you’re drinking, the pill will be battling the negative effects of alcohol. Everybody say it together: BRILLIANT!


Damn it! I just looked it up and it’s already been invented. Crap. Disregard.


Running late? No problem! Just reach up and power on your Car Hair Dryer that’s located above your head, on the ceiling of your car. Alternate Car Hair Dryers can be located in the steering wheel of your car for that wind-blown look. Ladies, you know you want one.


The Flashdark is like a flashlight, except the other way around. What would be the practical application of such a device, you ask? Well, if you wanted to hide from somebody just go to a corner and point The Flashdark upon yourself. Poof, you’re gone. On a related note, I’m losing my freaking mind.


We are currently working on a pair of pants that are heated up by pushing a button. Said trousers are heated by running some micro-fiber filaments through the fabric and connecting them back to a small power source. I shall call them the “Electra-Pants.” Coming soon: The “Electra-Coat,” the “Electra-Hat” and the “Electra-Boxers.” Winter, bring it on!*

*Not to be worn in the rain.

So there ya go. Inventions we thought we’d see but haven’t, as well as some ingenious ideas of my own. What can I say? My brain is a complex organ.

But seriously, where the hell is my jet pack?

I was in the Teacher’s Lounge at Greenfield Junior High and watched it on television. Stunning.


Hard to believe that Shoe: Untied is unavailable in some areas. Sad really.


So I was reading about the history of cell phones today and came across this this nugget. The first cell phone was invented by some cat named Martin Cooper who actually used it initially back in 1973. Did you just hear me? 1973! Cordless phones in homes weren’t even invented yet! I was stunned. Here’s a quote from Martin Cooper:

As I walked down the street while talking on the phone, sophisticated New Yorkers gaped at the sight of someone actually moving around while making a phone call. Remember that in 1973 there weren’t cordless telephones, let alone cellular phones. I made numerous calls, including one where I crossed the street while talking to a New York radio reporter – probably one of the more dangerous things I have ever done in my life.”

Anyway, it was 10-years later, in 1983, when this baby hit the market:

That’s our boy Martin in the photo. How cool is that? On a related note, if I had to picture the inventor of the cell phone he’d look just like Martin Cooper. And hey, anyone want to guess what that first cell phone cost?


Yikes. Thank God some prices have gone down over the years. Anyway, everybody take a look at your cell phone know and say it with me:

“Thanks, Martin Cooper!”

This has been another Shoe: Untied Educational Blog. You’re welcome.

Technology is getting more badass by the day, man.




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Well, not actually flapping their arms and taking off but still mighty impressive.


That’s nuts man.


More proof that social skills are dying a slow and painful death.


Peeple, an app launching this November, will invite you to rate everyone elsepeeple like there were restaurants on Yelp. “Personally, professionally and romantically”, founders Julia Cordray and Nicole McCullough think it’s going to provide a whole lot of benefit for letting you know who’s in your life.

As their website says, Peeple will enhance your online reputation for access to better quality networks, top job opportunities, and promote more informed decision making about people. Authentic and relevant information about you and others you interact with is paramount to our vision for this app.

Ooh boy. There’s no way this can go well for anybody, can it? Do we really want people to be able to rate us “personally, professionally and romantically”? What, are we going to have a 5-star system like restaurants and hotels?

I can hear it now:

“Hey Larry, check out your Peeple score. Romantically you have a 1-star rating. Bwahahahahaha!”

Or . . .

“Sorry Linda. I’d love to go out with you but your Peeple personality score is only 1.5 stars. Thanks but no thanks.”

On a related note, I don’t even want to think about how some of my exes could bring my personality score down. Yikes.

Holy Mother of God. The end is nigh.


I know, I know, that sounds like a really simple question but I’m dead serious kidoutsideso shut it. And I also know that this may sound a bit disingenuous coming from me, who has been accused of being on the internet too much. Still, it’s something I think about a lot.

Probably too much.

You know, sometimes I miss the days when you could leave for Columbus with the knowledge that nobody could contact you until you came back home. Heck, I remember buying my first answering machine and that little thrill of excitement you’d get when you’d arrive home and see that little light flashing. Woohoo! I’ve got a message!

And to think it was only the beginning . . .

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of technology as I see them. Afterwards I’d love to hear your opinions on the subject.



  • Der. Of course. I read somewhere once that kids have access to more information by 3rd Grade than we did in our entire school careers, so there’s that. I guess that’s good, right? Right?

Sharing of Ideas

  • At our fingertips we can gain instant access to almost anyone in the world, share ideas and information, the sky’s the limit. As you’ll read below, though, that may not be as great as it sounds.

Social Networking

  • This one is debatable and can go under either pro or con. Sure, the internet is an easy way to meet people. On the other hand, the internet is an easy way to meet people. You know exactly what I’m talkin’ ’bout.

Convenience When Traveling

  • Can’t argue with this one. Who remembers trying to read a giant map while driving down a back road somewhere in Tennessee? Then trying unsuccessfully to fold the damn thing back up? Yep, GPS does come in handy.



  • Sure, we can now watch movies or TV shows and other stuff on our phones from anywhere we choose. Hey, I see people gazing at their cell phones while driving every day! And yes, the internet has done wonders for the porn industry. Yay?

Hospitals and Health

  • I guess you can’t put a price on the many ways technology has helped the health industry. Incalculable really. In fact this may trump them all. Then again . . .

Let’s get to the negatives:


Decline of Social Skills

  • As a teacher with over 30-years experience I have a unique insight into this, and I can tell you without a doubt that there’s a direct correlation between the decline in the social skills of students and the rise of the internet. Sadly, a lot of kids have a real problem simply looking people in the eye these days. Too much texting and messaging and not enough actual physical interaction in my opinion. For years I’ve actually had to stop kids in the hallway and force them to interact with me, even for just a minute. Just fighting the good fight, people.


Unique Thought

  • Remember when I mentioned sharing ideas as a pro but said it might also be a con? Well, many think the internet poses a threat to the human mind’s creativity and the ability to innovate. It makes sense in that if everyone can communicate directly with each other, and we have no pockets of original thought, creativity could suffer. I mean, since we can all converse immediately with each other will we all end up thinking the same way? Makes sense, right? On a related note, if you read the Unabomber’s Manifesto* he basically says the same thing. He made a lot of sense right up to the, you know, part where he started killing people.

*Honestly, you should read it. It’s actually very interesting.


  • What kid draws or paints anymore? The answer is not nearly as many as when I was a kid, and that’s the truth. Why create a birthday card for mom when you can print one off the computer? See? We’re back to the death of creativity again. Damn it technology!

Instant Gratification

  • Because everything today is at our fingertips, we now want instant gratification in every walk of life. Nobody wants to earn anything anymore, ya know? We want it and we want it now. I blame technology. It’s softened us up, man.

Honorable Mention in the “con” department:


  • Long story short, it’s gone to hell. Don’t believe me? Look at the way people wrote in the 1800’s and compare it to today. Yes, kids, people wrote like this:



  • Take a look out your window. Do it right now. See any kids out there playing? Didn’t think so. Hey, you know how I used to tell where all the fun was taking place? I’d look for the bicycles laying in the yard. Sadly, the days of neighborhood kids playing together outside are largely gone, folks. They’re all looking at their phones or laptops, just like you and I are doing right now.


  • Here’s just one example. You ever notice how after you “like” a post on Facebook about, oh, let’s say macaroni, you suddenly begin getting ads for macaroni all up in your grillmix? It’s frightening, really.

And hey, I haven’t even mentioned the loss of jobs that technology has created.

So what do  you think? Am I being a fuddy-duddy to believe that the negatives outweigh the positives where technology is concerned? Listen, don’t get me wrong, I know there’s no going back, only forward. But I can still long for a simpler time, can’t I?


Note: Here are some technology facts, for your perusal:

  • Over 90% of all adults have their mobile phone within arms reach of them at all times.
  • Out of the population of 7 billion people on the entire world, 4 billion of them have mobile phones.
  • The very first personally computer was released in 1950 and sold for $300.00.
  • Over a million new domain names are registered every single month.
  • Google search engines answer over 1 billion searches every single day.
  • The first computer mouse was invented in 1963 and was made of a wooden shell with two metal wheels. True story.