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