Penguin Random House

It's a brave new world, one where new computers become aged and infirm in three years, or less.

  But what do the gadgets, games, or the military hardware of today tell us about tomorrow? Kevin Kelly says there are 12 trends in the recent explosion of new technologies, random and prolific as they may seem. 

C4 Facebook page

A Medford school--St. Mary's--recently sent not one, but TWO teams of students to a world championship in robotics. 

A word of explanation first: clever students come up with clever team names. 

So Trial N Terror and C4 (for Computional Center for Competitive Circuitry) packed up bags and robots and headed for St. Louis to compete. 

Get Electricity: Go Fly A Kite

Apr 29, 2016

  Maybe you've seen those small wind turbines mounted close to the ground in rural areas.  

  And maybe you've noticed that they don't seem to turn terribly fast, even in windy conditions.  That's true, because the faster winds are higher up. So go fly a kite: tethered kites might provide more, and more consistent, electricity.  

Penguin Books

  If you like those pictures the Curiosity rover sent back from Mars, you're thinking good thoughts about the work of Adam Steltzner. 

He should be a household name--on two planets. 

He led one of the critical teams that got the rover set up on Mars, a team that had to plow through many obstacles to achieve its mission. 

It IS rocket science, but a whole lot more, a story Steltzner tells in his book The Right Kind of Crazy

Basic Books

Finding your way to the bathroom in the dark is a sure sign that you don't need a lot of sensory input to make your way in your usual pathways. 

In fact, scientists now tell us that a majority of what we experience is not necessarily "real," but the world as filtered through our perceptions. 

And we can take advantage of that fact, manipulating the brain for our well-being and gain. 

Think virtual reality, artificial limbs, and more... these are among the gadgets and approaches in Kara Platoni's book We Have The Technology

Almonroth/Wikimedia Commons

We close the year with some notable Exchange broadcasts of the past. 

In this hour, technology industry analyst William Meisel makes his case for computers that complement the work of humans, but do not replace it. 

Meisel's book is The Software Society.


All those parents who want their kids to get off the couch and stop playing video games might have met their match in Jane McGonigal

She thinks people SHOULD play games, for their health. 

McGonigal is the designer of "SuperBetter" and other games meant to expose players to real-life challenges. 

And she's convinced the right games can add ten years to a player's life. 


Maybe they don't serve breakfast in bed (yet) as in the science fiction movies, but robots DO exist in our world. 

Witness driverless cars, or the machines that replaced workers building those same cars on assembly lines. 

Can we make them smarter, and should we?  That's an ongoing debate, one portrayed in John Markoff's book Machines of Loving Grace.

The book focuses on the opposing approaches of developing artificial intelligence (AI) versus intelligence augmentation (IA).

Nothing like a little pressure to stimulate the creative or entrepreneurial juices. 

Part-time Ashland resident David Vidmar probably needed plenty of both juices when he took his invention on TV. 

The "Glide Cycle" got Vidmar a spot on CNBC's "Make Me A Millionaire Inventor," with a chance to make money to launch his product. 

The Quantum Race

Jun 1, 2015

All the big tech companies (and at least one U.S. government agency with the acronym NSA) are in a race to be the first to capture computing’s Holy Grail—the qubit. A qubit, or quantum bit, is the basic unit of information in a quantum computer. A qubit is different from a classical bit in computing, which can only exist in one state or another.


Not all revolutions are violent.  We're reasonably sure the blood loss was minimal in the recent revolution in electronics and technology. 

"Revolution" is Southern Oregon University's campus theme this academic year, and the subject is near and dear to the heart of the final speaker, Jeremi Suri

Dr. Suri teaches about transformations in society; through migration, technology, education, and more. 

His talk tonight (May 12th) on campus is about "Revolution, Public Opinion, and Power: Historical Lessons for the Future." 

Teachers And Technology At Ed Tech Summit

Apr 15, 2015
Almonroth/Wikimedia Commons

In theory, the process of learning is usually the same: teachers teach, and students learn. 

But then throw technology into the mix, and all bets are off, especially in a world where so many people carry powerful computers in their hands. 

The Ed Tech Summit this week (Friday, April 17th) at Southern Oregon University brings educators and gadgets together, so the former can get up to speed on the latter. 

It's two in a row for the city of Ashland: named one of America's "eCities" by Google. 

It is the only city in Oregon with that moniker, and it's the second straight year for the honor. 

Technology enhances life and business in town, as the Ashland Chamber can attest. 

Celebrating Present And Future: "Techtoberfest"

Sep 23, 2014
Harland Quarrington/Wikimedia Commons

Technology will save us all.  Or will it? 

Can we have a beer and a pretzel while we think about it? 

Beer and pretzels and technology talk will be abundant this week (September 26th) as Sustainable Valley Technology Group rolls out its first-ever "Techtoberfest." 

SVTG works to attract and assist clean businesses that can provide jobs in the Rogue Valley. 

Public Affairs Books

In a world of finite resources and a (so far) continually expanding human population, something has to give. 

The case is often made that people will simply have to get by with less... fewer creature comforts, more bare-bones lifestyles. 

Robert Bryce is having none of it. 

Bryce points to many cases in which technology figured out solutions that did not involve deprivation. 

Recruiting and Retaining High-Tech Business

May 14, 2014
Mr. Beaver/Flickr

The region has its share of industrial parks, but the "technology park" envisioned for White City is out of the ordinary. 

The idea is to draw businesses dealing in advanced technology to the park, either retaining existing tech businesses, or drawing new ones. 

The emphasis on business retention and recruitment is very much on the tech field of late. 

University of Oregon

For years, museum conservators and paleontologists have yearned for a way to duplicate fragile fossils without damaging them. Now scientists with the University of Oregon say they have found a way to do just that, with the help of a relatively inexpensive 3-D printer.

The Internet was not designed with security in mind. It was developed by computer scientists, most who knew one another personally, with the goal of interconnecting computers (at the time, large mainframes) and moving data back and forth. Security adds a layer of complexity and the task before them was complex enough. So they pressed forward, perhaps unaware that they were laying an unsecure foundation for what would decades later become a critical global communications infrastructure that today has more than 8 billion computing devices connected to it.

Cover Oregon Continues To Struggle

Nov 11, 2013

Oregon has long been a pacesetter in health care, and state officials laid out bold plans to uphold that reputation with a health insurance exchange bigger and better than anyone else's.

But more than a month after Cover Oregon's online enrollment was supposed to launch, reality is lagging far behind Governor John Kitzhaber's grand vision.

Some Unemployed Californians Need To Wait For Their Checks

Sep 18, 2013

About 50,000 unemployed Californians have had their benefit checks delayed as the state struggles to implement a computer system upgrade.
The Sacramento Bee reports that the Employment Development Department processed about 15,000 of the delayed claims by Tuesday morning and hoped to finish the rest by the end of the week.