Category Archives: computers

Aram Bartholl’s Dead Drops

This is one of the best ideas I’ve seen in a long while. And I’m sorry that this is basically just a cut/paste post, but I figured I’d let the artist speak for himself:

I am pleased to preview ‘Dead Drops’ a new project which I started off as part of my ongoing EYEBEAM residency in NYC the last couple weeks. ‘Dead Drops’ is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space. I am ‘injecting’ USB flash drives into walls, buildings and curbs accessable to anybody in public space. You are invited to go to these places (so far 5 in NYC) to drop or find files on a dead drop. Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your favorite files and data. Each dead drop contains a readme.txt file explaining the project. ‘Dead Drops’ is still in progress, to be continued here and in more cities. Full documentation, movie, map and ‘How to make your own dead drop’ manual coming soon! Stay tuned.

Dead drop (Wikipedia)

Visit Aram’s blog and the official ‘Dead Drops’ page for more information and locations!

scott

Apple vs. HTC (aka Google)

My good friend mil_ wrote an interesting article over at his technology blog: TechNippon. As you may have guessed from the title of this post, it’s about “Apple vs. HTC (aka Google)“…

He said I could post it here as well, so give it a read if you care at all about the advancement of technology!

As you may have heard, Apple has filed a patent lawsuit against cell phone manufacturer HTC (manufacturer of the “Google Phone” the Nexus One). And as you may have also figured out, these lawsuits are a thinly-veiled attack against Google’s Android OS as well (Google, despite not being directly named in any of the lawsuits, released a statement in defense of HTC).

The two lawsuits (one federal, one with the ITC) name 20 patents that Apple is claiming infringement upon. The first question is how did Apple manage to get some of these things patented? Most of them deal with OS-level software functions (ie the Android OS, not HTC’s hardware) that, if upheld by patent courts, would give Apple all but a monopoly on basic functions of smartphones or any modern-day multi-device. For example, power management functions for a digital camera or “reducing voltage to an instruction-processing part of the processor” aka sleep mode.

Many of the patents also deal with specific software/OS programming techniques, like using OOP for, well, anything (graphics, notifications, multitasking) and others deal with how the OS is run. It seems that Apple took some basic, broad programming ideas and patented them being used in a specific context: in this case, on a mobile platform. Mobile phone OSes were extremely simple until smartphones came along, and Apple got a head start on everyone by a few years with the iPhone–admittedly a paradigm-shifting piece of hardware and software. In other words, they patented the basic functionality it would take to make any phone work like a desktop. And now, a few years down the line when more and more phones are becoming PC-like, Apple suddenly has the golden patents to throw the hammer down on any and all competitors.

What Apple is doing here is nothing short of snuffing out technological advance to increase their own market share and, in turn, profit margin. Things like multitouch gestures are not something you should be able to patent. ”Unlocking a device by using a gesture on an image” is such a broad idea that it should have never been granted a patent to one specific company in the first place. Multitouch gestures, and smartphones in general, are natural evolutions of technological advance. OOP is not a specific idea that one company owns, but an entire method of programming. How can a company “own” multitouch? There are many manufacturers of capacitive and resistive multitouch screens. But the software that enables us to take advantage of the technology? Apple’s.

In this case, Apple should at least grant third parties the license to use their patented technologies for a nominal fee like any rational company/entity. But it has instead requested to bar the sale of any and all devices who are named in the infringement case–which includes all Android phones and even some WM phones. Is Apple being overprotective of its own products or its own ideas (which is also dubious at best–the idea of a screen that responds to multitouch has probably been around for decades. I can assure you that Mr. Jobs was not the first person ever to think of it, just the first to think of using the law to claim ownership of it)? Or is it just sending out a quite large and loud first attack on the other technological mega-entity (and reasonable threat to their smartphone near-monopoly) in the room, Google? It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Google didn’t back down from China, instead directly confronting it. How will it deal with the closed regime of Appleland and its leader’s all-powerful reality distortion field??

scott

Laconic Oration – November

Here are a bunch of images from Natalie and My image-blog: Laconic Oration.

All of these are from the month of November, which was a busy month over there. We found a bunch of great items that needed to be shared. This selection is just a very small fraction, so if you like looking at things, go to the blog.

ps- click here and here to see small collections from September and October.



















more at http://laconicoration.tumblr.com

scott

“1960s Marvel Comics Challenge” aaaaand “A good site for downloading comics”

Yes, I’m taking the 1960s Marvel Comics Challenge.  Don’t be scared if you’re unfamiliar with the challenge because, after all, I invented it.  As Greg Goode can tell you, Marvel’s 1950s output consisted mostly of monster/sci-fi anthologies and western comics.  The success of Fantastic Four #1 in 1961 pushed Marvel in the direction for which they are known today: super heroez.  During the early 1960s, most of the sci-fi and fantasy anthologies introduced new super heroes (Ant-Man, Thor) and reintroduced old, 1940s Marvel characters (Captain America).

So, I recently started reading the ongoing Fantastic Four series (created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for its first 102 issues!) and I recently thought, “Why not spread it out and read the other 1960s Marvel super hero titles?”  After all, most of them feature art by really solid or even spectacular guys like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Buscema, etc.

Here’s where I’m getting the comics: Comicsworld.

Go to that site immediately! They have a ton of stuff you probably never even realized you wanted to look at. Also, when it comes to guiding my Marvel Comics Challenge, I’m using the site Marvel Comics Database. This great site categorizes releases by year and month so I just look at the month and can read everything as it came out. Sweet, right?!

Most comics are scanned in a .cbr or .cbz format so you need a viewer. I use this one: Coview

So, as I make my way through the challenge I believe I’ll post a “year in review” to rate each year. A’ight? So I’m not going to post any scans or cover shots or anything because I’ll save those for then. BYE.

The miracle of emulators: Earthbound (Zero) and StarFox 2

One of the great things about the emulation community is that it allows you to play many great games that were never released in your region.  Thanks to the efforts of devoted translation groups, you can even play games that were only produced in Japanese.

This is especially handy in the world of RPGs.  To date, the ONLY versions of Final Fantasy III, Dragon Quest V, and Dragon Quest VI that have been released in the west are 3D remakes for the DS.  Thanks to the emulator nerds, you can play the original versions wherever you are.  Of somewhat more interest are games that are STILL unreleased here, like Seiken Densetsu 3 (the direct sequel to Secret of Mana) or Terranigma (the third chapter in the Soul Blazer trilogy).

There are also tons of ROMs out there for games that were finished but, for one reason or another, never released.  These range from unreleased Pac-Man versions for ColecoVision all the way up to full-blown Super NES games.  There are currently two games in this category that interest me at the moment.  If you’re familiar with the SNES cult hit EarthBound you may may be aware the game’s Japan-only, NES predecessor, Mother.  What I didn’t know until recently is that this game was fully translated by Nintendo of America and was set to be named “Earthbound”, like its successor.  The game was delayed and delayed until it was cancelled but years later the OFFICIAL, translated ROM leaked onto the internet, available to English-speaking nerds everywhere.

Another awesome entry in this category is the little-known StarFox 2.  This game was announced in 1994 for the Super NES and, although nearly completed, was never released to save hype for the later release StarFox 64.  Again, years later, the ROM leaked, in Japanese and containing some programming notes.  Leave it to the nerds, who actually FINISHED THE DEBUGGING, translated the game, and now it’s out there for all of us!

I’m currently playing the NES Earthbound which is pretty decent so far.  I fired up StarFox 2 just to check it out.  It’s pretty interesting as it actually contains many of the strategic elements that turned up later in the DS release, StarFox Command.

The End.

ASCAP attacking blogs for embedding YouTube videos

real cool, ASCAP. real. cool.

read about it on gawker.com

this doesn’t make sense to me, because, from what i understand, if the owner of a music video doesn’t want it on youtube, they can get it pulled. maybe i’m confused, but regardless… is it really the blogs that ASCAP should be going after? seems to me that their whole battle should be waged against YouTube. if YouTube didn’t host the videos, bloggers couldn’t share them. right? and, ultimately, WHAT THE FUCK DOES IT MATTER?! it’s even less serious than the AWFUL crime of downloading a song from a file sharing site or whatever. get bent.

:*

scott

IE8: World’s Best Browser

It’s been over a month since Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 was released on March 19th of this year and after testing it at work for awhile, I have deemed it the best internet browser thus far. And here’s why:

  1. Accelerators: I love them. This is ingenious. Accelerators simplify searches by removing the now laborious task of cutting and pasting information. With accelerators, you only need to highlight the text and then choose the accelerator that you want to use, such as Google or Live Maps. picture-3
  2. Enhanced Navigation: Poorly designed websites are magically aligned with the click of a button to enable better viewing.
  3. Grouped Tabbed Browsing (GTB): It seems that lesser internet browsers are still boasting tabbed browsing, or, at the most, movable tabs, but IE 8 has GTB. Tabs that are opened from other pages are automatically color coded and can easily be moved, removed from group, closed from group, etc. One drawback is that the colors appear Microsoft-y to me.picture-1

There are other features IE 8 offers to users. You can check them out and the full description of the features listed here on the IE8 website. Most boring post ever…

ninjagarden