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December 30, 2007

Current Blog

The Brick

I’ve been carrying a cell phone for 11 years.  

Ok, technically, I didn’t carry it around with me for the first few years.  It was one of those huge, foot tall, half a foot deep, 3 inches wide things that weighed a ton and sported a super cool 5-inch black antenna.  Do a search - they're actually called "The Brick".  We use it as a doorstop now.  Literally.  I mean, it’s a joke that we do…but we do, cause it’s big and heavy enough that it works.

In Hawaii, you can get your driver’s permit at 15 ½ and your license at 16.  I did.  At which point my parents required I have a phone in the car with me anytime I drove.  So I’ve had a phone for forever.

Now that in-network calls and long-distance come free, I use my cell a bunch more.  But it was intended as safety device, and that’s still it’s most important use.  I’ve never wanted a phone to take pictures, or play music…I need it to make phone calls and that’s it.  Every phone I’ve ever had has been just that: a little phone that works.

Now, with this job, I have a Treo.  And I admit – the ability to check email, at home or on the road or in a meeting, is hugely helpful.  I still have used the camera less than 5 times, but it’s been nifty to have it a couple times.  

But if, heaven forbid, I ever leave Current, and have to return the phone?  I’d go back to just a plain old phone.  If they still make such a thing.  I recall having a hard time finding one the last time I needed a replacement.

After watching today’s driver buzz, apparently some people have embraced their camera-phones much more than I.  Then again, I didn’t really watch TV til I was 20, and now I work at a TV station.  Maybe 10 years from now, I’ll be a camera-phone videographer too!

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Biker Boyfriend

I’ve mentioned my fiancé a few times…but now you get to meet him!  And I promise, we had a good reason for filming him.  A reason beyond the fact that he’s a total cutie, I mean.

Over the summer, we Buzzards were working hard plotting and planning the verticals, what we’re going to do for them, all that stuff.  We spent the time shooting evergreen pieces – we wanted to build up a pipeline, but it had to be stuff that was non-time-sensitive: nothing that would be old news by the time we aired it this fall.  A cool car stays cool.  No contests or event results.  Stuff that keeps.

At about the same time, Dave, my then-boyfriend, was doing his own plotting and planning.  He got into Kellogg, Northwestern's business school, in the spring.  He had always wanted to do a cross-country bike trip.  Now that he was moving cross-country, why not combine the two, and ride his bike there?!

Actually, most people can think of a LOT of reasons why not to do that.  But Dave’s not one of them.  And since he was going to do it, we figured why not film him?!

I had to wait a while before starting the edit.  Right after he left, it made me teary to watch the footage.  But lately - I'd stay late to work on it, not even noticing when everyone else left.  I don't get to do creative stuff in my current role, and I really miss it, so I loved doing it. 

Today’s traveler piece is about the first few pedal strokes of his adventure.  As soon as I have the time, I'll edit part 2, so you’ll have to check back to see how it all turns out. 

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

So say we all

A few weeks ago, we got a feedback email from a guy named Michael which said, “You are the only thing worth watching on TV... well... save for Battlestar Galactica.”

Never was there a feedback email more appropriate to inspire a blog entry about the Online Studio team.

Here’s a true story: When I was interviewing with Current, I got asked a lot of tough questions, but none so nervewracking as when sforte asked if I was a Battlestar Galactica (BSG) fan. At the time, I had a dozen episodes sitting on my Tivo, but my husband was the one watching, not me. When it turned out I got the job, I buckled down and watched two full seasons in three weeks, so that I would be able to attend the season three premiere party, attended by pretty much the entire OS team. (There was actually a COMPETING party, so the group was somewhat splintered.)

In my time here (six weeks and counting) I’ve learned a lot about the way my co-workers think, but even more about how much they love BSG. It’s not just our team. It bleeds over into marketing and programming and the Yahoo! Current team.

There are newbies – people trying to get through S1 and S2 DVDs so that they can participate in our conversations – and there are the hardcore fans among us who occasionally end our meetings with a hearty “so say we all!” (Which makes sense if you’re a fan, trust me.)

The Monday after a new episode (Fridays on SciFi at 10PM), pretty much all meetings get sidetracked by BSG discussions, and more often than not it goes something like, “best.episode.ever!” So you can imagine how excited we all were to learn that Jamie Bamber, who plays Lee “Apollo” Adama, was going to be in the L.A. studio recently.

Chapin will post about Jamie's trip to the Chemosphere soon, and I'll bet this is the rare instance during which we will unmute the television in our area. Battlestar Galactica is our version of team-building.





December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Games at work = work

Probably shouldn’t blog about this, since it is a work blog…but I’m going to anyway!

There are 2 games that have been distracting the Buzzards lately.  The first one, I haven’t ever played, but I did spend about 3 minutes watching Brett today.

Brett sits right behind me.  He’s great.  I call him Little Buddy.  He does stuff for the Current Buzz, or as we call it, the Big Buzz.  He did the bridge jumping piece, and the white dudes dunking piece.  But my favorite piece of all of his is coming out tomorrow.  Be sure to check it out.  It’s AWESOME.

Anyway, today he was playing this game – I think its called orbit.  You basically get to shoot this little orange ball of light, and it has to orbit around without crashing into one of the other blue orb things, that I can only assume are planets, until the timer runs out.  Then you move to the next level that has more blue orb things.  He was having a hard time with level 11 when I was watching.

The other game is line rider.  It is great.  A couple days ago, the editor for the non-buzz part of the action channel sent the link around.  I couldn’t get it to open…I think that’s cause everyone else in the basement was playing.  Today’s Action piece is all about it.  So of course I had to go to the site today.  This time, it did open.  Perfect thing to do when you’re sitting waiting for a video to compress, like right now…

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Cruisin' the FJ

One of these days, I’m probably going to have to buy a new car.  My 20-year-old Camry has less than 100,000 miles on it, which I know is hard to believe, but it’s true.  My grandmom basically bought the car, drove it to Carolina when she moved there from Marin, and then gave it to me.  I drove it between school and DC a couple times, and then I drove it out here.  Now, driving it between my house and Costco is a good week.

So, mileage wise, there’s some years left in him.  But in terms of safety, they weren’t down with airbags in the ’80’s.  And at some point, I expect I’m going to want to say goodbye to the dents that bought me my radio gear (when I opted for the insurance check rather than the repairs).  I might want a car that looks more befitting of my age and professional stature (ha!).

Dave and I are pretty much greenies at heart.  We both intend for the next car we buy (probably together, fun!) to be a hybrid.  But I’m not-so-secretly pining for an SUV, and we’re both fans of Jeeps – I like the Cherokee Sport, while he votes for a Wrangler.

I drove a Chevy Blazer in high school.  It was awesome.  I loved that car. We bought it used, but the dude who owned it was a car detailer, so it looked brand-spanking new.  Better than, with the detailing on it.

No one else in my family would drive it willingly.  The driver’s seat did kind of lean back a little.  But I was totally used to it and comfortable in it.  And sometimes it would stall if you had to brake through a left hand turn.  The freeway on-ramp we use is a downhill left hand turn…  Again, freaked out my Mom, but I would just pop in to neutral and restart the car.  No biggie.

I keep hoping that they’ll get the hybrid SUVs to have real hybrid mileage.  Right now, they’re about on par with a good normal car.  What would be really sweet is if the Toyota FJ Cruiser that Kinga got to drive in today’s driver piece was a hybrid.  That would be fun – that car is awesome.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Wonderous Wonders

Growing up in Hawaii, it’d be easy to have a skewed perspective of the world.  To avoid my four sisters and I never knowing anything outside of paradise, my parents made a point of taking a trip every year.

Each summer, the fam would travel for 2 weeks.  The east coast from North Carolina to Maine a couple times.  All of the west coast and into Canada a couple times. The four corner states.  

Tickets for 7 to the mainland weren’t cheap, so when money was tight, it was the outer islands.  But still, it was something.  As a result, I learned to really value and enjoy traveling.

My fiancé Dave’s got the travel bug bad too.  We’ve made a point to take a big trip about once a year.  A Road trip through Mexico.  Argentina.  Bolivia.  We rented bicycles and rode through Maine.  

All that traveling, and I’ve never seen any of the 7 wonders of the world.  To be honest, it hasn’t been a huge priority.  But according to today’s travel piece, now there are going to be 7 more?  Man, I’m starting to feel really behind now.  Maybe it’s time for a vaca!

P.S. – I talked it up so big yesterday, I had to include a link to Brett’s most awesomest pod ever today.  Enjoy.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

AFIFEST in the flesh


Current TV hosts Crystal Fambrini, Nzinga Blake, Jael De Pardo, and Angela Sun arrive at the North American premiere of AMERICAN VISA during AFI FEST 2006 presented by Audi, November 8. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

Current folks have been out and about at AFIFEST since the beginning - was it only just eight short days ago? - and now we're surfacing on the Red Carpet. Fancy!

(I walked down the red carpet at the Serenity premiere and was blinded by flashbulbs. I couldn't figure out why anyone would want to take a picture of me. Turns out, a friend of a friend had brought Colin Ferguson, and they were walking along beside me. Colin also showed up in The Chemosphere earlier this year, as a guest host. Small world.)

AFIFEST ends on Sunday, but if you're in LA, there's still a lot of amazing films you can check out.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Lost in Translation

Growing up in Hawaii, I haven’t spent much time in the snow. I did get up to Tahoe 2 winters ago. I decided to try snowboarding. People assured me that since I surf, I’d have no problem snowboarding. Same thing, they all said.

They all lied. Surfing, you have your weight on your back foot, and you move your front foot around to steer. Snowboarding starts with locking your feet in. Fine. However, you have to put your weight on your front foot. But when I’d start moving fast, I’d get scared, the surfing instincts would kick in, and I’d put my weight on my back foot. Which on a snowboard just seemed to make me stop and fall over. Put your weight on your front foot while surfing, and you’ll nose dive. Very confusing. Didn't translate that well after all.

The next winter, headed to Aspen with Dave and his family, I decided to go with skiing. That actually went fairly well. I’ve now heard that snowboarding is harder to learn but easier to master, and that skiing is the opposite: easier to learn but harder to get really good at. I believe it.

The guys in the new snowboarding dvd’s they show in today’s action piece clearly got over the “hard to learn” part of snowboarding and moved into the mastering stage. Somehow I’m not in there. Guess they weren’t filming on the bunny slopes that day.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Attack of the Babies

Today's Current Buzz is all about BABIES. Babies laughing, babies dancing,
babies drooling... Little tykes are HUGE on the internet, and parents love sharing all of junior's precious (and plenty of not so precious) moments with the world.

My family has just started to scan some of our old photos. My dad sent me this one, which I thought was appropriate. Baby Conor, blogging one letter at a time.


December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Frilly Curtains on Route 66

When I graduated from Duke, my oldest sister came out to help me pack up and move from North Carolina to California.  I shipped most of my stuff by train, we filled the back seat of my car with the valuable/breakable stuff, and headed out.  

We made a point to take as much of Route 66 as we could.  Anywhere we saw a sign for it, we’d hop off the big interstate that parallels it, and take the little old road.  It doesn’t go all the way through anymore, but there’s still a lot of it, and the pictures we took are awesome.

Starting in Carolina means we didn’t get to do the whole thing, but we picked it up in Oklahoma.  Most of the rest of the stuff Kinga mentions in today’s travel piece, we saw, including the detour to the Grand Canyon.  

We took about 9 days to do the whole thing.  9 days can be a long time with just two people and a long empty road.  I can’t remember what state we were in, but somewhere out on old Route 66 is the restaurant where my sister accused me of staring at her, and I spent the rest of the meal deliberately examining the old pictures on the walls and the frills on the curtains to avoid looking her way.  Fortunately, by the end of the meal we were laughing hysterically about the whole thing.  Could’ve just as easily gone the other way!...  Gotta love road trips.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Sushi Challenge!

It’s been an exciting few days over here at Yahoo! Current Traveler. As anyone who follows the fortunes of the fledgling Yahoo! Current Network might know…we love being featured on Yahoo’s Home Page. That’s when you feel really special.

Well, this week, one of the Traveler pieces…a little piece we call Sushi Challenge! was featured on yahoo.com. And let me tell you…over a half a million people watched it. Fantastic! This piece was Uploaded to our Web site by producer PoCoLoCo313. And it’s hilarious!



So, point being, you need to upload your videos too! Send us more videos! Get them on Yahoo!’s Home Page! And while you’re at it…you’ll be entered into this pretty great contest we’re running. You could win a whole new HDV camera package. (And then make more pieces that would get featured on Yahoo!’s Home Page)!

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Skating Saves?

From 8th through 10th grades, I kinda went through a religious phase.  My friend Marci was always trying to get me to go to youth group with her.  Carla and I finally agreed.  But only I kept going back – Carla was obviously less swayed by the cute boys than I. First it was Matt, then my first boyfriend Maka, and then it was John…what cuties!

Eventually though, I phased out of that phase (and Carla got way into it - she went on a mission and everything!).  I wasn’t comfortable with trying to convert people.  It started to seem close-minded to me, which just felt weird.  And I always thought religion should be a personal thing. 

Stephen Baldwin doesn’t feel the same way I do, apparently.  Check out his efforts in today’s action buzz.  

Our efforts were focused on getting that pod to you.  Pieces on “sensitive” issues are “red-flagged” to ensure they’re not offensive and are fair.  This one went all the way to the top: our CEO Joel actually signed off for us.  A bit nerve-wracking, but, all’s well that ends well.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

The Wehrenberg Syndrome

When I was in high school, my friends and I would do stupid things like drive around listening to Morrissey's "Every Day is Like Sunday" 300 times in a row, lining up pickled pig's feet on an ex-boyfriend's dashboard on a hot Missouri summer day, or having Wayne's World day at the dollar movie where we tried to sit through every showing of the film (but ended up giving up after two times and sat through The Cutting Edge for the rest of the day instead).

One of the theaters in our town was run by the Wehrenberg chain, and they had this theme song that was the most embarassing thing I've ever heard. What you can't hear in that online version is that at the end someone whispered "Wehrenberg... Wehrenberg... Wehrenberg..." over and over in a creepy way. Hearing it caused a tingling sensation in my chest, all the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up, and tears to well in my eyes. We could be a hundred miles from the theater, and someone singing this song would cause me to react in the exact same way.

The only other thing I can compare the feeling to is that scene in Pretty in Pink when Andie (Molly Ringwald) accuses Blane (Andrew McCarthy) of not wanting to go to the prom with her because she's from the wrong side of the tracks - which wouldn't have been an issue if it weren't for Steff (James Spader) - and Andrew McCarthy gets that terrible eyes-bugging-out-of-his-face look he does so well, and you just feel so embarassed for him that you want to crawl under your seat.

We called it "The Wehrenberg Syndrome."

Well, today's Yahoo! Current Buzz has brought back that old familiar feeling. It isn't just me. Exclamations of "I can't watch!" and "it's too embarrassing!" rippled through the Online Studio team this morning. Of course we all hopped over to Yahoo! to see what all the buzz (har har) was about. And let me tell you, you haven't lived until you've been Wehrenberged by a bank employee ripping off U2.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

I need to Wii

Growing up, my brother and I were occasionally able to convince our mom to play Nintendo.

It was a spectacle we found consistently hilarious. She was AWFUL, and would do things like run AWAY from the mushroom ('I thought it was going to hurt my little plumber man!'). We got the most enjoyment out of seeing her violently yank the controller around in attempts to make Mario move. No matter how much we explained the properties of the 'A' and 'B' buttons, when she wanted Mario to jump, she yanked towards the sky.

Perhaps Mom was a gamer ahead of her time. The controller for the new Nintendo Wii is designed so that your herky-jerky movements actually DO control your characters.

I want one. So far the closest I've come is this current buzz.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Vrooom!

I’m not big into video games.  I didn’t get to play them as a kid, which is probably why I never got into them.

But whenever we do find ourselves at Dave & Busters, or with time to kill before a flick at one of  the mega-movie-plex places, I’m all about the racing games.  I think I’ve only beaten Dave once, which is annoying: I’m pretty competitive and get pissed when I lose.  But, it’s still fun.

But who needs video game racing when you can do it for real?  Or at least in a go-cart, like Kinga did in today’s driver buzz.  Looks awesome.  As did she.  I mean, I’m totally into boys, but you gotta admit, she looks pretty hot in that fire-suit.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

It's Electric, Boogie Woogie Woogie

Dave and I spent a bunch of time this weekend talking about the future.  When the wedding is going to be, when/if I might move to Chicago (so far, it’s been ok being apart, but it’d be way better to be in the same place…), what I would do if I did move (which really means “designing some sort of job so that I can keep working for Current if I move to Chicago”), that kind of stuff.

One of the things that came up was cars.  Dave isn’t too sure that Toyo would make it all the way to Chicago if I tried to drive it.  I have more faith in Toyo than that.  But, since he’s got his 10-year-younger and much cooler Ford Mustang there already, we wouldn’t really need mine.  

It’d be sad to say goodbye to Toyo.  But, I knew the day would come eventually. And since Dave and I are such greenies, whenever we do need a second car, the plan is to get some sort of hybrid, which would be cool.

But what might work out even better – the guy in today’s driver piece says his electric truck will be publicly available for 45G next year.  That’d be awesome.  I’ve always wanted a truck!

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Baggage

Flying back to San Francisco from Hawaii once, ATA lost my bag. Or, I guess they didn’t really lose it, but it didn’t make the connection (I had a stop on Maui). It was kind of annoying, but not that bad – I was in my own apartment, so I had clothes and shoes and a toothbrush, and they brought it to my house the next day, so whatever.

When I went to Mexico to translate for Kinga on a travel shoot this past summer, they actually stole 2 pairs of shoes from my bag. That was more annoying. I had the pair I was wearing, but I was training for a marathon at the time, so I couldn’t run the whole trip, which sucked, and I really liked the heels they took. Apparently, you shouldn’t pack anything you’d be bummed to lose in an outside pocket of your suitcase when you’re flying to Mexico City.

But after watching today’s travel piece – man, I guess I’ve gotten lucky. Nothing of mine in Scottsboro, AL. At least not yet. Keeping my fingers crossed, and kinda glad not to be traveling for Thanksgiving!

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Turkey Day

For the last several years, my house has become the way station for friends who cannot make it home for Thanksgiving or who, like me, think that traveling over the holidays is the last possible thing one would want to do with an extra day or two off work.

We set the bar pretty high from the very beginning. The first year, we undertook a kitchen remodel, which included three different paint colors, 17 trips to Home Depot, the purchase of a ginormous table, and removing about a bazillion layers of paint from the back of our front door. There were power sanders involved, and the food was pretty good, too.

The next couple of years were spent perfecting the turkey - always cooked in a smoker, and carefully researched on the Internet - as well as the stuffing, made with fresh sage and homemade buttermilk cornbread, which is probably better named "dressing" because it's not actually stuffed in anything. Each year I've poured over magazines - preferring Gourmet to Bon Appetit and Cooking Light over Food and Wine - and harassed my friends for their favorite recipes. I've subjected my spouse and my co-workers to taste tests.

This past weekend, for the first time in my life, it required TWO grocery carts to haul my bounty out of the store. It also took some hefty rearranging to get everything in the cabinets/refrigerator when we got home. I'm going to start cooking tonight, starting with a cranberry-pear sauce and dough for cheddar crisps, and there's a well-orchestrated plan from now until dessert is served.

But.

Even after all the prep work, each year the meal is basically the same. Tradition (and my friends) demands it. There's got to be cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes and dressing and pumpkin pie. It's all got to be slathered in gravy - maybe not the pie - and at the end of the day there must be the customary "I can't believe we ate SO MUCH" grousing on the couch.

Because whether we're with each other or back home with family, the holidays just feel more comfy when there's some routine, whether it's whipping up my Grandma Shirley's pumpkin pie (the best) or arguing with my husband over which is better - white meat or dark. (White, if you were wondering.)


December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Current Coincidence

Back in the summer of 2005, before Current was on air, there were a series of 'brand building' meetings. Most of the company would gather together in the hall conference room (back when that was physically possible) and brainstorm what the network was supposed to represent.

At one point, the consultant leading the meeting asked everyone to mention a few magazines, books, tv shows, or movies that they personally enjoyed - a list was then written up on a dry erase board. I'm pretty sure the idea was that, looking at that list, we would start to get an idea of the type of vibe that Current should emulate.

I still remember Laura Ling's response, mostly because it was so specific. She mentioned that she really liked 'Harper's Index,' a regular, statistics-based feature in Harper's magazine. It was the first time I had ever heard of it.

I was in LA last night and needed to kill some time before a movie, and so I stopped in Barnes and Noble to buy a magazine. I saw Harper's on the shelf - over a year later, I had still never read an issue, but, remembering that conversation, I decided to check it out.

Of course, the first thing I do is flip to that index that I recall Laura liking so much. And, WTF, Current's Vanguard Journalism Team IS CITED AT THE TOP OF THE INDEX.

Not a particularly exciting press mention, outside of the fact that it made my head explode.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

I carried a watermelon.

Anyone who knows me is aware of my extreme pop-culture nerditude. I pretty much stopped trying to hide it several years ago when some friends of mine instituted a race to be the first to read the latest installment in a series of young-adult novels based on a TV show we liked. It took too much energy to use the “kid sister” excuse every time I bought one.

The sad part is that I forget everyone isn’t quite as nerdy as me. For instance…

Last night I was going to dinner with my husband and a friend of ours. I was telling the story of how I totally tripped in front of the Current CEO Joel Hyatt, spilling half a Diet Dr Pepper in the lobby. “It was my ‘I carried a watermelon’ moment,” I said to them.

And I got blank stares.

I had just assumed that anyone born in time to have caught the theatrical debut of Dirty Dancing would understand this reference. I mean, COME ON! “I carried a watermelon” is CLASSIC.

For those of you who have not watched this movie 367 times – probably many of the males in our audience – “I carried a watermelon” is what Jennifer Grey’s character, Baby, says the first time she’s introduced to the “dirty dancing” moves of the title, and more specifically, to the Patrick Swayze character, Johnny. It’s a deliberate show of how naïve Baby is, so that when she puts on a sassy dress and makeup later in the movie, you realize she’s not a “baby” anymore. But in pop culture reference terms, it's sort of the equavalent of the better-known phrase, "open mouth, insert foot."

I often think of this while watching the shenanigans featured on the Yahoo! Current Buzz segments. How do people survive the humiliation? After almost literally running into the always-charming Conor Knighton in the hall yesterday, I told him that I love the Buzz because they always manage to find the "worst of the worst." And though I meant it as a GOOD thing, as he was continuing on his way, I totally knew I had carried the proverbial watermelon. Sorry, Conor.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Get cozy!

Man, it is starting to get cooo-old in San Francisco (or at least cold by a Hawaii girl’s standards). But you won’t hear me complaining. I actually really love the change in seasons. It feels like fall, you know? My roomie finally turned on the heaters in our house over the weekend. Still not warm enough for me, but I have no problem tossing on a robe when I get home.

Summer or fall, I’m always freezing in the office. But I have this black Man Made Music hoodie that Brian from the music deparment loaned me months ago. It’s become my standard attire…

But, there’s potential competition for Brian’s hoodie. Or maybe not competition, but an accessory to complement it that will keep my legs as warm as my upper body already is: the cabin cuddler. Check out today’s traveler buzz, and get cozy!

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Open Source Documentary

Hello World.

Editor Tom at your service.

When I joined Current back in July, I was stoked to be part of the team.
Now in addition to cuttin’ it up in E1 for SFO, I’m joining the blog conversation online.

If you haven’t heard, the creators of the new film Four Eyed Monsters have also made an open sourced documentary about net neutrality.

Don’t know what exactly net neutrality is? Watch the original edit.

The makers of the documentary also started this wiki site with Final Cut Project files that you can download. The whole idea is watch, form an opinion, re-edit, and repost your edited version. Does anyone else smell a pod?

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Sowing the SEEDS

First things first - Last night in Los Angeles, Lucas Krost was awarded top honors in the Seeds of Tolerance competition for his film "One Nation Under Guard," which highlights the racial injustice of the US prison system and the intolerance shown to ex-prisoners once they have served their time. Lucas took home $100K (plus another $15K for charity), a Sony HD Handycam, and a snazzy trophy.

Finalists Joe Wilson ("We Belong") and Dave Halliday ("Ghost Tribes") each received a hefty $10,000.

Later, I'll post the Fun Stuff stories from the event, but for now it's best to just SHOW you. Check out the below videos from the ceremony and the Red Carpet (keep an eye out for celebs like Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gossling, Arielle Kebbel, Pauley Perrette, and our very own Al Gore). And if you want even more footage, a little birdie told me that you can tune into Entertainment Tonight this evening for their coverage.



December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Remember when "alternative" used to mean "punk"? No?

One of my very good friends is a high school English teacher. She’s one of those people with boundless enthusiasm, and is the only person I’ve ever met who thinks high school freshmen are cute. This past weekend, her students participated in a special science fair of sorts, called Energy Alternatives, and she asked me and my husband to be judges.

(I’ll just C&P the press release, for ease of explanation: “The event features student-created engineering, experimentation, public opinion and research projects on alternative energy. Students will be on hand to demonstrate what they’ve learned through their displays, presentations and a television news broadcast. Some students chose to build model vehicles, others demonstrated the effectiveness of solar power, while a few investigated the downsides of alternative energy sources.”)

The mister and I were pretty loosely qualified to be judges. Because of the television news segment each team had to produce, each panel of judges included someone from the media. My husband is a newspaper photographer (and a closet science geek), and you know, I work here. But our co-judges were super intimidating. On my team were a research graduate student from UC Berkeley and a woman who was a walking alternative energy encyclopedia and former employee of PG&E. They asked smart, insightful questions of the students, while I stewed about the sad state of the modern-day bibliography.

While there was definitely some too-cool-for-science-fairness about some of the students, several of them were genuinely enthusiastic about their projects. One team built a wooden model of a farmhouse, to be powered by Lincoln Log and PVC-pipe turbines. Another student told showed us the scars he received trying to make steam power. As school assignments go, I can’t think of many more worthwhile. And as you can imagine, Current is pretty alt-energy friendly.

Our friends over at Grist have been running a special series on biofuels, which would have been an awesome resource for some of these kids. The series is ridiculously thorough, and has prepared this particular little camper with some quality fodder for cocktail time discussion.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Dog days of winter

Current is so quiet today that the loudest thing in the office is the heating vent situated directly above my desk. It’s the perfect way to ease back into things after the holidays which were – I freely admit – dominated by the killing of zombies on our new Xbox 360. Yes, it’s true. The Z household has joined the ranks of the Xbox addicted, and Dead Rising has been eating up a lot of our time. So far my specialty seems to be getting eaten, but when my husband takes over the controls and I take over looking for clues and shouting – “Behind you! To the left! Your other left! Get the chainsaw!” – things go pretty well.

Because the Xbox 360 was our holiday gift to ourselves, I was pretty strict about imposing a no-play-until-December 25th rule. So while we waited for the clock to strike midnight on that fateful day, we focused on our other obsession: Getting another dog.

Back in August, we adopted a little pitbull rescue from The Milo Foundation, a non-profit no-kill animal shelter in the Bay Area. We did not set out to adopt a pitbull. In fact, after perusing PetFinder and seeing just how many of them there were up for adoption, we almost gave up on finding a puppy to bring home. Cooper, as he is now known, caught our eye the second we walked in the door. Of all the other dogs he was the most THERE, the most alert, the most engaged. Plus, he was super cute.

Cooper, age three months


Still, we’re not stupid. We knew that owning a pitbull would be hard work. Entire cities are trying to ban the breed, for goodness sake. We knew that people would cross the street to get away from him, and would say snide things. Once on a routine walk, a father told his toddler daughter that she shouldn’t point at Cooper because he would attack her. Other people won’t let their puppies play with ours.

He’s a good boy, though. He thinks that playing with other dogs is the most fun ever, and has many friends at the dog park. And now that he’s stopped trying to consume our couch, we thought it was time to get him a friend. Turns out, it’s harder to have two puppies in the house than we thought.

A trial run with another rescued pitbull – just 13 weeks old and a female – just about made us batty. One puppy produces a lot of energy. Two puppies is nuclear. After two hours of play, our nerves were so frayed that we knew going that young with a second dog was something we couldn’t handle. So we went to our neighborhood Human Society to see what they had. And of course, we found another pitbull.

Her name is Rosie. She’s a little rough around the edges, and might be a handful. We’re going to beg and plead with the shelter to let us spend some time with her before we commit to adoption. But I’m pretty much already sold. When we got our first pitbull, people told me I'd fall in love with the breed. They were so very right.

Last night I found myself thinking how awesome it would be to have my dog digitized into Dead Rising. He would totally rock at killing zombies.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

All the feeds fit to read

You've probably heard about RSS feeds -- streams of news, blog posts, photos, or any other kind of information, all described in a common format so you can bundle them together any way you like.

They are simultaneously the best and worst thing ever.

Best: My bundler of choice is a web app called Bloglines. I have a lot of feeds -- around 400 -- snagged from all corners of the internet. It's everything I'm interested in, from the Boston Globe's snooty 'Ideas' section to Urban Dictionary's newest definitions. (Somewhere between those two on the scale of seriousness you will find, of course, this blog's feed.)

Basically, you get to roll your own media. It can be one-third friends' blogs, one-third pro reporting, and one-third weird stuff that nobody but you likes.

I know nerd-ware like this is a hassle to set up. And you definitely have to force yourself into new habits. But I tell you, it is worth it. Bloglines has become a fountain of news -- ranging from the personal to the geopolitical -- that never runs dry.

Worst: It's a fountain of news that never runs dry. I am totally battling Bloglines addiction. It's just so tempting to click that Bloglines bookmark -- I check it far more often than my email -- because I know I'm going to find ten things, or a hundred, that are interesting.

So I guess that's a good question: Where do you draw the line? In a world of infinite fascination, when do you decide to stop paying attention?

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

For your viewing pleasure

If you are planning on going to Park City next week, make time to check out Red Without Blue at Slamdance. It is one of the most intimate films I have seen in a long time, and it’s directed by Current editor Brooke Siebold.
 
If you can’t make it to Park City, check out a movie that was at Sundance last year. The Tribe is a short film about the history of the Barbie doll and the Jewish people, all wrapped up in under 20 minutes. It won numerous awards in 2006, was directed by Webby Awards founder Tiffany Shlain, edited by Current Radar Editor Dalan McNabola and animated by yours truly.
 
If you wanna see a short video about mullets, rock and roll, and the 2003 San Francisco Underground Short Film Festival click here.

On a closing note... Do you remember the television show Empty Nest? I do.



December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

The Internet is quicksand

I've been active on the web since college, and as my friends have gotten married and taken new jobs and moved to new cities, the web has become the primary way I keep in touch with many of them.

There's a group of people I keep track of through LiveJournal, a smaller group I've found again through MySpace, old co-workers I track through Linked-In, about two people I only get updates on through Friendster, and a handful of folks I speak with a couple of times a week on Instant Messenger. Then, of course, there are the new people I'm meeting here on the Current site, and we're still working out how much we want to open up to each other and how we want to keep in touch outside of the message boards and regular email.

Keeping in touch like this certainly is convenient, but it also has at least one major downfall - I keep forgetting what I've told people and what I haven't, and I feel like I'm repeating myself All. The. Time.

For instance, I've been pretty excited about the impending launch of the new homepage. The online group has been working fiendishly around the clock, and since I don't write code or design anything, I took it upon myself to tell every single person I ever knew online about the redesign, and pestered them all to come and answer the Current Question on day one. Apparently, I got to be pretty annoying, because as I clustered friends for emails and posted in various forums, some people were getting the message lots and lots of times. Oops.

Also, last month I posted in this blog and in my LiveJournal that I was thinking about adopting another dog. It ended up not working out, and I was so heartbroken that I never said anything. But I keep getting nice comments, sweet remarks about the cute new puppy, and then I have to untangle all that's happened between now and then, which wouldn't be the case if I'd just get everyone together and go out for drinks now and then. At any rate, in case you were one of those kind people wishing me luck on the puppy adoption...we didn't get the puppy we set out to adopt, but we got the puppy we were meant to have. His name is Huck.



One of my goals for 2007 is to get out from behind my computer and hang out with people again. I think the convenience of being able to talk with people online in the two minutes before a meeting on IM, or to send an email right before bed knowing I won't have to respond again until the morning has made me lazy in my friendships. Just because my job is the web, doesn't mean the web is my life, right?

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

News for robots

There's a video game in the works called Spore. It's from the people behind SimCity, and it's kinda like SimEverything: You start the game as a microbe and end it as a tricked-out UFO bent on galactic colonization. (Lots of pictures here.)

The real genius of Spore, though, is that almost everything in the game is procedurally generated. That means plants, animals, buildings, even whole planets are created on the fly by code -- not designed and animated ahead of time by people.

Of course, people write that code in the first place, and tweak it to make sure everything looks good. So instead of building specific things, they’re building generic tools: paintbrushes instead of paintings.

So what else might we generate with code?

There’s a neat experiment over at Northwestern called News at Seven. They use 3D characters to present a computer-edited digest of the day’s news. Instead of shooting and editing a single newscast, the Northwestern team has built a tool to make an unlimited number of them.

Okay, so, it's not a great newscast. That little video game character isn't going to give Conor a run for his money anytime soon. (Although I suspect she might be better with a shotgun.)

But the real potential is to think beyond this particular incarnation. Imagine that the News at Seven software is a tool anyone can use. You import your own set and characters and queue up your own source material. You make up segments and choose camera moves. And then it gets generated for you every day -- or every hour.

What would your newscast look like?

(For the record, mine would feature a 3D pirate on a rad 3D pirate ship. There would be a sea battle raging in the background. It would be called the BootyCast and it would be a digest of DealBook mergers and acquisitions stories.)

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

More eyeballs than ever before

Oh, man. Today is an amazing day.

It is my pleasure to announce that as of this morning Current TV can now be seen on channel 196 on Echostar's DISH Network as part of its "America's Top 200" package. This means that Current is in over 38 million households. 38 million!

Thanks a million (38 million!) to everyone who wrote to us requesting carriage on DISH - your nudging is always important.

Some fun facts:
+ We've more than doubled our domestic carriage in the last year, making Current TV the fastest growing new network.
+ We're now available to customers of the four largest distribution platforms in the US - DirecTV, Echostar's Dish, Comcast and Time Warner.
+ When you add in British Sky Broadcasting in the UK and Ireland, on which we'll launch in March, Current is available on the top five distributors worldwide.

Today, DISH. Tomorrow? The world!



December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

MIDEM MADNESS

Every year about 10,000 music suits meet up in the beautiful and expensive city of Cannes for MIDEM. This isn't like other music events like SXSW -- this has all the top brass in the publishing world with the mission to leave with signed deals. Alex Simmons, Douglas Caballero, Andy Struse
and myself all embarked on the city to catch up with bands and bypass doing any serious deals.

We met up with Taiwanese metal band Chthonic who took Douglas under their wing and made him one of their own:




This was the first trip to Europe for them and they definitely shocked the audience with songs like "Black Water Ditch" and "Quasi Putrefaction". All very intelligent and very thoughtful, at the core of Chthonic is a good time -- despite all the death and sorrow. Thanks for the pizza, by the way.

Speaking of pizza we definitely ate a lot of it:



And we did a lot of this:




Amidst all the shooting we did happen to catch a couple performances, the highlights being Amy Winehouse (who seems to be keeping up with her reputation) and one of the best live bands around, Mando Diao. If you don't know this band, go buy their CD, bury it in your backyard, and in a year dig it up because this band will be everywhere. And on Current TV in the very near future!

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

50 Cent Didn’t Teach Me How To Stunt

Last week saw the release of Joe Gets Stunted, the 21st episode in the Joe Gets series, and you know what that means: The franchise is finally old enough to buy its own alcohol! No more getting it from the Google Current and SuperNews franchises, which charged increasingly high “buyer’s fees.”

I figure awkward personification is as good a tactic as any to start off my first blog entry, since my pods are often full of awkward moments. And it’s hard for things not to be awkward working with the talented stuntmen at Asylum Stunts. Even if you chained them to anvils, they would beat me in every physical contest imaginable. However, if it came down to a bout of stupid questions, I think I’d have the upper hand.



The majority of the pod was filmed in mid-December. Want to guess which parts were filmed a full month later? No? Nobody? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway! The intro and the fire burn scene. Rick, the fire burn guy, wasn’t available until mid-January, and the scene was definitely worth the wait.



If you look closely, you can tell my hair is longer. But if you’re actually looking that closely, that’s creepy. So creepy you probably want me to send you locks of my hair, and I can’t do that. All the locks of my hair go directly to Hassan. Maybe you can work something out with him, but from what I understand, he’s using them to weave pajamas, and is only half-done.

Anyway…this week I’m editing two new pieces: Joe Gets Manners and What’s Wrong With Smoking? Keep an eye out for them in the future and check out Joe Gets Stunted!

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Green Screen, Orange Conor

Unless you happened to catch Tori's blog post last week, you'd never know that the Google Current team is now in an entirely different city. On TV, the transition has been pretty seamless.

Since we shoot the show on a green screen, we could theoretically do it anywhere - our move from Current HQ in San Francisco to our new office in Los Angeles had nothing to do with any sweet new set that was being built, and was more the result of various space/logistical/creative decisions.

Naturally, those were some BIG decisions - several people completely uprooted their lives for the move. Some didn't move with us.

So, for the last month, in addition to the challenge of making several GC segments a day, there have been a lot of people stressing about security deposits, U-haul rentals, car purchases, soon to be long-distance relationships... Lots of folks (myself included) are still figuring out housing stuff. And, of course, on a technical level, it's been a huge effort - we arrived in LA last Wednesday amazed at how quickly the existing staff down here was able to build out our new space.

Of course, we're still working out some kinks. The printer is temperamental. The A/C hasn't worked for two days. Voicemail remains a mystery.

And, for our first few segments, I was orange.

Oompa, loompa, doopity doo...

I did NOT, despite how it may seem, arrive in LA and, to fit in, immediately get a spray-on tan.

We're working with all new equipment, and so we've been making several adjustments to match the same lighting/camera/color-correction set-up we had in SF. First day... not so much.

Anyway, I'm kind of glad it looked a little off - if you watched on Thursday, you probably at least noticed that something was different.

Of course, lots of things are. And, now that we've settled in, expect to see lots of new, different, exciting things from the GC squad.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Long live looping

So, on the recommendation of a Current colleague, I went to see a guy named Dosh play here in San Francisco on Saturday night. Here he is:

(From Flickr user hirte12)

Dosh is a live looper: one of those musicians who uses real-time sampling to build a multi-track song on the fly. He plays drums, piano, some kind of glockenspiel, lots of synthesizers, and even drops vocal samples into the mix. It’s fantastic: a mix of artistic and technological virtuosity.

Another live looper -- and a San Francisco favorite -- is Kid Beyond. In place of a mini-orchestra, he uses… his mouth. You can see him in a pod about the San Francisco beatboxing scene by Mark Rinehart. (That's ideal because the point is really to see Kid Beyond in action, not just hear his music.)

Now, what about translating this technique into video?

The closest I've seen are Lasse Gjertsen’s crazy super-spliced music videos on YouTube: one with piano and drums, one with his mouth, both astounding. They aren't quite the same thing, but definitely have a similar spirit. (And, to be fair, they both owe a bit to Michel Gondry.)

I'd still love to see looping applied to live video, just as Dosh and Kid Beyond apply it to live music. I guess it's entirely probable that video DJs are totally doing that... somewhere... in some underground club too cool for me to know about. Any leads? Or YouTube examples?

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Haddock & Chips

A few observations from our recent journey to England:

1. Fish and Chips are a popular dish, often served with mashed peas and a pint of ale. Haddock is the most commonly used fish.


2. The winters can be harsh and if you are not dressed appropriately you will look like a rube.


3. In England The Shins have an additional member for security reasons.


4. It is a complex place with social mores unlike America.






December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Two Faced Newsweek?


A few months ago blogger Catherine Martin  wrote
about how Newsweek was not publishing the same stories in its magazines.
Last September Newsweek, which is owned and operated by MSNBC published a
story that got front page in Latin America, Europe, and Asia about the U.S.
losing the war in Afghanistan.
 

In the United States however, that story was nowhere to be found. Instead,
the U.S. Newsweek cover story was about Annie Liebovitz's heartache over
Susan Sontag. 

And that wasn't the only time.
 
This week Newsweek's cover story is on the party life of Britney Spears and Paris Hitlon, and in other countries, on inexpensive computer technology
and the decline of church worship in Europe

Seeing this bombardment of tabloids instead of real news stories from a
supposed news network re-affirms why I love working at Current TV.
We just don't play it like that.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

The gift of Gabor

As I write this, Zsa Zsa Gabor is the top gaining search on Google. Not exactly something I saw coming.

Her husband may or may not be the father of Anna Nicole's baby.

People are OBSESSED with this story.

And, studying the most recent search log, it looks like NOBODY knows how to spell Zsa Zsa's name.

Zha Zha Gabor
Jaja Gabor (my favorite)
Zaza Gabor
Zsa Zsa Gabor

...are all in the top 300 gaining searches on Google.




December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

I Get More Props Than Stunts Than Bruce Willis

That’s a line from an old Gang Starr song, and in my case it happens to be true. However, I don’t mean props in the sense of “respect” (unless you consider people saying “Wow, that’s a creepy-looking albino” respect). No, I mean literal props. You see, over the past year, I have amassed a formidable supply of ridiculous items, all for the sake of art.



Here they are all spread out of the box. As you can see, it’s enough to send the most levelheaded person running for the hills.

There’s a Yoda mask, dog collars, a money boa, a chef costume, a doctor costume, a priest costume, a ninja costume, male wigs, female wigs, bald caps, facepaint, spraypaint, a gasoline can, a stroller, a fake knife, a megaphone, Pokemon cards, poker chips, a pimp cup – you name it, it’s probably there. There are so many items that U.N. inspectors have stopped by four times looking for weapons of mass destruction. They found three.

So, why do I have all of this stuff? Mostly because of the What’s Wrong With series. While it’s a lot of fun to make those satirical skits, it’s also a lot of work to get everything together. I’m often scrambling around the city the day before a shoot, trying to track down the last few items. Down at Chicago Costume in Lincoln Park, they know me on a first name basis. Is that really cool or really lame? You be the judge!

If you see an item that hasn’t popped up in a pod yet, that means it was for a top-secret music video project Hassan and I made back in December. I can’t say anything about it right now, but here’s a hint in the form of an anagram: avoid livers. Keep an eye out for that one, as well as Joe Gets Manners and What’s Wrong With Smoking? Additionally, watch for these props to re-appear in future pieces. I want to get my money’s worth out of them, just like Conan does.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Time warp

Google didn't exist in 1990, but, when I looked at the top rising searches this morning, I wondered if I was seeing results from 17 years ago.

Right now, the world (much like my 2nd grade class) is obsessed with Scottie Pippen and Milli Vanilli.

Pippen might be coming back to the NBA.  A Milli Vanilli biopic will be coming to theaters soon. 

Written by the same guy who wrote Catch Me If You Can.  Weird.







December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Put that in your Pipes

As you know, I'm addicted to RSS feeds.

Well, Yahoo! released a new service last week called Pipes -- it's an RSS feed remixer.

I know that sounds sort of intimidating. And I know the application looks pretty intense:

But really, it's simple: You start with an RSS feed at the top, and then connect it to filters and even other feeds... and you get something new at the bottom.

Concrete example: Let's say you love the Current blog but only want to subscribe to the Vanguard Journalism posts. No problem; in fact, that filter in the picture up there selects out the posts by Laura and crew. (I leave the 'Robin only' pipe as an exercise to the reader.)

Here's an example of something slightly more complicated:

Pitchfork's feed of new music reviews is cool, but often I find myself googling the bands in question to actually hear their music. Shortcut: I bring Pitchfork's feed into Pipes and cross-reference it with MySpace. The result: a feed of links to the reviewed bands' pages, where the music flows freely.

That's still pretty simple, but it gives you a sense of how you might begin to mix and match feeds to accomplish interesting things.

Any dream feeds out there? Info you'd like to be able to track but can't today? Let me know and I will see if I can monkey something together in Pipes -- it's sort of my new hobby.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

10 Things You Didn’t Know About “Joe Gets”

1. In February 2005, my parents sent me a check for my birthday. I used all of this money to rent a dominatrix dungeon for two hours to make "Joe Gets Dominated."

2. Hassan and I spent a long Sunday editing "Joe Gets Paranormal," only to have a bizarre Final Cut glitch erase all of our work, forcing us to do it all over from scratch. But we don’t think it was a glitch. We think Neil Tobin cursed us.

3. When I was getting my Wu-Tang “W” tattoo in "Joe Gets Inked," the staff at Tatu Tattoo played Wu-Tang Clan songs to relax me. Nothing soothes my soul more than "Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthin Ta F’Wit."

4. For "Joe Gets Arrested," I called over 10 police departments in the Chicago area before finally finding one that would let us do the shoot. It was kind of like fishing, except without the drinking.

5. I didn’t need to buy a nerd costume for my performance in "Joe Gets Naked." I wore those clothes for my senior pictures in high school. What can I say? They’re timeless.

6. "Joe Gets Female" is the only episode to be shot with two cameras. Like Howard Hughes, I originally wanted 24.

7. The barbershop featured in "Joe Gets Cut" isn’t a stranger to publicity. It was featured in the book Barbershops, Bibles and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought.

8. In "Joe Gets Drafted," the “I…got…drafted” shot was picked up weeks later, in a parking lot outside my apartment. Sorry if that ruins the magic. I suppose this isn’t a good time to tell you that "Joe Gets Medieval" was all on green screen.

9. For each pod, the only thing written beforehand is the intro. Everything else is improvised, except for when I get stuck. Then I put an earpiece in and am told what to say by 20 writers in Los Angeles.

10. The longest shoot took five hours (Female), the shortest shoot took 45 minutes (Culinary) and there’s only one person still reading this (my mom).

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

City Of Roses [And Great Indie-Music]

If you are looking for a unique place to get away for President’s Day Weekend next year I recommend Portland, OR. Aside from the great microbrews, fresh seafood and stocked bookstores, the city is full of talented indie bands who not only make amazing music but are more than willing to show visitors around. In our case the city of commerce hooked us up with The Blow and The Thermals.

Douglas with Khaela and Jona [The Blow].

The Blow are DYI laptop wizards who make “an irresistibly catchy mix of contemporary R&B, hip-hop and classic ’60s doo-wop that’s the backdrop for tales of heartbreak and true love.” [Thanks Steven] They also know how to make papier-mâché walrus and seagull head hats.

Kathy and Hutch [The Thermals] admire our PT Cruiser.

The Thermals have been making great and simple punk music for a few years now but their latest album goes a little deeper. This time they are exploring the marriage of Christian fundamentalism and political totalitarianism [they are mostly against it.]

Both bands are heading out on massive tours right now so check their schedules and find a string for your remembering finger.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

When Analogies Attack

When I first moved to LA, I did several odds and ends to pay the bills.  For a month or so, I worked for one of the big test-prep companies, tutoring high school kids in the wily ways of the SAT.

The dinosaurs :: extinct as  that job :: completely blew.

After a few short weeks, I had had enough of analogies.  Politicians, apparently, love them.



(This piece also features one of my favorite graphics in a while – we requested ‘analogies attacking a city.’  A strange request, and yet our kick-ass graphics department completely delivered.)

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Voices from the Valley

So this weekend I was reading about Silicon Valley in the ‘70s and ‘80s. My favorite find was Folklore.org, a site that collects tales of life at Apple Computer in the early days. It’s run by Andy Hertzfeld, one of the designers of the original Macintosh.

Hold that thought.

Today, an interview with Alan Kay showed up in Bloglines (yeah). Kay is a hugely influential computer scientist, which is why you should maybe take him seriously when he makes a broad critique of, er, computer science:

The things that are wrong with the Web today are due to this lack of curiosity in the computing profession. And it's very characteristic of a pop culture. Pop culture lives in the present; it doesn't really live in the future or want to know about great ideas from the past. I'm saying there's a lot of useful knowledge and wisdom out there for anybody who is curious, and who takes the time to do something other than just executing on some current plan. Cicero said, "Who knows only his own generation remains always a child." People who live in the present often wind up exploiting the present to an extent that it starts removing the possibility of having a future.

It’s no surprise Kay likes that Cicero quote. It’s the perfect corollary to his most famous saying, which happens to be printed on my most well-worn Current t-shirt: "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."

Kay also said: "People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware." That seems like such a powerful -- and generalizable -- concept to me. If you're trying to do something new, don't just stay on the surface: Identify the underlying systems and change those too, whether they're technological, economic, social, or whatever.

Back to the beginning: I just googled "alan kay serious about software," and it turns out the best collection of Kay quotes is on that Folklore.org site. If you've got a minute, check out this document. It's still an inspiring read, 25 years later.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

I blogged Andy Warhol

In case you didn't know, Andy Warhol died 20 years ago today. If you never got the chance to meet him personally, you can now do the next best thing, which is reading his journal online. This guy fi5e, AKA Evan, started it up a while ago and he could use your support.

If that leaves you wanting more Warhol check out this Japanese commercial featuring Andy, some home-movie footage from 1966 and this clip from the groundbreaking '70s reality show An American Family, in which Lance Loud visits a Warhol exhibit.

The Andy Warhol Museum has a cool online time capsule featuring receipts, photos, magazines and other interesting items from the artist's vast collection.

If you do not like Andy Warhol, then click on this. It's cool and everybody thinks it's funny.

If you didn't think that was funny and you do not like Warhol, then click on this. It's gross.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Coins!

Typically, our show reflects what's going on in the world. World news, popular culture, the latest internet meme to go viral...

And then, every once in a while (well, once), it's about Coins.

I never get tired of watching Eric in this clip. When he's not busy loving coins or writing for the show, he has his own sketch comedy troupe - check out 'The B-Squad' here.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Hail to the Chief

I’ve never been a part of sports fandom. In high school, I avoided going to games so I could spend more time with my best friend, Nintendo 64. And the college I attended, the University of Chicago, was one of those silly schools that focused on “academics.” The chatter about sports was mostly limited to “We have a sports team? Really? Where?”

However, my curiosity was piqued by the Chief Illiniwek controversy. The Chief, who was UIUC’s mascot/symbol for 80 years, was forced to retire last Wednesday. While Native American nomenclature isn’t exactly new to sports, the Chief’s presence had created a divisive atmosphere on campus. Also, it didn’t help that the NCAA had banned UIUC from hosting postseason games until the Chief was jettisoned.

To me, this is one of those gray issues with valid points on both sides. The Chief’s supporters are certainly trying to honor Native American heritage, but if Native Americans are offended, how does it honor them?

So, we decided to make fun of everybody. Last Wednesday David Seman and I spent a long 17 hours making “What’s Wrong With Chief Illiniwek?” Unfortunately, this didn’t include seeing the Chief’s final performance, because they wouldn’t give us press credentials.


See how depressed we were? Luckily, we were able to get our hands on a copy of the footage. Otherwise, who knows, we might’ve driven the car into a tree, screaming, “This is for you, Chief! This is for youuuuuu!”

On Thursday, we shot some skits for that pod, as well as a whole new pod altogether: Joe Gets Checked, in which I get some professional training in ice hockey from the guys at Johnny’s Ice House. And guess what? I still have all my teeth!


I plan to finish editing these pods by early next week. In the meantime, check out Joe Gets Manners, which was directed by Hassan a few weeks ago. A certain reporter from Kazakhstan covered similar subject matter back in 2003, but we thought our angle was sufficiently different. Namely, I wasn’t about to walk into The Etiquette School of Northern Illinois holding a bag of my own feces. That would have been rude. Plus, we use those bags to pay Hassan for his directorial services, and we really don’t have any to spare.

P.S. It was my birthday yesterday. Please celebrate by watching all my pods in one sitting, Clockwork Orange-style.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Everybody's Doing It

This Saturday, it's supposed to be 75 and sunny in Los Angeles.  I might go to the beach.

However, I know that, in plenty of other cities across America, people will be making SNOW ANGELS.

I guess I just didn't realize how MANY people will be doing it.  Thank you internet.



December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Come on, I get emails bigger than 64K

Have you ever heard of the demoscene?

It's a subculture of programmers that sprung up around Atari and Amiga computers back in the day and is still around. The core objective in the demoscene is to eke every ounce of graphics potential out of a computer with a "demo," a program that renders an amazing animated sequence on the fly.

Like a lot of programming-related subcultures, it's sort of a cross between a strongman competition and a poetry review: It's about pushing as many pixels as you can -- but with the most compact, elegant code possible. There are usually stringent limits on the size of the demos: 64 kilobytes, or even just four.

The best demo I've come across recently is "Chaos Theory" by the Hungarian demo group called Conspiracy. Here it is (it starts slow, but give it a minute):

Keep in mind as you're watching: This thing is generated by a program 64 kilobytes big.

As it unfolds and the music plays and it gets more complicated, keep telling yourself: 64K.

Pretty amazing.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

3 Questions With Josh Ritter

One of the best anecdotes I have for growing up in Moscow, Idaho, is what I remember from the TV news coverage on election night. Being a small college town, Moscow is generally a pretty liberal place. The rest of Idaho, on the other hand, tends to lean a bit more to the right.

On election night, my parents and I would pay attention to the TV reports as the votes were collected and counted. Periodically the color-coded map of Idaho would flash on the screen and we would notice how quickly the county lines were filled in with red. Meanwhile, Moscow (Latah County), would remain a lonely blue polygon on the Washington border. That dichotomy represents Moscow pretty well: traditional farming community and liberal college town wrapped into one.



Songwriter Josh Ritter grew up in Moscow with me. Part of what makes him such a unique artist is his balance between those two extremes. While his songs are rooted in Americana (water towers, freight trains and Hank Williams) they just as easily reference ancient canticles, chemistry and international politics.

Recently, I asked Josh to answer three short questions. Here is what he had to say for himself:

Whether it's a love song or a protest song your lyrics are full of nuance and subtlety. What is it about the literal you shy away from?

I've always had a problem with truth as it pertains to songs. A song that recounts well-established facts might as well be a magazine article for all its romance. And songs that take a specific and unwavering political position might as well be television commercials. A song, like a short story, is beautiful in its ability to introduce us to the possibility of a multiplicity of ways to think about the world.

If you were to take a road trip with one historical figure from Idaho, who would it be and what intrigues you about that person?

Without a doubt it would be former Idaho senator Frank Church. Church was a man who not only spoke, but also acted, with great conviction. In so doing he brought attention to that line that separates salary politicians from true leaders.

Any secrets you want to share about the next album?


The next record is pretty exciting. It’s rough and tumble. I think it's something of a bathing beauty.

---Josh did some rough and tumble "Backstage Recordings" on his solo tour, they are worth a listen, check them out here---

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

BREAKING: Paris Hilton Blinks Twice, Smiles Blankly

I go to Second City class on Sunday nights, so I forgot all about the Oscars last week. When I got home, I tried to recreate the experience of watching it by reading the list of winners so slowly it took four hours. It just wasn’t the same, though. I missed out on all those compelling red carpet interviews about what people were wearing. You might remember that I tried to fit in with the Oscars crowd last year. Since I wasn’t invited back, you can imagine how well that went!



It’s a cute picture, but Paris snubbed me afterwards. Her grizzled octogenarian handler wrangled her away before I could ask my question: Is religion just something man made up to cope with death? In retrospect, this was for the best. She’s so overexposed the Associated Press recently instituted a ban on writing about her. Of course, they broke this ban in two days. Then they wrote an article about the whole ordeal. How deliciously symmetrical!

If you combine this with the ubiquitous news coverage about Britney’s baldness, you might be upset that the mainstream media is acting like Star Magazine. I’m not. In fact, I’m thrilled. If our most respected journalists are covering foofaraws, than there must not be any other news. We’re no longer at war! There’s no climate crisis! Kim Jong-il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad decided to give up crazy dictator-ing and join an all-male acapella group! Hooray!

And the good news keeps coming! I have four pieces working their way through the pipeline to air – a top-secret music video, What’s Wrong With Smoking?, Joe Gets Checked and What’s Wrong With Chief Illiniwek? Here’s a sneak peek at Smoking: It’s the return of Jimmy and Kimmy!



December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

A hiccup in our broadcast

Since our show isn't live, we occasionally will run into problems where a segment we've taped becomes out of date while it's still running on the network. 

A politician will drop out of a race, a hurricane will switch course, a missing girl will be found... 

Usually, to keep Current looking current, we either pull the dated segment from air or, if possible, I'll come into the studio and record a fix.

'Hiccup girl' - aka Jennifer Mee - had been hiccuping for FIVE WEEKS STRAIGHT when we taped our piece on her.  And of course, she decided to stop about five hours after we had sent our segment into scheduling.

I know I should be happy she's better, but I found myself cursing poor Jennifer Mee when we heard the news.  Which is terrible, but I've found that TV makes you do that sometimes.

Anyway, it was a simple fix - we ended up tacking on a post-script to the segment...


December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Spanish for Mando Diao?

If you are headed to South By Southwest next week you are probably saying to yourself, "Hey self, what am I to do, there are 1400+ bands all playing multiple times in the span of five days, how am I ever going to be able to decide who to see?" It's a good question really and I don't have all the answers for you save one....Mando Diao.


Why Mando Diao?

They are Swedish. They are one of the best live acts in the world. They employ "gang vocals" alla The Clash, except they call it "hockey choir." They sing about retired NHL players. Finally, they play 43 times in 5 days so there are lots of chances to see them in Austin.

We actually just hung out in France with them while shooting a Current Fix pod. Here is a bonus clip for you on how they got their name.



We will be blogging daily from SXSW next week so start holding your breath, right, now.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Can You Make a Rainbow Chase Me?

“What’s Wrong With Smoking?” was released this week, and contains a revelation about second-hand smoke that is sure to shake the American Lung Association to its core: Second-hand smoke isn’t just inconsequential; it’s beneficial, and can cure headaches, earaches and colds. Maybe if we threw out all that junk science about smoking being a health risk, we’d discover it could also cure cancer. This means smokers could offset the risk of lung cancer simply by taking a second-hand puff after every first-hand puff. Look into it, doctors.

You’ll notice that the pod features another 1950’s educational video, with Chicago actress Kate Berry reprising her role as Kimmy. In this installment, Jimmy and Kimmy meet Smoky the Cigarette Sprite, who was inspired by the notorious Spring Fever and Mr. B Natural shorts on MST3K.



Current’s talented graphics department created Smoky, and this isn’t the first time they’ve lent their expertise to a “WWW” pod. In “WWW Soccer,” they set me on fire.



In “WWW Intelligent Design,” they created a decidedly gangsta CD cover for Charles Darwin.



And, then there’s my personal favorite: the evil rainbow in “WWW The Gay Agenda.”



While “Joe Gets” pods are normally shot in two hours, “WWW” pods are normally shot in two days. To me, the extra work is worth it because we get to do satirical skits that we could never do in “Joe Gets.” And without Current’s graphics department doing such an awesome job, these skits wouldn’t be brought to life. So, thanks to everyone out there who goes the extra mile to bring the ridiculous things in my imagination to fruition.

And there’s more to come! Keep an eye out for “Joe Gets Checked,” “WWW Chief Illiniwek?,” and a special music video. That piece has been a long time a-comin’ (written in July, shot and cut in December), but when it arrives, it’ll make you happier than a fruit basket from David Letterman.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Ski Tour

Most of everyone I know this weekend are heading down to Texas to cover SXSW, but this weekend fellow VC2 Preditor Matthew Sultan and I are going to be living it up in Tahoe covering the Honda Ski Tour at Squaw Valley.
I did however, manage to find this killer SXSW playlist off of finetune to listen to on our trip. You should check it out and discover new bands your friends haven't heard of. -enjoy
tom

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Welcome to the UK & Ireland

Five minutes ago there was a rousing cheer as we counted down the launch of Current TV in the UK and Ireland. Things move so fast around here that it seems like only yesterday that we were announcing the deal!

But it's real, it's here, and if you're in the UK or Ireland, you can now watch Current TV on Sky 229 or Virgin 155.

Woah.

I've only been over here for four days, but the team at Current UK has been working toward this for months, seemingly non-stop. No matter what time I've been in the San Francisco office, there's always someone in the London one available to answer questions -- and if you do the time-zone math, you'll know just how crazy that is. Hopefully now they'll have a chance to enjoy what they've made.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

The dime of history

This is blowing my mind:

In science, a number of metaphors are employed to cast the huge span of deep time into a frame more easily pondered. If the history of life on earth is viewed as the Empire State Building, all of human history is a dime on top.

It's a random find, a mini-essay over on Daily Kos about the shape of history:

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/3/9/141115/0563

I'm so used to reading disposable blog entries about video games that stuff like this is almost disorienting.

The author, Devilstower, writes:

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., one the United States' great historians, is less than two lifetimes removed from a world where the United States did not exist. Through Mr. Schlesinger, you're no more than three away yourself. That's how short the history of our nation really is.

Nice perspective on a Tuesday morning. If you click over to read the essay, make a guess first: How many lifetimes, stacked end-to-end, separate us today from the beginning of recorded human history? It's not that hard to calculate, but somehow the answer is still surprising.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Retroactive Interview

Every once in a while, we'll take the show out of the studio and do an interview.  We've sent Google Current correspondents to profile bloggers, robot enthusiasts, and giant rubber band ball makers.
Last year, I flew to New Jersey to interview the Numa Numa kid.

However, our production schedule is brutal, and, most of the time, interviews are far too time consuming/costly for us.   So...  We fake them.  Check out Brett's 'interview' with Victoria, a troubled teen featured on the Maury Povich show. 


December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

SXSW Day 2 for Current Fix

Our second day here has been more than fruitful. We interviewed the one and only Pink Nasty at TCBY, then hung with Earl Greyhound at Mugshots. After that we shot some wraps [introductions to pods] with the SXSW sweepstakes winner and his guest who happened to be great peeps. To top that off we caught Slash at a secret Red Bull party. (He played a mean Bad Company cover.) Don’t believe me? Bam, check out these pics:



Christopher (Sweepstakes winner) looks on as his girlfriend thrashes some fool on guitar hero.



Slash feels like making love.



Douglas and our good friend Cam navigate the frenetic streets of Austin.


December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

SXSW Day 3 for Current Fix

Things have been so hectic for us at this year’s SXSW that I had almost given up on seeing any of my favorite bands that are down here this week. That is one of the bitter sweet things about this festival…there are dozens of bands I would love to see but the logistics of actually seeing any of them often prove pretty hard to work out.

However, tonight I was able to see two bands that I most wanted to catch while down here in Austin.


The first was Beirut at the KEXP party at KLRU, the place where they shoot the Austin City Limits TV show.



Second we somehow found our way to Stubb’s to catch The Good, The Bad, and The Queen who put out one of my favorite albums so far this year.

One more solid day here at SXSW before heading home. It is shaping up to be a busy one. Hopefully I’ll see a few more interesting random people, such as our chance encounter this evening with Iggy Pop.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Home sweet

Today is my last day in the London Current office. It feels a bit anticlimactic, though I'm not sure if it's because I have managed to catch the UK version of a cold that's also been going around in the US (so unfair) or because everything pales in comparison to launching a network.

For the first five days I was here, everything was on fire. The office was packed from morning to night. No one ever went home, no one slept, and sneaking out to get a proper meal resulted in guilt and half a dozen text messages on your cell. Okay. Not MY cell, which doesn't work here. But I saw it happen to other people.

Then the day came. The feeds went live, the press went crazy, and everyone was able to relax. Just a bit. With champagne.

Now's the time when everyone settles into their roles and falls into a daily routine. All of us from the US are passing things along to other people and preparing to go home. It's interesting to watch the transition, because I stumbled into Current after the network had been live for a year and a half in the States, and I landed in a team that already ran like a well-oiled machine.

See how intently everyone is working now?



Two people I've gotten to know pretty well are Will and Lina, who'll be contributing to the blog. Will's blog debuted, oh, five seconds ago, and Friday is Lina's day to do her thing as well. Right now her thing involves a plant. I fear for the plant. But I really like Lina, and last night she and I filmed a bit of Will messing around at a pub; we're trying to convince him that his blog would be great in video form. As soon as I can figure out what's wrong with our transcoder, I'll get it up online and you can judge for yourself.

In the meantime, please keep your fingers crossed that I don't have to board the plane tomorrow with a box of Kleenex.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

SXSW Day 4 for Current Fix

We finished shooting last night around 9pm and finally had a chance to relax, see some music and enjoy the festival. The part of my brain that is responsible for witty musings of the written word is not operable right now so pictures from day four will have to suffice.

MC Lars asks a "man on the street" about the significance of generational learning in international political decision making.

Douglas and Matt (Voxtrot) share a Lonestar and a smile at the band's house/preschool.

Mando Diao play a live set on an actual authentic Texas barn type bbq ranch or something.

Girl Talk (sans shirt) in the middle of the dancing mob.


December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

thank you, the man

The supporting b-roll and still images we use in our pieces come from a variety of sources - we produce some of it in house, but Current also has special deals with news feeds, stock image websites, and professional photo agencies.  

And, when all of that fails... we'll use crappy stuff that's fallen into the public domain.

After over a year of scouring government websites for public domain photos, Google Current producer Daniel Freed (seen here in a rare [and hilarious] on-air appearance), has bookmarked several of his favorites.  He's recently started stringing them together in my new favorite blog - Thank You, The Man.  

From the site description:

Lots of people say the man never gave 'em anything but trouble. Most of the time I agree. But each day this site will show you one thing the man has given us all: PUBLIC DOMAIN PHOTOS FROM .GOV WEB SITES!

Our tax dollars at work .  Be sure to check it out



December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

My Sofa-Called Life

This week I finally got a leather sofa and coffee table for my apartment. It’s interesting how when you have furniture in your place, it gives the impression that somebody actually lives there. Before that, all I had in my living room was a rundown loveseat and a rickety TV tray. It was the type of décor that might as well be accented by a pile of rags and a homeless guy in the corner. Now, at the very least, I have the type of décor that could be accented by a well-to-do homeless guy.

New sofa:



Old sofa:



Now when I have meetings on Sunday nights with my imaginary roommates, Cornelius McFloogan and Agnes Dorple, I can lie supine on the leather sofa while they sit squished together on the dilapidated loveseat. They deserve to be punished because they keep me up all night with their wild, ravenous lovemaking.

As you can tell, I really need to get out of house, which is why I spent the last week planning an exciting trip to --- -----, where Hassan and I will be making three “Joe Gets” pods. It’s part of a long-term plan to do more traveling, so we’re not always hovering around Chicago like mother birds. I’ll make sure to blog all about the trip next Saturday, and if I don’t, may you send Crispin Glover to dropkick me in the face.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Los Chicos De La Guerra Fria @ SXSW

Many years ago the intent of SXSW was to provide a forum for undiscovered and unsigned bands to be heard. A&R reps would come from New York and LA on scouting hunts, fighting like wild Bornean bearded pigs to sign the hottest band before their peers. You came here expecting to find the next big thing.

Nowadays most bands are already signed. Because of bloggers/myspace/theworldwideweb bands that are here have so much exposure already, there isn’t anybody to discover. However, bands can still have break out performances and spark their careers during a few days at SXSW. Last year few people had heard of Cold War Kids. This year they were one of the hottest showcases in Austin.

I didn't make it but by all accounts they killed it at La Zona Rosa. Expect big things from them this year.


Jonnie from CWK talks about how he destroys guitars.


*Please note I am not an expert on the South by Southwest music festival and the preceding statements are made mostly on hearsay.

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

It's hard out here for a chimp...

Poor chimps - we test shampoo on them, we make them dress up in silly costumes, we give them that crazy rage virus in 28 Days Later... It's just not fair.

Fortunately, when it's time for chimps to retire, they've got Chimp Haven.

Learn about the latest scandal at da have, and see our recut of their promotional video here.

PS - There are lots of poop jokes.


December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Twitter me this

So I've been hearing a lot about Twitter recently. It's basically a simple platform for sending short text blasts out to your friends -- via the web, IM, and SMS, all at once.

Kaliel is totally into it and apparently it was huge at SXSW (the nerd part, not the cool part). To get a sense of the system's sudden popularity, check out Twittervision. (Be careful -- it's actually a bit hypnotic.)

So I'm trying it out but haven't really figured out how to best use it... for quasi-chatting? Haiku-like riffs from the road? Lunch alerts?

Regardless, I just really like the idea of Twitter as an open API for text messaging: You can get anything on your phone if you can pipe it through Twitter. For instance: BBC News. That feed is probably a little much, but I like the direction.

What could Current do on Twitter that would be cool and useful? Pod alerts? Notes from the field? Whatcha think?

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

Ocean's Two

Yesterday Hassan and I got back from a trip to Las Vegas, where we filmed three "Joe Gets" pods. We also bet all of the camera equipment on red, got in a knife fight with Wayne Newton and accidentally married female impersonators. But I'm not going to write about that. What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas.

Our trip began on Tuesday with a flight out of Chicago. As usual, Hassan told airport security his name was "Hank Anderson" instead of "Hassan Ali” so he could avoid a nasty confrontation and an even nastier probe. I was just happy they didn’t take away my saline solution and toothpaste for once. I was beginning to think that if you combine the two, you create sulfuric acid or a T-1000 or something. Anyway, we were happy to land.



Our hotel was located on The Strip, which gave us a good taste of Vegas right off the bat. Some might find the city to be too flashy, too seedy, too inundated with advertising. However, the city quickly proved itself to me as a place of warmth and integrity -- friendly company was just a phone call away!



On Wednesday, we had our first shoot at the Boulder Station and Palace Station casinos. Amicable staff members showed me the ropes of gaming, which I tried to climb before promptly slipping and falling on my ass. In the end, it was just easier to play Jenga.



Later in the day, we had our second shoot at the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel, which is famous for its various themed weddings -- Intergalactic, Rocky Horror, Pink Caddy, you name it. Wouldn’t it be cool if they had a Current TV theme? The background could be the Chemosphere, the priest could be Conor Knighton and the honeymoon could be spent digging up conflict diamonds in Sierra Leone with Christof Putzel. Hot.



On Thursday we had our final shoot, where we met up with Elvis impersonator/tribute artist Johnny Thompson. Johnny taught me how to be Elvis, which was pretty difficult, as the only celebrity I'm physically built to impersonate is Ron Howard.



Most of these pics are from the footage because we were so busy we forgot to take photos. Anyway, keep an eye out for these pods, as well as "WWW Chief Illiniwek," "Joe Gets Checked" and a special music video. Now, all we need to do is win back the camera equipment, get revenge on Wayne Newton and figure out how to get an annulment…

December 30, 2007 09:06 AM

You Stay Classy Florida

Alex Rochestie here, Programming Coordinator of Acquisitions and San Francisco Originals, resident “Superfan” and now a Current blog contributor! This is my first post so bear with me, as I am a blog virgin and don't really know what I'm doing.

Working in the acquisitions department means producing the breaking news stories that we think are relevant to our viewers as well as acquiring content from all sorts of sources. Yesterday we “broke-in” with the story of the Florida men’s basketball team that won the championship on Monday.

I dislike the Florida team because I personally feel that they have no class and although talented are not “true” champions because of their shortcomings as gentlemen. I actually wanted them to loose on Monday even though it won me 1st place and bragging rights in a roommate bracket pool I was in. However as much as I may dislike them I spent a good part of the morning watching the highlights and listening to the interviews. The result of which was a balloon of steam that I have to get off my chest. Jokin Noah, a “star” player for the Gators embodied the classless nature of the team in a post-game interview that I thought summed up the Gators as a team.



When asked about winning the NCAA championship Mr. Noah, the spawn of a French pro tennis player and model mother spoke in ghetto/French/English about “his boys in Gainsville” and how we “didn’t even know about (his) life.” You're right, Noah, we don’t know about how you're running things down there. Actually we just don’t care.

Maybe I’m an old fashion type of guy but I remember a time when it was an honor to play the game and the only name that mattered was the one on the front of the jersey. I sincerely hope that kids looking up to this team and this player don’t imitate this sort of behavior in the future or think that acting like this will contribute to thier success. Unfortunately I fear that this is a sign of a horrible trend in sports that we may or may not be able to stop. What do you think?
,
aroc

P.S. Congrats to the Tennessee Lady Vols who won the National Championship last night! We got a pod for your accomplishment in the works. And to the Washington State Cougars because my brother Taylor plays for them. Till next time, stay classy out there.

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

get embed with google current

Visitors to www.current.tv/google may have noticed a few changes...

Now, with just the click of a button, you can digg, post to del.icio.us, email, or embed our segments on your own site/myspace/etc.

Embeddable google current videos videos has been one of our most requested features. It's finally here, and it's super easy.



See? Tada!

Start spreading your favorites around the interweb.


December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Where there's smoke, there's firewire

A week ago today, Dustin posted about the giant fire we were all watching from our Hollywood offices.

Fortunately, the fire ended up being pretty easy to contain - it didn't destroy any homes, and nobody was hurt. Still, at the time, that picture he attached looked pretty damn spooky.

As it turned out, plenty of folks shared Dustin's instinct - as the hills burned, tons of citizen photos and videos were uploaded to individual blogs and video-sharing sites. Take a look at what might be the most well documented blaze here:






December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Three Cheers for Intern Nasim!

This past week, you may have noticed a new face on air in a couple of our segments. Please welcome...Intern Nasim.


December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

The First Revolution of the AIDS/LifeCycle

Hi, I'm Adam, and I'm not one of the normal bloggers here. I don't make pods, promos, or anything else you might see on TV. I'm also not in the music department, or graphics, or marketing. I'm not even in our web group. No, I'm in IT, where I mostly deal with these little guys. But I'm here, writing, for a really good reason.

I'm a bike rider.

And I make a mean bowl of chili.

But mostly I'm here for the biking stuff.

I'm one of six members of Current's AIDS/LifeCycle team. We're riding from San Francisco to Los Angeles in early June, covering 545 miles over 7 days, all to raise money to fight AIDS. Over the next couple of months, I'll keep you up on the rides we're going on, the fundraising parties we're throwing, and the latest in bikewear fashion.

I started biking about 8 months ago, when my friends brought me on a shorter ride with one fairly respectable hill: up the Marin Headlands, just off the Golden Gate Bridge, north of San Francisco. Here's what the city and bridge look like taken with a cell phone camera from the peak:



Doesn't exactly do it justice, but you get the idea. (This particular picture was taken on my ride this morning, before work.) It was then I decided I would finally succumb to the San Francisco mid-20s stereotype and get a road bike, and I've never looked back.

Look for more stories which may or may not have to do with biking, but probably will, along with accompanying photos, maybe a video clip or two, and my favorite chili recipes. And if you want to visit our team's site, you can find it here:

http://www.aidslifecycle.org/627

Send us notes of encouragement, love letters, garage sale notices, or whatever you like. We're starved for attention of any kind.

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Current TV? Prom Queen?

While it's true that it is both a pleasure and an honor to be nominated for stuff, it's also really swell to win. So even though I'm totally breaking my own blog rule about discussing how totally rad Current is, it would be awesome if you'd go vote for us in the 11th Annual Webby Awards.

Think of how lovely we'd look in a satin sash and diamond-esque tiara!

This very website has been nominated in the Media > Television category and the delicious and delightful SuperNews has been nominated in the Online Film & Video category (for both Animation and Comedy: Long Form or Series).

This is where you come in.



  1. Go to the categories we're nominated in here, here and here.
  2. Complete a very quick and easy registration.
  3. Vote for us!
We're also happy to announce that Current TV has been recognized as an Official Honoree for the Best Use of Video or Moving Image category. The Official Honoree distinction is awarded to work that scores in the top 15 percent of all work entered into the Webby Awards. With over 8,000 entries received from all 50 states and over 60 countries, we're psyched to be included!




December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Rush Hour


Part of training for the AIDS/LifeCycle has been going on rides at lunch, three days a week. (Side note: if you ride your bike to work and have a couple of good routes around your office, I can’t recommend doing it enough. You feel like it’s Saturday for an hour.) But I live in a big, scary city, with lots of hills and cable cars and people on those ridiculous inverted lawn mowers, which to me seemed like perfectly good reasons I'd never want to negotiate it on a bike. This quickly became an issue. Granted, I had ways of getting my bike to work other than riding it, but I also felt if I'm going to ride hundreds of miles, I should be able to manage a few measly city streets.

Ignoring the impassioned pleas of my mother, the morning we began training at work I left my apartment, rolled up my right jean cuff, snapped my helmet on, and started pedaling. The first couple of miles were easy; I cut through Golden Gate Park and rode down a quiet residential street intended for bikes. So far, so good. But then I came to a stoplight a couple of blocks from the main artery of San Francisco: Market Street.

I don't want to say I panicked, but I did start to get a little concerned. Buses, taxis, cars, trucks; all seemed eager for me to try to join them so that I might be the latest sacrifice to the Commuting Gods. I think I even felt the BART train a hundred feet beneath me, straining to leap off its tracks and run me off the road. (Okay, probably not.)

At that stoplight were a few other bikers who looked calm. Bored, even. I thought if I pretended to be like them, like this was no big deal, just riding to work with all the rest of the Alternative Transportation Crowd, I might survive. So when they started out to cross Market, I casually followed them and began to ride down the busiest street in town.

I wish I could say I dodged street sweepers, people walking dogs, ninjas, etc., but honestly, my biggest worries were avoiding potholes and sewer grates. (The ones with the vertical slits are just big enough to catch a wheel, and will bring you down like an anchor.) The rest of the ride was, i fact, kind of boring. Lots of stopping and starting, never going very fast, and staying clear of all the cars were the highlights.

But I liked it. I liked getting out on my bike in the morning, I liked getting to work feeling awake, I like feeling the camaraderie of people I don't know but am still connected to. I even liked the ennui we all share when we're waiting for the light to change. And despite having the tempting option of driving with my roommate to work, I still usually prefer to bike. It's probably my least favorite ride I'll do (except for the time I got two flat tires), but it's still riding, and whenever I'm on the saddle, I'm happy.

Tell us your biking commute story here, or just say hi:
http://www.aidslifecycle.org/627.

p.s. If my mom didn't read this, I totally would have included all the ninja-dodging I did. So dangerous, and so much fun!

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

It's Monday! That means it's time to share knowledge

The awesome Participatory Culture Foundation just launched a site called Make Internet TV. (Sort of explains itself, doesn't it?) They've also got a brand-new wiki up, just yearning for useful production-related tips and links. I added pointers to the Current training guide; you should drop by and contribute something, too.

You know, I actually hadn't clicked over to our training guide in a long time, and I forgot how cool it is. Worth a look even if you've been there before.

Also, I feel that the Ira Glass interview in the storytelling section is even more relevant now that he makes TV, too.

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Jackie Robinson - An American Hero

On April 15, 1947 Jack Roosevelt Robinson took the field to play first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers. This marked a monumental step in the fight for equality, not just in sports but for the country as well. Jackie Robinson and Major League Baseball were ahead of their time in 1947 and it took a man like Jackie Robinson to pave the way for future leaders. Martin Luther King Jr. said of Jackie, "Back in the days when integration wasn’t fashionable, he underwent the trauma and the humiliation and the loneliness which comes with being a pilgrim that walks in the lonesome byways toward the high road of freedom. He was a sit-inner before sit-ins, a freedom rider before freedom rides.”

Make no mistake about it, Jackie Robinson put his life on the line and fought for the rights of others. Here are some of his accomplishments:
• The first four-sport letterman in UCLA history (football, basketball, track and field and baseball)
• Hired to play semi-pro football with the Honolulu Bears. Their first exhibition game was in Pearl Harbor. Luckily Jackie left Honolulu on December 5, 1941. Two days later the Japanese attacked.
• Enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1944. Promoted to platoon leader of Company B of the 761st. He was honorably discharged after refusing to give up his seat on a military bus.
• Major League Baseball
• The first African-American to play major league baseball
• First ever Rookie of the Year in 1947
• National League Most Valuable Player in 1949
• Wins the batting title .342, 203 hits, 124 RBI’s and 37 stolen bases
• Only player to have his number retired throughout the league
• Won the World Series by beating Yankees 4-3
• Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962
• Became the first African-American baseball commentator in 1965
• Acted as a spokesman and fundraiser for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
• Helped found the Freedom National Bank in Harlem, N.Y.
• In 1970, he established the Jackie Robinson Construction Company to help build housing for families with low and moderate incomes.
• In 1982 Robinson became the first baseball player to be on a U.S. Postage Stamp
• Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Reagan in 1984
• Awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by George W. Bush in 2005

The second Jackie stepped onto Ebbits field he willingly positioned himself in the line of fire. Fans taunted him with threats both on and off the field. . Players on opposing teams would intentionally bean him at the plate and would spike him with sharpened cleats when sliding into his base. Even some of his own teammates said they would rather sit on the bench than play with a black teammate.

Through all this, Jackie Robinson persevered and was successful beyond everyone’s expectations. After baseball, Robinson continued to carry the torch for the civil rights movement until he died in 1971 from a heart attack in Stamford, Connecticut. His life-long partner and wife Rachel established the Jackie Robinson Foundation in his name and has continued the fight for him.

Today sports are different yet still the same in many ways. These days the news in sports if filled with players signing big contracts, Imus and the Duke lax team. Maybe it’s the money, maybe it’s the media, maybe it’s because Jackie set the bar too high. Whatever the reason it is upsetting to see all the bullshit going on in the sports world today, especially when you consider how much Jackie Robinson and others sacrificed to get us to where we are. Even from the grave Jackie Robinson and Jackie Robinson Day continue to serve as a constant reminder of what’s really important. Freedom, equality and baseball. Hope you enjoy this pod, which came through the acquisitions department and is now on Current.



December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

The Politics of Biking

Aside from oversleeping due to a passive-aggressive alarm clock (instead of being obnoxiously loud, occasionally my alarm chooses to simply display it's time to get up, and no, it wasn't set to silent) and missing the gym, I had a pretty decent morning. Rain and barbeques discouraged me from anything other than city rides over the weekend, and next weekend I'll be many, many miles away from my bike at Coachella, so this post isn't going to be based on any specific rides.

As we all know by now, yesterday was Earth Day. (And every time you plant a tree, you make Al Gore smile.) Here in San Francisco, it was hard to miss. Among the rest of the community organizations promoting environmentalism, we also have the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) advancing the cause through city biking. When I first started biking, I thought I'd only be a casual/recreational biker, and would, at best, be SFBC-neutral. "I don't like biking in the city anyway," I told myself. "It's dangerous, dirty, and it's really hard to Twitter while you ride." Oh, if only I could go back in time and slap some sense into my naive, 26-year-old self. I'd make him understand how the SFBC is out for everyone who thinks there might be a few too many cars around here. (I'd also tell him to sell Google when it hit $509, too.)

So today I decided to join. As far as causes go, I figured this one's pretty easy to support since it promotes valet bike parking, and it sorta relates to that other cause I'm working on. That's the funny thing about causes: they only seem like charity until you find one you like, then you're encouraging the changes you want to see. (e.g., I've been tutoring at 826 Valencia for a while now, but it never seems like work. Well, except when we have to swab the deck last month. That sort of sucked.)

Got a cause you're all about these days? Sure you do. Leave a comment and talk about it, and wish us well on our cause here: http://www.aidslifecycle.org/627

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Shiny Toy Guns

LA synthies Shiny Toy Guns are everywhere these days. They've got 225K MySpace friends, their song "Le Disko" is the promotional anthem for ABC's Dancing With The Stars and bassist Jeremy Dawson has been taking on Steve Jobs' recent stance on DRM.



But can you hear them on Paris Hilton's debut album? We hung out with them recently in France and asked co-lead singer Carah Faye Charnow about pesky internet rumors that she was the actual voice on Paris Hilton's Stars Are Blind. Here is what she said:



(I promise you I will NEVER write another blog that references Paris Hilton or Dancing With The Stars.)

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

"Are you going to make a pod about it?"

If you happen to work for Current (...and I sometimes wonder if everyone who reads this blog does), you can never, ever, tell a fellow employee you are going to do something even remotely interesting unless you are prepared for the inevitable...

"Are you going to make a pod about it?"

That's the blessing and the curse of short form, non-fiction television.  Nearly EVERYTHING can be a potential pod. 

Going to an Air Guitar Championship?  You better film it.  Bicycling down the coast?   Hope you left room for your mini-DV.  And, really, don't even THINK about hitting up a cool concert/festival/restaurant/restroom without at least shooting a Current Mobile.

I leave for China tomorrow, for a week or so of long overdue vacation and, naturally, nearly everyone has asked if I'm going to shoot some pods while I'm there.  (To get psyched for the trip, I have actually watched several Current pieces, like Laura's piece on China's migrant workers.)

I am packing some gear - so who knows - but, for now, I have no plans to shoot anything besides a few snapshots.  It's going to be nice to relax for a bit and take in Beijing without having to worry if I have enough b-roll. (Any travel tips?  Hit up conor@current.tv)  Next week, you'll see some familiar faces guest hosting Google Current.


Alright, off to the studio for one last shoot.  After that, I have twenty four hours to learn how to say the Mandarin phrase for "Actually, I'm a huge television star back in the United States."


December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Training Wheels (part one)

So I’m on a wait list for a 109-mile bike ride this Sunday.  That means I tried registering too late, and I’m hoping I’ll be given the opportunity to get up at 6:30 am, pay $50, and receive a very smart headband (along with a lunch I've only heard mentioned in awed, hushed tones).  How I came to be this sort of person--the sort who hopes he’ll have to go to bed at 10 pm on a Saturday night--is beyond me.  It sometimes concerns me I enjoy doing this stuff so much, as I certainly wasn't this active while growing up.  (Not to say I was like this kid, but I still remember how happy I was the day I graduated from Happy Meals.)

However, I wasn't completely sedentary.  Like most, I had a bike or two throughout the course of my childhood.  Sadly, I forget the first one, but the last one was a bike to remember.  I was 14, and knew this was going to be the Coolest Thing Ever.  Two of my closest childhood friends (two brothers, who are both getting married this summer and don't really have much else to do with this story) and I talked our fathers into buying for us what they had to know was absurd.  We all got 18-speed Diamondback Sorrento mountain bikes.  Real mountain bikes!  To climb mountains!  And fly down them!  I promised my dad if I got this, I'd never ask for another ride until I got my driver's license. (I'm sure he knew better, but some small part of him probably wanted to believe that.)  I went home recently and dug the old girl out of the garage to see if she had any action in her:

 

Well... the pedals still rotated the wheels, which is about the kindest I can be.  But I think with some new tires, shifters, derailleurs (front and rear), brakes, chain, crankset, and cassette, it could be world-class again.  Though to be fair, I think I took it mountain biking exactly twice, and I'm not entirely sure about the second time, so it's hard to say I'd jump back on a bike that was intended for me when I was half my current age.  (Also, on that very street, I learned why you shouldn't only use your front brakes while going at tremendous speeds unless you have wings or a cape.) 

Having this sort of history made it all the more hard to believe when I started telling my friends and family I was doing the AIDS/LifeCycle.  But now, with about one month to go, I'm starting to feel like I'm actually going to be ready to do this.  The rest of my team's ready, the jerseys are being made, and I've exchanged my Aeron here at work for a bike saddle to prepare.  (Just kidding about that last part.  They'll have to pry my chair from my cold, dead hands.)  And it's nice to feel like I've given myself a second chance to relive part of my childhood, even if I'm not eating like I used to

Got an early childhood bike story?  A second childhood bike story?  How about a story about bikes and dragons?  Let's hear it.  http://www.aidslifecycle.org/627

-a.

p.s.  Here's one more.  Note how the light catches the stylish front reflector.  To me, it says, "I'm so badass, I'm going to ride this baby at night!  So please don't hit me!"  Yeah, that got a lot of use.




December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

What are you doing on Saturday?

I love summer, such a great time for relaxing or in my case attempting to cram week vacations into small, barely two-day weekend escapes. Coachella, playoff basketball, the beach, baseball games, festivals, and a to-do list that is turning into a joke have plagued my life in a brilliant way. This weekend is no different. As always I am having some trouble planning out my Sat/Sun sanctuary. Lots to do in so little time. Here's what is on my plate.

Basically I'm looking at a huge Saturday and a rehab-esque Sunday. Saturday marks the date of the Kentucky Derby, Cinco De Mayo and the Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr fight.

The obvious setting for this weekend is Vegas and if you have the means I strongly recommend getting out there. Regrettably I will be confined to the Bay Area, which according to Sir Charles Barkley is "the dumping ground of people who can't afford to live in L.A.,". HA! Had to mention that somehow.

Now I am not a horse-racing fan but feel as though the Kentucky Derby is one of those events that should be watched and cared about. Small men and big horses somehow add up to sports greatness as long as the race is in Kentucky and lots of celebrities attend. Present technology comes to my rescue in this situation by affording me the option of Tivo'ing this event, which seems to be an excellent idea. Tivo'ing this allows me to save time on Saturday and watch the race on Sunday when I'll be wearing my Sunday school clothes anyway (sorry no picture). One down. One of these guys won last year. Word on the street is that Current's own Jason Tongen is heavily favored this year even though he isn't racing.



Now I'm not of Mexican decent either but intrinsically feel the need to commemorate the victory of the Mexican forces led by General Ignaci Zaragozo Seguin (pictured to the right) over the French occupational forces in the Battle of Puebla which happened 145 years ago. Now referred to as Cinco De Mayo or Cinco De Drinko we celebrate the sacrifice of these soldiers with Coronas and big sombrero hats. It's a great time and should be incorporated into your weekend plans. Sun and fun is the name of the game with this holiday so make sure you have plenty of both. Two down.

Finally, I am not a big boxing fan and rarely plan to watch a fight or pay some absurd amount of money to pay-per-view to watch the sport that never lives up to expectations. I can’t wait however to watch the De La Hoya vs Mayweather Jr. fight on Saturday. In fact I don't know if I’ve ever been as excited about a boxing match in my whole life. Well maybe I have, but I don't think this one will let me down like all the others usually do.

Why?

This highly anticipated fight is more than a match up between two men. This is a bout between good and somewhat evil, although in this case you could root for evil. In the past few weeks HBO and the sports media have been covering the two opposing camps in the press and an amazing HBO mini-series called De La Hoya/Mayweather 24/7. This series and the coverage by the media has built this fight up to truly epic proportions.
In the evil corner we have Floyd Mayweather Jr. who has a pair of familiar coaches. By familiar I mean family as in his father Floyd Mayweather Sr. and his uncle Roger Mayweather. His father Mayweather Sr. is a convicted drug trafficker who was also at one time the coach of… you guessed it Oscar De La Hoya. He is flashy with money, friends with 50 cent and just your all around rags to riches baller. By the way, 50’s placed a cool MILLION DOLLARS on Mayweather to win and will be performing a never before seen single before the fight.



Mayweather Jr. has never lost a fight, so it’s hard to point to any identifiable weaknesses. He has more than enough title belts and confidence to carry him against anyone in the world.

In the good corner we have Oscar De La Hoya, who is the supported by the renowned trainer Freddie Roach. Freddie, who Currentians know as the owner of the Wildcard Boxing Gym has trained some of the best in recent past including James Toney, Manny Pacquiao and of course Mike Tyson.



De La Hoya is a man of the people, the reigning champion and the ultimate underdog. In fact he is so much of an underdog that he almost becomes the favorite.

So the stage is set for one amazing fight. The “Golden Boy” (De La Hoya) vs. the “Pretty Boy” (Mayweather). With the title belt, cash, and legacy on the line this is sure to be a match-up for the ages. What a weekend. Did I mention that the Kentucky Derby and Cinco De Mayo take place on the same day! Unreal. So here are some suggestions for planning out your Saturday de MayweatherHoyaDerby Day.

1. Tivo the Derby.
2. Celebrate the Cinco De Mayo
3. Don’t bet on the fight.
4. Have a blast.

Also if you need something else to celebrate on May 5th here are some options:

• 1961 – Alan Shephard becomes the first American in space.
o Watch the Raw Intel of Steven Hawkings trip to space.
• 1930 – Amy Johnson becomes the first women to fly solo to Australia.
o Fly to Australia. Note: only drink Mexican beer when you get there.
• 1821 – Napoleon Bonaparte dies.
o Try walking on your knees and ordering people around. Then exile yourself to an island.

Till next time,

aroc

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

I never even had a chance to say goodbye.

Like last week, as much as I want to write about other topics, I can't. One story stands out so much, to ignore it would be tantamount to lying, both to myself and to all of you.

On May 8th, 2007, between 7 and 10 pm (Pacific), my bicycle was stolen.

Sigh.

I was meeting an old friend for Taco Tuesdays at a pretty nice restaurant/bar on Pacific Coast Highway, right where Golden Gate Park ends, on the beach. Easy enough for me to ride to, so I figured, "Why not?" My friend, Anthony, is actually a biker, too, and had recently been getting back into the game. We were having a great time catching up, running into other people we knew, etc. Around 10 pm, I went to the bathroom. After, I went to check on my bike because I had left my keys in the saddle bag. When I arrived at the bike rack, all that was left were my helmet and a cleanly-cut steel cable. (I know, but I left my U-lock at work because I thought the neighborhood was safe enough.) I uttered a profanity, once, picked up my helmet and cable, and walked back into the bar in a sort of trance. As my friends saw me enter with what remained, the expressions on their faces quickly matched mine. Shots of whiskey were quickly ordered as my I lowered my head to the table, sobbing quietly, still holding on to the broken cable that failed me. A bottle of Knob Creek later, I became belligerent, swinging my cable like a mace, calling everyone in the bar cowards for not stopping the thief. It took a bartender, two bar backs, and a busboy to eventually hold me down, but not before I managed to do several hundred dollars worth of damage to some of their glassware. When we left, I was told not to return for Taco Tuesdays, Waffle Wednesdays, or even Fajita Fridays.

Okay, maybe all the stuff after the whiskey shots didn't exactly happen. But everything before did. Just three and a half weeks before the ride, too. Generously, Anthony immediately volunteered to lend me his bike for the remainder of my training and for the AIDS/LifeCycle itself. I'm taking him up on his offer, but I'm also aggressively looking for a new ride. Which is sorta fun. I mean, it's cool and all that I'm going to get a new, better bike, but I'm still sort of a newb, and I don't really know that much, so this is going to be an opportunity for me to learn. Yay. (No, really, I'm kind of excited about it. I just wish it wasn't like this.)

Above all, the important thing is I wasn't hurt, and will still be able to finish the race. And honestly, it wasn't that expensive, and I know it's not that big of a deal to have a bike stolen. It's not like the only copies of my baby pictures were lost, or, God forbid, my cell phone. So as long as I keep all that in mind, I feel better.

But if I ever find the person who stole my bike, I'm sure it'll go something like this:

"Can you come by my apartment in about 45 minutes? I need to grab the steel cable you cut and swing it at you. You know, like a mace. No, I know where it is, it won't take too long. Oh, well how about tonight? Eh, tomorrow's not really good for me. Thursday? Okay, let's meet at 5:45 pm. Yeah, we can get coffee before. Cool, see you then."

-a.

Offer your words of sympathy here: http://www.aidslifecycle.org/627

p.s. This week (cruelly enough) is Bike-to-Work week, but if 5 days is too much for you, Friday (or Thursday, depending on your city) is Bike-to-Work day. Check out these links for more information, including Pit Stops where they give you free stuff:

San Francisco: http://www.sfbike.org/?btwd
Los Angeles: http://www.mta.net/biketowork/
Washington, D.C.: http://www.waba.org/events/btwd/index.php
New York City: http://www.transalt.org/calendar/bikemonth2007/

or find your city here: http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bikemonth/events.php

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Speaking of Spokes

Choosing what I wanted to write about today wasn't easy. Over the past week, I discovered the World Naked Bike Ride (nsfw), I gained and lost entry in the 109-mile ride I had hoped to do on Sunday, and the latest copy of Monocle, the best magazine to have ever existed/will ever exist (sorry, Modern Bride) was delivered to my door with this on the cover:



Naturally, I was flattered. Clearly they had read my post from a couple of weeks ago and were inspired by it. Nice work, boys. (And since you're probably reading this now, I'll give a shout-out and compliment you guys on your title. "Pedal Politics" didn't work as well for me, and I thought the Re-Flex reference was overdue.)

Full of potential as these topics all are, I'm letting myself be content with merely mentioning them so I can instead focus on the 80-mile ride I did with people from the AIDS/LifeCycle to Nicasio Valley. Nicasio Valley is smack in the middle of Marin County, about 35 miles north of San Francisco. It's also home to George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch (which I've visisted and deserves another post all to itself, but not here). Simply put, this was the longest and most scenic ride I've ever done, and it left me more certain than ever about my ability to bike to Los Angeles. (In a positive way.) To be in a setting like this:



makes it a lot harder to write well about it enough to do it justice. And since I'm not going to be able to do it, you'll have to believe me. I went with Kaliel, the fastest person on our team (probably safe to say in our company). She's been doing this ride for a while now, and has greedily kept it to herself all this time. For shame, Kaliel.

Argh. I swear, I had more to say, but the more I look at that picture, the less I want to type, and the more I want to go back out there. The ride is four weeks from yesterday. I can't remember looking forward to something this much. It's going to be amazing.
-a.

Tell us what you're looking forward to, whether it be a bike ride, camping trip, or lunch: http://www.aidslifecycle.org/627

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

GC's Youngest Star

Back from China, which was amazing.  More on that later.

For now, I'd like to introduce Google Current's youngest star - at about the one minute and thirty second mark in this clip, you can see our exec producer's son.

Buying drugs on the internet.



Have a good weekend,
c


December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Dueling Guitars FTW!


"Oh gosh, I love playing War Pigs soooooo so much! Hee hee hee!"



Last night was the First Annual Team Current AIDS/LifeCycle Benefit Guitar Hero Two Tournament of Champions Classic, and boy do we have the pictures to prove it! Due to how late the FATALBCGHTTOCC went, this week's post will be a lot shorter than usual, as I'm very tired and words are harder to come by today. Actually, if I had more time/energy, I would love to do these pictures in lolcat fashion. Instead, I'll add some captions. Now seems like a good place to stop talking and show you some more photos of people you don't know having way too much fun.
-a.
http://www.aidslifecycle.org/627

p.s. I'm picking up my new bike today!



"You think I'm impressed with your guitar skills? I am not impressed with your guitar skills."



"My bones live on the outside of my hands, so I can rock even harder!"



"Wait... Is the camera on an angle, or is the room? I suddenly don't feel so well. This is not a good time to deploy Star Power."



"We secretly prefer Cello Hero, but we'll never say it."



"Oooh. Ooooh oooh. Watch this part; it rocks so hard, it actually causes me both physical and emotional pain."



"This is my hand without a guitar in it. Please put a guitar in my hand!"

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

A Premature Evaluation

We talk a lot about how Current isn't like your typical tv network. Democratizing television, viewer participation, blabby blah blah blah...

That's all great and everything, but you wanna know the MAIN way Current isn't like the rest of tv?

When summer hits, we don't start sucking.



December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Kitty in ur SERVERZ

If you’re reading this blog, it means you’re using our site, and if you’re using our site chances are pretty good that you’ve experienced some wonkiness of late. We’re just now understanding the extent of said wonkiness, and want to make sure everyone knows what’s going on.

On Thursday night, we deployed Operation Chang & Eng (if you’re not familiar with the reference, let me give you a hint...they were Siamese, and worked for the circus). In preparation for bigger and better things, we’ve started looking at our systems architecture and preparing it for the next generation of the website. Chang & Eng is an important scalability milestone for us — in the long term it should mean less downtime for users and a stable platform that will support higher levels of traffic.

The path to scalability never runs smooth, though, and we’ve uncovered what my friend Juan calls “stress-points” within this new architecture. Pod updates, video ranking scores, and the Current TV schedule are all things that are misbehaving, which should put to rest any discussion around these parts that Current staff is trying to monkey with uploads and ratings.

Although ultimately (probably within 48 hours) everything will be much faster and smoother, the clunkiness you see today is the final stage of identifying and getting rid of these bottlenecks in site performance. We understand that it’s frustrating today, but promise it’ll be good for you in the long run...like spinach, broccoli, and all those others things your mom used to make you eat.

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Wait, we have to be there at *what* time?

At 4:30 am tomorrow morning, a taxi will pick me and a teammate up, drive over to another teammate's house, and then arrive at the Cow Palace of San Francisco with 2000+ other riders. (side note:  I went to a rodeo there not too long ago.  I even got a hat and lassoed stuff!)   I think a friend of mine put it best earlier this week:  "Wow, this is a real thing you're doing!"  (side comment: well put.) 

Though words have done a decent job describing what training for this has been like,  this week we're going to try to capture as much as we can on film.  (Cameras mounted to bikes?  You'd better believe it.)  It'll be something to look forward to.

And since I've been slipping into several writing no-nos on account of it being this late, it's time to wrap this entry up.  Thanks for following along all this time, and we'll see you on the other side.

-a., on behalf of Team Current.

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Site Downtime Tonight!

Just a friendly announcement that on or around 9:30PM PST tonight (June 8), we will be cleaning up some of the final problems with the database change I mentioned earlier in the week.

This will primarily involve data surrounding Pods, which will be unavailable for about five minutes at that time.

If you experience issues surrounding your Pod following this outage, please give them some time to resolve themselves. If you are still having problems, email us lots of details to support@current.tv.

We'll do our best to right the wrongs.

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Two new Max and Jason Pods

Hey all! It's been a while since we posted last (we've been traveling) but we wanted to touch base and let you all know about two exciting new pods we have going on air this week.

The first is called "Books by the Foot" and we shot it on our recent trip to New York. It profiles The Strand Bookstore's new service where they will create an "insta-library" for you, sold "by the foot" and custom designed to take into account all of your interests and personality traits to provide A) a really cool library for your house that has a sense of novelty that would be missing had you selected all of the books yourself and B) makes you look really, really cool to any sort of houseguest who peruses it. It's not only "buying smart;" it gives your empty bookshelf a reason for existing.

The second is called "Animal Hoarder" and takes us to a sanctuary for animals in upstate New York called "Pets Alive." Pets Alive was formerly owned by a woman who developed compulsive hoarding, and while her heart was in the right place by providing refuge for hundreds of homeless animals, eventually let it become so out of control (by essentially "collecting" too many to handle) that the animals were in fact suffering from undernourishment and neglect. We hope you really like it.

Much more in the works, so check back often! Max and Jason here... peace out... and have an amazing weekend!

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Finding our way home

Last week, 2800 people showed the world what happens when you take Margaret Mead literally, and for seven days and 565 miles, we demonstrated how one of the worst diseases to ever afflict the human race can bring out the best in us.

I know this blog has been on the light-hearted side in the past, and I'm sure I'll remember how to crack wise again in the future, but it's hard to be sarcastic at the moment. This truly was a real thing everyone there did.

Sure, there are great stories about Red Dress Day (where everyone wears a red dress):

and stories about Dan, one of our teammates, getting four flats in a day, or the vats of Butt Butter went through, or even the feeling of riding through the camp gates at the end of every day and hearing the roadies congratulating us and welcoming us home, but they all fall by the wayside. The best story was merely being a full participant of something this incredible and knowing you helped those who were in most need. There's no feeling like it.

So ends the bike chronicles. It's been a blast writing about biking, or at least pretending to. I'd like to close with something I saw just before we left called "5 reasons to ride your bike", from the Dallas Morning News. The timing was too good to pass up.  Ride safe, and have fun.

-a., on behalf of Team Current


Roll with it: 5 reasons to ride your bike
by
Leslie Garcia

Take off the training wheels. Polish up that Huffy. Make sure the bell and brakes work. Lash the wicker basket between the handlebars. Put on your helmet, adjust the strap and get your dad to give you a shove.

How, oh how, in these glorious days of sunshine, can we not think about riding a bike? And now, after talking to Jim Hoyt, owner of Richardson Bike Mart, we feel like chucking our car for a two-wheeler. Here's why he encourages us to ride.

1 It all but guarantees a lifetime membership to being a kid, or at least feeling like one. "It truly keeps me young," says Jim, 59. "I love it more now than I ever have. I feel like a kid, like I'm connected to life."

2 It opens your senses. "You can see things, smell things, look at everything happening around you," he says.

3 It maintains your sanity. When's the last time you felt crabby while riding your bike? "I want my 30-mile ride," Jim says. "I need it to keep my head straight. It's my own psychologist – cycle-ologist we call it. When you're fit, you can deal with things better."

4 You'll help the environment. "Fifty percent of our rides in a car are under two miles," he says. "If we could take half of those and do them by bike, think of the gallons of oil saved!"

5 It's – well, duh – great exercise! No joint problems for Jim. Plus (and this is from us) think of the great calves you'll develop.



December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Fan Review of Fan Review

For the last 5 or so big movies to hit theaters, we've cut together a 'fan review' segment - a montage of amateur web film critics giving their opinions on the latest releases.

Are the pieces working/worthwhile?  More interesting than getting a more professional, ebert and roeper style take?

Holla back with a comment, either on the blog or on the piece, and let me know.

ps - the best/worst line in this piece is when the last guy says 'blandtastic bore.'


December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Hip Hopera

Ski Season 2006, I spent a weekend in Tahoe with a bunch of other guys from Current.

Our first night at the cabin, Cory busted out his laptop - we hadn't thought to pack many movies, so, instead, all ten or so of us (it was a pretty big sausage-fest) crowded around his mac and watched the entirety of R. Kelly's epic Trapped in the Closet video.

Over a year later, that night stands out as the hardest I've laughed since working at Current.

It was a treat to briefly revisit Kelly's masterwork (which you can view on google video) in this segment, as well as preview his new album, Double Up.

Kelly might have an overinflated ego, but you do have to admire anyone with the balls to write..

I gotcha so wet, it's like a rainforest/
Like Jurassic Park except I'm your sexasaurus baby"




December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Off The Clock at Bonnaroo

For those who have not checked out the Current@Bonnaroo website, you are missing out. The quality and scope of content that the production teams created literally overnight was amazing. Check it out.

As for the The Current Fix, there was so much music that went down there – we obviously couldn’t film it all. So, I’d like to take a moment and quickly chronicle a few of my favorite Bonnaroo adventures that were not videotaped.

My highlight of the whole fest? The White Stripes, hands down.



At dusk on the final day of Bonnaroo, as the dust cloud floating in the air - caused by 80,000 fans stomping about for four days - beautifully framed the sun that set over the fest, the crowd went nuts for the Stripes. I was fortunate enough to sneak a bird’s eye view on the side of the stage, perched right next to the legendary John Paul Jones, bassist for Led Zeppelin.

While Jack and Meg might have been my highlight, Saturday night was definitely the most exciting evening for me. I began the night with Wayne Coyne & Co., because we all know that no festival would be complete without catching the euphoria inducing live set put on by The Flaming Lips.



On Saturday night, Wayne Coyne kick started the show by walking/crawling on top of the crowd sealed within his famous space ball, which he managed to roll over the press section squishing a few photographers, myself included. But his huge grin through the plastic orb made it all worthwhile.



It’s nice to see that dance music is becoming more of a staple at festivals these days. After catching the Lips, I jetted off to catch the laptop musician, Girl Talk, perform to his largest ass-shaking crowd ever. I snuck up onstage, along side the nearly naked DJ (known as Gregg Gillis to his mom) and witnessed him blowing the audience away with his mashed up beats.



He finished his set by throwing himself into the crowd and rapping the lyrics to Nirvana's "Scentless Apprentice". Amazingly, he made it out with his boxer shorts still intact.



I ended the night catching a bit of the Neo Swamp Funk band, Galactic, featuring the MC, Mr. Lif.



However, the night was not complete until my buddy Mack and I "borrowed" an enormous beach ball from the show, which we of course donated to Camp Current later that night.


December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Boobs not Bombs

July's Maxim Magazine features a spread entitled 'Women of the Israeli Defense Forces.'  It's all part of a ploy to woo young American male tourists.

Our own Eric Ledgin fell for it hook, line, and sinker.  Check out our roundup of international marketing plans, and Eric's 'live' broadcast from smokin' hot Israel, below.


December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Vegas, baby

We just wrapped up an amazing weekend in Las Vegas for a very unique Current Playlist pod that we simply can’t wait for you to see/hear. More on that later.

It was our first time in Vegas, and despite the fact that it was well past the 100 degree mark on both days, we managed to stay cool at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, which was great. The room was spectacular, the food was awesome (you really can’t beat China Grill for a late night snack), and it just takes opulence to a whole new level. The thing about Vegas- which feels almost like a Disneyworld for adults, is that everything is made to accommodate masses of people. Everything is huge. The pool, far from the experience we’re used to, has 5,000 beach chairs. I’m not sh*tting you.

Ok, about the pod...

Photo courtesy of Duane Storey


Friday night, about 20 minutes outside of the strip, we got to spend an evening with our new friend Matthew Good. For those who don’t know who he is, let us explain: Matthew Good is a hugely successful Canadian singer/songwriter, political activist, author and blogger. His music career in Canada spans more than 10 years, and under his belt are some of the best alt-rock albums I have had the pleasure of owning. He’s a thinking man’s songwriter, whose lyrics touch on everything from politics to mysticism to his own experiences in and out of love. Matthew was kind enough to let us pick his brain and then play a set for us and some fans in the living room of a friends house.


Photo courtesy of Duane Storey

We’ll keep you updated on the status of the pod, which should be just in time for the release of his new album Hospital Music (which could be the best $15 you'll ever spend) as WELL as the release of ALL of Matt’s albums to the US version of iTunes, This is significant because up until this point, the vast majority of his work is virtually impossible to find in the States- you either have to order them imported from Canada or find them online.

We also got to meet and share the evening with LA-based blogger Tony Pierce, editor of LAist.com, a super trendy portal for tastemakers about Los Angeles and everything that happens in it, and one of the coolest renegade/Reverend philosophers we’ve ever met. Imagine the elation of spending an evening that mixed together Matt Good’s lyrical genius coupled with Tony Pierce’s irreverent interpretation of spirituality, hedonism, and joyous living. Suffice to say it was a very special night, and the embodiment of “Max and Jason Style.”

Also, we’re days away from airing our life extension/immortalism pod, which documents [Jason’s] journey in tackling the issues of death anxiety in our culture and takes a radical approach: instead of appeasing death with mythic verse and surrender, the mavericks we talk to offer an engineering solution… Trust us, it will blow your mind.



Us with Ray Kurzweil, genius futurist, author and inventor.

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

infoMania

For the last few months, the Google Current crew in Los Angeles has actually been working on TWO shows.

We were just only putting one of them on television.

In the midst of daily production, during scant few free moments and several late nights, we've been piloting and refining infoMania, which finally debuted this week.

infoMania, a topical news/comedy hybrid, has taken the place of Google Current at the top of the hour. (Those still jonesing for some hardcore Googley data can find the non-hosted clips at the bottom of every hour.)

Online, we're at www.current.tv/infomania.

Basically, it's all of the same folks/all the lame jokes you're used to. But, uh, better. And there's a weird chipmunk voice that sings the theme song.

I think the open for the show (big props to the graphics team, especially our buddy Jake) is pretty kick-ass, and sets the tone of the show pretty well - everyday, we're trying to deal with this increasingly confusing media landscape.

Thanks for bearing with us during what I'm sure was a confusing transition - hope you enjoy the show.


December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

The Vision Awards

A couple of weeks ago, I had my first really nervous moment in a long time. I’m usually pretty comfortable in front of cameras and people, but something about the company at The Vision Awards, (honoring those in the entertainment, technology and science for visionary work) coupled with the

fact that I was asked to be a presenter to a slew of honorees, AND that I got a new script last minute had my stomach doing flips. Oh, and try finding a dress to wear 2 hours before you are supposed to be there! No pressure. (I procrastinated until the last minute to shop, which is unusual for me)

Andy Garcia, Wes Craven, Brett Ratner, Stevie Wonder, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Melora Hardin, January Jones, Gary Michael Walters, Helen Harris, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Tia Carerre were just some of the couple of hundred people that came out to support RP International, a non-profit that raises awareness and research for those who suffer from degenerative blindness. Ok. I will now pick up all the names I just dropped.

It was a great event and with the new technology in research, its exciting to see what the future will hold in curing Retinitis Pigmentosa. I was just excited to be a part of so many visionaries and to represent for Current! What what!  Here are some pics!

what a poser! haha


My sister flew in for the event!





With film producer and two time honoree Gary Michael Walters

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Meet the Neighbors

Like most fans of Current, I'm sure you watch the network 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, only taking breaks for food, bathroom, and checking out our sweet-ass website.

And trust me, I appreciate it.   That's why we made today's infoMania - just to prove to you that, in your loyalty, you're not really missing anything. 

This week we visit one of our network neighbors - The Food Network - for a look at 'What Else Is On.'


December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

The Legend of the Home Run King

If you think about it hitting a baseball is not an easy task. The concept of hitting a round ball with a round bat still has the physicist inside of me stumped. Big leaguers practice hitting every day and most end up hitting less than 30%. Any player that averages .333 (which means getting a hit 33% of the time) is considered one of the best in the game. Now that is just hitting the ball! Hitting a home run means hitting the ball close to perfectly so that it travels at least 300 feet and makes it over the fence. Hitting 25 balls out of the park a season makes you one of the best in the business. Babe Ruth hit 714 in 22 seasons before he retired in 1935. Hank Aaron topped the Babe and ended his career with 755. Seven hundred and fifty five is so many I had to write it out. These two legendary players have held the home run record for about three quarters of a century. Thousands of players have played in the big leagues during this time but nobody could reach the top, until Barry Bonds hit 756.

Bonds became the new home run king when he hit an 84 mph pitch over the right field wall. Circling the bases for his 756th time in his professional career Bonds finally eclipsed Hammerin’ Hank. He now stands alone with the most home runs in Major League Baseball history. Even an anti-Barry fan like myself couldn’t help getting a little swept up in the emotion of the event but something just wasn’t right. This uneasiness, which I undoubtedly share with the majority of America, is telling of the times we live in. Gone are the days of innocence and glory that made baseball the pastime it is supposed to be today. Today, baseball is fueled by mass media and the all too powerful dollar.

Where and when did we part from the true essence of professional sports? Baseball started out as a working mans sport that unified the community and entertained the people. In the early years players would play ball for half the year and then find part time work when the season was over. Players lived on the same block as the fans and would even walk to the ball yard with them on game days. These were sports heroes that everyone could relate to. Compare that to the state of the game now and I think you’ll find that things look a little different. Today, sports are pretty much analogous entertainment. Barry Bonds breaking The Record is both an example of this trend and a gloomy harbinger of what the future holds for the endangered community of traditionalists who appreciated sports in their pure form.

Barry’s great moment and this great record are now forever tainted. We should be honoring the new home run king like any good peasant lucky enough to witness such a legend. Instead we are squabbling about asterisks and talking about that kid from New York who caught the money ball. That’s not baseball. Players like Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron attained legendary status by hitting more home runs than anyone thought possible. The all time home run record stood for Herculese-esque capabilities and perseverance. Hitting 700+ home runs marked a very special and rare accomplishment that might be granted twice every century. The old record is gone and now the greatest home-run hitter of all time is a player that approximately 80% of the American people think cheated. How could this have happened? Perhaps our collective respect for the game of baseball changed so subtly that we didn’t realize it until it was to late. Now the game that brought us through the great depression, helped break down discrimination and brought joy to the workingman is in dire straights. With our most sacred of records taken away and the spirit of the game evaporating with every scandal and compromise, is there still hope for the future of sports?


December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

3 Questions with Martha Wainwright

A while back I had the chance to ask Martha Wainwright a few questions about life and her craft. I intended to write up a little paragraph about how amazing Martha is live and my experiences seeing her play but things in Current Fix land have been crazy lately and it never happened. So, instead I'm just going to put up a few of the questions she answered and let all you die hard Current blog readers pour over them with rabid abandon. Enjoy.


Martha at Bonnaroo 2007




You recently completed a run as the lead role in the Royal Opera House's production of Seven Deadly Sins. How was the experience? Is opera something you would like to do more of in the future?

It was for a Ballet Company. I'm not an Opera singer or a dancer, but I guess I got to be both. It was really a chance of a lifetime, I'd definitely be interested in future collaborations.

So the big Vanity Fair article about your family just came out. Are you getting used to having family secrets out in the open by now or is it still a little odd sometimes?

Oh that's old hats by now.

You have done a lot of great collaborations over the course of your career. For example, I think "Set Fire to the Third Bar" [with Snow Patrol] is one of the more amazing tracks of last year. Should we expect any duets on your upcoming album, or are you keeping it solo?

You'll have to wait and see but there are definitely some nice cameos.

Martha is working on her next studio album now which should be out in 
early 2008. It is being produced by Tore Johansson, Brad Albetta and
Martin Terefe and will be released on Drowned in Sound UK and Rounder/Zoe
US.


December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Helpful Hints

The nice thing about Current's short-form structure is that all pods are (hopefully) as interesting as they are long.  You've only got two minutes and twelve seconds of story?  No problem - make a 2:12 pod.

Unfortunately, network morning shows are consistently THREE HOURS long - so, to fill some of that time, they'll frequently roll out some 'helpful hints' - little tidbits of information that are so unbelievably obvious, or useless, that it's shocking they're on television.

Here are just a few:


December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

Overload

A bit of advice, if I may.

Limit your life changes.  Or, rather, limit the number of them you take on at once - try to spread them out.

I have discovered that changing jobs, moving, and getting married, all at the same time, is too much!  Now, any 2 of the three I think would have been fine.  But adding that 3rd one on there has been a kicker.

I'm so excited about my new secret job at Current, and I've really been enjoying working on it this week.

But I have been having mini-panic attacks every morning.  And every night.  And yesterday, about 5 times throughout the day, some of which weren't so "mini".

I was supposed to be packing this week and next in order to go home for the wedding and then move to Chicago.  But with the new job, I've been working, meeting the new team, learning the tricks etc.  So I've been freaking out that the packing wouldn't get done.  Yesterday was bad.  But last night, I got a lot done, so I'm feeling better today.

But the advice still stands.  Go easy on yourselves, kids.  Happy, productive weekend to you.

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

It's been a long time, but hopefully you can forgive us...

...because, we have a brand new Current Playlist pod for your listening and viewing pleasure! Ladies and gentlemen, I'm proud to announce the Current TV debut of Matthew Good. Matt is one of the most all-around amazing singer/songwriters there is, and we recently spent an evening with him in Las Vegas where he played a very small living room set of songs for us. This is a slice of what that evening was like.

 

As always, please send feedback. And if you'd like to get into Matt's music, do yourself a favor and pick up any of his amazing albums (my personal favorite: Avalanche). Till next time, peace! Thanks for reading!

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

The Adventures Continue

So today is my last day in the SF office. 

Tomorrow, I fly home for a week of last minute prep and hopefully some relaxation before my wedding next Saturday, 9/8 (goodness knows there has NOT been ANY relaxation these past two weeks with the new gig, trying to pack for the move after working at the new gig, and trying to finish wedding prep). 

We come back late on 9/11, put our stuff on the train on the morning of 9/12, and start the drive back to Chicago that afternoon, if all goes according to plan. 

On or off plan, I will be "off" of work for about 2 weeks (though we all know I'll be online from HI), but back at it on 9/17. 

See y'all on that side! :)  I'll be all grownz-up and married by then.  Fun!

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

In NYC in October?

Wassap people? Check this out... here's your chance to come say Hi to us AND participate in a really cool panel about Citizen Journalism: the very crux of what Current TV is all about, yo. The event is at The Paley Center (formerly The Museum of Television and Radio) and it's located at 25 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019.

From http://paleycenter.org/events/ss-07fall/ny-manv.htm:

Beyond the Anchor Desk:
The Rise of Citizen Journalism
Tuesday, October 9; 6:00 to 7:30 pm

Forget "film at 11:00." News footage is 24/7 from the plasma screen to the Internet, contributed by a legion of engaged citizen journalists with tools ranging from video cameras to cell phones. This revolution in news gathering and distribution is the focus of tonight's discussion, with ireporters joining our distinguished panel.

Moderator: Merrill Brown, Chairman of the Board, nowpublic.com; Editorial Director, News21

In Person: Jon Alpert, Cofounder/Codirector, DCTV; Adam Glenn, Cofounder, ireporter.org; Andrew Heyward, Sr. Advisor, Marketspace LLC; Fr. Pres., CBS News; Max Lugavere, Producer/Host, Current TV; Jason Silva, Producer/Host, Current TV


December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

The Other Side

I'm back!

And I'm married!



And I live in Chicago...and I still can't really tell you what I'm working on...but if you watched the Emmy's, Al mentioned it.  So go find Al's Emmy acceptance on You Tube if you want to know in general terms what it is.  I promise more info as soon as it's allowed!

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

October 1st. A weird day.

Today is a weird and surreal day.
Its the 9 year anniversary of when my dad passed away. I cant believe its been that long but at the same time, the day it happened comes back like it was yesterday.

My dad was suffering from lung cancer in an out of remission for about 4 years. He never drank, smoked, always worked out and swam, and pretty healthy for his 57 years. A strong believer, my dad was very involved at our church and never passed up an opportunity to share his faith. Through all the rounds of chemo, radiation, surgeries and hospital visits, he always looked to God as his strength and he was fighting for us, but his body was tired.

It was the first day of my sophomore year at UCLA, and my first time moving into an apartment, living on my own with friends. I planned to go home that weekend because my dad wasnt doing well. He was at a hospice, and we knew we didnt have much time. I was at a house party when I got the call. It was about 9 or 10 in the evening and I get a call from my roommate saying my sister called and its important. I knew it was the call that I feared and sprinted back to the apartment. Out of breath and in shock, my roommates rushed me to the airport to try to catch the last flight of the night to the bay area. The next few days went by in a blur and I kept myself busy by helping plan the funeral and editing a tribute video. I even sang and played guitar at the service.

No matter how much you try prepare for losing a loved one, its still a shock to the system when it actually happens. Every single emotion ran through my veins, and the finite feeling of physically losing my dad transcended most of what was going on in my head. I would never again hear his voice, be able to hug him, tell him how much i love him. That hurts. Its still hurts like a fresh wound to this day, but its easy to busy myself in mundane daily activities, and just live life.

Truth is, you have to move forward but i'll never forget. As the years go by though, it takes anniversaries and holidays for me to bring back those memories. I get so bogged down with the superficial junk of each day and stress out about the lamest things.

So today, I hope my story will spur you to go and hug the ones you love, and tell someone you love them. I would give the world to be able to say that to my dad.


December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

The Rise of Citizen Journalism

Just a friendly reminder, people! Check this out... here's your chance to come say hi to Max and Jason AND participate in a really cool panel about Citizen Journalism: the very crux of what Current TV is all about, yo. We'd love to see you.

The event is at The Paley Center (formerly The Museum of Television and Radio) and it's located at
25 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019.

For more information, check out The Paley Center website or our official MySpace page.

Beyond the Anchor Desk:
The Rise of Citizen Journalism
Tuesday, October 9; 6:00 to 7:30 pm

Forget "film at 11:00." News footage is 24/7 from the plasma screen to the Internet, contributed by a legion of engaged citizen journalists with tools ranging from video cameras to cell phones. This revolution in news gathering and distribution is the focus of tonight's discussion, with ireporters joining our distinguished panel.

Moderator: Merrill Brown, Chairman of the Board, nowpublic.com; Editorial Director, News21

In Person: Jon Alpert, Cofounder/Codirector, DCTV; Adam Glenn, Cofounder, ireporter.org; Andrew Heyward, Sr. Advisor, Marketspace LLC; Fr. Pres., CBS News; Max Lugavere, Producer/Host, Current TV; Jason Silva, Producer/Host, Current TV

December 30, 2007 09:05 AM

blogdex - the weblog diffusion index

No title available

truthout.org/docs_2006/042006Z.shtml
track this site | 2 links

December 30, 2007 08:46 AM

Six Apart - About XML Feeds (RSS and Atom)

Find out more about feeds .. [What is this?] .. What are feeds? .. Wat is dit? .. newsfeeds .. A Primer .. feeds .. (?) .. ?

sixapart.com/about/feeds
track this site | 2 links

December 30, 2007 08:46 AM

Movable Type

a new version of its Movable Type blogging software out .. Looks like MovableType.org has had a major refurb .. launched a site re-design today .. Movable Type 3.2ysb5-20051201 .. cyberspace .. six apart .. MT 3.2 .. MT

sixapart.com/movabletype
track this site | 2 links

December 30, 2007 08:46 AM

No title available

ca9.uscourts.gov/ca9/newopinions.nsf/D2D4CBF690CD61A6882571560001FEBD/$file/0457037.pdf?openelement
track this site | 2 links

December 30, 2007 08:46 AM

No title available

cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/21/60minutes/main1527749.shtml
track this site | 2 links

December 30, 2007 08:46 AM

MIT Weblog Survey

Are you a weblog author? We need your help. We are conducting a general social survey of webloggers asking questions a\bout how weblogs are changing our lives. If you have 15 minutes to spare, please head to and lend a hand.

December 30, 2007 08:46 AM

MAKE: Blog

Phone line controller

Phonecontroller Pic
Trax writes -

It might be "yet another" «device» controller that operates over phone-line, but this one works for sure :) The task was to build a device that connects to the phone line and has a relay as an output switch. It should also sense if the connected «consumer» is turned-on or off and report to the administrator at the other end of the phone line. The administrator would then call-in the device, log in with the password, and check the state of «consumer», turn it on or off, change password or some other settings. Current version has only one relay.
Phone line controller - Link.

[Read this article] [Comment on this article]

December 30, 2007 08:00 AM

Internet Archive - Mediatype: movies

Brayan Adams

Everything I Do.

This item belongs to: movies/opensource_movies.

This item has files of the following types: 256Kb MPEG4, 64Kb MPEG4, Animated GIF, Flash Video, MPEG1, Metadata, Thumbnail

December 30, 2007 07:57 AM

29_12_07

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 07:57 AM

planet.freedesktop.org

Dave Airlie: radeon atombios tv-out support

I've spent the afternoon playing around with the atombios support for tv-out on my r500 card.

It now brings up X on my S-video output on my Dell monitor by using the atombios tables correctly.

Please be testing and report in #radeon any issues or regressions this might cause :)

December 30, 2007 07:47 AM

Internet Archive - Mediatype: movies

7amed.Abdo.Arg3lkom.Da.Bo3dokm.2oo8-ChaT43RaB.Com

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 07:41 AM

كلمة الشيخ أسامة حول دولة العراق

كلمة للشيخ أسامة حول دولة العراق الإسلامية .. ويفضح فيها مخططات الأمريكان والصحوات.

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December 30, 2007 07:33 AM

Boing Boing

Steal This Film, Part II: the Internet makes us into copiers


The folks behind Steal This Film, an amazing, funny, enraging and inspiring documentary series about copyright and the Internet have just released part II of the series. I taught part one (about the PirateBay crackdown in Sweden and the founding of The Pirate Party) in my class last year, and it was one of the liveliest classes we had.

Part II is even better than part one -- it covers the technological and enforcement end of the copyright wars, and on the way that using hte internet makes you a copier, and how copying puts you in legal jeopardy. Starting with Mark Getty's (Chairman of Getty Images) infamous statement that "Intellectual Property is the oil of the 21st century," the filmmakers note that oil always leads to oil-wars, and that these are vicious, ill-conceived and never end well. This leads them to explore the war on copying -- which ultimately becomes a war on the Internet and those of us who use it.

This installment includes punchy interviews with a lot of the US's leading copyfighters -- EFFers like Seth Schoen and Fred von Lohmann, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Eben Moglen, Aaron Swartz, Yochai Benkler, Rick Prelinger, as well as folks in the UK, Sweden and Bangalore. Interspersed with this is are smart historical perspectives, and a brief interview with MPAA chief Dan Glickman, who all but twirls his mustache in glee at the thought of punishing copiers. There's also some interesting material here from new artists who embrace copying, but I'm guessing that that's going to be the main theme of a future installment.

Steal This Film II is available as a P2P download (natch) in several formats, including HD, and opens with a stern warning encouraging you to share it as widely as possible. Link (Thanks, Robbo and everyone else who suggested this!) See also: Steal This Movie: documentary on Swedish piracy movement

by Cory Doctorow at December 30, 2007 07:27 AM

Internet Archive - Mediatype: movies

KIN001-AR-JP

A file.

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December 30, 2007 07:27 AM

Un Planeta HispaLinux

José María Mateos: Papá, mamá y un señor divertido

Vi?eta de Manel en P?blico

Más viñetas de Manel en su blog en Público.

by RinzeWind at December 30, 2007 07:26 AM

Internet Archive - Mediatype: movies

moon gold after 2150

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December 30, 2007 07:23 AM

Boing Boing

Pilot to TSA: Let my people go!

Patrick Smith, the airline pilot who co-writes the NY Times's Jetlagged Blog has written a corker of an editorial railing against the bullshit "security" procedures that the TSA has put into place. Smith is hopping mad and stops just short of calling for a revolution. Man, I'd be with him at the barricades.

No matter that a deadly sharp can be fashioned from virtually anything found on a plane, be it a broken wine bottle or a snapped-off length of plastic, we are content wasting billions of taxpayer dollars and untold hours of labor in a delusional attempt to thwart an attack that has already happened, asked to queue for absurd lengths of time, subject to embarrassing pat-downs and loss of our belongings.

The folly is much the same with respect to the liquids and gels restrictions, introduced two summers ago following the breakup of a London-based cabal that was planning to blow up jetliners using liquid explosives. Allegations surrounding the conspiracy were revealed to substantially embellished. In an August, 2006 article in the New York Times, British officials admitted that public statements made following the arrests were overcooked, inaccurate and "unfortunate." The plot's leaders were still in the process of recruiting and radicalizing would-be bombers. They lacked passports, airline tickets and, most critical of all, they had been unsuccessful in actually producing liquid explosives. Investigators later described the widely parroted report that up to ten U.S airliners had been targeted as "speculative" and "exaggerated."

Link (Thanks to HeavyD and everyone else who suggested this one!)

by Cory Doctorow at December 30, 2007 07:06 AM

Engadget

Ziova intros ClearStream CS615 HD media streamer

Filed under: ,


It's been a tick since Ziova cranked out a new media streamer, but its ClearStream CS615 looks pretty promising. Interestingly, this one doesn't feature any built-in wireless capabilities nor a DVD drive, but it seems as if the firm's CEO is aiming this unit at folks who didn't want to go cordless, anyway. You will, however, find USB 2.0 and 10 / 100 Ethernet ports along with a caddy for an internal 3.5-inch HDD, and the support for WAV, H.264, FLAC, OGG, LPCM, WMA, AAC, AC3, DTS, MPEG1/2/3/4, WMV9, QuickTime, JPG, BMP, GIF and PNG files (just to name a few) ain't too shabby, either. Furthermore, there's HDMI (HDCP-compliant), S-Video, composite and component video jacks, support for SMB / FTP and a front-mounted LCD to dish out ID3 tags and other pertinent information. The CS615 is slated to land stateside in March for $329, while Europeans and Aussies can expect it to head their way shortly thereafter.

 

Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments


by Darren Murph at December 30, 2007 06:53 AM

Internet Archive - Mediatype: movies

werwerf

11.

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December 30, 2007 06:45 AM

Always & Forever

A man, a woman and a robot..

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December 30, 2007 06:34 AM

Desktop

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 06:29 AM

Right to Information Act in India

PodUniversal Edition 24In an exclusive podcast interview, Mr A K Venkatasubramanian, IAS (Retd), Former Secretary to Government of India talks about the various aspects of Right to Information Act in India.  He also explains as to how public can make use of this act extensively and intell....

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December 30, 2007 06:28 AM

MARGINEANU_BARLAD_2007

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 06:26 AM

Ghazy

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 06:24 AM

shar7

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 06:15 AM

The Bet's Every Flavor Nightmare

bott's every flavor beans by the box.

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December 30, 2007 06:05 AM

flamco

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 06:04 AM

we make money not art

Links for 2007-12-29 [del.icio.us]

December 30, 2007 06:00 AM

Internet Archive - Mediatype: movies

MSJAVX86

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 05:45 AM

xvxgfgh

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 05:41 AM

Slashdot

iPhone 1.1.3 Update Confirmed, Breaks Apps and Unlocks

An anonymous reader writes "Gizmodo has gathered conclusive evidence which confirms that the iPhone Firmware 1.1.3 update is 100% real. It installs only from iTunes using the obligatory Apple private encryption key, which nobody has. The list of new features, like GPS-like triangulation positioning in Google Maps, has been confirmed too. Apparently it will be coming out next week, but there's bad news as expected: it breaks the unlocks, patches the previous vulnerabilities used by hackers and takes away all your third-party applications."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

by Zonk at December 30, 2007 05:41 AM

Internet Archive - Mediatype: movies

bngnb5yn7

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 05:30 AM

Ïàëüöû

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 05:15 AM

part2

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 04:55 AM

university of cairo final award 2

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 04:45 AM

ultimate ko 4 pt2

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 04:40 AM

part2

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 04:32 AM

rapmusic6

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 04:15 AM

GfB201

GfB201 GfB201 GfB201 GfB201 GfB201.

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December 30, 2007 04:08 AM

Que harias Tu Tema 5

Dad y se os dará.

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December 30, 2007 04:07 AM

1967 #46 Turkey

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 04:03 AM

THAC4 - The Christmas Gift

My Entry in to THAC4. More info here: http://www.david.brickfilms.com/thac/.

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December 30, 2007 04:00 AM

Ultimate KO 4

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 03:50 AM

ah ya 3abdal7aq

ãÞÇÈáÉ ÚÈÏÇáÍÞ ÇáÚÑíÝ ãÚ ÇÔÈÇá ÇßÇÏíãíÉ ÇáÇåáí Ýí ÞØÑ.

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December 30, 2007 03:45 AM

Slashdot

YouTube Video Stats, Sharing, and 2007 Re-Mixed

destinyland writes "YouTube's most popular videos in 2007 were a bunch of major label music videos, and YouTube is scrambling to re-assure the net roots community with an alternate list of 2007's "Most Memorable" videos. 'The rankings, released by YouTube on Thursday, took into account the most shared, most discussed, top rated and general popularity of clips...' One article argues that the real trend in 2007 was viral re-mixes of the original viral videos. 'In 2007 the viral video stars spawned their own wave of counter-memes, proving once again that the internet moves in mysterious ways.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

by Zonk at December 30, 2007 03:36 AM

Internet Archive - Mediatype: movies

Taking Back The Village: Mothers Seeking Justice 12-12-07

A Talk Show hosted by Uncle Earny Spencer is about neighborhood empowerment. Earnest's first love is helping children. Earny's Guests are: Tonya Ayers, mother of Torian Ayers and Mary Watson, mother of Aquarius Walker Two mothers who are seeking justice for their sons..

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December 30, 2007 03:23 AM

windows-sp3

windows-sp3.

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December 30, 2007 03:15 AM

Engadget

Reboot your home theater remotely with PS Audio PowerPlay

Filed under:

PS Audio PowerPlay web server screenshot
While the corporate IT world has long had access to remotely-controlled power for servers and data centers, it's pretty cutting-edge stuff for home theater, with PS Audio releasing the first line of Internet-connected power management devices. Ranging in price from $600 to $1,995 and scheduled to release in Spring 2008, the four products in the PowerPlay line differ in number of switchable and isolated plugs, but all offer a web interface to toggle power, schedule reboots, and monitor power quality. There is an RS-232 port for hardwired power control as well as IR blasters for turning devices back on after a reboot. Now you can reboot your TiVo without ever stepping foot in the house.

 

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by Erik Hanson at December 30, 2007 03:02 AM

Internet Archive - Mediatype: movies

hontok

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 03:01 AM

me preocupa el televisor

tesis de grado de la Facultad de Bellas Artes.

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December 30, 2007 02:56 AM

Gnomefiles

PyTube (ver. 0.0.10.4)

PyTube is a GUI for various command-line tools such as: youtube-dl, sox, mplayer, mencoder, ffmpeg and others It allows you to resize, rotate, apply an external mp3 into a video, generate a 10 to 30 seconds mp3 ring tone (with fade e

About this version
# AMV binary is out of the package, it is optionally fetched using the Preferences interface
# Fixed DEB dependency issues

December 30, 2007 02:49 AM

Internet Archive - Mediatype: movies

jakep0pdj563

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 02:18 AM

El Blog de Enrique Dans

Interpretando el Amazon Best of 2007

Amazon Customers VoteLo vi originalmente en Slashdot, Linux And Unix Devices Popular On Amazon’s ‘Best of ‘07′ List: Amazon publica sus listas con los Best of 2007, los productos de cada categoría que han resultado ser los más vendidos, los que han recibido mejores evaluaciones, los que más han aparecido en las wishlists, y los que han sido regalados en un número mayor de ocasiones. Son votaciones que provienen directamente de las preferencias de los usuarios, sin ningún tipo de tratamiento adicional. Y los resultados, desde mi punto de vista, merecen como mínimo un pequeño análisis por lo que tienen de sorprendentes. En la categoría Computers son, concretamente, los siguientes:

Podemos opinar muchas cosas sobre la representatividad de estos datos, pero son claros y contundentes: el primero es un dispositivo basado en Linux. El tercero es un PC ultraportable con Xandros Linux preinstalado, y tanto segundo como cuarto son portátiles de Apple que, lógicamente, están basados en OS X.

Puestos a poner peros, podríamos decir que posiblemente Amazon no sea el sitio más representativo dentro de la categoría Computers, que la mayor parte de los ordenadores se adquieren a través de otros canales, o que ni siquiera el público de Amazon es representativo de la población en general sino un subsegmento, un “descremado” del mismo con un mayor nivel de educación, información y poder adquisitivo. Podríamos usar como argumento que los usuarios de Apple entran en un estado de trance tras adquirirlos que les llevan a valorarlos muy positivamente, a modo de drinking the kool-aid, o que el hecho de que sean los más regalados nada tiene que ver con sus futuras perspectivas de penetración de mercado. Perfecto. Acepto cualquier variedad de pulpo como animal de compañía. Pero como mínimo, parece un hecho digno de mención, ¿no?

, , , , , , ,

by Enrique Dans at December 30, 2007 02:14 AM

Internet Archive - Mediatype: movies

jakep0pdj562

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 02:10 AM

www.dvd4arab.com.mohamedfo2ad.Adobe.Photoshop.7.0.ME.mpg

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 01:52 AM

Planet GNOME

Nicolas Trangez: Filesystem issues and django-couchdb work

Last night, when shutting down my laptop (which had been up for quite a long time because of suspend/resume niceness), it crashed. I don’t know what exactly happened: pressed the GNOME’s logout button, applications were closed, until only my background was visible, then the system locked up, so I suspect my X server (some part of it, GPU driver (fglrx) might be the bad guy). I was able to sysrq s u o, so I thought everything would be relatively fine.

This morning I powered on my system, and while booting, fsck of some partitions was taking a rather long time. It’s pretty normal fsck was taking somewhat longer, but not thát long… I’m using JFS on most logical volumes.

When the consistency check of my /home partition was done, a whole load of invalid files was displayed and later on moved to lost+found: 34068 files. Once booted, I scanned my filesystems again, rebooted, logged in, started X. Everything started fine, until I launched Evolution: it presented my the ‘initial run’ wizard. Other issues (on first sight): all Firefox cookies were gone, and Pidgin’s blist.xml was corrupted. When using my old computer (which had frequent lockups on heavy IO usage) these last 2 issues happened a lot too, which is highly annoying, especially the blist.xml thing as I can’t see any reason to keep this file opened for long periods?

Luckily I was able to get my Evolution up and running again by restoring it’s GConf settings and ~/.evolution using some old backup (15/10/07). I guess I should backup more regularly… Next to this I hope I won’t find any other corrupted files, so the ones in lost+found are just Evolution email files and Firefox caches.

Anyway, here’s a screenshot displaying some of the initial and hackish work I’ve done this evening on integrating Django and CouchDB as I wrote about yesterday:

Django and CouchDB first shot

As you can see, currently I’m able to edit fields of an object. There’s one major condition: an object with the given ID should already exist in the ‘database’ which makes the current code rather useless, but hey ;-) I’ll add object creation functionality later tonight or tomorrow.

Current code is very expensive too, doing way too many queries to CouchDB, mainly in client.py. This most certainly needs work.

Upgraded my WordPress installation to the latest release, 2.3.2, in about 5 seconds. Got to love svn switch (although maybe I should start using git-svn for this installation too and git-pull the release branch in my local copy).

December 30, 2007 01:47 AM

Internet Archive - Mediatype: movies

Madonna Inn

A few days before Xmas. Behold the peristaltic dining chamber and the creepy swinging homuncula!.

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December 30, 2007 01:30 AM

fhghgfhgfh

fhghgfhgfh.

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December 30, 2007 01:29 AM

Austin Eye And Short Stacks

http://www.onefivedoor.com.

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December 30, 2007 01:27 AM

Can you get me a gumball?

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 01:27 AM

klkjlkjlk

klkjlkjlk.

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December 30, 2007 01:25 AM

İzzet Taci

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 01:19 AM

fgdgfgfdg

fgdgfgfdg.

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December 30, 2007 01:18 AM

Slashdot

Ohio's Alternative to Diebold Machines May Be Equally Bad

phorest writes "One would have thought the choice of Ohio lawmakers to move away from Diebold touch-screen voting terminals would be welcomed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Instead, the group is warning the elections board that their alternative might be illegal under state laws. 'The main dispute is whether a central optical scan of ballots at the board's headquarters downtown would result in votes not being counted on ballots that are incorrectly filled out. The ACLU believes the intent of election law is to ensure voters can be notified immediately of a voting error and be able to make a second-chance vote.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

by Zonk at December 30, 2007 01:18 AM

Internet Archive - Mediatype: movies

comedyclips

Comedy Clips.

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December 30, 2007 01:16 AM

erwrrerew

erwrrerew.

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December 30, 2007 01:15 AM

AZABACHE ONLINE SEGMENTO

www.myspace.com/azabachemusic www.azabacheonline.com Azabache entrevista a la instructora de Body Pump Fernanda en Le Park Gym & Spa Buenos Aires. Programa Azabache Online. Idea y Concepto Azabache y Luis Altamirano....

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December 30, 2007 01:15 AM

AmrDiabStreet.com-amr-on-arabia.rar

No description available.

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December 30, 2007 01:10 AM

U.S. Army Field Manual 1 (FM-1) Companion Video

U.S. Army Field Manual 1 (FM-1) Companion Video.

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December 30, 2007 01:09 AM

jkjhkjhk

jkjhkjhk.

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December 30, 2007 01:07 AM

Engadget

Girl unwraps iPod, finds heavy-handed social commentary instead

Filed under: ,


As the unfortunate trend continues, yet another kiddo has found their Christmas PMP replaced with something that's, well, not a PMP. In today's episode, we find a Washington, D.C. girl that unwrapped an iPod earlier this week and discovered that the only Apple product tucked within was the inner packaging. Instead, a clever note was stashed inside (presumably with a paperweight of some sort) that read: "Reclaim your mind from the media shackles. Read a book and resurrect yourself. To claim your capitalistic garbage go to your nearest Apple store." Oh, and just in case you really needed more than one guess as to where this thing came from, here's a hint: it was sold by the same retailer who passed on Wii demo units due to "safety" concerns.

[Via TUAW]

 

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by Darren Murph at December 30, 2007 12:58 AM

WorldChanging: Another World Is Here

Still Time to Make a 2007 Tax-Deductible Donation

There's still time to make a donation to Worldchanging and get a 2007 tax deduction.

As a nonprofit, Worldchanging relies on your contributions to fund our work. Generally, we don't make many requests: in fact, this is our only pledge drive this year. But your support is vital.

Let us put what we do in perspective. Over this last year, we've published 1,991 articles (it'll be over 2,000 by the end of the year) -- content which has won much praise and a number of awards, as well as a prestigious Webby nomination for Best Magazine. Over 2.5 million people read our work this year. About 5,000 comments were left on our posts. Our book has been translated, critically acclaimed and widely embraced. Worldchangers did more than 70 speaking engagements and over 300 media interviews. Work first published here was reprinted in a huge array of publications. We also did a bunch of community service, including everything from jurying student competitions to conducting an experiment in local community-based sustainability blogging. And we have a LOT more lined up for 2008.

In short, we're a pretty damn effective nonprofit.

And we do all this on a shoestring. This year we spent just $256,711. That paid for all our editorial and organizational staff and freelancers, technical support, bandwidth, bookkeeping, legal, rent, office supplies, computers, phones, a copier, travel, business cards, FedEx -- the whole shebang of an organization.

Denis Hayes has said that our budget would be a rounding error to most big NGOs. To put into context how small our quarter-million dollar budget actually is, the Nature Conservancy (a group we admire) last year spent more than 26 times our annual budget on furniture and fixtures.

We're asking you to make a on-going commitment to helping Worldchanging do more in 2008 by making a recurring monthly donation. It can be small, like fifteen or twenty dollars, if that's all you can afford (though if you can give more, please do). Of course, we welcome single-shot donations as well, but recurring donations are particularly helpful because knowing that we can count on a steady stream of donations greatly aids our planning. Our goal is to receive 50 more recurring donations by the end of the year.

Please consider stepping up and expressing your desire to see Worldchanging's work continue by pledging your support today.

(Creative Commons image credit)

Help us change the world - DONATE NOW!

(Posted by Alex Steffen in Columns at 4:19 PM)

by Alex Steffen at December 30, 2007 12:19 AM

Engadget

Xbox Live "up and running," flush with irony

Filed under:


Since Microsoft knew you were tired of having your holiday break marred by the annoyingly frequent news of Xbox Live outages, they've decided to redefine the verbage, newspeak style. Apparently the term "Status: Up and running" has now been expanded to include a laundry list of "intermittent issue" caveats some users might be experiencing, including but not limited to trouble with: "Tournaments, Storage Downloads, Gamer Tile, Statistics through Arbitration, Match Making, and Messaging." If you're hoping to play Halo 3 or Call of Duty 4 online (you rebel, you) you're most likely even more out of luck. There are also far-reaching problems that trace back to Windows Live IDs, so there's a decent chance that your Zune account is on the fritz at the moment as well. But don't worry, it's all up and running.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

 

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by Paul Miller at December 30, 2007 12:17 AM

Planet GNOME

Karl Lattimer: Gnome system monitor progress update

Now we’ve got nice graphs for gnome-system-monitor I had to clean things up a bit, people commented on the following issues which have now been resolved one way or another;


Click for a larger image

I will be committing this change after I’ve resolved a few minor issues and polished up the patch a little more but this is an actual screen shot of the current system monitor. As you can probably tell from my comments there are still a few things left to do…

Context & Layout issue - Should I space these out to align nicely with the other colour pickers? My initial thought is yes, and that when there are 4 CPUs they simply divide up the space evenly  (homogeneous spacing), this requires some tinkering but won’t take too long. Also should I include the CPUx number, and reverse the removal of (imho irrelevant) detail? I could possibly try and break it down into cores but I think this requires some work in libgtop?

Grammar issue #1 - I think this should only be the bold text Memory and Swap instead of including Used and User? which seem to be completely inconsistent and grammatically incorrect. I also think that the : should be dropped but I am unsure how this affects the translation.

Grammar issue #2 - I think this should read Receiving at and Total received and Sending at and Total Sent, dropping the :’s altogether here also,the alignment does a fair enough job of separating them.

FFR #1 - The trick for this is to calculate to the nearest reasonable scale from the users perspective rather than 100% of whatever the last peak was. I’d like to see 120KiB/s here for instance instead of 100%, this will require some further indentation work, but should actually clean up some old code a little too.

FFR #2 - Smooth scrolling graphs, by working with some slight of hand trickery and some clever caching and clipping I should be able to reduce the CPU load and put out about 10 fps for the graph scroll, I might also test it at 20 fps to see what kind of CPU load I get but either way I’m reasonably confident I can reduce the load and improve the scrolling speed.

FFR #3 - I want to add a flashing activity light to the network colour buttons, the highlight stuff is already fairly complete, but I still have to add a get/settter, I’m planning on using a timer inside of the widget, does anyone have any warnings/advice about doing this?

FFR #4 (not on the picture) - I want to suspend all draw/update routines on hidden pages so for instance I’m not updating the writable memory every second when I’m watching graphs and things like that, it’s important that I identify the hogs in gsm and reduce their impact dramatically.

FFR #5 (not on the picture) - I have already taken note of the suggestions to include an “identify the hog and kill it” function, so I will shortly be crafting a bug report which I’ll dutifully assign to myself to include a health page in the system monitor tabs which updates once a minute or so; the health page will include information such as the current cpu hog, the current memory hog, possibly a power hog (powertop?), a list of unresponsive/zombie applications and a total value of wasted resources they’re using, the calculated “health” of the system with a description and icon selection born out of the historical state of the system over the last 15 minutes, and whatever else you’d like to be included in the “health” I’d like to introduce this page as a way of getting a very quick look at broken things and resolve these issues fast, instead of spending a few minutes poking around to do what you need to do.

FFR #5 (not on the picture) - I want to add some extra useful netstat information to gsm in a new page including things like open ports and their attached processes, possibly their current network utilisation? but more of a process orientated network page rather than just more graphs.

What do you want? - I will be sifting through the requests for information and vital statistics that should be added to the graphs page. The question I’d like you to ask yourself is, what do I use the terminal for that should be in the system monitor?

December 30, 2007 12:16 AM

December 29, 2007

Boing Boing

Drunken Xmas brawl at South Pole

Doran says:

Two men working at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station got into a "drunken Christmas punch-up." One man, an unidentified Raytheon employee, was injured so badly he couldn't be treated at nearby McMurdo station and required an emergency medical evacuation to a New Zealand hospital. The other man was flown back to the US.
Link

by Mark Frauenfelder at December 29, 2007 11:52 PM

Engadget

RIAA suing citizen for copying legally purchased CDs to PC

Filed under:

Sure, we've heard RIAA-admiring lawyers affirm that ripping your own CDs is in fact "stealing," but it seems the aforementioned entity is putting its money where its mouth is in a case against Jeffrey Howell. Reportedly, the Scottsdale, Arizona resident is being sued by the RIAA, and rather than Mr. Howell just writing a check and calling it a day, he's fighting back in court. Interestingly, it seems that the industry is maintaining that "it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into their computer." Ira Schwartz, the industry's lawyer in the case, is arguing that MP3 files created on his computer from legally purchased CDs are indeed "unauthorized copies," and while we've no idea what will become of all this, we suppose you should go on and wipe those personal copies before you too end up in handcuffs.

[Via BlogRunner]

 

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by Darren Murph at December 29, 2007 11:50 PM

Reminder: get in your nominations for the 2007 Engadget Awards!

Filed under:


Just in case you missed it: we're in the process of collecting nominations for the 2007 Engadget Awards, and we're asking for your nominations! If you've never seen a gadget in a Stella McCartney gown break down in tears thanking its development team on live national television, well, it's really something to behold -- don't deprive your favorite devices the opportunity.

 

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by Paul Miller at December 29, 2007 11:31 PM

Slashdot

Convincing the Military to Embrace Open Source

drewmoney writes "Misconceptions about what 'open source software' means has made elements of the US Defense Department reluctant to deploy in a live environment. DoD proponents of shared-source projects are now working to reverse this trend by educating IT decision-makers and demonstrating OSS usefulness. 'The cost of cleaning up a "network spill" that introduces classified material on an unclassified network is running about US$11,000 per incident on the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI), so the free Secure Save tool could produce monetary savings for the Navy. Additionally, it would cover more file formats than the costly commercial redaction product currently available on the NMCI.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

by Zonk at December 29, 2007 11:29 PM

Un Planeta HispaLinux

Juantomas Garcia: Empieza a ser interesante migrar a rails 2.0

Me he tomado más tiempo del habitual para tomar esta decisión. Después de leer varias veces el anuncio oficial del lanzamiento del rails 2.0 y ver que además hay una versión intermedia para considerar como warnings lo que se ha quedado como obsoleto o no va a funcionar directamente, voy a empezar a migrar algunas aplicaciones sencillas.

by juantomas at December 29, 2007 11:24 PM

Gnomefiles

FBReader (ver. 0.8.9)

FBReader is an e-book reader for Linux PDAs and desktop computers.

About this version
A library bug has been fixed. The option to "Always use Windows-1252 encoding instead of ISO-8859-1" has been added. A bug with network file names in Windows has been fixed. The toolbar and menu are now XML-configurable.

December 29, 2007 11:10 PM

Bacula (ver. 2.2.7)

Bacula is a set of programs that allow you to manage the backup, recovery, and verification of computer data across a network of different computers.

About this version
fixes

December 29, 2007 11:10 PM

Task Coach (ver. 0.68.0)

Task Coach is a simple todo manager to manage personal tasks and todo lists.

About this version
fixes

December 29, 2007 11:09 PM

Gnumeric (ver. 1.8.0)

A spreadsheet.

About this version
fixes

December 29, 2007 10:57 PM

Engadget

Becker Traffic Assist 7827 loose in the UK

Filed under:


Not that it's been that long since we heard from Becker or anything, but it's never too early for yet another numerically named navigation unit, right? Available now in the UK, the Becker Traffic Assist 7827 sports a 4.3-inch 480 x 272 resolution touchscreen, 400MHz processor, 128MB of RAM, a SiRFstarIII GPS chipset, integrated TMC receiver for traffic avoidance, an SD expansion slot and USB connectivity. Additionally, you'll find a rechargeable battery good for around five hours, a 2GB SD card with maps for 37 European countries, a headphone jack and a multimedia player that handles photos and MP3s. All things considered, we suppose it's not priced too outrageously at £249.95 ($497), but if you're still unsure if it's worth the coin, may we point out the elusive "mood light" feature to push you over the edge.

[Via NaviGadget]

 

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by Darren Murph at December 29, 2007 10:57 PM

Treehugger

Climate Change: An Inconvenient Electoral Issue

Despite a near constant barrage of presidential campaign news and appearances - a trend that, unfortunately, has only worsened as we rapidly approach the Iowa caucuses - we have still heard surprisingly little of substance regarding one of our time's most pivotal issues, climate change. As Ellen Goodman, a syndicated columnist with The Boston Globe, noted this past we...

December 29, 2007 10:50 PM

Slashdot

KDE's Version Timing Drops It In Ubuntu Support Priority

News.com is reporting that the next version of Ubuntu will see KDE unsupported, but only for the time being. Because of the dramatic changeover from KDE 3.5 to 4.0, Ubuntu sponsor Canonical is unwilling to initially support the popular Linux GUI. Gnome will still be supported, and the company expects to return support to kubuntu soon. "Developer interest is focused on KDE 4.0, but it's not mature enough yet to use in the next KDE-based variation of Ubuntu, called Kubuntu, Scott James Remnant, leader of the Ubuntu Desktop team, said in an explanation to a Kubuntu mailing list. But most Kubuntu developers adding features "upstream" of today's products are focused on KDE 4.0, meaning that it's risky to release a long-term support version based on 3.5."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

by Zonk at December 29, 2007 10:41 PM

Boing Boing

Hybrid carp with "human faces"


A Korean newscast reports on a hybrid breed of carp with "human faces." Not exactly human, but helllp-meeee freaky Fly enough to give me the willies. Link (via Neatorama)

by Cory Doctorow at December 29, 2007 10:23 PM

MAKE: Blog

MCU for desktop plasma globe


A German hacker dusts off his plasma globe from the '80s and hooks it up to an ATMega8 MCU and serial PC interface so that he can tune it.

Large plasma Globe Tuning - [via] Link
Build site (in German) - Link

[Read this article] [Comment on this article]

December 29, 2007 10:00 PM

Boing Boing

Heart-shaped teacups


These heart-shaped tea-cups from Bits and Piece run $13 each ($10 in quantity). I wonder if they're a little sloppy to drink out of? Link (via Cribcandy)

by Cory Doctorow at December 29, 2007 09:55 PM

Music producers mixing for MP3

In a fascinating article about trends in sound engineering, Rolling Stone notes that producers are now specifically mixing tracks to compensate for the failings in MP3 -- it seems to me that as a society, we're happy to sacrifice fidelity for ease of use, flexibility and low-cost (see, for example, the trend from landlines to cordless phones to mobile phones to Skype). Designing for that, as opposed to lamenting it -- is a damned good and realistic thing to do.

Producers also now alter the way they mix albums to compensate for the limitations of MP3 sound. "You have to be aware of how people will hear music, and pretty much everyone is listening to MP3," says producer Butch Vig, a member of Garbage and the producer of Nirvana's Never- mind. "Some of the effects get lost. So you sometimes have to over-exaggerate things." Other producers believe that intensely compressed CDs make for better MP3s, since the loudness of the music will compensate for the flatness of the digital format.
Link (via /.)

by Cory Doctorow at December 29, 2007 09:49 PM

Slashdot

Adobe Quietly Monitoring Software Use?

henrypijames writes "For months, users of Adobe Creative Suite 3 have been wondering why some of the applications regularly connect to what looks like a private IP address but is actually a public domain address belonging to the web analytics company Omniture. Now allegations of user spying are getting louder, prompting Adobe Photoshop product manager John Nack to respond, though many remain unsatisfied with his explanation."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

by Zonk at December 29, 2007 09:39 PM

Boing Boing

Disneyland themed quilt


LiveJournal user Phogg painstakingly created this fantastic Disneyland quilt -- "Keep in mind that short of a single mickey head patch on each panel, the moon in the center and Pooh's balloon in Critter Country, everything started out as white cotton. EVERYTHING was either painted directly onto the panel or painted onto a separate piece of white cotton then appliqued by hand using good old fashioned blind stitching onto the panel. All the lettering was done by hand too." Link (Thanks, Batty!)

by Cory Doctorow at December 29, 2007 09:36 PM

Engadget

German receives prototype Pleo, hacked up box

Filed under:


After waiting for what seems like ages, we can imagine just how excited one would be to finally receive that beautiful brown shipping container with their very own Pleo tucked within. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on perspective) for one particular German, an unspecified retailer sent out what appears to be a prototype dino, complete with a pieced together box that once held a fax machine. Interestingly, it seems the lucky recipient is rather perturbed by the incident, but being the optimistic crew that we are, we'd actually hang on to this thing for bragging rights or discover its true value courtesy of eBay. Hit the read link for a few more shots.

[Thanks, Jared C.]

 

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by Darren Murph at December 29, 2007 09:07 PM

Reminder: win two round trip tickets on JetBlue + noise canceling headphones

Filed under: ,


It's still not too late to win a pair of round trip tickets to any JetBlue destination, plus that pair of noise canceling headphones. You've got until New Years day to enter, but know we wouldn't trust ourselves with such a valuable task on that particular day, so just hit up the read link now for the contest rules and enter while you're still in possession of all your faculties.

 

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by Paul Miller at December 29, 2007 09:06 PM

Un Planeta HispaLinux

Fernando Acero: La necesidad o la conveniencia de un entorno seguro de firma y autentificación para el e-DNI

La necesidad o la conveniencia de un entorno seguro de firma y autentificación para el e-DNI

EL PROBLEMA

Con más de
1.200.000 e-DNI expedidos y con una creciente cantidad de servicios de la Administración y de las empresas accesibles a través de Internet con el e-DNI, los desafíos son muchos y es el momento de plantearnos algunas cosas, como la seguridad, con el rigor que merecen.

El e-DNI tiene una certificación “
Common Criteria” EAL 4 +" según el “Protection Profile” europeo para tarjetas inteligentes. Asimismo, gozan de certificación “Common Criteria”, todas las aplicaciones (software) que se ejecutan en el e-DNI. Por otra parte, se ha establecido la posibilidad de certificar a los prestadores de servicios en los que intervendrá el e-DNI con los niveles “Common Criteria” EAL-1 y EAL-2 (para que sea más asequible a los prestadores de servicios), lo que sin duda nos dará una mayor tranquilidad. Pero todavía falta un factor en la ecuación para que la seguridad sea completa, el entorno de usuario en el que se genera la firma o se autentifica el usuario.

Si atendemos a
las declaraciones de José Luis Díez Aguado, director técnico del proyecto de DNI electrónico, podemos estar preocupados. En aquella ocasión dijo algo tan grave y preocupante como que "el DNI electrónico sólo podrá piratearse si el ordenador no es seguro”. A mi no me cabe la menor duda, de que esta afirmación ha sido sacada de contexto y que Díaz quería decir otra cosa, A pesar de que el ordenador esté comprometido, sería muy difícil, si no imposible, “piratear” el e-DNI, en el sentido que todos entendemos por "piratear". Yo creo que lo que Díez quería decir, es que si el ordenador está comprometido nada garantiza que no se acabe firmando lo que no se quiere, o lo que no se debe, lo que es un serio problema, sobre todo por cargar la prueba y las tintas en el lado del usuario.

No me cabe la menor duda, de que el aumento de los servicios telemáticos y la generalización del uso del e-DNI, aumentará el riesgo y la rentabilidad de del malware específico, en especial, los troyanos, backdoors, adware,
phishing o las nuevas variantes de la ingeniería social, por lo que debemos poner los medios para evitar o minimizar estos riesgos.

En un reciente estudio de Panda Labs, se determinó que “los troyanos representaron un
75% del nuevo malware aparecido en el tercer trimestre de 2007. El nuevo malware puede hacernos ver lo que no es cierto, mediante la generación de código html o javascript dinámico.

Si ahondamos más en la situación, tenemos otro preocupante estudio sobre la “Seguridad de la Información y Confianza de los Hogares Españoles”, esta vez realizado por el INTECO. Dicho informe dice que “
el 72% de los ordenadores domésticos que acceden a Internet, están infectados con algún tipo de código malicioso, con el objetivo de infiltrarse en el ordenador, o dañarlo sin el conocimiento de su dueño”.

Llegados a este punto, está claro que la seguridad no es el punto fuerte de los Españoles y repetiré algo que ya he dicho en otra ocasión:

“También nos debe abrir los ojos un informe del SANS Institute [PDF] sobre los 20 riesgos más importantes a la seguridad en Internet, "los usuarios que son fácilmente engañados y las aplicaciones creadas a medida”, se encuentran en los dos primeros puestos y se conforman de este modo, como los principales objetivos para los atacantes. Hispasec reconoció en un estudio reciente y a pesar de como están las cosas por el mundo, que "la seguridad no es una prioridad para los usuarios", o quizás, podemos decir que "la seguridad sigue sin ser una prioridad para los usuarios". Puede que esta postura de los usuarios sea el fruto no deseado de la cultura lanzada por algunas empresas de software, de que la "informática es apta para todo el mundo" y de que "todo es sencillo y automático cuando realmente no han hecho o logrado que eso sea así", convirtiendo el "user friendly software" en "red hot chili suicidial challenge". Gracias a ello, los usuarios solamente se acuerdan de la seguridad de sus sistemas cuando les limpian la cuenta y desgraciadamente, estos afectados son cada día más numerosos.”

LA POSIBLE SOLUCIÓN

Para muchos de nosotros, el panorama no puede ser más pesimista y es muy fácil pensar en que el problema no tiene solución. Al fin y al cabo, el problema involucra a los usuarios y a sus circunstancias personales y tecnológicas, lo que es un mundo. He pensado mucho en ello y veo casi imposible que los ciudadanos se conciencien y obtengan los conocimientos suficientes, como para que puedan evitar todos los riesgos y amenazas actuales. No en vano, estos usuarios no son informáticos, ni deberían serlo, para usar un e-DNI con seguridad. Por ello, es necesaria una solución tecnológica, que además, sea lo más independiente posible de los conocimietos de los usuarios, de la configuración de sus sistemas, del software de seguridad disponible en sus ordenadores y del posible estado de infección de sus sistemas.

Creo que la solución podría estar en la
tecnología “live”, que permite arrancar un sistema completo desde un DVD CD-ROM o desde dispositivo USB, sin necesidad de instalar nada en el sistema. La idea, que ya se trató por primera vez durante el Primer VotoBit en la Universidad de León allá por el lejano año 2003, es la de crear un entorno seguro de firma y autentificación para el usuario, basada en tecnología “live". Dicho entorno al ser fijo se podría certificar mediante “Common Criteria”, de forma similar a como se ha hecho con el e-DNI y se piensa hacer con los prestadores de servicios que lo requieran, para sus aplicaciones que hagan uso del e-DNI, cerrando así el círculo de seguridad entre todos los elementos involucrados en el uso del e-DNI.

El usuario solamente tendría que bajar la ISO de la página oficial del e-DNI (o solicitar un CD/DVD a la Administración), comprobar su HASH, grabar un CD/DVD, arrancar con él su sistema, configurar la red (lo que se puede hacer mediante un asistente paso a paso), conectar su hardware (que si está homologado sería reconocido y configurado automáticamente por el entorno seguro de autentificación y firma), introducir su e-DNI y ponerse a trabajar. Un sistema rápido, que nos permite usar el e-DNI sin tener que instalar nada en el ordenador y que tampoco deja rastro cuando dejamos de trabajar con él, algo muy conveniente cuando estamos fuera de casa, o el ordenador no es nuestro.
Este sistema garantizaría, que cada vez que se arranque el ordenador por el usuario, el sistema estaría limpio como una patena de malware y los riesgos asociados, serían casi nulos. Incluso en el caso de una infección accidental, solamente estaría comprometida una única sesión. Bastaría con apagar y encender el ordenador para dejar todo como el principio, sin software de limpieza adicional, sin tener que formatear el sistema y en pocos segundos, lo que ya es bastante si consideramos todo lo que significa normalmente limpiar un sistema de malware. Es evidente también, que el coste de desarrollo y actualización de este entorno seguro de autentificación y firma, sería mínimo dado en el estado del arte de las disribuciones "live" en la actualidad.

Dicho entorno seguro, también se puede dotar de todo aquello que necesite para conectarse y trabajar en Internet con el e-DNI y para mejorar su seguridad. Al mismo tiempo, se pueden añadir otros posibles elementos de valor añadido, como sistemas de comprobación de integridad (semáforo de uso), uso de firmas SHA-2, servidores de DNS certificados, protecciones anti- phishing, cifrado fuerte en las conexiones y en la memoria, navegador con configuraciones optimizadas para la seguridad, etc.

El abanico de posibilidades es inmenso, incluso para los proveedores de servicios, que podrían añadir su software y operativas específicas en el CD una vez certificadas. Por ejemplo, se podría usar este entorno como software de base para el desarrollo de cajeros automáticos, software específico para determinados servicios, como la banca a través de Internet, o para el desarrollo de dispositivos de hardware que usen el e-DNI. En definitiva, podemos dotarle de todo lo que se quiera y se considere necesario para la seguridad y para facilitar el uso del e-DNI por parte de los usuarios. Este entorno seguro de firma y autentificación, podría disponer de menús, o de asistentes sencillos y accesibles, para usuarios no expertos, o con problemas de discapacidad, de forma que pudieran realizar las operaciones básicas con su e-DNI, como firmar un documento, autentificarse ante un servicio, con una facilidad que ahora no tienen.

Pero esta solución también nos puede proporcionar otras ventajas adicionales. Por ejemplo, reduciría la necesidad detener distintas versiones de los controladores para distintos sabores de Linux (algo que nunca ha estado completamente resuelto hasta e momento, por el
problema evidente de tener que contemplar todos los casos y las versiones de los sistemas operativos ) y proporcionaría un entorno común, estándar y certificado para probar el hardware asociado al e-DNI, los controladores y los servicios de terceros. Algo que también reduciría de forma importante la necesidad de soporte técnico por parte de todos los agentes involucrados (Administración y empresas), lo que implica ahorros en tiempo, personal y sobre todo, en dinero.

Esta solución no implicaría una sustitución de las existentes en la actualidad, con las distintas versiones existentes para los distintos sistemas operativos, pero proporcionaría a los usuarios un entorno seguro de autentificación y firma, de forma cómoda, rápida y eficaz, con una total garantía de funcionamiento. Como he dicho, he estado pensando mucho sobre este tema y he sopesado varias opciones, pero sinceramente, dados los hechos y las circunstancias que he comentado antes, creo que esta es la mejor de todas las soluciones posibles.

"Copyleft 2007 Fernando Acero Martín. Verbatim copying, translation and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any digital medium, provided this notice is preserved”

 

December 29, 2007 09:02 PM

Slashdot

Linux And Unix Devices Popular On Amazon's 'Best of '07' List

christian.einfeldt writes "Computers and handheld devices running default GNU Linux or Unix OSes have swept Amazon's 'best of' list for 2007, according BusinessWire.com for 28 December 2007. Best selling computer? The Nokia Internet Tablet PC, running Linux. Best reviewed computer? The Apple MacBook Pro notebook PC. Most wished for computer? Asus Eee 4G-Galaxy 7-inch PC mobile Internet device, which comes with Xandros Linux pre-installed. And last, but not least, the most frequently gifted computer: The Apple MacBook notebook PC."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

by Zonk at December 29, 2007 08:41 PM

Un Planeta HispaLinux

Jorge Gonzalez: Twitter & followers & blogs & twitter & Valladolid

Me comenta Dani que hay una quedada en Valladolid para que los bloggers se tomen unas cervecillas, el nombre oficial es Blogs&Twitter Valladolid, por eso no he podido dejar de hacer la broma de Enjuto Mojamuto. La reunión es para todos aquellos que tengan blog, twitter, flickr o participan de cualquier forma en alguna de las muchas redes que hay en la web, es decir, para casi todos.

Lamentablemente no puedo ir porque estoy con la extraordinaria, a ver si de una vez acabo, pero no dejaría de pasarme si pudiese.

Hay varias fuentes con toda la información:
http://5lineas.com/archivo/internet-web20/blogstwitter-valladolid-el-3-de-enero/
http://www.amapolasdigital.com/blogstwitter-valladolid/2007/12/27/

http://wiki.5lineas.com/blogs_and_twitter_valladolid (el wiki para apuntarse)

http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=2141779196&size=l (cartel en grande)

Así que a todos los que asistan, que lo disfruten.

Etiquetas: , , ,

by Aloriel at December 29, 2007 08:38 PM

Engadget

Nintendo's DS overtakes PlayStation 2 in lifetime Japanese sales

Filed under:


We already knew Nintendo's DS was quite the popular handheld, and while the PSP recently overtook it in Japanese hardware sales, the most recent numbers show that the Big N's famed DS has actually rocketed above the mighty PlayStation 2 in lifetime sales (in Japan). Notably, the numbers do combine DS and DS Lite units, but there's no mention of how the systems stack up worldwide. Nevertheless, the feat is a fairly impressive one when you consider how much longer the PS2 has been available compared to the DS, and unless Sony somehow lightens the PS2 load even further and starts bundling them in with cereals, we doubt it will reclaim the top spot anytime soon.

[Via DSFanboy, thanks J]

 

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by Darren Murph at December 29, 2007 08:32 PM

Planet GNOME

Ronald Bultje: Home for christmas

What happened last week is just amazing. I was planning to go home (to Europe) for christmas, so I booked a flight from Newark to Schiphol, Amsterdam for Saturday the 22nd. I left home over 4 hours before the flight would depart, all would be fine. I took the FDR Drive to south-Manhattan to bring my girlfriend home, kissed goodbye, back onto the FDR and the West drive (Tribeca), trying to turn into the Holland tunnel and head into Jersey.

That’s where the story would’ve ended. I’ve waited for over an hour in front of the tunnel, I have no idea what happened, no single inch progress. I’ve been told (by friends, or the taxi driver, can’t recall) there was a massive accident shutting down half of the west-bound tunnel, but can’t find a thing on any news site. Two hours before my flight departed, I escaped the taxi, ran for a good 10 minutes with suitcases and everything to the nearest subway station, on to Penn Station, took the next Amtrak to Newark Airport, cutting the Elite check-in with 55 minutes remaining (”sir, you’re supposed to be here in time, y’know?“), to enter the airplane to see the door close literally right behind me. Now that’s a close one.

Thanks to all my friends for helping me get around and make it. But what happened? I still have no idea…

December 29, 2007 08:16 PM

Engadget

Slew of Penryn laptops shown off from Acer, Sony and Fujitsu-Siemens

Filed under:


We already saw the Amilo Xi 2550 from Fujitsu-Siemens, but if you thought that was the only mobile Penryn-based lappie you'd see prior to January 6th, you've got another a few more things coming. Spotted over at Notebook Italia, we've got five new Acer Aspires (2920, 4920, 5920, 7720 and 9920), a pair of new Acer Travelmates (6492 and 6592G), a couple of Fujitsu-Siemens (the aforementioned Amilo Pi Amilo Xi 2550 and the 2428) and four new Sony VAIOs (FZ31, SZ71, CR31 and AR61) -- all of which will be housing that Penryn goodness when they launch. As you can imagine, there's far too many specs between the 13 new machines to cover in this space, but feel free to tag the links below for all the details on each.

Read - Fujitsu-Siemens
Read - Acer Aspires
Read - Acer Travelmates
Read - Sony VAIOs

 

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by Darren Murph at December 29, 2007 08:05 PM

David Bravo

La frase del día

"Sólo hay que echar un vistazo a internet o a los quioscos. España es un gran prostíbulo".

Inés París, directora de cine, demostrando, sin saberlo, lo útil que es a veces echar un segundo vistazo antes de emitir juicios pretendida y pretenciosamente impactantes.

December 29, 2007 07:54 PM

Wired News: Top Stories

Extreme Weather Is the Norm in 2007

Oddball weather is the norm in 2007. As the year draws to a close, it's shaping up to be the hottest year on record in the Northern Hemisphere. Most alarming to climate scientists, the Arctic, which serves as the world's refrigerator, dramatically warmed in 2007, shattering records for the amount of melting ice.

by Associated Press at December 29, 2007 07:45 PM

Slashdot

Communities of Mutants Form as DNA Testing Grows

GeneRegulator writes "The NY Times is running a story on communities that are forming around kids with rare genetic mutations. New technology that can scan chromosomes for small errors is being applied first to children with autism and other 'unexplained developmental delays.' It turns out that many of them have small deletions or duplications of DNA. Meanwhile, hundreds of little groups are forming around the banner of their children's shared mutations. As new research shows that many of us have small deletions and duplications of DNA that separate us from our parents, and that many of these "copy number variants" contribute to skills and senses, the families described in the story may presage the formation of all sorts of 'communities of the genetically rare' in the general population, not just amongst the developmentally delayed."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

by Zonk at December 29, 2007 07:31 PM

Wired News: Top Stories

Ancient Baby Mammoth Lands in Japan

The frozen carcass of a 37,000-year-old baby mammoth unearthed this summer in Siberia arrives in Japan for tests that researchers hope will shed new light on the internal structure of the ancient beasts.

by Associated Press at December 29, 2007 07:30 PM

Gnomefiles

Time Shall Tell (ver. 1.0.6)

A work time tracker.

About this version
This release fixes an important bug in the time counting code: previous releases are reported to keep time inacurately. It also fixes a minor bug in some SQL queries that only shows up when using newer versions of the MySQL server.

December 29, 2007 07:16 PM

Engadget

Robotic artist does portraits, hoping to get into nudes

Filed under:


A totally ingenious robotics researcher named Sylvain Calinon has created what might be the perfect storm of art and science -- a robot that can recognize and then draw portraits of human subjects. The bot, named HOAP-3, is able to distinguish a human face, take a still frame of that image, and then create a drawing by (robotic) hand based on what it sees. The demonstration is a part of designer Calinon's research into creating robots which can learn through imitation, or in scenarios where they must react to humans. Unfortunately for us fleshpiles, it's only a matter of time before this thing starts doing hilarious caricatures accentuating our worst features. Watch the robot work in the amazing video after the break, and check the read link for a lot more information on the HOAP-3 project.

[Via technabob]

Continue reading Robotic artist does portraits, hoping to get into nudes

 

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by Joshua Topolsky at December 29, 2007 07:02 PM

Treehugger

Loremo Chops the Top: Convertible Version Coming to Geneva

loremo-convertible-prototype.jpg When last we saw Loremo, at the Frankfurt Auto Show, it turned a lot of heads, not only for its slick looks and 120 mpg fuel efficiency, but because it actually existed (which is a lot further than a lot of concept cars make it). Building on the preliminary success of the efficiency, diesel-powered ride, the German developers are working on a convertible version for debut at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show. The rag-top looks to be a near carbon-copy of the original design (just without the roof, of course); we presume, like the original that was submitted as an entry to the

December 29, 2007 07:01 PM

Wired News: Top Stories

Ivy League Universities Open Courses to All Online

An MIT initiative called "OpenCourseWare" makes virtually all the school's courses available online for free, and more than 100 universities worldwide, including Johns Hopkins, Tufts and Notre Dame, are joining MIT in a consortium of schools promoting their own open courseware.

by Associated Press at December 29, 2007 07:00 PM

Un Planeta HispaLinux

Benjami Villoslada: Dret a la intimitat i la imatge

jaqueta LocationLa Constitució diu que el dret a la intimitat i la imatge són drets fonamentals:

Article 18
1. Es garanteix el dret a l’honor, a la intimitat personal i familiar i a la pròpia imatge.

És tant important que fins i tot és per damunt un altre dret fonamental, el d’expressió:

Article 20
1. Es reconeixen i es protegeixen els drets:

a) A expressar i difondre lliurement els pensaments, les idees i les opinions mitjançant la paraula, l’escriptura o qualsevol altre mitjà de reproducció.

[…]

4. Aquestes llibertats tenen el límit en el respecte als drets reconeguts en aquest Títol, en els preceptes de les lleis que el desenvolupin i, especialment, en el dret a l’honor, a la intimitat, a la imatge pròpia i a la protecció de la joventut i de la infància.

Però cada pic estem més rodejats de càmeres. Per a poder exercir el nostre dret fonamental ¿caldrà vestir coses com ara la Location ‘Goggle’ Jacket?

Sembla que alguns musulmans s’anticiparen al futur, tot i què errant el motiu i el gènere.


La foto és d’AN-X.

by Benjamí at December 29, 2007 06:30 PM

Slashdot

Trekkie Sues Christie's for Fradulent Props

Token_Internet_Girl passed us a link to an MSNBC article on a very disappointed Star Trek fan. Mr. Moustakis of NJ bought a poker visor he thought was worn by Data in Next Generation at a Christie's auction for some $6,000. When he brought it to a convention to have it signed, actor Brent Spiner explained that he'd already sold the well-known visor in a personal sale; like Senator Vreenak, Moustakis had been given a fake. "Christie's spokesman Rik Pike stood behind the authenticity of the auction and said the disgruntled buyer's case had no merit. The lawsuit, filed in state court in Manhattan, demands millions of dollars in punitive damages and a refund for the visor and two other items Moustakis bought at the 2006 auction."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

by Zonk at December 29, 2007 06:30 PM

Gnomefiles

GAdmin-Rsync (ver. 0.0.9)

An easy to use GTK+ frontend for the rsync backup client and server.

About this version
Added CROND_REREAD_CMD for dists like Debian and Ubuntu that requires crond to be called cron etc.
Go Electric Cars, Go!

December 29, 2007 06:22 PM

Treehugger

One Year Ago in TH: Looking Back at the Year That Was 2006

one-year-ago-th-122907.jpg One year ago in TreeHugger: We were busily preparing for a green New Year's Eve, including sourcing some organic bubbly and mixing up some "Hangover Helper" in preparation for the big night's festivities. As the end of the year drew near, we got to thinking about some resolutions for better, cleaner energy, including some that we heard a lot about in 2007 (like wind power) and some that dropp...

December 29, 2007 06:21 PM

Gnomefiles

GDHCPD (ver. 0.3.3)

GDHCPD is an easy to use GTK+ frontend for ISC DHCPD.

About this version
Changed default lease file location for RedHat and Fedora. Thanks to Drago01.

December 29, 2007 06:18 PM

Planet GNOME

Jason Clinton: vino beware

After an hour of security auditing, I have no explanation why my Gnome desktop suddenly had remote access (with control) enabled with a blank ("") password. Since vino-server does not log connection attempts (as far as I can tell since there is no documentation), I have no way of knowing if anyone was successful in actually getting passed the password: prompt. I noticed that vino-server was screen scraping my :0 display by some slightly higher CPU utilization graphs. Immediately inspecting "netstat -tnp" uncovered no active connections, however, given that the screen scraping state was active, I have to assume that someone actually tried to connect in the last 24 hours. Perhaps it was a simple port-scan that kicked it on. The attacker may have very well skipped my IP after getting a password prompt.

Part of my vulnerability is my fault: several months ago I forwarded VNC ports to collaborate with my father on a project on my Windows partition.

I can speculate about what might have happened. It's not the result of a recent upgrade gone awry: the last vino apt update was done Oct 29th. They say to never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence. It's entirely possible that some gconf-related action from some other application set the vino-server in this state--though that seems unlikely.

I am normally very cautions, however I did recently install one package from an untrusted source. But I have no reason to suspect that that package was the vector for the gconf change. Another possibility would be that a package installed from one of the third-party Debian multimedia repo's is to blame: but this is a long shot.

Anyway, you might want to double check your remote desktop settings. I do not have any explanation.

December 29, 2007 06:08 PM

Engadget

Images of Pentax's K200D DSLR surface?

Filed under:


Just over a month ago, we got word that Pentax could be readying a pair of new DSLRs, and now it seems that we've been blessed with a plethora of shots of the K200D. 'Course, we suppose they could be doctored, but we just don't believe someone would spend that much time working up Pentax fakes, ya know? Regardless, feel free to hit the read link and check out what's probably the outfit's next shooter -- or some mighty fine 'shops, worst case scenario.

[Via Photography Bay]

 

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by Darren Murph at December 29, 2007 06:05 PM

Planet GStreamer

Mirco Müller: A matter of taste

What style of GtkEntry/SpinButton/ComboBoxEntry do you like better?


Example A



Example B

December 29, 2007 06:03 PM

Planet GNOME

Mirco Müller: A matter of taste

What style of GtkEntry/SpinButton/ComboBoxEntry do you like better?


Example A



Example B

December 29, 2007 06:03 PM

Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends

i-Snake, a new robotic surgeon

Several newspapers in the UK have published today very short articles about the i-Snake, a new surgical robot which will be developed at the Imperial College London (ICL). For example, The Times of London writes that the ICL team has won a £2.1 million grant (€2.84 million or US$4.2 million) to design this surgical robot over the next four or five years. This highly flexible robot 'could allow coronary bypass operations to be performed without the need for open-heart surgery.' And it would help heal your heart after travelling through blood vessels. The research team thinks that the i-Snake could also be used as a diagnosis tool replacing the eyes of a surgeon when looking inside us.

December 29, 2007 06:02 PM

Planet GNOME

Chris Toshok: the whole week in one post

This was also sent out originally as an email to the same list I sent the first one too. I’ve reformatted this one slightly to break it up a touch, as it’s seriously, seriously long.

Day 1 (Thursday, December 13th)

About one and a half hours after I sent that first email, I started feeling really achey all over. The nurse gave me 1000mg of ibuprofen. It didn’t really help and the aches got more severe, along with a new addition: shivering. A nurse brought me a couple of more blankets and took my temperature. It was mildly elevated at 37.5. The doctors came in a told me that I was clearly having a reaction and therefore not in the control group. This was comforting, as I expected them to just shoot me full of something that would make all the symptoms go away. They were going to give me tylenol immediately, but after hearing that 30 minutes prior I’d been given the ibuprofen, they decided to space it out some, so I’d have to wait 1.5 hours for the tylenol/benadryl.

The next 1.5 hours weren’t exactly fun. Lots of shivering. Lots of me wishing I had waited to complain about the aches so I’d have gotten the tylenol sooner. Anyway, they kept checking vitals, with my temperature inching upward. It was up to 38.7 (101-ish) when they gave me the benadryl (by iv) and tylenol.

At some point the shivering stopped and I started sweating. I kept the blankets on for a while because it felt so good to feel warm, but eventually threw them off. The next temperature check had me at 39.5 (over 103). They brought in ice packs to put in my arm pits and a cold rag for my forehead.

This went on for a few hours, with my temperature staying in the high 38’s/low 39’s.. I don’t really remember clearly what time it was when it broke.. It was after the infusion stopped, which was well after midnight. So maybe around 2am. I slept fitfully, and very little, that night.

Day 2 (Friday, December 14th)

I woke up with a normal temperature and feeling really nasty. I asked if I could take a shower in the 1 hour between pre-labs and administering pre-meds. Showers in the hospital were a huge, huge help. Unfortunately I only took 2 the entire 6 days I was there, due to time constraints and just generally inability to get around.

The infusion for day 2 was meant to be larger and given over a much shorter timespan. The rate of infusion the first day was 24ml/hour. Day 2’s rate was 37ml/hour. I would be done after about 8 hours. We started at around 2pm, so I thought I’d have an early night of it. They decided to stay ahead of any reaction so I was given round the clock meds. Every 2 hours, alternating between large doses of ibuprofen and of benadryl/tylenol. This seemed to work, although the benadryl kept me from really doing anything but watching tv, talking to joelle, and napping occasionally. Next thing I knew the infusion was over and they were taking the bag away and hooking me up to saline. I felt a little nauseous, but that was it. Not even running a fever. It all went downhill fast, unfortunately. First was the headache. There was so much pressure, it was painful to even touch my closed eyelids. Moving my eyes also hurt. They asked the “on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the worst pain ever…” question every 15 minutes. It started out at about 4, and over the next few hours got up to a 9. Along with the headache was the nausea. I felt on the verge of throwing up for hours. They had a list of medications they could use to fix the headache/nausea, and chose demerol as the first to try - the thinking was the nausea was possibly being caused by the headache. get rid of the headache, get rid of the nausea. Trouble with demerol is that it has a somewhat common side effect: nausea. It wasn’t even 15 seconds after she injected the demerol into my iv that I started throwing up. Basically from the moment I felt any effect at all, I was turned sideways on my bed, head over the plastic tub. I stayed that way, with occasional breaks on my back while the nurse rinsed the tub out, for the next 5 hours. At the end I was just vomitting back up the water I was drinking. The doctor told me what I was suffering from was Cytokine Release Syndrome. They gave me zofran - an anti nausea drug usually prescribed for chemo patients (and sometimes for severe morning sickness). This fixed me right up, and I got to sleep as the sun was coming up.

Day 3 (Saturday, December 15th)

A day off, after the previous night’s fun. I spent the day with a bad headache, for which they were now giving me dilaudid, which also worked like a champ, being apparently 5 times more effective than morphine. I talked a lot to the doctor overseeing my trial, and she let me in on some interesting happenings. The whole point of the drug is to lower your white blood cell count by killing T cells, but apparently the labs from the second morning had seen my white blood cell count increase (and not by a small percentage. It had doubled.) It had come down to my baseline level after the previous night, but that first night’s spike was (and still is) unexplained. Also one of my liver enzymes was elevated after the first day, probably owing to giving me too much tylenol. There was some concern about my ability to clot after this, and the amount of tylenol I’d be getting would be going down sharply - basically they would only give me any if my fever started going up (above 38.5), and would use dilaudid for the rest of the headache pain.

Day 4 (Sunday, December 16th)

We were back on the job, starting earlier than on either of the 2 previous infusions. Initial labs were drawn at 5am, and the infusion started around 8am. It was to be done at the same rate as Day 2. With the dilaudid for the headache I was pain free all day, and benadryl was still being given to me every 4 hours to help combat any allergic reaction. They were also giving me zofran as often as possible to help with the nausea. I felt sort of a itchy all day, and chalked it up to wearing the same clothes for multiple days without bathing (also, I smelled awful). In retrospect I should have mentioned this to my doc. After the infusion stopped, and just before Joelle was heading home I remember telling the night nurse that the tops of my feet and the backs of my hands were really hot, almost burning. So much so that I couldn’t have them under the sheet. She looked at them and didn’t see anything wrong and didn’t do anything. This was probably mistake #2 (mine being #1). The nausea was also starting to creep back into the picture, even through the zofran, which alarmed everyone to the point where they gave me compazine (I just looked on the wikipedia page for this … an antipsychotic. cripes.) Anyway, back to the hands/feet. The doctor came in to check on me after the nurse had administered the compazine and had the nurse bring up the lights to look at my hands and feet. She looked at my face first and said “oh”, and touched my neck and asked if it felt hot. I said no, just my hands and feet. I looked down at my feet and they were an angry red, with some odd blanching on the insides of them. Hands were similarly tinged. She turned my right arm over and my entire inner forearm and upper arm (except, oddly, my bicep) was bright red. she lifted my shirt and my stomach and chest were red. She sat me up and she and the nurse lift my shirt to expose my back. They said things like “oh, yes…” and “yeah..” It was 2am. She called the oncall dermatologist, woke him up, and had him come over immediately. He did an examination, they used a lot of big words talking about classifications of rashes, he asked me a long list of questions to rule out serum sickness. That’s about all I remember. They gave me more benadryl and I passed out.

Day 5 (Monday, December 17th)

Day 5 was looking to be another day off, while we waited to see what the rash did, and while the doctors did conference calls between the other study sites and the NIH to decide if I’d receive the 4th dose at all. I was given benadryl every 4 hours via IV throughout the day, and so was incredibly doped up all day. Several more dermatologists came in to see me, with one doing a skin biopsy to determine if it was a drug reaction or something else. The biopsy site bled pretty amazingly (soaking through the bandaid and the hospital gown in about 45 minutes). I guess the whole liver clotting factor concern was well founded.

The doctor came in some time after noon to tell me they’d decided not to give me the 4th dose. I was more than a little relieved, and likely would have opted out had they decided to go ahead. My reactions, contrary to expectations, were getting worse as the trial went on. In fact in most ways I was atypical as far as this study went. The study author (another UCSF doctor) called me later in the day from his vacation to talk to me about things. He said my results might cause them to go back to the drawing board as far as the protocol goes. Not exactly something you want to hear, but if it saves other people from my experiences it’s probably worth it :)

The plan was to draw labs the next morning and see how I was doing, possibly leaving Tuesday afternoon.

Day 6 (Tuesday, December 18th)

I was hopeful I might be going home today, and even though I was still feeling kind of out of it, the headache was gone, the rash was gone. The edema in my feet from all the saline was mostly gone. Everything looked good. The doctor came in to talk about my lab results and told me again that I was an oddity. My white blood cell counts, which had doubled after day 1 and remained stable at my baseline thereafter, had *finally* dropped. It was 2.6 (2.6 x 10^9 white blood cells per liter of blood). Normal is 4 to 11. Below 2 is bad news. This was wonderful news. It means that the 3 treatments got me to where I needed to be, so the lack of the 4th dose wasn’t going to change things much at all.

That said, the sudden drop had the doctors feeling a tiny bit uncomfortable, so they resolved to take more labs in the afternoon and if they were lower, they’d keep me one more night.

They changed their minds at some point during the day, mostly because apparently the last guy to get the thymo went home with a much lower wbc count (much closer to 2) and he turned out ok. I was given a ton (no really) of medication. Ibuprofen and tylenol to last me a decade, calcium carbonate to correct for my lower-the-normal calcium levels, acyclovir and trimethoprim as prophylaxis against viral and bacterial infection, respectively. I was also a little anemic, so they suggested a steak for dinner (I had a big hamburger instead).

Even walking out of the hospital to the garage was more activity than my body had seen in 6 days. I was originally planning to drive myself home, but that was me just being dumb. Joelle drove me home and made sure I was okay.

I still feel pretty out of it. Feels similar to when I first got my glasses a couple months ago: It feels like the distance from my head to the ground (or the distance from my finger tips to my shoulder, or the distance from my hips to my feet) is different. My body just feels wrong. Partially due to drugs I assume, partially due to being bedridden for almost a week, partially due to losing 7 pounds in 6 days.

Thanks for the visits, those who came, thanks for the emails, those who sent them. It was a rough, rough week, and I definitely couldn’t have made it through without your help. I love my friends.

December 29, 2007 05:44 PM

Chris Toshok: back on December 13th…

I sent this mail around to some pals. Note the upbeat nature of the mail.  I figured I was in for an easy week.  Boy was I wrong :)
From: Chris Toshok
Date: Dec 13, 2007 3:16 PM
Subject: toshok does ucsf
To: …

Hey all,

I’d be posting this to my blog but it appears the blog machine didn’t come up after the last power outage to the garage where the hungry hardware is kept.  I’m sending this out in a pretty limited way, mostly because all the benadryl they gave me is making me kinda loopy and I don’t want to take the time to craft a more lengthy To: list. If you know someone who knows me who might like to know (or might want visit :), please feel free to forward this to them.

I admitted myself this morning to UCSF to take part in a research trial for thymoglobulin and its effects on type 1 diabetes for patients still in their honeymoon phase.[1]

Unfortunately, given the nature of the drug, what they’re doing to my immune system, and the need for good and plentiful information about the drugs effects on my system, they’re keeping me here in the hospital for the course of the trial.  At best, it’ll be 5 days (4 days of infusions, 1 extra day of observation.)  At worst, I could be here 8 days, although this should only happen if I start to develop a nasty reaction to the drug and they need to lessen the infusion rate and give more time between infusions.  I’m halfway done with the first infusion, though, and I seem to be tolerating it well, other than a slightly elevated temperature earlier in the day and a low grade headache.

Okay, now for the selfish part.  I’m expecting to make it until around 11am tomorrow before I go completely stir crazy, so if you’re bored this weekend (and aren’t sick with the flu[2]) I’d love for you to stop by.  I’m in room 605 in the Moffitt building (basically that big entrance directly across from the parking garage on Parnassus.)  I’m in the PCRC (pediatric clinical research center, iirc), which means every room is outfitted with a playstation2.  Bring your favorite game and be humbled before the skinny boy with the wimpy immune system whose been given too much benadryl.

My cell is working, so give me a call (xxx-xxx-xxxx) before heading over to give me a heads up.

Chris

[1] I realize it’s been a while since I’ve been in contact with some of you, and this is probably not the way you should have been told this..  But at the end of October I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.  Basically my immune system has started attacking the beta cells in my pancreas (hence the trial for immunosuppressive therapy).  My body is still producing quite a bit of insulin (my injections are on the order of 1 or 2 units at every meal, which is very low), and hopefully this treatment (if I’m not in the control group) will keep things that way, or at least slow the decline.  The term “honeymoon” is used for patients in my circumstances - newly diagnosed, still has functioning beta cells.

[2] Given that my T cell counts are likely going to be down in the “not exactly in danger, but definitely not healthy” range..  know that I love you, but a call instead of a visit might be prudent :)

December 29, 2007 05:25 PM

Slashdot

Writers Guild Members Look to Internet Distribution

stevedcc writes "The Guardian is running an article about members of the Writer's Guild, still on strike, creating their own ventures to deliver content over the internet. The intention is to get their work to consumers while bypassing the movie studios. Their effort will include actors and directors, and it is not the first step they have taken to expand their interests during the strike. One particular project is said to include A-list talent, and will be released in roughly 50 daily segments before going to DVD. This is also relevant to the strike because, as the article states, 'at the core of the current dispute is the question of how to reimburse writers for work that is distributed on the internet.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

by Soulskill at December 29, 2007 05:24 PM

Engadget

Venturer SHD7001 goes on sale in UK for 170 pounds

Filed under: ,


Right on cue, the Venturer SHD7001 HD DVD player has gone on sale via QVC UK, and while all the specs look exactly as we predicted they would, the price is a hair lower than we expected. Pegged at £169.92 ($338) -- or available for two easy payments of £84.96 -- this 1080i player comes packaged with Troy and Hulk, an HDMI cable and eligibility for five other free flicks. Notably, this is QVC's "Special Value" of the day, so there's a good chance that the price will increase after the unit's first 24 hours on sale, but at least those interested in a cheap HD DVD player (and located across the pond) can snap it up now and save a few pounds over the alternatives.

[Via RegHardware]

 

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by Darren Murph at December 29, 2007 05:17 PM

Un Planeta HispaLinux

Alvaro López Ortega: New PySCGI release

I have just released a new version of the tiny Cherokee PySCGI module: a 100% Python module implementing the SCGI protocol.

The latest 1.3 release fixes a potential communication issue between the application and the web servers. If you are using PySCGI the upgrade is recommended.

by Alvaro Lopez Ortega at December 29, 2007 05:10 PM

Planet GNOME

Alvaro Lopez Ortega: New PySCGI release

I have just released a new version of the tiny Cherokee PySCGI module: a 100% Python module implementing the SCGI protocol.

The latest 1.3 release fixes a potential communication issue between the application and the web servers. If you are using PySCGI the upgrade is recommended.

December 29, 2007 05:10 PM

Engadget

VidaBox's 10.4-inch vPad controls your home

Filed under:


This one's been around the block for a bit, but it's just now managed to sneak up on us. The VidaBox vPad comes from the same firm offering up those swank CableCARD-equipped HTPCs, and this home controller shares that very same pizazz. The 10.4-inch tablet rocks a 1,024 x 768 resolution panel, integrated 802.11b WiFi, a built-in speaker and a rechargeable Li-ion good for around 2.5 hours. As expected, this unit enables owners to control multi-room audio, climate zones, security cameras, garage doors and WiFi-enabled toasters, we presume. 'Course, you'll need Mirage software for VidaBox control or your own home automation hardware to really take advantage of the vPad, and unfortunately, we've no pricing / release details to share just yet.

[Thanks, JoeyChina]

 

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by Darren Murph at December 29, 2007 05:07 PM

El Blog de Enrique Dans

Además del canon, tener que aguantar estupideces…

Estupidez 01Este gobierno no aprende. Lo he visto en Error500, que a su vez lo vio en Versvs’ Blog: ahora, de los creadores de la insigne campaña Kelifinder (¿de quién diablos es esa agencia y en virtud de qué criterio se le asignan estas campañas?), designada a tomar por imbéciles a los jóvenes con la excusa del mercado inmobiliario, aparece esta fastuosa y completamente estúpida web llena de falsedades conceptuales, “El top de las descargas” (la web real la tienes aquí, pero si la vinculas, hazlo con rel=”nofollow”), destinada a impresionar a los más simples de intelecto con frases tremendistas y catastróficas.

La web refleja una falsedad conceptual detrás de otra, confundiendo intencionadamente todos los conceptos, mezclando descargas con “piratería” y haciéndolas absurdamente responsables hasta de la caída del imperio romano. Como muestra, recorto un texto (negritas en el original) que surge cuando pasas el ratón sobre la imagen de una cantante con cara de desesperada, que arroja su micrófono malhumorada por la terrible incidencia de “la piratería”, y que no deja lugar a dudas acerca de la simpleza y ligereza de los argumentos con los que pretenden que comulguemos, casualmente los mismos que los de la SGAE y todo el culturetariado, y que el gobierno, ese gobierno elegido por los españoles, hace suyas de la primera a la última letra, pagándolo además con el dinero de nuestros impuestos:

“Cuando te descargas de forma pirata una canción, estás apropiándote gratuitamente del trabajo de un artista, de su modo de ganarse la vida.

Pirateando no sólo perjudicas a los artistas. Otras personas que hacen posible que disfrutemos de su música, como los técnicos de sonido, mezcladores, peluqueros, maquilladores, etc., tendrán menos trabajo o se quedarán sin él.

No es verdad. Es una mentira propia de mentes simples, de quien se niega a ver la realidad, de quien no entiende la Internet de hoy. A riesgo de parecer cansino, repetiré los argumentos: cuando te descargas una canción, dedicas uno de tus bienes más preciados, tu atención, a escuchar la obra de un artista. El hecho de que le otorgues el privilegio de tu atención puede convertirte, si el producto te gusta, en más proclive a adquirir merchandising de ese artista, de acudir a sus conciertos o de conseguir que otros, a su vez, también le dediquen su atención. Un efecto neto mucho más positivo, si el artista sabe y quiere explotarlo, que el adquirir un estúpido pedazo de plástico que acumulará polvo en tu casa y de cuyo precio, menos de un 10% irá destinado a retribuir a dicho artista. No creas sus mentiras: cuando descargas una canción, estás beneficiando al artista. Cuando compras un CD, beneficias únicamente a las empresas que lo fabrican, al autor le llega en realidad muy poco de lo que tú pagas. Cuando pagas canon por adquirir determinados productos, es peor: estás entregando un dinero a la SGAE para pagar determinados favores políticos y para que lo reparta a su conveniencia entre sus amiguitos, haciéndolo además con criterios tan absolutamente irrelevantes y hasta autorreferentes como el presunto número de esos pedacitos de plástico que se han vendido. Algo simplemente absurdo.

El gobierno, además de seguir tomándonos por imbéciles e insultarnos llamándonos “piratas”, nos quiere hacer comulgar con las mismas ruedas de molino que utilizó para hacernos tragar el canon. Canon digital con Z de ZGAE.

, , , , , ,

by Enrique Dans at December 29, 2007 04:23 PM

Slashdot

Necessity of Dark Energy Questioned

ttnuagmada points us to an article about scientist David Wiltshire's suggestion that theorized dark energy is not needed to describe the expansion of the universe. His work challenges assumptions made about the distribution of matter in the universe. Early solutions to general relativity were based on a "smooth distribution" of matter. Wiltshire's approach focuses on a "lumpy" dispersal, which more accurately fits data from modern studies. We have discussed other theories about dark energy in the past. Quoting: "Through observational projects like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the 2 Degree Field survey, we now have a much better picture of the large-scale structure of the universe and we know that galaxies are not uniformly distributed. 'Rather, they are in clusters sprinkled thinly in filaments and "bubble walls" surrounding huge voids hundreds of millions of light-years across,' Wiltshire says.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

by Soulskill at December 29, 2007 04:21 PM

Engadget

Half of US households own a digital television

Filed under: , ,

We already learned that some 28-percent of US households were rocking at least one HDTV back in March, but now the Consumer Electronics Association has come forward with new figures showing that over half of American abodes are home to a digital television. According to revamped CEA projections, around 32 million DTV units will ship out next year, with 79-percent of those being HD sets. 'Course, the downside of this is that a good chunk of America still isn't prepared for the DTV cutover in 2009, but thanks to all the advertising that will likely be taking place over the next year and change, we'd say they've got plenty of time to get on board.

 

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by Darren Murph at December 29, 2007 04:09 PM

MAKE: Blog

Students unveil eco-product prototypes

Products-Sort-Enlarged
Neat selection of eco-product prototypes, pictured here, a solar powered bottle sorter -

The assignment was wide open: Design something based on the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle, and develop it into a prototype product. The results ranged from simple mechanical devices to complex electronic machines, but all served that central purpose in original ways.

To meet the challenge, seven teams of 18 students in this year's 2.009 Product Engineering Processes class, taught by David Wallace, came up with a wide variety of ingenious ideas, which they presented last week at a packed session attended by about 150 outside engineers and product developers.

Students unveil eco-product prototypes - [via] Link.

[Read this article] [Comment on this article]

December 29, 2007 04:00 PM

Treehugger

Nice Jugs and How to Milk Them for all They're Worth

stainless%20milk%20jug.jpgThis holiday season for sure you’ve had many guests and used lots of that sweet nectar of the cows – milk. We were looking into the impacts of milk jugs versus cartons and found an interesting study that goes a little against our typical idea of what is greener. This study on the Use Less Stuff website reports that plastic milk jugs have less overall environmental impacts than cartons or even PLA jugs. The study notes that milk jugs are recycled at a rate of 29%, but that also means that 71% are going to landfills. That’s a lot of high density polyethylene milk jugs sitting there that may never break dow...

December 29, 2007 03:57 PM

Slashdot

Jack Thompson Claiming Games Industry in Collusion with DoD

mytrip brings us a Wired blog about Jack Thompson's recent press release, which claims an "unholy alliance" exists between the gaming industry and the U.S. Department of Defense. Game Politics also has a discussion of Thompson's main points. From Wired: "Jim Blank, the head of the modeling and simulation division of the U.S. Joint Forces Command, says that commercial games don't meet the demand of the military, adding, 'first-person shooter games really don't apply in this environment.' Blank's point is that game-like simulations are a valuable tool for training soldiers in situations that would be too expensive to simulate in reality."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

by Soulskill at December 29, 2007 03:19 PM

Planet GNOME

Karl Lattimer: Prague Christmas Market




Prague Christmas Market

Originally uploaded by Karl Lattimer.

Well I’m back after spending Christmas in Prague, it was a great place to take a Christmas break, they have a market at Christmas time in the old town square, there you will find great hot dogs and spit roasted ham which are simply a superb substitute for tradition. Stuff the turkey!

Whilst there I met a couple from Holland and a pair of likely lasses from England and a couple of Auzzies who are living in the UK, we spent a couple of evenings drinking and a couple of days exploring, drinking included proper Budweiser, some local spirit I can’t remember the name of (it was that good), and Absinthe. Absinthe is a cruel and crude liquor, so I thought I’d bring a bottle of it back :)

I would definitely recommend Prague for a holiday, and especially at Christmas time although I stayed at the fairly remote Na Zamecku hotel which made it difficult to get into the old town we were fortunate to grab a lift by hitch hiking on the first night and also meandered our way through the Prague public transport system.

The Czech republic is however a little more expensive than I was led to believe, especially when drinking in the centre of old town. Although if you leave the square and cross the Charles bridge, turn left about 40 metres past McDonalds and make the first right you’ll stumble upon the St Nicholas cafe, with great pizza, great booze and rock ‘n’ roll music, all at local prices, not tourist prices.

Now I’m back, I’ve been committing more changes to gnome-system-monitor (some of which I wanted to do while I was away, however I forgot to take my id_dsa key), I’ll blog about this later when I’m ready to take my final screen shot of the graphs updates.

December 29, 2007 03:07 PM

Engadget

SNES CD development controller on eBay for a mint

Filed under: ,


Ah, eBay. Home to some of the rarest, most incredible devices known (and previously unknown) to man. On the docket today is a stupendously rare, unreleased development controller for use with the SNES CD dev kit. Yep, a unreleased controller for an unreleased system -- pretty much a collector's dream. Unfortunately, the controller alone won't do you very much good beyond hooking you up with unbelievable bragging rights, but unless you've got $2,999.99 (at least) to blow, the above picture is close as you'll get to this treasure.

[Via NintendoWiiFanboy]

 

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by Darren Murph at December 29, 2007 03:03 PM

Open Source, Linux News & Software - OSDir.com

Netscape Navigator Project Dies Feb 1 2008

December 29, 2007 02:47 PM

Slashdot

Solar Tree Bears Fruit

Hugh Pickens writes "A prototype solar tree that recently went on display on a busy street in Vienna, Austria has passed a key test by providing light during the night-time even when the sun had been blocked by clouds for four days in a row. The branches of the solar tree were decorated with 10 solar lamps, each one powered by 36 solar cells. The tree included rechargeable batteries and electronic systems to measure the amount of light in the atmosphere and trigger the solar lamps to go on. 'Not just trees but other objects could be decorated with solar cells and so keep streets well lit at night time,' said Christina Werner from Cultural Project Management. Google uses a similar concept to light their parking lots with 3,000 solar panels that provide up to 10 percent of the Googleplex's power demand. We discussed Google's solar initiative last year."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

by Soulskill at December 29, 2007 02:22 PM

Treehugger

Tesla: Where Are the Keys to the Promised E-Car?

keys_to_tesla2.jpg Tesla Chairman of the Board Elon Musk and the new CEO Ze'ev Drori are doing damage control. After intense Q&A at the first ever Tesla townhall meeting, both have published a year-end missive reaching out to the masses of dreamers and believers that have followed Tesla from inspiring announcements and exciting rides through slipping schedules and

December 29, 2007 02:00 PM

Engadget

USB flash drive payment system hits South Korea

Filed under:


We've definitely seen some outlandish attempts at improving or outright replacing the humble credit card, but South Koreans will soon be able pay for purchases using the most easy-to-lose system we've seen yet -- by inserting a special USB flash drive into a slot. The system, which is being rolled out by Shinhan Card and VIsa, also lets users pay for online purchases by sticking the drive into their computers' USB ports, and Shinhan is also rolling out new terminals that will enable contactless payments using the device as well. Of course, the drive itself is locked down tighter than a drum, but we still aren't convinced a bulky flash drive is a better option than phone-based or biometric payment systems.

[Via The Raw Feed]

 

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by Nilay Patel at December 29, 2007 01:56 PM

Planet GNOME

Scott James Remnant: More circuits

My weather karma seems to have gone the wrong way. During the summer, when it was pouring with rain and nobody was flying due to the weather, I didn’t have a single cancellation. Now the winter’s arrived, which I was told often produces some wonderfully clear (albeit cold) days, I’ve had such a long string of cancellations that it’s now been six weeks since I last went flying!

That means that in twelve weeks I had just one booking that went ahead for a double lesson when I started in the circuit. It was inevitable that I was going to be somewhat rusty this time out in the air, and somewhat “behind the aircraft”.

Had another curve-ball as well, there was a pretty strong wind today blowing across the main runway so we’d be using the much shorter cross-wind Runway 23. So today I would be flying a different circuit than last time, in a different direction onto a shorter runway.

I think it’s fair to say that almost all of my landings weren’t exactly greasers, except for the one that for some reason I got almost exactly right. A couple of silly mistakes along the way didn’t help either, but in general I got most things right and just had some issues with the approach — difficult on this runway anyway, and the flare. Practice will sort both of those out.

In the time since the last flight, I’d bought a simple GPS unit (Locosys GT-11) so I could record the track of where I’ve flown. Here’s the track of today’s flying:

20071227-circuit.png

P/UT Hours Today 0:45, Total 11:35

December 29, 2007 01:47 PM

Treehugger

A Green Mayor for Tel Aviv?

yossi%20sarid.jpgTel Aviv is not London. While London mayor Ken Livingstone has adopted and energetically pursued a green agenda in his city, Tel Aviv has yet to experience an environmentally progressive administration. However, rumor has it that one such ticket is in the works for next year's elections - a former Minister of the Environment named Yossi Sarid is reportedly considering making a bid for the office. Local newspapers have been abuzz in recent weeks with speculation that Sarid may run for mayor in next fall's elections. Polls have put his support at almost fifty percent, despite t...

December 29, 2007 01:24 PM

Slashdot

Florida Election Ballots to be Printed On-Demand

davidwr writes "The St. Petersburg, FL, Times reports that Florida is going back to paper ballots, but with a twist. They are printing the ballots on-demand, right there at the polling booth. This isn't machine-assisted voting where a touch-screen fills in your printed ballot for you. It's just a way to save printing costs and reduce paper waste. 'Without ballot on demand, poll workers at 13 early Hillsborough voting sites would need to stockpile stacks of every possible ballot type. With ballot on demand, poll workers can print out a person's distinct ballot type when he or she arrives to vote.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

by Zonk at December 29, 2007 01:20 PM

Barrapunto

AOL da por finalizado el desarrollo de Netscape

acortiz nos cuenta: «Leo en The Inquirer y en la BBC que AOL ha cancelado oficialmente el desarrollo de Netscape Navigator. Aunque todavía se podrán descargar versiones archivadas para nostálgicos, esto significa el punto final en la aventura de AOL para revivir a un viejo titán, el primer navegador web comercial, cuya vida en este súper cafeinado mundo TI ha alcanzado apenas 15 años.»

by Yonderboy at December 29, 2007 01:12 PM

Monologue

Chris Toshok: back on December 13th?

I sent this mail around to some pals. Note the upbeat nature of the mail.  I figured I was in for an easy week.  Boy was I wrong From: Chris Toshok Date: Dec 13, 2007 3:16 PM Subject: toshok does ucsf To: … Hey all, I’d be posting this to my blog but it appears the blog machine didn’t come [...]

December 29, 2007 12:25 PM

IFTF's Future Now

links for 2007-12-29

by IFTF at December 29, 2007 12:17 PM

Engadget

Sega Toys Brain Checker keeps you on your toes

Filed under:

Though we don't believe this to be one of those "mind-controlled tech toys" Sega Toys was working on, it's pretty evident that it will give your mind a workout. From what we can tell, the Brain Checker is a standalone gizmo designed to stretch your mental muscles with a myriad puzzles, but most everything beyond that is lost in translation. We do know, however, that it can be had in Japan for around ¥5,775 ($51), but who knows if it'll make it's way to any other corners of the globe.

[Via Technabob]

 

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by Darren Murph at December 29, 2007 12:15 PM

Treehugger

Fossil Fabrics Are Sexy - Like Self-Destructing Celebrities

gamma_mx_hoody.jpgFor the several young people on my gift list, this year's must-have brand in outer wear was The North Face. A fast ascent through REI, EMS, & Dick's rapidly made it obvious why North Face is considered "hot." I too was tempted to try on North Face's light weight jackets. Nice stuff. Having passed my teen years in the US' "counter culture" era, I still find the "billboarding" of clothing items, a branding practice common to many sport-wear makers, to be completely unacceptable. But, for young people who have grown up with large corporate logos and brand names on nearly everything, including underwear, I could see wh...

December 29, 2007 12:09 PM

Boing Boing

Mountain of puzzle-pieces


Today in my ongoing series of photos from my travels: an enormous mountain of assorted puzzle pieces, from the entranceway to the main hall for this year's Picnic conference in Amsterdam. Link

by Cory Doctorow at December 29, 2007 11:37 AM

Flying Spaghetti Monster cookies!


Show your religious fervor by baking Flying Spaghetti Monster cookies this year! Link (via Plasticbag)

by Cory Doctorow at December 29, 2007 11:36 AM

Hello Kitty for men

Sanrio is launching a line of Hello Kitty stuff for men. Wait, those little pencil-boxes weren't unisex?


An Sanrio Co. employee shows Hello Kitty products targeted at young men at the company's headquarters in Tokyo Friday, Dec. 28, 2007. The cuddly white cat, usually seen on toys and jewelry for young females, will soon adorn T-shirts, bags, watches and other products targeting young men, company spokesman Kazuo Tohmatsu said Friday. The feline for-men products will go on sale in Japan next month, and will be sold soon in the U.S. and other Asian nations, according to Sanrio. (AP Photo)
Link (via Tokyo Mango)

by Cory Doctorow at December 29, 2007 11:32 AM

Irreverant Disneyland insider tees


An anonymous ex-Disneyland cast-member is selling irreverent, insider-jokey t-shirts (good looking ones, too!) under the naughty name of "Cryogenically Frozen." Link (via The Disney Blog)

by Cory Doctorow at December 29, 2007 11:29 AM

Planet GNOME

Leonardo Ferreira Fontenelle: First name, last name around the world

I’d like to quickly mention this article on internationalization of people names:

People who create web forms, databases, or ontologies in English-speaking countries are often unaware how different people’s names can be in other countries. They build their forms or databases in a way that assumes too much on the part of foreign users.

I’m going to explore some of the potential issues in a series of blog posts.

So far there are only two articles, but reading is already interesting enough. The first article, for example, demonstrates how the “first name, last name” doesn’t work in many countries. Brazilian Orkut users know that well: the lack of a middle name features makes it hard to find people.

Then the author list a series of Wikipedia articles on the structure of people names in many cultures. Have I ever said Wikipedia always surprises me? The article on Portuguese names (written in English) is great, for example.

Share! [digg] [delicious] [magnolia] [google]

December 29, 2007 11:24 AM

Slashdot

New Jersey Bars Sex Offenders From the Internet

eldavojohn writes "New Jersey just passed legislation making it illegal for sex offenders to use the internet. NJ congresswoman Linda D. Greenstein said, 'When Megan's Law was enacted, few could envision a day when a sex offender hiding behind a fake screen name would be a mouse-click away from new and unwitting victims. Sex offenders cannot be given an opportunity to abuse the anonymity the Internet can provide as a means of opening a door to countless new potential victims.' While they still can search for jobs, this is a major expansion over the prior legislation which barred them from social networking sites like facebook or myspace."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

by Zonk at December 29, 2007 11:22 AM

we make money not art

Book review: Hyper-Border: The Contemporary U.S.-Mexico Border and Its Future

0ahuperborboo.jpgHyper-Border: The Contemporary U.S.-Mexico Border and Its Future, by architect Fernando Romero (Amazon)

Publisher Princeton Architectural Press says: Roving vigilantes, fear-mongering politicians, hysterical pundits, and the looming shadow of a 700-mile-long fence: the U.S.–Mexico border is one of the most complex and dynamic areas on the planet today. With more than one million daily crossings, the border has increasingly has become a hotbed for debate. But too often its complexities are viewed through the myopic lens of illegal immigration, ignoring a multitude of other critical issues that include health, the environment, drug trafficking, free trade, and post-9/11 security.
0atijuannna2.jpg
Hyperborder provides the most nuanced portrait yet of this dynamic region. Author Fernando Romero presents a multidisciplinary perspective informed by interviews with numerous academics, researchers, and organizations. He begins by examining issues faced by other border regions including those dividing North and South Korea and Israel and Palestine. A brief summary of the U.S.–Mexico border's recent history provides a much-needed context for a detailed portrait of the many unique issues the two countries face today. Romero uses current economic, political, social, and environmental trends to project potential scenarios–both positive and negative–for the border at the midway mark of the twenty-first century. Provocatively designed in the style of other kinetic large-scale studies like Rem Koolhaas's Content and Bruce Mau's Massive Change, Hyperborder is an exhaustively researched report from the front lines of the border debate. Nonpartisan in its politics and tackling issues from both U.S. and Mexican perspectives, this book is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand–and find solutions for–the many intertwined issues that define this complex region of the world, and others like it.

This is probably THE book i needed to read. I'm facinated by border issues and in particular with the US/Mexico one. The author claims to be nonpartisan, i don't know how one can stay neutral when you know that the border is the only one in the world where a developing country is stuck right next to a superpower. Still, there's no villains and victims in the book, it's much more complex than that. Romero does a fantastic job at lining up facts and figures to help us clear up our mind on the issue. The amount of research he had to do to present the various aspects of the issue is daunting: from narcotraffic to education, from health to tourism or security.

0aadulcepinz.jpg
Image from Dulce Pinzón, The Real Story of Superheroes

First chapter is illuminating. It gives an overview of the variety of borders from around the world, highlighting the type of issue that that particular area has to overcome or has solved and how. Which puts the Mexico/US border in a new light: Could the border become as strictly fortified as the North Korea / South Korea border? Could we imagine that Mexicans and Americans could adopt a collaborative model somewhat similar to the Regio TriRhena where 3 country (France, Germany and Switzerland) administrate jointly a unique "home airport", called EuroAirport. Could the way narcotraffic has been almost controlled in the border region where Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet be an inspiration for Mexico and the US?

0aabrincooos9.jpg
Judi Werthein's Brincos, trainers "hacked for border crossing

On the other hand, tactics piloted along the border could potentially be implemented as models for other areas in the world.

The one thing i wasn't too keen on in the book are the many data visualization maps and graphics. I do welcome them but some are much more stylish than easily readable.

Hyper-border manages to demonstrate clearly the state of interdependence between the two countries: Mexico's economy relies on remittances, while the US need Mexican undocumented cheap labour force. Besides, the reciprocal nature of the 14 sister cities who face similar problems (pollution,disease, water supply, etc.) and the steady exchange of goods and people across the border ensures that the bounds are not to weaken.

0aamunitmnem4.jpg
Brett Huneycutt, Victoria Criado and Rudy Adler's Border Film Project

Another of Hyper-Border's strength are the "future scenarios" proposed along the various chapters. They highlight the possible consequences that may happen if progressive and well-informed action is not taken now, they shed light on impacts that today's decisions could have in the (more or less) long term. Some of them are encouraging and optimistic, others are downright scary. And although one might not always agree with them (or desire to even consider that some scenario could one come true), they have the effect of inviting the readers to reflect, and do more with their brain than just sit there sipping the information.

The book is packed with superlatives because that what best describes the region. So instead of writing the long and enthusiastic review that this book deserves (or maybe i should just write "Get it! It's an awesome book" and just shut up?), i'll just list some of the most striking sentences i read in Hyperborders. They might seem drastic and dramatic, given a bit out of context as they are but in his book Romero justifies the superlatives with facts, references and figures.

(p.76) At present there are more American border patrol agents than soldiers in Afghanistan.

(p.85) In Arizona alone, within six months of the Minutemen's founding in 2005, at least 18 anti-immigrant bills were introduced to the state legislature.

(p.90) The Mexican side of the US-Mexico border is currently the most dangerous place in Latin American to work as a journalist.

(p.106) In 2004, remittances to Mexico equaled $16.6 billion, in 2005 they reached $20 billion and in 2006 they rose higher to $24 billion becoming the second source of US dollars after oil exports.

Continue reading...

December 29, 2007 11:20 AM

MAKE: Blog

DIY Picaxe toothbrush timer

Picaxe Toothbrush 1
Chipwich writes -

We built a beeping flashing toothbrush timer like the one on the Philips SoniCare toothbrush for just a few dollars and plenty of experience and fun.
DIY Picaxe toothbrush timer - Link.

[Read this article] [Comment on this article]

December 29, 2007 11:00 AM

Diamond iPhone adds bling to your conversations

diamond-apple-iphone.jpg

This diamond iPhone was made with 420 cut diamonds and sports a total of 5.65 carats. Pretty crazy way to embellish technology that might be getting a major upgrade in the months ahead. We just wonder how many iPhones could be bought for the amount the diamonds are worth.

Amosu Luxury and Customised Mobile Phones - Link, [via]

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December 29, 2007 11:00 AM

Barrapunto

50 años con Fortran

Alginros nos cuenta: «Hace muchos años, cuando programar las máquinas que facilitaban el cálculo de científicos era un auténtico latazo, surgió la idea de crear un lenguaje que fuera más sencillo de comprender. De más alto nivel. Por ello,en 1954 un equipo de investigadores de IBM al frente de John Backus se lanzaron a la creación de Fortran y crearon el primer lenguaje de alto nivel. Con motivo de este 50 aniversario, he querido hacer un pequeño homenaje en mi blog que rememore este importante hecho para la computación. Supuso un antes y un después en los lenguajes de programación y por ello se merece todo nuesto respeto.» Recordemos que este año murió John Backus, su creador.

by Yonderboy at December 29, 2007 10:54 AM

Publicada la LISI

El Boletín Oficial del Estado publica hoy la Ley de Medidas de Impulso de la Sociedad de la Información (PDF), también conocida por LISI, que ha sido objeto de un amplio debate en la Red. La ley entrará en vigor de forma inmediata, salvo en lo relativo a: Las obligaciones de información sobre seguridad, que entrarán en vigor a los tres meses de la publicación en el BOE. La obligación de disponer de un medio de interlocución telemática para la prestación de servicios al público de especial trascendencia económica, que entrará en vigor a los doce meses. La posibilidad de sancionar con a arreglo a la LOPD determinados incumplimientos de la Ley de ordenación del comercio minorista.

by Escrow (posted by Yonderboy) at December 29, 2007 10:28 AM

Engadget

Tata Motors' $2,500 1-Lakh car gets detailed

Filed under:

Remember that uber-cheap, almost entirely plastic car that India's Tata Motors was working up? Turns out, the still codenamed 1-Lakh automobile is expected to launch in mid-2008 and get around 15 miles-per-liter, which should give the Maruti 800 some serious competition in the budget car arena. According to R. A. Mashelkar, a nonexecutive director on Tata Motors' board, it should provide ample room in "both the front and rear" for a six-foot individual, and he also noted that a "new kind of welding" would be used instead of bolts in a variety of locations on the motorcar. Still, there's just something about the idea of riding in a brand new $2,500 vehicle that doesn't sit well with us -- probably something to do with the dearth of safety features, but who knows.

 

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by Darren Murph at December 29, 2007 10:22 AM

Treehugger

Jeremy Leggett: Why Greed May Bring New Growth for Renewables

Jeremy%20Leggett%20Greed.jpg Jeremy%20Leggett%20Greed%202.jpgJeremy Leggett, CEO of UK-based Solarcentury (makers of the C21e complete solar tile, pictured above), is becoming somewhat of a regular on TreeHugger. We’ve written about his appearance on CNN International’s Principal Voices, we’ve covered his views on peak oil and agriculture,

December 29, 2007 09:06 AM

Engadget

iPhone firmware 1.1.3 leaked?

Filed under:


Looks like there may have been a possible leak of the next version of Apple's iPhone firmware, 1.1.3. According to Gear Live, it can now handle SMS to multiple recipients, the springboard (home screen) supports reordered icons and pagination (as well as web bookmarks), and Google maps gets hybrid view and that nifty cell-based location system. If this is all Steve plans to announce iPhone-wise at Macworld next month, we think there will be more than a few disappointed iPhone users out there. Then again, home screen pagination would kind of imply an SDK to make use of all those slots, so maybe the real news is under the hood.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

 

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by Ryan Block at December 29, 2007 09:03 AM

Planet GStreamer

Jono Bacon: 2007 in Review, 2008 on the Drawing Board

So here we are, drawing 2007 to a close, and what a year it has been! Understatement of the century.

I think 2007 has possibly been the most turbulent year of my life, filled with its share of good and bad times, and a year in which I have felt a great degree of personal growth. Around this time of mince pies and glorious overeating, I think its always important to evaluate the past year, and flesh out some core plans and changes. I did this last year, and found it pretty useful - I would love to see other people’s year in review, and have seen a few already.

Open Source and Projects

2007 has been a stunning year for Open Source - the machine continues to get sleeker, smoother, and is rampaging on in its mission to kick arse and take names. Irrespective of competition, distributions, companies and brands, I think 2007 has been an excellent year for the core ideal and ethos of Open Source and Free Software. We have seen growth, acceptance, successes and a continuation of form that sees our world blur into the wider world, while retaining our core principles and ideals.

It has also been a great year for Ubuntu. This is my first full year working at Canonical, and it has been a joy to not only see the growth in the community but a growth in the business impact of Ubuntu and the technology continue to grow, mature and refine. I am really pleased to see more and more OEMs shipping with Ubuntu, and I have been chuffed to bits to see the community evolve, and our processes scale when the crunch is on. We still have lots of work to do, but we are getting there, and boy do we have a great community to help us all get there together. There has not been a day pass by when I haven’t felt privileged to work with such an inspiring group of contributors.

What a year for a LugRadio too! Two new presenters was enough of an upheaval in the LugRadio camp, but we also realised that Season 5 was going to be make or break for the show and fundamental to its future. Four years in, we knew that we need to constantly move and change to keep the show fun, interesting, educational and irreverent - four years of the same approximate formula can get old, and we never want this to happen. Season 5 has involved a lot more work, but it seems the LugRadio fans are enjoying it, and this makes us happy, so much so that we regularly celebrate with beer and kebabs. :P This year has also seen LugRadio Live grow - we held the 2007 event which was was a great success, and plans are afoot for LugRadio Live 2008 UK, and the new addition to the LugRadio Live family, LugRadio Live 2008 USA which will take place in San Francisco. We are looking forward to both events, and are all prepared for the oodles amount of work that they will entail.

Music

2007 has been a difficult year music wise. Seraphidian has been a slow moving machine with the departure of our drummer, and I have taken over the reigns of drummer and we have sourced a new singer, Chris. We have written a stack of new material, which we are hugely proud of, but this has taken time to write, and we are looking forward to getting out gigging in January with the new line-up. I have personally found the new role of drummer in the band to be a pretty taxing and physically demanding goal - Jon set a high bar to match. This has mean’t lots of rehearsals, working out to get my legs and arms fit enough, and working hard to get the speed, stability and finesse of my playing up to scratch. I am getting there, but I am not at the end of the road yet.

The Big Red Recording was another key musical event this year, and was a fun but hugely exhausting challenge to meet, far more exhausting than I expected. I remember when I was mixing the tracks, I had been awake for two days solid and was falling asleep at the desk. It was however, an incredibly worthwhile experience, and I am proud of the end result. I am also proud of everyone who donated and contributed to the £1200+ final wad of cash for charity.

Recreant View, my solo music project has seen a stack of tunes added, but in the tail end of this year I have not added so many songs. This is largely because I am the process of writing my first solo metal album, and it is taking time, I want this one to really impress - I don’t expect to start recording until February or March in 2008.

Work

2007 has been an insane year (good insane, like Keith Richards, not bad insane like Fred West) for work at Canonical and with the Ubuntu community. I am still really enjoying my role, and I get up every day and look forward to going to work, which I feel is a real privilege.

This year saw a lot of travel - over to Sydney, Porto Alegre, Los Angeles, Portugal, Boston, Oregon, Limerick, Berlin, Hannover, London, Seville, San Francisco and various other places. It has been great fun travelling and meeting so many people, and I am really pleased with the success of How To Herd Cats And Influence People. Looking forward to getting back out on the road in 2008 to meet a bunch of people, talk about Ubuntu, make connections and of course, quaff some local brews in the evenings.

This year also saw me more formally become a manager and have two people working for me - Daniel Holbach and Jorge Castro. I couldn’t wish for a better team, and it has been a change for us all - Daniel moving to the community team, Jorge starting a new role and me becoming a manager for the first time. Becoming a manager is a pretty ominous prospect and there are a great many ways of approaching management - different styles, techniques, methods of application and other theories. Bombarded with so many options, I figured it is best to just be myself, and the team has found a comfortable balance in working together. I have also been more deeply embedded in the engineering side of Canonical with the developers who work on Ubuntu; this has helped my team become better clued into the development aspects of Ubuntu as well as the pure community processes.

Canonical is an excellent place to work, filled with smart, inspiring, clueful people, and our growth has been huge in the last year. It is a tough working environment at times with so much going on at one time, and everyone has developed a pretty high bandwidth for managing so much at any one time, but it is a satisfying and engaging place to work, and I look forward to riding into 2008 with Canonical paying my salary that funds my exuberant life of over-indulgence and excess. :)

Personal

2007 has been a tough year in my personal life. As some of you will know, back in March I split up with my girlfriend of 11 years, and this brought about many different changes. Fortunately, Sooz and I have a very amicable relationship, we are still very good friends, and we share our two little miniature sausage dogs, Frankie and Pepper. It has been an interesting time becoming single again, considering I was last single when I was 16. This brings about all kinds of things - getting used to living by yourself, doing your own chores, getting into the swing of a new social life, meeting new people etc. It has been tough, I am not going to deny it, and there has been many dark moments in 2007. Luckily, I have an incredible family, and stunning friends and colleagues who have helped me over the obstacles, and this is where I have felt the personal growth I mentioned at the start of this post - stepping through your fears and coming out the other side with your head held high does wonders for thickening your skin and solidifying your philosophy of life.

2008

With 2007 pretty much out of the door, it is time to look forward to 2008. I am generally not one for new years resolutions, but I do have a few things I want to focus on:

So there we have it, 2007 covered and 2008 planned. Much of the reasoning behind these thoughts and overt ramblings is basically to avoid possibly my biggest fear in life; when I am an old man, sat in a large chair in front of the staring window, possibly having lost the control of my bladder, the one thing I want to comfort me through my final years is the thought that I gave life a pretty good crack of the whip and that I experienced it and did it right. The last thing I want to feel is that I wished I had done this and that. Regrets about bad decisions are fine, but I don’t want to feel I wasted my time on this earth, and this does not just apply to career ambitions, but the whole gamut - career, different experiences, love, family, friends, ambitions, fun etc. I think much of this can be evaluated by stories - each amusing and interesting little story you have to tell is an experience and a memory, and it is this patchwork of stories that signifies to me that things are going to plan. So, onto 2008 and lets see where the road takes us all…

December 29, 2007 09:01 AM

Planet GNOME

Jono Bacon: 2007 in Review, 2008 on the Drawing Board

So here we are, drawing 2007 to a close, and what a year it has been! Understatement of the century.

I think 2007 has possibly been the most turbulent year of my life, filled with its share of good and bad times, and a year in which I have felt a great degree of personal growth. Around this time of mince pies and glorious overeating, I think its always important to evaluate the past year, and flesh out some core plans and changes. I did this last year, and found it pretty useful - I would love to see other people’s year in review, and have seen a few already.

Open Source and Projects

2007 has been a stunning year for Open Source - the machine continues to get sleeker, smoother, and is rampaging on in its mission to kick arse and take names. Irrespective of competition, distributions, companies and brands, I think 2007 has been an excellent year for the core ideal and ethos of Open Source and Free Software. We have seen growth, acceptance, successes and a continuation of form that sees our world blur into the wider world, while retaining our core principles and ideals.

It has also been a great year for Ubuntu. This is my first full year working at Canonical, and it has been a joy to not only see the growth in the community but a growth in the business impact of Ubuntu and the technology continue to grow, mature and refine. I am really pleased to see more and more OEMs shipping with Ubuntu, and I have been chuffed to bits to see the community evolve, and our processes scale when the crunch is on. We still have lots of work to do, but we are getting there, and boy do we have a great community to help us all get there together. There has not been a day pass by when I haven’t felt privileged to work with such an inspiring group of contributors.

What a year for a LugRadio too! Two new presenters was enough of an upheaval in the LugRadio camp, but we also realised that Season 5 was going to be make or break for the show and fundamental to its future. Four years in, we knew that we need to constantly move and change to keep the show fun, interesting, educational and irreverent - four years of the same approximate formula can get old, and we never want this to happen. Season 5 has involved a lot more work, but it seems the LugRadio fans are enjoying it, and this makes us happy, so much so that we regularly celebrate with beer and kebabs. :P This year has also seen LugRadio Live grow - we held the 2007 event which was was a great success, and plans are afoot for LugRadio Live 2008 UK, and the new addition to the LugRadio Live family, LugRadio Live 2008 USA which will take place in San Francisco. We are looking forward to both events, and are all prepared for the oodles amount of work that they will entail.

Music

2007 has been a difficult year music wise. Seraphidian has been a slow moving machine with the departure of our drummer, and I have taken over the reigns of drummer and we have sourced a new singer, Chris. We have written a stack of new material, which we are hugely proud of, but this has taken time to write, and we are looking forward to getting out gigging in January with the new line-up. I have personally found the new role of drummer in the band to be a pretty taxing and physically demanding goal - Jon set a high bar to match. This has mean’t lots of rehearsals, working out to get my legs and arms fit enough, and working hard to get the speed, stability and finesse of my playing up to scratch. I am getting there, but I am not at the end of the road yet.

The Big Red Recording was another key musical event this year, and was a fun but hugely exhausting challenge to meet, far more exhausting than I expected. I remember when I was mixing the tracks, I had been awake for two days solid and was falling asleep at the desk. It was however, an incredibly worthwhile experience, and I am proud of the end result. I am also proud of everyone who donated and contributed to the £1200+ final wad of cash for charity.

Recreant View, my solo music project has seen a stack of tunes added, but in the tail end of this year I have not added so many songs. This is largely because I am the process of writing my first solo metal album, and it is taking time, I want this one to really impress - I don’t expect to start recording until February or March in 2008.

Work

2007 has been an insane year (good insane, like Keith Richards, not bad insane like Fred West) for work at Canonical and with the Ubuntu community. I am still really enjoying my role, and I get up every day and look forward to going to work, which I feel is a real privilege.

This year saw a lot of travel - over to Sydney, Porto Alegre, Los Angeles, Portugal, Boston, Oregon, Limerick, Berlin, Hannover, London, Seville, San Francisco and various other places. It has been great fun travelling and meeting so many people, and I am really pleased with the success of How To Herd Cats And Influence People. Looking forward to getting back out on the road in 2008 to meet a bunch of people, talk about Ubuntu, make connections and of course, quaff some local brews in the evenings.

This year also saw me more formally become a manager and have two people working for me - Daniel Holbach and Jorge Castro. I couldn’t wish for a better team, and it has been a change for us all - Daniel moving to the community team, Jorge starting a new role and me becoming a manager for the first time. Becoming a manager is a pretty ominous prospect and there are a great many ways of approaching management - different styles, techniques, methods of application and other theories. Bombarded with so many options, I figured it is best to just be myself, and the team has found a comfortable balance in working together. I have also been more deeply embedded in the engineering side of Canonical with the developers who work on Ubuntu; this has helped my team become better clued into the development aspects of Ubuntu as well as the pure community processes.

Canonical is an excellent place to work, filled with smart, inspiring, clueful people, and our growth has been huge in the last year. It is a tough working environment at times with so much going on at one time, and everyone has developed a pretty high bandwidth for managing so much at any one time, but it is a satisfying and engaging place to work, and I look forward to riding into 2008 with Canonical paying my salary that funds my exuberant life of over-indulgence and excess. :)

Personal

2007 has been a tough year in my personal life. As some of you will know, back in March I split up with my girlfriend of 11 years, and this brought about many different changes. Fortunately, Sooz and I have a very amicable relationship, we are still very good friends, and we share our two little miniature sausage dogs, Frankie and Pepper. It has been an interesting time becoming single again, considering I was last single when I was 16. This brings about all kinds of things - getting used to living by yourself, doing your own chores, getting into the swing of a new social life, meeting new people etc. It has been tough, I am not going to deny it, and there has been many dark moments in 2007. Luckily, I have an incredible family, and stunning friends and colleagues who have helped me over the obstacles, and this is where I have felt the personal growth I mentioned at the start of this post - stepping through your fears and coming out the other side with your head held high does wonders for thickening your skin and solidifying your philosophy of life.

2008

With 2007 pretty much out of the door, it is time to look forward to 2008. I am generally not one for new years resolutions, but I do have a few things I want to focus on:

So there we have it, 2007 covered and 2008 planned. Much of the reasoning behind these thoughts and overt ramblings is basically to avoid possibly my biggest fear in life; when I am an old man, sat in a large chair in front of the staring window, possibly having lost the control of my bladder, the one thing I want to comfort me through my final years is the thought that I gave life a pretty good crack of the whip and that I experienced it and did it right. The last thing I want to feel is that I wished I had done this and that. Regrets about bad decisions are fine, but I don’t want to feel I wasted my time on this earth, and this does not just apply to career ambitions, but the whole gamut - career, different experiences, love, family, friends, ambitions, fun etc. I think much of this can be evaluated by stories - each amusing and interesting little story you have to tell is an experience and a memory, and it is this patchwork of stories that signifies to me that things are going to plan. So, onto 2008 and lets see where the road takes us all…

December 29, 2007 09:01 AM

Treehugger

Thousands of U.S. Schools, Colleges, and Universities Set for Teach-In to Focus Nation on Global Warming

ap_global_warming.jpg As the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Ramachandra Pauchauri puts it, “What we do in the next two or three years will determine the future of our planet.” And in an effort to mobilize the nation to act before it is too late, an environmental education group, Focus the Nation, is asking schools, colleges and universities across America to set aside January 31 as a day to focus on global warming solutions for the country. The nationwide event kicks off the evening of January 30th with an interactive web-cast titled the 2% Solution. With the 31st being the national teach-in. ...

December 29, 2007 08:59 AM

Inventor Sacrifices Family, Personal Fortune in Bid to Cut Carbon Emissions, Help World's Poor

468_inventor%2520nunez%2520climate%2520change.jpg If you’ve ever wondered like I have about the actual value of a piece of advice given to you by a friend long ago, you might be intrigued to discover that I recently found out that a good friend of mine’s dad once gave me advice worth my wife, family and approximately $2.5 million. How do I know? Well, apparently that’s the price that a professor, inventor, and scientist named Rene Nunez Suarez paid to figure out precisely what my friend’s dad told me almost a decade ago while sitting in his den late one night when I was still in college; “Charity begins at home.” ...

December 29, 2007 08:40 AM

Un Planeta HispaLinux

José María Mateos: Patada al dinosaurio

Mucho se ha hablado se la huelga de guionistas en Estados Unidos. Un resumen rápido para los que no hayan oído hablar del asunto: la gente que escribe las historias de prácticamente cualquier cosa que se estrena en los estates, desde capítulos de series de veinte minutos hasta películas enteras, pasando por los famosos late night shows, está en huelga de lápices caídos por el simple motivo de que nuevos modelos de negocio han ido apareciendo y ellos no están viendo ni un céntimo de los ingresos que se generan por esas vías, o están percibiendo una fracción ridículamente pequeña (vídeo explicativo aquí). Un par de artículos para entender mejor el asunto me llegan a través del pianista: Pencils down y Why writers get residuals.

Cuando empezó todo este asunto, pensé que los guionistas podían, en lugar de ponerse en huelga, meterse en sus propios negocios por su cuenta: todo el mundo tiene internet, el canal de distribución está al alcance de todo el que sepa hacer la “O” con un canuto y no es necesario pasar por un gran estudio para hacer muchos de los productos que se ven hoy en día (y aclaro: es la opinión de un profano del mundillo. Lo mismo la cantidad de pasta que echa un gran estudio no se puede conseguir por otros medios, o es muy difícil).

Ahora resulta que van a hacer precisamente esto, o lo mismo es un farol: Hollywood writers threaten internet breakaway.

Leading film and TV writers, accompanied by actors, directors and Silicon Valley investors, are poised to announce the creation of new ventures aimed at bypassing the studios.

“It’s a whole new model to bring content directly to the masses,” said screenwriter Aaron Mendelsohn. “We’re gathering together a team of A-list TV and film writers, along with their A-list equivalent from Silicon Valley.”

Mendelsohn is not alone. Seven groups are thought to be working on forming companies to challenge the dominance of the studios. The new companies plan to create programmes and films and distribute them on the internet, circumventing the old model of big studios owned by even bigger parent companies churning out content and controlling when and where it is seen.

[…]

The notion of the creatives taking control of the means of production is not a new one to Hollywood. United Artists started, as its name suggests, as just that: an effort by Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, DW Griffith and Douglas Fairbanks. But that ended in rancour and disorganisation, and the vision was eventually swallowed up by a series of corporate mergers.

Sería bonito, ¿se lo imaginan? Los grandes reductos del entretenimiento del siglo pasado, a fuerza de aferrarse a sus modelos de negocio caducos, van desapareciendo poco a poco, como el diplodocus que se hunde en el pozo de brea…

by RinzeWind at December 29, 2007 08:33 AM

Engadget

Netscape finally bows out, browsers no longer supported

Filed under:


Although Netscape was once a mighty pioneer in the world of internet browsers, it didn't take long for Microsoft's Internet Explorer to overtake it and squash its dreams of market dominance. Granted, we highly (and we stress "highly") doubt any viewers reading this now are relying on Netscape Navigator as their primary browser, but seeing it finally bow out is a bit surreal. According to a post on the Netscape Blog, support (and subsequent updates) for it will no longer be provided by AOL (disclosure: AOL is our parent company's parent) after February 1, 2008. Sure, old versions will still be available for those who just hate to move on, but the team is suggesting that any remaining Netscape users (a show of hands, anyone?) make the leap to Firefox, and they even point you in the direction of a Netscape theme should you find yourself uncomfortable with change. Rest in peace, dear Netscape -- it's about time that last heap of dirt was finally flung.

[Via BlogRunner]

 

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by Darren Murph at December 29, 2007 08:09 AM

MAKE: Blog

PVC laptop stand

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Cheap and easy laptop stand made from PVC - Link.

[Read this article] [Comment on this article]

December 29, 2007 08:00 AM

Engadget

Virtual doormen becoming more ubiquitous

Filed under:

Amazingly enough, virtual doormen aren't exactly new, but it seems that they're becoming entirely more ubiquitous (and accepted) in today's society. Increasingly, more and more apartment dwellers are coming home to voices in the wall rather than a physical life form, but virtual doormen can still let tenants into their room, allow deliveries to be made and keep disgruntled in-laws out. As you'd expect, these firms rely primarily on an internet connection, a webcam and a couple of microphones, and while typical services can range from "$10,000 to $70,000 for installation and $6,000 to $30,000 in annual maintenance," that still beats the $250,000 or so it would purportedly take for a small building to be staffed with full-time, on-site doormen. The next evolutionary step? Androids answering the buzz, and subsequent hacks to gain entry into any room you please.

[Via ChipChick]

 

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by Darren Murph at December 29, 2007 06:48 AM

Un Planeta HispaLinux

José María Mateos: Absurdistan (Gary Shteyngart)

AbsurdistanLeyendo la siguiente definición, podría parecer que se refiere a España:

Absurdistan is a term sometimes used to satirically describe a country in which absurdity is the norm, especially in its public authorities and government. The expression was originally used by Eastern bloc dissidents to refer to parts (or all) of the Soviet Union and its satellite states.

Este libro me lo dejó un compañero holandés del curro. Si te gusta el hip-hop, te gustará el libro, me dijo. En realidad nunca me ha atraído ese estilo musical, pero el título era inmediatamente atrayente.

La idea del judío blanco que pretende hablar y actuar como un negro del Bronx trae a la mente algunas imágenes del pasado (kosher o no, ese no es el asunto), pero aquí se lleva mucho más allá. Misha Borisocivh Vainberg vive en San Petersburgo pero sueña con volar a los Estados Unidos a reencontrarse con su novia, Rouenna. La salida del país no le está permitida porque su padre se cepilló a un pez gordo de Oklahoma y el INS les puso en la lista negra. Su única oportunidad de salir poco a poco del mundo en el que vive es comprarse un pasaporte belga, para lo que tendrá que viajar a Absurdistán, un país rico por sus reservas de petróleo pero que está al borde de la guerra civil entre dos etnias rivales cuyo principal motivo de discusión es hacia qué lado tiene que inclinarse el reposapiés de la cruz ortodoxa. A pesar de sus afinidades iniciales con los demócratas que quieren estabilizar el país, cuando la guerra inevitablemente estalla tiene que tomar partido por uno de los bandos arrastrado por una mujer.

Son poco más de trescientas páginas que se leen casi del tirón, con un estilo socarrón e irónico en el que los chistes no están marcados por risas de lata literarias ni por aclaraciones a pie de página. Los monólogos del señor Vainberg consigo mismo son una constante a lo largo de toda la historia (bombardeos de por medio incluidos) y algunas discusiones consigo mismo en las que por una parte quiere salir huyendo y por otra quiere convencerse de que debería hacer algo grande para acercarse a la imagen que tiene de su padre son impagables.

El resto del libro descansa sobre los hombros de los personajes que van saliendo esporádicamente aquí y allí, principalmente algunos viejos amigos de Misha y, sobre todo, varios miembros de la clase política de Absurdistán empeñados en poner el cazo de cualquier manera de forma que al final termine cayendo algo. ¿Ven como podría ser España?

by RinzeWind at December 29, 2007 06:00 AM

beatnikblog

Maintainer Woes

Overall, I’m a pretty terrible free software maintainer.

I don’t communicate well, and don’t plan or organize nearly enough. I disappear and get distracted. I get frustrated a lot, and don’t work on the nitty-gritty stuff. I make arbitrary design decisions that turn out flat wrong.

And I certainly don’t know what to do when things go awry, like they are with the Gimmie project and its upcoming 0.3 release.

I’m looking at a big mess of intractable changes, but important nonetheless: months of development work and iteration done by a couple awesome contributors still new to free software development (they learned Python just to contribute!).

Caused by a lack of oversight on my part and mixed with confusion over expectations on both sides, we’ve ended up with a divergent Gimmie codebase: the gimmie-dev branch.

Patches haven’t been created against the trunk code as I had hoped for, and now neither I nor the contributors know where to begin to merge the two.

Files have been moved around, chopped up and reassembled, all without VCS tracking. New design decisions made and code not explained. Portions rewritten on bad assumptions. Changes to both UI and framework that I don’t understand or necessarily agree with.

Somewhere in there is a plugin framework and a content categorization system I’d love to keep, and certainly many genuine bug fixes and good design changes.

But how to approach it? I titter between attempting to make discrete patches I can review and merge, trying to motivate the contributors to do it, and wanting to give up and rewrite it all from scratch.

Most importantly, I’m scared I’ll lose great contributors by making them feel unappreciated, or slowing them down with too much dirty work. Without new blood and motivation no free software project can live.

I’m sure other maintainers have been in a similar place. Can anyone offer advice on how to progress? What has worked for you in the past to get over difficult technical and social hurdles? How do you work to grow disciplined contributorship but still keep people happy?

by orph at December 29, 2007 05:59 AM

Planet GNOME

Alex Graveley: Maintainer Woes

Overall, I’m a pretty terrible free software maintainer.

I don’t communicate well, and don’t plan or organize nearly enough. I disappear and get distracted. I get frustrated a lot, and don’t work on the nitty-gritty stuff. I make arbitrary design decisions that turn out flat wrong.

And I certainly don’t know what to do when things go awry, like they are with the Gimmie project and its upcoming 0.3 release.

I’m looking at a big mess of intractable changes, but important nonetheless: months of development work and iteration done by a couple awesome contributors still new to free software development (they learned Python just to contribute!).

Caused by a lack of oversight on my part and mixed with confusion over expectations on both sides, we’ve ended up with a divergent Gimmie codebase: the gimmie-dev branch.

Patches haven’t been created against the trunk code as I had hoped for, and now neither I nor the contributors know where to begin to merge the two.

Files have been moved around, chopped up and reassembled, all without VCS tracking. New design decisions made and code not explained. Portions rewritten on bad assumptions. Changes to both UI and framework that I don’t understand or necessarily agree with.

Somewhere in there is a plugin framework and a content categorization system I’d love to keep, and certainly many genuine bug fixes and good design changes.

But how to approach it? I titter between attempting to make discrete patches I can review and merge, trying to motivate the contributors to do it, and wanting to give up and rewrite it all from scratch.

Most importantly, I’m scared I’ll lose great contributors by making them feel unappreciated, or slowing them down with too much dirty work. Without new blood and motivation no free software project can live.

I’m sure other maintainers have been in a similar place. Can anyone offer advice on how to progress? What has worked for you in the past to get over difficult technical and social hurdles? How do you work to grow disciplined contributorship but still keep people happy?

December 29, 2007 05:59 AM

Thomas Thurman: Nargery: How to write an Epiphany extension with both hands tied behind your back

Disclaimer: I am nothing to do with the Epiphany project.
Disclaimer: Do not actually tie both hands behind your back without supervision.

Epiphany is the official browser of the GNOME project. Today I want to ramble at you about how easy it is to write extensions for it, because it is crazy easy. I started writing this about two person-hours ago and now it's working, and the hardest part was getting the GTK stuff to cooperate.

So let's write an extension. I fancy the idea of colouring the tabs according to which domain you're looking at. There's a nonfree extension to do this in Firefox, so let's build our own free one. (Disclaimer: It will be pretty crap because I'm throwing it together in a few hours.)

First off, you need to declare the extension, which you do in a file ending with .ephy-extension which you put in a directory called ~/.gnome2/epiphany/extensions (it's not rocket science, folks). Let's call it colour-tabs.ephy-extension (because I'm British, okay)? It looks like this:

[Epiphany Extension]
Name=Colour tabs
Description=I like colour tabs
Version=0
URL=http://www.gnome.org/projects/epiphany/extensions.html

[Loader]
Type=python
Module=colour-tabs
I would go through this line by line, but I think you are clever enough that I don't need to. The last line, though, is the name of a Python file. Create this in the same directory, as colour-tabs.py. Now, you can add functions which get called, according to their names, when various things happen in the browser. What we want to do is to be called when tabs are created ("attach_tab") and removed ("detach_tab"):
def attach_tab(window, tab):
   embed = tab.get_embed()
   tab._colour_tab_handler = embed.connect("net_stop", _colour_the_tab, tab)
   # we don't call through like this when things are loaded
   # and we should

def detach_tab(window, tab):
   if '_colour_tab_handler' in tab:
      tab.get_embed().disconnect(tab._colour_tab_handler)
      del tab._colour_tab_handler
"embed" in attach_tab is the actual web page rendering engine in that tab; we are asking it to do something when an event occurs. In this case the event is "net_stop", i.e. when the page has loaded (because let's assume we can't know what colour to colour the tab before the page has loaded). When that happens, we call a function to deal with the situation, which I'll call _colour_the_tab because that's what it does.

All detach_tab has to do, then, is look to see whether we are already waiting on this and tell it not to bother.

I added the extra comment because it would be nice to call _colour_the_tab directly if a tab is attached when a page is already loaded (this does happen occasionally, but in situations which are too complicated to go into in such a simple example).

So what do we do when the page HAS loaded? Well, that's _colour_the_tab's job, as I said. (Conventionally, you add a leading underscore in case it clashes with a name that Epiphany might be calling.) _colour_the_tab has three jobs:

1) the trivial job of taking the URL and finding the domain; in real life it would be better if people could specify particular colours for particular domains, etc.
2) the job of turning the domain into a colour (we just use the last six hex digits of the md5 here, which is a bad idea because it could be black!)
3) the rather fiddly job of changing the background colour of the label (this is difficult in GTK for boring reasons)

I won't bother you with any more details here, but here's a place you can get the code I wrote above, and I thought you might like a screenshot:



Thanks to the folks on #pygtk who helped me figure out how to set the background colour of a GtkLabel.

Update: Oh, something I forgot to mention: If you run Ephy from a terminal, and your extension uses "print", it will go to that terminal. This makes debugging a snap compared to Firefox. Also, you almost never have to restart Epiphany. Just drop your extension in the extensions directory, turn it on from the extensions dialogue, and off you go. If you change the extension, just turn the extension off and on again and it will be reloaded. It is deeply awesome.

December 29, 2007 05:49 AM

The Intuitive Life Business Blog

Baggage ban on batteries taking effect!

This is a pretty important bit of news for those of you, like me, who travel fully equipped with gadgets:

"To help reduce the risk of fires, air travelers will no longer be able to pack loose lithium batteries in checked luggage beginning Jan. 1, the Transportation Department said Friday.

Passengers can still check baggage with lithium batteries if they are installed in electronic devices, such as cameras, cell phones and laptop computers. If packed in plastic bags, batteries may be in carryon baggage. The limit is two batteries per passenger.

The ban affects shipments of non-rechargeable lithium batteries, such as those made by Energizer Holdings Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co.'s Duracell brand.

"Doing something as simple as keeping a spare battery in its original retail packaging or a plastic zip-lock bag will prevent unintentional short-circuiting and fires," Krista Edwards, deputy administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, said in a release.
That's according to the Associated Press. Note the sentence I highlighted, too: we are limited to only two batteries per passenger, so if you're traveling on an extended trip, this could mean you have a problem and might end up having your expensive spare batteries confiscated. Not good.

December 29, 2007 05:49 AM

Planet GNOME

Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay: Oh GNOME !! Why do you have to make it so difficult ?

Accounts for translators seem to have gotten stuck in a void - why do you have to make the experience so painful ?

December 29, 2007 04:45 AM

Engadget

Crapgadget: USB donut, cube speakers, rose microphone, terrible PMPs

Filed under:


The lull before the craptacular gadget storm that is CES continues this week, but nothing will ever stop our inbox from filling up with hastily-designed and poorly-implemented gadgets. That's right, it's another edition of our newest running series, Crapgadget, in which tedium is lightly battered and fried to a crisp, delicious rage. Enjoy the crap out of this, okay? We nearly gouged our eyes out in the making.

Read - Strawberry Donut USB flash drive: Direct quote from the website: "everything you desire in the ear of customized flash storage solutions." Yep, anyone who pays $50 for this thing is definitely getting something in the ear.
Read - Tiny USB cube speaker: How else to annoy everyone around you, while still remaining unable to hear anything? [Via Technabob]
Read - Venus JXD305 PMP: Take one part iPhone, two parts HTC, and one part miniSD-only storage and stir -- voila, not quite KIRF enough. [Via PMP Today]
Read - Rose USB Microphone: Too cheap to spring for a Jawbone and real roses? Why not go for the rare combined epic fail?
Read - AMV-format only PMP: Finally, a generic Chinese PMP that allows us to watch all of our AMV-format video on the go. Our dreams are now reality. [Via PMP Today]

 

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by Nilay Patel at December 29, 2007 04:33 AM

Techdirt

Forget The Pyramids, How About Copyrights For Michelangelo's Works?

First we find out that Egypt is trying to abuse the concept of copyright law to add copyrights to the pyramids, and now comes a story from The Register about how things like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel are involved in a copyright mess. The article at The Register is a bit confusing, unfortunately, and jumps around to a bunch of different things without ever tying them clearly back together or making a truly coherent point -- but the key point is that the owners of certain artwork, which have long been in the public domain (much of which was created before the concept of copyright had ever been conceived of), are now asserting copyright over any photographs taken of that artwork. On top of that, the owners of such works, including the Sistine Chapel, are licensing out these "rights" over the artwork in exchange for cash to pay for restorations. So, in the case of the Sistine Chapel, the restoration was apparently paid for by the Japanese firm NHK in exchange for "exclusive rights" to the images of the restored Sistine Chapel. Unfortunately, the article doesn't discuss how limited (or broad) the specific rights really are, but it does seem somewhat ridiculous to use copyright in such a manner.

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by Mike Masnick at December 29, 2007 03:54 AM

Engadget

Returned DAP gets resold with loads of porn

Filed under: ,

We've seen returned / resold DAPs (among other things) ruin celebrations before, but we're inclined to say that this episode is a tad more disheartening than receiving a couple of rock-filled iPod boxes. Reportedly, an unspecified MP3 player purchased in a Tennessee Wal-Mart was wrapped and given as a Christmas present to a 10-year old daughter, but upon connecting said player to a computer, heaps of pornographic material and explicit songs were discovered. According to a Wally World spokesperson, stores aren't supposed to "return opened packages to the sales floor," but given that it already happened, the matter will purportedly be "investigated."

[Via TGDaily]

 

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by Darren Murph at December 29, 2007 03:31 AM

Treehugger

Israel Invests in Mass Transit

a1.jpg Downtown Jerusalem 2011? In line with a worldwide trend, Israel’s three major cities - Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv - are currently in the process of building mass transit systems. Israel's transportation has traditionally been based on buses and private cars. However, space for building roads is running out in this tiny country, and traffic and air pollution have been worsening in urban areas. Last week, the city of Haifa opened up its first exclusive bus lane, which will become part of the city’s “Metronit” (Hebrew link) system within the next...

December 29, 2007 03:05 AM

Planet GNOME

Federico Mena-Quintero: Fri 2007/Dec/28

December 29, 2007 03:05 AM

Techdirt

Crowdsourcing Law Enforcement

In a move that seems calculated to evoke the film adaptation of 1984, the FBI has announced a plan to begin using some 150 Clear Channel digital billboards in major American cities to show national security alerts, information about recent crimes, and photographs of fugitive criminals and missing persons, all with real-time updates.

A pilot billboard in Philadelphia has already helped to capture several wanted criminals, and a spokesman for the outdoor advertising industry suggests that these kinds of publicity tactics can be as useful at demoralizing criminals as they are at generating tips:

"What law enforcement tells us is it contributes to an environment where the criminal feels they have no where to go. A lot of times they end up just giving up."

In a way, the surprising thing is that law enforcement officials hadn't previously taken such visible steps to make use of the distributed eyes and ears of ordinary citizens. The problem, of course, is that publicity can also generate lots of time-consuming false leads. An advertisement currently ubiquitous on New York subways applauds the thousands of New Yorkers who phoned in reports of suspicious packages in the past year. But since we haven't heard reports of thousands of bombs recovered on the A train, it seems safe to surmise that the noise-to-signal ratio on such tips is quite high. As for national security alerts, our experience with color-coded national security warnings, and the attendant spectacle of panicked citizens mobbing Home Depot for plastic sheeting and duct tape, suggest that the Bureau might be well advised to exercise a bit of circumspection about those real-time updates.

Julian Sanchez is an expert at the Techdirt Insight Community. To get insight and analysis from Julian Sanchez and other experts on challenges your company faces, click here.



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by Julian Sanchez at December 29, 2007 02:40 AM

Engadget

Sony offering free PlayStation 3 with HDTV purchase

Filed under: ,


That's right, babies. We've seen Sony play this hand in other parts of our great big world, and now the S-gang is bringing this sweet bacon on home... er, to the States. According to a promotion we've caught wind of, if you get yourself approved for the Sony Visa, then promptly purchase a Sony HDTV at the Sony Rewards store (out of a pool of models from the BRAVIA and SXRD lines), the good folks at Sony will throw a free PlayStation 3 your way. Of course, there's a few hoops you have to jump through, the deal ends on December 31st, and obviously you'll need a half-decent credit score, but if the suits approve your transaction, this is a pretty solid deal. Hit the read link for all the info -- just make sure you read the fine print.

[Thanks, Stephen]

 

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by Joshua Topolsky at December 29, 2007 02:28 AM

Marantz announces VP-11S2 1080p DLP projector

Filed under: , ,

Marantz VP-11S2 DLP projectorMarantz is jumping back into the display pool for 2008, announcing the new VP-11S2 model 1080p DLP projector. Compared to last year's VP-11S1H, this model adds a second HDMI 1.3 input, and Texas Instrument's DarkChip4 chipset, boosting it up to 800 lumens of brightness and a 12,000:1 contrast ratio. No price was released, but considering the previous models hover in the $15,000 price range, we expect no less quality -- or cost -- from this one either.

 

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by Erik Hanson at December 29, 2007 02:05 AM

Techdirt

Microsoft Seeks Patent On Monitoring Employees' Brains

theodp writes "A just-published Microsoft patent application for Monitoring Group Activities describes how a company or the government can determine if employees are not meeting their project deadlines through the use of detection components comprised of 'one or more physiological or environmental sensors to detect at least one of heart rate, galvanic skin response, EMG, brain signals, respiration rate, body temperature, movement, facial movements, facial expressions, and blood pressure.' Yikes."

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by Mike Masnick at December 29, 2007 01:34 AM

Planet GNOME

Nicolas Trangez: CouchDB with Python

Today I’ve been investigating CouchDB a little better (only heard some rumors about it before). It’s actually a pretty nice technology which can, in some places, be pretty useful… I tend to compare it to caching serialized PHP associative arrays or Python dict’s in a Memcached server using some specific prefixes, except it’s not really memory-based (it’s persistent), you get a complete query interface (views), there’s dataset versioning support (!), etc. While writing this I start to wonder what similarities I ever saw between CouchDB and a Python pickled dict in Memcached…

Anyway, one use case I saw was site user profiles: profile data is most of the time not relational at all, so why store it in a relational database, which makes it sometimes rather hard to add extra profile information fields, unless you use some dirty ’save serialized form’ trick, which renders your data unqueryable? Storing profile information (using eg. a user’s primary email address or login name as key for the user profile document) in CouchDB allows you to extend the profile “schema” easily: just add a field to your profile editting form, make sure it’s processed server-side an stored in the profile document, and add some extra code to your profile rendering template so the extra field get displayed too. No need to alter SQL tables at all!

As in my last site project I also have some sort of user profiles, I was thinking about using CouchDB for storage of these objects. As the site is written using Django, it would be nice to be able to define a standard Django model for the profile, which would be stored in CouchDB, not insome SQL server. This way you can still enjoy newforms goodness, among others.

So I started some new project, called django-couchdb, which should in time provide a model base class (similar to django.db.models.Model), corresponding managers to query the data, and so on. I don’t know (yet) whether all this is possible to achieve, anyway, I started by creating a very basic Python class which allows you to access a CouchDB server in a very Pythonic way: using dicts. A Server is a dict consisting of Databases, a Database is a dict of Documents. All this implemented thanks to the goodness of the DictMixin base class.

The client is not finished yet, at least 3 TODO items are on my list:

Currently there is no support for any of these. Views should be easy to add, error handling a little harder. I think revision handling is the hardest part, escpecially on figuring out how to provide this functionality in a Pythonic manner.

You can find the current code in this Git repository. Patches or external branches are very welcome!

By the way: the website I referred to before has been launched. It’s only of any use (well, maybe) for dutch-speaking users though. You can visit it here. Yes, the template will change.

December 29, 2007 01:25 AM

Treehugger

Loss of Deep-Sea Species Could Precipitate Oceans' Future Collapse

deep sea hydrothermal vent Image courtesy of Rutgers University's Richard Lutz Though they may not be the most charismatic species (check out this angler's toothy grin), deep-sea organisms such as tube worms and giant crustaceans need our attention too - maybe even more so than others. A new study to be published in the journa...

December 29, 2007 01:15 AM

Engadget

Arizona, New York, Washington, and Vermont all pledge to beef up ID security

Filed under:

It's been a while since we've heard anything about the much-hated Real ID unified RFID national identification card, but that doesn't mean the Department of Homeland Security has been sitting still: New York, Arizona, Washington, and Vermont all agreed earlier this month to beef up the security of driver's licenses to comply with DHS' new Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. WHTI is the same fun law that requires US citizens carry a passport to travel to Canada and Mexico, and while it's not clear if it requires RFID licenses for states to comply, eWeek is reporting that both New York and Washington are headed towards including the tags anyway. Given the immense backlash Real ID came under for similar schemes, it'll be interesting to see how WHTI plays out -- but you can bet we're holding onto the janky laminated driver's license we got in college as long as we can.

[Via Autoblog]

 

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by Nilay Patel at December 29, 2007 01:02 AM

Monologue

Alex Graveley: Maintainer Woes

Overall, I’m a pretty terrible free software maintainer. I don’t communicate well, and don’t plan or organize nearly enough. I disappear and get distracted. I get frustrated a lot, and don’t work on the nitty-gritty stuff. I make arbitrary design decisions that turn out flat wrong. And I certainly don’t know what [...]

December 29, 2007 12:59 AM

Treehugger

Nigeria Investing in Solar Energy to Power Rural Communities

lagos in nigeria Image courtesy of zouzouwizman Nigeria's government has just announced its intention to make another round of investments in solar energy to supply up to 10 rural communities that currently lack access to the national power grid. The initiative, funded by Nigeria's Ministry of Science and Technology, will benefit around 5,000 individuals living in villages spread across several local governments and is projected to cost 150m Naira, or $1.25 million. The solar panels, built by an industry consortium that includes the Dynamic Treasure Chest Company, Hafas Enterprises and I...

December 29, 2007 12:45 AM

plasticbag.org

links for 2007-12-29

by Tom Coates at December 29, 2007 12:35 AM

Techdirt

How Pursuing Software Piracy Hurts Proprietary Software Firms

While organizations like the BSA and the SIIA play silly games and announce bogus numbers about the "costs" of software piracy, it's nice to see the whole thing beginning to backfire. We've already pointed to the backlash against the BSA for its activities, and now we're seeing how these kinds of crackdowns are doing exactly the opposite of what BSA/SIIA members would want: they're looking for open source alternatives. Following the ongoing "international crackdown" on software piracy, it appears that the Vietnamese government is the latest to start promoting open source alternatives. Of course, for proprietary software makers, this should be seen as worse than piracy. After all, as Microsoft and others have long admitted, you're much better off if someone is using an unauthorized version of your software, than if they're using the competition (especially if that competition is free). If they're using an unauthorized version of your software, then at least there's a chance that they'll either buy it at a later date or convince others to buy it. However, by putting such a big effort into cracking down on software piracy, all the industry has done is highlight why people are better off going with free alternatives. This is a key point we've tried to highlight in the past. The issue isn't piracy at all, but the fact that the competition will eventually learn to embrace "free." Focusing on "piracy" only helps accelerate that process.

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by Mike Masnick at December 29, 2007 12:28 AM

Barrapunto

China bloquea la entrada de películas estadounidenses

Dicen en el Variety del 5 de diciembre que China está bloqueando deliberadamente la entrada de películas de Hollywood por razones diplomáticas y económicas hasta después del Año Nuevo chino en febrero o incluso mayo. China mantiene una cuota para la importación de 20 películas extranjeras. En el lucrativo mes de diciembre la China Films Group Corporation suele evitar que haya competencia para el producto nacional, pero parece que esto es más serio. Es difícil saber qué pasa exactamente porque no es necesario que el bloqueo sea publicado formalmente para que exista y puede levantarse súbitamente. Variety especula que la causa puede ser ofensas diplomáticas percibidas por los chinos o la presión de los estudios contra la piratería en China. Puede que el bloqueo se levante cuando las ediciones piratas hayan quitado espectadores o cuando la gente esté distraída con los juegos olímpicos de Pekín.

by Ricardo Estalmán (posted by Yonderboy) at December 29, 2007 12:02 AM

December 28, 2007

Engadget

New Tesla CEO takes it upon himself to explain Roadster delays

Filed under:

We've already had a pretty good idea of the reasons for delays with Tesla Motors' all-electric Roadster vehicle, but it looks like the company's new CEO, Ze'ev Drori, is now trying to set the record straight himself, with him recently posting a fairly lengthy letter addressing the matter on the company's blog. That letter is apparently the very same one that was sent to buyers of the car earlier this month and, as you might have guessed if you've been following this thing as closely as we have, it pegs most of the blame on the car's transmission troubles. As we previously reported, that has forced Tesla to ship the roadster with a temporary transmission, which is apparently slower than the final version, but assuredly safe. Drori also confirms that the company will begin full production of the vehicle in the spring of 2008, and that while they plan to ramp up production throughout the year, he admits that some of the initial run of cars won't be in the hands of customers until early 2009. Among other things, he also attempted to clarify some of the confusion over those initial EPA range targets,saying that the lab that conducted the tests "made a small error in the testing procedure," resulting in an overstated range figure. According to Drori, the revised figures now stand at 221 miles per charge, although he says the real world figures are actually as high as 267 miles per charge in "slow city driving," or 165 miles in aggressive highway driving. Those looking for more details can get the full explanation from the man himself by hitting up the read link below.

[Via CNET News.com]

 

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by Donald Melanson at December 28, 2007 11:59 PM

ALT1040

Gobierno Pakistaní asegura que Benazir Bhutto murió de un golpe en la cabeza

Ahora resulta que a Benazir Bhutto no le dispararon, sino que murió de un golpe en la cabeza cuando intentó esconderse en el coche; supuestamente la onda expansiva de la explosión golpeó su cabeza contra una palanca del vehículo en el que viajaba fracturando su cráneo, todo esto según el gobierno pakistaní.

También dicen tener evidencias de la relación del asesinato con Al Qaeda, supuestamente ordenado por el dirigente talibán paquistaní Baitullah Mehsud. Además afirman que a ningún otro lider político se le dio tanta seguridad como a Bhutto.

El Partido Popular de Pakistán (al cual Benazir Bhutto pertenecía) pone en duda la versión oficial gubernamental.

Reuters ha distribuído las imágenes proporcionadas por el Ministerio del Interior pakistaní:

9

by Eduardo Arcos at December 28, 2007 11:35 PM

Planet GStreamer

Mig Gerard: Using new XUL Layouts in Feathers

So now that 0.4 is shipped, I can let you all know about a little toy I've wanted to make for a long while now...

JumpTo Feather

http://addons.songbirdnest.com/extensions/detail/107

This quick little Add-On was written as a proof of concept to respond to all the complainers and fun-haters who go on about "why do you have to look just like iTunes?!" and "can't you get rid of the browser? I don't want it!!"

So if you see people making such noises, do please point them here and we'll try to straighten them out, yea?

You see, unlike Firefox, Songbird isn't tied down to just one layout for the user interface. We leverage and leapfrog the might of Mozilla to allow Feathers to specify new CSS or new XUL or both -- and thus be able to mash up the basic UI elements that define a media player in any way you can imagine.

For instance, we've created our own playlist element that's completely accessible from javascript. In this way you can create your own playlisting functionality separate from the functionality we implement in the app, without needing to know much more than how to program javascript for webpages.

The Now Playing Add-On is a great example of an external developer leveraging Songbird's available XUL elements to create fantastic new functionality outside of Songbird's basic player scheme.

So whether it's new XUL panels or buttons to inject into the main player window or brand-new layouts for your playback, Songbird provides far more UI flexibility than that old stinky platinum-cum-brushed-metal curmudgeon from Cupertino.

Don't forget to spread the word!

mig

December 28, 2007 11:31 PM

Engadget

How would you change the OLPC XO?

Filed under: ,


Don't adjust your screens folks, as this actually isn't a year-end case of déjà vu. Rather, we're looking to give you an(other) imaginary shot at tweaking the OLPC XO now that it has moved beyond the initiative phase and been productized for the general consumer. In case you've been parked squarely under a rock for the last few months, you should know that the XO's journey through production has been quite a lengthy one, and while a few countries have made substantial bulk purchases to inject these machines into their respective school systems, we're interested in seeing how the average joe / jane located in a developed nation sees things.

Needless to say, One Laptop Per Child's "Give One, Get One" program has been quite the success, and by now, we're confident that some of you have already received your own. 'Course, we're sure there's at least a few of you that chose this over that other low-cost laptop (and many that chose it over this), and we're curious to know how you'd improve the newly commercialized XO now that it actually has a rival. Yeah, we too would love an even skimpier price tag, but beyond that, what hardware / software changes would you like to see on the next version? Could you stand to have a few more megabytes of RAM? Still yearning for dual-boot capability out of the box? How's about a design scheme that doesn't involve opaque white and bright green? As stated, we're well aware that these things weren't designed with LAN partiers in mind, but now that NickNeg is offering 'em up to these very citizens -- not to mention every other type of user in North America -- why not toss out a few suggestions for making it more suitable for you?

 

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by Darren Murph at December 28, 2007 11:30 PM

Planet GNOME

Chris Lord: Favourite Games in 2007

With note that I don't yet own an Xbox 360 (or, less importantly, a PS3), here is a list of games that I've played and enjoyed thoroughly in 2007:

Yes, I am a massive geek.

December 28, 2007 11:20 PM

Un Planeta HispaLinux

Juanjo Amor: ¡Estamos contratando! Tecnologías web, administración de sistemas Debian, investigadores…

En mi grupo de trabajo, GSyC/LibreSoft, estamos creciendo y tenemos cada vez más trabajo… y claro, como no podemos hacerlo solos estamos ampliando el grupo. Hoy hemos publicado las vacantes para desarrollar en tecnologías web así como para administrar sistemas basados en Debian GNU/Linux. Y aun nos queda alguna cosa más… Estamos buscando gente para participar en proyectos muy interesantes, a la vez que divertidos; e integrarse en un grupo bastante joven y dinámico (ah, que eso lo dicen todos :-P ). Estad atentos a esta página, donde todavía quedan por aparecer algunas ofertas.

by Juanjo at December 28, 2007 11:17 PM

Engadget

WiBrain's B1 UMPC hits the FCC, every branch on the ugly tree

Filed under:


We're not sure what else there is to know about the WiBrain B1 UMPC -- we've seen it hands-on, unboxed, and even slightly redesigned -- but true gadget pr0n connoisseurs crave only the sweet nectar of FCC reports, and it looks like today is your special Friday. Yep, there it is, and there's not much of the way in details we didn't already have -- except now you can tear up over both the beautifully ugly lines of this thing and the massively boring RF test results.

 

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by Nilay Patel at December 28, 2007 11:17 PM

Techdirt

Looking Back On Another Year Of Patent Insanity

The Patent Troll Tracker is doing what he does best (well, other than pissing off patent hoarders and their lawyers): tracking patent litigation. As we approach the end of the year, he's got a nice rundown on some numbers concerning patent litigation. For those who think that pointless and wasteful patent litigation is on the decline, think again. Even in just the last three months, the pace has been accelerating -- perhaps as patent hoarders rush to get cases in before any patent reform makes progress in Congress -- or before the Supreme Court (thankfully) quashes another abuse of the patent system. The Troll Tracker looks at the Fortune 100 to see who got sued the most for patent infringement, and found that the top 35 companies were sued a combined 500 times for patent infringement in the last two years alone. That's an awful lot of money wasted on lawyers that could be going towards actual innovation. Of the lawsuits over the past two years, approximately 50% came from companies who didn't actually make any products themselves. However, in the last 3 months, that number shoots up to 70% from companies that don't make products. And if you limit the list to tech companies, 80% of the lawsuits came from companies that don't make products. Shouldn't this be ringing some alarm bells?

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by Mike Masnick at December 28, 2007 11:09 PM

Engadget

Kodak and Matsushita settle patent dispute

Filed under:


After just a few months of legal wrangling, Kodak and Matsushita have settled their patent lawsuit, originally brought by Kodak due to Matsushita's alleged infringement of a number of digital camera-related patents. The two companies have agreed to cross-license each other's patents, but it's not all sharing and cupcakes -- the agreement is "royalty-bearing to Kodak," according to documents filed with the SEC. That was fast -- guess Kodak's new strategy of aggressively enforcing its IP portfolio is working out after all.

 

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by Nilay Patel at December 28, 2007 10:48 PM

Boing Boing

More scandals surface inside Smithsonian

Carl Malamud says,

For the past 18 months, Jacqueline Trescott and James V. Grimaldi of the Washington Post have covered the never-ending scandals that have plagued the Smithsonian, reporting for which they deserve the Pulitzer Prize. They've broken the story of the resignation in disgrace of the previous Secretary, the subsequent resignation in disgrace of the previous Deputy Secretary, and then the resignation in disgrace of the "CEO" of Smithsonian Business Ventures. Enough for one year? Not on your life!

Today, they bring us the story of W. Richard West, Jr., who as head of the National Museum of the American Indian, felt that the taxpayers should foot the bill for $250,000 in "first-class transportation and plush lodging in hotels around the world, including more than a dozen trips to Paris." (Paris being noted as one of the centers of American Indian culture!)

What struck me particularly hard was a quote from West buried deep inside the story. When asked about his $292,000 salary and his outrageous expenses, all West could manage to say was:

"I am grateful for at least the past year to have been the highest-paid director of a museum in the Smithsonian. Even at that status I have yet to earn even two-thirds of what I earned as a private attorney in my last year in private practice."

Jeez. What is amazing is not that one greedy lawyer tried to bilk the taxpayers, what is amazing is that the Regents of the Smithsonian (which includes 6 members of Congress, the Vice President, and the Chief Justice) let him get away with it without objection. It shows how deeply institutional the problems are in our attic.

Link

by Xeni Jardin at December 28, 2007 10:44 PM

The Sex Singularity: When Machines Surpass Human Hotness

Related to today's earlier post about an interview with author of Love & Sex With Robots, my friend Paul Spinrad wrote this excellent short story called "The Sex Singularity: When Machines Surpass Human Hotness."

2010

Following the Supermod Doll's success, Pygmalion introduces Supermod Series II, a line of sexbots with motion-triggered vocalization -- moans, screams, and dirty talk. The bot also has "Inheat Inside," a new behavior engine designed by a leading primate biologist, which makes the bots' movements, expressions, and iris dilations even more powerfully seductive. Demand for the bots grows, but their high price continues to limit sales.

Later in the year, Pygmalion introduces the Supermod Pornstar line, in a cross-marketing and licensing partnership with adult video producer Digital Playground. The new line of sexbots are realistic, laser-scanned replicas of Jesse Jane and other leading porn actresses. Tagline: "You've watched me; now fuck me."

A reclusive bot-owner commits "double-suicide" at his home in Los Angeles, hacking his bot to pieces with an axe, then shooting himself in the heart. The story makes national headlines and draws attention to the high suicide rate among sexbot users.

Botboy, a successful chain of Japanese doll clubs, opens 15 branches in the U.S. and Canada. The company also launches Botboy magazine, a monthly celebration of sexbots and the botboy lifestyle that features lavish erotic photography, plus fantasy fiction, sexbot advice and maintenance tips, and the latest in sexbot technology. The magazine is a hit, and proves to be a popular ìgatewayî for non bot-users.

The 1st annual International Interdisciplinary Conference on Sexbots and Social Upheaval takes place in Rome, Italy.

Link

Previously on Boing Boing:
Interview with author of Love & Sex With Robots
Real people who have (un)real relationships with Real Dolls
One slightly used RealDoll for sale
Real Doll sex toy maker has an anime doll
Real Doll photography
Nerve.com "Science" experiment: sex with a RealDoll
Video of ultra creepy animated dentist training robot
Japorn anime cosplay and living-doll erotica, part two: Kigurumi
Supreme Court denies Alabama women mechanically induced orgasms

by Mark Frauenfelder at December 28, 2007 10:41 PM

Josh Rubin: Cool Hunting

The Synchronicity Project

synchronicitypeoject0.jpg

by Jens Jensen

Since 2005 Japanese art director Jun Tsuzuki has been running a project he calls Synchronicity. Remarkably simple, yet fascinating and intriguing, Jun asks people all over the world to take a picture of what they are doing at a pre-determined moment in time. These pictures, along with a brief explanation of the time and place they are taken, are then displayed on the Synchronicity website as a portrait of the world at that exact moment.

These moments are special moments in history (the exact second of the first impact on the World Trade Center, 9/11) or mathematically pleasing moments (11:11:11:11:11 for the 11th of November at 11 AM 11 minutes and 11 seconds).

synchronicityproject1.jpg synchronicityproject2.jpg

To guarantee the pictures are taken at the exact same time, the participants are asked to synchronize their local time with the given GMT time.

synchronicityproject.jpg

The next moment marks Synchronicity's third annual celebration of the New Year, occurring at 1 January 2008, 0:00:00 GMT. (That's 31 December 2007, 7:00:00PM New York; 31 December 2007, 4:00:00PM Los Angeles; 1 January 2007, 3:00:00AM Moscow; 1 January 2008, 8:00:00AM Tokyo). Calculate your local time here.

Pictures from the last moment from Devon, England and Tokyo.

by Ami Kealoha at December 28, 2007 10:41 PM

Boing Boing

RIP: Netscape Navigator (1994-2008)

Netscape Navigator, once the de rigeur browser for more than 90% of web users, will no longer be supported by current owner AOL after February 2008. Link. Post your ode to this code in the comments. Extra points if you can manage to refer to yourself as a "netizen" with a straight face. (thanks Bill)

by Xeni Jardin at December 28, 2007 10:40 PM

Engadget

Xbox Live: still experiencing technical difficulties

Filed under:

We're starting to think Xbox Live's holiday strategy was modeled after Newtonian physics: what goes up must come down. Although the Live support site shows the service as being "up and running", apparently users are still experiencing intermittent issues, sometimes more dramatic than those officially listed. We don't know about you, but even though only some of us on we were able to get on, even they have been seeing a lot of stalling and freezing -- and the unlucky ones are just completely shut out of Live. How are things going out there? Any XBL issues of which to speak?

P.S. -Microsoft, congrats on the great holiday season. You obviously sold a TON of Xbox 360s and Live service contracts. Now be a doll. Give everyone a week (or, say, a month) of free Live service for the ugliness over vacation, ok? These people paid for their service when the other guys offer it up for free.

Read - Live support site: still having problems
Read - Our post about problems from last weekend
Read - Our other post about outages on Christmas day

Update: Our broham Major Nelson says the Live engineers have identified a fix for the issues and things are on their way to being back on the up and up. Hopefully this time for good!

 

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by Ryan Block at December 28, 2007 10:31 PM

Wired News: Top Stories

Netscape Browser to Die a Quiet Death in February 2008

The original browser from the earliest days of the web will cease to be in February, AOL says. After playing second fiddle to Microsoft and being eclipsed by its offspring Firefox, the Netscape browser will be killed off by parent company AOL, which purchased the brand in 1999.

by Compiler at December 28, 2007 10:30 PM

Engadget

More info on Fusion's ioDrive, the PCIe card with massive flash storage

Filed under:

You may remember the lovable yet rascally ioDrive PCIe card from Fusion which we told you about back in the sun-drenched, salad days of September. Well, we've gotten a few more details on the "SAN in the palm of your hand," and we thought we'd share. As you'll recall, the card is meant to deliver very high, sustained read / write speeds, allowing the ioDrive to perform "nearly a thousand times faster than any existing disk drive." Well, the good folks at Fusion have now given the system a price -- the card starts at $2,400 -- and offered up some fresh info, like that the ioDrive is NAND flash-based, will support multiple terabytes of virtual memory, and has access rates on par with DRAM. Which is real fast. Hit the link for a lot more info, and don't be afraid to peruse the company's .pdf data sheet.

 

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by Joshua Topolsky at December 28, 2007 10:19 PM

Nintendo Wii fully hacked for native homebrew

Filed under:


The homebrew scene hasn't gotten a whole lot accomplished with this latest round of home consoles -- which isn't surprising given the difficulty of the task and lack of incentives to succeed. Especially with the PS3 shipping with Linux compatibility, the Wii boasting VLC, and the 360 being such a chore to hack and keep hacked, there's really not much of a point. The Wii was compromised pretty early on to be able to play burned discs and GameCube homebrew such as Linux, but until now Nintendo has managed to isolate Wii hardware such as the extra horsepower of the console and wireless connectivity from hackers. But the walls are coming down. Some hackers from Germany have just showed off their fully hacked Wii at the 24th Annual Chaos Communication Congress. Nothing fancy is running yet, all they've achieved so far is a proof of concept that they've bypassed the Wii's protection with some encryption codes they swiped from the Wii's memory. Apparently a bootable Linux DVD is on the way, and we can't wait to see what homebrew coders manage to pull off with that Wiimote pointed where it belongs.

[Via WiiNintendo]

 

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by Paul Miller at December 28, 2007 10:02 PM

MAKE: Blog

Portable laser image projector

laserProjerctor.jpg

This is basic instructions on how to build a portable image projector that uses a green laser instead of normal light. The laser permits images to be cast great distances, and doesn't require focusing - it's always in focus.

Laser Image Projector - Link

[Read this article] [Comment on this article]

December 28, 2007 10:00 PM

Techdirt

MPAA Finally Realizes That Proprietary DRM'd Screener DVDs Are A Waste

Way back in 2003, then head of the MPAA, Jack Valenti, got so worried about "piracy" of movies coming from insiders that he banned the use of "screener" DVDs for those voting for the Academy Awards. If you're unaware, traditionally, Motion Picture Academy members received "screener" copies of the movies up for awards on DVD or VHS tape so they could watch them at home and decide how to vote. Yet, in Valenti's twisted world, this had to be stopped because screener copies were appearing online. Of course, banning screeners created quite a mess for the folks who actually had to vote on the awards, as there was no longer an easy way to actually see the movies. It also really upset smaller studios, who knew that their movies were less likely to be seen by Academy members if they couldn't send out screeners. Eventually, the MPAA relented, but the following year came up with a new ridiculous solution. Rather than sending DVD screeners that members could watch with their existing home theater setup, it hired a company to make special DRM'd DVDs that would only play on special DVD players. Then it sent these special DVD players with the screeners to the Academy members. Of course, this was both a huge expense and still a tremendous pain in the ass for voters, who had to hook up this special DVD player that could only be used for screeners. It also made it difficult if the Academy member wanted to take the DVD somewhere else (say on vacation) and watch it elsewhere without dragging along this "special" DVD player. Apparently it only took 3 years of complaints before the MPAA realized that perhaps this was a dumb idea (that also didn't stop the movies from getting online anyway). This year, it's apparently phasing out the special DVD players and will provide (gasp!) normal DVDs for voting members.

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by Mike Masnick at December 28, 2007 09:50 PM

Engadget

Apple to unveil rentals from even more studios at Macworld?

Filed under:


You know it's close to Macworld when even the New York Times is slinging rumors with the best of 'em, and the Gray Lady is reporting today that Apple has deals in place with several studios for iTunes rentals -- not just Fox, like we'd been hearing. Of course, it wouldn't be an Apple rumor unless it somehow managed to make something as mundane as renting a movie sound like a super-classified state secret, and the NYT says that while it got the info from people "familiar with the negotiations," they weren't "authorized" to name the companies involved. We'd obviously expect Disney to have an interest, since Steve's on the board -- but as with all these rumors, only time will tell.

 

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by Nilay Patel at December 28, 2007 09:47 PM

Barrapunto

Conociendo GDB, la herramienta GNU de depuración

Leandro nos cuenta: «DRK Open Source Software publicó su primer documento completamente en español. Se trata de una introducción muy pragmática a la utilización de GDB como herramienta de depuración de software en C y C++. Así continúa renovando su esfuerzo por promover el el uso y la creación software libre. Esfuerzo que tuvo sus orígenes en el año 2002 y se materializaba como la publicación de aplicaciones para plataforma Windows con licencias GPL.»

by Yonderboy at December 28, 2007 09:21 PM

Wired News: Top Stories

The Aerocivic: Ugly as Sin, But Hey -- It Gets 95 MPG

This homemade car won't win any beauty contests, but with fuel economy this good, who cares?

by Autopia at December 28, 2007 09:20 PM

Boing Boing

Boing Boing Pirates "toddler" toy


Genius babies sells a toy called "Boing, Boing, Pop'n Pirates" -- "Pirates will delight toddlers who are fascinated by cause-and-effect play. Three wooden pirates (each with a patch on his eye) fit into three slots in a sturdy red ship, then pop up and down on springs when pushed by little fingers." Delight toddlers? Hot damn -- this thing delights me! Link (Thanks, Justin!)

by Cory Doctorow at December 28, 2007 09:19 PM

Engadget

QKfone G998 rocks Benz logo, GPS chip and loads of ugly

Filed under:


Quite honestly, it's hard to know where to start with this one. Should we bash on the totally unlicensed Mercedes-Benz logo curiously adorning the front? Or should we begin by trying to put into words just how hideous this device truly is? The QKfone G998 is reportedly a GPS-equipped handset with a built-in microSD expansion slot, a 2-megapixel camera, an internal (2.8-inch) and external (1.8-inch) display and a world map plastered on the back for an extra dash of classiness. Apparently, the phone sports tri-band GSM connectivity, Bluetooth 2.0 and a full-fledged media player to keep you occupied when not hiding this thing away from public sight. No word on a price, but trust us, it's for the best.

[Via PMPToday]

 

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by Darren Murph at December 28, 2007 09:15 PM

Boing Boing

Semacode QRCode needlepoint scans as "pillow"

Flickr user Tikaro made this needlepoint semacode QR code (a kind of two-dimensional barcode) -- it scans to the Semapedia URL for "pillow". Link (via Wonderland)

(Image: Downsized crop from P1060816.JPG, appearing in tikaro's Flickr stream, used here for commentary, under the aegis of fair use)

by Cory Doctorow at December 28, 2007 09:07 PM

Engadget

DOT bans checked, loose lithium batteries on flights

Filed under: ,

If you've been feeling like you didn't already have enough zany and / or pointless Department of Transportation rules to abide by, you're in luck! Starting January 1st, 2008, you can no longer pack "loose lithium batteries" into your checked luggage on flights. If your battery is attached to a device -- or is packed into a plastic bag -- you're okay. According to the report, "Common consumer electronics such as travel cameras, cell phones, and most laptop computers are still allowed in carry-on and checked luggage," though, "The rule limits individuals to bringing only two extended-life spare rechargeable lithium batteries, such as laptop and professional audio/video/camera equipment lithium batteries in carry-on baggage." The new ban is related to lithium batteries' propensity to explode, and not due to any terrorism concerns. We're not sure what they're getting at with that plastic bag rule, but this should make everyone's already complicated travel plans just slightly more annoying.

[Via Gadling, image by rbrwr]

 

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by Joshua Topolsky at December 28, 2007 08:41 PM

Boing Boing

Inside the 1962 Sears Christmas Catalog

200712281239

This comes too late for Christmas -- 45 years too late. But the 1962 Sears Christmas catalog is still a treat.

Inspired by the fact that several friends of this Internet weblog recently forwarded us the same excerpts from a 1977 JC Penny catalog, Telstar Logistics reached into our vast corporate archive and emerged clutching a pristine copy of the 1962 Sears Christmas Book.

As you browse the Sears catalog, keep in mind that, according to the Inflation Calculator, $1 in 1962 was equivalent to $6.51 in 2006 dollars. Conversely, $1 in 2006 was equivalent to $0.15 in 1962.

Link

by Mark Frauenfelder at December 28, 2007 08:40 PM

Treehugger

Best of 2007: Fun with Coal

This is the latest post in TreeHugger's series about the Best of 2007. More are on the way; stay tuned! Coal isn't funny, but when the flacks and the parodists get to work, it is sometimes hard to tell them apart. We pick the best commercials and videos promoting and trashing coal for your viewing pleasure.

2007-12-28_151502-TreeHugger-gecoal.jpg 1) This isn't really fair, the commercial from GE's e...

December 28, 2007 08:36 PM

Engadget

MPillow promises to relax you with light and sound

Filed under: ,

This one looks to still be a good deal away from showing up at a store near you, but if a group of designers have their way, their so-called MPillow could one day be working its magic to lull you to sleep (although it will have quite a bit of competition on the high-tech pillow front). Helping it stand out are some built-in wireless capabilities that'll let you stream MP3s from your PC or pull some presumably relaxing sounds off the MPillow servers, as well as some soothing lighting that changes color and intensity along with the music. As you can no doubt guess, however, there's no indication that the pillow is actually headed for commercialization, so you'll just have to make do with some of the current music-playing pillows for the time being, or not.

 

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by Donald Melanson at December 28, 2007 08:33 PM

Wired News: Top Stories

Cronenberg Drifts From Tech Horror, but Shocks Remain

In an age of readily available "snuff porn," director David Cronenberg trades his sci-fi-tinged terrors for more everyday, earthly nightmares.

by Scott Thill at December 28, 2007 08:30 PM

Barrapunto

no me acuerdo de como se llama una peli y quisiera

pobrecito hablador nos cuenta: «es una peli que salio en la tele hace como 3 años: va sobre un chico que va a competir en una carrera de motos y entrenando se rompe una rodilla entonces su hermana melliza decide cortarse el pelo y hacerse pasar por el.se enamora de un amigo de su hermano pero el piensa que es su amigo y luego gana la carrera pero descubren que es una chica y todo se complicn . al final le dan el premio por ser la primera chica que gana una carrera de motos y esque competia mejor que el hermano. el chico see hizo su novio y fin . por favor si alguien save el nombre de la pelicula que me llame a 6123456789 creo que se titulaba algo de riesgo estremo»

by Candyman at December 28, 2007 08:21 PM

Techdirt

Wait... AOL Was Still Making A Netscape Browser?

While AOL's purchase of Time Warner is often considered one of the biggest M&A blunders of all time (and I'd still argue that the problem was in the execution, not the concept), it's at least worth pointing out that prior to that acquisition, AOL made another huge blunder in purchasing Netscape for over $4 billion dollars in 1998, just as Microsoft's Internet Explorer was finally taking over Netscape's marketshare (AOL apparently believes in the buy high, sell low philosophy). This seemed odd, even at the time, as AOL had long been using a modified version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer as its browser of choice (even back when IE was awful compared to Netscape). Even after the acquisition, AOL continued to use IE as its browser choice, and about the only thing that Netscape was good for was allowing AOL to sue Microsoft for antitrust violations. Microsoft eventually paid $750 million to AOL to settle the charges, leading many to assume that AOL was then going to kill off Netscape. While Mozilla (which was effectively spun out of Netscape) continued to gain traction, it made little sense for AOL to keep offering a "Netscape" browser, even if built on Mozilla code. Yet, in 2004 we were surprised to hear that AOL was still releasing a new Netscape browser. Since then, we'd pretty much forgotten that AOL actually offered Netscape as a browser and had assumed that it had been killed off. While that may have been effectively true, the reality was that the company was still working on a Netscape browser... until now. AOL has officially announced that it will be ending support for the Netscape browser for the six or seven people who still use it. While it won't impact very many people, it certainly is an "end of an era" type moment. While there may be some post mortems to suggest that Microsoft "killed" Netscape, the reality is that bad strategic decisions at Netscape (wanting to charge for the browser, getting distracted with other projects, bloat, bloat, bloat) were more to blame for its real demise a decade ago.

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by Mike Masnick at December 28, 2007 08:17 PM

ALT1040

Dell envía spam a bloggers

El Dell Hell llega a hispanoamérica por medio de un maldito spam enviado a bloggers. No ha llegado una sino dos veces a dos direcciones de correo diferentes que fueron recogidas manualmente leyendo posts de dos blogs de la red.

El correo que no tiene ningún enlace para evitar recibir más comunicaciones de parte de Dell y no tiene dirección a la cual contestar (noreply@dell.com.ar); el sitio de la promoción tampoco tiene método de contacto, por lo que esta es la única forma de hacerles saber lo que pienso.

El spam en su totalidad (es tan ridículo que tengo que reproducirlo entero):

Te escribimos desde el Departamento de Márketing de DELL Latinoamérica. Las últimas semanas estuvimos revisando los mejores blogs en español, y el tuyo, Alt 1040 es uno de nuestros favoritos.

En DELL creemos en la influencia y el alcance de los blogs, por eso diseñamos un oferta exclusiva para ustedes, los bloggers:

40% de descuento en compras de $16500 o más, en la línea de Portátiles y Desktops Vostro TM.

El siguiente link te llevará a una página en la que obtendrás un código de descuento según tu país de residencia. Este link es tuyo y puedes compartirlo, comentarlo y distribuirlo entre tus visitantes y usuarios o con quién quieras.

(quito la dirección para no darles promoción)

Esperamos ir acercándonos a ti y al resto de los bloggers, con este y otros esfuerzos que haremos en el futuro.

¡Felices fiestas!

Departamento de Márketing DELL Latinoamérica

(Captura de pantalla)

El Departamento de Márketing de Dell Latinoamérica no cree en los blogs como influyentes, creen que somos un espacio gratuito de publicidad, que vamos a “caer” en tonterías como estas, creen que somos un grupo de niños con granos en la cara que se emocionan con un pequeño hueso y vamos a seguirles el juego. ¿Un descuento si compro 1500 dólares de equipo? ¿me creen estúpido? no solo me envían spam, ¿aparte quieren que le haga promoción gratis? ¿es que no tienen vergüenza?

…y es que estoy harto que las marcas grandes de tecnología (tuve una experiencia similar con Nokia Latinoamérica) creen que nos “hacen el favor”, se equivocan; deberían estar conscientes que esa misma influencia y alcance de los blogs puede jugar en su contra especialmente si se dedican a spammear bloggers de esta forma.

Señores del Departamento de Márketing de Dell Latinoamérica: pueden estar seguros que nunca compraré un equipo de su marca y que no solo estoy “compartiendo” el hecho que hacen spam con todos mis lectores, también le diré “a quien quiera” que no compren nada de lo que ustedes venden por sus tácticas que aparentan simple “márketing barato”.

by Eduardo Arcos at December 28, 2007 08:12 PM

Miguel de Icaza

Language Shootout

Alvaro points out that in the Language Shootout Benchmark Mono comes in 18th place compared to Java's 10th place.

We know that Sun's proprietary Java edition (not the open source one, as that one is nowhere to be found yet) is faster than Mono, but I was surprised that we were so far behind. So I looked at the comparison between Java6 and Mono.

Memory usage wise, we mostly come ahead, but in performance, there were two places where Sun's server VM beat Mono seriously in performance (5x or more), one is the regex-dna test and the other one is pidigits test.

The regex test is a test of the regular expression matching engine in the class libraries, not really a test of the language or VM performance, but library implementation. Clearly, our Regex implementation could use some work.

The pidigits test was showing up as 6x better with Java than with Mono. But the test is basically comparing C# vs assembly language. In Mono's case it is using a full C# implementation of BigInteger while the Java version uses the C/assembly language GMP library that has been tuned with hand-coded assembly language.

I ported Java's pidigits to C# to also use native GMP, and the results are promising, we now have a 4.7x speedup and the process size is one megabyte smaller. I was unable to test the Java version on my machine, as I could not find the native "libjgmp" library.

I wonder what the policy is for the language shootout to use external libraries. If its ok, I should contribute my port, if its not, the Java test should be rewritten to be a fully managed implementation.

If you run all the tests the gap between Java and Mono goes from 8 places, to 3 places; If you remove the two bad tests (Our Regex implementation, and the pidigits test) Mono is only one slot behind Java server; and if you also account for memory usage (but still account for all the tests), Mono comes ahead of Java.

Of course, we got homework to do: why is our Regex implementation so much slower?

Some Observations

It is interesting to see in the benchmarks the progression:

  • Close to the metal languages are the first tier (C, C++, D, Pascal, even Eiffel).
  • Compiled functional languages come next (OCaml, ML, Haskell, Lisp).
  • Java and Mono are on the next tier.
  • A big jump comes next: Erlang, Smalltalk, MzScheme.
  • Next big jump: Pike, Perl, Python.
  • Another jump: PHP, Javascript.
  • Tcl: a class on its own.
  • Ruby, last one.

There are a few rarities, like Fortran being in the same tier as Java and Mono, which probably means the tests for Fortran have not been tuned up, I would expect it to be in the same tier as C.

Also, am surprised by Ruby being the last on the list, I expected it to be roughly in the same range as Python, so I suspect that the tests for Ruby have not been tuned either. Update: my readers also point out that Ruby 1.9 will improve things.

Update: I just noticed that Eiffel is on the first tier, performance wise, but has pretty much all the properties and features of the third tier (garbage collection, strong typing, bounds checking). This means that you get the best of both world with it (and Eiffel's compiler is now also open source).

Language Productivity

And of course, at the end of the day, what matters is how productive you are writing code in a language. The Wikipedia is powered by PHP, Amazon by lots of Perl and C, Google uses Python extensively, and the stellar productivity that can be achieved with Ruby on Rails is hardly matched. So even if your language is slower than the first few tiers, to many developers and sites deploying software what matters is productivity.

Choosing between Mono's C# and Java, both languages being roughly on the same class, is a function of the libraries that you use, the ecosystem where the code will be developed/deployed and to some extent the language.

Alvaro's teammates at Sun have a difficult challenge ahead of them when it comes to the language: how to fix a language that has been so badly bruised by their generics implementation, their refusal to acknowledge delegates, the ongoing saga over the catastrophic closure proposals [1] and the lack of a strong language designer to lead Java into the future.

So even if we have a slow regular expression engine, we have working closures, iterators, events, the lock and using statements in the language and LINQ.

Of course, I wish them the best luck (in the end, Mono is a language-independent VM, and we are just as happy to run C# code as we are running Java code, which incidentally, just reached another milestone) and we certainly plan on learning from the open source Java VM source code.

Alternatively, you can use Mainsoft's Grasshopper to write C# code, but have it run on a Java VM.

[1] Am tempted to write a post about the mistakes that both Java closure proposals have. But it seems like it will be a waste of time, it feels like there is just too much hatred/NIH towards C# in that camp to make any real progress.

[Post Comment] | [Comments]

December 28, 2007 08:05 PM

Planet GNOME

Miguel de Icaza: Language Shootout

Alvaro points out that in the Language Shootout Benchmark Mono comes in 18th place compared to Java's 10th place.

We know that Sun's proprietary Java edition (not the open source one, as that one is nowhere to be found yet) is faster than Mono, but I was surprised that we were so far behind. So I looked at the comparison between Java6 and Mono.

Memory usage wise, we mostly come ahead, but in performance, there were two places where Sun's server VM beat Mono seriously in performance (5x or more), one is the regex-dna test and the other one is pidigits test.

The regex test is a test of the regular expression matching engine in the class libraries, not really a test of the language or VM performance, but library implementation. Clearly, our Regex implementation could use some work.

The pidigits test was showing up as 6x better with Java than with Mono. But the test is basically comparing C# vs assembly language. In Mono's case it is using a full C# implementation of BigInteger while the Java version uses the C/assembly language GMP library that has been tuned with hand-coded assembly language.

I ported Java's pidigits to C# to also use native GMP, and the results are promising, we now have a 4.7x speedup and the process size is one megabyte smaller. I was unable to test the Java version on my machine, as I could not find the native "libjgmp" library.

I wonder what the policy is for the language shootout to use external libraries. If its ok, I should contribute my port, if its not, the Java test should be rewritten to be a fully managed implementation.

If you run all the tests the gap between Java and Mono goes from 8 places, to 3 places; If you remove the two bad tests (Our Regex implementation, and the pidigits test) Mono is only one slot behind Java server; and if you also account for memory usage (but still account for all the tests), Mono comes ahead of Java.

Of course, we got homework to do: why is our Regex implementation so much slower?

Some Observations

It is interesting to see in the benchmarks the progression:

  • Close to the metal languages are the first tier (C, C++, D, Pascal, even Eiffel).
  • Compiled functional languages come next (OCaml, ML, Haskell, Lisp).
  • Java and Mono are on the next tier.
  • A big jump comes next: Erlang, Smalltalk, MzScheme.
  • Next big jump: Pike, Perl, Python.
  • Another jump: PHP, Javascript.
  • Tcl: a class on its own.
  • Ruby, last one.

There are a few rarities, like Fortran being in the same tier as Java and Mono, which probably means the tests for Fortran have not been tuned up, I would expect it to be in the same tier as C.

Also, am surprised by Ruby being the last on the list, I expected it to be roughly in the same range as Python, so I suspect that the tests for Ruby have not been tuned either. Update: my readers also point out that Ruby 1.9 will improve things.

Update: I just noticed that Eiffel is on the first tier, performance wise, but has pretty much all the properties and features of the third tier (garbage collection, strong typing, bounds checking). This means that you get the best of both world with it (and Eiffel's compiler is now also open source).

Language Productivity

And of course, at the end of the day, what matters is how productive you are writing code in a language. The Wikipedia is powered by PHP, Amazon by lots of Perl and C, Google uses Python extensively, and the stellar productivity that can be achieved with Ruby on Rails is hardly matched. So even if your language is slower than the first few tiers, to many developers and sites deploying software what matters is productivity.

Choosing between Mono's C# and Java, both languages being roughly on the same class, is a function of the libraries that you use, the ecosystem where the code will be developed/deployed and to some extent the language.

Alvaro's teammates at Sun have a difficult challenge ahead of them when it comes to the language: how to fix a language that has been so badly bruised by their generics implementation, their refusal to acknowledge delegates, the ongoing saga over the catastrophic closure proposals [1] and the lack of a strong language designer to lead Java into the future.

So even if we have a slow regular expression engine, we have working closures, iterators, events, the lock and using statements in the language and LINQ.

Of course, I wish them the best luck (in the end, Mono is a language-independent VM, and we are just as happy to run C# code as we are running Java code, which incidentally, just reached another milestone) and we certainly plan on learning from the open source Java VM source code.

Alternatively, you can use Mainsoft's Grasshopper to write C# code, but have it run on a Java VM.

[1] Am tempted to write a post about the mistakes that both Java closure proposals have. But it seems like it will be a waste of time, it feels like there is just too much hatred/NIH towards C# in that camp to make any real progress.

[Post Comment] | [Comments]

December 28, 2007 08:05 PM

Elastico.net

Adios Resfest - Este fin de semana en CCCB Barcelona

map07.jpg

El año pasado por estas fechas, el festival global de cine digital, videoclips y motion graphics, RESFEST, cerraba la gira internacional de su décima edición en varias ciudades españolas. Entonces no sabíamos que aquellos serían, definitivamente, sus últimos eventos.

Sus organizadores -responsables también de la revista RES- decidieron este año que el décimo aniversario era un buen momento para poner el punto final y empezar a tramar nuevos planes. Entre las razones, el bajo estado de forma creativo de algunos de los géneros que el festival reivindicó , y el cambio radical que ha supuesto la explosión del video en la Web en la manera en que se distribuye y se consume esta producción.

ArtFutura trajo a RESFEST a España por primera vez en 2002 y este fin de semana le va a dar su despedida en el CCCB de Barcelona. Desde hoy y hasta el domingo podéis ver una selección de los mejores programas de su historia que incluye desde una antología de los mejores cortometrajes de sus diez años hasta las excelentes retrospectivas dedicadas a Jonathan Glazer, Traktor y la historia en imágenes de Radiohead. La entrada es libre y los horarios están disponibles en la web del CCCB.

RESFEST ha sido durante los últimos diez años - junto al festival inglés Onedotzero-, una pieza fundamental para entender la aparición de nuevos lenguajes y estéticas audiovisuales. Han sido pioneros en legitimar y dar a conocer el trabajode la primera generación de cineastas digitales: los Cunningham, Gondry, Spike Jonze, Jonathan Glazer, Shynola, Richard Fenwick Mike Mills...hoy completamente consolidados.

Aunque los vamos a echar mucho de menos, es de aplaudir que se hayan resistido a dejarse llevar por la inercia, y que se atrevan a cerrar un capítulo para empezar otro desde cero. Adios, Resfest, y buena suerte para el futuro.

by José Luis de Vicente at December 28, 2007 07:56 PM

Boing Boing

Video of accordion player from Minority Orchestra

200712281150 I enjoyed this video of 19-year-old Koharu playing accordion. She's in the Japanese street brass band Minority Orchestra, shown here (video of Minority Orchestra). Link

by Mark Frauenfelder at December 28, 2007 07:55 PM

Treehugger

Best of 2007: Greenwashers of the Year

It's like shooting fish in an overcrowded BC fish farm, picking out our favourite greenwashers of the year, all part of our series about the Best of 2007.

2007-12-28_141629-TreeHugger-furisgreen.jpg 1)The ultimate in greenwashing chutzpah for the year goes to the Fur Council of Canada for their new "Fur is Green" campaign, where they say that "In nature, each plant and animal species generally produces ...

December 28, 2007 07:53 PM

When In Doubt, Blame The Airlines For Your Travel Woes

airline_tickets.jpg For a long time now the airline industry has benefitted from "a long-held notion about air travel delays — that bad weather and heavy air traffic cause the bulk of the waits that passengers endure." However, a recent USA Today analysis found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, airline glitches "such as pilot shortages, taking too long to refuel and mechanical breakdowns," are actually the leading cause of delays. These glitches have "triggered 23.8 million minutes of delays through October this...

December 28, 2007 07:37 PM

El Blog de Enrique Dans

PartyStrands, en la noche de fin de año en Times Square

New Year’s Eve Times SquareEs una de las celebraciones de fin de año más emblemáticas: la de la mítica Times Square de Nueva York. Y este año, la música la pondrá nada menos que una empresa española fundada por unos buenos amigos míos: MyStrands, que ha conseguido situar su servicio PartyStrands nada menos que en la pantalla gigante de delante de la MTV, y posibilitará que los presentes en la plaza interactúen enviando mensajes de texto, escogiendo vídeos musicales y respondiendo a preguntas trivia. Los que no estén en la plaza y quieran seguir la fiesta desde casa, podrán además hacerlo a través de la página www.mystrands.com/mtv.

Hablamos de PartyStrands cuando lo lanzaron, allá por Septiembre de 2006. Poco más de un año después de su lanzamiento, están nada menos que en la pantalla gigante de Times Square la noche de Fin de Año. Si eso no es lo que llaman exposure, pocas cosas se me ocurren que puedan serlo. La verdad es que estos chicos están que se salen. ¡Enhorabuena!

(Y no, no es ninguna inocentada)

, , , ,

by Enrique Dans at December 28, 2007 07:29 PM

Engadget

LCD manufacturer set to introduce 18.4-inch displays

Filed under:

Look, the LCD monitor market is hot. How hot, you ask? Well let's just say that panel manufacturer Chunghwa Picture Tubes (or CPT) has decided to circumvent the battle for ultimate supremacy in the 19-inch market by creating a totally new size of monitor: an 18.4-inch widescreen display. The new size will feature a 16:9 aspect ratio, 1366 x 768 resolution, a contrast ratio of 1000:1, and a response time of 5ms. The benefit of the slightly smaller size is that the cost to consumers will be lower than its 19-inch brethren, thereby giving CPT a cleaner shot a some market share. The first company to bite on the new size is Acer, which will be using the new panels in a Quanta-made laptop set to hit Europe in the second half of 2008.

 

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by Joshua Topolsky at December 28, 2007 07:22 PM

Ars Technica

Trojan capitalizes on Bhutto assassination in under 24 hours

We've already seen two Storm attacks this week aimed at capitalizing on the holiday season. Now, a new Javascript exploit is migrating partially by linking itself to information on Benazir Bhutto's assassination.

Read More...

December 28, 2007 07:20 PM

Boing Boing

Electroplankton inventor's new musical instrument

200712281113My favorite Nintendo DS title is Electroplankton, a music synthesizer that lets anyone create pleasant music.

The creator of Electroplankton, Toshio Iwai, made a standalone synthesizer for Yamaha called the Tenori-On, and Chris Pirillo reviewed it on his video program. He loves the $1200 instrument. I can't wait for the price to drop to about $250. Link

by Mark Frauenfelder at December 28, 2007 07:19 PM

Techdirt

How Noncompete Agreements Will Make Our Troops Less Safe

Earlier this month, we wrote about the dangers of noncompete agreements and how they tend to slow innovation and hurt regions compared to those, such as California, that do not enforce noncompetes. Most of the research on noncompetes tends to compare Massachusetts, which enforces noncompetes, to California. And, in an unfortunate demonstration of the dangers of noncompetes, iRobot, a Massachusetts company has just forced a competitor completely out of business, and our troops may be less safe because of it. Many people know iRobot for the cute little Roomba vacuum cleaner robot, but the company's main line of business has always been selling robots to the military to help them locate and dispose of explosives. A new company sprang up recently, called Robotic FX, founded by a former iRobot employee. Robotic FX had just scored an army contract to make some similar robots. The competition would have been good for everyone. It would have pushed both companies to continue to innovate and make better, more efficient and more cost effective robots. Instead, iRobot sued and has forced Robotic FX completely out of business and banned its founder from working in the industry for five years. Here's a knowledgeable expert on robotics who can help make useful robots that will help keep our troops safer... and he's not allowed to work in the industry for five years. That doesn't seem like a good outcome for anyone... other than iRobot who can rest on its laurels rather than having to innovate in the face of competition. Update: Wanted to update this following some comments that suggest my summary was inaccurate. I apologize if it was not clear, so let me clarify here. The guy was accused of patent infringement and trade secret violations in what he was doing. That was the central part of the case. The "noncompete" wasn't specifically an agreement he signed, but it's a result of the lawsuit. I should have been clearer about the accusations of infringement, but I don't believe this changes the point of the post at all. It's still a case where a noncompete (created by the court, rather than as part of an employment agreement) is used to stifle competition. That there may have been patent infringement is somewhat meaningless to me, as should be clear from my other discussions on patents. Competition is competition -- and it would have driven better results, even if based on the same patents.

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by Mike Masnick at December 28, 2007 07:09 PM

Treehugger

Dengue in Northern Italy?

Tiger%20Mosquito.jpg The tiger mosquito. A strange epidemic hit the tiny village of Castiglione di Cervia in northern Italy last summer. Some 100 villagers (out of a population of 2,000) had fallen ill with malaria-like symptoms by the middle of August. The villagers were scared and hysterical. No one had any idea what was happening, until government scientists figured it out - the village was suffering from an outbreak of Chinkungunya, a relative of dengue fever normally found around the Indian Ocean. Brought to the village by a visitor who had been traveling in India in July, the sickness was spread by the

December 28, 2007 07:08 PM

Christmas Charity: SPNI

SPNI.JPG SPNI activists in central Tel Aviv. The banners reads "If only City Hall would say yes! a light rail would run here within 5 years." Merry Christmas from Israel! Here, of course, there is no snow, the sun is shining, and Hannuka has already come and gone. There are, however, plenty of people doing good work for for the environment and social change, and they could always use the support of like-minded people around the globe. For those of us treehuggers who live in this country, there is one non-profit organization which is synonymous with caring for Mother Earth: the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI). This veteran organization has ...

December 28, 2007 07:02 PM

Wired News: Top Stories

From Cellphone to Sell Phone: Can the Marketers Be Stopped?

All that stands between you and seeing your cellphone turned into a conduit for endless sales-pitch intrusions is your mobile provider, who, for now at least, is skittish about violating any privacy laws. That could change, however.

by Associated Press at December 28, 2007 06:45 PM

Ars Technica

Nokia 4G wireless tech hits 173Mbps in real-world test

If your current 3G network isn't fast enough for you, then just wait a bit. A new real-world test saw a leading 4G contender, LTE, reach a 173Mbps download peak.

Read More...

December 28, 2007 06:42 PM

Boing Boing

Communist monuments of Yugoslavia

200712281027

Jan Kempenaers took these spectacular images of monuments erected in communist Yugoslavia. Link

by Mark Frauenfelder at December 28, 2007 06:29 PM

Treehugger

Natural Disasters in Latin America Blamed in Part on Climate Change

04mexico.601.jpg 2007 has been a brutal year for natural disasters in Latin America, keeping the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs busy. The agency said in a recent statement that a record nine missions were dispatched to Latin America this year. "Seventy percent of the total were in response to hurricanes and floods, possibly a glimpse of the shape of things to come, given the reality of climate change," it said. Overall the office dispatched 14 missions around the globe -- a higher than usual number. The natural disasters in Latin America varied in scale and affected more than eight countries. Heavy rains pounded Mexico's Tabasco state, leaving floods that lasted fo...

December 28, 2007 06:29 PM

ALT1040

Las celebridades que más venden en eBay

Kate Moss arrasa en el servicio de subastas con el mayor número de objetos relacionados con ella, que se vendieron durante 2007. Con 30.481 artículos relacionados, la modelo queda por encima de las Spice Girls y de Britney Spears, segundo y tercer lugar respectivamente.

by Arturo J. Paniagua at December 28, 2007 06:25 PM

Barrapunto

Doy contraseñas de hotmail, gmail, yohoo etc

pobrecito hablador nos cuenta: «HOla amigos doy contraseñas ok mas contactos a javito19088017@hotmail.com si tu novia te engaña o si alguien te abuso ya no se salva te estare esperando» Esto me recuerda que los barrapunteros tenemos una puerta histórica en el centro de Madrid que estamos vendiendo barata, porque nos tenemos que mudar. Atenderemos todas las ofertas, incluso de trueques.

by Candyman at December 28, 2007 06:17 PM

Boing Boing

Blackwater wishes you a very mercenary Christmas


Danger Room has scanned a copy of the holiday card sent out by Blackwater Worldwide: Link to larger-rez scans. Hey, this eggnog tastes like blood.

by Xeni Jardin at December 28, 2007 06:16 PM

New Jersey to block sex offenders from internet, computer use

A new law in New Jersey gives authorities the right to take away computer and internet access from convicted sex offenders, regardless of whether computers or the internet played a role in their crime. Snip from Ars Technica:

According to one of the law's backers, state Senator John Girgenti, the law makes it easier for sex offenders to stay on the straight and narrow, "reducing the risk of them being tempted to be a repeat offender."

Bill S1979 gives the state broad authority to regulate a sex offender's computer and Internet usage so long as the person remains on parole. And the law is tough: anyone who uses a computer to help commit sex crimes will be prohibited from using computers or the Internet at all. The State Parole Board may also impose restrictions at its discretion on offenders even if they did not use computers to plan their crimes.

Link (Thanks, Glyn)

by Xeni Jardin at December 28, 2007 06:03 PM

Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends

Nanodisks used to encrypt information

PhysOrg.com reports that U.S. researchers have used nanotechnology tricks to develop nanodisks which could be useful to create codes to encrypt information. This method, which conceptually is similar to barcodes, could be used for DNA tagging or tracking goods and people. Even if this looks interesting, the best part is that the article mentions twice that the researchers belong to Northeastern University located in Boston, Massachusetts. But while I was searching for references for this post, I quickly found that the researchers belonged to Northwestern University located in Evanston, Illinois. Digg users and other bloggers contributed to propagate the error. Why do they forget to check the facts before relaying information? But read more...

December 28, 2007 05:46 PM

Boing Boing

Interview with author of Love & Sex With Robots

David Levy, author of Love & Sex With Robots, was interviewed by Jeff Simmermon.

200712280935

Simmerman: Would you personally use one of these robots?

Levy: I would certainly experiment with one, to find out what it was like — how much like the real thing.

Simmermon:Would your wife? Probably not — she is not interested in anything of a technological nature.

Simmermon:Would she mind if you used one? Surely you’ve talked about it by now …

Levy: Actually, no, because it is purely hypothetical since they do not yet exist.

Simmermon:I ask because I was talking about this with my girlfriend, who, had she found one of these in my closet in the early stages of our relationship, would have hailed a cab and never seen me again.

Levy: She says that, but why? Has she never used a vibrator? And if she has, why does she think that you shouldn’t have left her immediately you found out?

Link

by Mark Frauenfelder at December 28, 2007 05:45 PM

Techdirt

Adobe Spying On Its Customers

It's not all that surprising these days to hear about software companies having their software "phone home" in some manner or another, though it's often quite annoying. However, it looks like Adobe has taken this to a new level. As highlighted by Valleywag, Adobe's CS3 design software includes a system to provide your usage data quietly to a "behavioral analytics" firm named Omniture. Of course, it does this without ever asking you if you want some random company knowing every time you use this piece of software. While it may not be doing anything nefarious, this certainly has all the hallmarks of spyware, including the fact that it tries to (weakly) disguise the connection to Omniture by making it look like it's simply pinging your local network. It's really amazing that companies keep doing this type of thing thinking that people won't catch on. There may be plenty of legitimate reasons for tracking the usage of a piece of software -- but if so, why not be upfront about it and let the user of the software opt-in to sharing his or her data? Yet another reason to use a firewall that catches these sorts of sneaky outbound connections. Update: John Dowdell, an Adobe employee (and long time Techdirt reader) has replied in the comments, noting that he's talking to folks at Adobe to find out the whole story, but he thinks it's the "live update" function. I'm not sure I understand why a live update function would call an analytics firm -- or why the ping to that analytics firm should be disguised as a local network ping, but that's the story coming out of Adobe right now. Will update again if any more details become clear. Update 2: Further response from Adobe here. It explains what the connection does and also admits that the company should have done a better job making it clear.

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by Mike Masnick at December 28, 2007 05:42 PM

Treehugger

Recipe of the Week:: Spinach and Tomato Dal

spinach-tomato-dal-soup.jpg Around about this time of the year I've had enough of parties and rich food. It's time for me to step back and have something for dinner that doesn't involve any traditional Christmas fare. So I spent some time this week reading The Gate Vegetarian Cookbook which I received for Christmas and there is nary a shortbread cookie in sight. There are plenty of mouth-watering recipes here, but many are out of season for me so I ended up choosing this dal which was really easy to make. The recipe calls for red lentils or yellow split peas. I used split peas and I would like to make it again with the lentils. The split peas don't break down in the same way that the lentil...

December 28, 2007 05:34 PM

ALT1040

Unos tags de Last.fm muy descriptivos

Este es el panorama al introducir el tag mierda

Claro, es tan subjetivo como la vida misma y seguro que no le hace ninguna gracia a los fans de algunos de los aludidos. Y no se pierdan el tag sgae lameculos, toda una joyita la alineación de artistas resultante.

Enlace: Impresionante el sistema de búsquedas mediante tags de Last.fm

by Arturo J. Paniagua at December 28, 2007 05:34 PM

Planet GNOME

Hubert Figuiere: Adding documenation to DevHelp

Dear LazyWeb,

I'm looking for a proper documentation on how to add "books" to DevHelp. The current DevHelp documentation is inexistent, and said documentation isn't generated by gtk-doc.

Thanks

December 28, 2007 05:31 PM

Ars Technica

Media Center support for DirecTV and other SATs in the works

While a whole lot of nuthin' followed the joint announcement from Microsoft and DirecTV at CES 2006 announcement, recent rumblings and trusted sources tell Ars that satellite support in Media Center is very close.

Read More...

December 28, 2007 05:31 PM

ALT1040

Lo más Hipertextual del año 2007

2007 fue un año muy especial. Han sido 12 meses en los que la actualidad no ha dejado de sorprendernos, y en Hipertextual nos hemos esforzado por contar todo, o al menos lo más importante de la misma en los temas que cubrimos con nuestros blogs.

Sin duda ha sido el mejor año para la empresa, que durante el mismo incorporó a Martín Varsavsky a su accionariado y ya ha sobrepasado los 9 millones de páginas vistas. Como fue un gran año, con las prisas de por medio, hemos preparado una recopilación con lo que nuestros editores han creído que es Lo más Hipertextual de 2007.

  • En ALT1040 somos difíciles de sorprender, pero hay 5 cosas que sucedieron en estos últimos 12 meses y que robaron nuestra atención. Además, muy pendientes porque esta semana estaremos publicando el Podcast Número 20, en el que repasaremos lo mejor y lo peor de 2007.

  • Al preguntar por lo más importante del año para el mundo Apple, nuestros 3 adictos a la manzana lo tuvieron más que claro: el iPhone. Así que decidieron hacer un resumen histórico que comienza con la presentación del teléfono el día 9 de enero. No se pierdan el resto en AppleWeblog.

  • Nuestros compañeros de Bitelia lo tenían complicado, ya que 2007 fue un año de mucho movimiento en internet y en cuanto a software se refiere. Evidentemente, los usuarios somos los más beneficiados de esta selección especial.

  • Los 10 chismes célebres más comentados de 2007 están recopilados en BlogCorazón. incluyen una ristra de embarazos inesperados, la muerte de Anna Nicole Smith o todo el drama montado alrededor de Britney Spears.

  • 27 canciones. Ese es el número que compone el top de canciones favoritas del año de Barbara Coca, editora de Cuchara Sónica. Al parecer no para de escuchar a Arcade Fire, Rihanna, Kanye West, Radiohead, Feist o a todo un clásico: Björk.

  • El 2007 fue un año muy importante para los videojuegos. Con la batalla de consolas iniciada, las 3 grandes no han parado de mover ficha, a la vez que las desarrolladoras no han parado de publicar juegos espectaculares, regulares y penosos. Lo más importante queda resumido en Ecetia.

  • Los 3 editores de Extracine se reunieron en pleno para elegir cada uno sus 10 películas favoritas de 2007. Coincidieron en algunos éxitos en taquilla como 300, Transformers o El Ultimátum de Bourne.

  • Para Gizmología fue un año de clara consolidación como uno de los blogs sobre gadgets más importantes en español. Durante 2007 cubrimos importantísimos eventos y presenciamos la salida al mercado de los mejores aparatos tecnológicos. Lo resumimos en 5 momentos muy especiales.

  • Cuatro terminales y un sistema operativo móvil, son las elecciones de Gizmóvil como lo más interesante de este año en cuanto a telefonía se refiere. Seguro que al ritmo que se actualiza la tecnología, dentro de un año esto será historia antigua.

  • La Alta Definición se empieza a meter en nuestras casas, y la salida al mercado de reproductores, televisores, cámaras y servicios, forman parte de la selección de lo más relevante de 2007 recogido en HiperDEF.

  • Este año recuperamos la normalidad en Monkeyzen tras unos meses de letargo. Y fue realmente gratificante tener de vuelta la guía de cómo ser cool y trendy que pasa por su mejor momento y recopila algunos de los mejores artículos recomendados en los últimos meses.

  • En Motorfull deciden mirar por el retrovisor. Nuestros cracks por supuesto siguen odiando el circo de la Fórmula 1, pero no han parado de informar sobre nuevos modelos de coches, combustibles, competiciones y todo lo relacionado con un par de ruedas y un motos.

  • Sección Deportiva es nuestro blog más joven, pero ello no ha impedido que el trío deportivo Hipertextual seleccionara a los protagonistas del deporte durante este año: deportistas y equipos que destacaron dentro de su disciplina, alegrando la vida de los fanáticos.

  • Para los adictos a la televisión con mala memoria, desde TVlia repasamos y damos la oportunidad de volver a ver los 10 momentos más impactantes de la televisión española e internacional durante 2007. Hay de todo: Lost, Aquí hay Tomate o una escena realmente increíble de House.

  • En Vivir México, optaron por seleccionar los 10 posts que más llamaron la atención en el metroblog de la Ciudad de México en los últimos meses: Desde la decepción de Vive Terror, hasta el concierto de Daft Punk, pasando por las barbaridades de Amprofon.

Para el año que viene seguiremos presentes y pendientes para contar de nuestra particular forma, toda la actualidad sobre el mundo de la tecnología y el ocio, y todas las cosas realmente importantes que pasan a nuestro alrededor. En el 2008 y más que nunca, seguiremos siendo Hipertextuales.

by Eduardo Arcos at December 28, 2007 05:31 PM

Gnomefiles

GTK-server (ver. 2.2+build+2)

The GTK-server offers a stream-oriented interface to the GTK libraries, enabling access to graphical user interfaces for shellscripts and interpreted programming languages using either GTK 1.x or 2.x.

About this version
. Fixed compile error with XForms
. Many small fixes in the demoscripts, added AWK dict client
. Fixed error messages in macro parser
. Support for scrollbutton events (GTK2.x)
. New: 'gtk_server_property_get/-set' to retrieve and set property values of widgets
. Check on duplicate function definitions in configfile during startup
. Arguments preceding with dash is also accepted now, e.g. 'log' and '-log' etc.
. Corrected help information
. Updated to the latest configfile
. Fixed bug with macro variables initialization

December 28, 2007 05:29 PM

Boing Boing

Priests brawl at Jesus' birthplace

At a Bethlehem church built over the manger where Jesus was alleged to have been born, two groups of "robed and bearded" Greek Orthodox priests and Armenian priests fought each other for over an hour "using fists, brooms and iron rods as weapons." Seven people were injured in the brawl.

200712280924 The brawl apparently began when Greek Orthodox priests set up ladders to clean the walls and ceilings of their part of the church after the Christmas Day celebrations.

Armenian priests claimed that the ladders encroached on their portion of the church, which led the two sects to exchange angry words which quickly turned to blows.

Photographers who came to document the annual cleaning ceremony instead recorded the entire event.

Link (Thanks, jjasper!)

by Mark Frauenfelder at December 28, 2007 05:25 PM

Geek Culture

Kattalogen!

Cats!
It's Friday, 2007 is almost gone, so what better way to spend the day than look at maswan's Cats page! It's a collection of over 3700 of the world's funniest cat pictures. I guarantee you, even if you hate cats, you're going to laugh at something here. (Select the - + ∞ controls for more or less thumbnails)

by Snaggy at December 28, 2007 05:22 PM

Boing Boing

TSA's new forbidden item: >2 gm lithium batteries

Picture 4-26
The TSA has discovered that on January 1st, 2008 lithium batteries are going to become more dangerous than they were on December 31, 2007. Thankfully, they've taken action by forbidding them beginning in 2008.

Lithium Metal Battery, Spare or Installed (over 2 grams lithium):
In checked bag? Forbidden
Carry-on? Forbidden

The Department of Transportation's web site doesn't say why they're forbidden. They just are. Link

(Thanks, Andy!)

by Mark Frauenfelder at December 28, 2007 05:16 PM

Barrapunto

Nueva teoria para el radio y energia cuantizada

joven investigador nos cuenta: «SIMPLEMENTE COMUNICAR QUE PRONTAMENTE PODRE DAR A CONOCER UNA NUEVA HERRAMIENTA ,PARA LA INVESTIGACION DE TODAS LAS RAMAS CIENCIAS PRACTICAS Y TEORICAS, GRACIAS A ELLA PUDE CONFIRMAR DE QUE EL RADIO A TOMICO ESTA CUANTIZADO IGUAL QUE LA ENERGIA. Y LOGRE DESCUBRIR UNA ECUACION QUE RELACIONANA LA ENERGIA Y RADIOS DE TAL CUANTIZACION,ENTRE ATOMOS ISOELECTRONICOS.»

by Candyman at December 28, 2007 05:15 PM

Boing Boing

Terminus -- award winning short film from Canada

Picture 3-31 A silent concrete monster follows a nervous businessman through Montreal in Terminus, an eerie and darkly funny short film directed by Trevor Cawood. Link (Thanks, Kevin!)

by Mark Frauenfelder at December 28, 2007 05:03 PM

ALT1040

La razón por la cual no puedes enviar correos (emails) si tienes Prodigy Infinitum

[Prodigy (Telmex) toma la decisión que aparentemente muchísimos otros proveedores de acceso a internet han tomado: bloquear el puerto 25, supone un paso más de configuración para los usuarios y un problema definitivo para personas con menos conocimientos técnicos y de redes. Casi todos los programas o clientes de email vienen pre-configurados para conectarse a servidores SMTP por medio de ese puerto y al bloquearlo hay que entrar -generalmente a opciones avanzadas- para cambiarlo.

La verdad es que no es la primera vez ni será la última que un proveedor tome la decisión, para quienes administramos servidores ya es costumbre habilitar el SMTP en puertos alternativos (generalmente 26) para clientes que tienen el problema. Al respecto Infinitum envió un email a las cuentas que regala junto con el servicio (que muy poca gente revisa) y explica:

Con esta iniciativa evitaremos que las computadoras de usuarios que se encuentren infectadas con virus envíen correo no solicitado e infecten a otros usuarios, aumentando así la seguridad de todos nuestros clientes. Adicionalmente, al reducir el SPAM enviado desde nuestros servicios de conexión a Internet, nos adherimos a las mejores prácticas internacionales y evitamos el riesgo de ser sujetos a bloqueos masivos por parte de otras redes que no desean recibir SPAM

La realidad de las cosas: Prodigy Infinitum tiene años siendo bloqueado por diferentes servicios de protección anti-spam lamentablemente por el desconocimiento general de sus usuarios, muchísimos teniendo máquinas zombies que están siendo usadas (por medio de virus) para enviar programas maliciosos o simple spam.

Según Grupo Quimaira es posible “darte de baja” de esta “protección” llamando al número de servicio técnico (01 800 123-2222), pero en la práctica lo mejor es buscar el puerto alternativo y olvidarte del problema.

Gracias Angel Méndez

by Eduardo Arcos at December 28, 2007 04:59 PM

Treehugger

Kids on Club Penguin Donate Virtual Coins That Add Up to Giant Green Christmas Gift for WWF

global-citizenship%20club%20penguin.gifIn one of the most intriguing marketing and fundraising strategies I’ve come across in my time writing about kids and education on Treehugger, the popular web-based virtual world of Club Penguin, geared towards kids ages 6-14, asked them to donate some of their virtual coins earned playing games on Club Penguin towards a charitable cause in a campaign called “Coins for Change” that ran from December 10th-24th. And while virtual coins won’t get you very far in the real world, the truth is that the donations came at a real cost to the kids virtual world adventures with their penguin avatars, and was backed up by the genuine green ...

December 28, 2007 04:58 PM

Greenwash Watch: BP stands for Beyond the Pale

2007-12-28_113406-TreeHugger-bp.jpg What does BP stand for these days? Beyond Propaganda? ByeBye Planet? Bad Pollution? We just aren't certain anymore, now that it is spending $3 billion to buy into the stupid fuel, oil from the Alberta Tar Sands, global warming's new Ground Zero. Each barrel of oil out of the tar sands generates about a two thirds of a tonne of CO2, so BP's 200,000 barrels a day will generate about 127,000 tonnes of CO2 per day. They will have to sell a lot of ...

December 28, 2007 04:50 PM

Barrapunto

saber direccion enhelsinki

pobrecito hablador nos cuenta: «Me gustaria conocer direcciones en helsinki de las nuevas religiones por ejemplo la iglesia de la cienciologia pues creo que todas estas religiones ayudan a las personas que tienen pequenos problemas y se encuentran solas. gracias por la informacion» De verdad que me gustaría que esta pobre alma nos hubiera escrito en broma.

by Candyman at December 28, 2007 04:48 PM

Ars Technica

New Jersey to sex offenders: No Internet for you

Offenders can be monitored, have their computers searched without warning, or have Internet and computer access banned altogether... even if they did not use a computer in the commission of their crime.

Read More...

December 28, 2007 04:41 PM

ALT1040

¿Sigue siendo el DVD un buen formato?

Considerando que a estas alturas no deberíamos estar presenciando una guerra de formatos físicos, considerando las ventajas de los contenidos digitales, hay quien aboga todavía por el DVD como un buen formato físico. Las razones las da Brian Lam en Gizmodo y las traducen en Banda Ancha:

  • DRM Sucks. Gracias al DeCSS y programas como Handbrake, ripear un DVD es tan fácil como hacerlo con un CD. El HD es más complicado y ocupa más gigas.

  • Not Too Big. Las 480 líneas de resolución del DVD lo convierten en algo ligero para copiar e incluso para pasar a otro formato.

  • It doesn’t look so bad. En una TV de menos de 42 pulgadas es difícil apreciar la diferencia a menos que estés muy cerca de la pantalla.

  • Auto Archived. Almacenamiento más eficaz.

  • Renting. Un alquiler de DVD ya te brinda toda la facilidad anterior para ripearlo.

  • Content is Still King. El catálogo del DVD es superior a cualquier otro y sólo por antigüedad, lo seguirá siendo durante un tiempo.

Evidentemente llegará el momento en el que podremos olvidar el DRM -al menos eso esperamos- y los contenidos digitales superarán los pocos escollos que le separan de las ventajas que ofrece un DVD. Si quieres Alta Definición, evidentemente habrá contenidos digitales que se podrán visualizar perfectamente sin distinguir entre reproductores, lo cual beneficiará al usuario.

Enlace: Giz Explainer: Why DVD Is Still the Best Video Format | Vía: Banda Ancha

by Arturo J. Paniagua at December 28, 2007 04:31 PM

Treehugger

Chinese Town Becomes Graveyard of Christmas Past

guiyu%20child%20environmental%20hazards.jpgWith all of the focus on China exporting toxic materials to the rest of the world, it’s often lost in the media-frenzy how damaging some of the products being shipped back to China for recycling are for the people charged with breaking down the materials for recycling into something else for sale in a first-world store. In fact, a recent report in the British Telegraph highlights the problem in one town in China which has become a virtual graveyard for all those unwanted Christmas gifts of season’s past. Perhaps not surprisingly the effects on the v...

December 28, 2007 04:19 PM

Gnomefiles

CurlyAnkles (ver. 0.1.8)

Get a foot up with CurlyAnkles. A versatile GTK extension library written in C for GNU/Linux. It implements many advanced features such as docking windows, auto-hidden windows, detachable page windows, customisable toolbars and menus.

About this version
Various bug fixes. Added a new CaConsolidatedBar toolbar derivative which functionally groups all toolbar buttons together into a single toolbar.

December 28, 2007 04:16 PM

Techdirt

Another Musician Recognizing New Business Models

Way back in 2003, I wrote up one potential business model for musicians who want to embrace file sharing, but who still want to make money (i.e., most of them). It was never intended to be "the" business model for embracing free file sharing, but it always seemed like a good one to me. While we've seen tons of interesting, innovative, unique and creative business models from musicians over the years, I still haven't come across one who completely followed the plan I described. The basics of the business model are easily recognizable to those who have read my series on economics, but it again, focuses on giving away the infinite goods and charging for scarce goods -- in this case, in the form of a "membership" or "subscription" that gets fans additional (scarce) benefits not available to those who don't pay the subscription. Thus, if you're a subscriber, you might get to come visit the musician in the studio, get early access to new songs, be a part of the song-writing process, early access to concert ticket sales or perhaps the chance to have the musician play a private concert for you and your friends.

The Penny Distribution blog has alerted us to the news that musician Kristin Hersh has actually adopted something very much like the model I described. Her plan is even a little more advanced, as there are different "levels" of membership with different benefits included. At the base level of $10/quarter (which still seems a bit pricey to me -- I would think that it would help more to have an opening level that costs less than a big record label CD per year), you get a sticker, a poster and a copy of her new CD before anyone else does. As the prices get higher, she starts to get more creative. For $30/quarter, you'll also get "a works in progress sampler CD" of new music that she's working on, plus you'll get yourself and one other person on the guest list for one of her shows. There are even higher levels of support, including one where you'd get to spend time in the studio with Kristin all the way up to getting executive producer credits on her next album.

I think this is definitely a move in the right direction -- and I'm hopeful that other bands will start to adopt similar policies. In this case, it feels like the prices are a little too high, and the benefits are a little too low, but it may depend on how popular the artist is (Penny Distribution says Hersh is popular -- I've never heard of her). Also, in her mission statement about the new model, she seems to be suggesting that this model is "principles over profit" where she's unlikely to profit as much through it. That doesn't sound right either. If you embrace this model properly, you should certainly be able to profit nicely from it -- as you can drum up a larger, more committed following who are more willing to pay sums of money directly to you, rather than filtered through a bunch of middlemen all taking their cuts.

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by Mike Masnick at December 28, 2007 04:07 PM

John Battelle's Searchblog

Offline

I'm going to Disneyland! (yeeeeeaaaaaaah, say my three kids).

December 28, 2007 04:05 PM

ALT1040

El balance de Gobierno en 5 puntos clave

José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, presidente de Gobierno de España hizo un balance de estos últimos 4 años de gobierno. Dejando a un lado todo el discurso político, creo que podríamos sintetizarlo en cinco puntos claves:

  1. Asumir los errores de pronosticar el fin de ETA y poner una fecha de la llegada del AVE a Barcelona.
  2. Aprobación de reformas sociales: igualdad entre hombres y mujeres, apoyo al acceso a la vivienda, reformas a la ley que permite el matrimonio entre homosexuales.
  3. Aclarar que la inflación no es culpa del gobierno, y que el Índice de Precios al Consumidor (IPC) no es fruto de ninguna acción por su gestión.
  4. Cumplir el programa electoral: Desde la retirada de tropas de Irak hasta el aumento del Salario Mínimo Interprofesional a 600 euros.
  5. Considerar que España es más fuerte como país, con «bases firmes y rumbo acertado»

¿Estás de acuerdo con lo dicho por Zapatero? — ¿crees que el país es más fuerte ahora que hace cuatro años? el sentir general de los españoles es importantísimo para el presidente, sobre todo ahora porque de eso depende si lo re-eligen o no.

by Eduardo Arcos at December 28, 2007 03:45 PM

Un Planeta HispaLinux

Benjami Villoslada: Coses que se saben en dir-ne d’altres

Conversa d’avui amb un amic prou bregat en periodisme:

  • Un dissenyador gràfic anuncia que està fent una tipografia: no té feina.
  • A la crònica del sopar de la conferència internacional, el reporter explica que hi havia rap per sopar: no l’han deixat entrar.
  • Un lloc d’Internet presenta un rànquing de blogs: no té prou visites.

by Benjamí at December 28, 2007 03:37 PM

Linux.com

Hands-on with the OLPC XO laptop -- and loving it

The XO laptop I received last week as part of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Project's "Give One Get One" (G1G1) promotion is unlike any other laptop I've ever used, both in appearance and functionality. It's smaller, for one thing. The XO weighs only 3.13 pounds, is 9 inches wide, and approximately an inch thick when closed. But there's a lot more difference between the XO and a normal laptop computer than size. It has strangely marked keys, unusual buttons, external wi-fi antennas, a unique UI, and an original reason for being. Most people, myself included, will compare the XO to normal laptops, but that's not a good comparison. The XO is not designed to do the things that most notebooks are called upon to do, and no other notebook in the world can do the things the XO can do. There is some overlap, of course, but in the main it's apples to oranges.

December 28, 2007 03:36 PM

Josh Rubin: Cool Hunting

Five Lip Balms

chickenpoop.jpg liptrip.jpg

by Passa Chattra

We're all connoisseurs of lip balms to different degrees. We have preferred brands because of how well they work, the packaging they come in or whether it comes in a stick or tin. Some (like myself) are addicted and habituated to swiping their lips after each sip of a drink, end of a meal, after a phone call or during conversation. And then there are some who just need the occasional protection against the sun or cold. Whatever your level of obsession, here are some new and old faves.

Chicken Poop Lip Balm
Almost worth buying just for the name, this one's also a great product. The ingredients are simple: Soy, Jojoba, Sweet Orange, Lavender and Beeswax. We've long been told that licking your lips makes them chapped and in making this lauded product, founder Jamie Faith Tabor Schmidt took the advice her grandpa gave her: "I know how to fix those chapped lips, I'll rub some chicken poop on 'em so you won't be lickin' 'em." Well, she took the goofy idea of it at least. A tube sets you back $4 or a "Pile of Poop" (five sticks) is $18 from I Love Chicken Poop.

Lip Trip SPF 15
A veritable hippie classic, this lip balm claims to last three times longer than others. I have to admit, I didn't have to do my usual post meal, post drink swipes after applying this lip balm once. Unlike other lip balms, you hardly notice you're wearing it. Made by Mountain Ocean in Colorado, ingredients include PABA-free Sunscreen, Aloe Vera, Lanolin, Cocoa Butter, Allantoin, and Vitamin E. It's available online from Everybody Ltd. for around $4 and also in-store at Whole Foods.

drbronners2.jpg

Dr. Bronner's & Sun Dog's Magic Organic Balm
For dry/chapped skin or tattoos, the package claims this product will protect and brighten new and old tattoos as well as soothe dry skin. The classic tin is big enough to get two fingers in for a good swipe and has a nice texture that's not greasy. The ingredients are USDA organic and minimal: Jojoba Oil, Beeswax, Avocado Oil and Hemp Oil. If you're familiar with Dr. Bronner's soap (another hippie standby), you know there are many reasons to buy a product from their company. Read more on their website. The balm comes in four scents and can be purchased for $5 from Dr. Bronner's.

ecolips.jpg benjerrys.jpg

Eco Lips Sport Balm with Clip
With its built in carabiner and SPF 30 protection, this lip balm is great for outdoor sports enthusiasts. The clip is a nice way to keep the balm handy on your belt loop, backpack,or keychain. Having it attached to something also keeps you from forgetting to bring it. Over 70% of the ingredients are organic: Soybean Oil, Beeswax, Jojoba Oil, Aloe Vera, Rosemary, Calendula and Vitamin E. The company also offers " Eco Lips Beta Balm," a product straight from their testing labs giving you the opportunity to offer feedback on new potential products. Eco Lips Sport Balm with Clip can be found for $4 at Ecolips.

Ben & Jerry's Lip Balm
With a smell and taste just like the real Ben & Jerry's stuff, these new balms will bring you back to your Lip Smackers days—in a good way. The container looks like a mini ice cream pint and comes in three flavors: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Peanut Butter Cup. Unfortunately, it's currently only available in the U.K. for £4 from Ben & Jerry's.

by Ami Kealoha at December 28, 2007 03:22 PM

Ars Technica

Wal-Mart's online movie failure: DRM, high prices to blame

Let there be no question as to why Wal-Mart's online movie service has folded: high prices and DRM that stomps on fair use colluded to produce one stinker of an offering. Good riddance.

Read More...

December 28, 2007 03:17 PM

Monologue

Miguel de Icaza: Language Shootout

Alvaro points out that in the Language Shootout Benchmark Mono comes in 18th place compared to Java's 10th place.

We know that Sun's proprietary Java edition (not the open source one, as that one is nowhere to be found yet) is faster than Mono, but I was surprised that we were so far behind. So I looked at the comparison between Java6 and Mono.

Memory usage wise, we mostly come ahead, but in performance, there were two places where Sun's server VM beat Mono seriously in performance (5x or more), one is the regex-dna test and the other one is pidigits test.

The regex test is a test of the regular expression matching engine in the class libraries, not really a test of the language or VM performance, but library implementation. Clearly, our Regex implementation could use some work.

The pidigits test was showing up as 6x better with Java than with Mono. But the test is basically comparing C# vs assembly language. In Mono's case it is using a full C# implementation of BigInteger while the Java version uses the C/assembly language GMP library that has been tuned with hand-coded assembly language.

I ported Java's pidigits to C# to also use native GMP, and the results are promising, we now have a 4.7x speedup and the process size is one megabyte smaller. I was unable to test the Java version on my machine, as I could not find the native "libjgmp" library.

I wonder what the policy is for the language shootout to use external libraries. If its ok, I should contribute my port, if its not, the Java test should be rewritten to be a fully managed implementation.

If you run all the tests the gap between Java and Mono goes from 8 places, to 3 places; If you remove the two bad tests (Our Regex implementation, and the pidigits test) Mono is only one slot behind Java server; and if you also account for memory usage (but still account for all the tests), Mono comes ahead of Java.

Of course, we got homework to do: why is our Regex implementation so much slower?

Some Observations

It is interesting to see in the benchmarks the progression:

  • Close to the metal languages are the first tier (C, C++, D, Pascal, even Eiffel).
  • Compiled functional languages come next (OCaml, ML, Haskell, Lisp).
  • Java and Mono are on the next tier.
  • A big jump comes next: Erlang, Smalltalk, MzScheme.
  • Next big jump: Pike, Perl, Python.
  • Another jump: PHP, Javascript.
  • Tcl: a class on its own.
  • Ruby, last one.

There are a few rarities, like Fortran being in the same tier as Java and Mono, which probably means the tests for Fortran have not been tuned up, I would expect it to be in the same tier as C.

Also, am surprised by Ruby being the last on the list, I expected it to be roughly in the same range as Python, so I suspect that the tests for Ruby have not been tuned either. Update: my readers also point out that Ruby 1.9 will improve things.

Update: I just noticed that Eiffel is on the first tier, performance wise, but has pretty much all the properties and features of the third tier (garbage collection, strong typing, bounds checking). This means that you get the best of both world with it (and Eiffel's compiler is now also open source).

Language Productivity

And of course, at the end of the day, what matters is how productive you are writing code in a language. The Wikipedia is powered by PHP, Amazon by lots of Perl and C, Google uses Python extensively, and the stellar productivity that can be achieved with Ruby on Rails is hardly matched. So even if your language is slower than the first few tiers, to many developers and sites deploying software what matters is productivity.

Choosing between Mono's C# and Java, both languages being roughly on the same class, is a function of the libraries that you use, the ecosystem where the code will be developed/deployed and to some extent the language.

Alvaro's teammates at Sun have a difficult challenge ahead of them when it comes to the language: how to fix a language that has been so badly bruised by their generics implementation, their refusal to acknowledge delegates, the ongoing saga over the catastrophic closure proposals [1] and the lack of a strong language designer to lead Java into the future.

So even if we have a slow regular expression engine, we have working closures, iterators, events, the lock and using statements in the language and LINQ.

Of course, I wish them the best luck (in the end, Mono is a language-independent VM, and we are just as happy to run C# code as we are running Java code, which incidentally, just reached another milestone) and we certainly plan on learning from the open source Java VM source code.

Alternatively, you can use Mainsoft's Grasshopper to write C# code, but have it run on a Java VM.

[1] Am tempted to write a post about the mistakes that both Java closure proposals have. But it seems like it will be a waste of time, it feels like there is just too much hatred/NIH towards C# in that camp to make any real progress.

[Post Comment] | [Comments]

December 28, 2007 03:05 PM

ALT1040

Tu mejor foto de Flickr en 2007

Es lo que piden en un hilo abierto de Flickr Central que ya va por las 833 respuestas. La de arriba es una de ellas, que han sido destacadas en el blog oficial del sitio. Queda claro que con una comunidad tan grande y con un crecimiento tan importante, podría ser realmente complicado elegir la mejor foto, así que no es mala idea que cada usuario se autopremie. A mí me gustaría ver las de ustedes, así que son libres de dejar los enlaces en los comentarios.

Foto: Iaanba

by Arturo J. Paniagua at December 28, 2007 03:04 PM

pasta and vinegar

GPS bottles and people representation of space

Message in a Bottle” is an intriguing locative media art project by Layla Curtis:

Fifty bottles containing messages were released into the sea off the south-east coast of England near Ramsgate Maritime Museum, Kent. The intended destination of the bottles is The Chatham Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. The islands, which are 800km east of mainland New Zealand, are the nearest inhabited land to the precise location on the opposite side of the world to Ramsgate Maritime Museum. It is anticipated that the bottles may be found several times before reaching the Chatham Islands. (…) Several of the bottles are being tracked using GPS technology and are programmed to send
their longitude and latitude coordinates back to Ramsgate every hour. The information they transmit is used to create a real time drawing of their progress.

People who found a message could report it (and then replace the bottle’s contents, reseal the bottle and release it back into the sea to continue its journey to The Chatham Islands).

Why do I blog this? Beyond the poetic/aesthetic aspects of the lost bottles, I find this project interesting as it explores other use of GPS, related to the movement of objects in space.

Furtermore, an interview of Layla Curtis by Peter Hall in the Else/Where mapping book interestingly address some topics that are close to my research interests. Hall highlight the fact that “there’s a nice juxtaposition here between the precision of the GPS mapping system and the relative imprecisions of people reporting findings by email“. Of course, this is partly caused by the interface Curtis provided to report bottle’s findings; as people had to fill a form with “Place bottle found”. It can be very relevant to dig more into the naming of these places; I can imagine a sort of typology of mismatch that would be very informative for location-based services designers.

by Nicolas Nova at December 28, 2007 03:03 PM

Gnomefiles

LiVES (ver. 0.9.8.7)

LiVES is a simple to use, yet powerful video editor and VJ tool. It allows you to combine realtime and rendered effects, streams and multiple video/audio files, and then encode to over 50 formats.

About this version
Allow user to pick audio player on first startup.
Added filter flag IS_POINT_EFFECT (to allow for future multithreading).
Added new "font" (diamond) to textfun effect.
Speed up counting of frames after opening a file.
Implemented multitrack gap insertion.
Added Hungarian translation (thanks Lisovszki Sándor)
Makefile fixes for various distros.

December 28, 2007 03:02 PM

Wired News: Top Stories

Wal-Mart Gives Up Movie Downloads, Keeps CDs, DVDs

The retailer turns its download service, which accounts for roughly 40 percent of all DVD sales, over to Netflix after its software provider, Hewlett-Packard, discontinues its own merchant-store service.

by Associated Press at December 28, 2007 02:50 PM

Open Source, Linux News & Software - OSDir.com

Debian GNU/Linux Etch 4.0 Update

December 28, 2007 02:47 PM

Wired News: Top Stories

Hollywood's Year Marked by Writers' Strike, iPhone and Very Poor Taste

If the writers' strike defined 2007 in the "world of moving image," the appearance of the iPhone changed its nature while the public thirst for cheesy pop scandal cannot be slaked. These are among AFI's significant moments of the year.

by Associated Press at December 28, 2007 02:40 PM

Ars Technica

Sony cuts rear-projection TV's, allies with Samsung on future LCD production

The falling price and growing demand for LCD televisions continues to send ripples through the television industry. Sony is responding by tightening their costs while looking to expand existing partnerships.

Read More...

December 28, 2007 02:24 PM

Treehugger

Amazon Upgrades DRM-Free Music Downloads, Now Includes Warner Music Group

amazon-mp3-drm-free-download.jpg Last year, we reported that downloading music from somewhere like iTunes had a lower carbon footprint than picking the album up at your local record store. One caveat of the Apple-based virtual mega-store is the DRM (DR-wha? Read Wikipedia's explanation for an overview), which locks down your tunes and limits the amount of different computers and users that can access the files (and remember, burning a CD bumps up the carbon footprint of your tunes by more than five times, according to the

December 28, 2007 02:21 PM

Techdirt

IBM Patents 1-And-Only-1-Click Ordering

theodp writes "Last week, the USPTO granted IBM a patent for Single Submission Buttons, an 'invention' that essentially consists of ignoring the second and subsequent clicks of a button. Like Amazon, IBM seems to be finding it easier to talk-the-patent-reform-talk than walk-the-patent-reform-walk."

Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

by Mike Masnick at December 28, 2007 02:21 PM

Treehugger

Anal Leakage: Chiinese Billboard Assesses Sewage Problem

_2_3e3bb1031d0e2ba7f57fe836c177794b.jpg If sewage pipes and their smells somehow don't get enough notice by local communities, an ad like this might raise some eyebrows. Developed by a Chinese advertising company for use in Shenzhen, in Guangdong province, the posters drive home the message that pollution is poopy (while reminding people where some of that pollution originally comes from). In the world's ecological ground zero -- and in a country not known for racy billboards -- shock value can go a long way.

December 28, 2007 02:15 PM

Gnomefiles

Scribes (ver. 0.3.3.1)

An extensible text editor for GNOME that combines simplicity with power.

About this version
- Needs python 2.5
- New Save system
- automatic word completion tweaks
- remember window position and size for blank windows (rockalite)
- proper use of tabs/spaces depending on user configuration when
inserting templates (rockalite)
- performance improvements
- fix crasher bug after saves
- Addressed bugs: 1837941 1834492 1833757 1832650 1829035 1813341
1813334 1808136 1777273 1740190
- Fix AMD64 import dl error (updated in 0.3.3.1)
- Check for python 2.5 during installation

December 28, 2007 02:14 PM

ALT1040

El ano de Carolina

2142895677 2F798303D1

Deberían despedir a los diseñadores y responsables que la portada de TVMás salga así y es que pasarán a la historia como uno de los mayores WTF del año en medios impresos…

Vía: WTF? Microsiervos

by Eduardo Arcos at December 28, 2007 02:11 PM

Ajaxian Blog

Interview with Ben and Stephan on Parleys.com

I got to interview Ben and Stephan, the creators of a new Flex/AIR application that was shown off at JavaPolis in Belgium.

The application gives you access to the library of talks that Parleys has available, and it includes features such as:

  • Being able to take video offline to watch later
  • Comments in the stream itself
  • Rating system
  • Much more.

In the interview I got to ask the guys about the technical side of Parleys, their experience, and what they have planned for the future. At the top is the interview, and below are screencasts of the various features. Check it out.

Parleys Interview

by Dion Almaer at December 28, 2007 02:10 PM

Treehugger

Climate Pics Give New Meaning to Urban Jungle

jasonelliott.jpg The British artist and photographer Jason Elliott has been weaving digital magic into his local landscape of West Yorkshire in a series of images called Hebden Bridge 2032, which is currently being exhibited at the Alternative Technology Centre in Yorkshire. Elliott has envisioned a rather tropical future for the residents of this small town in Northern England, which contrasts dramatically with its traditionally grey, rainy and windswept climate....

December 28, 2007 02:08 PM

ALT1040

Descarga gratis el AVG Antivirus Profesional 7.5

Llevo años utilizando la versión gratuita del AVG Antivirus en mi PC y no tengo queja alguna. Ahora, en Bitelia me entero de que la versión profesional, que cuesta 30 dólares, se puede descargar de manera gratuita hasta el 17 de enero. Aprovechen, pruébenlo y ya me contarán.

by Arturo J. Paniagua at December 28, 2007 02:08 PM

Barrapunto

Amazon venderá música sin... ¿"protección de derechos"?

pobrecito hablador nos cuenta: «Que Amazon vaya a vender música en MP3 sin DRM no es una noticia nueva, aunque algunos diarios de tirada nacional hayan dado la noticia ayer. Sin embargo me ha sorprendido el titular de 20 Minutos: "Amazon.com venderá canciones de Warner Music en MP3 y sin protección de derechos". Al leer el titular, pensé poco mas o menos que Amazon iba a vender las canciones sin pagar a nadie. ¿De dónde sacan que no incluir DRM o sistemas anticopia es no proteger los derechos de los autores? ¿Está funcionando la intoxicación de SGAE y afines sobre lo que son los derechos de autor? Por suerte el resto de diarios han dado la noticia de forma menos tendenciosa.»

by Yonderboy at December 28, 2007 02:05 PM

Treehugger

Wander With Moose Without Leaving Home

Moose1.jpgSwedish eco-tourism is supposed to be some of the world's best - a national system of eco-certifying different trips has been in place since 2002 with now over 300 different destinations sporting the Naturens Bästa ("Nature's Best") label. The most popular eco-destinations are dog-sledding in the chilly Swedish north, visiting some of the most vibrant Lapp cultural centers and reindeer markets, getting a glimpse of Aurora Borealis, or taking a pony tour in the low Swedish mountains. But all those trips will require some flight time and rack up the CO2 emissions for out-of-country tourists. Of course,

December 28, 2007 02:01 PM

Best of 2007: The Top Surveys

This is the latest post in TreeHugger's series about the Best of 2007. More are on the way; stay tuned! TreeHugger is proud of its carefully crafted, even-handed, fair and balanced surveys set up by our flying squad of statisticians and demographers, giving a true snapshot of the pulse of the nation and the globe. Our most popular ones this year determined by number of participants, all open still and waiting for your further consideration:

2007-12-27_190132-TreeHugger-hummers.jpg

December 28, 2007 02:00 PM

ALT1040

Ellos son los que provocan

Puede haber menores que sí lo consientan y, de hecho, los hay. Hay adolescentes de 13 años que son menores y están perfectamente de acuerdo y, además, deseándolo. Incluso, si te descuidas, te provocan

Así justifica los abusos sexuales a menores el obispo de Tenerife, Bernardo Álvarez, en una entrevista con el diario La Opinión. No contento con soltar esta perla, el sacerdote además llega al extremo de relacionar directamente la homosexualidad con dicho delito:

“No hay que confundir la homosexualidad como necesidad existencial con la que es practicada como vicio. La persona [la] practica como puede practicar el abuso de menores”, señala. A su juicio, este delito nace de la búsqueda de la “novedad” y se convierte por eso en “una forma de sexualidad distinta”.

¿Cuanto entenderá el obispo de homosexualidad y de pederastia para expresar un juicio como este? Lo dejo de tarea. Esta es la gente que rige la iglesia de hoy en día, lástima que para su mentalidad no haya una autopista milagrosa y sanadora. Bienvenidos al siglo XV.

by Arturo J. Paniagua at December 28, 2007 01:03 PM

Ajaxian Blog

Er.js: Erlang-in-JavaScript

Alex Graveley has built Er.js, a library that "piggybacks on Neil Mix’s Thread.js which fakes threading in JavaScript 1.7 using coroutines and nested generator continuations. The goal is to replicate Erlang’s concurrent lockless process model and message-passing APIs in JavaScript."

Alex also added initial concurrent Ajax support:

XmlHttpRequest, AJAX and JSON integrate nicely with the process and message-passing model, allowing processes to avoid asynchronous JavaScript and callbacks.

Instead, using message-passing and concurrency, Er.js makes network access transparent, without blocking other processes or interactivity:

JAVASCRIPT:
  1.  
  2. result = yield Er.Ajax.get("http://beatniksf.com/erjs/index.html");
  3. alert("Fetched Content: " + result.Text);
  4.  

Under the covers, this is accomplished using a concurrently spawned process (started via Er.Ajax.spawn), which handles XmlHttpRequest internals. The spawned process uses Er.send to tell our process about download progress and completion.

Er.Ajax.get and others (post, json, etc) are implemented by yielding execution until the final message from the spawned process is received, and then returning it to the caller:

JAVASCRIPT:
  1.  
  2. function myGet(url) {
  3.    var pid = Er.Ajax.spawn(Er.pid(), url);
  4.    yield Er.receive({ From: pid, Success: _, _:_ },
  5.                     function(msg) { return msg; });
  6. }
  7.  

You can see the test page to watch it in action.

by Dion Almaer at December 28, 2007 12:25 PM

IFTF's Future Now

links for 2007-12-28

by IFTF at December 28, 2007 12:17 PM

Planet GStreamer

Benjamin Otte: dump-a-link

Found a link to Agner Fog’s code optimizing page in the recent c’t magazine. It contains lots of recent information about optimizing C++ applications. Definitely worth a read unless you’re ds and know that by heart already.

December 28, 2007 12:10 PM

ALT1040

La mirada maligna

Los niños suelen tener insignificantes talentos que resultan muy graciosos. Antes, los padres llegaban al adiestramiento para lograr capturar orgullosamente a su hijo en una cinta de vídeo que acabaría emitiéndose en el programa de vídeos caseros de turno.

Ahora esos programas parecen haber pasado de moda, al menos en algunos países -America’s Funniest Home Videos lleva casi 20 años en antena-, y YouTube ha terminado por acogerlos a todos. Más de un adulto ahora maldice al inventor de la videocámara por haberle arruinado la infancia con un vídeo que no paró de repetirse durante años.

Eso sí, yo ya estoy ensayando mi mirada maligna. ¡Es tremenda!

Enlace: Baby Gives The Evil Eye | Vía: Fresqui

by Arturo J. Paniagua at December 28, 2007 12:09 PM

MAKE: Blog

The 24th Chaos Communication Congress - 24C3 , some photos...

2142816765 7C4Ab65F13
2142827655 Bfeda0C6Bf
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2142823337 417Beab03A
2142822653 1A7B0Db9D8
2142822331 06C6C43Cf3
The 24th Chaos Communication Congress is underway, and goodness - what an amazing first day! Here are some of my photos...

Some of the sessions I really enjoyed so far...
Steam-Powered Telegraphy
A League of Telextraordinary Gentlemen present the marvel of Telex on the Net - driven by a steam engine

Simulating the Universe on Supercomputers
The evolution of cosmic structure

Building a Hacker Space
A Hacker Space Design Pattern Catalogue

Make Cool Things with Microcontrollers
Hacking with Microcontrollers

Design Noir
The seedy underbelly of electronic engineering

"I can count every star in the heavens above but I have no heart I can't fall in love...".
The image of computers in popular music

Editor's note: Johannes Grenzfurthner gave an AMAZING talk, outstanding work and incredibly fun.

More:

  • Day one schedule - Link.
  • The 24th Chaos Communication Congress Link.

[Read this article] [Comment on this article]

December 28, 2007 12:00 PM

Un Planeta HispaLinux

Antonio Zugaldia: Back in Brussels

Photo019

Photo022

by antonio at December 28, 2007 11:41 AM

MAKE: Blog

Great Year of Weekends!

It's been a great year of weekend projects. There's no new video today, but check out a few favorites from this past year!

The most viewed video from our blip.tv views is how to make a catapult with Bill Gurstelle. We made this podcast at Maker Faire!

The most viewed weekend project video on youtube was the tutorial with Matt Stinchcomb about how to screenprint a t-shirt!

My personal favorite podcast of the year was making a power tool drag racer! Thanks to all the guests that were on podcast and for all the feedback, comments and awesomeness of 2007. If you have a favorite, drop a note in the comments or if there's a podcast you'd like to see made in 2008, don't hesitate to drop me a note!

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December 28, 2007 11:31 AM

Treehugger

Good Deeds Dept: Picasso Goes for Green

picasso.jpg Here's a nice story: an art dealer has sold a Picasso etching for $3 million dollars and he is donating the proceeds to environmental and Third World causes. The print is one of an edition of 50 and its owner, Dr. Frederick Mulder, decided to sell it and give 75% of the money to charity. He said:

I found myself in the position of just having sold the world's most expensive printed image in the form of Picasso's La Minotauromachie, in which Picasso contemplates a future of personal change. I had owned the object for many years and although it was a wrench to let it go I realised that, just as the print's imagery addressed the issue of a chaotic future, the assets the sale gener...

December 28, 2007 11:20 AM

Planet GNOME

Benjamin Otte: dump-a-link

Found a link to Agner Fog’s code optimizing page in the recent c’t magazine. It contains lots of recent information about optimizing C++ applications. Definitely worth a read unless you’re ds and know that by heart already.

December 28, 2007 11:16 AM

Un Planeta HispaLinux

Juantomas Garcia: Los Iphone navideños

Es difícil no sucumbir a la tentación de poseer un iphone. Hace unas semanas cuando estuvimos en la tienda de apple en la quinta avenida, que por cierto está abierta las 24 horas del día, conseguí no comprarme uno pero que que conste que estuve a punto y reconozco otra vez que este producto de apple se merece de sobra todos los halagos que está recibiendo incluyendo algunas críticas más que razonables.

Por supuesto no me hace gracia que apple se considere dueño final del hardware que te vende e intente que no puedas hacer lo que te de la gana con el. Muy pronto tendréis noticias sobre un proyecto en el que estoy involucrado y tiene que ver con este tema pero esto está todavía sin cerrar al 100% y prefiero dejarlo para otro día.

El caso es que Karla si se compró un iphone de última generación lo que los gurús del iphone llaman un “iphone OTB 1.1.2 con bootloader 4.6″. Es increíble lo que se puede aprender de teléfonos gracias a esta compra. De momento no existe una manera fácil de desbloquearlo al 100% solo por software pero gracias a que no está sencillo hacerlo, he aprendido sobre móviles, firmware y tarjetas SIM más que en toda mi vida. Como siempre esto resulta de la curiosidad de la gente, de las ganas de compartirlo y en general se convierte en un beneficio para todos aunque a apple estas cosas le parezca una tocadura de narices. Apple realmente sabe que esto no hace más que multiplicar las ventas aunque pierda algo dinero con los acuerdos con la operadora de cada país.

Como la gente no hace más que traerme iphones voy a empezar a publicar información, enlaces y trucos para que puedan hacérselo ellos mismos y finalmente tengan un iphone unlocked ;-) .

by juantomas at December 28, 2007 11:15 AM

ALT1040

Warner venderá su música sin DRM en Amazon

La tienda de música online de Amazon se refuerza de cara a 2008 con este acuerdo, que incluirá en su catálogo toda la música de Warner libre de DRM. Se trata de la 3ra de las grandes discográficas que apuesta por este modelo de venta de música en la red. Sólo falta Sony-BMG por sumarse al juego. Por cierto, el acuerdo no dice nada sobre iTunes, y las cosas se empiezan a poner feas para Apple y su FairPlay.

by Arturo J. Paniagua at December 28, 2007 11:11 AM

Techdirt

'Game Changing' Video Download Offering From Wal-Mart Closes... No One Notices

Back in February, Wal-Mart launched its video download service and we were among many who declared it dead on arrival, noting that it was no different than all the other failed movie download offerings: pricey, limited selection and overly restrictive DRM. It seemed pretty clear that it was going nowhere fast... and that's exactly what it did. Reuters is now reporting that Wal-Mart shut down the site. Oddly Reuters claims that when it launched unnamed experts "hailed" it as a "game changer." Who are these experts? Shouldn't they be identified (and maybe asked to defend those initial claims)?

Luckily, while Reuters chooses not to identify the analyst, it only took a quick Googling to discover that it was the rather infamous Rob Enderle who called Wal-Mart's offering a "game changer" in an old Reuters article by the same author. This raises a question that has been asked many times before. Why does the press still quote Enderle, who has a long history of being consistently and laughably wrong? Remember, he was also the analyst who declared Bluetooth dead just as it was really picking up steam. And while we're pointing out Enderle's misses, it's probably also worth pointing out his prediction that the iPhone would be a huge drag on Apple's earnings and that marketing surrounding Microsoft's Vista launch would drown out any attention towards the iPhone. Want to revise that, perhaps?

Back to the Wal-Mart "game changer" flop, what's most amusing about the failure is that, as Gizmodo points out, the site was actually shut down over a week ago... and absolutely no one noticed until Reuters came out with a report late Thursday. Wal-Mart claims it shut down the site because HP discontinued the technology that ran the store, which also seems like a strange explanation. If you're serious about opening up a video download store, you probably shouldn't be relying on someone else providing the technology -- especially if there's a half decent chance that that company will pull the plug pretty quickly as it has almost nothing to do with the company's core business. HP blamed the fact that the market didn't develop "as expected." Perhaps the problem was that the store HP/Wal-Mart set up used incredibly restrictive and totally unnecessary DRM that made the service close to worthless. But rather than actually revamping the service to make it something useful the companies have given up altogether. It makes you wonder why they even bothered in the first place.

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by Mike Masnick at December 28, 2007 11:06 AM

MAKE: Blog

KMODDL - Kinematic models for design digital library

Clark Collection
Austringer writes -

I was looking for inspiration for a linkage to remotely open the dust collector port on the back of my table saw. What I found was like getting a drink from a fire hose. You have to poke around a bit since they amazing stuff isn't right there on the surface but they have a ton of pictures of static models and videos of the various mechanisms at work. That they have videos of models made using a 3-D printer is like a creamy center made from pure whipped geekyness.
KMODDL - Kinematic models for design digital library - Link.

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December 28, 2007 11:00 AM

Headphone art creates insane sound loops

earphones.jpg

"Headphones", an art piece by Andre Avelas employs 1,000 individual headphone sets where 960 work as speakers and 40 as microphones in order to create a continuous feedback loop that can be controlled on a nearby mixer. The project included an amplification circuit that added more hum to the feedback chain. Pretty interesting use of commonly found speakers. Check the link below for a sound sample to be posted soon.


Photos of the project - Link, artist site, [via]

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December 28, 2007 11:00 AM

ALT1040

Ningún cristiano usa preservativo

Se trata de la campaña publicitaria que una revista cristiana llamada 21RS ha puesto en marcha en varias estaciones del Metro de Madrid. Lo cierto es que el copy debería decir: “Puedes negar la tristísima realidad o criticarla de frente”. Bienvenidos al siglo XVIII.

Foto: agp771 | Vía: Menéame

by Arturo J. Paniagua at December 28, 2007 10:20 AM

Monologue

Jeroen Frijters: Hello World

Five and a half years ago, Hello World ran for the first time... Now, for the first time a statically compiled HelloWorld.exe runs in partial trust (LocalIntranet zone in this case). Here's an exciting screenshot:

C:\sandbox>HelloWorld.exe
Hello World

C:\sandbox>

Obviously this doesn't mean things are done, but hopefully it won't take another five years ;-)

December 28, 2007 10:13 AM

Un Planeta HispaLinux

Alvaro López Ortega: Programming Languages Benchmark

Have you seen the Debian's Computer Language Benchmarks Game? It is a nice site that aims to compare different programming languages (implementations). Currently it compares more than 30 compilers and interpreters, including C, C++, Python, Java, PHP, Ruby, Lua, Haskell, Perl or Tcl.

I expected something similar of what the default benchmark shows. It runs all the test programs in all the languages in order to generate a general language overview: C++ is the champion, C is in the second position, Java 6: 10th, FreeBasic: 13th, Ada95 GNAT: 14th, C# Mono: 18th, followed by JavaScript SpiderMonkey in the 31st position.

Try to compare a couple of languages, it's kind of interesting. :-)

by Alvaro Lopez Ortega at December 28, 2007 10:08 AM

Planet GNOME

Alvaro Lopez Ortega: Programming Languages Benchmark

Have you seen the Debian's Computer Language Benchmarks Game? It is a nice site that aims to compare different programming languages (implementations). Currently it compares more than 30 compilers and interpreters, including C, C++, Python, Java, PHP, Ruby, Lua, Haskell, Perl or Tcl.

I expected something similar of what the default benchmark shows. It runs all the test programs in all the languages in order to generate a general language overview: C++ is the champion, C is in the second position, Java 6: 10th, FreeBasic: 13th, Ada95 GNAT: 14th, C# Mono: 18th, followed by JavaScript SpiderMonkey in the 31st position.

Try to compare a couple of languages, it's kind of interesting. :-)

December 28, 2007 10:08 AM

Treehugger

Seat Launches Ibiza Ecomotive: 62mpg US

Seat%20Ecomotive.jpg While Treehugger continues to be excited about hybrids, and of course plug-in hybrids, we can’t help but also be impressed with the efficiencies being achieved by the simple diesel engine – for example, we got particularly excited by the prospect of Honda bringing a diesel Accord to the US by 2010. Scrolling through the always informative Green Car Congress, we came across an item about

December 28, 2007 09:49 AM

Boing Boing

Free-fall "zero-g dance" to be performed this weekend, inspired by Hugo-winning novel "Stardance"

This Sunday, Jeanne Robinson, co-author of the Hugo-award winning novel Stardance, will perform the first piece of zero-gravity choreography onboard a "vomit-comet" free-fall jet, and the result will be filmed for Imax:


Wherever humans go, we bring our arts—and in zero-gravity, we will create amazing new forms of art never before seen, as our imaginations are set free by weightlessness.

Stardance combines artistic and humanistic themes with the backdrop of science and space exploration—exemplifying the grandeur, intrigue and promise of space, through the grace of dance unhindered by gravity.

The Stardance Experience is slated to be produced and presented in the 70/15 “Large Format” pioneered by the IMAX corporation. The film will push the boundaries of the medium, combining live action and digital FX to create an emotional and visceral connection with the audience.

The Stardance Experience intends to reignite humanity’s fire to return to space - to reach ordinary people and communicate the majesty, beauty, mystery and transcendence that await us all, just above our heads: the bliss of the stars. Only from that perspective can we hope to create futures that exemplify the best in humanity.

Our birthright is the propensity to dream, dance, and evolve.

Jeanne's husband and co-author, Spider Robinson, is blogging all week in the runup to the flight, and has podcast a lengthy excerpt from Stardance as well. Link (Thanks, Spider!)

by Cory Doctorow at December 28, 2007 09:30 AM

IFTF's Future Now

The complex relationships between media

From Marc Andreesen's blog, quoting the New Yorker, July 14, 1951:

The most encouraging word we have so far had about television came from a grade-school principal we encountered the other afternoon.

"They say it's going to bring back vaudeville," he said, "but I think it's going to bring back the book."

Before television, he told us, his pupils never read; that is, they knew how to read and could do it in school, but their reading ended there. Their entertainment was predominantly pictorial and auditory -- movies, comic books, radio.

Now, the principal said, news summaries are typed out and displayed on the television screen to the accompaniment of soothing music, the opening pages of dramatized novels are shown, words are written on blackboards in quiz and panel programs, commercials are spelled out in letters made up of dancing cigarettes, and even the packages of cleansers and breakfast foods and the announcers exhibit for identification bear printed messages.

It's only a question of time, our principal felt, before the new literacy of the television audience reaches the point where whole books can be held up to the screen and all their pages slowly turned.

Anyone who watches an hour of cable news is probably exposed to more words and numbers-- in the form of headlines, crawls, stock tickers, etc.-- than their grandparents saw in a day. Of course, that's a total guess. But as I mentioned a little while ago, my son is keen to start reading more on his own so he can play more advanced video games. The bottom line is, the relationship between new media and old skills is always more complicated than we think.

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by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang at December 28, 2007 09:17 AM

Un Planeta HispaLinux

José María Mateos: Serán cosas del marketing

Resulta que en elmundo.es han publicado el corto Hotel Chevalier. En la portada sólo hay un enlace con una pequeña captura de pantalla de la película, pero dentro de la sección que lo contiene han tirado con bala. Pocas formas mejores hay de promocionar un corto:

El culo de Natalie Portman

Ahí está: un hermoso botón de play sobreimpresionado en el culo de Natalie Portman.

by RinzeWind at December 28, 2007 09:15 AM

Jose Maria Morales Vazquez: Frases desafortunadas (y XI)

icono para las frases desafortunadas

” Hay que tener mucho cuidado hoy en día porque no se puede decir que la homosexualidad se sufre o se padece. No es políticamente correcto decir que es una enfermedad, una carencia, una deformación de la naturaleza propia del ser humano. Eso que decía cualquier diccionario de Psiquiatría diez años atrás, hoy no se puede decir”

Bernardo Álvarez, obispo de Tenerife. ¡Este hombre es una joya! El solito podría llenar esta sección durante meses, pero como no quiero aprovecharme de sus “ocurrencias” para llenar este espacio (que, por otro lado, es el más fácil de llenar del blog) os dejo a continuación otra ristra de “perlas” de este gran hombre perteneciente a la alta jerarquía de nuestra “querida” Iglesia católica:

” Creo que el fenómeno de la homosexualidad es algo que perjudica a las personas y a la sociedad. A la larga pagaremos las consecuencias como las han pagado otras civilizaciones.”

“No hay que confundir la homosexualidad como necesidad existencial de una persona, con la que es practicada como vicio. La persona practica como puede practicar el abuso de menores.”

“Puede haber menores que sí lo consientan [los abusos sexuales] y, de hecho, los hay. Hay adolescentes de 13 años que son menores y están perfectamente de acuerdo y, además, deseándolo. Incluso si te descuidas te provocan.”

Para que nadie piense que estas frases están sacadas de contexto, todas ellas están extraídas de forma literal de esta entrevista.

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by josemaria at December 28, 2007 09:07 AM

ALT1040

Inicia el operativo para el rescate de los liberados por las FARC

A tan sólo unos pocos días del anuncio de liberación de 3 de los 45 secuestrados por la guerrilla de las FARC, el gobierno venezolano ha dado los detalles del operativo que hoy por la tarde se pone en marcha para devolver la libertad a Clara Rojas, su hijo Emmanuel y Consuelo González de Perdomo:

La llamada Operación Transparencia incluye la entrada en territorio colombiano de cinco aeronaves venezolanas y una argentina, siempre con los emblemas del Comité Internacional de la Cruz Roja (CICR) y la presencia de periodistas de todo el mundo. Los aparatos volarán hasta la ciudad colombiana de Villavicencio, a unos 500 kilómetros de la frontera con Venezuela, desde donde se dirigirán hacia algún lugar de la selva donde recogerán a las dos mujeres y al niño para llevarlos a Venezuela.

Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Cuba, Ecuador y Francia son los países que servirán como garantes de la buena marcha de la liberación por parte de la guerrilla, que llega luego del visto bueno del presidente colombiano Álvaro Uribe, que prácticamente es el gran convidado de piedra en este proceso.

Uribe alega que prefiere seguir trabajando por la agenda que Colombia necesita, sin embargo, nunca ha estado tan cerca como Chávez de buscar una salida al problema de los secuestrados. Ahora le toca autorizar y dar los permisos necesarios para que otros lo hagan, no le queda de otra.

Evidentemente, aquí nadie es santo y se habla de un plan de Hugo Chávez para erigirse como gran salvador de América Latina. Si bien es cierto que esto serviría para limpiar su imagen pública, sería una pena que nuevamente, la vida y la libertad de 45 personas girara en torno a un juego político. Hay incluso quien habla de desestabilización política de Uribe y del pago de 500 millones de dólares por parte de Venezuela para lograr esta salida diplomática.

Habrá que atender mucho a las consecuencias de esta liberación y cual seguirá siendo la postura del presidente venezolano como efectivo mediador, y si en algún momento, desde el mismo gobierno colombiano se empieza a notar una mayor intención por una negociación con las FARC.

by Arturo J. Paniagua at December 28, 2007 09:05 AM

Treehugger

Energy Tower: Sucking Greenhouse Gases Into the Vortex

energy-tower-treehugger.gif Belonging to the world of sci-fi (and the too-odd-to-make-this-shiz-up category) is the Energy Tower invention of Professor Dan Zaslavsky from the Technion in Israel. About a kilometer in height and nearly half as wide, is Zaslavsky’s tower which is based on the principle of convection. Zaslavsky proposes that this tower (pictured above) will be able to rid the world of greenhouses gases, and produce clean energy, and fresh water at the same time. ...

December 28, 2007 08:58 AM

Techdirt

Is Banning Internet Usage For Sex Offenders Reasonable Or Practical?

Over the years, there's been plenty of talk about banning internet usage for criminals who used the internet in the commission of a crime. This has always seemed both excessive and totally impractical as the internet became a bigger and bigger part of our every day lives. Would it mean you couldn't use a VoIP phone service, for example? Would it mean you couldn't book an airplane flight if the only way to book was online? Luckily, courts have been tossing out these lifetime internet bans as unconstitutional. However, New Jersey has now instituted a new law that would ban some sex offenders from using the web. It does seem much more limited than a complete ban. First, it only applies to those sex offenders who used the web to prey on their victims -- and it does appear to allow some exceptions, such as if you need to use the internet for work. However, given how much the internet has become a part of people's lives these days, it still seems a bit extreme to ban all other uses outside of work. As more entertainment options move online, will this law mean you can't download (legally) movies and music? I certainly have little sympathy for those who used the internet to prey on victims, but it still seems a bit excessive to pass laws that involve such widespread blanket bans on internet usage. If they're allowed in this case, they may start to be allowed for other cases involving crimes where the internet was used as a tool. It's always easy for politicians to pass laws "to protect the children" against sex offenders -- because no one wants to vote against such a thing. However, when those laws potentially could lead to excessive punishments for both those offenders and eventually to others, they should be carefully scrutinized.

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by Mike Masnick at December 28, 2007 08:14 AM

MAKE: Blog

Bicycle-powered welder


Mike writes -

An inertia friction welder powered by a bicycle. Built in 2 months and at a cost of £302. Finished and run for the first time at around 6pm GMT, Saturday 15th December. Thanks go to Andy for the welding, Steevo for the machining, Martin for grafting, Greg for filming and squeaking, Graeme for his yard and cups of tea, JCB for the use of their workshop and Bolton Steam Museum for the flywheel.
A bicycle-powered welder - [via] Link.

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December 28, 2007 08:00 AM

Boing Boing

Painted gaming miniatures


Today in my series of photos from my travels: a collection of painted underwear-pervert miniatures on a game-dealer's table at last year's ComicCon in San Diego. I love painting miniatures -- when I was a teenaged D&D player, it was my absolute top favorite part of the game. I ruined more shirts, tables and carpets with my hobby! There's a great gaming shop in Covent Garden, The Orc's Nest (awesome name, too!) where they always have a window-full of painted intricate miniatures, usually on sale for just a little more than the unassembled, unpainted versions (and charmingly, the finished ones are glued to tuppence coins as bases). I've never guessed, but I've always just assumed that the reason that these finished pieces -- which must have hours of labour in them -- are available for just a pound or two more than the unfinished ones is that the painter is an obsessive like I was, whose living and working space is completely jammed with painted minis, leaving quick sales as the only way to practice the hobby without drowning in figs. Link

Update Whoops! I stand corrected! These are "HeroClix" miniatures and they come pre-painted. Man -- stop playing tabletop games for twenty years and they get all pre-packaged on ya!

by Cory Doctorow at December 28, 2007 06:27 AM

Un Planeta HispaLinux

José María Mateos: Servicio público

Recuerden: hoy es 28 de diciembre. Todo lo que lean, oigan o vean debe ser cogido con pinzas, más aún que habitualmente. Que luego vamos como locos y nos creemos cualquier tontería.

Aprovechando que hoy voy a estar todo el día delante del ordenador haciendo trabajos de doctorado (no, no es broma: cualquier doctor puede confirmar que la vida del doctorando es asín), ayúdenme: cualquier inocentada que encuentren, a los comentarios. A ser posible con el enlace correspondiente. A ver cuántas podemos olernos.

by RinzeWind at December 28, 2007 06:00 AM

Ars Technica

Google's AdSense patent cleared, AutoLink still questioned

The legal fight between Google and Hyperphrase over whether or not Google's AdSense and AutoLink technologies infringe upon Hyperphrase patents has been partially concluded. Google's AdSense is clear, but AutoLink could still be a problem.

Read More...

December 28, 2007 05:55 AM

Techdirt

The Myth Of The Bandwidth Crunch Just Won't Die

A few months back we noticed a trend. Whenever we heard fear mongering reports about the internet running out of capacity, they almost always came from folks who weren't technologists. Instead, they tended to be telco business folks, lobbyists or politicians. When it came to actual technology people who had real experience and real data concerning what was happening on the network, we would see over and over and over and over again that the "threat" of a bandwidth crunch is pretty much a myth. We're not running out of bandwidth, and the ongoing upgrades to the network should be able to handle whatever growth comes along. There's no reason to panic... yet, that's not the message that the telcos want you to hear. After all, it's in their interest to work up fears of internet capacity problems so that politicians will pass legislation providing them with subsidies or other unnecessary benefits.

So, when Broadband Reports pointed us to an op-ed piece in the Boston Globe by a Harvard professor talking about the coming bandwidth crunch and the need to switch to metered pricing (another telco favorite, after they were too clueless to accurately predict that unmetered pricing would lead to more usage), it wasn't difficult to guess that she didn't have a technology background. Instead, it appears her background is entirely in public policy. There's certainly nothing wrong with folks looking at this issue from a public policy position (in fact, it's important). But, before they claim that the internet is running into trouble, shouldn't they look at what those who actually have the data have to say about the matter?

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by Mike Masnick at December 28, 2007 05:55 AM

Boing Boing

HOWTO make a Senior Remote with only five big, friendly buttons

Unknownuser2007 has posted a great little HOWTO on Instructables -- a "senior remote" for a TV with only five buttons. I'd love one of these, but I'd also add a Play/Pause button (a few years ago I would have needed "mute" -- but with everything coming through a PVR, pause works even better when the phone rings).


My mom was born in 1931. She is from the generation of radio and WWII. Her eyesight is failing and she isn't good with anything electronic. TV remotes confuse her. This mod came to me after she called me one day, claiming her TV remote stopped working. It turns out, she inadvertently hit the button that activated the VCR functions. She didn't know or couldn't see the button to reactivate the TV functions. So I decided to "dumb" down the remote to only three functions: On/Off, Channel and Volume.
Link (via Wonderland)

by Cory Doctorow at December 28, 2007 05:51 AM

Logo trends of 2007

Logo Lounge has a good piece on logo trends from 2007:


Charlie the Tuna and the Jolly Green Giant, these are not. Advertising characters have danced the line between logos and mascot for years. Even the Cingular Jack was a bit of a hybrid with a personality that animation played out beyond the printed page. Urban vinyl is a subculture that is starting to cross over into logo design. These small vinyl characters are ubiquitous shelf clutter, enshrined in nearly every designerís desk collection.

First made popular in Hong Kong by Michael Lau in the 90's, these imaginative imps have become highly collectable and have entire stores, KidRobot and magazines, Super 7, dedicated to their notoriety. The art of Tim Biskup may start on canvas but it soon translates to designer vinyl characters. Usually they can be as mundane as fire breathers to as outlandish as slimy cyclops ghost aliens. Though not a serious influence on Fortune 500 identities, urban vinyl has its place in pop culture, and that has translated to two-dimensional applications in logo design.

Link (via Kottke)

by Cory Doctorow at December 28, 2007 05:43 AM

Ars Technica

Intel, STMicro feel ill effects of sub-prime mess

We can add another entry to the "the sub-prime mess is so bad that..." list. Intel and STMicro are only able to get half of the joint loan they were hoping for due to "significant turmoil in the debt capital markets."

Read More...

December 28, 2007 05:10 AM

Ajaxian Blog

Facebook improves Ajax support with FBJS LocalProxy

Facebook released FBJS as a way to do more than just the simple Mock Ajax that you could do before hand. It didn't go as far as Caja (hopefully Facebook will work together on it), which seems to be the natural step wrt sandboxing code.

Today, they announced improved support for Ajax via a new feature, FBJS LocalProxy:

Many apps already use FBJS in innovative ways, and as part of this release we offer improved AJAX capabilities in FBJS. The new feature is a local proxy that allows you to make direct async requests back to your application server. This trick lets you to gain all the advantages of FBML without needing to use an embedded IFrame. To make this ability even more useful, we also now provide a DOM function setInnerXHTML that lets you to modify your canvas page by adding a string of HTML.

The more that we can do in our applications without having to jump into iframe land, the better.

by Dion Almaer at December 28, 2007 05:02 AM

Wired News: Top Stories

Wired Magazine's 10 Favorite Photos From 2007

Of all the many images that appear in Wired magazine, here are 10 that stand out as the photo editors look back at year's end.

December 28, 2007 05:00 AM

What's Inside: Nair Hair Remover, Feel the Burn!

Find out what goes in to hair-removal cream, Nair. You may be surprised ...

by Patrick Di Justo at December 28, 2007 05:00 AM

Vote for the Sexiest Geeks of 2007

Wired News nominates the sexiest geeks of 2007. Vote and submit your own nominees!

by Kristen Philipkoski at December 28, 2007 05:00 AM

The Software That Will Take Digital F/X to the Next Level of Awesome

Explosions. Storms. Waves. CGI ace Jos Stam is creating a physics machine that can make special effects look absolutely, completely real.

by Michael Behar at December 28, 2007 05:00 AM

Ars Technica

Nonprofits aim to scan 60 million pages of government docs

The Internet Archive and Public.Resource.Org have teamed up with the Boston Public Library to scan fifty years' worth of Congressional hearings along with the complete text of the Congressional Record and Federal Register.

Read More...

December 28, 2007 04:20 AM

WorldChanging: Another World Is Here

Still Time to Give a 2007 Donation

Just a reminder: Worldchanging is a nonprofit, and depends on reader support. There is still time to make a tax-deductible donation for 2007, if you act now. Please consider making a recurring donation to help us continue our work.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled program, already in progress.

Help us change the world - DONATE NOW!

(Posted by WorldChanging Team in About Worldchanging at 8:17 PM)

by WorldChanging Team at December 28, 2007 04:17 AM

Techdirt

Does Ordering Food Via A Mobile Device Deserve A Patent?

A few weeks ago, the USPTO revealed a patent application from Apple that's getting some attention in the press from folks like Forbes and InformationWeek. Those publications are using the app to guess at what Apple has in mind for future innovations on its mobile devices, as the patent application is for using a mobile device to place a shopping order at a store, and then being alerted to when it's ready. The real question, though, should be why Apple could possibly deserve a monopoly on this idea? I remember four or five years ago, some folks pitching me on a very similar idea. It had been inspired by the plastic light-up pucks that some restaurants give you when you're waiting for a free table. Many of those are based on old pager networks, so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to try to update that concept for the mobile age, and realize that you could do the same sort of alerting via someone's mobile phone. From there, it was about a five minute conversation before it became obvious that since this was a two way system, you could easily add ordering functionality for take-out, or put a "reservation" in remotely before getting to the restaurant. As far as I know, these guys never moved forward with the business plan, but it's hard to see why, years later, Apple suddenly deserves a monopoly on the concept. However, it does show, once again, that a lack of official "prior art" shouldn't automatically be reason to grant a patent. Just because something hasn't yet been done commercially doesn't mean that it's not a fairly obvious idea to people in the space. Hopefully, the USPTO recognizes that and rejects the patent application, but given what gets approved these days, that doesn't seem likely.

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by Mike Masnick at December 28, 2007 03:17 AM

Planet GNOME

Nicolas Trangez: First bug report ever

Yesterday I came across my (most likely, as far as I can remember) very first bug report ever, here, filed on the 16th of november 2002. A bug in Mandrake 8.2 (kernel 2.4.18, XFree86 4.2.0, KDE 3.0RC2) because of which I was unable to use my mouse in X. The machine was an Acer Pentium1 166MHz with 40MB of RAM inside and an S3Virge video adapter.

This was not my first Linux experience: my first installation ever, on the same machine, was using a SuSe sample CD my dad got at Cebit2000. This was an evaluation copy of SuSe 6.4, providing kernel 2.2.14, XFree86 3.3.6 and KDE 1.1.2 (well, I can’t remember, that’s what the web tells me now).

Compared to those days (although not that long ago) installing and (especially) using a Linux desktop nowadays could be called somewhat easier :-)

So, have you got any memories of your very first Linux install or a reference to your earliest bug report?

December 28, 2007 03:07 AM

Erich Schubert: Spamtrap followup

A few days ago, I asked about how to properly embed spamtraps in web pages.

Well, noone could tell me if using display: none is appropriate. I actually do not want Google to index the contents in that div. So as long as they don't punish me for using display: none at all, it's okay. And the page I placed the spamtrap on is a doorway-like page for others anyway; it's not part of an important site.

It took the first spammer around 54 hours to send the first spam. Or try to send: all 10 retries with different zombies were rejected by my spam filter. Since then, I've been receiving another round of deliver attempts - around 5-15 per spamtrap address - almost every hour.

Of the > 500 spam delivery attempts I've seen since, none made it through my initial spam filters (not to speak of the content filter behind that), but they were rejected at the SMTP level, even before the mail content was sent.

I've now disabled some of my spam filters to allow the trap adresses to actually receive mail. After all, I want to use them to train my filter. :-)

December 28, 2007 02:18 AM

Gnomefiles

mtPaint (ver. 3.20)

A simple GTK+1/2 painting program.

About this version
This release adds improved text paste tool, TGA files save/load, support for XPM files with more than 256 colors, two new image quantizers, tile-based undo system which uses less memory, and many other new features.

December 28, 2007 02:00 AM

Wired News: Top Stories

Top of the Swaps: P2P's Most-Traded Movies, TV and Songs of 2007

Who was tops on the file-trading circuit in 2007? To find out, Wired News and BigChampagne teamed up to compile the lists of the most-traded movies, music and TV shows among the peer-to-peer underground.

by Michael Calore at December 28, 2007 02:00 AM

The Year in Online Video 2007

Freaks, geeks and beats make for a bumper crop of visual artistry, harvested by your friendly internet meme farmers. Take a look at 12 of the year's most amusingly embeddable videos.

by Lore Sjöberg at December 28, 2007 02:00 AM

Snorting a Brain Chemical Could Replace Sleep

Scientists are reporting that a nasal spray of a key brain hormone cures sleepiness in sleep-deprived monkeys. With no apparent side effects, the hormone might be a promising sleep-replacement drug.

by Alexis Madrigal at December 28, 2007 02:00 AM

Dec. 28, 1973: Endangered Species Get a Helping Hand

Public consciousness leads to the most sweeping environmental protection legislation in U.S. history.

by Tony Long at December 28, 2007 02:00 AM

Gnomefiles

Floola (ver. 2.3)

Floola is an iPod manager

About this version
fixed issue with GEOB tag in id3;
Motorola ROKR was not recognized;
fixed various issues with artwork;
encoding problems under linux;
fixed album artwork rebuild;
fixed issues with new iPods

December 28, 2007 01:38 AM

Techdirt

Chinese Court Tosses Out Guge Lawsuit Against Google Over Name

A few weeks ago we noted that a company named Guge was suing Google in China, claiming that Google ripped off its trademarked name by using the name Guge in that country. The problem? The company Guge only named itself that a few days after Google announced plans to use the name Guge in China. That seemed like a pretty blatant moneygrab, and thankfully, the Chinese courts have agreed, tossing out the lawsuit and allowing Google to continue to use the name.

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by Mike Masnick at December 28, 2007 01:21 AM

ALT1040

MeneaRank

Menearank-200

…o como hacer caer a media blogosfera en un juego de rumores de adquisición — creo que muchos se lo tomarán a mal, pero realmente me encanta lo que lograron hacer, uno que otro quedará mal porque casi que confirmaba que Digg los había comprado.

Bien Ricardo, bien Rogelio, ante ustedes me quito el sombrero, soy fan (y gracias, hacía falta que alguien nos haga un reir de nosotros mismos, espero que el resto también entiendan la broma y no se la tome a mal)

by Eduardo Arcos at December 28, 2007 01:15 AM

WorldChanging: Another World Is Here

Greening Shrimp

494070654_b676db51e1.jpg

Good news for consumers of these delicious but often unsustainable crustaceans: Oregon's pink shrimp fishery has become the first large-scale commercial shrimp fishery in the world to be certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council, the most respected and strictest certification group in the world--a major step that could create a market for more certified-sustainable shrimp farms and fisheries in the future.

Since commercial shrimp farming began in the 1970s, shrimping has evolved into a vast international industry, with much of the world's market produced on large commercial farms in China, Thailand, and other Asian countries. Shrimp farms, which can stretch over many acres, consist largely of rows of vast ponds; each produces a single variety of shrimp. These massive monocultures, unsurprisingly, have huge ecological impacts. In many areas, shrimp farmers cleared out native trees and grasses, particularly coastal mangroves, to make room for the massive farms, with predictable consequences: Reductions in biodiversity and an increase of erosion in areas that were already prone to flooding. Wastewater from shrimp farms typically contains shrimp waste, fertilizers, pesticides and antibiotics that end up contaminating wastewater and polluting coastal areas. And while you might think wild shrimp fisheries would have a smaller impact than vast monocultural farms, they're actually not that much better, with impacts including by-catch (unwanted fish and animals that are caught as the nets drag along the ocean floor and tossed back into the water dead) and damage done by nets to the ocean floor itself. So finding better, smarter ways to farm and fish for shrimp is critical for this large and growing industry.

That's where sustainability certification comes in. During the certification process, an agency approved by the MSC takes a look at the farm's harvest management, the health of the shrimp stock, enforcement systems, by-catch numbers, and the impacts a fishery has on the surrounding ecosystem. A certified-sustainable fishery must be one that does not lead to over-fishing or that leads to the recovery of species that have already been over-fished; that maintains the diversity, productivity, and structure of the ecosystem; and that can be continued indefinitely "at a reasonable level."

Certified shrimp, which will bear the blue MSC seal, will appeal to environmentally conscious consumers who are willing to pay more for sustainable shrimp. Economically, that's an unadulterated win for the shrimping industry point. In addition, the certification could boost Oregon's reputation as a leader in sustainability—helping a $20 million industry that has been badly beleagured by competition from Canadian and Norwegian imports. If the move proves successful for Oregon's shrimp fishery, though, the implications will be much larger. A successful certified operation could create a competitive market for sustainable shrimp, prompting other fisheries—and, eventually, farms (MSC does not yet certify shrimp farms as sustainable)—to seek certification too.

Creative Commons photo credit

Help us change the world - DONATE NOW!

(Posted by Erica Barnett in Columns at 4:45 PM)

by Erica Barnett at December 28, 2007 12:45 AM

plasticbag.org

links for 2007-12-28

by Tom Coates at December 28, 2007 12:32 AM

Gnomefiles

Beagle (ver. 0.3.2)

Beagle is a search tool that ransacks your personal information space to find whatever you are looking for.

About this version
* Use Hal to monitor battery and AC power. Earlier we monitored a fixed set of files in the /proc filesystem. Now we require NDesk-DBus.

* Fix building with mono 1.2.6 [bgo #503639].

* Add a couple of Avahi specific missing files.

* Fix several bugs in handling exclude directories and patterns in the Filesystem backend.

* Fix a crash in the Nautilus backend when it tries to index temporary files [bgo #504192].

* Fix monodoc and manpages filter. Add support for gzip and bzip2 compressed manpages.

* Fix a bug in beagle-build-index where new files would not be indexed.

* Fix --enable-deletion in beagle-build-index. Set --enable-deletion for system-wide indexes.

* New Empathy backend.

* Store file size for files from the filesystem, in archives and in email attachments.

* Show a larger snippet in the tooltip in beagle-search.

* Allow users to bookmark webinterface searches.

* Also display the time of recently modified results in the webinterface.

* Add --write-xml and --read-xml options to beagle-config to enable non-C# programs to read and set config options.

* Show documentation results in beagle-search when started with --search-docs option.

* Add system-wide crawl rules for manpages and monodoc files. Keep them disabled by default.

* Show the system-wide indexes in the backend chooser of beagle-settings.

* Translations:

December 28, 2007 12:14 AM

December 27, 2007

Techdirt

Journalist Still Thinks Newspapers Should Collude To Stop Giving Away Free Content

Earlier this year, we wrote about how San Francisco Chronicle columnist David Lazarus had a ridiculous set of proposals for "saving" the newspaper industry. He wanted all newspapers to collude together and agree to stop putting content online for free and, in addition, to sue anyone who linked to the newspaper sites without paying a licensing fee. To appease him, we refused to even link to his column. Since then, the Chronicle has parted ways with Lazarus, who has made his way south to the LA Times, where he's basically written the same column (yeah, this time we'll link -- let's see if he sues). His argument is basically: "I have no idea what a good business model for the industry is, so why not use my really, really bad one!" He uses some high school students as a device in the column, basically mocking them for not wanting to pay for news online. He goes on to complain that "blogs" will somehow destroy newspapers by publishing so much junk that it "will be too blurry to discern" good journalism from junk. This is a common line from folks who think that if it's in a newspaper, it must be "good journalism" and if it's on a blog, it must be junk. There are so many examples of why that's wrong, it's not even worth pointing out how silly a statement that is (and the fact that it's published in a newspaper pretty much disproves the point anyway). There is plenty of good journalism found in both newspapers and on blogs -- just as there is plenty of junk found on both. And saying that people can't tell the difference is suggesting that your audience is really dumb. Next thing you know, Lazarus will sign up in support of the idea that bloggers should be credentialed.

But the bigger point is that Lazarus insists that since digital advertising revenue remains a small percentage of newspaper revenue, it means that it can't support a newsroom. This is clueless on a number of different points. First, it's using a snapshot view of a very dynamic world. Digital revenues are growing at a rapid clip, as there are both more readers and more advertisers buying online ads. Compare that to the pace (and direction) of growth for traditional newspaper revenue... and suddenly the digital realm doesn't look so bad. Second, it assumes (incorrectly) that online ads are the sole source of revenue. As plenty of other newspapers are discovering, if you stop focusing so much on being "newspapers" and start realizing that what you deliver needs to change as the market has changed, you'll find that there are plenty of ways to afford to pay journalists -- and in some cases, they'll even be able to make significantly more than before. Of course, you'd expect that sort of analysis not to come from some junk blog, but from a "real" journalist. So why is it the other way?

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by Mike Masnick at December 27, 2007 11:32 PM

Wired News: Top Stories

Why I Canceled All My Music Subscriptions

With Warner Music ditching DRM, Listening Post blogger Eliot Van Buskirk decides to do the same. But leaving Napster and Rhapsody isn't as easy is it should be.

by Listening Post blog at December 27, 2007 11:30 PM

Treehugger

Beijing Switching Over to Cleaner Euro IV Fuel Standard as EU Considers Euro VI

beijingIn an effort to clean up Beijing's murky skies ahead of the Olympic Games, Chinese officials have decided to phase in a cleaner motor fuel - conforming to the Euro IV standard - over the next 2 months while keeping gasoline prices unmoved. Starting January 1, oil wholesalers and auto distributors will be required to sell gas and diesel that meets the elevated standard, which allows for only 50 ppm of sulfur; the current Euro III fuel permits 150 ppm but is cheaper - 0.4 yuan less per liter. Environmental analysts estimate that the new standard will reduce the amount of sulfur dioxide generated by Beijing's almost 3...

December 27, 2007 11:20 PM

Jill-able Fill Me Up Vases: Flowers for the Flat-Pack Enthusiast

jill-ables-flat-pack-vases.jpg If Ralph Waldo Emerson was right when he said, "Earth laughs in flowers, then Jill-able's Fill Me Up Vases are helping to spread that laughter. The smart, imminently reusable, infinitely portable vases are perfectly functional when in use, and simply fold up flat and store in the tiniest of spaces, making it easy to always have a vase handy or take it with you when giving (organic) cut flowers as a gift. The user instructions go something like this: Fill vase with water; add flowers; Enjoy!; when done, empty water and store flat; re-use again and again and again! They're available in a variety of fun colors an...

December 27, 2007 11:08 PM

Quote of the Day: Al Gore on Hockey

2007-12-27_180002-TreeHugger-bobbyhull.jpg How did we miss this? Evidently when Canada's environment minister was being a complete obstructionist jerk in Bali, Al Gore called the country out with a pointed hockey analogy that is not quite Bob Dylan's "You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing" but is close:

One of the most famous ice-hockey players in history was asked the secret of why he was so good. He was the best passer in the history of the game, Bobby Hull. Others might disagree [and say] Wayne Gretz...

December 27, 2007 11:00 PM

Planet GNOME

Mikkel Kamstrup Erlandsen: Christmas Updates

I really wanted to have Xesam RC2 out the door by Christmas, but as it turns out we will not in 2007. We have some changes to the ontology that are not yet in place that have proven hard to “Get Right” ™.

Besides ontology updates only minimal changes will be in RC2 compared to RC1. Some minor tweaks to the user search language is probably the only thing that might require some (small) code changes. All API have remained stable.

I really wanted to put some work into xesam-glib over the Christmas, but the kids thought otherwise. They have been rather stressed out by whole Christmas deal and have not slept well for o to many nights now. My brain is just fried when I finally manage to steal an hour or two in front of ye olde laptop in the nights. But fear not, next year I’m going to find myself with lots of energy and abundant spare time… I’m sure… Or maybe…

December 27, 2007 10:50 PM

Treehugger

Palau and Pentagon Looking to Harness Solar Energy from Space

space solar energy Image courtesy of NASA Reprising a topic we've covered before - the harnessing of solar energy from space - we bring you the latest on a joint venture between the U.S. Department of Defense and Palau to test the feasibility of using satellites to beam down "affordable, clean, safe, reliable, sustainable, and expandable energy for mankind." At first glance, the small island nation of Palau might seem like an unusual partner for such a venture; according to Kevin Reed, an American entrepreneur heading a U.S.-Swiss-German consortium that seeks to bring the type of ultralight solar panel technology needed for the satellites, however, ...

December 27, 2007 10:45 PM

Planet GNOME

Claudio Saavedra: Thu 2007/Dec/27

  • Now that 2007 is almost over, I thought that it would be nice to make a small selection of my favorite pictures of the year.

    Where's everyone?
    Adrian Boult Hall, UCE Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham, United Kingdom
    Where's everyone?
    Taken on July 20, 2007

    Survivors
    Jardines del Buen Retiro, Madrid, Spain
    Survivors
    Taken on July 10, 2007

    Birmingham New Street Station
    Birmingham, United Kingdom
    Birmingham New Street Station
    Taken on July 14, 2007

    sky++
    Linares, Chile
    sky++
    Taken on September 17, 2007

    Los Cielos Azules de la Plaza Mayor
    Plaza Mayor de Madrid, Spain
    Los Cielos Azules de la Plaza Mayor
    Taken on July 23, 2007

    Heaven
    Puerto Montt, Chile
    Heaven
    Taken on November 10, 2007

    Vagos
    Valparaíso, Chile
    Vagos
    Taken on November 20, 2007

    Pintando
    Ancud, Isla Grande de Chiloé, Chile
    Pintando
    Taken on November 11, 2007

    Marie
    Rivera del Río Claro, Talca, Chile
    Marie
    Taken on October 14, 2007

    La tetera en la estufa
    La tetera en la estufa
    Taken on June 3, 2007

  • Thanks to everyone who made 2007 an awesome year, and I wish you all a rocking and successful 2008!

December 27, 2007 10:41 PM

Joe Shaw

dBera released Beagle 0.3.2 today. It fixes a handful of bugs found in the previous 0.3.x releases and adds a few new features as well. Among them are using HAL for detecting whether the system is on battery, support for gzipped and bzip2′d man pages and a system-wide man page crawler, a new Empathy backend, and indexing file sizes of on-disk files, email attachments, and files inside archives. As usual, get it from the Beagle home page.

December 27, 2007 10:34 PM

Wired News: Top Stories

Surveillance and Crime Move the Needle in Threat Level's Guide to 2007

It was the year a Mr. Smith senator took away phone companies' Get Out Of Jail Free cards, Ron Paul fans put their money where their mouths are, and technology-laced murder and piracy trials unfolded before rapt, and sometimes angry, jurors.

by Threat Level blog at December 27, 2007 10:30 PM

Wired News: Politics

Surveillance and Crime Move the Needle in Threat Level's Guide to 2007

It was the year a Mr. Smith senator took away phone companies' Get Out Of Jail Free cards, Ron Paul fans put their money where their mouths are, and technology-laced murder and piracy trials unfolded before rapt, and sometimes angry, jurors.

by Threat Level blog at December 27, 2007 10:30 PM

Ars Technica

Colorado official: state should go back to paper ballots

Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman issued an official recommendation to the state legislature yesterday endorsing the use of paper ballots rather than electronic voting machines for the 2008 presidential election.

Read More...

December 27, 2007 10:04 PM

Wired News: Top Stories

MySpace Memorials Pay Tribute to Tiger's Victim, Carlos Sousa Jr.

Friends still reeling from the mauling death of Carlos Sousa Jr. at the San Francisco Zoo memorialize their lost loved one online.

by Underwire at December 27, 2007 10:00 PM

MAKE: Blog

Head tracking with the Wiimote


Really well-done basic introduction to how a Wiimote and Wii sensor bar can be used to create a head tracking system for VR worlds and games. Pretty impressive.

Head Tracking for Desktop VR Displays using the WiiRemote - Link

[Read this article] [Comment on this article]

December 27, 2007 10:00 PM

Techdirt

EU Looks To Destroy Fashion Innovation; Begins Enforcing Fashion Copyrights

We've spent plenty of time discussing how innovation thrives in the fashion industry, despite a lack of intellectual property covering designs -- as well as rampant copying. In fact, recent studies have shown that the reason the industry is thriving is because of the lack of intellectual property protection -- leading to a much more dynamic and competitive environment, leading to a more rapid pace of innovation. However, despite all that innovation going on in the industry, some in the US have been looking to add new intellectual property laws that cover fashion designs. This makes no sense. The purpose of intellectual property laws is to encourage innovation and creation. If the industry is already thriving, there is no sensible rationale for then adding in those laws -- unless it's an attempt to slow down innovation and allow the current leaders some monopoly on the legacy business they've already developed. In other words, it's corporate welfare for the leaders in the space, designed to squeeze out any innovations.

We may start to see just how pointless a move this was, as over in Europe they decided to grant some IP protections to fashion designs a few years ago. Those new regulations had not been enforced... until now. eoinmonty writes in to let us know that a UK designer has won a lawsuit against a retailer for selling clothing that was similar in design to that of a well known designer, Karen Miller. Now, some will argue that this kind of ruling doesn't hurt innovation because the one getting sued was merely copying. But that's assuming that the story only goes one-deep. As the research on the fashion industry has shown, when knockoff clothing is made, it simply encourages the brand name designers to continue to design something newer and better, pushing the industry forward. If Karen Miller doesn't have to worry about competition, then she can rest on her laurels and has less incentive to continue to design yet another new line of clothes, slowing down the pace of innovation in the fashion industry.

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by Mike Masnick at December 27, 2007 09:48 PM

Wired News: Top Stories

As Caucuses Near, Iowa Bloggers Enjoy Their Day in the Sun

Local bloggers now play a key role in influencing national media. Their blogs have become prime sites to watch as the 2008 presidential campaign gets hot.

by Sarah Lai Stirland at December 27, 2007 09:00 PM

Wired News: Politics

As Caucuses Near, Iowa Bloggers Enjoy Their Day in the Sun

Local bloggers now play a key role in influencing national media. Their blogs have become prime sites to watch as the 2008 presidential campaign gets hot.

by Sarah Lai Stirland at December 27, 2007 09:00 PM

Ars Technica

Apple patent app covers wireless purchasing beyond Starbucks

Pre-ordering your next latte or oil change from the convenience of your iPhone could become a reality.

Read More...

December 27, 2007 08:20 PM

Techdirt

Studying Violent Video Games Causes Unnecessary Extrapolations! News At Eleven!

It's hard to go more than a few weeks without seeing yet another article claiming some kind of "dangerous" impact from people playing violent video games. Of course, almost every study that suggests this is true has been debunked. What the studies actually tend to show is that while playing violent video games your brain acts emotional and may get desensitized to the violence being witnessed -- but that makes total sense. You should actually be surprised if playing a game didn't get you emotionally invested in the game and seeing the same thing over and over again didn't shock you as much as the first time. What none of the studies actually shows, however, is that playing these games later leads to violent activity. In fact, the ongoing decrease in violence just as these games have become increasingly popular certainly hints that they're not a major cause of violent activity (this is further supported by a study showing that violent movies seem to decrease incidents of violence). However, that doesn't stop researchers and the press from extrapolating their findings out to conclude that violent video games must lead to violence, despite the lack of proof.

The latest is some new research out of Taiwan, found via the Raw Feed, suggesting that playing violent video games decreases the flow of blood to your brain. There could be any number of biological reasons for this, but it doesn't stop the researchers from claiming that those playing these violent video games may "risk damaging brain function and affect their learning and emotional control." Again, that sounds like quite an extrapolation from just looking at the rate of blood flow to the brain -- and luckily people are already questioning the results of the study.

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by Mike Masnick at December 27, 2007 07:54 PM

Wired News: Top Stories

Warner Music Group Sells DRM-Free MP3s on Amazon.com

Another major label strips digital rights management restrictions from its songs to partner with the world's biggest e-tailer.

by Listening Post at December 27, 2007 07:30 PM

Ars Technica

3 down, 1 to go: Warner Music Group drops DRM

Warner is making all of its music available as MP3 files for sale at Amazon's music store.

Read More...

December 27, 2007 07:27 PM

Un Planeta HispaLinux

Ramon Ramon: ¡De nuevo SGAE!

Aunque en esta época lo normal es poner videos navideños, creo que la SGAE, el canon y la movilización social que está provocando este injusto impuesto revolucionario, merecen de un video menos navideño. Por eso, y una vez más, dedicado a los señores de la SGAE, y a esos ...

December 27, 2007 07:15 PM

Wired News: Top Stories

Crocodile Hunter Widow Turns Attention to Whale Research

Terri Irwin, the widow of TV "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, announces that a whale watching program she started in honor of her late husband will expand into scientific research in 2008. She hopes the non-lethal research of whales in Antarctic waters will show Japan's scientific whale kill is a sham.

by Associated Press at December 27, 2007 07:00 PM

ALT1040

Twitters unidireccionales

No se por qué algunos tuiteros unidireccionales creen que basta con hacer seguidores para que tu empieces a leer su mensaje

Creo que esto aplica también con personajes de la TV, webs, medios online, servicios 2.0, y hasta gobernaturas con presencia en Twitter.

En este caso yo mismo soy culpable, pues el Twitter de ALT1040 que funciona relativamente bien desde febrero de 2007, necesitaría tener mucha mayor interacción con los seguidores, algo que durante 2008 iré mejorando. Pero no cometas el mismo error, escucha y conversa con los seguidores de tu web/servicio/personaje.

by Eduardo Arcos at December 27, 2007 06:33 PM

Dan Bricklin's Log

Trust and cooperation cannot be surged: From US maritime strategy to the Little Prince and the fox

If you listen to my recent podcast with Laura Fitton you'll hear me say how the repeated simple interactions you get with Twitter remind me of the story of the Little Prince and the fox in Antoine de Saint Exupery's book. Laura was telling me how she made new friends through Twitter. Laura really liked that analogy and asked me (on Twitter, of course) to explain this connection on a blog post. This fit in with another, related thing I wanted to write about, the Navy's use of the phrase "Trust and cooperation cannot be surged", so I put them together in a new essay.

Read "Trust and cooperation cannot be surged: From US maritime strategy to the Little Prince and the fox" in the Writings section of my web site.

December 27, 2007 06:24 PM

Linux.com

Samba Project to provide Windows protocol access to all open source developers

Thanks to the Samba project, documentation about Windows networking protocols is now available to free software developers who want it. With the help of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) and the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), Samba has hammered out an agreement for obtaining the documentation and has set up the new Protocol Freedom Information Foundation (PFIF) to make it accessible to other free software projects.

December 27, 2007 06:22 PM

Techdirt

Once Again: The Great Inventors Often Were Neither Great, Nor Inventors

For many years, we've tried to argue how important it is to understand the difference between innovation and invention. While it may seem like a minor point of semantics, it actually plays quite heavily into the debate over the patent system. Invention is the process of coming up with something new. Innovation is taking that something new and successfully bringing it to market in a way people want. A quote I've heard a few times sums it up thusly: "Invention is turning money into ideas. Innovation is turning ideas into money." If you look at the true history of major breakthroughs, you'll quickly learn that invention is fairly meaningless -- and the important point is the innovation. In fact, if you look at all the "great inventors" championed by American history, you'll quickly realize that most weren't great inventors at all, but rather innovators, who later (often through questionable means) took credit as the inventors they never were. Even though those who actually are familiar with the history of these products know this already, it's still nice to see these false stories of invention getting more exposure.

Last year, there was a book showing how Thomas Edison wasn't the great inventor he claimed to be. Now, there's a new book suggesting not only was Alexander Graham Bell not the great inventor many hold him up to be, but the famous story of him rushing to the patent office to beat Elisha Gray's patent filing by mere hours may hide the fact that Bell actually cheated the system with the help of a corrupt patent examiner, who shared Gray's filing with Bell and then helped make it appear that Bell's filing came first. While this should raise even more questions about why either man was able to get a patent on an idea that was getting plenty of attention from many sources, and thus should have been considered obvious, it also adds to the list of "great inventors" who really did very little inventing.

The reason this is so important is that a patent system really only makes sense if it's the invention part that's important and that invention is basically the pinnacle of advancement in the space. Instead, if it's innovation that's more important, and innovation is an ongoing process that is sped along by competition, then there is little reason to have a patent system at all. Those who hold up Edison, Bell, the Wright Brothers and others as examples of why the patent system should exist are pointing to the wrong role models. The more detailed you look at their records you realize that both men cheated -- and used the patent system not to help protect "inventions," but to get monopolies that kept out real competition, slowed down true innovation and built up unfair monopolies they didn't deserve.

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by Mike Masnick at December 27, 2007 06:21 PM

Ars Technica

Connecticut governor plans opt-out system for personal info

Connecticut's governor this week announced her plan to offer a statewide opt-out registry for personal information. Much of the information, though, is public and could prove difficult to regulate.

Read More...

December 27, 2007 06:16 PM

planet.freedesktop.org

Zack Rusin: Constant state objects

I know you wither away, like a leaf in the darkness of the chilly, Autumn night, without my posts. I've been depriving you for too long of the sunshine that is me. Writing an interesting post explaining the new way one is doing register allocation or how the code generation has changed to benefit the drivers is a little difficult and I didn't feel like it would interest anyone. Especially that I know that if I write a blog about a little demo app I wrote in half an hour to showcase some technology I get 50 comments but when I blog about the process of creating that new technology I get two comments with one of them being "What?". On top of that I was lacking those new nude photos (it's art you pig!) of myself that I've promised you and which you yearn for so much.

Lately I've been working on the Gallium3D i965 driver. I had to read up some documentation because, as it turned out, being a "graphics ninja" did not give me intrinsic knowledge of all graphics hardware ever built. I know! I was as shocked as you are right now.

It started with the fact that I wanted to experiment with the layout of vectors in shaders for the code generation using LLVM facilities.

To experiment with different layouts I've decided to write i965 driver for Gallium3D and experiment with LLVM code generation for i965 in that driver. Keith Whitwell and I have been hacking on it and it's going pretty well. It's amazing how much code we've removed from the old i965 driver while porting it to Gallium3D. It was a rather nice feeling to see so much of the complexity of the driver disappear.

The great thing about writing a Gallium3D driver is that a lot of the complexity of the high level API goes away, as it's being moved to "state tracker". State tracker is responsible for all API specific state handling and tricky conversions. The driver never sees the state tracker, it implements a very thin interface, which corresponds rather closely to the way modern hardware works.

One of my favorite changes is the new way we handle state changes. It used to be that the driver had to check whether any of its state changed and if it did upload it before drawing anything. It turned out to be a rather serious bottleneck and it made reading our driver a little painful.

In Gallium3D we went away from that. Now we use similar semantics to what Direct3D10 and OpenGL3 (will) use. Which is that states are largely immutable objects. Their usage follows the

  • create from a template
  • bind the state to make it active for subsequent rendering calls
  • delete when not needed anymore
pattern. This way the driver can do all of its conversion on creation (which ideally happens only once) and then on bind calls (which we have multiple off) it can just reference the id of this state to have it used instead of having to do a full conversion from the Mesa state and upload of the converted state.
When I wrote the constant state objects code I ported our simple i915 driver and, even though on i915 we don't have hardware state caching just doing the state conversions in create calls improved the performance in simple examples by about 15fps. For more complicated examples where the state changes are more frequent it will be a lot more. Not even mentioning drivers which will do full state caching in the hardware where this is going to fly like Superman with diarrhea.

Less complexity in the driver and faster code, is what I think love is all about. Granted that my idea of love might be a smidge skewed on account of me being crazy and all but no one can argue with the "simpler/faster" being 'awesome'.

And to really top this graphics talk off, a picture of me naked:

In retrospect not my best day. The lighting was all wrong...

December 27, 2007 05:38 PM

ALT1040

Las búsquedas más populares en Google España en 2007, ¿chungas?

Google difunde la lista de las búsquedas más populares en Google España en 2007, que serían:

  • Youtube
  • Badoo
  • Ebuddy
  • Fotolog
  • Yo soy Bea
  • Hi5
  • MySpace
  • Wikipedia
  • Compraventa
  • El Internado

Una noticia bastante atractiva para los medios por lo que significan algunos de los términos buscados como una novela, las redes sociales y el sitio de videos. Pero Josu en Malaprensa hace una reflexión bastante interesante:

Yo también he estado haciendo pruebas un ratillo con Google Trends y he encontrado no sólo, como dice Christian, que Messenger, Yahoo o MSN aparecen más que Badoo (segunda de la lista), sino que también lo hacen palabras como Madrid, Barcelona o Sevilla, El Mundo o El País, Iberia y Renfe, o emule. Eso sin salirnos de los nombres propios, porque si incluimos “compraventa” no sé por qué no podemos poner “coches” o “pisos”, que también vencen claramente a Badoo.

El hecho es que en el comunicado de prensa no dejan claro de dónde salen estas 10 búsquedas, por qué son populares, por qué no aparecen frases/palabras (la lista se compone de las 2 cosas) que tienen mucha más popularidad. ¿Tal vez son las búsquedas nuevas más populares?

by Eduardo Arcos at December 27, 2007 05:29 PM

John Battelle's Searchblog

Why No One Comments on Google News

TechDirt comments on the NYT's story on the fact that pretty much no one is commenting on Google News stories, despite Google's attempts to get folks to do so. Why is that, we wonder? Why, given that Google News is one of the largest, most successful, most important drivers of news reading in the world, why won't we engage in a conversation around it?

It's simple, really, and it goes to the heart of what Google is not good at: Community. Look at the comment threads on Digg, for example, or Ars Technica, or Boing Boing. Why are there such long, boisterous comment threads? Because we know that the news we are reading there was driven by human beings, and when we respond, those human beings are paying attention, and want to be part of the conversation. But Google News is driven entirely by a computer algorithm. There is no explicit community. No one goes there to engage in community. Even if one can argue, as one can with web search, that the News algorithm is derived from community actions, it is not subservient to them, as is Digg's. In short, there are no stakeholders in the Google News community. It's not a place people go to be social.

Once again, Google has shown its Achilles heel - computers are great at generating smart results, and terrible as proxies for community. This is also reflected in the company's approach to policy around new community features like those at Google Reader, an asberger's of sorts when it comes to understanding how people want to connect.

Update: Many of you noted in comments that Google News Comments are only for those in the stories. This is true, and I should have mentioned it. Clearly this would be different if anyone could comment. Even so, I think, it proves the point - folks who are in news stories do not see Google News as a place to connect to *their* story.

December 27, 2007 05:25 PM

ALT1040

El Top 10 de los peores errores de Hugo Chavéz durante el 2007

Una de las listas más buenas que he leído últimamente, tiene joyas como «Poner de Ministro a Pedro Carreño. AKA Ministro del poder popular para las corbatas Louis Vuitton. A quien se le ocurre poner de ministro a alguien que asegura que el imperio norteamericano nos espía por medio de los decodificadores de DIRECTV. WTF!!!» Exacto… WTF?

by Eduardo Arcos at December 27, 2007 05:20 PM

Ars Technica

Security firm predicts Stormy weather for New Year's weekend

Storm's December 24 attack may have been more smoke than fire, but that's not stopping the program's authors from trying again. New information suggests that the Storm Worm may attack again this weekend, hopefully with minimal results.

Read More...

December 27, 2007 05:20 PM

Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends

First reflected light from an exoplanet

European astronomers have for the first time ever been able to detect and monitor the visible light that is scattered in the atmosphere of an exoplanet, HD 189733b, which is also known as a 'hot Jupiter,' and orbits a star slightly cooler and less massive than the Sun located about 60 light-years from Earth. According to this ETH Zurich news release, 'Polarization technique focuses limelight,' the researchers used 'techniques similar to how Polaroid sunglasses filter away reflected sunlight to reduce glare. They also directly traced the orbit of the planet, a feat of visualization not possible using indirect methods.' The team thinks that their findings are opening new opportunities for exploring physical conditions on exoplanets.

December 27, 2007 05:18 PM

Geek Culture

Forum Tidbits... still stuffed on leftovers.

Snaggy wonders Whatcha get?, ... Steen is Just Blowing off Steam, ... TheMoMan shakes his head over the Benazir Bhutto assassination, ... and MacManKrisK asks about Cassette Tape Equalization.

And in SuperFan Clubhouse Tidbits: Snaggy says Thank you SuperFans!

by Snaggy at December 27, 2007 04:56 PM

The Intuitive Life Business Blog

When did Gmail lose its invite feature?

Just got a request for a Google Gmail invitation after a month or two of no requests of this nature - doubtless because people can just go to the Gmail home page and sign up - and am surprised that there's no longer a "invite sender to Gmail" link:

Google Gmail: No Invite

There's still the "invite a friend" box on the left column, but now I have to actually dig up their email address from the header and - gasp - cut and paste it. So much work. :-)

Did this vanish recently, or has it been gone a long time?

December 27, 2007 04:51 PM

Ars Technica

iTunes to get movie rentals, some DVDs to get FairPlay

A new report says movie rentals are coming to the iTunes Store. Apple, it seems, has finally learned to play ball with the movie studios.

Read More...

December 27, 2007 04:44 PM

El Blog de Enrique Dans

Arranca Soitu.es

SoituDebuta en la red Soitu.es, el proyecto de Gumersindo Lafuente, la persona que convirtió la edición electrónica de El Mundo en el medio online con mayor éxito en castellano, y que ha contado además con la colaboración de algunos muy buenos amigos míos. Respaldado por una importante inversión del BBVA, Soitu.es supone una interesante entrada en el periodismo ciudadano y participativo, una de las áreas del panorama informativo en las que se prevé un mayor crecimiento. Si quieres terminar de entenderlo, mira el prospecto :-)

Vale la pena pasarse a echarle un vistazo. No todos los días se ve nacer un nuevo medio de comunicación.

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by Enrique Dans at December 27, 2007 04:40 PM

Un Planeta HispaLinux

Benjami Villoslada: Craigslist en castellà

Craigslist és un lloc ben pensat que té prou èxit. Després de tanta collonada 2.0 encara valoro més els llocs de disseny minimalista que cuiden més les comunitats que no pas els llombrígols ni la bravegera dels «emprenedors» de torn.

El Craigslist funciona al voltant d’una ciutat: anuncis classificats, currículums i fòrums. A l’estat espanyol té versions per a Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla i València. Ara també en castellà, cosa que servirà per a fer-se més populars i que tenguin més valor al nostre redol. Les comunitats a Internet tenen un valor proporcional a la mida de la comunitat. Mem si també cau la versió en català, ara que amb l’espanyol han obert la porta al multilingüisme.

Voler –que no poder– vendre una casa a Segur de Calafell m’ha fet veure com funciona la cosa dels anuncis classificats. Tenc la impressió que a llocs com Idealista hi parlen molts més empresaris que no pas particulars. A Idealista volen massa dades: no tenen fils RSS i cal subscriure-s’hi per correu. Publiquen massa estudis obvis, sensacionalistes, sospitosos de carn per a nota de premsa i així sortir als medis. Aquest matí el Bassas citava una noticia immobiliària redactada per Idealista, «el portal líder a Internet». Els periodistes no haurien de caure en la repetició d’aquestes frases eslògan buides. A les notes de premsa, tot el que fa l’empresa autora és fantàstic i sempre són líders d’alguna cosa.

En contrast, quan compro el diari Trueque en paper, allà sí què hi veig anuncis que semblen escrits per particulars, i és clar, els preus són més baixos. Si trobo compres més barates a Mallorca –cosa que no passa a Idealista– aleshores també podria vendre més barata la casa de Segur; just vull comprar quelcom assemblant a l’illa, i tot seguit, mirant de no perdre pistonada per mor la inflació immobiliària.

Les converses –interessades– d’empresaris han servit per a inflar la bombolla de l’especulació immobiliària. A llocs com Idealista hi parlen massa empresaris. A Craigslist també, però hi parlen més particulars. La veu dels particulars a Internet sempre ha estat més sincera.

by Benjamí at December 27, 2007 04:34 PM

El Blog de Enrique Dans

Twitter y uso corporativo

TwitterVeo en Confused of Calcutta, de JP Rangaswami, una serie interesante de entradas sobre los posibles usos corporativos de Twitter. Me llama la atención porque JP Rangaswami trabaja en BT, llegué a su blog a través de uno de mis alumnos en este curso (uno de los in-company en los que he participado recientemente), y en algunas de mis clases con ellos estuvimos precisamente comentando muchos temas relacionados con Twitter y con Facebook. De Facebook, de hecho, me llamó la atención el extendidísimo uso corporativo que se llevaba a cabo en la compañía, tema que de hecho llegué a mencionar en una entrada.

La serie de artículos me parece muy recomendable para quienes estén buscando herramientas de comunicación interna sencillas y operativas para uso corporativo. La agilidad y sincronía de Twitter, unida a su acceso prácticamente ubicuo y a la simplicidad a la que obliga su restricción a ciento cuarenta caracteres tiene la potencialidad de convertirlo en una herramienta muy cómoda y adecuada para su uso dentro de las empresas. El propio Biz Stone comentaba, en la entrevista que le hice en Sevilla, que les constaba que los usos corporativos estaban creciendo, y que existía la posibilidad de que acabasen planteándose versiones restringidas como servicios de valor añadido. Sin ir más lejos, sé de un banco español en el que estaban no hace mucho tiempo evaluando su posible uso departamental…

La serie escrita por JP Rangaswami consta por el momento de cinco entradas. En orden cronológico,

Si te interesa el tema, vale la pena echarles un ojo. Interesantes tanto las reflexiones como algunos de los comentarios.

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by Enrique Dans at December 27, 2007 04:09 PM

Wired News: Top Stories

35 MPG Standard Will Kill the Muscle Car? Uh-huh. Sure

Some people are whining that the newly adopted 35-mpg fuel-economy standard will kill the muscle car. Don't bet on it. Meeting an average doesn't mean every car has to be average.

by Autopia blog at December 27, 2007 04:00 PM

Linux.com

After torrents? Try Deluge!

Historians may argue whether it was Louis XV or his mistress, Madame de Pompadour, who famously said, "Après moi, le Déluge" ("After me, the deluge"), but what cannot be argued is that, today, Deluge is the name of an efficient BitTorrent client that you would do well to try.

December 27, 2007 04:00 PM


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