For the third time in a row, I want to talk to about the Persevrence rover that’s on Mars right now. It’s just too cool. It has just come to light that it uses an ancient PowerPC processor from the iMac G3. Obviously it has been configured to suit the Martian atmosphere, but if the chip were to be compared directly to current chips, the Macbook Air that I am typing on, blows that chip out of competition.
The iMac G3 was introduced to the world with the words “Hello (Again)”, and that same chip is now saying “Hello Mars”. Poetic! I am all about poetry in technology. The computer that saved Apple is now powering a rover on Mars, is a thing of beauty. It is also a comment on how “best” need not be the “latest”. Technology is generally aimed at the future. And back in 1998, we could only have dreamt of sending a rover on Mars.
Making gadgets more functional at less costs, or with less complications of choice, is of the many advantages of suffering through gen 1 products.
Ikea, the home furnishing gaint, is doing great at making smart home gadgets affordable. Add Apple’s HomeKit compatibility to it, and they become even more interesting.
That is exactly what is happening Ikea’s Trådfri Shortcut buttons and Motion Sensors, both of which cap out at $15. With some initial friction of setup, they can be configured to perform plenty of actions. The plus side is the cost. It is much cheaper to set up a special light dimmer or set up a movie night scene. They can also be used as single switch for a group of actions. And the button can perform multiple levels of clicks, including long press, to do different things.
Shouting out commands to your smart speaker is always an options, but some tactile buttons that can be setup quickly, and can be used by more than one person, without voice recognition being an issue, are welcome. Guests, children and anyone can be taught to use these quickly.
Apple’s HomeKit accessorises are often expensive, but Ikea’s are not. Ikea also happens to be a brand that is everywhere. This integration makes sense, Especially for someone who is building a smart home one tiny gadget at a time.
Keeping in line with smarts making spaces better, Amazon’s cashierless store just opened in London, this is it’s first such store outside the US. I first read about these 4 years ago and have never experienced it. But the pandemic where we are constantly trying to avoid contact, puts this into perspective. The roll out of the store is excrutiatingly slow, but the idea is right.
Gadgets are made by the right chips, not necessarily the new ones, and the experience is made better by better cross compatibility. Walled gardens would not have made it to Mars.