posted on 3/1/05 by Matt Gray
Neurohacking has crossed my mind many times. While the marriage of machine and gray matter is not complete yet, there are still interesting tricks and shortcuts with a human's default hardware. O'Reilly, publisher of many fine technical books, has expanded into wetware hacking with a new book.
Mind Hacks is the latest in the O'Reilly Hacks book series. Mind Hacks collects some interesting observations and thought experiments designed to help a person use their own "operating system"—the brain.
I saw an Mind Hacks blog entry on adaptation linked from BoingBoing—check it out. I think I need to buy the book. Has anyone read this?
posted on 3/2/05 by Meghan Wilker
Yet another intriguing way to present the latest news: 10x10 presents an hourly ranking of news stories in photos and keywords.
Their website describes it best: "Every hour, 10x10 scans the RSS feeds of several leading international news sources, and performs an elaborate process of weighted linguistic analysis on the text contained in their top news stories. After this process, conclusions are automatically drawn about the hour's most important words. The top 100 words are chosen, along with 100 corresponding images, culled from the source news stories. At the end of each day, month, and year, 10x10 looks back through its archives to conclude the top 100 words for the given time period. In this way, a constantly evolving record of our world is formed, based on prominent world events, without any human input."
There are some great notes for developers
posted on 3/3/05 by Michael Koppelman
I don't mean to pick on anyone in particular but here goes...
Maconomy, which many of you are familiar with, checks which browser you are using and if it is not on their supported list, they don't let you in. This doesn't make sense. It would make sense to warn people with unsupported browsers that things might not work right. To disallow access entirely eliminates the possibility that it might work fine!
Maconomy is not alone in this. Bruce Schneier has an article entitled Bank Mandates Insecure Browser
where a bank specifies exactly the 1 specific browser that is allowed under their terms of service.
This represents a major misunderstanding of Internet technology. To be successful with your web applications they must be widely accessible. This means you need to chose web developers who can write applications that are widely accessible. Like us! ;)
posted on 3/7/05 by Matt Gray
I'm a staunch advocate for electronic freedom: no company should be able to tell me what I can and can't do with my electronics and data, provided I don't break other laws. (Constructing a death-ray is probably out of the question.) It should be evident that the broadcast flag irks me.
The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has a pretty good description of what the broadcast flag means to the average user. Even better, the EFF provides a step-by-step guide for beating the impending DRM: EFF's HDTV-PVR Cookbook. The article describes everything you need to buy, build, and set up a homemade PVR with HD capability.
My computer parts are in the mail... I will be sure to post on how it all goes. Let this serve as an important reminder: the more companies try to restrain the rights of fair use, ingenious ways will be found to circumvent them.
We're moving towards a world where you license music that can be played only on certain equipment, under certain conditions. The sound quality may be altered if it could be captured by a recording device. If the trend continues, I can see pay-per-play licensing, not unlike pay toilets. Most people are not criminals; they simply want to enjoy the media they've paid good money for. These arguments mean nothing when large monopolies are facing a shrinking bottom line.
That's why I have no sympathy for the MPAA or RIAA. Get with the times and embrace the new content distribution model. Provide all the albums, movies, and TV people want, at reasonable cost and in a variety of re-usable formats. Recognize that high-fidelity recording equipment (like an HD PVR) can be used for things other than piracy. The customer is always right—unless the company funds the passage of laws to strip the customer of "rights". Presuming criminal intent just for possessing tools capable of reading and recording a pure TV signal—what kind of freedom is that?
posted on 3/8/05 by Martin Grider
Cell phones are are one of the few emergent technologies that have become so prevalent in society that I often can't imagine life without them. I got rid of my "home" phone over three years ago, and never looked back.
Today I found that in recent news security experts have confirmed the existance of the first cell phone virus
. As cell phones become more and more sophisticated, this type of risk will grow proportionally.
But don't panic! It's reported that not only is this specific virus written poorly, it only works with one type of cell phone operating system. (The Symbian60, the same one that happens to power my phone.)
posted on 3/9/05 by Andy Wright
is a boundless, interactive publishing platform..." according to its creator. But it's not some obscure shareware downloadâ€”you make Grafedia with a good ol' fashioned can of spray paint. Using any ahem, canvas, one deems appropriate, keywords are written in standard blue, underscored lettering. Viewers of the message can enter the link on their cellphone and find whatever content you've placed on the grafedia web site.
Kinda mysterious, kinda subversive...kinda fitting for the street art culture. Shows to go ya how different audiences/communities prefer to interact on the web.
posted on 3/9/05 by Meghan Wilker
"With teletype interface and the Fortran language, the computer [of 2004] will be easy to use."
If only they would have been right.
posted on 3/10/05 by Matt Gray
Check out the invisibles quiz on FilmWise. The web site asks you to guess which movie each scene is from. The catch? The actors' flesh has been digitally removed from the frame. Neat stuff. (Via BoingBoing)
posted on 3/12/05 by Michael Koppelman
Your computer can be your phone. With Skype
you use your computer's speakers and microphone as your phone. You can call other Skype users for free but for a very small fee you can call anyone, anywhere on their land line or cell phone. You can also have an incoming phone number so people can call you just like normal. You can also have voicemail and see missed calls and such. This is VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) but sort of with a twist. Most VOIP systems have you using "normal" phones that are connected to the network. With Skype your computer is
I think it is pretty dang cool.
posted on 3/15/05 by Scott
Consumer fear of online risks will force businesses using cookies to take any of these actions: find replacement technology to gather data, better explain the harmless nature of most cookies, work with spyware vendors, and/or ask for permission to deposit cookies.Entire Article - Information Week
posted on 3/15/05 by Martin Grider
Popular science has named Minneapolis/St. Paul their Top Tech City
. Apparently we are the cream of the High-Tech crop.
posted on 3/16/05 by Martin Grider
Wired reports that the first episode of the new Dr. Who series may have been intentionally leaked onto the internet
, even though the BBC denies any involvement.
posted on 3/21/05 by Meghan Wilker
On my way in to work this morning, I heard on MPR that the BBC is releasing its entire archive of old programming for UK citizens. Even better, they're publicly encouraging people to use and edit the vault's assets in their own creative pursuits (as long as they are not for profit).
If I didn't have have so much work to do, I would talk about this even more - but I fully expect the rest of you to have a rousing discussion.
Listen to the story on Future Tense.
posted on 3/23/05 by Sharyn Morrow
First, there was You've Got Mail. Now Hollywood is jumping on the social networking bandwagon with
Friendster: The Movie, starring Topher Grace.
What's next? Maybe the marginally fictionalized story of a startup like,
say, Six Apart...starring Jack and Meg White as Ben and Mena Trott. Personally I'd like to see Todd Louiso (Dick from High Fidelity) as Craig Newmark. The possibilities are endless. And probably being pitched.
posted on 3/24/05 by Michael Koppelman
Sun has an article about RFID
(Radio Frequency Identification). This is pretty cool technology. When creative people get their hands on it, some really amazing things are going to happen. Certainly there are security issues with RFID
but there are still many, many applications for goodness here.
posted on 3/28/05 by Martin Grider
the Wipeout game for PSP is shipping with a relatively functional web browser built-in. Step by step instructions
are available, (required DNS hacking not included).
I hadn't been excited about getting a PSP until I read some really positive reviews of Lumens. One game is still not enough to get me to buy one of these, but if someone released a copy of firefox for the psp... I have to admit I'd be very tempted.
posted on 3/30/05 by Martin Grider
The Star Tribune reported
today that Jeffrey Parson, (the Blaster virus scapegoat,) has been convicted and will serve prison time, 100 hours of community service, and three years of "supervised" release, (during which time, he'll be forbidden from using a computer for anything other than work or school). His crime was modifying the original blaster virus, which is estimated to have caused more than $525 million in damages.
In contrast, Parson's variant of the virus (which he created in less than two days from the original) is estimated to have caused $1.22 million. Perhaps ironically, it was Microsoft that claimed the most damages in the suit, at somewhere around $600 thousand. Of course, the virus only affected computers running Windows software. The 19 year old Parson, a native of Hopkins MN, was tried and convicted in Seattle, Washington, home of Microsoft's corporate headquarters.