Flashmob Computing - attempting to create an instant supercomputer.
A few years ago a life simulation game called Creatures was released. I recently discovered that there was also a free version called Docking Station which is still available in PC and Linux versions and includes an optional on-line component which allows you to chat, send messages and share creatures with other players. And if the goodies and breeds of creatures that come with the free version aren't enough for you, there are oodles of web sites still offering free downloads to expand on the game. Or if you gain some joy from hexidecimal programming, you can even play around with their genetic coding or learn to create your own goodies.
Worldbuilder (no relation to the old Mac adventure game toolkit) is an excellent way to start off the week by completely crippling productivity. I've played many games from these guys before, and they're always great. I envy the independent game designer that gets to work with Lego so often. Via GTA.
The DOJ wants to tap your IMs, your email, your VOIP calls, and your Web browsing -- and they want you to pay for it. The Justice Department is seeking to expand its ability to monitor online traffic by forcing broadband providers to make their services "wiretap-friendly," and a petition filed with the FCC this week says you will foot the bill. Get ready for CALEA 2.0. "As a means of espionage, writs of assistance and general warrants are but puny instruments of tyranny and oppression when compared with wire tapping," the prescient Justice Brandeis observed in 1928.
MouseCount counts the number of times you click your mouse--information useful to computer usage studies, ergonomics, repetitive stress measurement, and more. This program saves you the trouble of counting all those clicks yourself! Screw that, I'm just a curious dork. (fyi: link goes to description page only, but the download is a .zip file)
Good weekend project: start your own Internet radio station with peerCast. Mentioned here, very cool.
[Warning: AppleFilter] Apple provides customized RSS feeds from iTunes store.
Hey! A thirteen year-old kid gets suspended for three days for using a DOS command to send a one-word message to all 80 computers on his school's network. Even more charming is that the computer teacher of his school apparently doesn't know much about the computicatin' machines.
cool information design from ben fry at MIT (via newstoday.com)... anyone else have any links to share of particularly good information designers/design? merry x-mas all.
A new MS Internet Explorer vulnerability is discovered. Most digerati already know about the spammer and lamer trick to publish URLs that look like legitimate hostnames to fool people in to trusting a malicious site. This trick is frequently used by spammers to steal people's PayPal accounts, by tricking them in to "resetting" their password at a site owned by the spammer but disguised as PayPal.com. Today's new IE vulnerability is significantly worse. By including an 0x01 character after the @ symbol in the fake URL, IE can be tricked in to not displaying the rest of the URL at all. Don't expect a patch right way, the guy who found the hole released it to BugTraq on the same day he notified Microsoft. (via Simon Willison)
Vixen Love - Read the logs of AIM users tricked into a relationship with a mindless chat bot named Emily. Remember, VixenLove is just out to make friends!
SCO is at it again... this time they've asked a federal judge to declare that Linux's general public license — a backbone of the free software movement — unconstitutional. Let's hope the judge has more sense than SCO.
desktop subversibles ... a collection of background subversions and awareness applications for the desktop.
"The Band uses unique instrumentation: the music is performed using obsolete computer equipment for instruments. Currently they are using a 1977 Atari 2600 game console, a 1986 portable 286 PC, a 1983 Commodore 64 computer, and a 1985 Epson dot matrix printer."
Apple: Innovator & Oppressor of Independent Software: As they once did with Karelia's Watson software and, to a certain extent, Panic's Audion, Apple has "borrowed" a concept from an independent, third-party developer without credit or compensation. It would seem that Steve Jobs is not as far removed from Bill Gates as he would like the Mac faithful to believe . . .
Top 10 data disasters The BBC report on a list of 10 data mishaps and asks for more. Some of the user submitted stories are too funny. So how did you lose yours?
The Computer History Museum is hosting this years Vintage Computer Festival in Mountain View, California. Featuring live demonstatrions of a Xerox Alto as well as an auction for a Commodore 64 prototype, this year promises to be fun for geeks of all ages. (via Wired)
Lick Me, I'm A Mackintosh. One columnist's ode/rant re: Apple's design ethos.
Skype, a new P2P Telephony service from the people who created KaZaA. [more inside]
Apple Corps Ltd. sues Apple Computers over AppleMusic. "When it first happened with the iPod, we said, "What could they be thinking?" said a Beatles legal insider, who agreed that posters announcing the iPod from "AppleMusic" were among the most egregious violations. "They knew we had the agreement, and that we'd won a lot of money from them already."
Nerd Gym (43 pages o' flash) is about 80% hackneyed obvious jokes, but there's some gems here and there. Which is dissapointing, because I don't get enough of the "Cleaning the Spitten Coffee off of the Monitor" workout. It also has very little to do with driving a tricycle drunk or throwing a javelin limpwristed against the Alpha Betas.
Pop Quiz: What was the first personal computer? "Be careful before you answer! The question is highly ambiguous. Are you sure you know what first means? How about personal? Even computer is an ambiguous term! Let's define personal computer as a computer having the following attributes: It must be a digital computer. It must be largely automatic. It must be programmable by the end-user. It must be accessible, either as a commercially manufactured product, as a commercially available kit, or as widely published kit plans. It must be small enough to be transportable by an average person. It must be inexpensive enough to be affordable by the average professional. It must be simple enough to use that it requires no special training beyond an instruction manual. Ready?"
Windows Vulnerabilities XPlained I've always used Gibson Research's website to test my Windows system for vulnerabilities. With the latest BLAST aimed at MS, I thought to share his site with the class. While Mr. Gibson obviously has some axes to grind and bones to pick with Microsoft and with various software firewall makers, his explanations of how Windows can be XPloited in terms that are fairly easy to understand is most appreciated. Be sure to check out the numerous free utiltites (small downloads! I mean, really small!) that will help you plug nearly every hole in your Windows.
Didn't know MS had shut down www.windowsupdate.com til just now, either
Didn't know MS had shut down www.windowsupdate.com til just now, either
Community Memory : the world's first public computerized bulletin board system, set up in 1972 with an ASR-33 Teletype machine. Also, please welcome Benway, possibly the world's first net personality (beating Miguel and Quonsar by a couple of weeks). More on Benway in Steven Levy's book Hackers.
C. Bradley Dilger's research on ease of use. I'm reading Neal Stevenson's cryptonomicon and it got me thinking about interface design. Of course not all artists design interfaces, nor do they really want people to see their art as interactive, but for the rest of us I think this is an important topic. Mr. Dilger's Ph. D. dissertation is over 200 pages of current, well written anaylsis on the concept of "ease" in our culture, especially when it relates to technology and computer interaction. And to make it even better, his bibliography is top. I especially liked this article titled The Anti-Mac Interface.
Bob Cringely thinks the government's information gathering capability is a disaster waiting to happen. Does our government have too much faith in computers as a solution to our problems? Just as electronic voting is looked at skeptically by the computer-savvy among us, so should the use of computers to gather information.
What Happens When Technology Zooms Off the Chart? (pdf) Singularity is the subject of the Spring 2003 issue of Whole Earth magazine.
While there are a number of sites devoted to the history of computer and information technologies, their invention, design and manufacture is also a human story. So I'm glad that there are sites devoted to computing history and culture that also look at the lives of those involved. The Charles Babbage Institute and Center for the History of Information Technology, includes oral histories of engineers and 500 photographs of the Burroughs Corporation form the 1890s on. The Smithsonian Museum Division of Information Technology and Society is a gateway to a large number of 'real life' and online Smithsonian exhibitions related to the history of science and technology, including more oral histories and PDFs of the original DoD press releases for ENIAC. The Oxford University Virtual Museum of Computing includes tributes to information science pioneers, as well as much other stuff. Finally, the Silicon Valley Cultures Project is using anthropology to document the lives of many of those in the Valley.
A real man would stay. But of course you're merely an inadequate simulation. Yes, its robot improv! Who needs a human brain to be funny? Certainly not these rascally robots! Titter to the sample scripts! Chortle at the architecture overview! Nod your head sagely and pretend you understand the paper, "Robot Improv: Using Drama to Create Believable Agents" (MSWord doc)!
Apple spills its own beans: 1.6GHz, 1.8GHz, or Dual 2GHz PowerPC G5 processors described in desktops found in the store tonight (since removed).
Is it me, or does Mac Mentor sound like the name of a comic book super-villian? (Say it slow.)
Microsoft to discontinue development of IE for the Mac... Surprisingly this apparently isn't being done because of the low market share for Macintosh, but rather as a side effect of the increasing integration (whether real or alleged) between IE and the Operating System, which on the Mac is closed, so MS can cease development as support for their claims of mandatory integration between browser & OS. I await the next step, mandatory integration between email & OS? IM? Media tools? Net access?
This page uses a 'Dukes of Hazzard' metaphor to explain that big ol' SCO vs. Linux kerfuffle.
Newly Digital is an electronic anthology of sorts. Due to the technological advancement of these things we call "computers", it's a subject ripe for nostalgia. As seen here by bloggers writing about their first . . .
Child Pornographers Using Small Storage Drives. Small drives like this are giving the police quite a bit of trouble. One of the more interesting quotes from the story, "Even if the photos are encrypted, computer forensics specialists can break through most encryption schemes these days anyway."
Does Information Technology(IT) matter? A recent Harvard Business Review paper has been criticized for its controversial stance that IT does not matter. Does it?
The most reliable computer you can buy is... June's Consumer Reports surveyed 39,000 readers and...dare I say it? That not said, how reliable are reliability reports?
How clean is your computer?
Buffalo chips and so much more! Welcome to the Silicon Zoo, a place where cheetahs run alongside guitar-strumming T. Rexes, while The Simpson's Milhouse looks on with a grin. Brought to you courtesy of those wacky scientific folk at Florida State University. [More]
Is really effective machine traslation just around the corner? Up 'til now computerized language translation has been as amusing as it been useful. Getting the gist of text composed in a different language has been about the most one can hope for. Will this company's efforts with statistical analysis be the breakthrough? Statistical analysis might be the key to stopping spam too. This is changing the way I think about my own communication.
The Institute of Holistic Computer Wellness have found that ideas from holistic medicine actually help to diagnose and to treat intermittent computer failures. Also check out The Mineralarians and Minuteman Pizza from the same guys. (1st FPP, be nice!)
Question for the class: Why would you want to make a RAID array from floppy disk drives? Answer: because you can if you have a Mac, that is
Adam Osborne could arguably be called one of the fathers of the laptop, having introduced the first commercially successful portable computer, the Osborne 1. Sadly, he passed away late yesterday. It's interesting to consider that those of us who use laptops day-to-day in our jobs owe a gratitude to one of the less-well-known pioneers of the tech industry.