Posts Tagged technology

Ancient Secrets of the @ Sign

11 May 2009


According to a blogger with the New York Times, the @ sign used in every email address on the planet is older than you might think, “@ least 473 years old.” Robert Mackey references Tony Long of Wired Magazine who points out that the sign has Italian origins (they call it a “snail” instead of “at sign”) and was used originally as an abbreviation for a unit of measure called the amphora. An amphora equals about 25 pounds of a solid or 3 gallons of liquid.

How did it get to be the centerpiece of every email address? First, it had to make it to the standard typewriter keyboard as an accounting shorthand symbol (in English) for “at the price of.” In 1971, computer geek patriarch Ray Tomlinson decided to use it when sending “the first network email” to indicate that the user was “at” some other host rather than being on a local server. Carets (^), ampersands (&), and tildes (~) have been jealous ever since!

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No 7-year Olds Begging in Redmond

31 October 2007

Yesterday’s New York Times included an interesting article about how technology is affecting even the poorest of the poor. Anand Giridharadas (“In India, Poverty Inspires Technology Workers to Altruism“) writes about a new social-networking Web site called that helps poor people who need jobs connect with the rich people who want to hire them, even if only for a few dollars a day, to be chauffeurs, maids, etc. (more…)

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The Gospel on a $100 Laptop

10 October 2007

XO laptopIn the 1930s, Joy Ridderhof, founder of Gospel Recordings (now Global Recordings Network), innovatively spread the gospel on hand-powered record players made of cardboard. We saw one of these amazing little record players demonstrated at Columbia International University a few years ago. “Black tortillas,” that’s what the Hondurans to whom she ministered remotely (due to her failing health) called the records of gospel songs and Bible stories she sent them from the States.

I was reminded of Joy’s story when reading this article about the One Laptop Per Child ( project founded by Nicholas Negroponte, who to my knowledge, makes no claim to be a Christian. I’m thinking that believers should embrace this technology that allows developing countries to place relatively inexpensive laptops into the hands of children. [Read on for details about this amazing device.] (more…)

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