Spooky Web Zen: 10 urls for Halloween heebiejeebies

Put down the kandy korn, fool, and hold on to your Aeron. Ten stupid, silly urls guaranteed to induce Web Zen satori long after that sugar high you're nursing wears off. Click 'em and cringe. Boo.

1. pumpkin music
2. candy dildos?
3. creepy eye game
4. satan's little helpers
5. satan's little helpers, part two
6. scary cats do japanese dress-up
7. pelorian cats
8. cat in a shell
9. i love you more than kittens
10. angry, scary, rock-n-roll kittens

Discuss Thanks, Frank !

Coin-op unit limits TV use

Strange device hooks up to your TV set, allows 30 minutes of viewing time per token. Would probably work with a computer, too. Check out the other odd devices on this site.Link Discuss

Zombie celebrity photoshopping contest

Talented photoshoppers turn celebrity photos into zombie portraits. Nice job on the Dixie Chix. Link Discuss (via MeFi)

Googlism

Funny site uses Google to find one sentence descriptions about people, places, events. My favorite: "Mark Frauenfelder is a babe." Bless their hearts. Link Discuss (Thanks, Jim!)

Best con-game blog-entry ever

Teresa Nielsen Hayden, queen-hell blogger, has posted a wonderful, lengthy, linked-up discourse on confidence games. This is a subject near and dear to my heart, and Teresa's light and witty touch makes the subject pop off the screen. Don't miss it. Link Discuss

Fantastically clever games inside of buttons

The gamebutton arcade features a bunch of fiendishly clever arcade games implemented with JavaScript inside of form-buttons. Dashteroids, included herein, is a button-sized version of asteroids; use mouseclicks to move your cursor up and down to avoid incoming debris. This is just about the coolest goddamned webthing, ever. Link Discuss (Thanks, Eli the Bearded!)

MooMoo decoder

New smart-collars can interpret dog-barks and cow-moos:
In Braunschweig, Germany, for example, researchers at the Institute of Technology and Biosystems Engineering have recently been able to decipher, with about 90 percent accuracy, what cows mean when they moo: hunger, thirst, need for milking and so on.

Dr. Gerhard Jahns, a control engineer who helped devise the project, said that about 700 "vocalizations" were recorded from about 20 cows, a process he described as "extremely time-consuming." Cows can go for hours without making a sound, Dr. Jahns said, "and it's hard to get them to speak into the microphone

Link Discuss (Thanks, Steve!)

Dan Gillmor on Slashdot

Dan Gillmor's Slashdot interview is up today, and it's terrific. Dan's at the head of the pack of tech journalists, and he's worth taking seriously.
People who've been here for more than a couple of downturns say this one's as bad as they've seen, maybe the worst. We got so far ahead of rationality in the bubble that it's probably going to take more time than usual to restore robust growth. There's plenty of innovation going on, but we now have a huge overhand of public mistrust of markets -- and people are absolutely right to hold the financial community, some VCs and others who helped inflate the bubble in contempt.

I doubt we'll see another boom like the one that just crashed. But we'll come out of this mess. It'll happen when people trust the markets again, because there's lots of innovation going on. Problem: I fear that anyone who trusts the markets right now -- especially when Bush and his crowd are doing everything they can to torpedo essential reform -- is misguided.

Link Discuss

Wireless security to get new "standard"

The WiFi Alliance -- the certification body that blesses 802.11 devices -- has announced a plan to replace the broken and crumbling WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) "security" system with something called "Wi-Fi Protected Access" (WPA). The press-release links to a couple of feel-good PDFs about WPA. It seems like there's some behind-the-scenes politicking going on at the standards body (WPA isn't a standard yet, but WiFi Alliance will roll out a version that's "forward compatible" with a "proposed standard"). Anyone know where the security wonks are duking it over over whether or not WPA works?
In enterprise mode, a network server and sophisticated authentication mechanisms are utilized and automatically distribute special encryption keys, called master keys.

In a home environment, where there are no network servers, Wi-Fi Protected Access runs in a special mode, which allows the use of manually entered keys or passwords instead. This mode, also called Pre-Shared Key (PSK), is designed to be easy to set up for the home user. All the home user needs to do is enter a password (also called a master key) into their access point or home wireless gateway and each PC that is on the Wi-Fi wireless network. After entering the password, Wi-Fi Protected Access automatically takes over. First, it keeps out eavesdroppers and other unauthorized users by requiring all devices to have the matching password. Second, the password kicks off the encryption process, which in Wi-Fi Protected Access is called Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP).

Link Discuss

Judge amends decision after reading correction on blog

A former law clerk noted an error in a Fifth Circuit decision on his blog. The judge who wrote the decision turns out to be a regular reader of said blog, and he immediately amended the decision and wrote to the blogger with the news. Judges read blogs. Judges correct Federal court rulings based on blogs. Wow. Link Discuss (Thanks, Pat!)

20 Things auction needs art for EFF!

The 20 Things, 20 People, 20 Days mail-art project ("20 people make 20 things in 20 days and mail their 20 things with a SASE. in return, each gets that SASE back, filled with one of each thing made in the group.") is holding a charity auction to raise money for ten worthy causes, including EFF. They're looking for original art to auction off:
We are currently accepting donations of original artwork for the benefit auction (deadline is 11/15). Email for details if you're interested in contributing. The auction is scheduled to begin in early December.
Link Discuss (Thanks, Judith!)

Airport security leads to topless checkpoint

A French tourist got so fed up with having her chest wanded by airport security in the USA that she took off her shirt and bra to demonstrate her bomb-and-boxcutter-free chestular region. The airport was closed for 10 minutes. Under the USAPATRIOT Act, she faces up to three years in jail. Link (German-English translation here: Link) Discuss (Thanks, Boris!)

Reed on USA Today on Powell

David "Cognitive Radio" Reed takes USA Today's coverage of Powell's promise to open more spectrum apart:
From the article: "Academics have long argued that more bands should be set aside for unlicensed services and that they could even share certain frequencies with licensed services without interfering."

I love this use of the word "academics". Where did that come from? The Open Spectrum advocacy has some folks from "academy" (Benkler, Lessig, Lippman, Shepard). But most of us have been doing business in the "real world" (me, Dewayne, Werbach, Hughes, ...). And the wider support of unlicensed radio is doing quite well as a business, thank you. Better competitive business people there than at the top of the ILEC, cable, and broadcaster megacorps. Even Intel and Microsoft support unlicensed bands where industry works together to set standards.

Academic, as in "purely academic", I suppose. Just like Szilard (the holder of the patent on the atomic bomb) was an academic. Or like the people who invented the Internet because AT&T could not bring itself to imagine a world where they weren't in control were academics.

Link Discuss

Nintendo's strongarm tactics

With Nintendo facing fines of 149 million Euros from the European Parliament for anti-competitive practices, it's interesting to take a look back at just how bad their practices were. This 1997 article on Nintendo's strongarm tactics is a great overview of how the company got into 149 million Euros' worth of trouble:
Nintendo's next atrocity would be to use the considerable monopoly they had to control the consumer. Because of the game shortages, consumers would be more concerned about getting a particular title than the price. And because of Nintendo's domineering stance with the retailers, they were able to dictate the expected prices for their games.

In the electronics and computer industry, you can expect equipment to reduce in price over time. When new devices are created that make older ones obsolete, the older devices are reduced in price to compete with the newer ones. This is clearly evident if one simply peruses the want-ads in their local paper and notes the prices of computer systems that were considered state of the art a year previous. This logic applies to all aspects of the computer and electronics industry, including video games. Why then between 1985 and 1989 did the Nintendo Entertainment System only lower $10 in its price?

This was exactly what Attorney Generals from all fifty states were wondering when they began investigating the activities of Nintendo of America in 1989. They found that Nintendo had been fixing the price of systems and games in the stores, using intimidation to influence retailers to abide by their wishes, and were making astronomical profits. Nintendo had been doing this since they first brought out the NES in 1985. They had strived to construct the system inexpensively, however, it was being sold at the same price as the competing systems. An antitrust action was brought up against Nintendo by these same Attorney Generals, and on October 17, 1991, District Court Judge Sweet granted approval of settlement agreements. [775 F.Supp. 676 (S.D.N.Y. 1991)]

Link Discuss (via Hack the Planet)

FCC calls for more open spectrum

Chairman Michael "Colin's Son" Powell of the FCC today called for the opening up more spectrum for unlicensed activity. The last time the FCC opened up some spectrum, we got WiFi. Now, open spectrum advocates say that further opening of the airwaves could deliver Cognitive Radio, a technology and philosophy that will allow nearly infinite communications through the airwaves and knock the long-haul wire-carriers on their asses. Link Discuss (via Werblog)