Posts tagged ‘Steven Levy’

Launching the Internet—by Balloon

Steven Levy ’74g went to New Zealand to report his latest story for Wired—a tale of how Google is trying to bring Internet access to some pretty remote locations using a pretty wild scheme. It involves putting antennas into solar-power balloons and launching them into the stratosphere. Google calls the idea Project Loon, because it’s kind of crazy. But it just might work.

Levy writes that Project Loon could “provide Internet to a significant chunk of the world’s 5 billion unconnected souls, enriching their lives with vital news, precious educational materials, lifesaving health information, and images of grumpy cats.”

Levy’s story is accompanied by some cool photos of the project.

Tina Hay, editor


June 17, 2013 at 9:52 am 3 comments

On Steve Jobs

Of the many obituaries today for Steve Jobs, two of the most relevant and (I’d imagine) widely read were written by Penn Staters. Ted Anthony ’95 was given the task of summing up Jobs’ life by the Associated Press, and it’s a great read. He leads with a memory of the day the Apple co-founder introduced the Macintosh to the world. “In dark suit and bowtie, he is a computing-era carnival barker—eyebrows bouncing, hands gesturing, smile seductive and coy and a bit annoying. It’s as if he’s on his first date with an entire generation of consumers. And, in a way, he is.” If you haven’t already, you can read the AP obit here.

Then there’s Steven Levy ’74g, who has spent much of his career documenting the innovation that made Jobs a tech icon and Apple one of the wealthiest companies—and arguably the most influential—on the planet. Levy now writes for Wired, and his obit gets right to the point: “It had taken a while for the world to realize what an amazing treasure Steve Jobs was. But Jobs knew it all along.” Levy’s piece is here.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

October 6, 2011 at 4:24 pm 1 comment

Philip Klass and William Tenn, RIP

Former Penn State English professor Philip Klass—best known to generations of science fiction fans by his pen name, William Tenn—died Sunday at 89. This obituary in the Centre Daily Times gives a good sense of what made Klass and his work so memorable and influential; among the writers touched by his guidance are David Morrell ’67 MA, ’70 PhD Lib (best-selling author of First Blood among many others) and Steven Levy ’74 MA Lib, who today penned this terrific tribute on Wired magazine’s site.

Quick update: Our editor, Tina Hay, found a link that we just had to add to this post — a profile of Tenn from a 1973 issue of The Penn Stater. No, none of us were here then (although that is the year I was born…) and therefore cannot take credit or blame for the psychedelic art work. It’s a fun read.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

February 8, 2010 at 5:15 pm 4 comments

Steven Levy on the New iPhone

levywiredPenn Stater Steven Levy ’74g—who used to be the top technology guy at Newsweek but got lured away to Wired magazine last year—has written a review of the new iPhone 3GS, which he says “introduces a long list of improvements, big and small.”

The new iPhone will be released tomorrow, but if, like me, you already have an older iPhone (or an iPod touch), you can download the new 3.0 software for your current device any time now. The software upgrade has many, though not all, of the bells and whistles that the new device has. I did the software upgrade last night and can already tell that I’m going to like the Voice Memos app, the spotlight search, and the ability to turn the thing sideways while typing e-mails in order to get a bigger keyboard.

Levy says if you’ve already got an iPhone and you’re not yet at a point in your contract where you’re eligible to upgrade to the new 3GS, there’s no rush about getting the new device: “…the wise thing for those more recent buyers to do will be to install the new software and stick with their 3G iPhones at least until their contracts run down.”

If you don’t want to read the full review (which isn’t that long), you can read a quick-hit summary of it at Wired’s “Gadget Lab” blog.

Tina Hay, editor

June 18, 2009 at 2:32 pm Leave a comment

Bringing Web 2.0—to Iraq?

levy_contingent_2You’d think Iraq has more important things to worry about than Twitter and Facebook, but in fact that country has almost zero Internet infrastructure—and developing that infrastructure could play a big role in getting Iraq back on its feet. At least that’s the idea behind a State Department-sponsored trip that’s in progress over there right now. A delegation that includes representatives from Google, YouTube, and Twitter, among others, is wrapping up its visit today.

The one and only embedded reporter in the delegation is Penn State grad Steven Levy ’74g, who is a writer for Wired magazine. You can read his initial report from Iraq, filed yesterday, here and another Wired story on the trip here.

Tina Hay, editor

April 23, 2009 at 10:59 am 1 comment

Who Remembers This Mac?

256728610_e8ff9b8344A couple of years ago we ran a feature-length Q&A with Penn State grad Steven Levy ’74g, chief technology writer for Newsweek, on his then-new book about the iPod. That was in our November-December 2006 issue. Since then, Levy has moved over to Wired magazine and continues to write about all things Apple, among other topics. In the current issue of Wired, he writes about the progression of the Apple Macintosh, which has now been around for 25 years.

Levy’s article also talks about “Apple’s long-running PC-versus-Mac ad campaign, with the nebbishy John Hodgman portraying the PC,” and how that campaign “has deeply unhinged Microsoft despite the company’s dominant market share.”

Seeing the photo-illustrated timeline that accompanies the article made me remember, with a laugh, my my first Mac, which looked pretty much like the one shown here. I got it—a Mac Plus—in 1987 in my previous job as the communications person for the College of Health and Human Development. The Mac Plus had a whopping 1MB of hard-drive space—the equivalent of, say, a single photo on my current Mac laptop.

Tina Hay, editor

January 13, 2009 at 3:29 pm Leave a comment

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