New Island Chronicles dispatch -- House Hunting

Our latest dispatch is now up on the LA WEEKLY web site. Link Discuss Read the rest

Teens say: Interweb kicks TV's ass

Teens and young adults ages 13 to 24 now spend more time per week on the web (16.7 hours) than they do watching TV (13.6 hours), according to a new Harris Interactive and Teenage Research Unlimited poll. Web numbers don't include e-mail, which makes the numbers even more impressive. link, Discuss (via Lost Remote) Read the rest

Japanese Psychiatric Art

Surreal, retrofabulous Japanese graphic art for psychiatric drugs and psych reference manuals. Includes naked children on Rivotril holding daisy-covered umbrellas. So strange. Link. Also check out the American counterpart here. Discuss (via Geisha) Read the rest

Free, Fun Fast Food Fonts

Fonts that mimic corporate fast food brands (Coke, McDonalds, Burger King, etc.) Link, Discuss (via Geisha) Read the rest

Online boycott tools: is that album RIAA-affiliated?

Frank points us to RIAA Radar: "Search to see if the album you want to buy is RIAA affiliated. Works pretty good, too." Query by artists, albums, record labels, etc. Discuss Read the rest

Linksys using GPLed code, not releasing modifications

Rob "WiFi high-wire" Flickenger and his band of wily WiFi sreenigne (that's reverse-engineers to you) have discovered that Linksys is using GPL'ed code in its firmware without releasing its modifications -- a major no-no.
One early problem was that of the format of their firmware updates. While the code contained within might be released under the GPL, Linksys is under no obligation to release the details of this file format. And yes, I asked them directly, but to date have gotten no reply.

No matter, with the help of many interested people around the globe, we have been able to decipher the (relatively simple) firmware file format, and even make a little utility that will generate a valid firmware for you. (Note that it's really easy to kill your AP with "bad" firmware, but that's another story altogether...)

Now that we are able to execute arbitrary commands on the WRT54G, it is obvious that Linksys is running modified software covered by the GPL. One perfect example of this is Zebra, the advanced dynamic routing software package. By opening the firmware file directly, as well as by making queries through the makeshift ping interface mentioned earlier, we noticed that the zebra running on the WRT54G doesn't use the standard configuration file locations. This means that it must certainly be a modified binary.

Update: Rob sez, "I might have spoken too soon. I have been gently reminded that it is possible (in fact, trivial) to change config file locations without modifying the source. Read the rest

New tech tools for discriminatory pricing

This BusinessWeek article explores how technology will make it easier for companies to "customize" pricing for goods and services:
Why do corporations want your personal data? The simple answer, according to Andrew Odlyzko, the director of the University of Minnesota's Digital Technology Center, is that such information is the key to a holy grail of capitalism: discriminatory pricing. Economic theory posits that price discrimination -- where companies charge individuals based on their ability to pay and their value as a customer -- is desirable since it makes trade more efficient. Yet it rankles consumers, who perceive differential pricing as unfair. The fact that business travelers, whose corporations can arguably afford it, pay more for airline seats than a vacationer has made air travel more popular and routine. At the same time, the price discrimination that charges two people different prices for the same class of service infuriates those who pay more.

In a paper to be presented at the Fifth Annual Conference on E-Commerce this fall, Odlyzko, a Bell Labs researcher for 26 years, doesn't argue for or against discriminatory pricing. He focuses on how technology can bring it to new levels of sophistication and prevalence.

Link to Odlyzko's paper, Link to BW story, Discuss, (Thanks, ESC) Read the rest

BB readers' discount for Stanford Singularity con

Boing Boing readers can attend the Accelerating Change Conference at Stanford this September 12-14 at a five percent discount:
Special early bird extension: Save $100 (25%) on conference admission until August 4th, for Accelerating Change Conference 2003, Stanford University, September 12-14. PLUS: BoingBoing readers will receive an additional 5% discount by using the discount code "ACC2003-BoingBoing" (no quotations).

The Accelerating Change Conference will be a forum to explore the paradise of resources, as well as the risks and responsibilities, represented by cascading breakthroughs in computational technologies. Ray Kurzweil, K. Eric Drexler, Steve Jurvetson, Tim O'Reilly, William H. Calvin, Howard Bloom, Robert Wright, and 17 other world-class minds will present to 300 attendees.

Link Discuss (Thanks, Tyler) Read the rest

Best American Science Writing 2003

Wired News reviews Best American Science Writing 2003, the latest installment in a brilliant, must-read series. This year's edition is edited by Oliver "Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat" Sacks, and promises to be fantastic.
An omnivore, yet selective, a sort of filter-feeder, I will extract intellectual nutrients from the articles as I extract nutrients from my dinner," Sacks writes in the introduction. "Every so often, however, I am arrested by an article because it contains not just new information but a highly individual point of view, a personal perspective, a voice that compels my interest, raising what would otherwise be a report or a review to the level of an essay marked by clarity, individuality, and beauty of writing..."

"Crows and their cousins in the corvid family, ravens, jays and magpies, have spent hundreds of thousands of years taking advantage of our inventions," Nijhuis writes. "They've been known to perform pitch-perfect imitations of explosions, revving motorcycles and flushing urinals."

The crow population in and around Seattle has increased tenfold over the last two decades, encouraged by a growing food supply as the area's human population has grown. University of Washington wildlife biologist John Marzluff has moved his studies to the suburbs to glean lessons from counting crows.

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40h fuel-cell laptop by 2005

NEC is promising to ship a laptop fuel-cell capable of running for 40h within two years. Link Discuss (via Gizmodo) Read the rest

Whacky air-races in London this Sunday

This Sunday, in London's Hyde Park, Red Bull will host a competition to loft person-powered flying sculptures -- free admission. Link Discuss Read the rest

ISPs strike back: Pac Bell Internet arm sues RIAA

From today's NYT:
A California-based Internet service provider jumped into the contentious music-downloading fray late Wednesday, filing a lawsuit against the recording industry and questioning the constitutionality of the industry's effort to track down online music sharers. Pacific Bell Internet Services, based in San Francisco, is seeking a declaration that the subpoenas served against it by the Recording Industry Association of America are overly broad in scope and should have been issued from a California district court, not the District of Columbia. The complaint also seeks a jury trial to have the constitutional issues addressed.
Link, Discuss Read the rest

Nicotinis: liquid butts

The Nicotini is a tobacco-infused beverage served at a trendy Miami nightclub that's had its smoking-section shut down by antismoking laws.
Call it a liquid cigarette because this drink comes complete with the nicotine rush and tobacco aftertaste found in a pack of Camels. These tobacco-spiked martinis are being served up for die-hard smokers who don't want to leave their barstools and go outside to light up.
Link Discuss (via FARK) Read the rest

Marriott agrees non-free WiFi is too expensive

Tobias sez, "Marriot is going to start giving away free wireless to get people interested, as you suggested earlier it makes more sense than forcing stupid pay schemes and scratch off cards that drive everyone nuts."
Marriott International Inc. (NYSE:MAR - news) will roll out free high-speed Internet access at a number of midrange hotels in the next year and a half, but guests at many top hotels will still have to pay, the company said on Tuesday.
Hrm -- I love this dynamic about hotels: the cheaper the hotel, the less likely it is that they'll screw you on telecommunications. Link Discuss (Thanks, Tobias!) Read the rest

Nailed by the RIAA? Blog it!

My friend Raffi Krikorian is setting up a group-blog for running accounts of people hwo've been subpoenaed by the RIAA:
how did you find out you were on the list? did your isp turn you over or did your school protect you? what are you planning on doing now? talk about it all and let people know what is happening. help others that are finding themselves in a similar jam, and let the rest of us know the effects of what's going on.
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Bedwetting cure?

A researcher in Australia claims that he can cure most childhood bedwetting with simple therapy that improves nighttime respiration.
Mahony says that of the kids referred to him at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney because of bed-wetting problems, eight out of 10 have a narrow palate. In these cases, orthodontic devices similar to a brace can be used to widen the palate.

A Swedish study found that seven out of 10 children who had all failed to respond to other treatments for bed-wetting improved within one month of using such a device, with four completely stopping wetting their beds. Another small British study found bed-wetting stopped in 10 out of 10 children given these devices.

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Disposable digicams

Chalk one up for cheap art and ubiquitous insta-media. From this week's edition of Michael Tchong's Trendsetter newsletter:
This year, digital cameras (digicams) will outsell conventional cameras, 12.8 million to 12.1 million, excluding disposable, one-time-use cameras. That’s a big exclusion because sales of disposable cameras will reach 214 million this year, up from 198 million in 2002. This week marks the introduction of the first disposable, two-megapixel digicam by San Francisco-based Pure Digital Technologies, which will be sold under the Dakota Digital brand through Ritz Camera for $11. While the Dakota sacrifices an LCD screen, which research says is the No. 1 reason people buy digicams, it’s clear that the fate of film is written on the wall. Kodak announced this week it would slash 6,000 jobs this year due to slow film sales.
Image Link to large product shot, Discuss Read the rest

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