Boing Boing 

Warchalking by the sea

Check out the seaside wireless warchalking action at Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass! Link Discuss (Thanks, John!)

Bicycle groupware

The Conference Bike is a bicycle built for seven, with the seats arranged in a ring to facilitate conversation. Link Discuss (Thanks, Matt!)

Heinz ships nuclear frites

Heinz has unleashed a new series of multi-hued, potato-based flavor treats:
They're called Ore-Ida(R) Funky Fries(TM), and they're the wildest, wackiest, most fun frozen food on the market today. Featuring five funky varieties such as cinnamon and sugar, cocoa and even a blue variety, new Funky Fries are the most radical thing to hit french fries since ketchup itself...

-- Cinna-Stiks(TM), cinnamon and sugar potatoes, perfect for breakfast, snack time or any time;

-- Cocoa Crispers(TM), cocoa-y potatoes, designed for kids with a sweet tooth;

-- Kool Blue(TM), crispy, seasoned potatoes with a radical blue color that are sure to light up traditional french fries;

-- Crunchy Rings(TM), cylindrical potatoes that crunch as they delight; and

-- Sour Cream & Jive(TM), crispy potatoes seasoned with just the right amount of sour cream and chive flavoring.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Steve!)

An 0wnz0red glossary

Joey's written a glossary for nontechnical people struggling to understand my story, 0wnz0red.
haxor (also H4X0R): hacker.

X0R is often used as the suffix "-er"; for instance "fucker" becomes "fuX0r" in 1337speak. Often a 1337speak noun ending in X0R becomes a present tense verb when followed by "s" or "z" or a past tense verb when followed by "ed". For instance, "this beer sucks" becomes "this beer sux0rz" (or, if you really want to go whole-hog, "+|-|1z b33R sUx0rz".

0wnz0red: owned, which means "screwed over". If someone has cracked your computer's security and taken it over or beaten you in a game of Quake, that person has 0wned (or 0wnz0red) you.

Note that this is different from the term 0wns (owns), which means "is very good" or "rules". An example: "I love my new computer! It 0wns!"

pr0n: porn. "pron" is a common typo that eventually got accepted as a synonym for porn; it then was made more 1337 by turning the "o" into a zero.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Joey!)

Apple uses DMCA to shut down software

What a revoltin' development. Apple has shut down a software company that made an interoperable software product that extended the functionality of iDVD, allowing it to burn video to external, non-Apple DVD drives. Apple sent a nastygram that cited the DMCA to the company and the company backed down, letting Apple bully it out of providing innovative improvements on Apple's technology to Apple's customers. I'm sick about this. Dammit. Link Discuss (Thanks, Rael)

Canadian junkfood etailer

Canadian Favorites is a mail-order house that ships Canadian packaged goods (Red Rose tea, Aero bars, Cherry Blossoms) to the US and elsewhere.
The premier site for Canadians worldwide who are craving a taste of home. Shop safely online from the widest available selection of Canadian food products including Tim Horton's Coffee, Nestle Chocolate, E.D. Smith Jams, Red Rose Tea, Humpty Dumpty Chips and so many more we know you'll be happy to see.
Link Discuss (Thanks, May!)

Anti-comet airbag plans

A scientist in Oklahoma is planning to build giant, anti-comet airbags that can be sent into space and inflated to deflect the course of world-threating lumps of celestial rock.
Far better to send up a space ship equipped with a massive airbag that could be inflated to several miles wide and used to gently buffet the invading solar body away from a collision course with earth.

"It seems a safe, simple and realistic idea," Burchard told the magazine's latest edition.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Dave!)

Metablog for the WorldCon

I leave for ConJose, the 60th World Science Fiction convention in distant, exotic San Jose in just a couple hours. I'm bringing down three wireless access points and plan to hook them up wherever I can find an Ethernet drop, so that bloggers at the con can post while they're there. Meanwhile, Bill Humphries has set up a ConJose metablog, with a Movable Type TrackBack system that allows any bloggers posting about the con to ping him and get listed on the page (even if you're not using MT). Link Discuss (Thanks, Mena!)

Dewie the Internet Safety Turtle: Give a hoot, don't look at Internet porn!

The FTC has launched "Dewie," the cartoon Internet Safety Turtle, companion to Smokey the Bear and Woodsy the Owl. Ah, nothing connotes the lightspeed changes on the Internet like a turtle in a sportscar.
Officials said the Dewie campaign is part of the federal government’s broad effort to promote a “culture of security” and the view that every person who uses computers and networks, such as the Internet, has a role in keeping cyberspace safe.
Link Discuss (Thanks, Stefan)

Warren Ellis has a blog!

Die Puny Humans is Warren "Transmetropolitan" Ellis's new blog. It's every bit as brilliant as you'd expect, coming from one of the most talented writers working today. Link Discuss (Thanks, Remi!)

Hail Macintosh! Hail Satan!

"Founded by long haired hippies, (Apple) has consistently supported 60's counter-cultural 'values.' But there are even darker undertones to this company than most are aware of. Consider the name of the company and its logo: an apple with a bite taken out of it. This is clearly a reference to the Fall, when Adam and Eve were tempted with an apple by the serpent. It is now Apple Computers offering us temptation, thereby aligning themselves with the forces of darkness." (Scroll to see the Apple bit, but the rest of the page is a hoot too.) Link Discuss (Thanks, John!)

Blog the Vote!

Kevin Marks has started a new blog for pointed questions to ask your stumping congressional candidates this election season. He's also set up a state-by-state portal for links to sites that are campaigning for copyright reform and Internet-friendly law state-by-state. Link Discuss (Thanks, Kevin!)

Coin-operated convenience store

Great NYT piece about a mega-vending-machine that stocks almost as many SKUs as a corner convenience store but only occupies one tenth of the square footage and costs a fraction of the overhead to run.
This machine, the Shop 2000, is the only one operating in America. Some locals call it an eyesore, but others are happily posing for photos in front of it, and in its second week of operation, more than a few people are feeding it their cash and credit cards. If the test in Washington goes well, its manufacturer predicts a new era in convenience for Americans, as do rivals working on similar machines.

These kiosks, known as automated convenience stores (a better name might be RoboShop), are similar to multipurpose vending machines already operating in Japan and some cities in the Netherlands, Belgium and other European countries where labor is expensive and real estate is scarce. Those constraints are now being felt by American retailers. A study by the National Association of Convenience Stores suggests that a shortage of labor will be one of the industry's biggest problems in coming years.

Link Discuss (via /.)

RIAA's site defaced

The RIAA's site was rather subtly and relatively humorously defaced this morning. While I'm not a big fan of this kind of vandalism, it's refreshing to see it pulled off with some wit. Link Discuss (Thanks to everyone who sent this in!)

MP3 patent dirty pool gratifies Ogg Vorbis team

Emmett Plant has written an open letter to Thomson Multimedia, who own the patent on MP3 and have suddenly started charging money for people who make MP3 decoders. Emmett's one of the people behind the patent-free Ogg Vorbis MP3-alternative format, and he couldn't be happier:
Thank you for providing the impetus for millions of people and hundreds of companies to give an open, free alternative a try. We love it when people get a chance to evaluate technology, and we've been happy to present them with a superior alternative to mp3. If it weren't for the removal of the free-decoder exemption, it might have taken even longer for people to try it out.

Thank you for setting a precedent in providing free technology until the world has become hooked on it, and then charging a lot of money afterwards. This isn't a new idea, but we're glad that you've taken a stand to ensure that this practice will continue as long as vested interests control patents on multimedia. We hope that you'll continue in this pattern with MPEG-4, since we'll be releasing a free MPEG-4 competitor next summer.

Link Discuss (via Happiest Geek on Earth)

iMac-style "laptop dome" stand

Check out these awesome laptop stands styled after the iMac's base. My physiotherapist has sternly warned me to start working with my iBook at eye-level and so I've been perching it on a spare oscilloscope on my desk, but this might be even more stylish. Link Discuss (Thanks, Mike)

Jediology big in Australia

"More than 70,000 Australians identified their religion as Jedi, Jedi Knight or Jedi-related in last year's national census." Link Discuss (Thanks, Howard!)

Canada stomps on tech

MrHappy writes:
c|net is running an article describing Canada's proposed new cyber-crime laws in which possession of compuer viruses would be a crime, a national database of internet users would be established, ISPs would have to reconfigure their networks to make surveillance of users easy for law enforcement, and ISPs would have to keep logs of user activity for up to six months.

The usual cadre of terrorists and child pornographers are brought forth as rational for this initiative, an attempt to comply with the Council of Europe's cyber-crime treaty.

Link Discuss (Thanks, MrHappy!)

Broadcast Flag becoming a treaty obligation

The fight against the Broadcast Flag just got harder. The Broadcast Flag is a regulatory proposal that's nominally about digital TV, but it's a Trojan horse for taking over the whole technosphere, putting consumer electronics and IT companies under a Hollywood veto to keep them from building devices that challenge the MPAA's business model.

Now, the Broadcast Flag is the subject of a mandate embedded in a proposed WIPO treaty, so that governments will be obliged to make this happen, even if voters manage to convince their lawmakers to keep technology free.

This treaty would require national law to grant to broadcasters:

* "the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit the fixation of their broadcasts;"

* "the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit the direct or indirect reproduction, in any manner or form, of fixations of their broadcasts;"

* "the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit the retransmission, by wire or wireless means, whether simultaneous or based on fixations, of their broadcasts;"

* and other rights, including the rights to control the exhibition and distribution of fixations (recordings) of broadcasts.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Seth!)

Meet Vernor Vinge in SF tonight

Vernor "Singularity" Vinge will be speaking tonight at a bookstore in the Haight. I wish I was in San Francisco, but I'll be on a plane back from DC during this.
Vernor Vinge, The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge
Author Appearance: Wednesday, August 28 @ 7 pm
Though perhaps best known for his Hugo Award-winning novels, Vernor Vinge began his career as a writer of short fiction more than 35 years ago. The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge brings together the best of the author's challenging, visionary work, including such major pieces as "The Ungoverned" and "The Blabber." Vernor Vinge's 1981 work, "True Names," helped predict cyberspace and the Internet.
Booksmith, 1644 Haight St. SF, 415.863.8688
Link Discuss (Thanks, Jason!)

Prince on the music industry: "A Nation of Theives"

Prince has posted an excellent (if irritatingly spelled) (yes, I know I published a novella today with a bunch of potentially irritating hacker spellings, sue me) rant about what's wrong with the music industry.
Something happened on the way 2 the 21st century. Media and entertainment companies started "converging" and "shareholder value" became far more important than customer service and respect 4 company employees ever managed 2 b. Compensation packages 4 company xecutives hit the stratosphere -- while holding them accountable 4 their company's results became nearly impossible.

These xecutives r indeed very naive if they think that people haven't noticed.

People r noticing that something isn't quite right -- that something is indeed very wrong. After a decade during which the stock market gained apparent respectability as a legitimate, sensible 4m of investing, the recent slew of huge corporate scandals reveals that it is still what it has always been: a sick place where neurotic, puerile gamblers get their kicks off the backs of millions of "anonymous" workers and individuals, who have no control over what happens 2 their hard-earned retirement savings.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Alan)

Blogger CD burning circle needs an administrator

Chris Owens, who ran the Burn Baby Burn summer-music CD burning circle for bloggers last spring, needs someone to take over from him for the next round.
Lots of people have been asking when the next round of Burn, Baby Burn is going to start. Max and I had originally planned on opening up registration in August, but the month is almost over. He's busy with work and I'm busy with my new job.

Last time around, we had 210 participants and all of the backend stuff was a lot of hard work. Then, we thought about having some sort of database developed to help with the registration/project management, but that has kind of fallen through the cracks.

The next round is looking closer to being put on hold, than actually coming to fruition. If anybody has any suggestions, I'd be more than happy to hear them.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Songdog!)

Ethernet-to-WiFi Adapter

Linksys has shipped a low-cost ($129) Ethernet-to-WiFi adapter -- just plug the box into any Ethernet port and it becomes a wireless Ethernet port. Now I can finally put my printer *anywhere* (and you can add your games console/ReplayTV/whatever to your network). Link Discuss (via 802.11b Networking News)

Birth of Nerdc0re -- My novella on Salon

My short story, 0wnz0red, is in the new Salon, which just went live. This is, AFAIK, the first original fiction science-fiction (Thanks, Andrew!) Salon's published, and it's a piece I'm very happy with. It amounts to a science-fictional take on Trusted Computing, with generous dollops of Atkins Diet, hacker ethos and bloggy memes thrown in for good measure. It's a really fun, super-nerdy story (I've been jokingly calling it the first example of a new genre called "Nerdc0re") -- or so I'm told -- and I'm proud as I can be to have it on the Web where anyone can read it and link to it. I hope you dig it as much as I do.
Ten years in the Valley, and all Murray Swain had to show for it was a spare tire, a bald patch, and a life that was friendless and empty and maggoty-rotten. His only ever California friend, Liam, had dwindled from a tubbaguts programmer-shaped potato to a living skeleton on his death-bed the year before, herpes blooms run riot over his skin and bones in the absence of any immunoresponse. The memorial service featured a framed photo of Liam at his graduation; his body was donated for medical science.

Liam's death really screwed things up for Murray. He'd gone into one of those clinical depression spirals that eventually afflicted all the aging bright young coders he'd known during his life in tech. He'd get misty in the morning over his second cup of coffee and by the midafternoon blood-sugar crash, he'd be weeping silently in his cubicle, clattering nonsensically at the keys to disguise the disgusting snuffling noises he made. His wastebasket overflowed with spent tissues and a rumor circulated among the evening cleaning-staff that he was a compulsive masturbator. The impossibility of the rumor was immediately apparent to all the other coders on his floor who, pr0n-hounds that they were, had explored the limits and extent of the censoring proxy that sat at the headwaters of the office network. Nevertheless, it was gleefully repeated in the collegial fratmosphere of his workplace and wags kept dumping their collections of conference-snarfed hotel-sized bottles of hand-lotion on his desk.

The number of bugs per line in Murray's code was 500 percent that of the overall company average. The QA people sometimes just sent his code back to him (From: To: Subject: Your code... Body: rather than trying to get it to build and run. Three weeks after Liam died, Murray's team leader pulled his commit privileges on the CVS repository, which meant that he had to grovel with one of the other coders when he wanted to add his work to the project.

Two months after Liam died, Murray was put on probation.

Three months after Liam died, Murray was given two weeks' leave and an e-mail from HR with contact info for an in-plan shrink who could counsel him. The shrink recommended Cognitive Therapy, which he explained in detail, though all Murray remembered ten minutes after the session was that he'd have to do it every week for years, and the name reminded him of Cognitive Dissonance, which was the name of Liam's favorite stupid Orange County garage band.

Murray returned to Global Semiconductor's Mountain View headquarters after three more sessions with the shrink. He badged in at the front door, at the elevator, and on his floor, sat at his desk and badged in again on his PC. From: To: Subject: Welcome back! Come see me... Body: ...when you get in.

Tomas Vanya was Murray's team lead, and rated a glass office with a door. The blinds were closed, which meant: dead Murray walking. Murray closed the door behind him and sighed a huge heave of nauseated relief. He'd washed out of Silicon Valley and he could go home to Vancouver and live in his parents' basement and go salmon fishing on weekends with his high-school drinking buds. He didn't exactly love Global Semi, but shit, they were number three in a hot, competitive sector where Moore's Law drove the cost of microprocessors relentlessly downwards as their speed rocketed relentlessly skyward. They had four billion in the bank, a healthy share price, and his options were above water, unlike the poor fucks at Motorola, number four and falling. He'd washed out of the nearly-best, what the fuck, beat spending his prime years in Hongcouver writing government-standard code for the Ministry of Unbelievable Dullness.

Link Discuss

Retro Lesbian Paperback Gallery Discuss (Thanks, Barry!)

Doonesbury runs for Congress

Garry Trudeau's college roommate -- partial inspiration for Mike Doonesbury -- is running for Congress.
Mike Doonesbury and Charlie Pillsbury diverged sharply over the years. Doonesbury became a baby boomer caricature: a commune-dwelling liberal Democrat turned John Anderson independent turned Madison Avenue adman turned dot-com flameout. Along the way, he became a Republican. Pillsbury, meanwhile, worked on Eugene McCarthy's presidential campaign in 1968 and has never veered from his liberal devotions. He attended Boston University Law School and Yale Divinity School and has worked for a procession of do-gooder causes. For the last 12 years, Pillsbury has run Community Mediation, a New Haven agency that helps people and groups solve disputes out of court. He remained a Democrat until early this year, but became miffed when the Democrats "fell in lockstep" behind the Bush administration's military response to Sept. 11. This included dismay at DeLauro, whom Pillsbury calls a friend and whose campaigns he had reliably contributed to since her first successful run in 1990.
Link Discuss (via Fark)

China issues genetic ID

China is prototyping new genetic ID cards.
This color genotype ID card, about twice the size of ordinary ID card, has on it data such as photo, birth date, nationality and gender. In particular it is marked with 18 internationally used genetic locus which are chosen from the long chain of human cytogenetic information carrier DNA molecules. In the combination of the 18 genetic locus, with the exception of one egg giving birth to twins, it is difficult for one to find out such a circumstance wherein two persons out of 10 billion people are completely the same.
Link Discuss (Thanks, Greg!)

Hacktivism explained

Oxblood Ruffin, the spokesmodel for the hacker underground group, Cult of the Dead Cow, has a great interview in the current ish of Shift.
Essentially what we're interested in is preserving various internet rights and freedoms. Many of those are defined by documents. If you go to the Hacktivismo website, there's something called the Hacktivismo Declaration on there that's more or less inspired by things like the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. What's kind of interesting about the Universal Declaration of Human rights is that it's a declaration, which means it doesn't have any binding authority; it's like a feel-good document. But the ICCPR is a statute. It is binding. [Laughs] I don't know who's ever been taken to the Hague as a result of violating the terms, but it is actually an enforcable document.

Right now, I'm probably quoting that more and more. And interestingly enough, it's article nineteen of both of those documents that talks about what we call information rights -- the ability to access information, regardless of how that information might be transmitted, whether it's a newspaper on the internet or whatever. It's sort of an umbrella statement that covers all those things. We're specifically interested in maintaining the free flow of what we call lawfully-published content. Information could mean anything, it could mean your bank statements or it could mean kiddie porn or it could mean national security secrets. That's not the information we're talking about. We're essentially talking about any publicly available information on the web, that's available throughout the liberal democracies. So essentially anything we see, we think anybody else should have the right to see as well. Lots of governments disagree with this and that's why they have internet censorship.

Do you worry about the fact that if you provide people with these types of tools in countries that don't have the same democratic ideals or the same ideas of free speech, that the people who use your software might actually be harmed or imprisoned?

Link Discuss (Thanks, Mark!)

Woz to speak at WorldCon

Steve "Woz" Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple and legendary hardware hacker will give a panel at the World Science Fiction convention at the end of this week.
Mr. Wozniak will take part in a panel discussion on Saturday (8-31-02) at 2:30 PM, the discussion topic: "Personal Computers: What Science Fiction Didn't Predict."
Link Discuss (Thanks, Tobias!)

Amazing, searchable archive of 4,000,000 newspaper pages

Paper of Record has nearly 4,000,000 old newspapers from all over the commonwealth and New York digitized and searchable as PDFs. Most of them cost (a fair bit of) money to get access to, but there are a ton of free pages, too. Link Discuss (Thanks, Pat!)