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Origami, typewriters and beer: New tricks for old tech

January 1, 2005

in All Articles,Games

Thomas Edison hunches over his workbench, muttering to himself, furiously scribbling formula in a tattered notebook. He wishes he could find a way to better organize his information, some way to sort through his constant overload of ideas.

Akira Yoshizawa, origami grandmaster, gingerly smoothes the final crease into place. He contemplates the intricately-folded paper dragon, approving not just the technical performance, but the art itself. After months of work, he finally allows himself a jubilant grin.

The introduction of technology to previously non-tech hobbies is a huge benefit. It allows us to better improve on our old hobbies in ways not previously possible.

Electric origami

Mr. Yoshizawa would’ve been interested in TreeMaker, free software for origami enthusiasts. It uses computer modeling to create incredibly detailed origami figures, ones so complex you’d need to be an origami grandmaster yourself to come up with them on your own. TreeMaker allows you to design your own Origami figures, and you’ll get step-by-step folding instructions.

Evolved typewriters

Edison used a paper and pen. Now we’ve got the $250 AlphaSmart Neo. It’s not a computer with distractions like video games and Internet browsing. It’s a true electronic translation of paper and pen. It keeps things simple, letting nothing get between the artist and the words. Perfect for writers composing books, screenplays, and of course technology columns. There’s also educational software for the Neo, meant for teachers who want to give their students specialized learning software without requiring computers. See the full Neo review and pictures.

No more bartender tips

You don’t want to pay for a twenty-dollar bottle of wine. Or you decide store-bought beer tastes no better than malted battery acid. Making your own beer and wine is a difficult, time-consuming process. But websites like make the hobbies of wine making and homebrewing into something easily-researched, with all needed equipment available and affordable.

Make Jane Fonda proud

Exercise doesn’t have to be done outdoors. If you’re lazy, or have a legitimate excuse like bad weather, stay inside and exercise with the free Stepmania software. Use your computer to play music. Connect a special dance pad to your PC and “dance” on it in time to Stepmania’s instructions. Learn more about Stepmania and get a great workout.

Of course, if Edison used a computer to design his inventions, we’d have to track down what goofball from the future created this paradox. Might make for a good movie. I’d cast Keanu Reeves as the rebellious yet sensitive time-traveling investigator. Hmm, I’d better start writing the script before Spielberg beats me to it. Where’d I put my Neo?

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