A new school for scrappy young programmers is opening in Paris next month, and it is every bit as freewheeling and disruptive as the Douglas Adams book its name references. 42*, as the school is dubbed, costs nothing to attend. All you have to do is prove you can innovate, solve problems, and apply logic to programming problems in creative ways.
*In the Douglas Adams “trilogy of five novels”
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “42″ is
“The Answer to the Ultimate Question of
Life, the Universe and Everything.”
Time Machines: Silver Platters
It bears a passing resemblance to the vinyl record, but this futuristic concept was envisioned as more than just sound on a platter. The recording method involved electron beams and lasers; the base material was a coated, transparent plastic disc; and you'd get both an eyeful and an earful from the end product. Its intended goal in the market may have initially flubbed, but its core design has been patently embedded into a variety of successful formats ever since. Take a spin past the break to find out more about this invention.Optical disc technology
That pile of plastic discs that litters your living space or sits in a "free" box by your doorstep has a history that goes back more than 50 years. The inventor, David Paul Gregg, has been dubbed the "Father of the Optical Disc" by some, but it's indisputable that his ideas lie at the heart of the technology. His innovative designs for recording video were ahead of their time in the '60s and managed to pique the interest of many in the industry. Unfortunately, the commercial release saw limited adoption and strong competition from its videotape-based competitors. The core elements of the format, however, had broader applications than simply video playback.
Gregg began to form the idea for the optical disc in the late 1950s while working at a motion picture and audio company called Westrex. His design was a deviation from the costly tape technology in use at the time. It involved writing data onto an optical disc, stamping for mass replication and using a concentrated light source to play back the data. In 1960, he took a job with Mincom, a video division at 3M, which had been looking for new, marketable technologies. He authored at least one patent for the company while he was there, one that described electron beam-based recording onto a multilayered surface. Gregg was cagey about his concept, though, and kept most of his ideas close to the chest.
CD and DVD Recorder and Player
While it took a few decades for technology to match the high standards of Gregg's innovative vision, its final form influenced a major market shift. In stores, displays once stacked high with videotapes and cassettes gave way to slim, all-purpose plastic discs. The product was cheap, easy to mass-produce and offered the sharp clarity of digital for both audio and video output. The optical disc helped users escape the questionable fidelity of consumer tape products, bridging the gap until bandwidth and processing power made digital downloads plausible. Optical disc technology brought us the age of CDs, CD-ROMs and perhaps most notably, DVDs and Blu-ray discs, which came full circle to the optical disc's origins, finally delivering the product as it was originally intended.