Tedium

Tedium

Close Your Browser Tabs. You Won’t Miss Them.

A case in favor of browser tab minimalism, or closing the tabs you’re not using. Sometimes, information overload has its limits.
Ernie Smith
9.14.18
Tedium

How Robotic Arms Defined the Industrial Revolution

The evolution of the robotic arm, a product invented in the US that came to define modern factories around the world. It wasn't an easy sell in America.
Ernie Smith
6.18.18
Tedium

The First Portable Computers Were the Size of an RV

Why the first 'portable' computers, produced before integrated circuits, would really stretch the term today. Some portables needed a truck to move.
Ernie Smith
6.12.18
Tedium

How the Clapper Came to Define Modern Home Automation

The Clapper was in the same category—and owned by the same guy—as the Chia Pet. Nonetheless, the somewhat primitive device introduced millions of people to the idea of simple home automation. Would we have Alexa without it?
Ernie Smith
5.21.18
Tedium

The Art of Soldering

The story of solder, the unsung hero of the digital revolution that benefits from a low melting point. It’s what keeps the circuits attached to the silicon.
Ernie Smith
4.13.18
Tedium

The Real Industry Behind Fake Electronics

The history of the fake electronics that you sometimes see in furniture stores or in houses for sale. No, that 60-inch flat-screen TV doesn’t turn on.
Ernie Smith
4.11.18
Tedium

How Did Our Default Ringtones Become So Grating?

The evolution of the modern cell phone ringtone—and the Ukrainian guy who wants to give Apple’s default noises a refresh.
Ernie Smith
3.15.18
Tedium

The Military-Industrial Complex Roots of GPS

The evolution of the global positioning system, the greatest non-internet idea to come out of the Space Race, and why the military initially hobbled it.
Ernie Smith
3.13.18
Tedium

Why the PDF Is Secretly the World's Most Important File Format

The story of the PDF, the file format that’s become one of the internet’s defining information tools. It’ll be with us after we’re long gone.
Ernie Smith
3.5.18
Tedium

3Dfx Brought the GPU Industry to Life But Didn't Live to See It Thrive

In a few short years, the graphics card company 3Dfx Interactive provided a polygon-laden shock to the PC world—then fell apart, fast. What happened?
Ernie Smith
2.16.18
Tedium

Why Did Slack Win Out Over IRC, Anyway?

Internet Relay Chat beat Slack to real-time chat by decades and helped define much of our early online culture, yet way more people use Slack. Why is that?
Ernie Smith
2.13.18
Tedium

How File Sharing Broke the Internet’s First Forum

Usenet—a formative online protocol intended for conversations—was forever changed once the public figured out you could transfer binary files through it.
Ernie Smith
2.6.18