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FRIDAY, AUGUST 6, 2004

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Hydroelectric Shower
By Mark Frauenfelder
6/1 11:39am EDT
The Exciting Future of Invasive Advertising is Now
By Seth 6/9 2:52pm EDT
I woke with a start to find my cell phone blinking on top of my dresser. Flipping open my phone, I found the following text-message: “not getting the performance you need? Just call 1-800-Viagra for great deals!” Now, imagine walking into the nearest mall. As you walk by Starbucks “try a venti vanilla bean frappuccino!” pops up on your phone. You walk by the movie theater “see hot Brad Pitt in Troy!” Hard to believe? This isn’t future events, it’s happening now. Unsolicited advertising, more popularly known as “spam” to the computer savvy, is creeping off of computers and onto the cell phones we all have.
My Blog of the Week
Prof. Jacques Distler
By joshua 6/2 6:01pm EDT
This is the blog of an old professor of mine. He is a real theoretical physicist, maybe not the best blog for the weak of heart. Terrific editorials on the landscape of High Energy theory and a new and stirring hurrah for Marino's review on Chern Simmons and string theory are just a taste of the excitement to be found. This one's going in the file as a possible blog of the month.
Can physicists design a city? Can they even organize their apartments?
By caek 6/2 3:46pm EDT
Physicists are thinking about alot more than electrons these days and have come to some really amazing conclusions: "Cities and people are just too complicated." Despite these concerns some physicists still insist on living in society and are now turning to supercomputers to try to make some sense of it.
Believers in Intelligent Design in Bed With Creationists
By John M. Lynch 5/28 11:42am EDT
For a long time, many IDists have denied any connection with Creationism, particular YEC. As Michael Behe said at University of NM in March 2002: “I’m not a creationist. I’m a biochemist.” Interestingly, Behe is talking at this youth conference in North Carolina which aims to introduce Jr. and Sr. High Youth to two worldviews. 1: The secular worldview which is humanistic in nature placing man at thecenter of all philosophy. 2: The Biblical worldview which looks to the Bible as the ultimate authority of all truth.
The Pill, No Pooping Required
By Peter Rojas 5/25 11:20pm EDT
From Given Imaging, a new wireless version of their M2A swallowable pill camera with a low-power transmitter built-in that can beam photos of your insides to a special receiver you wear on your belt. Normally with these sorts of pill cameras you have to, um, evacuate them in order to get the photos, so having a wireless trasmitter built-in means no more waiting!
The Gadget Guy Recommends
Open Zaurus...ame
By Gizmodo 5/25 11:09pm EDT
PDA Buyer's Guide has a typically in-depth review of the latest Sharp Zaurus, the SL-6000L, and while they are impressed with it relative to its other Zaurus siblings, it's easy to see that Sharp has aimed this model for a very specific niche. It's huge, for one thing, dwarfing most PDAs--even other Zaurus--but at least some of that is due to its 'ruggedization' and top-notch 4-inch VGA (640 x 480) screen....

Robot Review
By Phil Libin 5/24 12:11pm EDT
My social contract stipulates that I buy consumer robots, so I was particularly interested in seeing how Wow Wee’s much anticipated Robosapien lives up to its hype. The Robosapien is a $99 remote controlled toy robot aimed at eight year olds and their developmental equivalents. I picked one up at BestBuy and brought it in to torment the office.

Cicada's Life Tragically Interrupted by Vicious Crane Fly
By Ralph 5/25 12:38pm EDT
Unfortunately, the original cicada - after 17 years underground - never completed the transition into adulthood. Mid way through the process, the emerging cicada was repeatedly attacked by what looks like some type of crane fly (although it didn't act like any crane fly I've read about). Each time the crane fly attacked the partially emerged cicada, the cicada would struggle furiously with its legs trying to push the crane fly away. After a minute or two the crane fly would leave, only to return 5-10 minutes later and repeat the attack. Shortly after the third attack, the cicada prematurely dropped out of its shell onto the ground, even though it's wings were still folded and wet and its body still white and soft.
Wall Street Journal Buys into WiMax Hype
By Steve Stroh 5/25 10:51am EDT
I also take issue, as I do with all such articles, that the article hints broadly that WiMAX will "take off just like Wi-Fi." It won't... and can't. The relatively low volumes (in comparison to Wi-Fi) likely won't drive nearly as rapid a decrease in price. WiMAX won't encounter a "lack of competition", as was the case with Wi-Fi.
GMail Black Market Value Skyrockets, Saudi Oil Not Enough
By Dave Taylor 5/24 11:13pm EDT
So I apparently have one of the most valuable commodities on the Internet in my hands now: the ability to invite someone to join Gmail and get an account. Don't believe me? Check out Gmail Swap, a site that lists the things people will swap or offer for an account on Gmail!
It's pretty amazing what people are posting here, including a pet mouse, a bottle of whiskey, a pot of fresh spaghetti sauce, lingerie, chocolate, and even pictures of people naked or "doing stuff with their bf".
Newsweek Discovers Smartphones, Confuses Them With PCs
By Gizmodo 6/2 4:40pm EDT
Although it took them three writers to do it, Newsweek takes a look at the smartphone trend, trying to pose the seemingly deep question "Will Phones Replace PCs?" while blissfully ignoring the fact that the only possible answer is, you know, 'maybe.' That's some thought-provocation right there. Still, there's some good stuff in the article, like a stop-smoking program that sends encouraging messages to Japanese students, and (hypothetical?) examples of two single people hooking up in a bar using Symbian Dater.
Which reminds me, I've been meaning to ask if any of you have been hooking up via these social mobile applications like Symbian Dater or Dodgeball. And I don't just mean 'hooking up with your friends.' I mean, 'hooking your interface meats up to anonymous or recently met humans.' If you send me something put [MobiHump] or something in the subject so my spam filter doesn't eat it.
Firefox Fast, Can't Handle Themes
By Dave Taylor 5/24 3:49pm EDT
I've had a very interesting week working with and getting used to Firefox, a quite capable new browser for Mac OS X, Linux and Windows, but I'm throwing in the towel after having posted a bunch of bug reports. The biggest problem? When I click on URLs in other applications they're sent to Firefox, but it doesn't actually open the window. Since I receive a lot of Web links in email messages and through applications like NetNewsWire, I am slowly going bonkers trying to deal with this problem.
156 Billion! Is That All?
By Quantumblog 5/24 11:36pm EDT
Universe Measured; We're 156 Billion Light-years Wide!
In the new study, researchers examined primordial radiation imprinted on the cosmos. Among their conclusions is that it is less likely that there is some crazy cosmic "hall of mirrors" that would cause one object to be visible in two locations. And they've ruled out the idea that we could peer deep into space and time and see our own planet in its youth.
Oh, is that all.

Nokia Announces Airtexting, Heckling Ensues
By Joi Ito 6/1 11:43am EDT
Joi Ito has a good blog entry about Nokia's new "Airtexting" feature in the 3220 handsets: a string of LEDs down the side of the phone spell out user-defined words when the phone is waved back and forth.
Rant of the Day
Security Cannot Be Spun
By John Gruber 6/2 10:48am EDT
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the recently-publicized Mac OS X security vulnerabilities has been the press coverage. Compared to the sensationalized and misleading coverage that appeared a month ago about Intego's "MP3Concept Trojan Horse" scam, the response to the current URI-related vulnerabilities has been, well, measured and appropriate.
That's the bad news.
At this point, it's worth noting the difference between a vulnerability and an exploit. A vulnerability is a security hole; an exploit is an action that takes advantage of a vulnerability. An unlocked car door is a vulnerability; when a thief opens the unlocked door and steals the car, that’s an exploit.
To date, all of Mac OS X's URI-related security problems are mere vulnerabilities - there are no publicized exploits (other than innocuous proof-of-concept examples).
That’s the good news.
Apple, Griffin, Someone... Give iPod A Radio
By usrbingeek 5/28 1:28pm EDT
Why the heck doesn't Apple or someone else offer a remote for the iPod that has an integrated FM/AM Tuner?! I'd even settle for just an FM Tuner.
Griffin apparently had plans for one but nixed it when the 3rd generation iPods were introduced. Its sad no one else has come up with one.
Too Much Thinking Leads To Apparent Stupidity
By NinjaPablo 5/26 12:25am EDT
This guy worked at IBM and Netscape, and has a Ph.D in Cognitive Psychology. Yet he spends his time finding things to be anal about and nitpick over. He offers suggestions for clearing up confusing items and situations. Here are just a few of the many gems on the site:
"For a long time I caught myself mistaking the tachometer for the speedometer."
"A lot of manufacturers package both shampoo and conditioner in nearly identical bottles. You ought to be able to easily distinguish between them in the shower without your glasses on."
"This is a nice attractive knife. Just one problem. Which side do you use for cutting? Although you can tell which end is the handle and which end is the blade, it isn't clear which side of the blade cuts."

Secret Army of Genetically Modified Birds Clean Up America's Dirt
By davet 5/24 10:58pm EDT
"We had hoped to keep this a secret but the project was such a success that we decided to announce our results on the internet."  stated Dr. Tom Chincanalan. "We were surprised at  how quickly we were able to get the birds to pick up debris. They started with twigs and the nesting instinct but after only a couple generations were picking up cigarette butts, and even large objects like soda cups."
Humbled IT Hero Wrestles Bear
By Phil Libin 5/25 12:32am EDT
I've been called strange things In perhaps the most latitudinarian use of the word in recent memory, InfoWorld magazine has named me one of "This year's heroes of IT."
The award article, titled CoreStreet targets massively scalable validation, is a great description of our goals and work. Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with SpoofStick or this blog...
Vegans, Hindus Saved By Technology
By Sony 5/20 12:10pm EDT
The presence of unwanted or unknown animal species in food, can have a range of effects from benign to deathly serious and is of great concern for public health, economic, religious and legal reasons. Manufacturers and consumers alike have been unable to examine the composition of food at a molecular level. However, for the first time, the bioMérieux FoodExpert-ID Array is being used to detect DNA sequences specific to an animal, allowing species composition to be determined, safeguarding the purity and authenticity of food products.
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