You can learn a lot from someone's personal gadget arsenal, whether at home or on the road. This past week on Public Access gave us a glimpse of your technological inclinations and taught us quite a bit. Miné Salkin's at-home gear is all about enabling multimedia storytelling and journalism, and constitutes a pretty impressive setup for creating and editing 4K video. Alexander Hohenthaner shared the gear he packs in his bag to get through his daily grind. It's not all about now, however. Nostalgia's a powerful thing, and Jess James gave us a heavy dose with fond memories of his first PC, the Atari ST. Meanwhile, Chris Carroll waxed poetic on how filming family get togethers has brought about some peculiar behavior from his relatives.
This week, however, we want y'all to look a bit further back in time for inspiration. In honor of Independence Day, we're looking for you to create an alternate universe, where the founding of our nation was helped along (or eliminated) by a technological nudge... from you! Tell us what piece of tech you'd bring back to the 1770s to change the course of history during America's revolutionary war. And, once you've redirected the sands of time, it's time to fast forward to the present and tell us what sorts of gear you'll be using to throw that epic BBQ you've got planned for this weekend.
Oh, and in case you've got some moving pictures or social media to enhance your writing, we've made it really simple to embed YouTube videos and social posts in your stories -- all you need is the URL or embed code and you're good to go!
"I finished J-school five years ago, graduating at a time when multimedia reporting was finding its voice, Twitter was only two or three years old, a 6 megapixel camera was super sweet and 2GB of RAM made you edit video at (what felt like) superhuman speeds."
Read the rest of GadgetUtopia: My descent into full, immersive multimedia by Miné Salkin
"What I find interesting this time around is that higher-quality audio formats are being greeted with a fair amount of skepticism in the press. The general argument goes something like this: "I've done listening tests and can't tell the difference between compressed music formats and these high-resolution files. Besides, the human ear can only hear so much, so don't bother with any of these products and services because you won't be able to get any real benefits."
Read the rest of Appreciating HD Audio by Bob O'Donnell
"While I absolutely loathe the [Moto 360's] voice command function - Can it simply not handle German? Do I have a lisp? Is it simply not working? - I like everything else about it. Especially after the latest update it is beginning to feel like the futuristic gadget it was always meant to be."
Read the rest of Show and Tell: Traveling nerd - the basics by Alexander Hohenthaner
"My parents got their own Super 8 camera and I specifically remember one recorded event. Probably because I made myself the star in it. It was the late 1960s and in my neighborhood adults regulary hosted dance parties. It was our night and for the first half hour or so, my younger brother and I could stay up and join the fun. I got a kid's grasshopper, put on a pair of oversized sunglasses I got at the circus (three times as big as my head), and made my way into the crowd."
Read the rest of The Camera and the Wave by Chris Carroll
"The HP Stream 11 (or as I like to call it, the Barney Laptop) is a nice, low-budget Windows laptop. For being as inexpensive as it is, it's a very nice laptop. Sure, you can't run Photoshop or Sony Vegas but you can do a lot of typing on the very nice keyboard. As an added bonus, it's sturdy enough it probably won't shatter the first time you drop it on the ground."
Read the rest of Show and Tell, or: I have way too many computers by Sean Ellis
"Interestingly the Atari ST was my first exposure to fanboyism. There was a rival computer on the shelves at the time and it was called a Commodore Amiga. When my Dad walked me into the shop to get my new computer I vividly remember him actually asking me whether I wanted an Amiga instead. I'd read magazines, researched the specs and I knew it was the Atari that I wanted because the Amiga just sucked."
Read the rest of Love and PCs: Your first computer memories by Jess James
"When I was 14 years old I was a Professional Babysitter. I kid you not; I took a course and had a certificate and everything. My favourite clients were a young couple with a four month old baby who was usually already in bed when I arrived. There was a fridge full of snacks, ready-made bottles for the inevitable late night feedings, and a base station CB radio. This was my first foray into social media (though the term had not yet been coined) and I decided to pay homage to my favourite comic strip by adopting the handle Ziggy."
Read the rest of My second first screen name by Richard Mackey
YOUR DOSE OF INSPIRATION
Rewriting history: friend or foe?
Friday is Independence day here in the US, a day when Americans celebrate our freedom from the English crown, but the road to liberty was paved through hardship and guerilla warfare. Imagine you're a time-traveling patriot (or British loyalist), able to bring General Washington (or Benedict Arnold) one piece of non-weapon technology -- and keep in mind that there were neither cell towers nor electrical outlets in the colonies. What would you bring back to the 18th century and why?
Better partying through technology
As with many holidays, one of the best parts about July 4th (other than the fireworks) is that it gives us a good excuse to eat and drink well with friends. But grilling your favorite meats and veggies and delivering ice cold beverages to the attendees of your backyard soiree ain't easy. What gadgets, tools and tricks do you use to keep your guests fed, buzzed and entertained? Show us with your party pics and tell us what you do!