Euromedia blog

Etter Det Vi Erfarer is a great European media blog, in English, with contributors from Germany, Switzerland and Norway. Nice to get some international perspective! Link Discuss

Bugzilla: Better organization through code

Bugzilla is the bug-tracker that was created for the hackers who work on the brilliant Mozilla browser. A bug-tracker's job is to keep track of open tasks -- features that need implmenting, bugs that need fixing, ideas for new stuff -- keep track of who's working on them, and log authoratative fixes. You know that $50,000 project-management database your company uses to keep track of its universe? That's what Bugzilla does, only it's free.

Bugzilla isn't bug-free (there's an entire Bugzilla development team tracking and patching Bugzilla bugs, using Bugzilla to monitor their progress!), and you need to be pretty tech-savvy to get it to run, but it's well worth the effort.

Every time I use Bugzilla, I think to myself, "Here is a tool that can and should be used by most every organization, a central repository of tasks and efforts that can be searched and accessed and referred back to."

Anyway, the new Bugzilla's for OS X is out, and I've got my copy. Link Discuss

Hong Kong bOing bOing

Heh. Someone in Hong Kong is starting a cyberculture zine called bOing-bOing. I wonder if "Naffy Boo" -- the contact listed on the domain -- understands that googlejuice dictates that her/his site will not show up in a Google search for "boing-boing" until about page umpty-billion. Sucks to be her/him! Link Discuss

Homemade modern Wacky-Packs

Amazing gallery of home-made, update Wacky Packs -- I've got a framed uncut sheet of set one on my wall here at the EFF as a testament to the value of fair-use parody. Link Discuss

British packaged goods online

The Foreign Buyers' Club delivers the finest British consumer packaged goods to your door. Heinz Treacle, Marmite, creamed rice -- it's all there! Link Discuss

Ode to the 90s

Lovely little ode to life in the 90s:
I was a millionaire at 27
for thirty seconds.

I dug grunge.
then eighties.
Tony Bennet.
then Chumbawumba.
how bizzare.
how bizzare.
smoked Cohibas.
(Not that there's anything
wrong with that.)
but I didn't inhale.

Link Discuss (via FuckedCompany)

Apple teams up with Sun to make OS X-native MSFT Office clone

Sun and Apple are building an OS X native version of Star Office. It looks like Microsoft and Apple's cuddly relationship is drawing to a close -- you can use OS X without MSFT's office (switch to Star Office and get MSFT office document compatibility); without MSFT's browser (switch to Moz and get crash-free, ad-free browsing); without Entourage (switch to Mail.app and get mail without spam and without vendor lock-in). Exciting stuff! Whups! Looks like the story got its facts wrong -- the OpenOffice clan are making their stuff available, not Sun Link (Thanks, Nick!) Link Discuss

The science of cuddling

You have extra nerve-endings that detect cuddling, in addition to regular sense-of-touch nerves.
The revelation came after doctors realised that a woman with no sense of touch still felt a "pleasant" sensation when her skin was caressed.

Normal touch is transmitted to the brain through a network of fast-conducting nerves, called myelinated fibres, which carry signals at 60 metres per second. But there is a second slow-conducting nerve network of unmyelinated fibres, called C-tactile (CT), the role of which was unknown. The CT network carries signals at just one metre per second.

Link Discuss

Florida satirists puncture Wall Street weasels

Last weekend's Miami Herald featured Dave Barry and Carl Hiaasen on the subject of corporate corruption and what we can do about it. It was a nice moment of serindipity from two of my favorite satirists.

First, Dave Barry:

Yes, I am talking to YOU, Mr. or Ms. Small Investor. Wall Street is getting sick and tired of your namby-pamby ''wait and see'' attitude toward the stock market. Wall Street wants you to show some courage and resume handing your money over to Wall Street, the way you did back in the excellent 1990s, when we had a New Economy, and leading Wall Street analysts were touting all these amazing new companies that were in the exciting new business of . . . OK, nobody really knew what exact business they were in, but it was NEW!
Link

And now Carl Hiaasen:

Rigas, 78, is the founder of the now-bankrupt Adelphia cable-television empire. He and two of his sons were hauled away by postal inspectors and charged with looting millions from Adelphia as it went down the tubes.

Those who have dealt with their local cable company couldn't be shocked to hear that there might be stealing and deceit at high levels. The surprise was that the feds actually had busted somebody for it.

Apparently, the mere sight of a CEO in handcuffs was enough to help send the stock markets soaring.

Link Discuss (via MeFi)

Fake Tourists tout mobile phones

Sony Ericsson has hired 60 actors to "haunt tourist attractions such as the Empire State Building in New York and the Space Needle in Seattle. Working in teams of two or three and behaving as if they were actual tourists, the actors and actresses will ask unsuspecting passersby to take their pictures" with a new mobile phone that comes with a built in camera. Link Discuss

Backyard mech-warrior how-to

Great documentary site explaining the details of the construction of this mind-croggling backyard mech-warrior, built from old crates and spare parts. Link Discuss

Nine tons' worth of quasi-mythological calimari invade SoCal beach

Nine tons of giant squid beached themselves on a beach north of San Diego last week. Link Discuss

Viva el Network Estupido!

David Isenberg has posted some extremely pithy remarks about the relationship of broadband and "high-quality content" and the end-to-end principle:
Today everybody from George Bush to Mike Powell to the wise executives of Silicon Valley are talking about broadband, broadband, broadband. But broadband without real internetworking, without the pure, stupid, end-to-end Internet, will be as useful as a television that can order pizza. I'd rather have the Internet over a plain-old dial-up connection than broadband with some form of pseudo-internetworking.

So if you hear that somebody is going to "enhance" the Internet -- to make it more efficient, to Pay the Musicians, to Protect the Children, to thwart hackers, to enhance Homeland Security, to find Osama, or whatever -- this is almost certainly propaganda from the powerful businesses that are threatened by the Internet. Remember that the Internet became the success it is today -- and the threat that it is to existing telcos -- because it is a Stupid Network, an end-to-end network.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Lee!)

Praise from Rudy Rucker for my forthcoming novel

I gave science-fiction wildman Rudy Rucker a copy of my forthcoming novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom for a blurb and he did one better, saying some real nice things about it in this killer interview.
I have a vague sense that it's about time for a new cohort of exciting SF writers. You could say we had the Golden Age guys in the 40s, the New Wave in the 60s, Cyberpunk in the 80s, so there ought to be something interesting in the 00s. But I'm not out there reading the magazines and the first novels, so I'm not the right guy to ask. Just at random, one first novel I did recently happen to read and like is Cory Doctorow, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, due from Tor Books this fall. He does this next-generation thing of pretty much taking for granted certain far-out SFictional notions that I still think of as a big deal; for instance, his characters are online all the time via implants, which still strikes me as a kind of shockingly evil possible development. Why evil? How would you like to have Muzak, spam, telemarketing calls, political ads, polling, and surveillance going on in your head 24/7?
Link Discuss (Thanks, Rudy!)

Sacrelicious prayer panties

These prayer-panties, bearing such inspirational messages as "WWJD?" and "Where Will You Spend Eternity?" are positively sacrelicious! Link Discuss