Posts matching the query string: Tag=TECH.

My ratings (R) are from 1 to 9. My Dates are also permalinks. Click on the column headers to sort Jots. Feel free to use the address bar like a command line interface by setting the optional query string parameters: Dtm1 (10, 20, 30, YYYYMMDDhhmmss), Dtm2 (YYYYMMDDhhmmss), IsJot (Jot or Not), Tag (zero+ times), NotTag (zero+ times), OrderBy (PostForDate, PostTitle, PostLink, PostText, PostSource, PostRating, PostSize) & Desc(Desc), and Limit(integer).

  1. A Look Inside Wikipedia's Infrastructure TAGS: Cyber Tech. Databases. Open Source. Programming. TECH. Wikipedia.
  2. Capoferro Tech Support call TAGS: Chill. Fighting. Funny. MARTIAL. Swords. TECH. Western Martial Arts.
  3. Quantum Leap TAGS: Computers. Hardware. Images. Nanotechnology. Science. TECH.
  4. Time for templates! TAGS: Cool. Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Google. Office. TECH.
  5. Strongest Material Ever Tested TAGS: Hardware. Nanotechnology. TECH. Tolkien.
  6. 10gen TAGS: Cloud. Computers. Databases. Free Libre. Google. JavaScript. Open Source. Programming. TECH.
  7. Solar-Power Breakthrough TAGS: Solar. TECH.
  8. Cannot open Excel in Internet Explorer TAGS: Cyber Tech. Excel. Microsoft. My Stuff. Programming. TECH.
  9. '.wow': ICANN to allow almost any domain suffix TAGS: Business. Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. News. Standards. TECH.
  10. How to set tax rate on Kensington keypad calculator TAGS: Cool. Funny. Gadget. Hardware. Kensington. My Stuff. TECH.
  11. File format wars TAGS: Free Gratis. Microsoft. Office. Open Source. Software. Standards. Sun. TECH.
  12. Cyber Rules TAGS: Cyber Life. Family. Google. Kids. My Stuff. Security. Shopping. TECH. Wikipedia.
  13. Electric Folding Bikes TAGS: Biking. Cool. Exercise. Hardware. Shopping. Sustainability. TECH.
  14. Google Chrome TAGS: Browser. Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Google. Open Source. TECH.
  15. Chrome keyboard shortcuts TAGS: Browser. Chrome. Google. TECH.
  16. Issues with Spreadsheets right-click menu in Google Chrome: fixed in new Google Chrome version TAGS: Browser. Flash. Google. Office. TECH. Videos.
  17. Abbreviate Currency using Javascript TAGS: JavaScript. Programming. TECH.
  18. Browse the Artifacts of Geek History in Jay Walker's Library TAGS: Beauty. Books. Cool. Gadget. Images. Inspiring. Space. TECH.
  19. ghLibrary for JavaScript TAGS: Browser. Java. My Stuff. Programming. TECH. Time.
  20. The cranial endoskeleton of Tiktaalik roseae TAGS: Biology. Cool. Evolution. Fauna. Images. Nature. News. TECH.
  21. Today I am 40 years old TAGS: Aikido. Atheism. Chicago Swordplay Guild. Faith. Hapkido. Introversion. JavaScript. MARTIAL. Mind. My Stuff. Philosophy. Psychology. Ramblings. Science. TECH. Thoughts. Writing.
  22. Wikipedia and the Meaning of Truth TAGS: Cyber Life. Philosophy. TECH. Text. Wikipedia.
  23. Obama and the dawn of the Fourth Republic TAGS: Barack Obama. Economy. Evolution. History. Images. Politics. TECH. USA.
  24. 2008 Global Temperature TAGS: Geography. Images. Nature. Science. Sustainability. TECH.
  25. Clear Carbon-Nanotube Films TAGS: Cyber Life. Hardware. Images. Nanotechnology. TECH.
  26. Kindle 2.0 by Amazon TAGS: Amazon. Books. Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Engineering. Gadget. Google. Hardware. TECH. Text.
  27. Amazon Announces Kindle 2, With Slew of New Features TAGS: Amazon. Books. Cyber Life. Gadget. TECH. Text.
  28. The Word that Science RUINED TAGS: Language. Science. Statistics. TECH.
  29. Crystals Made to Sprout Tiny Tubes TAGS: Hardware. Images. Nanotechnology. Photos. TECH.
  30. Liquid Battery TAGS: Hardware. Images. Solar. Sustainability. TECH.
  31. Snapshot of cyber communications today TAGS: Communications. Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. TECH.
  32. Talks Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight TAGS: Biology. Inspiring. Live Action. Mind. Psychology. Science. TECH. Videos.
  33. Specify your canonical TAGS: Browser. Cyber Tech. Google. HTML. Microsoft. Standards. TECH. Yahoo!.
  34. Magnetic Spin to Revolutionize Medical Scanning TAGS: Chemistry. News. TECH.
  35. A Better, Cheaper Multitouch Interface TAGS: Computers. Hardware. TECH.
  36. Did You Know TAGS: Culture. Cyber Life. News. TECH. Videos.
  37. One Number to Rule Them All TAGS: Audio. Communications. Cyber Life. Google. TECH.
  38. Gmail Sidesteps the App Store TAGS: Cyber Life. Google. Programming. TECH.
  39. Netbook Chips Create a Low-Power Cloud TAGS: Computers. Cyber Tech. Hardware. TECH.
  40. Intel's Ct software will make ordinary code work on forthcoming many-core processors TAGS: Computers. Cyber Tech. Hardware. Programming. Software. TECH.
  41. BB Video: The Flaming Bacon Lance of Death, from Theo Gray's book "Mad Science" TAGS: Chill. Cool. Crude. Food. Funny. Gadget. Pyro. TECH. Videos.
  42. A New E-Paper Competitor TAGS: Books. Cyber Tech. Gadget. Hardware. Reading. TECH. Text.
  43. Looking at the HTC Dream (aka T-Mobile G1) TAGS: Apple. Cyber Tech. Gadget. Google. Hardware. My Stuff. TECH.
  44. A New Breed of Netbook? TAGS: Computers. Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Gadget. Google. Hardware. Open Source. Software. TECH.
  45. Kindle DX: Amazon's 9.7" Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation) TAGS: Amazon. Books. Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Gadget. Hardware. Images. Reading. TECH. Text. Wikipedia.
  46. Five-Dimensional Data Storage TAGS: Computers. Cool. Culture. Engineering. Hardware. Images. Nanotechnology. TECH.
  47. A Speedier Google Chrome for all users TAGS: Browser. Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Google. News. TECH.
  48. What is Twitter? TAGS: Cyber Life. Relations. TECH. Twitter.
  49. Google Bookmarks Extension for Chrome TAGS: Browser. Cyber Tech. Google. TECH.
  50. Scientists envision inflatable alternative to tethered space elevator TAGS: Images. Nanotechnology. Photos. Science. Space. TECH.
  51. S-exp vs XML, HTML, LaTeX (was: Why lisp is growing) TAGS: Death. Philosophy. Politics. Programming. Psychology. TECH.
  52. A Robot that Navigates Like a Person TAGS: Artificial Intelligence. Biology. Brain. Evolution. Programming. Robotics. Software. TECH.
  53. Free is not a business model TAGS: Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Economy. Google. Money. TECH.
  54. Rich Internet Apps TAGS: Animation. Apple. Browser. Cyber Tech. Firefox. Google. Microsoft. Programming. Standards. Sun Microsystems. TECH. Videos.
  55. Head in the clouds TAGS: Amazon. Books. Cyber Life. Gadget. Google. Hardware. Images. Photos. Reading. Software. TECH. Videos.
  56. A Biofuel Process to Replace All Fossil Fuels TAGS: Biotechnology. Solar. Sustainability. TECH.
  57. Digital Media and e-Books TAGS: Amazon. Apple. Audio. Books. Computers. Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Family. Gadget. Google. Hardware. Inspiring. Kids. Music. My Stuff. Reading. Software. Standards. TECH. Text. Videos.
  58. Sony Takes On Kindle With Two New E-Readers TAGS: Books. Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Hardware. Reading. Standards. TECH. Text.
  59. The Singularity and the Fixed Point TAGS: Artificial Intelligence. Mind. Philosophy. Psychology. TECH.
  60. Introduction to HTML 5 TAGS: Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. HTML. Images. Programming. Standards. TECH. Videos.
  61. Algorithm and Blues TAGS: Comics. Math. Philosophy. Science. TECH.
  62. SVG TAGS: Animation. Cyber Life. Flash. Images. JavaScript. Open Source. Photos. Programming. Standards. SVG. TECH. Videos.
  63. Success in 'space elevator' competition TAGS: Engineering. Science. Space. TECH.
  64. Reviewing "Ext JS 3.0 Cookbook" soon TAGS: Books. Images. JavaScript. Programming. Reading. TECH.
  65. Video: Douglas Crockford - The State and Future of JavaScript TAGS: Cyber Tech. IBM. JavaScript. Microsoft. Programming. TECH. Yahoo!.
  66. Apple iPad TAGS: Apple. Audio. Books. Cyber Life. Gadget. Hardware. Software. TECH. Videos.
  67. Chrome versus Firefox 2010-02 TAGS: Browser. Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Firefox. Google. TECH.
  68. "Ext JS 3.0 Cookbook" by Jorge Ramon, a review by George Hernandez TAGS: Books. Cyber Tech. JavaScript. Programming. Reading Now. TECH.
  69. Now A No-Evil Zone TAGS: Cyber Life. Philosophy. TECH.
  70. ASP.NET output that isn't HTML TAGS: ASP.NET. Cyber Tech. Microsoft. Programming. TECH.
  71. The secrets of intelligence lie within a single cell TAGS: Artificial Intelligence. Biology. Mind. Science. TECH.
  72. The real reason why Steve Jobs hates Flash TAGS: Apple. Audio. Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Gadget. Hardware. Images. Operating System. Software. TECH. Videos.
  73. U.S. Navy Successfully Uses Laser to Shoot Down Drones TAGS: Gear. Lasers. Military. News. TECH. Videos.
  74. How to Enable Vertical Tabs in Google Chrome TAGS: Browser. Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Firefox. Google. TECH.
  75. Digg V4: The Broken Covenant (aka Selling Out to "The Man") TAGS: Cyber Life. TECH.
  76. Multi-touch and Mobility TAGS: Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. My Stuff. TECH.
  77. NASA Finds New Life TAGS: Biology. Chemistry. Cool. Evolution. Science. Space. TECH.
  78. I love my new Alienware M15X laptop TAGS: Computers. Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Hardware. My Stuff. Software. TECH.
  79. Dreams and Controversy TAGS: Cyber Life. Faith. MARTIAL. Philosophy. Politics. Psychology. Ramblings. Relations. Self Improvement. Sex. TECH. Thoughts. Violence.
  80. Multitasking the Android Way TAGS: Cyber Life. Gadget. Google. Operating System. TECH.
  81. About Music Beta by Google TAGS: Amazon. Apple. Cyber Life. Google. Microsoft. Music. TECH.
  82. Is Process Killing the Software Industry? TAGS: Mind. Programming. TECH.
  83. First 'living' laser made from kidney cell TAGS: Biology. Biotechnology. Nanotechnology. Science. TECH.
  84. Google to End Health Records Service After It Fails to Attract Users TAGS: Cyber Life. Cyber Tech. Family. Health. TECH.
  85. Steve Jobs (1955-02-24/2011-10-05) TAGS: Apple. Beauty. Computers. Culture. Death. Inspiring. Obituaries. Sad. TECH.
  86. A laser to give the universe a hernia? TAGS: Cool. Physics. Quirky. Space. TECH.
  87. Fish uses fins to walk and bound TAGS: Biology. Evolution. Faith. Fauna. Images. Live Action. Nature. TECH. Videos.
  88. Methane discovery stokes new global warming fears Shock as retreat of Arctic releases greenhouse gas TAGS: Geology. History. News. Science. Sustainability. TECH. World.
  89. Review of my software usage TAGS: Amazon. Apple. Cyber Life. Google. Hardware. Microsoft. My Stuff. Software. TECH.
  90. Pressure sensitive Wacom stylus for Lenovo ThinkPad X230t in Windows 8 TAGS: Design. Gadget. Hardware. My Stuff. Software. TECH.
  91. I finished reading "Brave New World" (1931) by Aldous Huxley TAGS: Atheism. Books. Faith. Literature. Quotations. Reading. Reading Now. Relations. Science. Science Fiction. TECH.
  92. Gmail Categories TAGS: Cyber Life. Google. Ramblings. TECH. Thoughts.
  93. 10 Simple Rules for the Care and Feeding of Scientic Data TAGS: Open Source. Science. TECH.
  94. Neil deGrasse Tyson explains why the new Cosmos matters so much TAGS: Cool. Inspiring. Science. TECH. TV. Videos.
DateTextLinkSourceTagsNote
20080722 141922 Z How To Encourage a Young Teen To Learn Programming? ask.slashdot … 0452225&from=rss Education, Family, Inspiring, Kids, Programming, Relations, Sad, TECH The content here is all in the Slashdot comment thread. Interesting, hopeful, and yet sad in a way. It's like techies trying to remember what it was like to be young and human. You can tell the comments from those who are parents or who have taught.
20080812 160203 Z Bringing Invisibility Cloaks Closer www.technolo … 3/?nlid=1268&a=f Nanotechnology, TECH Researchers have been trying for 10 years to implement negative refraction and they have finally succeeded! Now they just need to manipulate incoming light so it goes all the way around an object.
20080812 161649 Z The Seemingly Impossible Is Possible www.gapminde … is-possible.html Beauty, Cool, Culture, Economy, Funny, Inspiring, Live Action, Performance, Politics, TECH, Videos, World There's so much good stuff from the TED conferences (Technology Entertainment Design) [ted.com], that I have a hard time posting any of it. "The Seemingly Impossible Is Possible" by Hans Rosling (a Swedish professor in International Public Health). An incredible presentation. Very hopeful, informative, beautiful, and funny. It has a surprise ending too. It shows hope for progress in the Third World. Combined with the progress in artificial photosynthesis, the outlook for the future is quite bright!
20080820 141405 Z Using XML to Enhance the Performance of String Manipulations www.sqlserve … icles/XML/63633/ Databases, Microsoft, SQL, TECH, XML Nice article by Wayne Sheffield on using the XML functionality built into SQL Server to not only create XML, but also to non-XML related large string maniuplations like creating comma separated values (CSV) or parsing CSV. One of the tests improved from a 37.75 minute runtime to a 260 ms runtime!
20080906 134859 Z Update to Google Chrome's terms of service googleblog.b … es-terms-of.html Browser, Chrome, Cyber Tech, Google, Legal, TECH Ha ha! Like I told my Sys Admin on the day that Chrome was released: The Chrome EULA was a non-issue. They updated it to a not evil version: "11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services."
20080906 140432 Z Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.1 Alpha 2 tech.slashdo … 0256207&from=rss Browser, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Firefox, Google, TECH So they'll be incorporating some of Chrome's features like the ability to drag and drop tabs between windows. Sweet. And the JavaScript engine might even be faster than Chromes? Hooray!: The public benefits from browser wars!
20080907 132335 Z Little things that matter gmailblog.bl … that-matter.html Cyber Life, Google, TECH The problem was that an event in Google Calendar would occupy the entire horizontal space and you couldn't click on the same time slot if you wanted to add a new event. But now there will always be a few pixels of gutter space on the right that's clickable. A simple, elegant, and useful solution!
20081023 152526 Z The Internet and the Death of Rovian Politics www.huffingt … at_b_136400.html digg.com/200 … _Rovian_Politics Cyber Life, Politics, TECH, USA, Videos I know the link is a left-leaning site, but the subject of the article is partisan to some degree. Basically the Web has made fact-checking so fast and easy, that it is harder to run a campaign based on lies and FUD. YouTube in particular was founded in 2005 so this is the first US Presidential election with a YouTube influence!
20081025 024932 Z I, Computer http://abstrusegoose.com/70 digg.com/com … I_Computer_Comic Comics, Computers, Funny, Images, Math, Science, TECH Yeah, Abtruse Goose is sort of like xkcd. Here are two more that I liked:
936 Little Blobs
The Cantor Madness
20081107 194013 Z Boston Dynamics Big Dog (new video March 2008) www.youtube. … ch?v=W1czBcnX1Ww Gumby Cool, Hardware, Live Action, Robotics, TECH, Videos An adaptive, all-terrain, dog-like robot. I like the forward-bending rear legs and the backward-bending front legs.
20090127 191822 Z Science Commons http://sciencecommons.org/ www.reddit.c … he_full_text_of/ Free Gratis, Science, TECH Rock on! Free the knowledge!
20090220 172839 Z The 32 Totally Essential (and Free) Apps for Every New PC www.maximump … y_essential_apps digg.com/sof … for_Every_New_PC Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Free Gratis, Free Libre, Open Source, TECH I have a good number of these, and some of them I've rejected, but I'll archive this here in case it has a few that I don't have but do want. See also opensourcewindows.org.
20090224 161716 Z Recipe for Disaster: The Formula That Killed Wall Street www.wired.co … ?currentPage=all Economy, Math, News, TECH, USA Usually the fall guy is someone like Greenspan or Bush. It's about time they picked on a mathematician.
20090227 201601 Z Big Dog Army Robot Will Change the Face of War Forever i.gizmodo.co … -freaking-us-out digg.com/gen … Army_Tests_VIDEO Artificial Intelligence, Cool, Gear, Live Action, MARTIAL, Military, Robotics, TECH, Videos I've posted about the robotic Big Dog before, but it's cool to see it tested along side soldiers in the field. The link also has a nice video clip from Metal Gear Solid 4.
20090302 014405 Z Everything's amazing, nobody's happy www.youtube. … =haxa_popt00us13 digg.com/com … Nobody_s_Happy_5 Funny, Live Action, TECH, TV, Videos Funny guy. It's a twist on ye olde "Why when I was young...".
20090302 204528 Z Noting my shopping experiences Gear, MARTIAL, My Stuff, Shopping, TECH I've been noting my shopping experiences for martial arts products, but I've decided to start logging my shopping experiences for other stuff. Why? My memory sucks and I think it might be helpful for me and others to be able to access my shopping experiences.
20090305 161753 Z New in Labs: Multiple Inboxes gmailblog.bl … ple-inboxes.html news.zdnet.c … html?tag=nl.e550 Cyber Life, Email, Google, TECH One of the nicer things to come out of Google Labs for Gmail lately. It will save me a few clicks.
20090305 201226 Z Four changes to Gmail contacts gmailblog.bl … il-contacts.html Email, Google, TECH Sweet little upgrades. All worthy.
20090305 210129 Z This is the Microsoft I want to see venturebeat. … t-i-want-to-see/ digg.com/mic … microsoft_vision Cool, Cyber Life, Gadget, Microsoft, TECH, Videos Ubiquitous Internet/cloud-enabled, touch pads. I'm surprised Microsoft hasn't been putting out more videos like this, because they've shown them at conventions before.
20090305 212111 Z Pics of robots www.boston.c … 9/03/robots.html digg.com/gen … nces/Robots_pics Artificial Intelligence, Hardware, Images, Photos, Robotics, TECH Of course most of them are in Japan.
20090309 143121 Z Blocking Users by IP www.sqlserve … /Security/66151/ Security, SQL, TECH Nice little article for SQL Server about using a logon trigger to check the IP address of the login attempt and block it if needed. It's a simple additional security layer.
20090410 125648 Z Changing a Non-IDENTITY column to IDENTITY and vice versa www.sqlserve … les/T-SQL/61979/ Databases, Microsoft, Programming, SQL, TECH Maybe useful later.
20090412 033515 Z Single-finger text input blog.makezin … OTC-0D6B48984890 www.reddit.c … nger_text_input/ Cool, Cyber Life, Free Gratis, Free Libre, Software, TECH, Text, Videos Cool! I downloaded Dasher and I made this post entirely by using one hand and a mouse.
20090414 180557 Z Stars by scale via Hubble img19.images … /2706/spaceb.jpg digg.com/spa … _we_re_small_Pic Beauty, Cool, Inspiring, Science, Space, TECH I've seen variations of this before, but this one has photos via the Hubble telescope.
20090420 162256 Z Operating System Interface Design Between 1981-2009 www.webdesig … tween-1981-2009/ digg.com/des … etween_1981_2009 Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Images, Software, TECH Oddly exciting to see the screen shots of old GUI operating systems. Looking at stuff that was new when you were younger makes you feel old and young at the same time.
20090428 211726 Z New Page 3 http://www.lolworld.com/ www.reddit.c … e_of_a_clueless/ Culture, Cyber Life, TECH The real humor is in the reddit comment thread about the older folks who just don't get computers and the Internets [sic].
20090505 144612 Z Wolfram Alpha and Google Face Off www.technolo … 22585/?nlid=2001 Computers, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Google, Science, TECH I saw the various stuff on Wolfram Alpha yesterday, including the video Stephen Wolfram discusses Wolfram|Alpha: Computational Knowledge Engine [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TIOH80Qg7Q]. It looks cool, but there was a feeling of a stacked deck, i.e. the questions were coached so as to get good results. This Technology Review article asks other sorts of questions. Google of course has to deal with a broader user base that asks a broad range of questions.
20090506 175726 Z Patent reveals Google's book-scanning advantage news.cnet.co … 10232931-76.html Books, Google, Reading, TECH, Text For those of you who, like me, worried about Google roughly handling thousands of books while they try to speedily scan them in: Apparently they don't have to mash any of these books onto scanners. It's a hands-off process that can also adjust for the curvature of the paper.
20090508 170425 Z Windows 7 RC1: 10 Things You Need to Know gizmodo.com/ … you-need-to-know digg.com/sof … You_Need_to_Know Microsoft, Operating System, Software, TECH I've been hearing really good reviews about Windows 7 RC from various sources including a Sys Admin.
20090518 212959 Z They Write the Right Stuff www.fastcomp … ode/28121/print? Programming, Space, Standards, TECH A bit about the programming at NASA. I talked with a former NASA programmer years ago. He said it was the work and job that he was the most proud of.
20090521 145502 Z 55+ Extremely Useful Online Generators for Designers www.balkhis. … s-for-designers/ Color, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Images, TECH Some more useful than others.
20090604 002514 Z Worlds Most Craziest and Dangerous Job www.metacafe … d_dangerous_job/ Art, Beauty, Cool, Inspiring, Live Action, Science, TECH, Videos Wow. The title is hardly an exaggeration. This is almost spiritual. Much to admire here. "There are only three things I've ever been afraid of: Electricity, heights, and women."
20090610 121925 Z First Extra-Galactic Planet Spotted in Andromeda www.technolo … 23619/?nlid=2091 Cool, News, Science, Space, TECH I think it's cool enough that we humans have spotted some 300 extra-solar planets in our own galaxy, but now we've spotted planets in an entirely different galaxy? Get out of here!
20090611 123109 Z The First Few Milliseconds of an HTTPS Connection www.moserwar … ds-of-https.html www.reddit.c … ttps_connection/ Browser, Cyber Tech, Programming, Security, Standards, TECH File away.
20090617 204843 Z Firefox 3.5 RC good so far Browser, Cyber Tech, Firefox, Google, Standards, TECH Firefox 3.5 RC good so far. A jump from 3.0.11 to 3.5 sounds nice! Improvements include: Private browsing mode, TraceMonkey JavaScript, location aware browsing, native JSON, web worker threads, Gecko layout upgrades, HTML 5 support. A lot of this sounds like Google Chrome.
20090618 181739 Z Billion-year ultra-dense memory chip developed blogs.zdnet. … gingtech/?p=1571 Computers, Engineering, Hardware, Nanotechnology, TECH A trillion bits of data per square inch using nano-iron particles in hermetically sealed nano-tubes, it could be thermodynamically stable for over a billion years!
20090625 014038 Z Let's make the web faster code.google. … /speed/articles/ www.reddit.c … _the_web_faster/ Cyber Tech, Google, TECH Some of the tips are good, but from the reddit thread, you'd think the whole thing sucked.
20090731 190006 Z A Better Way to Rank Expertise Online www.technolo … 23100/?nlid=2235 Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Folksonomy, TECH Identifying and weighting better content and users is key for quality purposes.
20090804 172501 Z EcoFont http://ecofont.eu NGS Computers, TECH, Text Fonts with holes in them. Still readable, but saves on ink.
20090807 170519 Z Waterloo Labs: FPS with Real Guns - Episode 02 waterloolabs … -episode-02.html games.slashd … l-Guns?art_pos=7 Chill, Cool, Crude, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Gadget, Hardware, Live Action, Software, TECH, Video Games, Videos Slap some accelerometers on a wall, feed it to LabVIEW, project your game onto the wall, and bam! All hits on the wall are fed into the game. Up voted for dudes in lab coats.
20090807 171827 Z Poll: E-readers Need to Reach 'iPod Moment' to Catch On www.editoran … nt_id=1004001327 Amazon, Books, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Gadget, TECH, Text Yes, critical mass or an iPod moment will happen with e-books. Finally someone acknowledging that Sony may have a reader but needs more content.
20090808 144312 Z Bye bye land line Cyber Life, Family, Home, Kids, Movies, My Stuff, TECH, TV, Videos All we get on the land line is spam. We have cell phones (which gets spam too). We don't phone/fax much. There's lots of video on the Internet. We don't watch much TV. So... We're going to dump the AT&T land line, DSL (2.58 Mbps), and dish TV at $140/mo. We're going to get Comcast cable Internet (12 Mbps) at $43/mo and Netflix at $9/mo. Wife and kids approve. All is good.
20090810 150842 Z An Operating System for the Cloud www.technolo … 23140/?nlid=2255 Apple, Cyber Life, Google, Microsoft, Operating System, TECH A review of the operating system (OS), from where it's been with the mainframes and Microsoft, to where it is with Microsoft, Apple, and Linux, to where might go with Google. The review could have been more in depth but the potential of the article is nice.
20090813 185033 Z How Different Groups Spend Their Day www.nytimes. … ics-graphic.html digg.com/peo … _Day_Infographic Life, Psychology, Relations, TECH, Work Ooh an interactive graph/chart that can be consumed by the masses. I love it!
20090821 151022 Z Windows 7: The OS that launches a thousand touch-screen PCs? www.computer … ouch_screen_PCs_ hardware.sla … Market?art_pos=8 Books, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Gadget, Hardware, Reading, Software, TECH Finally some real tech news. I'm past bored with all the rumors for the Apple tablet. "In the past three weeks, five leading PC makers have announced or been reported to confirm plans to release touch-screen PCs running Windows 7, which will provide built-in multitouch features, as well as enable touch applications written for it." These will be great as netbooks. If they want to be great as e-book readers, then they need long battery life, a good store, and some way to read in bright light conditions. Where are the multitouch tablets from Dell, IBM, etc.?
20090914 181700 Z A Kindle World http://kindleworld.blogspot.com/ Amazon, Books, Cyber Life, Reading, TECH, Text A Kindle and e-reader blog by Kindle enthusiast Andrys Basten.
20090922 180426 Z A Stick Figure Guide to the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES www.moserwar … to-advanced.html www.reddit.c … nced_encryption/ Comics, Images, Programming, Security, Standards, TECH This reddit comment had it right: "Worst XKCD ever!"
20090923 191345 Z Courier: First Details of Microsoft's Secret Tablet gizmodo.com/ … ts-secret-tablet www.reddit.c … s_secret_tablet/ Amazon, Books, Computers, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Gadget, Hardware, Images, Microsoft, Reading, TECH, Text, Videos Some details about the tablet by Microsoft called "Courier". More details than we've ever gotten from Apple about their potential tablet. While I'm biting my nails over the potential choices, my wife is simply enjoying her Kindle. She's so smart.
20090925 152504 Z Honda unveils 'Segway-style' unicycle that travels in any direction you want www.dailymai … ml#ixzz0S2lY0hSd Engineering, Hardware, TECH There have been several Segway alternatives, but this is the first from a major company. The Honda unicycle is light (10 Kg = 22#), small (toddler-sized), fast enough (6 Km/h = 3.7 mph) can traverse, cool-looking, and it looks easy too.
20091002 181848 Z How do I print a listing of files in a directory? www.computer … ues/ch000772.htm Computers, Operating System, TECH Because I forget. In DOS something like: cd: /d c:\path\dirX, then dir > zdir.txt.
20091005 172516 Z Bathrooms of the Future www.home-des … ms-of-the-future Beauty, Cool, Gadget, Images, Photos, Sustainability, TECH The one that uses graywater tech (reusing water) is the most important, but the others are cool too.
20091013 190437 Z 10/GUI: The Video http://10gui.com/video/ www.reddit.c … _reimaginations/ Animation, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Hardware, Operating System, Software, TECH, Videos Not just a multi-touch tablet, but ideas on the interface. Interesting but the whole thing needs trials. The Reddit thread has some ideas too.
20091020 195310 Z C++ in Coders at Work gigamonkeys. … /coders-c++.html www.reddit.c … those_who_never/ Programming, TECH Usually these sort of articles are of an "A v B" type, but this one is about why some folks dislike the programming language C++. The simple explanation of the success of C++ is not that C++ was great at being object oriented, but that it was backwards compatible with C. Lots of folks say that Objective-C (1986) also backward compatible but is better than C++ (1983). However C++ is much more popular Objective-C because the latter didn't give it away enough.
20091020 195959 Z How to Write Unmaintainable Code www.geocitie … aintainable.html Funny, Programming, TECH I dug this one up from some old bookmarks and I'm filing it here. The author is sick and funny.
20091105 151945 Z Low-Energy Laser Etching Could Replace Annoying Fruit Labels www.inhabita … ng-fruit-labels/ science.slas … Labels?art_pos=4 Food, TECH Sweet tech!
20091112 003351 Z The Go Programming Language www.youtube. … ch?v=rKnDgT73v8s Google, Programming, TECH Ooh. One of the most exciting new programming languages in years. They had me at no parentheses for if statements!
20091116 162049 Z REPLACE Multiple Spaces with One www.sqlserve … les/T-SQL/68378/ Beauty, Programming, SQL, TECH A beautiful elegant solution for a problem that most other folks solve with loops or tables or some ugly row by agonizing row (RBAR) solution. REPLACE(REPLACE(REPLACE(OriginalString,' ',' þ'),'þ ',''),'þ','').
20091119 161957 Z Kindle for PC www.amazon.c … docId=1000426311 Amazon, Books, e-Book, Gadget, Kindle, Reading, TECH I told myself that I wouldn't poke into the e-book reader thing until things settled down but Kindle for PC is a good thing. Amazon has the best store, but they need to open up to read more things from more sources. I still want improvements like color and note taking.
20091201 015005 Z Best Tool For Remembering Passwords? ask.slashdot … words?art_pos=23 Cyber Life, Security, TECH Filing away here. A few good jokes, tips, and site recommendations like http://passwordsafe.sourceforge.net/, http://keepass.info/, http://www.steganos.com/us/products/for-free/locknote/overview/
20091207 194503 Z Coding Practices www.omninerd … Coding_Practices ask.slashdot … tices?art_pos=24 Programming, Standards, TECH I love articles on coding practices and conventions.
20091207 200041 Z 'Accidental' Download Sending Man To Prison cbs13.com/lo … n.2.1346842.html yro.slashdot … rison?art_pos=39 Legal, Sex, TECH I found the Slashdot thread fascinating because of its mix of sex, tech, and legal stuff.
20091208 153706 Z Standard ECMA-262, 5th edition www.ecma-int … rds/Ecma-262.htm developers.s … proved?art_pos=1 JavaScript, Programming, Standards, TECH Whoot! After 10 years, this is finally out. JavaScript 1.9 in Firefox 4 should be ECMAScript 5 compliant. JScript 5.8 in Internet Explorer is still on ECMAScript 3. Funny to see the battle between IBM's 754r and Douglas' DEC64 still raging.
20091218 163303 Z Ten years of .NET - Did Microsoft deliver? www.theregis … t_net_noughties/ developers.s … omises?art_pos=5 Computers, Microsoft, Programming, Sun Microsystems, TECH I must have blinked, because given the article and the comments, you'd think that Java lost the war and Microsoft .NET has won.
20091224 172621 Z Climate Change Deniers vs The Consensus www.informat … s-the-consensus/ Geography, Images, Politics, Science, Sustainability, TECH Nice graphic that looks at both sides of the the issue. This related graphic is nice too: Climate Change: A Consensus Among Scientists?.
20091231 145630 Z 10 things you should know about USB 2.0 and 3.0 blogs.techre … 10things/?p=1265 digg.com/har … _USB_2_0_and_3_0 Hardware, Software, Standards, TECH Good news: USB 3 is almost here! Bad news: It may not catch on until 2011.
20100104 170007 Z Twitter's List Of 370 Banned Passwords www.business … urce=twitterfeed digg.com/sec … Banned_Passwords Cyber Life, Security, TECH I'm sure I've seen lists like this over the years.
20100104 192618 Z Apple, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Google, Hardware, Reading, Software, TECH We need more tablets! Apple, Google, Freescale, etc. Not just eBook readers, but cheap expandable touchable Internet tablets.
20100114 195205 Z Caveman Science Fiction dresdencodak … science-fiction/ Oscar Chill, Comics, Funny, Images, Science Fiction, TECH "ME AM PLAY GODS!"
20100118 201404 Z Jules Verne Was (Almost) Right gizmodo.com/ … was-almost-right science.slas … -Work?art_pos=51 Space, TECH A space cannon is an interesting lower tech variation on the space elevator.
20100118 213645 Z Programming with proportional fonts is great m-mz.postero … ith-proportional developers.s … Fonts?art_pos=26 Programming, TECH Proportional may read 14% faster, but as one comment mentioned, code needs to emphasize punctuation more than regular reading. The only way for a user to know is try it out. My current fixed width font is Consolas.
20100119 193338 Z Spectra: The Orignal Laser Superhero www.physicsc … load/spectra.pdf Dave Comics, Images, Science, TECH An educational comicbook about lasers by the American Physical Society.
20100125 192658 Z What's Holding Back Encryption? it.slashdot. … tion?art_pos=171 Security, TECH The question itself is worthy of logging.
20100125 193248 Z Flash is coming to the iPhone, thanks to Gordon s coming to … thanks to Gordon tech.slashdo … 5SVG?art_pos=146 Flash, Standards, TECH SVG is your friend!
20100125 203119 Z How to use CSS @font-face nicewebtype. … e-css-font-face/ CSS, Programming, Standards, TECH So near --and yet so far. Firefox 3.6 supports Web Open Font Format (WOFF), but we still have to wade through OpenType Font (OTF), TrueType Font (TTF), Embedded OpenType (EOT), and SVG fonts.
20100127 020545 Z Geek behaviors present during conversations www.stanford … ek-behaviors.htm www.reddit.c … riends_at_least/ Psychology, Relations, TECH Largely true. I liked "Focusing on the how rather than the what or the why". There's that thing about non-verbal and social cues again.
20100129 170731 Z EchoSign http://www.echosign.com/ Cyber Life, TECH, Work Interesting mix of physical and digital.
20100129 175317 Z On the Origin of Gravity and the Laws of Newton http://arxiv.org/abs/1001.0785 science.slas … Force?art_pos=43 Philosophy, Physics, Science, TECH This can be quite big. A lot more things may be emergent than I had thought.
20100131 035937 Z Spirit http://xkcd.com/695/ digg.com/com … tion/xkcd_Spirit Comics, Engineering, Funny, Sad, Space, TECH You have to love something that performs well past expectations. Great job Spirit! Great job NASA!
20100201 190158 Z Analysis of HTML5 Canvas Javascript performance in various browsers for Freeciv.net code.google. … BenchmarkResults developers.s … mance?art_pos=72 Browser, JavaScript, TECH, Video Games So they confirmed what everyone sort of already knew. The fastest browser is Chrome, Safaris is 2nd, Firefox is 3rd, and Internet Explorer 8 is 4th. They're still working to test it on Opera. FYI: I'm still primarily using Firefox because of TreeStyle tabs. I must resist playing FreeCiv.net, lest I lose hours of time!
20100203 165946 Z New Hearing Aid Uses Your Tooth To Transmit Sound singularityh … -transmit-sound/ science.slas … Sound?art_pos=43 Gadget, Hardware, SSD, TECH A non-surgical, non-visibile hearing aid. It's also nice to see them mention Single sided deafness (SSD), or what some call Unilateral Hearing Loss (UHL).
20100203 170836 Z Nanotechnology, TECH The word is out, but I'd like more testing before they go big time.
20100205 012043 Z Physicist Discovers How to Teleport Energy www.technolo … log/arxiv/24759/ Cool, Science, TECH If they're already using entanglement to teleport matter, then the obvious next step is to teleport energy! D'oh!
20100205 165411 Z Laying out SQL Code www.simple-t … utm_campaign=SQL Programming, SQL, TECH, Writing Some good points, but it seems like he's having too much fun!
20100210 231711 Z Focusing 192 lasers on one little target articles.sfg … rium-and-tritium digg.com/gen … Unlimited_Energy Cool, Economy, Inspiring, Science, Sustainability, TECH, World Awesomeness! Unlimited energy (in this case by laser induced fusion) has never seemed so within our grasp!
20100213 042402 Z FanWing http://www.fanwing.com/ Engineering, Hardware, Live Action, TECH, Videos "high lift and thrust efficiency". Interesting design. I wonder how it would handle rain.
20100213 132816 Z These tablets do what the 'iPad don't' news.cnet.co … -10452930-1.html Apple, Cyber Life, Gadget, TECH I've seen some of these iPad-like devices before but it's nice to have them in one post. The whole area needs more polishing.
20100227 172829 Z Giant iceberg breaks off from Antarctic glacier www.scientif … eberg-breaks-off Geology, Science, Sustainability, TECH, World It's always funny to hear about city or state sized chunks of ice wandering off unexpectedly.
20100308 005235 Z Five Best VPN Tools lifehacker.c … %28Lifehacker%29 Computers, TECH I wonder if iPad will allow you to VPN or remote?
20100308 005453 Z Internet access is 'a fundamental right' news.bbc.co. … logy/8548190.stm Cyber Life, TECH, World "Almost four in five people around the world believe that access to the internet is a fundamental right, a poll for the BBC World Service suggests."
20100316 182114 Z Top 10 Things That Annoy Programmers www.kevinwil … noy-programmers/ Cyber Life, Life, Mind, Programming, TECH So true.
20100322 204545 Z Quantum Cell Phone Camera Tech: Doom for Digicams? www.pcworld. … or_digicams.html Gadget, Images, Nanotechnology, Photography, TECH So in around 2 years cell phone cameras will be able to get 90% of the light instead of the 25% they get now!
20100324 184245 Z Can a Chemist Deliver Distributed Energy from a Water Bottle? www.scientif … m-a-water-bottle Chemistry, Sustainability, TECH A very small and cheap fuel cell (water splitter)? Worth a shot!
20100505 022026 Z Google acquires BumpTop: Will Android get a 3D facelift? deals.ventur … bumptop-android/ Cyber Life, Google, Operating System, TECH I had read that Google acquired BumpTop earlier, but this article has the TED Talk video where BumpTop CEO Anand Agarawala demos it. I'm itching for that Google tablet!
20100505 162026 Z RGraph: HTML5 canvas graph library based on the HTML5 canvas tag http://www.rgraph.net/ ajaxian.com/ … graphing-library Cyber Tech, JavaScript, Math, Programming, TECH I saw RGraph since at least August of last year. I think HTML5 is coming around: Movement toward less Flash, more HTML5, and browsers becoming more HTML5 compliant. Of course Ext JS and the other frameworks will probably be boosting their charts too.
20100510 201333 Z QUT physicist corrects Oxford English Dictionary (w/ Video) www.physorg. … ws192688538.html Books, Language, Physics, Science, TECH, Videos Yes, a siphon works by means of gravity and where the "column of water acts like a chain with the water molecules pulling on each other via hydrogen bonds". Wiggling the tube in the fish tank can start a siphon because of the initial surge of momentum. No need to suck on the lower end and get fish water in your mouth! A similar phenomena occurs when "sticking" with someone as you "wave" them into a throw and use gravity.
20100525 000120 Z The latest version of the LittleDog Robot www.youtube. … ch?v=nUQsRPJ1dYw www.reddit.c … c7e34/holy_crap/ Live Action, Robots, TECH, Videos I've been witnessing the development of these robotic dogs over the years. I'm surprised at the emotional pride I feel. Seeing the robots struggle and improve is very much like watching a child struggle and improve. Great job roboticists! Great job.
20100621 210313 Z Toshiba Libretto W100 laptops.tosh … ps/libretto/W100 www.informat … RSSfeed_IWK_News Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Gadget, Hardware, TECH This is 25th anniversary Toshiba is getting closer to what I want! "Hybrid mini-notebook / e-reader has dual touchscreens, runs on Windows 7, and has built-in Bluetooth 5 and 802.11n wireless networking." 1.5 lb (0.68 Kg) clamshell design with built in web cam that works in portrait or landscape. USB port and card reader.
20100625 161154 Z SVG Flowchart Shapes via Google Docs Chart, Cyber Tech, Free Gratis, Free Libre, Google, Images, TECH I've been playing with Google Drawings (in Google Docs). You can save a Google Drawing as .svg. This also means that you can use save their shapes (especially flowchart shapes) and use them in stuff like Inkscape. You can also go to openclipart.org to get other shapes. I'm trying to avoid stuff Microsoft Visio and OpenOffice Draw.
20100714 182432 Z Hans Rosling on global population growth www.ted.com/ … tion_growth.html Economy, Education, Food, Inspiring, Live Action, TECH, Videos, World Hans Rosling always has awesome Ted Talks. In this, his latest one, he does an analog/physical talk which I think will make it quite watchable for my kids.
20100724 132257 Z India's $35 PC is the Future of Computing www.pcworld. … g.html?tk=hp_pop Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Gadget, Hardware, Inspiring, News, TECH A $10-35 Internet capable tablet for the masses of India! Intense, a game changer.
20100818 172603 Z Google launching a Chrome OS tablet on Verizon, goes on sale November 26 www.download … ovember-26-2010/ Cyber Life, Gadget, Google, TECH And my birthday is in October too!
20100914 161439 Z GPU Technology Conference 2010 www.nvidia.c … _conference.html Computers, Cool, Inspiring, Science, TECH Apparently graphics processing is not just about gaming and special effects! Lots of cool topics ranging from Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Quantum Chemistry, and Neuroscience.
20100927 220835 Z Notepad++: Linebreaks in Regular Expressions blog.microug … -in-regular.html Open Source, Programming, TECH, Text So lame! As an UltraEdit user trying out Notepad++, at first I thought the issue was the difference between the PERL style regular expressions used in UltraEdit and the POSIX/SciTE style regular expressions used in Notepad++. Instead the issue is that Notepad++ doesn't find handle linebreaks with s+. Who knows how else regular expressions are broken in Notepad++?
20101008 210743 Z The OS Doesn’t Matter… www.mondayno … nt=Google+Reader Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, TECH The PCs and smart devices are Unix/Linux except for Windows.
20101011 160145 Z Google is testing cars that drive themselves www.cnn.com/ … g.cars.mashable/ Google, TECH, Transportation Google-driven cars have been on the streets in California for months now! I'd go for it!
20101012 013109 Z How to Estimate Software james-iry.bl … te-software.html www.reddit.c … timate_software/ Funny, Programming, TECH 2 weeks. That's how we roll.
20101014 202019 Z Netflix on PS3: Disc-free Next Week blog.us.play … 0/14/netflixps3/ Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Movies, Sony, TECH, TV, Video Games Sweet. I love the Netflix and Sony PS3/Blue Ray/TV integration thingy so far and I'm looking forward to Google getting in the mix.
20101103 200607 Z ACTROID-F in AIST Open Lab 2010 02 www.youtube. … ch?v=cFVlzUAZkHY Live Action, Robotics, TECH, Videos I found that the smaller motions, especially around the eyes and mouth, gained the most points towards passing as human.
20101201 204500 Z Server-side JavaScript the untold story by Ulrike Mueller jsconf.eu/20 … ipt_the_unt.html Cyber Tech, JavaScript, Live Action, Programming, TECH While the Client-Side JavaScript (CSJS) is well known, the Server-Side JavaScript (SSJS) is not. Personally, I like JavaScript and why not use it on the server-side? I like the last line of Urlike's bio too: "Beside server-side JavaScript, she spends a lot of time with high-scale architecture concepts and NoSQL databases." demandware.com.
20101206 184946 Z Discover more than 3 million Google eBooks from your choice of booksellers and devices googleblog.b … lion-google.html Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Google, Reading, TECH No rumors, no maybes, no fanfare. Instead Google eBooks [http://books.google.com/ebooks] is announced and is here. An eBook store where the stuff is readable on lots of devices.
20101207 171047 Z Google Maps for Android Now Faster, Smoother, in 3D and Works Offline gizmodo.com/ … with-the-compass Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Google, Mobile, TECH Bionic maps!
20101207 195344 Z Strategies for becoming a better programmer blog.develop … Paul+S.+Boodhoo) Inspiring, Programming, Self Improvement, TECH Not just for programmers.
20110106 161216 Z JWT: 100 Things to Watch in 2011 www.slidesha … -in-2011-6306251 www.crossfit … ive2/007361.html Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, TECH Me? I'll be watching my kids.
20110111 191505 Z A Simpler Page www.alistapa … /a-simpler-page/ Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Design, Gadget, Hardware, TECH A tablet in bed, on your knee, and at breakfast. Yes, this stuff should be explored.
20110120 163803 Z Skynet meets the Swarm: how the Berkeley Overmind won the 2010 StarCraft AI competition arstechnica. … competition.ars/ Oscar Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, TECH, Video Games They're sharpening AI using StarCraft (not SC2). Finally people are putting their hundreds of hours of game time to good use. Macro, micro, and even new strategies.
20110326 140651 Z Quantum physics explanation for smell gains traction www.bbc.co.u … ronment-12827893 Animation, Biology, Chemistry, Chill, Cool, Futurama, Physics, Science, TECH, TV Futurama wasn't too far off with the Smelloscope by The Professor.
20110429 204705 Z JSONx publib.bould … onandjsonx05.htm www.reddit.c … ng_jsonx_an_ibm/ Funny, Programming, Quirky, Sad, Standards, TECH "JSONx is an IBM® standard format to represent JSON as XML". Madness!
20110511 153923 Z Android Makes the Jump to Home Appliances www.dailytec … article21600.htm Gadget, Google, TECH I like the idea. Just the other day I was looking at Google TV and the idea of using my Android phone as the remote control would solve the problem of the missing remote control!
20110518 183129 Z JavaScript emulator lets Linux run in a browser tab www.geek.com … er-tab-20110517/ Browser, Computers, Cool, JavaScript, Operating System, Programming, TECH Emulate an OS in a browser tab using JavaScript? Good geeky coolness.
20110528 014401 Z Understanding the Fourier transform by Stuart Riffle altdevblogad … urier-transform/ www.reddit.c … ansform_a_clear/ Beauty, Color, Math, TECH It's magic! As Khan knows, visuals and colors helps the medicine go down.
20110529 151807 Z twitter: follow v list Cyber Life, TECH In twitter we should follow less and list more, but listing doesn't have the social weight that following does.
20110620 181206 Z Build Your Own 3D Printer Workshop: June 18 pumpingstati … a-build-june-18/ Gadget, Hardware, Make, Open Source, Software, TECH I was at Sacha's place this weekend and got to checkout his RepRap 3D printer in person. Amazing what you can make with a few bills what once used to cost thousands!
20110628 132752 Z What Tau Sounds Like www.youtube. … ch?v=3174T-3-59Q http://tauday.com/ Audio, Live Action, Math, Music, TECH, Videos Happy Tau Day!
20110713 162038 Z html href tel Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Google, HTML, Standards, TECH I've noticed that more places are making links like this: <a href="tel:1-888-357-1516">1-888-357-1516</a> (1-888-357-1516). With Gmail on a browser, that brings up the Google web phone. On a mobile phone, clicking on such a link uses the phone. I have no use for it now but it's interesting.
20110726 133055 Z 2D Photography Rube Goldberg http://youtu.be/qKpxd8hzOcQ Chill, Cool, Cyber Life, Funny, Gear, Live Action, Photography, Photos, TECH, Videos Photographers have too much time and creativity!
20110808 173420 Z Cosmos Will Get a Sequel Hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson www.wired.co … -degrasse-tyson/ Space, TECH, TV, Videos Whoot! I loved Cosmos!
20110815 164956 Z Can we believe our eyes? blogs.techne … ve-our-eyes.aspx Funny, Security, TECH Haha! A little knowledge is dangerous, and your eyes can deceive you!
20110817 144128 Z Same post in FB and G+, but more responses in FB Cyber Life, FaceBook, Google, TECH Same post in FB and G+, but more responses in FB, eh. Google needs to open up G+. Sure Google made mistakes, but I liked it when Google was bold and came out with beta products.
20110817 145140 Z Google, Money, TECH Still in shock about Google buying Motorola for 12.5 GUSD. In contrast YouTube only cost them 1.65 GUSD.
20110913 181152 Z Microsoft Windows 8 Complete Guide www.slashgea … -guide-13179119/ Microsoft, Operating System, TECH Windows 8 is looking pretty good. I like the idea of having the same OS that scales depending on the device: phone, tablet, desktop, server.
20110913 182750 Z Google secret plan to improve web apps draws heat www.cbsnews. … in20105416.shtml Browser, Google, JavaScript, Open Source, Standards, TECH Dart, Google's new language (previously Dash), may be a threat to JavaScript and Google may be "open-washing"? Don't be evil!
20110929 015124 Z Intel demonstrates low-energy processor that could be powered by a potato www.digitalt … red-by-a-potato/ Computers, Cool, Hardware, TECH Beware my potato 'puter!
20111014 195525 Z RIP Dennis Ritchie (1941-09-09/2011-10-08) Computers, Death, Inspiring, Obituaries, Operating System, Programming, Sad, TECH Alas, I never got "The C Programming Language" signed by Dennis Ritchie (1941-09-09/2011-10-08). Thank you for C and Unix and their descendants. May the legends grow and the code remain concise.
20111018 150014 Z The Search for a More Perfect Kilogram www.wired.co … /09/ff_kilogram/ www.crossfit … ive2/007939.html Beauty, Cool, Math, Physics, Science, Standards, TECH A fun read. I wanna be a metrologist when I grow up!
20111021 153302 Z Microwave arcing fixed Funny, Gadget, Hardware, Home, TECH My microwave started arcing when used --even when it was empty. I observed that the arcing was coming from the panel covering the waveguide. I took out the panel out and noticed fraying and arc burns on the panel. I applied a bit of duct tape and, voila!, microwave fixed! In theory I should order another panel.
20111102 235726 Z Paul Zak: Trust, morality -- and oxytocin www.ted.com/ … nd_oxytocin.html Biology, Chemistry, Ethics, Mind, Psychology, Relations, Science, TECH, Videos I love the intersection of science and ethics. I found his experiments convincing support for his claim that oxytocin is the specific chemical for trust, morality, and empathy. Prescription: 8 hugs a day!
20111104 215225 Z Google +1 play Cyber Life, Google, TECH Don't mind me, but I'm playing with sticking the Google +1 button site wide. I also stuck in some schema.org microdata.
20111115 171905 Z Job Title:Astronaut Candidate www.usajobs. … etails/302967000 Inspiring, Space, TECH, Work What an awesome job posting!
20111210 115606 Z More evidence found for quantum physics in photosynthesis arstechnica. … otosynthesis.ars Flora, Nature, Physics, TECH Coherence via quantum entaglement (simultaneous syncing over arbitrary distances) seems like such a powerful thing that it would indeed be used by nature all over the place.
20120109 182102 Z Climate Change Is Undeniable and Must Be Addressed Now, Says Former U.S. Senator Ted Kaufman thinkprogres … ufman/?mobile=nc Sustainability, TECH, USA, World Sadly no amount of evidence will convince the climate change deniers.
20120301 155806 Z Introducing "enclothed cognition" - how what we wear affects how we think bps-research … gnition-how.html Chill, Funny, Psychology, Science, TECH Aha! Yet another excuse to work while wearing a white lab coat!
20120316 172100 Z Britannica Goes All-Out Digital www.britanni … al-encyclopedia/ Cyber Life, Funny, Sad, TECH Sad: Encyclopædia Britannica stops printing after 244 years. Funny: I found out through Wikipedia.
20120321 164427 Z Space Elevator, Going Up news.discove … ator-120225.html Cool, Engineering, Nanotechnology, Space, TECH Whoot! It may be possible to have a space LIFT within my lifetime! 2050 isn't so far away.
20120603 140603 Z Last Weekend, Half of Germany Was Running on Solar Power www.treehugg … wered-solar.html Cool, Economy, Germany, Money, Solar, Sustainability, TECH, USA It sure would be sweet if America had a Sputnik moment and realized American't fall behind on solar.
20120626 172640 Z How twisted light transmits data faster than ever dvice.com/ar … -twisted-lig.php Computers, Hardware, Physics, Science, TECH Why limit yourself to AM or FM, when you can also combine spirals of light. It's like a dream.
20120918 141841 Z The Warp Drive Could Become Science Fact news.discove … 0yss-120917.html Cool, Hardware, Physics, Science, Science Fiction, Space, Star Trek, Star Wars, TECH Apparently donuts are key to making a viable Alcubierre warp drive!
20121126 193122 Z How NASA might build its very first warp drive io9.com/5963 … first-warp-drive Cool, Engineering, Inspiring, Math, My Stuff, Physics, Science, Space, TECH I love this story for several reasons but my primary personal reason is that I built my own Michelson-Morley interferometer in high school!
20130124 173607 Z Machine v Garden Artificial Intelligence, Life, Nature, Ramblings, TECH Life is tech, but not all tech has life. Usually tech is a machine where the vitality us without. Sometimes tech is garden with the ki within. Some people focus on the code as machine. Some focus on the code as machine supporting the life about it. Some are trying to awaken the ghost in the machine --AI. Some focus on the life all about and use machines only as needed.
20130408 174534 Z Report: Google Fiber Coming to Austin as Cities Race to Boost Web Speeds Read more: http://business.time.com/2013/04/08/google-fiber-reportedly-coming-to-austin-tx-as-cities-race-to-boost-web-speeds/#ixzz2PtYLQIZQ business.tim … oost-web-speeds/ Cyber Life, Google, News, TECH More evidence that points toward Google Fiber as more than just an experiment. Cable ISPs need real competition!
20130408 175602 Z Mozilla takes a fresh look at Google's WebP image format news.cnet.co … bp-image-format/ Animation, Firefox, Google, Images, Standards, TECH .webp has lossy, lossless, EXIF, color profiles, alpha channel, and animation! This could beat out JPG, PNG, and GIF!
20130501 140018 Z Stunning new view of Saturn storm shows eye about the size of India www.world-sc … 30429_Saturn.htm Beauty, Cool, Images, Inspiring, Space, TECH, Videos Strange hurricane on Saturn's north pole. The eye is the size of Inida. There is no ocean below to drive it. 530 km/h (330 mph) winds. Nice pictures by NASA's Cassini.
20130630 140136 Z Tiny Channels Take Salt From Seawater news.discove … water-130628.htm Chemistry, Cool, Engineering, Hardware, News, Sustainability, TECH Solid state desalination: I love simple but brilliant ideas.
20130705 185715 Z Linux - Laptop That Runs Entirely By The Power Of The Sun Developed For Education www.linuxnew … ed-for-education Computers, Cool, Hardware, Solar, TECH Then you can say "I use Linux with windows". Only $400!
20130722 235105 Z Official Trailer from Comic-Con | COSMOS www.youtube. … ch?v=gMJxjYRXYkU Beauty, Cool, Inspiring, Physics, Science, Space, TECH, Videos "Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey" coming 2014 Q2! Neil deGrasse Tyson, Seth MacFarlane, and Carl Sagan's widow Ann Druyan.
20130731 201647 Z Your app makes me fat seriouspony. … app-makes-me-fat Cyber Life, Food, Mind, Programming, Psychology, TECH TLDNR: We have limited cognitive power. Use it up and you will suck. So make things as simple as possible.
20131126 182334 Z Raspberry Pi FAQ http://www.raspberrypi.org/faqs Cool, Gadget, Hardware, Inspiring, Kids, Programming, Software, TECH If you have a hands-on techie kid/adult, then Raspberry Pi makes for a seriously excellent gift for just $35.
20131129 151324 Z Solar Energy Was America's Sole New Power Source in October www.theatlan … -october/281867/ Economy, Solar, Sustainability, TECH, USA In October, all the new American power plants that came online were solar. This trend will continue!
20140110 204516 Z Display Resolution /docs.google … RZlE&usp=sharing Computers, Gadget, Hardware, Images, My Stuff, TECH, Videos I've decided to publicly share my my "Display Resolution" spreadsheet in honor of all the high resolution displays I've been seeing lately.
20140131 153610 Z Apple patents solar-powered MacBook www.computer … _powered_MacBook Apple, Computers, Cool, Gadget, Hardware, Solar, TECH Once someone makes a solar laptop, then everyone will! Yay!
20140207 151526 Z Catching a lift to space asia.nikkei. … -a-lift-to-space Engineering, Hardware, Nanotechnology, Space, TECH This time around they reached 1.2 Km. Next year's goal: 2 Km. Goal for 2020: 15 Km. 50-100 Km is "space". We need more nanotube work!
20140213 152655 Z Mathematics: Why the brain sees maths as beauty www.bbc.co.u … ronment-26151062 Art, Beauty, Cool, Math, Mind, TECH Apparently math/abstract beauty excites the same parts of the brain as sensory beauty.
20140221 151653 Z Space Elevators Are 'Possible' Says New Study www.huffingt … e_n_4821785.html Nanotechnology, Solar, Space, Space Elevator, TECH A rare mention of space elevators in main stream media. The necessary tech (esp CNT & solar) is developing nicely so space elevators are likely to become a reality. FYI: http://www.space.com/24739-space-elevator-tether-technology.html, has a bit more meat but it's not as mainstream.
20140317 202828 Z Big Bang's "Smoking Gun" Confirms Early Universe's Exponential Growth news.nationa … n-science-space/ Cool, Inspiring, Space, TECH Gravitational waves have been discovered! They spent 3 years checking the results before announcing it today. I'm sure Neil deGrasse Tyson knew before today especially since Harvard was involved. Go Cosmos!
20140330 160738 Z Light Speed: From Minecraft to Reality /www.youtube … ch?v=SLffdgotHEA www.reddit.c … _with_minecraft/ Chill, Cool, Funny, Inspiring, Physics, Play, Science, Space, TECH, Video Games A Minecraft world is 60 Mm across, the Earth's circumference is 40 Mm, the speed of light/gravity/etc is 300 Mm/s.
20140404 145602 Z Energy breakthrough uses sun to create solar energy materials www.scienced … 140403132353.htm Cool, Engineering, Solar, Sustainability, TECH Solar tech to make materials instead of energy!
2008-06-24t18:26:42 Z | TAGS: Cyber Tech, Databases, Open Source, Programming, TECH, Wikipedia
A Look Inside Wikipedia's Infrastructure
A Look Inside Wikipedia's Infrastructure [http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2008/Jun/24/a_look_inside_wikipedias_infrastructure.html] [VIA: http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/06/24/1552225&from=rss]

Wikipedia is one of the top 10 busiest sites on the planet. Caching seems to be the big trick.

As I see it, in such context Wikipedia is more interesting as a case of operations underdog - non-profit lean budgets, brave approaches in infrastructure, conservative feature development, and lots of cheating and cheap tricks (caching! caching! caching!).

Some quick stats:

I liked this insightful tidbit from the slashdot thread:

Most of Wikipedia is a collection of static pages. Most users of Wikipedia are just reading the latest version of an article, to which they were taken by a non-Wikipedia search engine. So all Wikipedia has to do for them is serve a static page. No database work or page generation is required.

Older revisions of pages come from the database, as do the versions one sees during editing and previewing, the history information, and such. Those operations involve the MySQL databases. There are only about 10-20 updates per second taking place in the editing end of the system. When a page is updated, static copies are propagated out to the static page servers after a few tens of seconds.

Article editing is a check-out/check in system. When you start editing a page, you get a version token, and when you update the page, the token has to match the latest revision or you get an edit conflict. It's all standard form requests; there's no need for frantic XMLHttpRequest processing while you're working on a page.

Because there are no ads, there's no overhead associated with inserting variable ad info into the pages. No need for ad rotators, ad trackers, "beacons" or similar overhead.

I like the principal of minimal database calls, but it's so funny given how popular Web 2.0 and AJAX are.

2008-07-03t22:28:18 Z | TAGS: Chill, Fighting, Funny, MARTIAL, Swords, TECH, Western Martial Arts
Capoferro Tech Support call
[VIA: Karl]

This is a funny piece that even those outside of the Western Martial Arts (WMA) community may enjoy. It was written by Puck Curtis, who emphasizes Destreza and Spanish fencing.

Hola,
With apologies, as someone who has spent a lot of time on the other end of the support line, this has been rattling around in my head for some time. For better or worse, here it is.
*****************************************************

A Most Merry Tale of the Duel

**Phone rings**

Technician: This is Capoferro Tech Support, can I help you?

Caller: Yes, I am currently in a duel and I would like some help.

Technician: Can I get some information about your opponent?

Caller: Sure. He has a sword.

Technician: Can you tell me anything else?

Caller: He's got black hair and brown eyes.

Technician: [audible sigh]... Can you tell me if he is skilled,
unskilled, or bestial?

Caller: How can you tell?

Technician: A bestial fencer will throw many blows with great
impetus and has no understanding of tempo or measure.

Caller: I don't think that's him; he's just standing there.

Technician: Does he have his sword out?

Caller: Yes and it is pointed at me.

Technician: Are you within his measure?

Caller: I don't know.

Technician: Can he currently strike you with a lunge?

Caller: Yes, he's already hit me twice... I'm bleeding a bit from
the shoulder. That's why I called you.

Technician: You should have told me that first. I need you to
immediately retreat out of distance.

Caller: Ok... I have retreated... He seems to have relaxed a bit.

Technician: That's good. I need to know if your opponent is clever.

Caller: **Loudly aside** Hey, are you clever or what? **Into the
phone** He says he isn't clever.

Technician: I want you to assume the guard and cover the inside line
with your blade. Turn your point towards his forward shoulder
aligning your edge so that you cover his blade with your strong
against his weak.

Caller: Ok... this seems to be working. I think he might be
impressed or something. He might even be afraid. I love fencing!

Technician: Now, he should execute a cavazione and try to strike you
on the outside high line. Be ready to counterattack by rolling your
hand into secunda, closing the line and counterthrusting. Are you
ready?

Caller: Ok.

Technician: I want you to gradually move forward with tiny steps
directly towards him.

Caller: Ok... I'm taking tiny steps... He hasn't done anything yet.
I think it may be working. Oh oh... he attacked the outside just
like you said!! I'm counterattacking!! Ahhhh Ahh ohhh ohhh!! He
feinted!! He feinted!! He parried my counterattack!! I'm bleeding
again!! Yes.. I'm definitely bleeding!! I hate fencing!! I hate it!!

Technician: Calm down. Calm down! I need you to listen to me. I need
you to retreat out of distance again.

Caller: Ok... Ok... I'm retreating. He relaxed again. What would
happen if I rushed him? Would that work?

Technician: It would probably work for him.

Caller: What does that mean?

Technician: Don't worry about it. Here's what you need to do.

Caller: Ok, I'm ready.

Technician: Are you out of distance?

Caller: Yes.

Technician: Can you see the adversary?

Caller: Yes.

Technician: When you are ready, I want you to repeat after me. Are
you ready?

Caller: Yes.

Technician: "I want to sincerely apologize for having offended you."

Caller: **Loudly aside** I want to sincerely apologize for having
offended you.

Technician: Now put your sword away and see if he lets you leave.

***********************************

For the record, covering the inside line and counterattacking the
cavazione in 2nd is Plate 7. I'll leave it to you guys to figure out
what the clever fencer's response was.

Pachomius Oneshoe
2008-07-17t14:58:26 Z | TAGS: Computers, Hardware, Images, Nanotechnology, Science, TECH
Quantum Leap
Quantum Leap [http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/21086/?nlid=1214&a=f]
An international team of researchers has shown that it can control the quantum state of a single electron in a silicon transistor--even putting the electron in two places at once. Their discovery could help pave the way toward a practical quantum computer.

Not quite a violation of the Heisenber uncertainty principle, but it almost sounds like it!

Manipulating the state of a single electron
As the electric field induced by a silicon nanowire (gray) increases, an electron in an arsenic atom moves from its ground state (left) to an excited state (right). During this transition, the electron enters a hybridized state (middle) in which it is in both of the other states simultaneously. In theory, such an electron could serve as a “qubit” in a quantum computer.
2008-07-17t16:02:38 Z | TAGS: Cool, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Google, Office, TECH
Time for templates!
Time for templates! [http://groups.google.com/group/GDSupdates/browse_thread/thread/543ddb67b78a844d?hl=en]
Google just announced that they now have templates for Google Documents [https://docs.google.com/templates] and they already have hundreds of templates! Since it's by Google the templates are searchable and rated. It's also a creativity showcase for what you can do with Google documents.
2008-07-18t17:35:04 Z | TAGS: Hardware, Nanotechnology, TECH, Tolkien
Strongest Material Ever Tested
Strongest Material Ever Tested [http://www.technologyreview.com/Nanotech/21098/?nlid=1217&a=f]
Graphene [W], carbon arranged chicken-wire fashion in one-atom thick sheets, reminds me of the Mithril maille in Lord of the Rings!
Graphene tested as strongest material so far
If he could get a large enough piece of the material to lay over the top of a coffee cup, he says, graphene would be strong enough to support the weight of a car balanced atop the pencil.
2008-07-25t16:07:00 Z | TAGS: Cloud, Computers, Databases, Free Libre, Google, JavaScript, Open Source, Programming, TECH
10gen
10gen [http://www.10gen.com/] [VIA: http://www.technologyreview.com/Biztech/21127/?nlid=1235&a=f]

10gen [10gen.com] has just arrived as an open-source alternative in the cloud computing arena (apps and data hosted on a hundreds of servers knitted together to form a cloud or grid or virtual super computer). There are of course the big players like Google App Engine (GAE) [http://code.google.com/appengine/], Amazon Web Services, Yahoo, and IBM, as well as smaller players like KickApps [kickapps.com].

As an example of its open-source nature, 10gen has an open-source, scalable, object database instead of a relational database. Contrast this with GAE's proprietary BigTable that uses GQL and no joins. One of the cooler things about 10gen is that it uses JavaScript! Lately I've been loving using JavaScript for both client-side and server-side coding. Contrast this with GAE's use of Python with Django. Both 10gen and Google say that they'll support other languages later.

Personally I'm torn because while 10gen just got $1.5 million in venture capital, Google is more of a sure thing.

2008-08-01t16:17:57 Z | TAGS: Solar, TECH
Solar-Power Breakthrough
Solar-Power Breakthrough [http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/21155/?nlid=1247]

There are a lot of solar power breakthroughs, but this is one of the biggest ever!

Daniel Nocera, a professor of chemistry at MIT, has developed a catalyst that can generate oxygen from a glass of water by splitting water molecules. The reaction frees hydrogen ions to make hydrogen gas. The catalyst, which is easy and cheap to make, could be used to generate vast amounts of hydrogen using sunlight to power the reactions. The hydrogen can then be burned or run through a fuel cell to generate electricity whenever it's needed, including when the sun isn't shining.
Daniel Nocera doing artificial synthesis

I agree with Myer's statement here:

Nocera's advance represents a key discovery in an effort by many chemical research groups to create artificial photosynthesis--mimicking how plants use sunlight to split water to make usable energy. "This discovery is simply groundbreaking," says Karsten Meyer, a professor of chemistry at Friedrich Alexander University, in Germany. "Nocera has probably put a lot of researchers out of business." For solar power, Meyer says, "this is probably the most important single discovery of the century."

Here's a bit on how he does it:

The new catalyst marks a radical departure from earlier attempts. Researchers, including Nocera, have tried to design molecular catalysts in which the location of each atom is precisely known and the catalyst is made to last as long as possible. The new catalyst, however, is amorphous--it doesn't have a regular structure--and it's relatively unstable, breaking down as it does its work. But the catalyst is able to constantly repair itself, so it can continue working. In his experimental system, Nocera immerses an indium tin oxide electrode in water mixed with cobalt and potassium phosphate. He applies a voltage to the electrode, and cobalt, potassium, and phosphate accumulate on the electrode, forming the catalyst. The catalyst oxidizes the water to form oxygen gas and free hydrogen ions. At another electrode, this one coated with a platinum catalyst, hydrogen ions form hydrogen gas. As it works, the cobalt-based catalyst breaks down, but cobalt and potassium phosphate in the solution soon re-form on the electrode, repairing the catalyst.

Now that we can use artificial photosynthesis to generate hydrogen ions from water, there are just two more technical hurdles to getting non-ionized hydrogen from water and sunlight:

One is replacing the expensive platinum catalyst for making hydrogen from hydrogen ions with a catalyst based on a cheap and abundant metal, as Nocera has done with the oxygen catalyst. Finding a cheaper catalyst for making hydrogen shouldn't be too difficult, says John Turner, a principal investigator at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in Golden, CO. Indeed, Nocera says that he has promising new materials that might work, and other researchers also have likely candidates. The second remaining step in artificial photosynthesis is developing a material that absorbs sunlight, generating the electrons needed to power the water-splitting catalysts. That will allow Nocera's catalyst to run directly on sunlight; right now, it runs on electricity taken from an outlet.

Wow. Wow. Wow! Things are looking bright!

2008-08-01t20:29:12Z Many more links have popped up today on this. Here are a few:

2008-08-01t17:53:20 Z | TAGS: Cyber Tech, Excel, Microsoft, My Stuff, Programming, TECH
Cannot open Excel in Internet Explorer

It is fairly well known that you can easily turn simple HTML tables into Excel files by giving it a different MIME with code like the following: Response.ContentType = "application/vnd.ms-excel";. Greg Griffiths writes about it in "MS Excel", which also include other methods of getting Excel files to a user via browser. There are other cheesy methods such as generating a CSV and so on.

However, I recently ran into the issue where the MIME-change version was working for all browsers except for Internet Explorer. Furthermore, it worked on IE7 for the LAN but not the Web. I did the usual scouring the Web via Google and MSDN, but was unsuccessful. What finally led me to the solution was the little nugget about how Response.AddHeader() had to be used before any other output. That's when I dug through the various includes on the pages and noticed that way up on top there was some cache code. I just elimated that and BAM! All is well! Another case of needing to minimize settings in includes.

Here is the simple test page I made in ASP JavaScript. Note the cache code that I commented out that fixed the problem.

<%@ language="javascript" %>
<%
Response.Buffer=true;
Response.Expires = -1;
//Response.CacheControl = "no-cache";
//Response.AddHeader("Pragma", "no-cache");
Response.ContentType = "application/vnd.ms-excel";
Response.AddHeader("Content-Disposition", "attachment;Filename=ExcelTests.xls");

Response.Write("<table>\r\n");
Response.Write("    <tr>\r\n");
Response.Write("        <td>a1</td>\r\n");
Response.Write("        <td>b1</td>\r\n");
Response.Write("        <td>c1</td>\r\n");
Response.Write("    </tr>\r\n");
Response.Write("    <tr>\r\n");
Response.Write("        <td>a2</td>\r\n");
Response.Write("        <td>b2</td>\r\n");
Response.Write("        <td>c2</td>\r\n");
Response.Write("    </tr>\r\n");
Response.Write("    <tr>\r\n");
Response.Write("        <td>a3</td>\r\n");
Response.Write("        <td>b3</td>\r\n");
Response.Write("        <td>c3</td>\r\n");
Response.Write("    </tr>\r\n");
Response.Write("</table>");
//Response.Flush();
%>
2008-08-07t12:31:31 Z | TAGS: Business, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, News, Standards, TECH
'.wow': ICANN to allow almost any domain suffix
'.wow': ICANN to allow almost any domain suffix [http://news.zdnet.com/2424-9595_22-208742.html?tag=nl.e550]

A fairly big change.

At its meeting in Paris, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a not-for-profit organization that oversees the naming scheme for web sites, voted to accept a proposal that will allow companies to purchase new top-level domain names ending in almost whatever suffix they choose. So, for example, instead of being restricted to sites ending in .com or .org., eBay could have a site that ends in .ebay, or New York City could end its website address with .nyc.

To deter name cybersquatters, the new TLDs will be more expensive, possibly 50-100+ KUSD. It also explains why .xxx wasn't approved earlier.

2008-08-15t01:30:11 Z | TAGS: Cool, Funny, Gadget, Hardware, Kensington, My Stuff, TECH
How to set tax rate on Kensington keypad calculator

A few days ago I ordered and received a "Kensington Notebook Calculator with USB HUB", Model K72274. It's a wonderful piece of hardware that truly just plugs in and plays. It only works when it's plugged into a computer and the laptop is on, which is just fine. My laptop's NUM LOCK button had to be off in order for the keypads NUM LOCK to work, which is also fine. The buttons on the Kensington are typical for a keypad (0-9, 000, ., /, *, -, +, BS, ENTER, NUM LOCK) as well as for a typical for a calculator (M+, M-, +/-, MR, MC, %, TAX+, TAX-, TAB, AC/ON). There are two buttons not typically found on a keypad or calculator: A "PC/CAL" button that switches it from PC-mode to calculator-mode, and a "Send" button that sends the current value to the computer as if you had typed it in and hit ENTER.

Kensington Keypad Calculator

All good. However, setting the tax rate for use with the TAX+ and TAX- buttons is a process that varies between different models of calculators. I spent perhaps 20 minutes trying to figure it out myself but the I had to go. Later I decided to just search for the answer instead of wasting my time trying to figure it out.

I consulted the manual that came with the Kensington but it had no help. I dug up the manual [http://files.acco.com/KENSINGTON/K72274US/K72274US-24882.pdf] but it was exactly the same as the printed manual. I scoured the Kensington site for any FAQs, troubleshooting, etc. I searched Google for stuff like "how to set tax+ tax- calculator" or "how to set tax rate keypad", which turned up results such as holding down the % button for a few seconds, enter the tax rate, and then press the % button via something like ftp://61.218.39.140:1000/Manual/CKP-70H%20manual.pdf. I tried all that but nothing. Eventually I went to the Kensington site and started a trouble ticket.

Their first was response was to tell me to call them. So I called --several times. The support was obviously overseas. There were a few disconnects which (I felt) occurred because the issue was not in their knowledge base so the support staff pulled the plug. The one woman who was finally brave enough to see the problem through a bit further decided that she would send me a new one. Well, that's nice but the thing isn't broken --it just needs a better manual. So I continued the trouble ticket at the site and got an email giving me the same instructions that I pulled from Google!

AAAARRRRGGH!

So I was back to square one with trying to figure it out and hoping that the engineers actually made it possible at all. I was on the right track on my first attempt a few days ago, so it only took me a few minutes this time.

Here is how to set the tax rate on a Kensington keypad calculator:

  1. Click AC/ON.
  2. Click Tax+.
  3. Press and hold Tax+ until the display flashes.
  4. Enter the tax rate.
  5. Click Tax+.

Boo-yah! In your face Kensington! Don't get me wrong, I love the product but the manual needs a bit more info.

2008-08-18t14:32:30 Z | TAGS: Free Gratis, Microsoft, Office, Open Source, Software, Standards, Sun, TECH
File format wars

I love watching technical standards wars. While it's fairly easily to compare the sides on a "objective" technical basis, the wars are often muddied by a goofy factors like politics, patents, proprietary issues, legacy issues, momentum issues, etc. For example the metric system is far superior to others systems of measurement and yet three countries on the planet persist on not using SI: The US, Myanmar, and Liberia. Ridiculous!

Anyhow right now there is a tech standards war going on over "office" documents like word processing, spreadsheets, graphics, presentations, and mathematical representations. The two sides are roughly Microsoft with its Office Open XML (OOXML or OpenXML) [W] and Sun with its OpenDocument Format (ODF) [W]. OOXML is standardized with Ecma International as Ecma-376 and is in the process of standardization with the ISO/IEC as ISO/IEC DIS 29500. ODF is not standarized with the Ecma but it is an official ISO/IEC standard as ISO/IEC 26300:2006.

Whether OOXML is better or worse than ODF should involve a deeper look but given that the OOXML standard is over 6,000 pages long while the ODF standard is under 900 pages, I'm leaning towards ODF. My concern is that there should be a single standard for greater inter-operability. Microsoft is, of course, the biggest player in Office documents, but I think Sun's drive has helped push Microsoft towards an open and universal format regardless of how the details settle in the end.

2008-08-20t17:20:31 Z | TAGS: Cyber Life, Family, Google, Kids, My Stuff, Security, Shopping, TECH, Wikipedia
Cyber Rules
Cyber Rules [http://www.georgehernandez.com/h/xComputers/Webs/CyberRules.asp]

I just made a page called Cyber Rules. It will probably change over time so this post will contain the original version.

Simple rules and guidelines for safety, etiquette, and excellence online (the Web, cyberspace, online shopping, IM, chat rooms, email, messageboards, etc.).

Kids, Teens, and Parents Online

I'm a programmer but I'm also a parent.

Safety

Etiqette

Excellence

Safety Online

Etiqette Online

Excellence Online

2008-08-21t16:13:17 Z | TAGS: Biking, Cool, Exercise, Hardware, Shopping, Sustainability, TECH
Electric Folding Bikes
Electric Folding Bikes [http://nycewheels.com/electric-folding-bike.html] [VIA: Red Eye]
Red Eye, a local free paper here in Chicago had an article about electric bikes. By coincidence I was looking into folding bikes recently, but electric folding bikes sounds pretty cool too! The eZee Quando for example costs $1,500, weighs 51.5 pounds (23.4 Kg), folds in 10 seconds to 34"x15"x29" (86cm x 38cm x 74cm), goes up to 15 mph (24 Km/h) on battery alone, uses a lithium battery (like a laptop) which accounts for 10 pounds (4.5 Kg), and recharges in around 5 hours. Other sites like Electric Bikes Northwest [electricvehiclesnw.com] sell electric/folding bikes too.
2008-09-03t20:32:09 Z | TAGS: Browser, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Google, Open Source, TECH
Google Chrome
Google Chrome [http://www.google.com/chrome]

A brand new browser by Google called Chrome [google.com/chrome] came out yesterday. I've tried it out at work on Windows XP and at home on Windows Vista Ultimate.

On the front end, the best thing about it is that it's fast. Not just a bit faster but 2 to 20 times faster. The interface is very clean and minimalist. There are a lot of little front end niceties like all textarea controls on forms are now resizable. The "Omnibox" combines the URL address bar (ALT+D) and search bar (CTRL+E) into one as is done Opera. The root of each URL is highlighted in the Omnibox (IE8 does this too). The Omnibox provides unobtrusive suggestions (for stuff you've visited, likely searches, popular sites, etc.) as you type instead of nasty auto-completing. Chrome also gives the user more real estate by hiding the status bar (which shows as you type) or hiding the bookmarks bar (CTRL+B).

Chrome is built upon the open source WebKit, hence it has ties to Konqueror and Safari. However they also have developers from Firefox too. FYI: The major browser rendering engines are Gecko (EG Firefox), Trident (EG Internet Explorer), and Presto (EG Opera), and WebKit. The speed gain has a large contribution from the JavaScript virtual machine by V8. Chrome increases security and stability by sandboxing just about everything. Multiprocessing within a browser is a great idea for which Google will get a lot of credit for (evne though it was done by Opera since 1994 and will be in the Internet Explorer 8). I like how having the tabs on top provide a visual reminder that each tab is a separate process. I like how you can access Chrome's Task Manager (via a menu or SHIFT+ESC), much like you can access Window's Task Manager.

Chrome is missing add ons or extensions, which users of Firefox become dependent upon. Chrome will almost certainly have add ons as time goes on. This is a good time to review the Firefox extensions I use.

The things I don't like about Chrome:

Here are some of the better links to Chrom right now:

BOTTOM LINE: I love it! I want a few things that only Firefox has right now, but I think they're coming to Chrome.

2008-09-04t17:46:03 Z | TAGS: Browser, Chrome, Google, TECH
Chrome keyboard shortcuts
Chrome keyboard shortcuts [http://www.google.com/support/chrome/bin/answer.py?answer=95743]

Yesterday I made a post on Google Chrome. Today I bothered to look into its Help and discovered that some of my complaints are actually already dealt with. (Silly me but apparently all three of these shortcut are already in Firefox but I've lost track of which features are via add ons.)

Yesterday I said "I like the Omnibar but I want an easier on-the-fly method to change which search engine I'm using.". Apparently there is a way! If you go to Options then manage the search engines, you can set a key word for each search engine. EG: I've set the key word for Wikipedia as "wiki"; To use search Wikipedia from the Omnibar, I just type in "wiki" and then whatever I'm searching for. Easy!

Yesterday I said "Gestures should be built into browsers." However the main reason I use gestures for is to go back or forward in the tab's browsing history. I've always thought that ALT+ARROW was too much in comparison to a mouse gesture, but Chrome has BS or SHIFT+BS. Sweet!

I did not mention the ability to undo a close tab, but I use it all the time. Apparently CTRL+SHIFT+T can un-close the last 10 tabs. This is supposed to compliment CTRL+T (which opens a new tab). I wonder if they experimented with an alternate shortcut for un-close by complimenting it with the close tab shortcut: CTRL+SHIFT+W compliments CTRL+W?

So really I'm just waiting for Add Ons!

2008-09-24t15:10:48 Z | TAGS: Browser, Flash, Google, Office, TECH, Videos
Issues with Spreadsheets right-click menu in Google Chrome: fixed in new Google Chrome version
Issues with Spreadsheets right-click menu in Google Chrome: fixed in new Google Chrome version [http://groups.google.com/group/GDSupdates/browse_thread/thread/80ad618ca7905548?hl=en]

Ah! It's about time that Google fixed their own app running on their own browser.

Note 1: I used Chrome as my primary browser for a week after it came out, but as much as I love the implementation of tabs on Chrome, I can't live without the Tree Style Tab add on for Firefox and the Google Bookmarks via the Google Toolbar in Firefox.

Note 2: I love how Google docs finally implemented an automated table of contents feature (Inserting items: Table of contents [http://documents.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=106342&hl=en]) just like they have with Google Sites.

Note 3: Since Chrome came out, youtube has been working inconsistently. Right now youtube videos play on Chrome but not on Firefox for my machine Windows XP, but on my Windows Vista machine youtube videos play on Firefox but not on Chrome.

2008-09-28t14:20:38 Z | TAGS: JavaScript, Programming, TECH
Abbreviate Currency using Javascript
Abbreviate Currency using Javascript [http://groups.google.com/group/comp.lang.javascript/browse_thread/thread/16e76a4c1ce38b0f?hl=en]

This may not be commonly used but I thought it was a beautiful bit of code by Dr JR Stockton on 2008-09-27.

S = "$1000000000"
S = S.replace(/(0+)$/, function(a, s) { var L = s.length
  return ['','0','00'][L%3] + ['','K','M','G','T','P','E'][(L/3)|0]}) 
//S is now "$100M"
2008-10-08t23:25:20 Z | TAGS: Beauty, Books, Cool, Gadget, Images, Inspiring, Space, TECH
Browse the Artifacts of Geek History in Jay Walker's Library
Browse the Artifacts of Geek History in Jay Walker's Library [http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/16-10/ff_walker?currentPage=all] [VIA: http://www.reddit.com/r/WTF/comments/75znf/hm_contender_for_the_most_improbably_awesome/]
Don't we all construct our houses to accommodate our personal libraries? Wonderful.
The personal library of Jay Walker
2008-10-10t17:44:10 Z | TAGS: Browser, Java, My Stuff, Programming, TECH, Time
ghLibrary for JavaScript

Every programmer has their own little library, their own little bag of tricks accumulated over the years. For the past few weeks I've been reviewing JavaScript libraries for several reasons:

Except for the simplest of sites, it seems that the days are slipping when you could make a site with your own HTML, CSS, AJAX, and JavaScript on the client-side, plus whatever on the server-side. See http://www.surveymonkey.com/sr.aspx?sm=fXLiKcnKlD6cO5bRe961aBB6NCCWytRyY3rParAYmwA_3d. Now it seems that you have to use a library, as in the old build v buy argument. It's not simply for pretty stuff but for serious business stuff like data grids. They're calling them {AJAX | Widget | Web App} {Toolkits | Frameworks} these days. You can simply call them JavaScript libraries on the client-side, but on the server-side it's usually some other language generating JavaScript, CSS, and HTML for the client-side.

The top client-side JavaScript libraries are (in rough order):

The top server-side "JavaScript" libraries include:

There are libraries with more specific uses that are often included. Here are a few arbitrary ones:

The namespace collision issue shouldn't exist (that's what namespaces are for), except that many of these libraries extend or prototype the native global objects in the JavaScript language. Luckily so far I've only seen two major collisions:

My main emphasis was on language-level code. Why? The things you do with JavaScript change over time but the language itself should be solid. As I've mentioned, some of the libraries modify the native global objects in JavaScript and cannot be found with a namespacee. This can produce code that might be very difficult to debug. Some of the native gloobal object prototyping done by the these libraries have been implemented into the official JavaScript on Mozilla, especially with Array and functional/lambda programming. Since not everyone uses Firefox, I've tried to include some of the new stuff into the library so the code will work on other libraries. (I've noticed that JScript on Internet Explorer has not changed much, which has its good and bad points.) A search in the topic pulled up some goodies like these (in no particular order):

I broke up my personal JavaScript common library into two parts.

2008-10-16t16:51:33 Z | TAGS: Biology, Cool, Evolution, Fauna, Images, Nature, News, TECH
The cranial endoskeleton of Tiktaalik roseae
The cranial endoskeleton of Tiktaalik roseae [http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v455/n7215/abs/nature07189.html]
The article "The cranial endoskeleton of Tiktaalik roseae" just came out in the scientific journal Nature today [Nature 455, 925-929 (16 October 2008) by Jason P. Downs, Edward B. Daeschler, Farish A. Jenkins, and Neil H. Shubin]. It describes a wonderful "fishapod" Tiktaalik roseae that lived around 383 million years ago. Today's article shows the results of study since its discovery was first published in Nature 2006-04-06. The Tiktaalik is cool because it showcases the evolutionary transition between water-based fish and land-based tetrapods. The neat thing in today's article is that the transitionary features are found not just in the transitional fins/limbs, but that the whole head and neck were transitioning too. For example, a bone associated with gills was transforming into bones used for hearing! These fossils were discovered on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut territory, Canada, just west of Greenland, which is cold now but were warm and equatorial during the on late Devonian period. I find the prospect of this 2.7 m (9 foot) pre-amphibian quite exciting!
Tiktaalik Roseae: Half-fish, half-tetrapod
[W]
2008-10-22t22:04:42 Z | TAGS: Aikido, Atheism, Chicago Swordplay Guild, Faith, Hapkido, Introversion, JavaScript, MARTIAL, Mind, My Stuff, Philosophy, Psychology, Ramblings, Science, TECH, Thoughts, Writing
Today I am 40 years old

Today I am forty years old. The purpose of this post is to take a written snapshot of myself on this day, my 40th birthday.

So far, today has been a good day to die; Yesterday, not so good. Here's what I wrote yesterday while on my lunch break:

2008-10-21 13:04 CST

I think it started yesterday with Colin Powell's story about the gravestone of Khan, but whatever the cause, today I'm feeling heavy and depressed. It's like I need to cry something out. It's so heavy that even though I just made myself get lunch, I haven't touched it yet.

My mind is moving in a tiny little space. It doesn't care about perspective or possibilities. I'm tired of having my time stolen from me. I'm tire of pretending. I want room.

Perhaps I need to face my limitation, define them, use them, exploit them, revel in them.

Although there is great power in working with others or dominating other, although there is great joy in befriending others, although there are advantages in leading, cooperating, collaborating, coordinating, and teamwork, I can barely tolerate it.

I   am   an   individual.

Multiple factors distinguish today from yesterday but most of them are trivial such as the ebb and flow of my biochemical, physiological, and psychological state. Certainly my breakfast of a warm toasted "everything" bagel with a salmon shmear and a hot chocolate helped. Purposely setting myself in a more meditative with breathing, posture, and by "boxing" my thoughts helped. But happy or sad, you don't really care how you got there once you're there, although you might be interested in what to do once you're there, in which case then examining the path to the state might provide some useful info.

Sometimes I like to pull back and see things from a grander perspective. In theory I could pull back and see all of time (around 13 billion years to now) and space (around 93 billion light years), but in practice we're all flashes in the pan, and I can barely comprehend the last 40 years and I often hesitate about cleaning the space of a closet. Science and engineering are wonderful things because they allow us to see further and deeper than the obvious and we can test it to make sure that we're not just making it up. But most people are not concerned about the limits of science and engineering: Most people live in the model that they and their group(s) create.

So let me examine my models and their states for a moment.

My family. I couldn't ask for a better wife or set of kids. Julia is spicy, complex, independent, and supportive. Connie is creative, detailed, beautiful, has strong feelings, and is becoming a fine young woman. York has his own drummer, is athletic, handsome, kind, and is learning to be man. Amy is girlish, cute, likes to tie things, and is transforming from baby to child.

My finances. Financially I'm fine. My family makes more money than we spend. Our only real debt is for the house which has was not hideously overpriced like many houses were in this recent financial crisis. I work as a programmer at ICLOPS [iclops.com], a small business that I partially own, and it is doing well even though [or because?] the health care industry has serious problems in the US. Investing in gold and solar. As I've stated before: For big problems like non-hurricane proof levees, climatically dangerous environmental hazards, the health care industry, economy endangering derivatives, etc. it requires a catastrophe before action will be taken.

My exercise. I am largely recovered from knee surgery (a meniscal tear) in 2007-07. My resting heart rate is 60. My weight is 74 Kg = 163 pounds. My weight went up a few pounds with the knee issue, but as I've been recovering my waist fat has gone down somewhat and I have have had noticeable muscle gain in my chest and arms. Here are my scores for the Army PFT for males of my age: 97% for 70 push ups in a row within 2 minutes; Over 100% for 84 sit ups in a row within 2 minutes; 69% for running 2 miles = 3.2 Km in 17:48 (6.75 mph = 10.86 Km/h, or 8:54 per mile). Pull ups are not in the Army PFT, but my average is 21 in a row. In addition to the martial arts classes I run 2 miles at a times, dumbbells, barbells, swimming, heavy bag, speed bag, kata, kicks, stretching, calisthenics, and a mix of other stuff. I am not as consistent with doing simple calisthenics (like these 4: push ups, crunches, spine lifts, and squats) before each shower as I would like.

My diet. As usual I effectively do not drink alcohol, smoke, do drugs, or do caffeine. My diet is varied but I'm trying to shift to smaller meals as the day progresses. I'm also trying have meals and snacks after physical activity.

My martial arts. I practice Western Martial Arts with the Chicago Swordplay Guild (CSG) [chicagoswordplayguild.com] 1-2 times a week. I've switched to the longsword within the past few weeks because although I achieved "scholar" in rapier in 2006, a scholar in longsword is needed to do the spear. I love the CSG but the restrictions in what one can and cannot practice are annoying. Julia, Connie, York, and I have been doing aikido with the Shinjinkai [shinjinkai.org] since 2008-08. They have a koryu ("old school") or uchideshi ("inside student") emphasis as well as share the space with a Buddhist temple. It's very much a shut up and do it school. Our family was considering Extreme KungFu Wushu Training Center [extremekungfu.com], but the location was inconvenient for us. I'm reading multiple martial arts books at the moment but the two most notable ones are Hapkido: Traditions, Philosophy, Technique (2000) by Marc Tedeschi, and The 33 Strategies of War (2006) by Robert Greene. Tedeschi's book is 1,136 pages and compiles and photographs the many techniques of hapkido. Greene's book is an all time favorite of mine and it covers military and martial principles illustrated with historical accounts from combat both physical and political. If I had to pick one thing from Greene's book it would be the concept that politics is the art of promoting and protecting your own interests, i.e. politics is not just done by politicians, but by everyone, and that it is another arena of combat. My personal martial style is more relaxed, more comprehensive than before. I've also come to the realization that I personally do it for the exercise, the variety, the play, and the fight. The traditions and historical context are interesting but I'm more interested in just doing it than being scholarly about it. I've also come to the realization that practicing martial arts is not a solo activity but a rather a very social activity because you need others to play/fight with.

My science and technology. I like nanotech and sustainable/environmental/green tech (especially solar), but I don't do much other than invest. I've become quite a proponent of science as simple stuff that everyone does: exploring, seeking patterns, predicting, gathering evidence, testing, and sharing. In this sense everyone does "science". In computers I've become quite a fan of JavaScript. JavaScript is a functional programming language like Lisp, that looks like C. It is THE language because it is the language of the Web. I use JavaScript on the client-side and on the server-side. I'm still waiting for Space elevators [W] and the Technological singularity [W].

My philosophy. Same as in my About Me page: Epistemologically skeptical but hopeful. Deduction & induction, analysis & synthesis. I'm an empiricist and realist, but I love ideas and rationalizing. Nihilism is moot. Beauty is truthful. The singularity will occur because we can't help ourselves. "The Conversation" is important. We're seek to explore, clarify, and satisfy not obfuscate or lie. HOWEVER, After reading Robert Greene's book, I now see politics in a martial light and thus I now like politics and political philosophy, and see them as unavoidable and hence practical and pragmatic things.

My religion. People should be free to explore, seek patterns, predict, gather evidence, test, and share they see fit, i.e. people should be free to do science. People should be free to adapt, to think for themselves. In this modern age with fast global communication, knowledge should be transparent, open, and distributed. Everyone not only lives in a model that they and their group(s) created, but they also look out for themselves and their group(s) in a political sense. In this modern age we are all become tightly knit together: The global problems in the economy and environment showcase this. Balancing, reconciling, combating, politicizing the different individuals and groups with other different individuals and groups is essential. I believe that Wikipedia and Google and YouTube are systems that demonstrate most of these qualities. I am not into Scientism [W], but I believe that non-theist leaning "religions" make themselves the most open and transparent and hence the least restrictive for "science". When you have dogma leaning religions then you tend to have groups with irreconcilable differences. Having rules, laws, courts, mechanisms, etc. that can help resolve inter-group conflicts is important.

My politics. Go Obama! "Basically pro-rights tempered with sensible laws and watch-dogging." People focus so much on their differences that we forget the common ground. The government provides many necessary public services (like army, police, streets, laws, courts, etc.) and it needs to be paid for somehow (usually taxes). People should be free to do just about anything alone privately, with others privately (as long as there is consent with the others), and publicly (as long as they do not harm others).

My world. Like everyone else, there is only so much time, attention, and money I can give. Like everyone else, I have been focusing on myself, my family, a few friends, a few groups, a few topics, and The World. Like everyone else, those who we do not focus on become "invisible" (hence the need to promote). So then what are MY OWN interests? How do I choose and why? Intellectually I have wide interests, but socially I'm introverted and shy. I can see the political power of dealing with people; I can see the psychological/social/political benefits of making friends. I understand the wonder of creating joy, love, and laughter. But to be honest, I'd rather be alone or silent unless we had something quite sincere (politically, emotionally, intellectually, socially, etc.) to say to each other. Although you'd think that "noise" is something we could all do without, I think for some people the "noise" is more bearable than the "silence". Some people can more comfortably tolerate "noise" (that they make or hear from others) in order to get any sort of "music". Is it hubris on my part that I can attend a social gathering and say there's just too much "noise"? I don't know. I've probably been introverted or socially inept for most of my life and now that I'm forty, I'm ready to just accept it instead of feeling guilty about it or sorry for myself or apologizing for it.

Time to go home and have some cake with my family. Happy Birthday me!

2008-10-23t15:11:53 Z | TAGS: Cyber Life, Philosophy, TECH, Text, Wikipedia
Wikipedia and the Meaning of Truth
Wikipedia and the Meaning of Truth [http://www.technologyreview.com/web/21558/?nlid=1452&a=f]
So how do the Wikipedians decide what's true and what's not? On what is their epistemology based?

Although most of us are not philosophy majors (I only roomed with one), these are important questions because one of the top results on many Web searches involves an article at Wikipedia.

Unlike the laws of mathematics or science, wikitruth isn't based on principles such as consistency or observa­bility. It's not even based on common sense or firsthand experience. Wikipedia has evolved a radically different set of epistemological standards--standards that aren't especially surprising given that the site is rooted in a Web-based community, but that should concern those of us who are interested in traditional notions of truth and accuracy. On Wikipedia, objective truth isn't all that important, actually. What makes a fact or statement fit for inclusion is that it appeared in some other publication--ideally, one that is in English and is available free online. "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth," states Wikipedia's official policy on the subject.

Verifiability is one of Wikipedia's three core content policies; it was codified back in August 2003. The two others are "no original research" (December 2003) and "neutral point of view," which the Wikipedia project inherited from Nupedia, an earlier volunteer-written Web-based free encyclopedia that existed from March 2000 to September 2003 (Wikipedia's own NPOV policy was codified in December 2001). These policies have made Wikipedia a kind of academic agora where people on both sides of politically charged subjects can rationally discuss their positions, find common ground, and unemotionally document their differences. Wikipedia is successful because these policies have worked.

2008-11-07t19:18:59 Z | TAGS: Barack Obama, Economy, Evolution, History, Images, Politics, TECH, USA
Obama and the dawn of the Fourth Republic
Obama and the dawn of the Fourth Republic [http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/11/07/fourth_republic/index.html] [VIA: http://www.boingboing.net/2008/11/07/election-is-this-the.html]

There are so many articles out there about the hope and change that the Obama era brings. From "Obama promises new era of scientific innovation" [http://www.newscientist.com/channel/opinion/dn15130-obama-promises-new-era-of-scientific-innovation.html?feedId=online-news_rss20], to restoring American respect of rights, to restoring respect of Americans. I have great hope for what the Obama era will bring. I have a soft spot for the return of science and "sending a man to the Moon" sort of effort towards sustainability.

Victors are prone to hubris immediately after a victory, so I want to be cautious about all the good news. This article has in interesting perspective on a potential historical pattern in the US.

The Fourth American Repulblic: Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Obama

As I see it, to date there have been three American republics, each lasting 72 years (give or take a few years). The First Republic of the United States, assembled following the American Revolution, lasted from 1788 to 1860. The Second Republic, assembled following the Civil War and Reconstruction (that is, the Second American Revolution) lasted from 1860 to 1932. And the Third American Republic, assembled during the New Deal and the civil rights eras (the Third American Revolution), lasted from 1932 until 2004.
Policy shifts, more than public opinion polls or election results, suggest that a truly transformative moment may be upon us. The first three American republics display a remarkably similar pattern. Their 72-year life span is divided into two 36-year periods (again, give or take a year -- this is not astrology). During the first 36-year period of a republic, ambitious nation-builders in the tradition of Alexander Hamilton strengthen the powers of the federal government and promote economic modernization. During the second 36-year phase of a republic, there is a Jeffersonian backlash, in favor of small government, small business and an older way of life. During the backlash era, Jeffersonians manage to modify, but never undo, the structure created by the Hamiltonians in the previous era. We see this pattern of Hamiltonian nation-building and Jeffersonian backlash in the First, Second and Third Republics of the United States.
George W. Bush was not only the final president of the Jeffersonian backlash period of Roosevelt's Third Republic, but the last president of the 1932-2004 Third Republic itself. The final president of a republic tends to be a failed, despised figure. The First Republic, which began with George Washington, ended with James Buchanan, a hapless president who refused to act as the South seceded after Lincoln's election. The Second Republic, which began with Abraham Lincoln, ended with the well-meaning but reviled and ineffectual Herbert Hoover. The Third Republic, founded by Franklin Roosevelt, came to a miserable end under the pathetic George W. Bush.

The latter half of the article is even more interesting. In the article, the cycles manifest politically but stresses the technological and economic factors. This meshes well with social evolutionary theory as in Guns, Germs, and Steel. A case of practice/pragmatics coming first, followed by theory/ideology.

If this analysis is right, what causes these cycles of reform and backlash in American politics? I believe they are linked indirectly to stages of technological and economic development. Lincoln's Second American Republic marked a transition from an agrarian economy to one based on the technologies of the first industrial revolution -- coal-fired steam engines and railroads. Roosevelt's Third American Republic was built with the tools of the second industrial revolution -- electricity and internal combustion engines. It remains to be seen what energy sources -- nuclear? Solar? Clean coal? -- and what technologies -- nanotechnology? Photonics? Biotech-- will be the basis of the next American economy. (Note: I'm talking about the material, real-world manufacturing and utility economy, not the illusory "information economy" beloved of globalization enthusiasts in the 1990s, who pretended that deindustrialization by outsourcing was a higher state of industrialism.)
2009-01-21t20:26:30 Z | TAGS: Geography, Images, Nature, Science, Sustainability, TECH
2008 Global Temperature
2008 Global Temperature [http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=36699] [VIA: http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/7r8q7/2008_global_temperature_pic/]

Apparenlty Chicago is close to a spot where the temperature has gone down.

2008 Global Temperature change

Calendar year 2008 was the coolest year since 2000, according to the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) analysis of worldwide temperature measurements, but it was still in the top ten warmest years since the start of record-keeping in 1880.
2009-01-23t15:57:33 Z | TAGS: Cyber Life, Hardware, Images, Nanotechnology, TECH
Clear Carbon-Nanotube Films
Clear Carbon-Nanotube Films [http://www.technologyreview.com/business/22009/?nlid=1714&a=f]
The technology is exciting enough, but for me the kicker is that this isn't something that is coming out in a few years, this is something coming out later this year. Unidym [unidym.com] will be selling nanotube sheets. The main planned use is to replace indium tin oxide (ITO) in transparent electrodes. This should help make touchscreens even more prevalent. I'm looking forward to tactile interactivity, which will help computer artists greatly, but will also have great impact on all computer users.
Nanotube coated plastic film by Unidym
2009-02-10t16:48:11 Z | TAGS: Amazon, Books, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Engineering, Gadget, Google, Hardware, TECH, Text
Kindle 2.0 by Amazon
Kindle 2.0 by Amazon [http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00154JDAI?tag=georgehernand-20] [VIA: http://www.technologyreview.com/business/22085/?nlid=1764&a=f]

Sweet! I think this version of electronic books will burst the dam, and we will finally see a shift away from paper books. This is different from the fading of paper newspapers because that was due to the Web. The Kindle 2.0 will succeed because of the confluence of wireless 3G technology, cloud data technology, Web integration in a light and natural way, paper-like rendition, the right physical size and weight, longer battery life (4 days to 2 weeks), Apple-like design, and, most importantly, commitment by a big player with big bucks, and a core strong interest in seeing this thing through.

At Amazon, we've always been obsessed with having every book ever printed, and we know that even the best reading device would be useless without a massive selection of books. Today, the Kindle Store has more than 230,000 books available, plus top newspapers, magazines, and blogs. This is just the beginning. Our vision is to have every book ever printed, in any language, all available in under 60 seconds on Kindle. We won't stop until we get there.

Kindle 2.0 by Amazon: Easy to readKindle 2.0 by Amazon: Many books in oneKindle 2.0 by Amazon: Thin as a pencil

Google has been working on scanning in millions of public domain books, and they are working on getting those and other books available for mobile devices ("How Google Is Making Books Mobile" [http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/22665/?a=f]), but the cell phone form factor is too small.

Amazon is the right company for e-books. Kindle accounts for 10% of what Amazon sells --I had no idea that Kindle was that big! I also like how they understand the reading experience of the "disappearing book":

The most elegant feature of a physical book is that it disappears while you're reading. Immersed in the author's world and ideas, you don't notice a book's glue, the stitching, or ink. Our top design objective was to make Kindle disappear--just like a physical book--so you can get lost in your reading, not the technology.
2009-02-12t16:19:03 Z | TAGS: Amazon, Books, Cyber Life, Gadget, TECH, Text
Amazon Announces Kindle 2, With Slew of New Features
Amazon Announces Kindle 2, With Slew of New Features [http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/02/09/1610254]

I just posted the following comment at the Slashdot thread:

I don't want a Swiss Army knife eReader: I want a dedicated eReader of the right size, which (very important) disappears when I read --just like a book disappears. I wouldn't read a paper book if it were the size of a phone.

When I'm reading and I'm involved, the most I want to do is a quick look up in a dictionary or encyclopedia (both of which Kindle provides). I don't want to do much else: Not check my email, not get a phone call, not watch a video, not play games, not SMS, not a thing.

The one time cost of $359 is nothing. Just like a phone, the HW cost is nothing compared to the recurring service costs. I feel fine paying authors for good writing. The DRM issue will work itself out over time. Plus there are free eBooks available too.

I love the idea of saving my precious shelf space for books that need to be on paper.

We're still in the early stages of eBooks. Other features will come later, but in the mean time Kindle is the best dedicated eReader, with the most current books.

Personally I love the idea of not having recurring costs for the 3G service, but only for books.

2009-02-28t14:47:22 Z | TAGS: Language, Science, Statistics, TECH
The Word that Science RUINED
The Word that Science RUINED [http://bradpilon.com/2009/02/the-word-that-science-ruined.html] [VIA: http://www.windycitycrossfit.com/windycitycrossfit/2009/02/22709.html]

The word is "significant".

In statistics, a result is called 'statistically significant' if it is unlikely to have occurred by chance. That's all it means.

A nearby word is "causation", as in "relation does not equate to causation".

In other words, just because the results of a study were found to be significant, it does not mean that one thing in the study actually caused the other. This is Causation and it is actually EXTREMELY difficult to prove. In fact, a good scientist will point out that causality can ONLY be proven by demonstrating a mechanism. Statistics and significance alone can never prove causality.

Here's how science ruined the word:

So why did science ruin the word significance? Well significant used to mean "important; or something of consequence." Which I would argue it no longer means. It is an overused, overhyped term that is more science-marketing than it is science. So we need a new word to describe the findings of research and whether they apply to the real world. I nominate 'Remarkable'. Especially if you define something that is remarkable as "worthy of notice or attention." So instead of asking if the results of the study were significant (which they almost always are these days) ask if the results of the study were remarkable.
2009-03-03t15:40:15 Z | TAGS: Hardware, Images, Nanotechnology, Photos, TECH
Crystals Made to Sprout Tiny Tubes
Crystals Made to Sprout Tiny Tubes [http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/22242/?nlid=1823&a=f]
Researchers can now make tubes 1-120 micrometers wide, and manipulate them in a 3D Etch A Sketch fashion. Totally tubular!
Magic tubes: Inorganic crystals placed in a solution of fluorescent molecules start to grow tubes automatically. The tubes are robust enough to be injected with liquid (top right). Researchers can also fuse two tubes together (middle) and create designs with the tubes by directing growth with electric fields (bottom right).
2009-03-05t16:03:28 Z | TAGS: Hardware, Images, Solar, Sustainability, TECH
Liquid Battery
Liquid Battery [http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/22116/?nlid=1832]

Wonderful and innovative stuff! This is might be as good as artificial photosynthesis. This one has been proven in the lab, but now they have to test failure scenarios and play with scalability.

The battery is unlike any other. The electrodes are molten metals, and the electrolyte that conducts current between them is a molten salt. This results in an unusually resilient device that can quickly absorb large amounts of electricity. The electrodes can operate at electrical currents "tens of times higher than any [battery] that's ever been measured," says Donald Sadow­ay, a materials chemistry professor at MIT and one of the battery's inventors. What's more, the materials are cheap, and the design allows for simple manufacturing.
Liquid battery
Discharged, charging, charged: The molten active components (colored bands: blue, magnesium; green, electrolyte; yellow, antimony) of a new grid-scale storage battery are held in a container that delivers and collects electrical current (left). Here, the battery is ready to be charged, with positive magnesium and negative antimony ions dissolved in the electrolyte. As electric current flows into the cell (center), the magnesium ions in the electrolyte gain electrons and form magnesium metal, which joins the molten magnesium electrode. At the same time, the antimony ions give up electrons to form metal atoms at the opposite electrode. As metal forms, the electrolyte shrinks and the electrodes grow (right), an unusual property for batteries. During discharge, the process is reversed, and the metal atoms become ions again.
2009-03-25t17:37:36 Z | TAGS: Communications, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, TECH
Snapshot of cyber communications today

People speak and listen, read and write, interact with the world both natural and constructed. We've been doing this for thousands of years. A few hundred years ago there was a boom in communications with the development of printing. Within the past century there have been several booms with radio, telephones, TV, mobile phones, and the Internet. At our fingertips we have the ability to tap into large masses of people and large bodies information. The current generation will grow up with that as the default.

Since the technology, services, and usage evolves, I want to take a little snapshot of how cyber communications are today.

Previous cyber communications was email/chat (mostly one-to-one or one-to-few), brochure-like Web sites (mostly few-to-many), and message boards (mostly few-to-many). Then blogs became popular (mainly one-to-many). Lately the trend has been social sites (mostly few-to-few. EGs: Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Yahoo Groups, dodgeball) and collaborative sites (mostly many-to-many. EG: Wikipedia, Google Docs). The key to the later stuff was fostering democracy (as in everyone can get a voice), minimizing noise while maximizing music (votes on posts and comments like in Digg and Reddit; selecting the few like in Facebook), and ease of use (searchable, restrict by time/tag/few). Message boards and RSS readers are nice and searchable, but they don't do enough noise/music work.

A certain amount of system intelligence is appreciated (EGs: Amazon recommnedations. Google AdSense, Google Search, Google Maps). Long Tail sources (EGs: Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, eBay, Craig's List) are appreciated but there will all ways be stuff in the Long Tail that isn't covered by a Long Tail sources and thus specialized sources won't go away. Twitter is one-to-many or many-to-one: It has the very latest stuff but you need to follow good sources or search. Most things should be free/gratis but people are willing to pay for tangibles (EGs: Kindle, music). Systems that allow self-organization are more successful (EGs: Wikipedia, Facebook). Tags/labels have their uses and are often an improvement over folder but can be more annoying than productive.

2009-03-25t20:57:37 Z | TAGS: Biology, Inspiring, Live Action, Mind, Psychology, Science, TECH, Videos
Talks Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight
Talks Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight [http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html]

Wow. One of the more powerful pieces I have seen in a while. I know that I shift brains but it's amazing to choose to do so.

Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor studied her own stroke as it happened -- and has become a powerful voice for brain recovery.
2009-03-26t16:48:50 Z | TAGS: Browser, Cyber Tech, Google, HTML, Microsoft, Standards, TECH, Yahoo!
Specify your canonical
Specify your canonical [http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2009/02/specify-your-canonical.html]

This is a new link to include in HTML headers for the purpose of URL normalization [W]. It's supported by big players such as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft.

Here are a few other related links:

It's so easy to implement, that I just tweaked my site to have it on almost all pages in just a few minutes.

2009-03-27t13:41:39 Z | TAGS: Chemistry, News, TECH
Magnetic Spin to Revolutionize Medical Scanning
Magnetic Spin to Revolutionize Medical Scanning [http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/22352/?nlid=1893]

Is an improvement of 50% impressive? How about 100%? 200%? Well they're looking at 1000%!

A novel method of transferring magnetic spin can amplify the sensitivity of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) a thousandfold, according to new research from the University of York in the United Kingdom. Scientists say the leap could be as revolutionary for medicine as the development of MRI was 30 years ago.

Parahydrogen? Sounds like made up techno-babble!

The new method, published today in the journal Science, enables the magnetization of a broad range of molecules--including drugs such as nicotine, and organic molecules such as antibodies designed to bind to tumors--so that they can be used as contrast agents. Scientists first cool the molecule to create a form of molecular hydrogen, called parahydrogen, which has a highly ordered magnetic spin state. An iridium catalyst transfers the magnetic spin from the parahydrogen to other key elements, including oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon.
2009-03-30t14:44:36 Z | TAGS: Computers, Hardware, TECH
A Better, Cheaper Multitouch Interface
A Better, Cheaper Multitouch Interface [http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/22358/?nlid=1896&a=f]

Come on already: Quit teasing us.

Over the past few years, the world has fallen in love with multitouch displays. But today's consumer interfaces have some drawbacks: touch screens such as those on the iPhone and Plastic Logic's upcoming e-reader only work with a finger, not a stylus or even a gloved hand. Other displays, such as Microsoft's Surface and Perceptive Pixel's wall-sized screens, are rigid, relatively expensive, and currently fairly bulky.

New research from New York University, however, promises to make multitouch interfaces that are cheap and flexible and can be used by fingers and objects alike. The technology, called Inexpensive Multi-Touch Pressure Acquisition Devices (IMPAD), can be made paper thin, can easily scale down to fit on small portable devices, or can scale up to cover an entire table or wall. The researchers will present IMPAD next week at the Computer Human Interaction conference in Boston.

2009-04-01t18:23:49 Z | TAGS: Culture, Cyber Life, News, TECH, Videos
Did You Know
Did You Know [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIDLIwlzkgY] [VIA: http://digg.com/gadgets/Did_You_Know_It_Will_Blow_Your_Mind]
A good video for folks that don't know or at least sense signs of Skynet or the Technological singularity [W], or the growth of China and India. The original "Shift Happens" video from Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod was made in 2006. Here is the 2007 update: Did You Know 2.0 [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcfrLYDm2U].
2009-04-02t16:16:29 Z | TAGS: Audio, Communications, Cyber Life, Google, TECH
One Number to Rule Them All
One Number to Rule Them All [http://www.technologyreview.com/communications/22380/?nlid=1908&a=f]

The best explanation of Google Voice that I've seen so far.

Users will soon be able to register, sign up for a phone number in a local area code, and add multiple landline and cell-phone numbers to an account. When someone calls a Google Voice phone number, all the registered phones ring at the same time.
It's the voice equivalent of an e-mail address. Once you register a number, the idea is that you never have to worry about which phone you are using, even if you switch offices, homes, or cell phones.
Google Voice is also largely about unification. No matter which phone you use, there is one portal for all voice-mail messages. You can play them on the Web, save them as MP3 files, and even post a voice-mail message on a website using an HTML embed feature. Conference calls are also easy: just answer an incoming call to add it to the current one.
When a caller leaves a voice mail, Google Voice automatically records and transcribes the message, then sends the transcription to you via e-mail.
Google Voice lets you send and receive text messages--again, by routing them between existing carriers. You can view a list of every SMS message you have ever sent, which is a highly useful feature. It's easy to review a history of placed, missed, and recorded calls. You can also import contacts from various address books. And you can easily disable one or more phones using a feature called Do Not Disturb.
2009-04-13t15:46:12 Z | TAGS: Cyber Life, Google, Programming, TECH
Gmail Sidesteps the App Store
Gmail Sidesteps the App Store [http://www.technologyreview.com/communications/22424/?nlid=1943&a=f]

The article is about mobile apps and the blurring distinction apps on mobile devices and web apps on mobile devices. I can see my company, ICLOPS [iclops.com], making mobile web apps in the near future.

This paragraph summarizes the technologies involved:

These features include a graphics tool called Canvas, "persistent storage," and an "application cache," explains Shyam Sheth, product manager on Google's mobile team. Canvas is something of an alternative to the popular Adobe Flash software that's commonly used to create graphics and animation on the Web. Persistent storage provides a way for data, originally on a remote server (such as Google's e-mail servers), to be stored locally, on the device. The HTML 5 application cache keeps important information about an application on the device that allows it to open quickly, as if it were running directly on the hardware instead of remotely. The iPhone version of Gmail uses only HTML 5, whereas Android uses a combination of HTML 5 and Gears (a Google software add-on that enables its Web apps to run offline).

This paragraph explains a major reason of why to do it. Cross platform programming is annoying!

Sheth says that there are a number of advantages for developers who build mobile applications via the Web. While there are only three major operating systems for desktops that developers need to learn, there are tens of mobile-device platforms with various different requirements. Applications can be built on the Web and need to be modified only slightly for different mobile devices. "Given the number of platforms we have in the mobile space," says Sheth, "we really need a unifying platform . . . That's why Google is so heavily investing in the Web becoming the common platform."
2009-04-16t14:23:28 Z | TAGS: Computers, Cyber Tech, Hardware, TECH
Netbook Chips Create a Low-Power Cloud
Netbook Chips Create a Low-Power Cloud [http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/22504/?nlid=1955&a=f]

I love leaps in performance!

[fast array of wimpy nodes] FAWN, which is described in an as-yet-unpublished paper by David Andersen and his team at Carnegie Mellon University, tackles this problem with a combination of relatively slow processors (the kind used in netbooks and other mobile devices) and flash memory (the kind that stores data in digital cameras and USB drives). The somewhat counterintuitive result is an architecture whose performance per watt of energy is a hundred times better than that of traditional servers, which use faster (but much more energy-hungry) processors and disk-based storage. There are two ways to get around the memory wall: the first is to increase the performance of a system's memory, and the second is simply to slow down its CPU. FAWN does both: flash memory has much faster random access than disk-based storage, and FAWN's slower processors require less power and waste fewer transistors trying to guess what's coming next.

A key to to performance gains is finding the bottle necks.

One way that FAWN replaces software like memcached and Dynamo is by conquering what computer scientists call the memory wall, which is the huge disparity between the rate at which disk-based storage can feed data to a CPU and the rate at which a CPU, which is much faster, can chew through that data. (Andersen points out that modern CPUs use an enormous number of transistors trying to guess what data to expect, fetching data in advance or caching it in memory to make sure that the chip always has a steady supply of bits to process.)

I also love creative counter-intuitive or non-obvious solutions. A slower CPU sounds wrong but it's cheaper, greener, and in this case more powerful (more work in less time).

There are two ways to get around the memory wall: the first is to increase the performance of a system's memory, and the second is simply to slow down its CPU. FAWN does both: flash memory has much faster random access than disk-based storage, and FAWN's slower processors require less power and waste fewer transistors trying to guess what's coming next. FAWN is composed of many individual nodes, each with a single 500-megahertz AMD Geode processor (the same chip used in the first One Laptop Per Child $100 laptop) with 256 megabytes of RAM and a single four-gigabyte compact flash card. The largest FAWN cluster built to date, consisting of 21 nodes, draws a maximum of 85 watts under real-world conditions.
2009-04-21t15:27:39 Z | TAGS: Computers, Cyber Tech, Hardware, Programming, Software, TECH
Intel's Ct software will make ordinary code work on forthcoming many-core processors
Intel's Ct software will make ordinary code work on forthcoming many-core processors [http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/22517/?nlid=1961&a=f]

Nice. I was recently mentioning to some folks that we can't really take advantage of hi-core, hi-memory, hi-processing, hi-width, hi-parallel, etc. because the ease of use isn't there yet.

When it comes to writing computer software, there is a huge difference between "multi" and "many." Mere humans can write good software for the current breed of multicore processors that have two to four processing units inside a single chip, although this still requires extra skill and patience. The next step is many-core processors with sixteen to hundreds of cores--too many for any programmer to efficiently command. That's why later this year, Intel will release from its lab a research project called Ct ("C for Throughput") that will automatically make standard C and C++ compilers work with many-core processors, starting with Intel's first new graphics processor in many years, code-named Larrabee, which is scheduled to ship in early 2010.

It'll be like automatic garbage clean up.

Larrabee will not be a separate graphics chip in the same sense that an nVidia or ATI GPU is. Yet if Larrabee and Ct work as predicted, the days of discrete graphics processors may soon be over.
2009-04-21t16:01:11 Z | TAGS: Chill, Cool, Crude, Food, Funny, Gadget, Pyro, TECH, Videos
BB Video: The Flaming Bacon Lance of Death, from Theo Gray's book "Mad Science"
BB Video: The Flaming Bacon Lance of Death, from Theo Gray's book "Mad Science" [http://www.boingboing.net/2009/04/15/bb-video-the-flaming.html] [VIA: Oscar]

They have discovered but one portion of my fire-breathing technique! Yes: I consume the bacon/prosciutto and store it about my waist. (Krispy Kreme will do as well)

However they missed two key parts: I have learned special breathing techniques that allow me to expel pure oxygen, and I am also able to generate a spark in my mouth by using strawberry flavored Pop Rocks. Thus I can, upon command, combine the bacon with the pure oxygen in my sinuses, then I light it with the Pop Rocks spark as I rapidly expel it.

The effect is almost as good as laughing while chocolate milk is coming out of my nose.

2009-04-27t15:00:17 Z | TAGS: Books, Cyber Tech, Gadget, Hardware, Reading, TECH, Text
A New E-Paper Competitor
A New E-Paper Competitor [http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/22545/?nlid=1979&a=f]

Real ink and paper has a reflection rate of 85%, but it can't be changed electronically or do video.

The E Ink technology, used by devices like Amazon's Kindle, moves black and white microcapsules in a liquid medium. Resulting in reflection rates of 40% and a refresh rate of tens to hundreds of milliseconds. See How It Works by E Ink.

CRT, LCD, plasma, etc. technology emits light but are not as portable and are not as good in settings with lots of background light. LCDs have a refresh rate of a few milliseconds.

This new technology draws out actual ink from ink wells resulting in reflection rates of 55% and a refresh rate of less than a millisecond. Faster than LCD! Furthermore, the resolution is 300 dpi, and it should be able to do color which E Ink can't.

This electronic inkwell technology, led by Jason Heikenfeld [http://www.ece.uc.edu/devices/] seems very promising. I look forward to the technological and economic feasibility testing.

In their pixels, the researchers use aluminum layers that reflect light and carbon black ink for a deep black color. First, a polymer layer is patterned with wells that contain the black ink. An aluminum film is deposited on the polymer and topped with an indium tin oxide (ITO) transparent electrode layer. A voltage applied across the aluminum and the ITO electrode pulls the ink out of the well and spreads it over the entire pixel area.
2009-04-30t15:47:13 Z | TAGS: Apple, Cyber Tech, Gadget, Google, Hardware, My Stuff, TECH
Looking at the HTC Dream (aka T-Mobile G1)

My phone contract is up for renewal this May. I'm either going with a minimal phone that can phone, text, and takes pictures, or I'll go with a full smart phone.Here's the most in-depth look at the T-Mobile G1 phone: THE DEFINITIVE IN-DEPTH REVIEW: Optus HTC Dream with Google Android [http://apcmag.com/australian-review-htc-dream-optus.htm].

I've also gathered basic stats to compare the G1 against the Apple iPhone:

FeatureiPhoneG1
Price200180
Height4.5"4.6"
Width2.4"2.16"
Depth0.48"0.62"
Weight133 g158 g
Display3.5" 480x3203.2" 480x320
Camera2 Mpix3.2 Mpix
KeyboardSWHW
Trackballnoyes
CPU620 MHz ARM 1176528 MHz ARM 11
RAM128 DRAM192 DDR SDRAM + 256 MB Flash
Storage8 or 16 GB built in1-8 GB microSD
Data Port30 pin dock connectorUSB
Audio Port3.5 mmUSB or USB with 3.5 mm dongle
RechargeDock to USBUSB
Battery Talk5 h5 h
Battery Standby300 h130 h
Battery Replacementdealer onlyyou or dealer

The G1 is appealing because I make heavy use of Google for email and calendar. Since my name is George, having a phone called "G1" has some ego appeal. It is also a pleasing coincidence that the G1 was released on my birthday in 2008.

2009-04-30t15:52:10 Z | TAGS: Computers, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Gadget, Google, Hardware, Open Source, Software, TECH
A New Breed of Netbook?
A New Breed of Netbook? [http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/22561/?nlid=1991]

It's a netbook running on a cell phone chip thus it's cheap, energy efficient, and it runs on Google's free (libre and gratis) Android operating system.

Currently, many netbooks use Intel's Atom processor, which is built using the x86 architecture found in most of the company's desktop, laptop, and server chips. Most netbooks get about an hour of power per battery cell. On an ARM-based notebook, Solis says, it could be possible to get eight hours from a three-cell battery. Of course, while long battery life is appealing, there is a definite trade-off. "If you're looking for a powerful speedy laptop, then these netbooks aren't for you," Solis says. "But if you're looking for something that can last you all day without recharging, and that's at an even lower cost than most netbooks, then these might work."
2009-05-06t17:15:50 Z | TAGS: Amazon, Books, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Gadget, Hardware, Images, Reading, TECH, Text, Wikipedia
Kindle DX: Amazon's 9.7" Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation)
Kindle DX: Amazon's 9.7" Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation) [http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-DX-Amazons-Wireless-Generation/dp/B0015TCML0/ref=amb_link_84277971_2?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=gateway-center-column&pf_rd_r=1E3NVYH4V8DVJ7PEYA3M&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=476565871&pf_rd_i=507846]

After days of teasing us, the Kindle DX is finally here! My wife loves her Kindle 2, so now if I get the Kindle DX, it will be which is whose.

Here are basic stats to compare the Kindle 2.0 against the Kindle DX:

Feature2.0DX
Price389489
Height8"10.4"
Width5.3"7.2"
Depth0.38"0.38"
Weight10.2 oz18.9 oz
Display6" 800x600 167 ppi9.7" 1200x824 150 ppi
Storage1.4/2.0 GB ~ 1500 Books3.3/4.0 GB ~ 3500 Books
Content Formats Kindle (AZW), TXT, Audible (formats 4, Audible Enhanced (AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; PDF, HTML, DOC, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion. Kindle (AZW), PDF, TXT, Audible (formats 4, Audible Enhanced (AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion.
Auto-Rotating ScreenNoYes
Battery4 days reading. 2 wks standby.
PortsUSB for Data and Recharge. 3.5 mm for Audio.
ConnectivityEVDO modem with fallback to 1xRTT. Amazon Whispernet for 3G high-speed data with no monthly charge.
Text-to-SpeechYes
ReferencesThe New Oxford American Dictionary with over 250,000 entries built in. Wikipedia over the wireless.

The Amazon Kindle 2.0 and Kindle DX

It would have been sweet to go through high school and college without lugging all those heavy books around. The smaller screen is good for reading straight text, but anything with pictures, even Wikipedia, needs a larger screen and this one is 2.5x larger. As far as whether Kindle DX can help the ailing newspaper and magazine industry, maybe. The real thing issue is if they can produce high quality content with such consistency that people would want to pay for it.

2009-05-21t14:33:45 Z | TAGS: Computers, Cool, Culture, Engineering, Hardware, Images, Nanotechnology, TECH
Five-Dimensional Data Storage
Five-Dimensional Data Storage [http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/22673/?nlid=2046]

This is what happens when you let Deadheads do science!

Traditional DVDs and CDs store data on their surface in two dimensions, and holographic discs can store it in three. Now researchers have for the first time demonstrated what they call a five-dimensional optical material. It can record data in three spatial dimensions and in response to different wavelengths and polarizations of laser light.

6 images written in the same area using different wavelengths and polarizations of laser light

The material is being developed by researchers led by Min Gu, director of the Centre for Micro-Photonics at the Swinburne University of Technology in Victoria, Australia. The material is made up of layers of gold nanorods suspended in clear plastic spun flat on a glass substrate. Multiple data patterns can be written and read within the same area in the material without interfering with each other. Using three wavelengths and two polarizations of light, the Australian researchers have written six different patterns within the same area. They've further increased the storage density to 1.1 terabytes per cubic centimeter by writing data to stacks of as many as 10 nanorod layers. In a paper published online today in the journal Nature, Gu's group reports recording speeds of about a gigabit per second.
2009-05-22t18:22:45 Z | TAGS: Browser, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Google, News, TECH
A Speedier Google Chrome for all users
A Speedier Google Chrome for all users [http://chrome.blogspot.com/2009/05/speedier-google-chrome-for-all-users.html]

Google doesn't like versions (Gmail is still beta) so they're not making a big deal of upgrading the browser from Chrome 1 to Chrome 2. The upgrades seem trivial: Improved Tab Page? Please, I hardly use that. Full Screen Mode and Form Autofill? Umm, features that most browsers already have? The upgrades in speed and stability are less sexy but more important. I noticed right away that Chrome can finally play Youtube.

However Chrome still needs just three things:

People like me are eager to switch because as much as we love Firefox, it's still a memory hog.

PS: Google: The keyboard shortcuts to enter date (CTRL+;) and time (CTRL+:) in Google Spreadsheets are still broken for Chrome.

2009-05-27t15:51:52 Z | TAGS: Cyber Life, Relations, TECH, Twitter
What is Twitter?
What is Twitter? [http://www.sqlservercentral.com/blogs/steve_jones/archive/2009/05/21/what-is-twitter.aspx]

The best explanation of Twitter I've seen. The Wikipedia entry on Twitter [W] is a little dry.

Twitter is a series of sidewalk conversations
Twitter is the democratization of the sound-bite

Since I'm an introvert with SSD/UHL, being put on equal playing field as far as hearing and speaking goes is quite appealing. Facebook does a similar thing but Facebook is for folks you know.

2009-06-10t20:46:11 Z | TAGS: Browser, Cyber Tech, Google, TECH
Google Bookmarks Extension for Chrome
Google Bookmarks Extension for Chrome [http://sites.google.com/site/uniformedopinion/GoogleBookmarks]

Apparently you can play with extensions for the Google Chrome browser. The only extension I really wanted for Chrome is access to Google Bookmarks. So here's what I did:

It puts your Google Bookmarks in Chrome's "Other bookmarks". Chrome updates syncs its bookmarks with Google Bookmarks every time open up Chrome. It's not perfect: Changes to your Chrome bookmarks do not sync your Google bookmarks, and are forgotten each time you open Chrome because it resyncs with Google Bookmarks. Instead use the star for Google Bookmarks on the bottom left.

2009-06-18t18:10:04 Z | TAGS: Images, Nanotechnology, Photos, Science, Space, TECH
Scientists envision inflatable alternative to tethered space elevator
Scientists envision inflatable alternative to tethered space elevator [http://blogs.zdnet.com/emergingtech/?p=1600]

A space elevator would be a key development.

An inflatable free standing tower could one day carry equipment and tourists 20 kilometers above Earth, and it could be completed much sooner than a cable-based space elevator, say researchers at York University in Toronto, Canada.

7m scale model built at York University in Toronto

2009-06-21t23:37:19 Z | TAGS: Death, Philosophy, Politics, Programming, Psychology, TECH
S-exp vs XML, HTML, LaTeX (was: Why lisp is growing)
S-exp vs XML, HTML, LaTeX (was: Why lisp is growing) [http://harmful.cat-v.org/software/xml/s-exp_vs_XML] [VIA: http://www.reddit.com/r/programming/comments/8u72o/erik_naggums_wonderful_rant_about_xml/]

A sweet post on why XML sucks that's also garnished with thoughts on things like the metric system, George Bush Jr., date formats, and gun control. The issues of solutions being more troublesome than the problem they were supposed to solve is key. So is the issue of group-think.

Farewell Erik Naggum [http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Erik_Naggum] (1965/2009).

I believe C++ instills fear in programmers, fear that the interaction of some details causes unpredictable results. Its unmanageable complexity has spawned more fear-preventing tools than any other language, but the solution should have been to create and use a language that does not overload the whole goddamn human brain with irrelevant details.
2009-06-30t14:50:04 Z | TAGS: Artificial Intelligence, Biology, Brain, Evolution, Programming, Robotics, Software, TECH
A Robot that Navigates Like a Person
A Robot that Navigates Like a Person [http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/22946/?nlid=2140]

Ah ha! The engineers have been caught reverse engineering from nature again. Imitation is the highest form of flattery.

The robot consists of a wheeled platform with a robotic "head" that uses two cameras to capture stereoscopic vision. The robot can turn its head and shift its gaze up and down or sideways to gauge its surroundings, and can quickly measure its own speed relative to its environment. The machine is controlled by algorithms designed to mimic different parts of the human visual system. Rather than capturing and mapping its surroundings over and over in order to plan its route--the way most robots do--the European machine uses a simulated neural network to update its position relative to the environment, continually adjusting to each new input. This mimics human visual processing and movement planning.

Reverse engineering nature is the way to go because nature has complex systems that evolved over thousands of years.

2009-07-08t21:45:04 Z | TAGS: Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Economy, Google, Money, TECH
Free is not a business model
Free is not a business model [http://blogs.zdnet.com/SAAS/?p=807&tag=nl.e550]

A renewal of the old saw: "There's no such thing as a free lunch". The article lists three ways that seemingly free things make money.

Advertising. As we've seen from Google Apps, non-intrusive advertising does seem to be accepted even for business use when it's perceived as funding free use of the application. SaaS vendors should be cautious, however, as we have no confirmed evidence even that Google (let alone anyone else offering ad-funded apps) makes enough from advertising to cover its costs.
Freemium. Distributing a free version in order to reach a wider market, among which some customers will decide to pay for premium services, is well established. It's worked for some open source vendors and for SaaS vendors with mass-market appeal as 37signals and Box.net. As I've discussed previously, the trick is to target the right free users to yield a sufficiently lucrative conversion rate.
Syndication. I’m not sure about the name — it may end up being called something else — it’s the least developed of the three, but I think it holds the greatest potential. What I mean by syndication is delivering third-party services within an application and taking a commission on the sale.

The article doesn't cover other sites that are free because they are running on other people's money. For example: Twitter has no ads, freemium, or syndication, because right now they're living off of venture capitalist money. Also there's gold in the data they collect. The same applies to Quicken which provides free online personal finance software. The same would apply to whoever comes out with a popular Web-based personal health record [W].

Other organizations that provide free stuff via other people's money include not-for-profit organizations (like Wikipedia) that run on donations and public works (think roads, police, NASA, school lunches, etc.) that run on tax dollars or are subsidized.

2009-07-10t19:13:15 Z | TAGS: Animation, Apple, Browser, Cyber Tech, Firefox, Google, Microsoft, Programming, Standards, Sun Microsystems, TECH, Videos
Rich Internet Apps

Just a quickie tech review:

2009-07-22t15:55:16 Z | TAGS: Amazon, Books, Cyber Life, Gadget, Google, Hardware, Images, Photos, Reading, Software, TECH, Videos
Head in the clouds

I've always been a "head in the clouds" sort of fellow. I'm forgetful and my mind wanders off and follows threads that catch my eye. So it's no wonder that when it comes to technology, I'm ready for the cloud.

Google already has a lot of my personal data in Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Documents, Google Notebooks.

Surprisingly Google is not generous with storage space at Picasa, because then I might dump all my photos there. Perhaps they're still working on that GDrive or they're worried about the massive amounts of porn pictures people would upload. Perhaps Flickr is the way to go. I don't make many videos, but we need something similar for that.

Intuit or Quicken handles my personal finances. I already pay most of my bills automatically online.

I'd like to Amazon (or Barnes and Noble) to sell and store digital media like ebooks, videos, and music. There are some books that are so beautiful or big or both that I'd prefer a print copy, but for most books, an ebook would do. I don't want physical media disks at my house getting scratched and broken. I don't mind them using some consumer-mindful form of Digital Rights Management (DRM) to ensure that I'm not stealing. I'd like to supplement the DRM digital media with DRM-free media from other sources like Google Books and the Gutenberg Project, PDFs, MP3s, etc. Perhaps I'd store it at GDrive. In any case, I should be able to stream digital media (if I'm online) or download them (at least temporarily) for access either on or offline.

I'd like to have my Personal Health Record (PHR) at some place like Google Health or Microsoft Health Vault. I'd like to be able to manage my family's PHRs too. I'd like to be able to import/export my PHR and import/export data from any health provider's Electronic Health Records (EHRs).

Journals or blogs already exist. I'm not so much into the social aspect of blogs but others are. For social two-way "journaling", I think short and fast via Facebook works fine, or a group mailing list. Twitter works for even lighter talks with the masses. RSS readers are OK, but they don't rank like Digg or Reddit.

Apps that are on or offline, smart phone, netbook, or desktop are in the flux and sort of annoying. Phones need bigger and better lenses: We don't need SLR lens but something bigger than a pinhole.

Yada, yada, yada. All this computer cloud stuff still doesn't compare to following the clouds that float by in my own head.

2009-07-27t14:38:42 Z | TAGS: Biotechnology, Solar, Sustainability, TECH
A Biofuel Process to Replace All Fossil Fuels
A Biofuel Process to Replace All Fossil Fuels [http://www.technologyreview.com/business/23073/?nlid=2207]

This photobioreactor method by Joule Biotechnologies [joulebio.com] (nice name BTW), is quite exciting. They say they can get 20,000 gallons of biofuel per acre. Compare that to the 2,000 to 6,000 yield of current algae-based biofuels (like Synthetic Genomics [syntheticgenomics.com]. This would make Joule biofuels competitive with crude oil at $50 a barrel --and crude oil is around $70 a barrel these days!

Joule Biotechnologies grows genetically engineered microorganisms in specially designed photobioreactors. The microorganisms use energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide and water into ethanol or hydrocarbon fuels (such as diesel or components of gasoline). The organisms excrete the fuel, which can then be collected using conventional chemical-separation technologies.

Joule biofuels would be a great sub for crude oil, but would not cut down on green house gases. I would like a combination solar technologies (like artificial synthesis) for energy, combined with Joule biofuels for petroleum based products like plastic.

2009-07-28t16:42:14 Z | TAGS: Amazon, Apple, Audio, Books, Computers, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Family, Gadget, Google, Hardware, Inspiring, Kids, Music, My Stuff, Reading, Software, Standards, TECH, Text, Videos
Digital Media and e-Books

In my post Head in the clouds, I stated the following:

I'd like to Amazon (or Barnes and Noble) to sell and store digital media like ebooks, videos, and music. There are some books that are so beautiful or big or both that I'd prefer a print copy, but for most books, an ebook would do. I don't want physical media disks at my house getting scratched and broken. I don't mind them using some consumer-mindful form of Digital Rights Management (DRM) to ensure that I'm not stealing. I'd like to supplement the DRM digital media with DRM-free media from other sources like Google Books and the Gutenberg Project, PDFs, MP3s, etc. Perhaps I'd store it at GDrive. In any case, I should be able to stream digital media (if I'm online) or download them (at least temporarily) for access either on or offline.

The whole topic of digital media is a big topic. These days I'm focused on digital books but they're all related.

Before I continue, let me just quickly jot down the sub-topics:
  • Media types.
  • Physical size.
  • Device features.
  • Content and Money: Creator, seller, and buyer.
  • Social media.

Media types

Media types is a seemingly easy sub-topic. The media types are essentially text, pictures, audio, video, and apps. Simple enough. That's the media that the user receives (and the device outputs). The user however also sends "media" (and the device inputs). This includes text, voice, movements, and selections. There are other nuances such as the streaming aspect (EG: radio), the asynchronous aspect (EG: email), and combinations (EG: comics). A lot of sight, sound, motion, and time sensing, but not much in the way taste, touch, or smell. Things like the Wii do some motion and momentum input/output too.

Physical size

This is actually seemingly simple too.

Device features

Device features will vary greatly between makers and models initially, but as the technology matures, the differences between makers and models of the same class will become more subtle.

Content and Money: Creator, seller, and buyer.

This is the real heart of the issue. The users/buyers are most concerned about the content, but these days the content is tied to the money.

Users have three kinds of content:

There have been three stages of content:

How do the creators and sellers control the copying of the media? And how can they ensure that they get their fair share of the buyer's money? In the digital media industry, the first medium to face this problem head on has been the music industry. Pirating (or illegal copying) of music still occurs. For a while it seemed that the answer was digital rights managment (DRM), but this seemed to hamper on the buyers right to legally copy media for which they had paid for. So far it seems that the answer is not DRM, but to trust that people will honor copyright laws and pay the seller (and hence the creator) their money. A comparison of online music stores [W] shows that the most successful don't use DRM. The available formats (such as mp3, aac, m4a, aiff, wav, ogg) are trivial given all the available converters.

Copyrighted digital text is in the news lately because e-book readers started becoming good enough and popular enough that major books are being sold in digital format. The different e-book readers are using DRM and different files.

Here's a quick review of different e-book formats. See also Comparison of e-book formats [W]. Some of them can implement DRM.

  • .txt. Simple text. Preferably UTF-8, but Unicode, windows-1252, iso-latin-1, or even ASCII will do.
  • .htm. Simple HTML. Variants include .chm, .lit, and plucker.
  • .pdf. Portable Document Format. Practically universal. Many things can be exported or printed to PDF.
  • .rtf. Rich Text Format.
  • XML based:
    • .opf. Open eBook
    • .epub. Supercedes .opf
    • .mobi, .prc. Mobipocket. Based on .opf. Available to the iRex/Philips iLiad e-book reader.
    • .azw. Amazon Kindle e-book. Based on .mobi.
    • .arg. Arghos Diffusion.
    • Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY)
    • .fb2. FictionBook.
    • Text Encoding Initiative.
  • .tr2, .tr3. TomeRaider.
  • .ps. PostScript.
  • .djvu. DjVu. Especially for images.
  • .pdb. eReader (formerly Palm Digital Media/Peanut Press). For ereader.com. Also used by the Barnes & Noble Plastic Logic e-reader.
  • .lrf, .lrx. Broadband eBooks. For the Sony Reader.

Here are the major e-book readers (see more at List of e-book readers [W] and their primary formats:

Just to make it explicit, one of the issues is that with DRM and no standard format, if you buy stuff from one store, then you have to use their reader. If you want to buy stuff from two stores, then you need two readers, and so on. In contrast, you can buy a CD from any store and play it on any CD player.

The digital music industry went through this DRM issue, i.e. it was a real world experiment done with real creators, sellers, and buyers. The result is that overwhelming majority of buyers are honest folk who will respect copyright laws and will pay the sellers and the creators their money. DRM tried to control illegal copying, but actually it was a stumbling block for buying and fair buyer use of media that they legally paid for. I guess that the print media has a years of physical media experience that it has to over come in this digital media world. Copyright laws still apply. Just because it is easier to copy, doesn't make it legal, and the numbers show that the greater sales without DRM are worth the losses due to piracy. The print media probably also has a psychological issue of going without DRM because digital songs are $0.99 while digital books are $9.99. In any case, print media will experiment with using digital print, and, like digital music, may drop DRM after they run through the same experiment but with text instead of audio, and with different prices and different uses.

Social media

Let me gripe a bit about some of the hoops I, as a buyer, have to go through:

My wife bought a Kindle 2 and then the price dropped. Learning from her experience, I want to get a Kindle DX --as soon as the price drops. We each have our own accounts at Amazon. A DRM protected Kindle book must be associated with an Amazon account and can be accessed on up to 6 Kindle-compatible devices, where each device is registered to the same Amazon account. A Kindle-compatible account can only be registered with one Amazon account at a time. This gives us several options:

  1. Buy Kindle books via both of our separate Amazon accounts. If I wanted to share a Kindle book with her (or any one else), then I'd have to lend someone my Kindle DX, or have an extra Kindle registered to my account that I could lend. Neither option sounds very good. She could also just buy the same book on her own account but that's not sharing something I own --it's buying it again. Separate accounts does have the advantage of privacy in that we could each purchase Kindle books that we don't want the other to know about.
  2. Buy Kindle books via just her Amazon account. My Kindle DX would be registered to her account. We would be able to share books, but we would have the same Kindle book list, plus I would also be able to see her non-Kindle book purchases and info at Amazon.If we got a 3rd Kindle for the family in general, then we could put particular books on that Kindle, but they could also connect to Amazon with the Kindle and see all our other books.
  3. Create a new family Amazon account and use that for buying Kindle books. Our Kindles would then be registered to the family Amazon account. This scenario is exactly the same as the previous scenario except that we could continue to use our separate Amazon accounts for non-Kindle purchases and thus have privacy for that stuff from each other.

FYI: The scenario is roughly the same for Barnes & Noble, where the e-books are tied to an account. There is the added difference that Barnes & Noble uses .pdb, whose DRM scheme is also tied to a credit card.

In actuality, my wife, my kids, and I are pretty open and we don't care who sees whose books or Amazon purchases so we're going with option #2. With non-DRM e-books the scenario becomes much easier. We can share copies of e-books that we bought within our family. We know that it would be illegal to copy it and give it to others. Perhaps we should be allowed to lend copies to friends that expire in a week. That should whet their appetites so they might buy the book for themselves. On the other hand wouldn't all those broke college students find some way to get free copies of the books they need? People have to realize that if the sellers and creators don't make money, then how can they continue to give us good content?

In one sense digital print has been around for a while: The Web has lots of text! Social digital print has also been around for a while: Email! Blogs! Groups! Facebook! The "social" aspect of digital media as in songs and books however, is only just starting. It's not just a matter of finding out what's hot as in Pandora, Spotify, etc., but of discussing, note taking, excerpting. Of the e-book readers, only the iRex/Philips iLiad has serious note taking features. Each e-book should have at least one site that's a jumping point for discussions centered around the book.

Closing

Anyhow this post is getting a little long. What I do with books is find them, buy them, read them, bookmark my place, take notes, look things up, share them with folks, and reference the books. I'd like to be able to do the same thing with e-books, but with the advantage of portability, some connectivity, and digital notes. I'm tempted by the Apple tablet because it has color, video, and can take notes, but it would also need a big book store, free connectivity, and better battery life. Amazon and Barnes & Noble should continue to compete against each other for a cheaper e-book reader that can take better notes and can read e-books from more sources. The big thing is that more and more books should be digitized. The World Wide Web is amazing, Google is amazing, Wikipedia is amazing. The ability to access all the books, old or new, from anywhere would be amazing too!

2009-08-05t15:30:46 Z | TAGS: Books, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Hardware, Reading, Standards, TECH, Text
Sony Takes On Kindle With Two New E-Readers
Sony Takes On Kindle With Two New E-Readers [http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=219000231]

Sony is releasing two new Readers today. Their old models were the PRS-500, PRS-505, and the PRS-700. The new models are the PRS 300 ($199 "Pocket" with 5" screen) and the PRS 600 ($299 "Touch" with 5" touch screen), both can access Google Books but don't have free Internet. In contrast the Amazon Kindle 2 ($299, 6" screen) and Kindle DX ($489, 9.7" screen) have free wireless but no touch screen. Another big contrast is that the Sony will be sold just about everywhere (Target, Borders, Wal-Mart, etc.), while the Kindle will only be sold at Amazon.

The upmanship in features and price is to be expected. The "standard" price for e-books is now $9.99 at Sony, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. For me the real battle is in the books: Do they sell the ones I want at a decent price? Can they read books from different sources?

Sort of funny to see Amazon trying to grip the e-book market tightly just to have the market slip between its fingers. Sony may have a reader but their book selection is limited --readers want to buy from an Amazon or a Barnes & Noble. Why set up barriers to people buying e-books? Why make us hesitate? Sell the readers everywhere. Let the readers read just about everything. Get rid of DRM.

2009-09-04t18:42:09 Z | TAGS: Artificial Intelligence, Mind, Philosophy, Psychology, TECH
The Singularity and the Fixed Point
The Singularity and the Fixed Point [http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/23354/?nlid=2327]

Almost exactly my point for health: The most important thing is inspiration and motivation for health.

As a brain engineer, however, I think that focusing solely on intelligence augmentation as the driver of the future is leaving out a critical part of the analysis--namely, the changes in motivation that might arise as intelligence amplifies. Call it the need for "machine leadership skills" or "machine philosophy"--without it, such a feedback loop might quickly sputter out.

The idea of the opposite of a singularity sounds like a "singularity" in the normal sense. People who want to sell things and keep people involved work on the never-ending concept, as in cliff-hangers and leaving you wanting more, and always something new. It's important to keep exploring and trying something new.

What is the opposite of a singularity? The singularity depends on a mathematical recursion: invent a superintelligence, and then it will invent an even more powerful superintelligence. But as any mathematics student knows, there are other outcomes of an iterated process, such as a fixed point. A fixed point is a point that, when a function is applied, gives you the same point again. Applying such a function to points near the fixed point will often send them toward the fixed point.

A "societal fixed point" might therefore be defined as a state that self-reinforces, remaining in the status quo--which could in principle be peaceful and self-sustaining, but could also be extremely boring--say, involving lots of people plugged into the Internet watching videos forever. Thus, we as humans might want, sometime soon, to start laying out design rules for technologies so that they will motivate us to some high goal or end--or at least away from dead-end societal fixed points. This process will involve thinking about how technology could help confront an old question of philosophy--namely, "What should I do, given all these possible paths?" Perhaps it is time for an empirical answer to this question, derived from the properties of our brains and the universe we live in.
2009-09-28t16:29:36 Z | TAGS: Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, HTML, Images, Programming, Standards, TECH, Videos
Introduction to HTML 5
Introduction to HTML 5 [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siOHh0uzcuY&feature=sdig&et=1254036170.89]

A video by a Google developer about HTML 5.

First he briefly discusses how it took a while for people to gel a few older technologies into AJAX, and how HTML 5 will probably be implemented faster than that. He also mentions that the web (not Web) environment is different now and needs HTML 5, especially with mobile devices and faster Javascript.

The rest of the video looks at 5 aspects of HTML 5 and shows simple example code implementing those aspects. The 5 aspects he covers are:

  1. SVG and Canvas. Lower level control of graphics.
  2. video. Not Flash, Silverlight, or VML, but native video support.
  3. geolocation. Especially with mobile devices.
  4. app cache and database. App cache is like a super browser cache. DB is an off-line DB that uses SQL statements.
  5. web worker. Similar to AJAX.
2009-10-05t17:14:26 Z | TAGS: Comics, Math, Philosophy, Science, TECH
Algorithm and Blues
Algorithm and Blues [http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/27/books/review/Holt-t.html?_r=1&ref=books] [VIA: http://science.slashdot.org/story/09/10/02/1940219/New-Comic-Book-About-Logic-Math-and-Madness?art_pos=6]

A cool comic book. Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou

a comic book about the quest for logical certainty in mathematics. The story spans the decades from the late 19th century to World War II, a period when the nature of mathematical truth was being furiously debated. The stellar cast, headed up by Bertrand Russell, includes the greatest philosophers, logicians and mathematicians of the era, along with sundry wives and mistresses, plus a couple of homicidal maniacs, an apocryphal barber and Adolf Hitler.

The Slashdot thread includes a bunch of other good ones too.

2009-10-20t17:23:51 Z | TAGS: Animation, Cyber Life, Flash, Images, JavaScript, Open Source, Photos, Programming, Standards, SVG, TECH, Videos
SVG

It's annoying and vexing that although Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) [W] has been around for 10 years now, it's not implemented in browsers in a standard fashion, especially Internet Explorer. See:

Until properly implemented, we have to use cheats like embed, object, and iframe in non-IE browsers. IE can show SVG by using stuff like svgweb [http://code.google.com/p/svgweb/] which converts the SVG into Flash. I love Inkscape for SVG images, and there should be more tools for SVG videos, charts, etc.

2009-11-05t15:17:12 Z | TAGS: Engineering, Science, Space, TECH
Success in 'space elevator' competition
Success in 'space elevator' competition [http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_13710120] [VIA: http://science.slashdot.org/story/09/11/05/1440210/LaserMotive-Finds-Success-In-Space-Elevator-Competition?art_pos=1]

Whoot! The space elevator along with nano and sustainable techs are my fave techs.

LaserMotive has achieved the first step towards the creation of a working space elevator by qualifying for the $900,000 prize in a contest sponsored by NASA.

I know that folks are working on nano cables, but delivering power by laser is really cool too.

The contest will continue for another two days with at least two other teams challenging for the prize. To win the Power Beaming competition, the LaserMotive system uses a high-power laser array to shine ultra-intense infrared light onto high-efficiency solar cells, converting the light into electric power which then drives a motor.
2009-11-10t15:03:22 Z | TAGS: Books, Images, JavaScript, Programming, Reading, TECH
Reviewing "Ext JS 3.0 Cookbook" soon

There's a new book Ext JS 3.0 Cookbook by Jorge Ramon. There are several cool things about this: One is that now there are more than 2 books on Ext JS out there (I already have "Learning Ext JS"). The other cool thing is that the publisher, Packt Publishing [packtpub.com], is sending me a complimentary copy of it so I can review it!

Ext JS 3.0 Cookbook by Jorge Ramon

2009-11-10t16:19:59 Z | TAGS: Cyber Tech, IBM, JavaScript, Microsoft, Programming, TECH, Yahoo!
Video: Douglas Crockford - The State and Future of JavaScript
Video: Douglas Crockford - The State and Future of JavaScript [http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/theater/video.php?v=crockford-yuiconf2009-state]

An hour long speech by Douglas Crockford of Yahoo, but you can also just read the transcript too. Some very nice stuff in there:

2010-01-27t20:38:38 Z | TAGS: Apple, Audio, Books, Cyber Life, Gadget, Hardware, Software, TECH, Videos
Apple iPad
Apple iPad [http://www.apple.com/ipad/]
Beautiful, powerful, and well priced. I noticed was that its browser had problems with Flash but they're probably working that out. There's no camera or video camera, but that's minor to my concerns about multitasking and openness. Minimal ports as expected but no USB? I may wait for USB 3. I haven't seen how it works as a plain old computer, as in say directory management. With a $499-$829 price and a 10 hour battery life (with 1 month standby), this should beat most of the eBook readers. While eInk is good for hi-light situations, I find that I often read in lo-light situations. I assume that Amazon and the other eBook sellers will compete with the new iBook Store, and probably make apps for reading their eBooks on the iPhone --one eBook reader to read all the eBook formats. A data plan at $15-$30 per month is reasonable. Now I just want to be able to use it as a phone too so I can ditch my phone (maybe use a Bluetooth wireless headset). It's 9.56" x 7.47" x 0.5", with a 9.7" screen of 1024 x 768 @ 132 ppi, and 1.5#; i.e. it's 242.8 mm x 189.7 mm x 13.4 mm, with a 246 mm screen and 0.68 Kg. I don't think people appreciate intuitive multi-touch enough. No comment on iWorks, other than I don't want another file format. Available in 60-90 days. I assume that they chose to have "Star Trek" as a sample video on purpose.
iPad with Star Trek on
2010-02-09t16:10:29 Z | TAGS: Browser, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Firefox, Google, TECH
Chrome versus Firefox 2010-02

I periodically compare Firefox (FF) and Chrome (C). Here's how I compare them now:

The improved Google bookmarks extension was probably the single most important difference for me. But since that's fixed, this may be the month that I switch to Chrome. May the browser wars continue!

2010-02-19t04:02:47 Z | TAGS: Books, Cyber Tech, JavaScript, Programming, Reading Now, TECH
"Ext JS 3.0 Cookbook" by Jorge Ramon, a review by George Hernandez
Ext JS 3.0 Cookbook [http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1847198708?ie=UTF8&tag=georgehernand-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1847198708]

A few years back, I was looking around for a JavaScript library for building interactive web applications. I took a list of JavaScript libraries [W], read some reviews, and tried a few of them out. Eventually I settled on Ext JS for several reasons, but what really whetted my appetite was their samples and demo page. Their samples were elegant, powerful, and usually worked on any browser. If you have acquired a hunger for Ext JS, then Ext JS 3.0 Cookbook by Jorge Ramon, can certainly serve you a good number of dishes.

Ext JS 3.0 Cookbook by Jorge Ramon

When I learned Ext JS, there were no books. I had to learn by playing with the product and by using resources on the Ext JS [extjs.com] website. The examples on site are almost pure code and no explanation (the code is self explanatory!). The API documentation is good but terse and dry with few examples. The forum is excellent and is probably the greatest Ext JS resource --it's like talking to Ext JS experts about your specific problems. As on of the few books on Ext JS, the Ext JS 3.0 Cookbook is a welcome resource. It has examples and explanations!

The set up of Ext JS 3.0 Cookbook is useful and simple. Related "recipes" are organized into chapters. A recipe is a specific task of something you want to do with Ext JS. Each recipe is set up, pictures are provided if applicable, then the ingredients (code) is put together step by step. Specific things are emphasized, and explanations are given of how it works.

Ext JS 3.0 Cookbook is a great way to jump start a new programmer on Ext JS. The programmer should already know HTML, JavaScript, and client-server interaction across the Web. This book would have been quite useful when I started learning Ext JS, but even now it covers parts of Ext JS that I haven't used yet.

Overall, if you need to get a good foothold on Ext JS, then I recommend Ext JS 3.0 Cookbook (2009) by Jorge Ramon and Packt Publishing. If you're using Ext JS and it can help you get over that one little point that you've been stuck on for a few hours, then it's worth it.

2010-03-16t18:44:32 Z | TAGS: Cyber Life, Philosophy, TECH
Now A No-Evil Zone
Now A No-Evil Zone [http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/201x/2010/03/15/Joining-Google]

Tim Bray (formerly of Sun) on competing with Apple:

The iPhone vision of the mobile Internet’s future omits controversy, sex, and freedom, but includes strict limits on who can know what and who can say what. It’s a sterile Disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers. The people who create the apps serve at the landlord’s pleasure and fear his anger.

I hate it.

I hate it even though the iPhone hardware and software are great, because freedom’s not just another word for anything, nor is it an optional ingredient.

The big thing about the Web isn’t the technology, it’s that it’s the first-ever platform without a vendor (credit for first pointing this out goes to Dave Winer). From that follows almost everything that matters, and it matters a lot now, to a huge number of people. It’s the only kind of platform I want to help build.

Apple apparently thinks you can have the benefits of the Internet while at the same time controlling what programs can be run and what parts of the stack can be accessed and what developers can say to each other.

I think they’re wrong and see this job as a chance to help prove it.

The tragedy is that Apple builds some great open platforms; I’ve been a happy buyer of their computing systems for some years now and, despite my current irritation, will probably go on using them.

2010-04-26t16:30:40 Z | TAGS: ASP.NET, Cyber Tech, Microsoft, Programming, TECH
ASP.NET output that isn't HTML

One of the first things I needed to do with ASP.NET was output a non-HTML page, i.e. change the HTTP output. An ASP.NET generic handler file (*.ashx) does just that. You can output text (*.txt, *.json, *.xml, *.html, etc.) or binary (*.jpg, , *.mp4, *.swf, etc.) or just about any electronic file you want to. BTW, it is trivial to do this in Classic ASP, but .NET allows some fancier stuff too.

2010-04-26t18:14:55 Z | TAGS: Artificial Intelligence, Biology, Mind, Science, TECH
The secrets of intelligence lie within a single cell
The secrets of intelligence lie within a single cell [http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627571.100-the-secrets-of-intelligence-lie-within-a-single-cell.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news]

What a wonderful, beautiful, and thought provoking piece. Individual cells may be far more powerful than we realize.

After all, whole living cells are primarily autonomous, and carry out their daily tasks with little external mediation. They are not subservient nanobots, they create and regulate activity, respond to current conditions and, crucially, take decisions to deal with unforeseen difficulties.

We're so self-impressed, that we can barely appreciate what's going on.

For me, the brain is not a supercomputer in which the neurons are transistors; rather it is as if each individual neuron is itself a computer, and the brain a vast community of microscopic computers. But even this model is probably too simplistic since the neuron processes data flexibly and on disparate levels, and is therefore far superior to any digital system. If I am right, the human brain may be a trillion times more capable than we imagine, and "artificial intelligence" a grandiose misnomer. I think it is time to acknowledge fully that living cells make us what we are, and to abandon reductionist thinking in favour of the study of whole cells. Reductionism has us peering ever closer at the fibres in the paper of a musical score, and analysing the printer's ink. I want us to experience the symphony.
2010-05-04t15:49:37 Z | TAGS: Apple, Audio, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Gadget, Hardware, Images, Operating System, Software, TECH, Videos
The real reason why Steve Jobs hates Flash
The real reason why Steve Jobs hates Flash [http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/04/why-steve-jobs-hates-flash.html]

Well yes. The article states some stuff that's obvious to some of us, but I support erring on the side of stating the obvious. There are many times where I assumed certain things were obvious and then later I end up wishing that I had said something sooner.

Obvious #1. Yes Mac has always been about a captive audience. They have always wanted to control the hardware, the operating system, the apps, the design, the look-and-feel. Apple equals proprietary. I personally prefer open.

Obvious #2. Hardware, software, and Internet connectivity is getting cheaper, faster, and cooler. Monetizing and staying on the curve is business. Ubiquitous HW with 4G+ and cloud storage and apps is the way to go. Beautiful, powerful, intuitive interfacing is the way to go. Ubiquitous media capture (txt, pic, aud, vid) and geolocation is the way to go.

Obvious #3. For most users the following apps will suffice on an iPad: Media Players (pics, audio, video, books), Browser, Office-like suite. There will of course be hundreds of apps that users want, but the emphasis should be on what users need. What should come soon: Skype/phone-like communications, FTP. Specialized tools that may never come but should: Power editors (text, pics, video, etc.), Remote Desktop access, Development IDEs, Database and Sys Admin tools.

Personally I'm itching to buy a tablet but the iPad is too weak to replace a smart phone and my laptop.

2010-07-21t15:00:36 Z | TAGS: Gear, Lasers, Military, News, TECH, Videos
U.S. Navy Successfully Uses Laser to Shoot Down Drones
U.S. Navy Successfully Uses Laser to Shoot Down Drones [http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-20011041-501465.html] [VIA: Mike]

Whoot! We have laser cannons!

During the test, the Navy's Laser Weapon System (LaWS), guided by Raytheon's Phalanx Close-In Weapon System sensors, engaged and destroyed four UAV targets flying over water near the Navy's weapons and training facility on San Nicolas Island in California's Santa Barbara Channel, about 120 kilometers west of Los Angeles.
2010-09-14t16:01:10 Z | TAGS: Browser, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Firefox, Google, TECH
How to Enable Vertical Tabs in Google Chrome
How to Enable Vertical Tabs in Google Chrome [http://www.techerator.com/2010/07/how-to-enable-vertical-tabs-in-google-chrome/]

You can add vertical tabs to the Chrome browser in Windows with these steps:

  1. Right-click your shortcut to Chrome.
  2. Select "Properties".
  3. Add --enable-vertical-tabs to the end of the "Target" field.
  4. Open Chrome

It's not quite as good as the TreeStyle tabs Add-on in Firefox but it's getting there.

Chrome is so close to matching Firefox. I have a list of feature differences between the various browsers but between Chrome and Firefox, here are my top differences:

Here are a few things that I used to have an issue between the browsers:

2010-09-30t21:07:49 Z | TAGS: Cyber Life, TECH
Digg V4: The Broken Covenant (aka Selling Out to "The Man")
Digg V4: The Broken Covenant (aka Selling Out to "The Man") [http://mediacaffeine.com/web-20/digg-web-20/digg-the-broken-covenant-aka-selling-out-to-the-man/]

I haven't seriously surfed the Web for around 2 months now. There has always been conflict between Digg and Reddit (See http://www.flickr.com/photos/25036088@N06/4192738180/sizes/o/ and http://www.raterush.com/pages/digg-reddit). But while I was out Digg has gone down the toilet (See http://www.google.com/insights/search/#q=%22digg%22%2C%22reddit%22&date=today%203-m&cmpt=q).

Competition is good so it's sad to see Digg falter. (BTW: Alas poor onemanga.com.) Google Reader and Buzz is no substitute for finding real content. Power to the users!

2010-11-24t18:55:14 Z | TAGS: Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, My Stuff, TECH
Multi-touch and Mobility

I just solved a thorny little problem at work so I'm going to reward myself with a quick little post. I haven't had much of a cyber life lately because my laptop at home broke. (It's part of a class action lawsuit against Dell/NVIDIA because of a bad GPU.) The system I want is game ready (StarCraft II!). So I'm looking at a desktop plus a multi-touch monitor. Too bad the All-In-Ones have lame GPUs.

For mobility, I want to get another machine ca. 2011-05 when my Verizon contract comes up for renewal. I don't want to game when I'm out, but I'd like a real keyboard, a paper-sized screen (Most PDFs were meant to be read at that size), and I want it to be low in mass. The iPad, Galaxy, and other tablets so far are too small and too trivial. I'd like something like the upcoming Dell Inspiron Duo but with a larger screen and lower mass. It needs a SSD, not a regular HD! And why isn't USB 3 on all the new stuff yet?

To replace my semi-smart phone, I'd like a smarter phone that's also a WiFi hot spot so I can use it for my "tablet" too. Why would I want to pay for 3G/4G that's just for my tablet when I can share it?

2010-12-02t17:04:42 Z | TAGS: Biology, Chemistry, Cool, Evolution, Science, Space, TECH
NASA Finds New Life
NASA Finds New Life [http://gizmodo.com/5704158/nasa-finds-new-life]

So the "alien" is from California! The most frequent Sci Fi elemental substitution is Si instead of C, so who would have guessed that As instead of P?!

At their conference today, NASA scientist Felisa Wolfe Simon will announce that they have found a bacteria whose DNA is completely alien to what we know today. Instead of using phosphorus, the bacteria uses arsenic. All life on Earth is made of six components: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. Every being, from the smallest amoeba to the largest whale, share the same life stream. Our DNA blocks are all the same. But not this one.
2011-01-07t04:18:14 Z | TAGS: Computers, Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Hardware, My Stuff, Software, TECH
I love my new Alienware M15X laptop

My laptop is almost a month old now. I got a new one because the graphics card on my old laptop died trying to play StarCraft II. I'm going to document the various installs and stuff I've done so that I look at the entry years from now and laugh.

I received my brand new Alienware M15X laptop from Dell. Beautifully packaged. It felt like an event. It even came with a hat! The basic specs:

I only have two complaints about the hardware:

Next I did some mandatory stuff:

Through out all this I gradually did a bunch of Windows tweaks. Here's some of what I did.

Besides Windows 7, I was pleasantly surprised that there was very little extra pre-installed software:

Web browser stuff. Chrome is my main browser these days. FYI: At work I work with Chrome 8, and test with FF 3.6, IE 8, Safari, and Opera.

Installed StarCraft II. Oh yes! Many more frames per second!

Here's some work stuff:

Here's some random stuff:

My new computer is awesome! After all this, I still have more than half of my hard drive free. I have to do stuff like Inkscape and GIMP though. I'll probably get a multi-touch screen monitor, a keyboard, and a USB hub. My laptop is a mobile workstation, but for more mobility I intend to get a tablet later.

2011-04-29t12:32:00 Z | TAGS: Cyber Life, Faith, MARTIAL, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Ramblings, Relations, Self Improvement, Sex, TECH, Thoughts, Violence
Dreams and Controversy

Just a recently: I woke up from a dream, then I let my mind wander, and then I realized that I was not likely to go back to sleep. Usually I lay there and try to go back to sleep if it's early enough, but today I've decided to try writing.

First I'm going to write about the kinds of dreams that wake me up. Why first? Because I want to write about it while I'm fresh from sleep. I can't say for sure because I haven't been logging it and therefore have no data collected, but I think I'm waking up more easily these days.

It seems that all I need is a dream that changes my heart rate a bit and that wakes me up. Here are typical dreams that wake me up:

Enough about dreams. Next I wanted to jot down a few notes about general topics of controversy (sex, violence, religion, and politics) and parsing them with simple tools (preferences, consent, and tolerance).

OK, that's enough for now. It's several hours since I woke up. On with my day.

2011-05-10t17:59:40 Z | TAGS: Cyber Life, Gadget, Google, Operating System, TECH
Multitasking the Android Way
Multitasking the Android Way [http://android-developers.blogspot.com/2010/04/multitasking-android-way.html]
One of the first things that the Verizon person did on my new phone was install "Advanced Task Killer". I let it happen but a task killer is not necessary because Android handles it automatically. You can do it manually if you feel like it: Settings, Applications, Manage Applications, Running, click an app, then Force stop.
2011-05-11t17:40:27 Z | TAGS: Amazon, Apple, Cyber Life, Google, Microsoft, Music, TECH
About Music Beta by Google
About Music Beta by Google [http://music.google.com/about/]

The music cloud wars are upon us.

Get your music from anywhere (Apple, Amazon, etc), sync them and store them at Google's cloud. Like Amazon Cloud Player, you don't have to worry about space. Apple's music cloud should be coming out soon. Microsoft?

It shouldn't just be music though. It should be contacts, books, videos, photos, files, whatever. Key issues include syncing multiple sources, monetizing, and selecting subsets for when your offline with little space.

2011-05-12t17:25:19 Z | TAGS: Mind, Programming, TECH
Is Process Killing the Software Industry?
Is Process Killing the Software Industry? [http://developers.slashdot.org/story/11/05/11/0358233/Is-Process-Killing-the-Software-Industry?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Slashdot%2Fslashdot+%28Slashdot%29]

Imaginative code is more important than tested code.

We all know by now that Test Driven Development is a best practice. And so is having 100% of your code reviewed. And 70% unit test coverage. And keeping your CCN complexity numbers below 20. And doing pre-sprint grooming of stories. And a hundred other industry 'best practices' that in isolation seem like a great idea. But at the end of the day, how much time does it leave for developers to be innovative and creative? A piece on O'Reilly Radar argues that excessive process in software development is sucking the life out of passionate developers, all in the name of making sure that 'good code' gets written. 'The underlying feedback loop making this progressively worse is that passionate programmers write great code, but process kills passion. Disaffected programmers write poor code, and poor code makes management add more process in an attempt to "make" their programmers write good code. That just makes morale worse, and so on.'
2011-06-13t17:32:55 Z | TAGS: Biology, Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, Science, TECH
First 'living' laser made from kidney cell
First 'living' laser made from kidney cell [http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20563-first-living-laser-made-from-kidney-cell.html]

They DNA-tricked a human embryonic kidney cell to have green fluorescent protein (GFP, like first found in bio-luminescent jellyfish), then placed it between mirrors, and zapped it with blue light. The GFP acted as the gain medium, the light bounced back and forth between the mirrors until it got strong enough to come out of the semi-transparent mirror as a laser beam! The kidney cell survived just fine.

This is the first time they've used living tissue as a gain medium. They have all sorts of ideas for applications, even Townes couldn't predict what we eventually used the laser for.

Soon we can have frickin sharks with frickin laser beams!

2011-06-26t16:09:43 Z | TAGS: Cyber Life, Cyber Tech, Family, Health, TECH
Google to End Health Records Service After It Fails to Attract Users
Google to End Health Records Service After It Fails to Attract Users [http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/25/technology/25health.html?_r=1&emc=eta1] [VIA: Terry]

I put my family health data in spreadsheets: Without clear success stories in Personal Health Records (PHRs), I couldn't justify doing data entry in a particular PHR, especially since we don't know which, if any, are here to stay.

In contrast I know that I use Google Contacts on the Web and on my phone, so I know that it is beneficial to enter contacts in Google --but those entries are less frequent and less laborious than health records.

On the other hand if I knew my doctor was actually going to look at health info I entered, then I might have some incentive to enter it in their system.

2011-10-06t14:59:22 Z | TAGS: Apple, Beauty, Computers, Culture, Death, Inspiring, Obituaries, Sad, TECH
Steve Jobs (1955-02-24/2011-10-05)

Steve Jobs passed away yesterday after struggling with cancer for almost a decade. Thank you for making the only PC that I've kept after I retired it: A Mac Classic with 9 inch black and white screen. Thanks for Pixar. Thanks for belief, vision, and style. Thanks for sharing.

"Death is very likely the best invention of life. All pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure, these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important."
-Steve Jobs (1955-02-24/2011-10-05) in 2005.
Mac Classic
2011-11-05t21:10:09 Z | TAGS: Cool, Physics, Quirky, Space, TECH
A laser to give the universe a hernia?
A laser to give the universe a hernia? [http://news.discovery.com/space/a-laser-to-rip-apart-spacetime-create-ghosts-111102.html]

Say hello to my little friend: ELI. "Extreme Light Infrastructure Ultra-High Field Facility, known as "ELI," would concentrate 200 petawatts of power -- that's 100,000 times the world's power production -- and fire it at a single point for less than a trillionth of a second."

"by giving spacetime a hernia, it is hoped that theorized "ghost particles" may spill from the fissure, providing evidence for the hypothesis that extra-dimensions exist and the vacuum of space isn't a vacuum at all -- it is in fact buzzing with virtual particles."

If I can believe (and test) that the Internet is passing terrabytes of data through my nose right now, then why not believe (and test) that my nose is also buzzing with ghost particles/anti-particles?

2011-12-13t20:27:13 Z | TAGS: Biology, Evolution, Faith, Fauna, Images, Live Action, Nature, TECH, Videos
Fish uses fins to walk and bound
Fish uses fins to walk and bound [http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/16157835]
I suppose someone can make a variant of the evolve fish bumper sticker using the African lungfish.
African lungfish walking
2011-12-15t20:37:17 Z | TAGS: Geology, History, News, Science, Sustainability, TECH, World
Methane discovery stokes new global warming fears Shock as retreat of Arctic releases greenhouse gas
Methane discovery stokes new global warming fears Shock as retreat of Arctic releases greenhouse gas [http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/methane-discovery-stokes-new-global-warming-fears-shock-as-retreat-of-arctic-releases-greenhouse-gas-6276278.html]

History repeats itself?

History: 55.8 million year ago an extreme climate change occurred called the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). The PETM is so clearly visible in the geologic evidence that it defines the border between two epochs. One of the main theories about PETM is that global warming melted the polar ice and exposed methane. Methane is 20x more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2, so the global warming was exacerbated, the oceans acidified, and mass extinction occurred.

News: The Siberian Arctic Shelf and permafrost has been melting. Now hundreds of methane fountains are turning up. My guess is that once it gets this far, there's no reversing it. We've already been causing extinctions, but there are going to be a lot more. Runaway global warming here we come.

2011-12-28t17:10:29 Z | TAGS: Amazon, Apple, Cyber Life, Google, Hardware, Microsoft, My Stuff, Software, TECH
Review of my software usage

I periodically do a review of my software usage -- especially if I've gotten a new computer! However this year I'll emphasize software on my phone and tablet.

Hardware and Operating System:

Games: Lots available for phone, tablet, comp, console, physical, etc. These are more for my kids.

Comics: Just read in print or online with a big screen!

Reading: Going with e-books if available. Hesitating on digital NGM because we love the print.

News: Perhaps we all check the news too often!

Audio: I don't do lots of music, but so far I like Amazon's handling of music better than Google and Apple. Yay radio!

Media: I watch YouTube and Netflix, but I don't do much TV, otherwise cable and Hulu might be interesting.

Phone: I use the fewest phone minutes in my family. Waiting for phone wallets to mature.

SMS/IM: Yes, my family texts/chats often!

Email: I prefer to do email at a full computer. Urgent communications should be done by phone or text.

Social: I prefer to do social sites on a full computer. I do Facebook, but barely do Twitter and the rest.

Office and Files: I prefer to do office stuff on a full computer but I love having centralized simple text files that my wife and I can both access. I'd really like to log my workouts in my Google Docs spreadsheets but the interface is a clunky.

Maps: Mobile maps is important when you're travelling.

Utilities: A calculator with basic science functions should be built-in!

Special Apps:

Other:

Non-mobile computer software brief version:

2013-02-04t03:15:38 Z | TAGS: Design, Gadget, Hardware, My Stuff, Software, TECH
Pressure sensitive Wacom stylus for Lenovo ThinkPad X230t in Windows 8
(Posting this becuase this info has a limited shelf life): If you have the Lenovo ThinkPad X230t and upgrade it Windows 8, then your stylus will not be pressure sensitive. However if you go to http://www.wacom.com/en/support/drivers and download the Tablet PC - Enhanced Graphics Driver 7.1.0-8 zip, it has the 7.1.0-9 driver zipped within the first zip, which will make the stylus pressure senstive again! Now I'm ready to rock and roll with MyPaint, GIMP, and Inkscape!
2013-07-06t23:26:20 Z | TAGS: Atheism, Books, Faith, Literature, Quotations, Reading, Reading Now, Relations, Science, Science Fiction, TECH
I finished reading "Brave New World" (1931) by Aldous Huxley

I finished reading "Brave New World" (1931) by Aldous Huxley earlier this afternoon. The first chapter is harsh and it continued to be harsh. However in spite of the harshness I think it Brave New World was very provocative and applicable to the current time.

I'll get to those ideas, but first I will briefly discuss some of the science fiction aspects of Brave New World (BNW). Huxley started BNW as a dystopian variant of the utopian novels by H.G. Wells, so it had to have science fiction in it.

BNW has the circumvention of internal fertilization and our vivvparous nature (bearing live young). We have seen this in popular culture with movies like "The Matrix" and "Man of Steel". In real life, we have achieved some degree of ovuliparity (external fertilization) with test tube babies, but we are nowhere near achieving oviparity (laying eggs), or of developing the zygote in an artificial egg or bottle (the term used in BNW). The best we can do now is develop safer and more effective pain killing drugs and delivery methods (like epidurals). I'm sure women have wished to circumvent the pain of delivery for thousands of years --I wonder what was the earliest recorded expression of that wish in literature?

BNW has the casting of people into castes (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon) from the moment of conception. In BNW this was done through chemical manipulation since inception, and then brainwashing. If Huxley had written BNW after the discovery of DNA, perhaps he would have written in genetic manipulation. While corporations like Monsanto may do genetic engineering of food, people aren't doing much genetic manipulation of people --yet. As far as social stratification, we seem to do that to ourselves.

There's other science fiction stuff in it like centralized economic control, feelies (immersion movies that can provide direct neural stimulation), soma (a very powerful happy drug distributed by the state that BNW people consumed regularly), chemically induced youth, rampant recreational sex, etc. Even just listing that stuff can put people in a paranoid state about socialist godless liberal hippies running the world. Our social development comes partially from our science, but is largely driven by us.

The philosophical apex of the book happens in chapters 16 and 17 when John "The Savage" and Helmholtz Watson (the yearning writer) have a frank discussion with Mustapha Mond (the World Controller of Western Europe). The crux of the discussion is that in the face of self-extinction, the people in the BNW decided to favor safety, survival, stability, happiness, and comfort, over liberty, truth, beauty, history, and religion. I shall encapsulate the topic with the phrase "Safety v Liberty" for the sake of convenience and in honor of this saw from Benjamin Franklin: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.".

The topic of "Safety v Liberty" is old and important. There is safety in consolidating power to one or a few, but its price is Liberty. The closest we seem to get is a Republic (rule of law) and a Democracy (rule of the people). I'm not too worried about the government against the people because the trend is towards government by the people instead of the few. Don't like Gaddafi or Morsi?, then throw them out. (Good luck getting rid of Putin or Kim Jong-un!) What do I care that Google and the NAS have info on me?

My concern is of "Safety v Liberty" is on the personal level. It's not so much a matter of explicit cases of "Hikikomori" (Japanese "pulled inward") or hermits, but the more subtle case of people fooling themselves. As Feynman said: "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.". You don't need friends or corporations or government to fool yourself. When you fool yourself, you feel safer, but you steal time from yourself, thus taking away your liberty, your freedom.

Another interesting thing in ch 17 of BNW was their discussion of God.

"We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God's property."

I agree with that except that I think we merely are, we are of the universe, we do what we can, and we are no one's property.

"as the passions grow calm, as the fany and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason becomes less troubled in its working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns toward the source of all light"

Probably many of us start thinking along these lines when we get to be middle aged and the flower of youth if fading. At this point one seeks a transformation, a continuation, because otherwise there is only decay then death. I've always looked for a meaning, but if I can no longer find meaning in the magnificence of my physical prowess (I'm so awesome!), then what do I find meaning in? For some it will be in the continuation of genes, goals, or memes. But isn't it possible that a gamma burst could wipe out all life on this planet at any time? Or that this universe could blink out because of some event in the multiverse? What if there is not continuation? What if there is? Each of us has to look for that meaning. Is "seeing God" the easy way out? If instead you see the void, then perhaps you need to look harder until you see something else?

"God isn't compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness."

It's interesting that Mond, who actively suppresses the propagation of the concept of God, thinks that "there quite probably is one", but that God manifests himself as an absence. In BNW, society lives youthfully, safely, happily, and then slips into death while in a soma-induced happy state. So where is a need for God in that? In BNW, it is more convenient to be without God, but in the real world, for many it is more convenient to have God.

2013-08-13t22:02:11 Z | TAGS: Cyber Life, Google, Ramblings, TECH, Thoughts
Gmail Categories

Gmail had Labels and Filters. Then it added Smartlabels (Bulk, Notification, and Forum) in Labs (and is still in Labs). Then it added Categories as Tabs and Labels (Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, Forums) not through labs (possibly because it's the "graduate" version of Smartlabels).

I've been using Gmail's tabbed Categories for a few weeks now and I have been fairly satisfied. It has convinced me to get rid of a few labels and filters that I had before. For example: I used to have a Label and Filter I called "ADMIN", but it effectively functioned like "Notification" in Smartlabels, which in effectively functioned like the "Updates" Category.

However, there's always something. Here are three minor issues I have Categories so far:

1. Occasionally a new message will appear in the west for a Category Label, but will not appear in the Category Inbox Tab. Odd and a little annoying. Possibly just an asynchronous issue.

2. My guess that Gmail starts with what it thinks should go in each Category. Gmail probably starts by pre-identifying known social sources (like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus), promotional sources (like Amazon, Microsoft Store, and GrubHub), and update sources (like banks, Mint, and credit cards). Then Gmail probably learns which sources should go in which Category after you drag them into another Category several times. HOWEVER, I have been dragging emails from one Category Inbox Tab to another, but Gmail seems to be slow on learning my preferences.

3. When you have an email open in one Category Inbox Tab and switch to another, Gmail keeps that email open. Some people may like that, but I think it's a bit confusing to step away from Gmail for (gasp!) a few minutes, and then come back to find some email open that is not part of the currently selected Category Inbox Tab.

Over all, Categories automatically gives lots of people functionality that was only available to "power users" that tweaked their Gmail account.

2014-01-10t18:03:15 Z | TAGS: Open Source, Science, TECH
10 Simple Rules for the Care and Feeding of Scientic Data
10 Simple Rules for the Care and Feeding of Scientic Data [http://arxiv.org/pdf/1401.2134v1.pdf]

Open data, open source. For the tldnr crowd:

2014-03-03t21:19:29 Z | TAGS: Cool, Inspiring, Science, TECH, TV, Videos
Neil deGrasse Tyson explains why the new Cosmos matters so much
Neil deGrasse Tyson explains why the new Cosmos matters so much [http://io9.com/neil-degrasse-tyson-explains-why-the-new-cosmos-matters-1534876280]
We've been distracted by the stunning advances that information technology has brought us, to the exclusion of very deeply held needs that we have in society.

In college I could barely do chemical engineering because I was so distracted by computers! The Web wasn't even up then, so people have even more distractions now.

Cosmos has, as its mission statement, the effort to convey to you why science matters. That is a different motivating factor than "Here's all this science I want to teach you."

There is so much mind in science that people forget that it has so much heart in it too.

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