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Fortunately, there are people at Google who are (demonstrably) far more versed in dealing with this kind of problem than I am. And they're welcome to it.

That said, there's unfortunately more than enough related work to go around.

But seriously, I find this kind of threat actually considerably more alarming than the threat of terrorists blowing themselves up on airplanes. Not only because I don't find the latter to be something that is apparently that hard to prevent, but because there's a lot more to be _gained_ by a lot more people that don't have to die in order to carry out the former sort of attack.

And, you know, honestly we've got a lot more interesting problems to solve than figuring out how to keep people from hacking into our electrical grid. Or nuclear launch authorization systems. And so forth. I hate working on problems that I feel wouldn't exist as tasks if some people weren't jerks.

Interesting times, indeed.
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(Mostly a placeholder so I'll go back and check it out later. Looks interesting, though.)
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I do plan to play with my kids with computers, and not just because there are kinds of activities that one can do with computers that are at least difficult otherwise. But I'm a big fan of young kids playing with physical objects, and computers lend themselves a bit more to passive entertainment than I'd like.

I'd been thinking of doing the "Buy One Get One" thing for the One Laptop Per Child project; it looks like a good idea for the charity that is in it, and the laptop itself looks like it would be hard (if not impossible) for Corwin (and, eventually, the twins) to break it.

Now, I'm a bit less sure.
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via BoingBoing: http://www.boingboing.net/2007/09/19/blue-man-nursery-sch.html

Every day at the center will end with a ritual called Glow Time, during which the shades are lowered, the regular lights are turned off, and black lights are turned on, illuminating the parts of the room (including work created by the students) that have been painted with special UV paint. The collection of Blue Man-inspired educational gewgaws on hand is a far cry from flash cards and Play-Doh. There’s a hypnotic Bubble Machine, with kid-controlled colored lights; a futuristic Water Machine, with a mini-whirlpool; and a trippy installation, left over from the B.M.G.’s 2003 tour, of giant computer-animated dragonflies that can be made to light up, flap their wings, and fly.

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I rather like the esthetics of the third solution, although I
don't eat ice cream much myself. Of course, I can easily imagine
Corwin wanting to make ice cream several times a day if we had one...


I've now read the FAQ on the website for the ball-shaped thingy. I
am disappointed to learn that despite how much it looks like a soccer
ball, they recommend that you not actually kick it. Clearly someone
needs to design a rubber exterior that you can wrap around the whole
thing while it's doing its thing.

I wonder how sensitive to ambient temperatures this method is.
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I'm listening to "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel right now. Those people who saw the 1980s movie "Say Anything" may recall the scene in which John Cusack's character is standing outside his girlfriend's window, holding a boom box above his head which is playing this song.

It just occurred to me how incomprehensible this scene is going to be to my children, technologically speaking. I mean, the _tape_ in the boom box is about the size of the larger iPods today, and it holds about a thousandth as much music (of much lower fidelity). As for the speakers, while I don't know if there is current R&D on making good speakers the size of quarters (turning the scene into one in which the character is holding his apparently empty hands up outside his girlfriend's window), I can easily imagine that playing music for one's friends will be done by wireless broadcast to personal headphones, i.e., a mobile version of what iTunes/Airport does now.

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("E-voting demise could be near")

I'm a big fan of technology. And while I think that it's _possible_ to have a robust, secure, accurate voting system that uses computers, the ballots themselves need to be recorded on actual physical human-readable artifacts.
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http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/15.04/esp.html?pg=1&topic=esp&topic_set= (title: "Mixed Feelings")

A fascinating exploration of various technologies for helping us to perceive things that we're not equipped to directly perceive.
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...on eBay, of all places.

Update: [livejournal.com profile] lightning_rose has drawn my attention to the questions for the seller, which include some real howlers...at least in part because the person responding to them is clearly going to an almost painful effort to be patient and polite:

Q: i would also like to build a VTOL aircraft such as this . can you please provide me with instructions so that i may build one at home for my own personal use ? i will compensate you with a generous donation of $5.00 US .

A: We do not plan to offer the M400 in kit form. Consulting services are available at the rates posted on our web site. Over the past 40 years Dr. Moller, Moller International and our shareholders have invested about $65 million into this project, in todays dollars that would be about $200 million.

Q: what after market parts are available, can i get screaming eagle exhausts and a dyno stage 3 kit for it and will i be able to attach nitros oxcide to it to make it go faster.......also is there any chrome parts to make it look more 'blingy'...........

A: We are not aware of any firm offering aftermarket parts for our vehicle.

Q: Was this prototype based on the version that Wile E. Coyote built in the 1970's?

A: We are pleased to respond to serious questions. Our web site has information on the history of the Company and the development path we have followed. This is the 5th generation of the design, with the M200X being the most successful vehicle to date. The M200X looked a lot like cartoon representations of flying cars of the 1970s, and may have been the inspiration for some of these popular images.

Q: If I bid $1.8m dollars, is that less than the reserve price. I only ask as I fancy bidding $1.8m for something, albeit my bank account is currenly overdrawn?

A: All bids should be considered binding agreements per the eBay bidding rules.

Q: my grandson would love to take a ride in this. he is 9 months old. are there seat belts in the skycar to secure a car seat?

A: This is a prototype aircraft, and although it has seatbelts, I would not recommend that the aircraft be used for entertainment. Operation of this aircraft at this stage of its development is very risky, with a high degree of risk of personal injury including the potential of a fatal accident and the potential of significant property damage in addition to damage or total destruction of the aircraft.

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Let's get something straight, you’ve come to the wrong place if you are looking for a laser pointer. We do not sell laser pointers. Wicked Lasers can burn, slash, melt plastic and when your lighter runs dry, it’ll even light up your smoke. This is a joke right? Well you can see here. Have you seen videos like that anywhere else? Didn’t think so. Can your laser pointer do that? Didn’t think so.

This is the real deal. you want to wield true power, otherwise you wouldn't be here. And since you are here, I'm sure you have seen those presentation or keychain laser pointers before. Maybe you even have a few lying around in your basement or connected to your keychain. Do you think you will light cigarettes or power a LaserSaber with that? We sure don't. Not even close. What makes a red laser pointer "ultimate" or "extreme"? That it can point a dot 100 meters away? Big deal. Ours blasts a laser beam for over 100 miles.

Yow. [livejournal.com profile] fdmts, [livejournal.com profile] judovitch, this is for you. :)
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Diebold sez "glitch-free," just don't touch those touchscreens

As I have said elsewhere, I hope that Maryland tosses Diebold out on their collective ass. This is completely frigging ridiculous, and should not be countenanced.
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"You know what's great about the internet? It's one giant cable access channel."

(I'd say that what's great about the Internet is that it _can_ be a cable access channel, plus simultaneously many other things depending on what you want...but that's another topic.)

Let's Paint, Exercise, and Make Blended Drinks TV!

All, apparently, at once. Plus, apparently this is one of a _series_ of similar shows by this guy.
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I would so go to this (and bring a video camera) if it were anywhere close.
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In response to "driving past an empty cemetery" (courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] vito_excalibur), I offer the following thoughts, which have been running around in my brain for a few years now.

scampering thoughts )
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courtesy of Boing Boing:

Alive in Joburg (Google Video)

A short film depicting a grittily realistic documentary set in a fictional world with extraterrestrial refugees in South Africa.

Showreel (Quicktime)

A series of short clips which apparently act as a sort of portfolio. (It starts out with a dancing car video which you may have seen; I think I linked to it a while back.) The progression of themes is very interesting.


A short film that's a sort of slice-of-existence of a robot employed as a temporary clerical worker. Very odd, not least because no one seems to think it odd that TempBot never says anything.
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From the Google Blog:

"We're happy to finally have some good news for the, ahem, vocal Mac enthusiasts we've been hearing from. Let's just say that we have gotten more than a few "requests" for a Mac version of Google Earth."

Yeah, I'll bet you have. (Not from me--I figured that bugging them about it would be poor form, considering it's (a) free and (b) not something I actually have any real use for--but I have spoken with some heat to my screen when I've seen the phrase "...but we're working on it" for the forty-leventh time.)

Anyway, Google Earth is now available for both Mac and Windows.

And damn it's fun to play with. Woohoo! The major difference between this and the "Earth" program described in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash is the lack of real-time updates...but taking the privacy problems aside, well, it's free.


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