Are you tired of lameass pseudo
random numbers? For around $500, you can get honest-to-god true random numbers with this black box that samples thermal electronic noise and spits out ones and zeros at a rate of 50,000 bits a second. (If you can't afford it, you can buy a CD-ROM with random numbers for around $50.) Link Discuss
A casino with monsters! That's how Tim Mitchell of the wonderful Mooslessness
blog describes the new massive multiplayer game, Project Entropia
Project Entropia will have a real economy system that allows you as a user to exchange real life money into PED (Project Entropia Dollars) and then back into a real currency again. Project Entropia will be free of charge with no monthly costs.
I added several new designs and items to the Boing Boing store. Link Discuss
I usually don't post ukulele related stuff here (I save it for my ukulelia blog
), but I profiled ex-British Invasion popstar Ian Whitcomb for the LA Weekly
and he's such a character I figured some of you would be interested. Link Discuss
Open source docs on demand. DOSSIER is a company that sifts through and makes sense of the avalanche of documentation for open source projects like FreeBSD, then prints and binds a hardcopy book of these docs to your specifications and ships it to you. LinkDiscuss
Copy-protected CDs revealed. This tech article deconstructs, in detail, the protections applied to music CDs that are "protected" (i.e. broken) with Cactus Data Shield, like Universal's Fast and the Furious
disc, and describes how you can use off-the-shelf software to read and copy these discs on your PC, so you can make mix discs and backups, and so you can move your music to your hard-drive and MP3 player.LinkDiscuss
Twisted kids' book Photoshopping. The mad geniuses at Something Awful have been up to it again -- this time, they're competitively warping the covers of beloved children's books. Hey, isn't it about the one-year anniversary of All Your Base? LinkDiscuss
A descent into madness, via soccer. A British couple were driven slowly but surely mad by neighborhood kids who used the side of their house for goalposts in their pickup football games, thump-thump-thumping the ball against their wall around the clock for years. It ended in tragedy yesterday when the husband stabbed the father of one of the kids in the chest, killing him.
"Each time we complained the children replied with foul and abusive language and sang out, 'We shall not be moved'. The overall effect of the thumping football was to ruin our marriage. We are still married - just - legally."LinkDiscuss
(via New World Disorder
The biggest sex-scandal you never heard of. Chu Mei-Feng is a Taiwanese politician whose sex life was documented and then made famous with a hidden pinhole camera that recorded her having sex with a married businessman. The video became an Internet sensation and rocked the Far East's psyche last week, even as the Taiwanese government tried to stop its distribution. The scandal continues as the identity of the secret taper is debated and the existence of more secret video is speculated on. Evan at the Daze Reader has put together a great overview of the event.LinkDiscuss
SEC: Financial hoaxters. In an effort to wise consumers up to the dangers of investing, the SEC has produced a series of hoax pages shilling for capital-seeking startups. Consumers who try to invest are sent "Gotcha" messages telling them to be more careful in the future.LinkDiscuss
Mutant corn takes over Mexican village. A rural Mexican village is being overrun by an illegal strain of GM corn that is growing everywhere -- from the cracks in the sidewalk to people's gardens. The corn is very high-yeild and fast-growing, but is susceptible to frequent blights that have been wiping out cultivated stalks before they are harvested. LinkDiscuss
(via New World Disorder
Universal radio in your PC. GNU Radio is an open-source software-defined radio project. Used in conjunction with minimal hardware, GNU Radio can use your PC to tune and output cellular, FM, and TV signals. Such a tuner could be used in conjuction with codec software for decoding HDTV, satellite and other "protected" signals, which is gonna make it awfully hard to make any kind of security measures on new broadcast technologies stick.LinkDiscuss
A racing game for your spreadsheet. Who knew that Excel had such wicked Easter Eggs? LinkDiscuss
A rights-management solution in search of a problem. MediaSignature is a network-attached filter aimed at ISPs. In the MediaSignature box is a database of known copyrighted song "fingerprints." All traffic into or out of the ISP passes through the MediaSignature, and when a transfer of a song is identified, MediaSignature generates a fingerprint from the song-in-transit and compares it to the list of known fingerprints; if the song appears on the blacklist, the file-transfer is stopped. In other words, an ISP with one of these boxes installed will know about every song every one of its users transfers, and will terminate the downloads of any copyrighted songs, or pop up a browser window offering to sell the track in question through a "legitimate" vendor.
It's unclear whether the process of generating the fingerprint database is a copyright violation in and of itself, but MediaSignature sidesteps the issue by charging labels for the privilege of adding their songs to its database.
What is clear is that ISPs don't need this technology. Under the DMCA, the ISPs are "safe harbors" -- common carriers who have limited liability for the traffic that passes over their wires. If you break the law over your ISP's bandwidth, you're liable, they aren't.
But as soon as an ISP start buying and installing equipment that attempts to regulate their users' activities, it is making a tacit admission that it can and should continue to do so; it surrenders its Safe Harbor protections, and so must continue to purchase and install ever-more-baroque and privacy-invading technology to show that it is taking reasonable steps to police its users.
We each of us pay our ISPs hundreds of dollars every year to provide a service to us -- we're their customers, not the media companies. Let's hope that our ISPs keep that fact in mind as companies like MediaSignature make their pitches.
John Ashcroft believes calico cats are signs of the Devil, according to this November column by financial guru Andrew Tobias. Link Discuss
Muggers who rip off cellphones in the UK will face sentences of 18 months to five years for their troubles. Opponents of the new law point out that it costs 27,000 pounds a year to keep a mugger in jail, and a stolen cellphone can be deactivated for the price of a 10p phonecall from a callbox. Over 1,000,000 cellphones were stolen in the UK last year. LinkDiscuss
Amazing geek how-to documents a recipe for building a sub-$6,000 terabyte storage array (or, as the how-to calls it, "Your local Library of Congress.") This is the kind of stuff that archive.org and Google do, building giant, redundant arrays out of consumer hardware whose reliability at the individual drive/computer level is quite low, but whose reliability in aggregate
is stunning. It's another example of how a bottom-up, redundant approach to problem-solving is cheaper, more flexible and more reliable than centralized, top-down approaches.LinkDiscuss
Anarchist popstars Chumbawumba got $100,000 for the use of one of their tracks in a GM commercial. They've donated the filthy lucre to watchdog/activist organizations that will use it to monitor, document, criticize and publicize GM's labor practices.LinkDiscuss
Here's a cool gadget: The Extendit Cat5-1000 is a pair of boxes. One plugs into the monitor and USB port of your computer, the other plugs into a monitor and whatever USB devices you want to use, and between them you can string up to 250 feet of Cat-5 Ethernet cable. It's been a couple years since I was last a sysadmin, but boy, it sure woulda made my life easier if I could have remotely connected monitors and keyboards to machines using the networking wire built into the walls.LinkDiscuss
Downtown Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, is almost entirely wired with Gigabit Ethernet, built around a mesh of fibre lines that have been pulled along the city's trolleycar right-of-ways. Businesses have enough bandwidth for VoIP, videoconfernecing and Internet access with more to spare. The network uses low-cost Debian Linux boxen for mail and other services. Anyone know what it takes to get a visa to move to EnZed?LinkDiscuss
Amazing story of a Bay Area social worker who scored a fantastic real estate deal ($261K for a two-story, four-bedroom, finished basement, terraced back yard with multiple decks, with a view no less) by buying a former S&M dungeon whose previous owner had been sent to prison for torching his lover.
Perhaps it was the floor-to-ceiling mirrors and orange shag carpet that greeted you at the entrance. Or the urine-colored tiles that covered the stairs and the living room, whose floors slanted toward a drain in the middle of the room. Or the black-felted bedroom with its glow-in-the-dark-crucifix platform bed, perfectly angled for whipping. Or perhaps it was the meth lab, or the pot-growing sun room. Or the "dungeon" in the basement where five years before the former owner had fatally torched his lover. LinkDiscuss
Or perhaps it was the small things, like the five-gallon can of lubricant, or the collection of penis stretchers, the trapeze, the electronic enema, the little hole allowing someone in the kitchen to watch people in the basement, the names of Satan's helpers spray-painted on walls or the hawk droppings that caked the surfaces of the upstairs bedrooms.
The grifter who used forgery, lies and other fraud to steal the sex.com domain from its original owner and build it into a multimillion-dollar porn empire claims that he can't pay the court-ordered $65,000,000 settlment owed to his victim because to do so would cause him to starve to death while giving every cent he earns to the injured party.
"Just how is the defendant expected to live? How is the defendant expected to purchase the necessities of life, such as toilet paper, food, clothes and etc.?" Cohen wrote, in the self-authored filing. He compared the court order to a "death warrant" and said it was issued "in violation of the defendant's constitutional rights."
In addition to sentencing him to death, Cohen claims that the court is also sentencing him to a life of involuntary servitude under Gary Kremen, the would-be recipient of the judgment.
"It's saying for the rest of my life that everything I own must go to Gary Kremen," Cohen said. He claims in his filing that the judge's ruling has turned him into a slave, in violation of the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which abolished slavery.
The current War Against Silence music-zine opens with a lovely reminiscence of "Space: 1999."
And Space: 1999 was never intended as academic futurism, so critiquing its vision of a future we're now past is a wildly pedantic exercise, but part of the reason I'm still going to watch the rest of the episodes is that they depict a simultaneously mis-extrapolated and poignantly naive idea of the future that has become basically unrecoverable in the two and a half decades since. The technological errors are the most blatant, of course. The moonbase has a single computer (called "Computer", the way you call a stray cat "Kitty" and then get stuck with it), which has the expressive intelligence of a middle-school math teacher and the analytical power of a small toaster oven. Every device and instrument on the base has a special-purpose user-interface, most of which consist of rows upon identical rows of unlabeled buttons, which lends any effort to operate one while on camera the approximate verisimilitude of a four-year-old steering a chair around using a frisbee. The abundant CRTs are apparently only capable of transmitting video feeds or oscilloscope waves, so all actual important data output is produced on little scraps of calculator tape, which technicians are forever tearing off and puzzling over as if they've just been issued a receipt for the last line they spoke. All doors, despite having intricate control-panels on the wall beside them, are opened and closed using what appear to be Sears-surplus television remote-controls, which in close-ups turn out to have telephone keypads that do not contain zeroes. The feet of the space-suits seem to be Converse All-Stars with the logos scratched off... LinkDiscuss
Dick Cheney, pornographer?
For Gerard Van der Leun, it was an unusual meeting. Mr. Van der Leun, vice president for Internet ventures at the General Media Corporation, was approached last year by Enron, at the time an energy-trading company little known outside the financial pages. The Enron visitors proposed an agreement to provide video on demand to consumers through a high- speed connection, using programming from General Media. Mr. Van der Leun said he was surprised, since Enron, a company in conservative Texas, did not seem a likely partner with General Media, which owns Penthouse magazine. Mainstream companies like Enron, he said, are generally wary of teaming with players in the sex-video market: "If someone goes to porn," he said, "they're desperate."Link Discuss
Remember Kay Hammond, the British tech entrepreneur who was too busy to go through the messy business of courtship in order to find a husband and so decided to put her hand in marriage up for auction? Well, she's found her bidder/husband, an anonymous fellow who bid over 250,000 pounds.LinKDiscuss
Doug Kaye has written a great whitepaper on "swarming" P2P content distribution systems, where a file's availbility in a network increases as a function of its demand -- if traditional client-server is a Tragedy of the Commons where the most valuable resources' availablity dwindles away to zero, P2P CDNs are a Commons where the sheep shit grass, where the act of consuming a resource actually increases its availability. Here's the PDF of Doug's paper -- nice work, Doug!LinkDiscuss
This guy has got a working TCP/IP stack running in a robotic Lego brick
, and thinks he's got enough capacity left over to compile and install a little bitty Webserver. Wow!LinkDiscuss
iPass, an 802.11 networking company, is footing the bill to install free WiFi networking in a bunch of airports (Twin Cities, Newark, JFK, LaGuardia and Detroit Metro, with more to come). Another nail in Mobile$tar's coffin!LinkDiscuss
US Patent #6,293,874. User-Operated Amusement Aparatus For Kicking the User's Buttocks. Link Discuss (Thanks, Matt!)
Stunning gallery of clocks made from Nixie tubes ("These neon-filled numeric displays, also known as 'numicators', consist of an outer mesh anode, with ten cathodes (or 11/12 with decimal point/points) shaped to form numbers. They were popular in the 1960s and early 70s when the first logic ICs became available, the 7441 or 74141 TTL devices often being used as a driver, and can still sometimes be seen in old electronic test equipment.")