The holiday season is approaching and time for some reflection.
What has inspired you recently or made your jaw drop in terms of programming feats or hardware accomplishments ?

Mine is Steve Wozniak conceptualizing, designing and building a personal computer and then sitting down and coding the operating system to run on it. This was 1976. It took IBM and a team of engineers to to achieve the same thing 5 years later.

Now that is pretty impressive.
I'm not sure if this is what you are looking for, but what has amazed me so far is the Google Glass project. Apparently it is supposed to come out this fall. I just think it's unbelievable having a HUG on such a small piece of glass, hooked up to such a small camera, connected to such a small computer!
I'll go with the Apple II. Not exactly recent, but the Apple-1 is in there... There's actually a few in there:

I'll start with the scheme for generating color. Simply brilliant, although it causes problems today. Fool the TV into generating color using a B&W interference pattern...

The Disk II was an incredibly simple interface, that required much less hardware than any previous disk interface required.

The bus that the Apple II used, despite being fairly primitive, was far more flexible than the later IBM PC bus (the PC bus required configuration of each card's IRQ and memory address, the Apple II bus autoconfigured (each slot had a dedicated address)). And, some downright crazy stuff was done on that bus.
My Lytro has impressed me. It's got a learning curve to really appreciate the technology and I'm almost positive I'll be impressed by my Leap Motion Controller as well, whenever they decide to stop pushing it back ;D
Just curious, what holiday season? (/me feels silly)

Also, Steve Wozniak and Apple ][ are both really good examples, though what I am particularly impressed with is probably Pascal's calculator.
I'd have to say that has impressed me.
I could never get that to work as my tablet fails to send the gyro data Sad

I am still not sure what has impressed me (I can't remember, there is obviously something Wink )
Ok - I have just seen CalebHansberry's creation.
I am seriously impressed.
I think I'm getting too jaded; not a whole lot impresses me anymore. My new tablet PC has 12 hours of battery life, but only because it has a metric heckton of batteries. Battery technology has been improving at a glacial pace, and if "Who Killed the Electric Car" is to be believed, Big Oil has some responsibility for this. Other than that, everything that makes this laptop better than my older ones just represents incremental improvements, like a somewhat faster processor, a bit more RAM, and so on. I'm both excited and disappointed in the TI-84+CSE: excited that the line continues, and disappointed that it doesn't represent a larger leap forward for the line. The HP Prime impresses me, especially the software side, but the hardware side is not leaps and bounds better than the TI-Nspire, if preliminary rumored specs are to be believed.
Well, also it's inverse Moores Law as well. As processors double in speed code becomes more bloated to slow them down.

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