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  • This is a cute little post I wrote about the science behind Santa’s Enchantment. There are fictional interviews with three of the world’s leading experts on Christmas Magic.
  • There haven’t been too many famous snowmen over the years, the most recent one is arguably Olaf from Disney’s Frozen movie series. Here’s a quick list: The Abominable Snowman, A.K.A. The Yeti The Wampa of Hoth, from Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Michelangelo’s famous 1494 snowman for the Medici prince, Piero the Unfortunate Jack Frost, from the 1998 Warner Bros. film of the same name starring Michael Keaton as the eponymous character The Bumble, seen in the 1964 stop-motion animation television Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer The aforementioned Olaf And Frosty the Snowman! And this is where our story begins, with Frosty. Arguably no one has done more to raise awareness for snowmen and snowwomen than good Ole Frosty. After all, he was a jolly happy soul. It all began on a temperate winter’s day. The school kids were making a snowman who sported a corn cobb pipe, a button nose, and two eyes make out of coal. They had just finished when one of the children found an old hat to place upon Frosty’s frozen head. Well, there must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found, for when they placed it on his head he began to dance around! From that point on, Frosty was as alive as he could be! However, the sun was hot that day. So they knew that they had to get him to the North Pole before he melted away. It was a sad goodbye, but Frosty said, “Don’t you cry, I’ll be back again someday!” And has come back, many times! One of Frosty’s most famous friends is Santa Claus, who along with the elves up at the North Pole, have given him a great home where he and his snow-family live a comfortable life...
  • November 5, 2020

    Emojis for Life😀

    With Apple, Inc. adding 117 new emojis for iOS 14.2 update, I thought it might be interesting to look at some cool emoji facts for a change:🎉 Fact 1: World Emoji Day is Saturday July 17, 2021🌎 Fact 2: Emojis were created in 1998👍🏻 Fact 3: Emojis originated in Japan🇯🇵 Fact 4: Over 48% of adults use emojis👫 Fact 5: Most tweeted emoji is Tears of Joy (14.5 billion mentions)😂 Fact 6: Number of emojis sent by brands – 145 million messages📱 Fact 7: Number of people/smiley emojis – >2000😎 Fact 8: Number of animals & nature emojis – 212🐕 Fact 9: Average number of emojis sent on Facebook each day – >60 million🦄 Fact 10: Amount of money earned at the box office for The Emoji Movie ‐ $217 million😐 Fact 11: Apple’s iOS 14.2 update now supports 3,292 emojis, including one with a medical mask (appropriate in this time of the Global COVID-19 Pandemic)😷 Fact 12: Emoji 13.0 is the set of emojis approved for release in 2020 (3,304 emojis supported all or in part on iOS 14.2, Android 11, Samsung, and soon Windows)👏 Fact 13: There is an entire website dedicated to tracking and cataloguing everything there is to know about emojis: The Emojipedia📔 Now we just need an emoji of 2020 and Satan, that’d be great way to convey via text how everyone feels right now!😱
  • This week’s Progressive Pioneers  will focus on two very special “other worldly” people who tirelessly worked behind the scenes the make the world a better place. I’m talking about none other than Tia and Tony Malone. And now thanks to WikiLeaks and the Freedom of Information Act, we know the full truth about these two amazing beings, which will blow your mind! Their story is a rich and complicated one that has taken four documentaries to tell! Escape to Witch Mountain Return from Witch Mountain The Blair Witch Mountain Project Race to Witch Mountain And though Digital Batman cannot fully do justice to their story, I’m going to give you a glimpse into their contributions to our society. Escape to Witch Mountain & Return from Witch Mountain documentaries can be currently watched on Disney+. Endless movies and TV shows. Always ad free. The best of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. From new releases, to your favorite classics, and exclusive Originals, there’s always something new to discover. Race to Witch Mountain documentary can be currently watched on Netflix. Watch Netflix movies & TV shows online or stream right to your smart TV, game console, PC, Mac, mobile, tablet and more. The Blair Witch Mountain Project documentary can be currently watched on YouTube (embedded below for your convenience). Tia and Tony Malone come from a binary star system some 3,000 light years from Earth. Their world was in the late stages of climate and environmental collapse (much like where our own world is headed). They were part of an advanced group of alien colonists seeking to find a way to reverse the self-inflicted damage done to their planet by studying our own in the early stages of exceeding the nine planetary boundaries. However, things did not go as planned. In 1975, their ship was damaged upon arrival at Earth and the two children were almost...
  • Recently, Jim Heppelmann (President and CEO of PTC, the company I currently work for) was featured in an article in the Boston Globe talking about PTC’s exciting move to the Boston Seaport, A.K.A. The Innovation District. The article also featured the story of how Boston’s Mayor, Marty Walsh, came to PTC for a visit and spoke to the employees at one of our famous socials. He praised the company and the employees for making the move to Boston’s newest up and coming hub for business and cultural innovation! And the seaport is pretty much an amazing new innovation district at that—especially with all the incredible simultaneous construction projects going on down there. However, it might be interesting to take quick walk down memory lane to reminisce about Boston’s other innovation districts, of the past. Let’s go all the way back to Colonial times. Over by where North Street meets Moon Street is Paul Revere’s House. This historical landmark is located in Boston’s North End district, now synonymous with the Italian-American community. However, back in the late 17th Century, this area was well known for it’s silversmiths (like Paul Revere, an innovator of his time), blacksmiths, artisans, journeymen, and laborers. For a city that was founded in 1630, this part of Boston became its innovation district of that time. Fast forward through the Industrial Age which affected the entire world, Boston included, and you will see that another innovation district presented itself. This time on the Boston waterfront known as Boston Harbor—part of which is where today’s Boston Seaport Innovation District now resides. For over two hundred years, Boston Harbor, which compromises all the famous Boston wharves such as Long Wharf, Rowes Wharf, Fish Pier, Commonwealth Pier, and Union Wharf to name a few, were the gateways to shipping, railroads, international commerce, jobs, markets, construction, and of course innovation. Without the wharves of the 18th and 19th Centuries, Boston could not have grown...
  • January 24, 2020

    Long Live the Browser Wars!

    Google recently announced that it was going to strip cookies from its Chrome web-browser. This is a big deal for a lot of people, namely advertisers. In case you weren’t aware of what a cookie is (not the yummy kind you eat), let Digital Batman tell you. A cookie is a bit of third-party data that gets stored on your system when you access a website. This data is used to track your online activities such as product browsing history, location, etc. Advertisers can then use this data to target ads specifically to what they think you’re interested in. And furthermore, advertisers can “retarget” ads after you as you browse around the Internet from site to site. Ever wonder how a random website you visit seems to know that you were looking at plushy chairs on Amazon? Well, that’s retargeting and that’s powered by cookies. Which leads to a lot of privacy issues that have been debated for as long as the Internet has been around. Therefore, Google is trying to assuage users’ concerns about privacy by eliminating cookies. What will advertisers do? Well, they’ll probably have to come up with more transparent ways to gather your information, with your permission. Now I mention this because it reminds me about how things have both changed and remained the same over the last 25+ years of browsing the Internet. Back in the heyday of the World Wide Web (mid-to-late 1990s), we had a whole battlefield of web browsers all vying for dominance in The Browser Wars! It all started with Netscape Navigator (technically Mosaic in its initial form), invented by Marc Andreessen founder of Netscape. [Digital Batman had done a previous Progressive Pioneers profile on Andreessen back in July.] Navigator was initially released in December of 1994. It sported a simple interface with a few oversized navigation buttons (like Back, Home, and...
  • January 7th through January 10th were the dates that the epic annual Consumer Electronics Show (A.K.A. CES) in Las Vegas happened recently. Even though Digital Batman was unable to get to this massive tech conference—due to prior commitments chasing after tech villains such as RISC-Riddler—I have managed to compile a list of some of the most bizarre tech shown off at this year’s CES. Toilet Paper Anyone? Leaving the flashy super-advanced 8K TVs aside, this year’s CES was marked by what has to be the most inventive, if not quirky, technological invention of the year: a toilet paper-delivering robot! Yep! You heard that right. The Charmin RollBot is by far the most unique invention yet. And surprisingly useful! How can you argue the merits of a machine that brings you toilet paper in your most dire of needs?! Olive You! Need a delicious helping of fresh olive oil for your salad or sandwich? Well, you’re in luck. The Fresco Eva Mini olive oil dispenser will serve up this ancient delicacy in a Keurig K-cup-like experience. And there’s an added benefit of the final elixir being so fresh that you’d swear you had pressed the olives yourself! Easy on the Eyes! So you like to experience social media on your phone but have trouble with the small screen? Wouldn’t it be great if you could just view the app on a TV? Oh, but then it would still be relatively small, right? Wrong! The new Samsung Sero remedies all of that! It is a large-screen TV that flips into a vertical position (like you’d see at mall kiosks) to display your entire Instagram feed in mega eye-candy glory! Though, no one really asked for this, I’m sure people will try the Sero anyway because who can’t get enough of large-format social media, right? Getting Around in Style… You...
  • January 3, 2020

    Top Five Must-Haves of 2019!

    Now that we have said, “Goodbye,” to 2019, we should take a moment to look back on the top must-haves for the decade-ending year. Since this list is completely arbitrary, Digital Batman will weigh in on what I found to be the most popular gadget, item, digital something, and whatever. Oh, and this list does not put items in any particular order of importance. Enjoy! 1. Disney+ – Yep! The highly anticipated, hugely successful, and most extensive streaming video service from the “House of the Mouse” easily makes this list. Not only does Disney+ have hundreds of movies and thousands of hours of television series, it is now home to the most popular sci-fi show on the small screen, The Mandalorian. This new live-action genre show set in the Star Wars universe is arguably better than the recently released final chapter of the Star Wars/Skywalker saga, The Rise of Skywalker. And there’s more to come with a limited Obi Wan Kenobi series and potential Darth Maul or Darth Vader series. And let’s not forget the new Marvel superhero shows like Falcon and Winter Soldier and WandaVision. Plus, a whole host of kids programming that is way too extensive to go into here. With over 20M (that’s million) subscribers on its launch day, this is definitely a must- have in 2019 (and now)! 2. The Impossible Burger – Why is this on the list? Well, Digital Batman could cite a bunch of health- related reasons why you should give this burger a try. However, the biggest reason is that this new type of plant-based food that mimicks real animal meat (including it protein content) actually made it to market! Giant restaurant chains like Burger King and Dunkin are now sporting Impossible Burger variants on their menus. You can also purchase this...
  • January 1, 2020

    Tarzan of Mars

    Today’s Progressive Pioneer is none other than the ultra-prolific planetary romance and adventure novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs (EBR). Burroughs’ work—particularly on his John Carter of Barsoom (i.e. Mars) series—are the unsung inspiration for stories such as Flash Gordon, Star Wars, and even Avatar. All eleven Barsoom novels describe a world so rich in detail, culture, wildly eccentric science and technology (for his time), outlandish and terrifying creatures, and extraordinary complex characters story tellers have been tapping into for over a century. However, Burroughs’ work goes beyond just his Barsoom/Mars books. He is even more known for his Tarzan adventure novel series of 26 books. These stories were so famous during Burroughs’ time that he immediately saw the tech trend value in exploiting them in all forms of media (against so-called experts’ advice at the time). Tarzan became an instant hit on radio, in comic books, and in film. In fact, even Burroughs’ daughter Joan married Tarzan film actor, James Pierce, starring with her husband, as the voice of Jane, during 1932-34 for the Tarzan radio series! However, the most interesting fact about Burroughs’ Tarzan is that not one but two towns were named after the character! Tarzana in California, which started out as EBR’s eponymous ranch in the Los Angeles area, and eventually became incorporated as the American town of Tarzana in 1927. Tarzan in Texas was also formally named in 1927. There’s even an impact crater on Mars named after EBR! Burroughs was born in Chicago Illinois on September 1st, 1875 and died on March 19th, 1950 at the age of 74. He was married twice, first to Emma Hulbert (1900–1934) where they had three children together (Joan, Hulbert, and John); and then to actress Florence Gilbert Dearholt (1935–1942). He passed away in Encino California but he is laid...
  • December 13, 2019

    Lucky Number 13!

    Happy Friday the 13th Everyone! Why do I mention this? Well, it seems to be an old American tradition that if a Friday happens to fall on the 13th day of any given month, then strange and unexpected things are supposed to happen. The number 13 is often regarded as unlucky; furthermore, in Italian culture Fridays are considered an unlucky day. Therefore, when the famous Italian opera composer Gioachino Rossini passed away on Friday, November 13, 1868, it came as no surprise that the fateful calendar day played a part in his untimely demise—of course it had nothing to do with him suffering from an incurable illness at the time. Some sources also say that this unpopular day may also have some historical precedence with Jesus Christ’s last days before his crucifixion on what is referred to in Christendom as Good Friday. Regardless, popular culture has also played apart in fostering this notion that a specific date on the Gregorian calendar can cause so much grief. For example, authors like Dan Brown and John J. Robinson mentioned a rather bleak historical episode concerning the arresting and subsequent execution of Knights Templar by King Philip IV of France. Of course, there’s the ever-popular Friday the 13th series of horror-genre films that certainly help to perpetuate this superstition. And let’s not forget the ubiquitous Black Cat. Heaven forbid one should cross your path! That’s a trip to “Bad-Luck-Ville” right there. LOL! The ominous mystique of black cats can be traced back to Ancient Egyptian times when they were worshipped at emissaries of the Gods. Anyone who killed a cat would have been severely punished or even killed back then. Later, during the Dark Ages through to the Pilgrims of the New World, black cats were considered familiars to witches and agents of...