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Nintendo's 3DS: Best of a Dying Breed

Can Mario make the leap to 3-D?

4 min read
Nintendo's 3DS: Best of a Dying Breed

On 27 March, Nintendo Co. launched arguably the most eye-catching handheld gaming device yet, the glasses-free 3DS. That's 3D as in "three-dimensional."

Early reviews and consumer preorders are impressive, which is just what we'd expect from Nintendo. The company has a track record of turning select technologies into well-designed systems, each of which carves out a niche all its own. Last time around, while Sony and Microsoft were trying to outdo each other's high-def video gaming platforms, Nintendo went a different way, with the non¿HD, marketplace-redefining, motion-capturing Wii. Yet the challenges Nintendo faces today would give even the Mario brothers pause.

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From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush

Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

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