Ed Driscoll

Cutting Edge Tech, Then And Now

Two new products which arrived at Ed Driscoll.com HQ this week as grist for a couple of upcoming dead tree articles are demonstrations of cutting edge high tech, circa 1960, and today.

I’ve already reviewed Spacecraft Films’ DVDs before; I’m doing a profile of their founder, Mark Gray for a coming article. Their new Project Mercury: A New Frontier is an exhaustive six-DVD set focusing on the birth of America’s manned space program, which includes a terrific, Right Stuff-flavored long form documentary, and about 24 hours worth of footage shot before and during the program, including unmanned tests, the testflights with chimps, and then finally, the six launches of the original Mercury Seven astronauts (as a result of an ear condition, Deke Slayton would have to wait until 1975 to go up on the Apollo-Soyouz mission). As I once dubbed a review of another Spacecraft Films product, this really is Space Geek Nirvana.

And I mentioned the Slingbox in my recent TCS article on the future of Web video. It allows anyone to view his or her TiVo or cable/satellite set-top box on a PC. So a salesman travelling in Des Moines–or Dubai–who has access to broadband, can watch whatever his PVR has recorded on his laptop. Or if he’s working in his home office, can have the game on in the background on his computer monitor, via the cable box in the den.

I’ll be reviewing the unit itself this week; I haven’t had a chance to experiment much with it yet, but it was a breeze to hook-up. (The two most difficult aspects of installation were stringing the wires through the back of my home theater cabinet, and resetting my router to detect it. The accompanying software installs quickly and painlessly on both my PC, and my wife’s.)

The picture quality is very good–certainly good enough for casual, background viewing. But this is all runing on my home’s internal, hardwired LAN. I’ll be interested to see how it performs on a laptop, via, say, Starbucks’ Wi-Fi connection.