Archived entries for Tech

PirateBay tracker is back online

Cory Doctorow:

Notorious torrent-tracker site ThePirateBay is making good on its vow to come back online following the Swedish police raid on its servers. The site is back online, and promises that searches will be working today. The raid reportedly came as a result of US government pressure on the Sweden.
(Thanks, Joel!)


Soldiers to sport life recorders

David Pescovitz:
DARPA is checking out wearable systems to “augment a soldier’s recall and reporting capability.” As part of the Advanced Soldier Sensor Information System and Technology (ASSIST) project, the National Institute of Standards and Technology are testing wearable cameras, GPS systems, and context-aware software to generate automated “reports” of what the soldier experienced on the battlefield. From the NIST Tech Beat:

 Multimedia Pub Web 853 WebThe sensors are expected to capture, classify and store such data as the sound of acceleration and deceleration of vehicles, images of people (including suspicious movements that might not be seen by the soldiers), speech and specific types of weapon fire.

A capacity to give GPS locations, an ability to translate Arabic signs and text into English, as well as on-command video recording also are being demonstrated in Aberdeen. Sensor system software is expected to extract keywords and create an indexed multimedia representation of information collected by different soldiers. For comparison purposes, the soldiers wearing the sensors will make an after-action report based on memory and then supplement that after-action report with information learned from the sensor data.


Originally posted by David Pescovitz from Boing Boing Blog, ReBlogged by Joel Holmberg on May 15, 2006 at 02:32 PM

should they just be robot already?

Via Eyebeam reBlog

MIT students’ tricked-out dorm-room automation system

Cory Doctorow:

Some MIT students have transformed their room with a homebrew automation system called MIDAS: Multifunction In-Dorm Automation System. The system is incredibly comprehensive, automating party effects, alarms, music, surveillance cams and much more — and they’ve documented it in loving detail on this page.
(via Digg)

give it up to the nerds…

Via Boing Boing

A web server on your mobile phone reports the Nokia Research Center has been working on a project to put a web server on your mobile phone.

“We (Nokia) believe that being able to run a globally accessible personal website on your mobile phone has the potential of changing the Internet landscape. If every mobile phone or even every smartphone initially, is equipped with a webserver then very quickly most websites will reside on mobile phones. That is bound to have some impact not only on how mobile phones are perceived but also on how the web evolves.


Teacher strike threat over boy’s cleavage photo

Teachers may go on strike after a pupil who secretly photographed a female member of staff’s cleavage was allowed to return to school, reports the UK Telelgraph.

“The boy was caught by another member of staff while adding a lewd caption to the camera phone image. It is believed the picture, which was sent to a friend’s phone, was taken as the teacher was bending over in class.

The boy was expelled from St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School, in Benwell, Newcastle upon Tyne, but his parents won an appeal to have him reinstated.

… Teachers in the region had already complained of becoming the victims of “bullying” with pupils using mobile phones to film or photograph them for their friends’ amusement.”


Teacher’s Suggestive Cell Phone Video Surfaces

Teacher’s saucy video is a hit

Nude teacher mobile snap wows Cyprus

sorry, i think this is kind of funny

Google Mars

google_mars.jpgCombine two WorldChanging obsessions — online map systems and the planet Mars — and you have the potential for something that could keep us happily clicking and playing for hours. Google has now unleashed Google Mars, a Google Maps site using satellite imagery of the Red Planet. It’s not as powerful as Google Earth, but it’s by far the most easily-accessible way to get to know the fourth planet from the sun. (Google suggests that a plug-in to bring Mars data to the Google Earth engine may soon be on its way.)

The site includes three different presentations of the Martian surface:

  • Elevation – A shaded relief map, generated with data from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) on NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. This map is color-coded by altitude, so you can use the color key at the lower left to estimate elevations.

  • Visible – A mosaic of images taken by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) on NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. MOC is like the digital camera you have at home. Basically, this is what your eyes would see if you were in orbit around Mars.
  • Infrared – A mosaic of infrared images taken by the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) on NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft. Warmer areas appear brighter, and colder areas are darker. Clouds and dust in the atmosphere are transparent in the infrared, making this the sharpest global map of Mars that’s ever been made.

o view flags pointing out the planet’s physical features, as well as the locations of the various landers (both successful and otherwise).

When you first hit Google Mars, you’re presented with a colorful elevation map. Blue represents land below the Martian average elevation, rising to green, yellow, and orange, with red representing the higher elevations, and white the peaks of mountains. It’s no coincidence that this color range strongly suggests what a lightly terraformed Mars might aspire to look like; the elevation map, despite having the least-realistic colors of the three, does the best job at making Mars look like a world, not just a rocky planet.

The announcement of Google Mars was well-timed; the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) successfully reached Martian orbit on Friday, and when it finishes its months-long aerobraking maneuver (using the Martian atmosphere to slow its speed), it will give us by far the most detailed images of Mars yet. Among MRO’s tools are a camera with a resolution of one foot per pixel and a broadband transceiver, giving the Mars science fleet a high-speed orbiting router. Let’s hope that Google gets the MRO pictures added to the Google Mars dataset as quickly as they can.

(Posted by Jamais Cascio in Pulling Back the Curtain – Information and Knowledge Resources at 12:44 PM)

The Wild Web of China: Sex and Drugs, Not Reform

Unchecked freedoms that exist on the Web despite the government’s filtering efforts may be ushering in an age of social change.

Quote from the article:

“Chinese entrepreneurs who started out brazenly selling downloadable pirated music and movies from online storefronts have extended their product lines — peddling drugs and sex, stolen cars, firearms and even organs for transplanting.”

“…On any of China’s leading search engines, enter sensitive political terms like “Tiananmen Square” or “Falun Gong,” and the computer is likely to crash or simply offer a list of censored Web sites. But terms like “hot sex” or “illegal drugs” take users to dozens of links to Web sites allowing them to download sex videos, gain entry to online sports gambling dens or even make purchases of heroin. The scams are flourishing…”
(click the header link to go to the article)

Enzyme computer could live inside you

Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have built a molecular calculator that uses enzymes to perform calculations. The team believe enzyme-powered computers could eventually be implanted into the body and used to, for example, tailor the release of drugs to a specific person’s metabolism.


Enzymes are already used to assist calculations using specially encoded DNA. These DNA computers could one day surpass the speed and power of existing silicon computers because they can perform many calculations in parallel and pack a vast number of components into a tiny space.

But this enzyme computer is not designed for speed – it can take several minutes to perform a calculation. Rather, it might eventually be incorporated into bio-sensing equipment and used, for example, to monitor and react to a patient’s response to particular dosages of a drug.

“We feel you could implant an enzyme computer into the body and use it to calculate an entire metabolic pathway,” explains Itamar Willner.

“If such counters could be engineered inside living cells, then we can imagine them playing a role in applications such as intelligent drug delivery, where a therapeutic agent is generated at the site of a problem,” says Martyn Amos from University of Exeter, UK. “Counters would also offer a biological ‘safety valve’, to prevent engineered cells proliferating in an uncontrolled fashion.”

Details in New Scientist.

Songbird, the “open source iTunes killer,” flies today

Xeni Jardin:
Update: The Songbird site is overloaded right now, but here’s a download mirror, and another. Some discussion on this digg thread.

– – – – – – – –

A team led by ex-Winamp-er Rob Lord today released a preview edition of Songbird, a desktop media player that offers an open source alternative to services like Apple’s iTunes and the Windows Media Player. Instead of connecting to one locked store full of DRMmed goods, it can connect to any and all available music (and video) on the internet.

Code brains behind the project include people who helped build Winamp, Muse, Yahoo’s “Y! Music Engine” media player, and developers from Mozilla Foundation. Initial release is for Windows only, with editions for other OSes to follow in the coming weeks.

Built on the same platform as Firefox, Songbird acts like a specialized web browser for music. It sees the online world through MP3-colored glasses — it looks at an archive of public domain sound files or a music store’s catalog, and displays available media for you.

I spoke with Rob Lord earlier today by phone about the preview release. Screenshots and interview after the jump.
Click screenshots for full-size.

Read the Interview at boing boing

Video Bomb: social video-channel publisher and discovery tool

Cory Doctorow:

Video Bomb is a new video- playlist- publishing tool from Participatory Culture Foundation, the same people who brought you the brilliant DTV Internet video client.

Video Bomb lets you grab Internet videos you like and publish them as a feed — “bomb” them — that your friends or fans can subscribe to, so all the online video you find ends up in their video player automatically, It lets you program and publish your own TV station made up of anything you find online and anything you make and publish.

Video Bomb is designed to make video-sharing social and sustainable. It uses Digg-like voting to bubble the best videos to the top of the list, and Delicious-like tagging to help you make sense of the pile.

Like all Participatory Culture Foundation projects, Video Bomb is simple, elegant and powerful. It has wonderful gracenotes like “publisher hookup” in the video-submission form — that’s where you embed links to t-shirt, donations, or merchandise offered by the video’s original publisher, so that everyone who gets your feed will have the chance to reward the creators and sustain their work.

(Disclosure: I’m a proud member of the Participatory Culture Foundation’s Board of Directors)

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