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Tech Q&A

Phil Torrone

Describe your latest project.
I'm Senior Editor at MAKE magazine and contributing editor to Popular Science. I spent most of my days and nights working on MAKE's online site — and this year I'm doing a lot of work with open source electronics — in other words, electronics in which the makers are sharing all the details on how to make and remake them.

  1. Make Magazine: The First Year
    $12.95 Used Trade Paper add to wishlist

    Make Magazine: The First Year

    Mark Frauenfelder and Phil Torrone

What inspires you to sit down and write?
The people I work with — we have the best group of writers, tinkers and editors at MAKE and Craft. It's hard not to write a lot around these folks just to keep up.

Chess or video games?
Chess, but I'd like to take this opportunity to ask IBM to release the Deep Blue source code so everyone can poke at it. It seems fair: they made a machine that beat our best chess player at the time, it's been over 10 years now — c'mon, IBM. My Mac runs Windows XP and Vista in emulation mode, we should all have Deep Blue running on something.

What do you do for relaxation?
I live in New York City, so relaxation consists of blinking and sometimes breathing out.

What's your favorite Blog right now?
I really like — a great collection of art, design, and science — vandalism.

What new technology do you think may actually have the potential for making people's lives better?
Low cost water purification — most of the world doesn't have clean water yet, and the few parts that do require the population to travel very far to transport it.

What are some of the things you'd like your computer to do that it cannot now do?
Unlike the human body, computers really don't get much better the more you use them (like exercise) — so I'd like to see more adaptation and improvement. It seems silly to use a computer with all this processing power and always feel like we're modifying how we do things as opposed to the other way around.

By the end of your life, where do you think humankind will be in terms of new science and technological advancement?
How does the phrase go? Predictions are hard, especially ones about the future... I'm pretty sure the advancements in tech and science will be unimaginable and completely bizarre.

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