Category Archives: Wacky Wednesday

Wacky Wednesday: Our Favorite Computer Movies

“I’m in!” and “Hack into the back door” are some key phrases needed in any computer movie, and where would we be without those computer geniuses at age 16? Without them, we wouldn’t be able to hack into the Pentagon, create a model AI beauty nor see the truth in the matrix. Here is a list of our favorite computer movies:

5. The Matrix-1999

An obvious one, we know, but for good reason! This movie was released on the cusp of the millennium, making the fear of Y2K and the takeover of the machines even more likely. And while some will argue Keanu Reeves’s best role was in ‘Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Adventure,” he did pretty well in this, too. The film itself is revolutionary with the life-like CGI and crazy philosophical ideals and definitely deserves a spot on the list.

4. Minority Report-2002

This Tom Cruise classic has some awesome, futuristic technology that isn’t very far into the future. There’s AR and VR, recognition software and good detective work! The precogs would be good to have this decade, especially for Cruise to know he’d leave Scientology, if the tabloid minority reports are true.

3.The Net-1995

Maybe one of the best female computer programmers in a movie predating Trinity (who kind of cheated in achieving her Master Hacker status, but that’s a whole other story). Sandra Bullock plays Angela Bennett, a programmer who gets caught up in a high-stake, fast-paced espionage heist. Cases of mistaken and stolen identity and floppy disks make you sit on the edge of your seat with anticipation and worry; can Bennett solve the mystery? Will she still be mistaken for a criminal? Who are Praetorians? And you have to love the movie’s tagline: “This summer, Sandra Bullock is caught… in the Net!”

2. WarGames-1983

So deliciously 80s, this movie brought us the thrills and dangers of computer-ing; it was early enough that people didn’t know what firewalls were, but at a time where hacking your GPA had been established aspiration of many teenage computer owners. Ally Sheedy plays an impressed Jennifer who is eager to watch computer boy-genius David (Matthew Broderick) play a modern Risk-like game that is actual thermonuclear warfare. Who wouldn’t want to get caught up in governing bodies and their vast array of nukes?

1. Weird Science-1985

This sexist version of the Frankenstein story is every nerdy high school boy’s dream come true. Gary Wallace (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt Donnelly (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) make their dream lady (including a C-cup, Einstein’s brain and Houdini’s magical powers) from Wyatt’s computer by hacking into the city’s power grid for an extra surge of electricity (which is totally thing). Lisa is created, much like Frankenstein’s monster, and learn that having the perfect woman or best party doesn’t make them popular, but their personalities do, and shouldn’t that be the message for all these computer movies?


Wacky Wednesday-Weird Early Robots

Where would the world be without Wall-E, R2-D2 or Rosie from The Jetsons? We’d be without those happy, helpful, futuristic companions of the future. But before KITT could save Hasselhoff again, we had some real robotic accomplices. Here is a list of our top 5 favorite robots and AI in the real world.

5. David Silver’s (at MIT) Silver Arm-1974

silver arm

The Silver Arm was used for small-parts assembly. Instead of using its powerful crushing capabilities that could destroy the microscopic mechanics, Silver Arm sensed feedback from delicate pressure and touch sensors. The arm corresponded human finger movements.

4. Marvin Minsky developed the Tentacle Arm-1968

tentacle arm

You’ve heard of the octopus, you’ve heard of the arm, combine them together for Minsky’s Tentacle Arm. The Arm had 12 joints to give it tentacle-like movements. A hydraulic fluid-powered PDP-6 computer controlled the Arm, and if you mounted it on a wall, it could lift a person.

3. MIT’s Automatically Programmed Tools project-1959


The Automatically Program Tools project was an early form of AI; it was a language used to instruct milling machine operations how to work. In a demonstration, the program built an ashtray for every attendee, just to show off how it good it was.

2. Rancho Arm-1963

rancho arm

The Rancho Arm was designed in Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in Downey, Calif. The arm was as flexible as a human arm, thanks to its six joints. It is held as one of the first robotic arms to be controlled by a computer at Stanford.

1. Texas Instruments’ Speak & Spell-1978

speak n spel

Do you know how to speak? Do you know how to spell? If so, you probably have the Speak & Spell to thank. But besides being responsible for teaching many kids how to spell, the TI Speak & Spell was also the first electronic duplication of human voice tract on a single silicon chip. Pretty high tech for something used to spell out swear words by teenagers. f


Wacky Wednesday: Read Your Dog’s Mind

Back in December 2013, Swedish-based company No More Woof made everyone write its product on their Christmas lists: A device that allowed you to understand what your dog was thinking.

Unfortunately, No More Woof was only in its prototype stages, but its future looked hopeful. nomowo

The product is a headset for your dog, like something a telemarketer might wear, that analyzed your dog’s brain waves.

The technology is a combination of electroencephalography (EEG) sensing, micro-computing and special brain-computer interface software. All mammals (humans included) process and transport thoughts the same way using electric signals through its neurosystem. EEG has already been able to be used on humans; EEG should be easy to use for dogs because animals are generally less complex, allowing for No More Woof to decipher phrases such as “This is splendid!” “Leave me alone” and many more. The only hiccup in the process is creating a headset that will comfortably fit a dog’s head and still be effective.


As of early 2014, the device can only translate your dog’s thoughts into English, but will soon be able to translate into Spanish, French and even Mandarin!

No More Woof is still seeking funding, you can donate on its website and even purchase a prototype!

Best Worst Weapons in Video Games

Video games are known for some ridiculous plots, impossible body proportions and some of the most absurd weapons. Here is a list of our top five favorite worst weapons in video games.

5) The Lancer-Gears of War

The Lancer is the result of a drunken hook-up between a machine gun and a chainsaw. Besides the obvious dangers of having a chainsaw at the end of an assault rifle, such as the kick-back causing you to lose your balance and cut off your own head, the Lancer seems way too heavy to use as a chainsaw and not balanced enough to use as a gun. Either way, the thing is ridiculous and not likely to help out in a gun-fighting or lumberjack situation.

The Lancer from Gears of War. Courtesy of Game Trailers.

The Lancer from Gears of War. Courtesy of Game Trailers.

4) The Klobb-Goldeneye 007

The Klobb looked like some heavy-duty artillery, something needed when you’re fighting those damn Commies. Much like the USSR, the Klobb doesn’t shoot too far. The bullets always seem to miss, regardless of how well you aim, and when you do manage to actually hit Comrade Plokho Pistolet, the damage is astoundingly minimal. As one entry from Urban Dictionary describes the Klobb, “A Soviet gun specifically designed to miss its target.”

The Klobb (you can guess which one) is not the most effective weapon in Goldeneye 007. Courtesy of

The Klobb (you can guess which one) is not the most effective weapon in Goldeneye 007. Courtesy of


3) Dolls-Final Fantasy X

The Final Fantasy series is known to be a bit outrageous across the board, but one character, Lulu, takes the why-would-you-use-that cake. She possess ability to use dark magic, but uses that magic to make dolls walk up to bad guys and explode. It’d be cool if the dolls did some significant damage, but they don’t. After she figures out how to inflict significant damage, maybe someone can tell her belts are meant to be worn one at a time.


Lulu, from Final Fantasy X, uses enchanted dolls as "weapons." Courtesy of Final Fantasy Wiki.

Lulu, from Final Fantasy X, uses enchanted dolls as “weapons.” Courtesy of Final Fantasy Wiki.

2) The Penetrator-Saints Row: The Third

While this -ahem- weapon does inflict quite a bit of damage, it is a rubber, phallic shaped weapon at that. And while anyone who has ever come in contact with a dick has experienced some damage, it’s still 100% ridiculous, even if the metaphor is there.

The Penetrator is a tool of mass destruction. It's also a weapon in Saints Row: The Third. Courtesy of SaintsRow Wiki.

The Penetrator is a tool of mass destruction. It’s also a weapon in Saints Row: The Third. Courtesy of SaintsRow Wiki.


1) The Stick-Fable

It’s a stick. Not much we can say here. You get it before you get a sword, and it can’t be dropped or sold once you get more useful weapons. It’s just a stick.

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An artist's rendering of the mechanics of the Antikythera mechanism. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Wacky Wednesday: The First Computer

The remains of the largest  gear of the mechanism. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

The remains of the largest gear of the mechanism. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Computers as we know them today were first created in the late 1940s when the ENIAC was used to calculate artillery firing tables for the US Army. The first analog computer ever made though was the Antikythera mechanism.

The Antikythera mechanism was discovered by Greek divers in April 1990 off the island of Antikythera near Point Glyphadia. The mechanism is thought to be used to predict the astronomical patterns and eclipses for astronomical purposes and is dated between 150 and 100 BCE.

The Antikythera mechanism was found in 82 fragments, and only seven of those fragments have gears. The largest gear is 140 mm in diameter and thought to have 230 teeth. The mechanism had a fixed ring with the 12 zodiac symbols of the Babylonian calendar and a rotating ring with the 12 months of the Egyptian calendar. The rotating ring was moved with hand crank to the desired date of the Babylonian calendar to determine the position of the Sun, moon, moon phases and eclipses, each of which were also on their own rotating rings.

While the information this analog computer provided is now a Google search away, the ancient Greeks proved to be resourceful in their tech along with inventing democracy and Olympic sports.