ReplayTV has set itself up to be the Napster of digital TV recorders. Not only does it record 320 hours of programming, it also edits out commercials (semi-)automatically and allows you to send your favorite shows to up to fifteen "TV buddies" over your Internet connection. Their latest device is due to ship shortly, and, of course the TV networks are suing them pre-emptively, trying to keep the devices from ever hitting the shelves. While this device sounds like tonsafun -- and while I wish like stink that I had one sitting on my media totem -- I can't understand how ReplayTV thought they'd be able to get this product to market without being crushed by the nets' fixers.LinkDiscuss (via /.) Read the rest
There's a new Ultima Online in the pipes, designed in collaboration with Canadian indie comix magnate cum collectibles magnate Todd McFarlane, who is ensuring that there will be a plethora of purchasable Ultima Online schwag.
The new game will take players into a dark world, where they will meet more than 30 powerful new characters created by McFarlane. The central character in the new game, Lord Blackthorn, has been featured in previous installments of Ultima Online, but he has now been transformed into an evil half-human creature in charge of an army of other fearsome monsters. The game will include new artificial intelligence, a new interactive storyline, and a new virtue system that rewards and punishes players based on their choices and behavior during the game.
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Giant Robot, one of my fave zines, devoted to all things cool, quirky and Asian, has opened a store in Los Angeles, for the display, perusal and vending of fantastic Asian popcult detritus, from t-shirts to stickers to DVDs. Discuss Link Read the rest
Google's playing with the idea of displaying thumbnails of the pages that come up in search results. The more I think about this, the better I like it. Sure, it'll slow down load time (I imagine they'll let you switch it off if you want), but thumbnails'd be a great visual cue about the nature of a link, a way to identify sites that are too banner-laden or otherwise pointless to visit.Link Discuss (via Meerkat) Read the rest
I've archived all 24 episodes of "Artificial Life," a comic strip I did for newmedia.com a couple of years ago. Link Discuss Read the rest
ScotiaBank's 12 tons of gold and 30 million ounces of silver, buried beneath the WTC, have been recovered and are being convoyed by Brink's trucks to another location. Link Discuss Read the rest
The island nation of Tuvalu is disappearing under the sea, thanks to global warming. Its 11,000 residents will have to be evacuated. Link Discuss Read the rest
Aussie g-men debate whether to kill 20,000 koalas on Kangaroo Island to relieve population pressure. They say that the koalas are eating themselves out of house and home, and besides, the little buggers aren't as cutencuddly as you might think.
...[T]he image of Kangaroo Island could one day show that "virtually every tree was dead and lying underneath those trees were the carcasses of koalas that had starved to death".
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Set phasers to "defrost." The Air Force Research Laboratory has developed a crowd dispersal weapon that heats people's skin using microwaves. Link Discuss Read the rest
Dave sez: "The best and brightest lego enthusiasts had a Halloween-themed building contest. Check out the winners! I love the hearse!"LinkDiscuss (Thanks, Dave!) Read the rest
Here's my latest obsessive project: Plotting visitor patterns to BoingBoing over time. The Excel spreadsheet linked below covers the last twenty months of visitors, and calculates the precentile change in visitation from month to month. Link Discuss Read the rest
An Aussie hacker is busted for manipulating local sewage control systems and flooding the parks, a hotel and a river with raw sewage. No info on why he did it, though I imagine that there's not much he could say that would mitigate the mess. LinkDiscuss (via Meerkat) Read the rest
Cleaning the Fucking Kitchen for Dummies is a profane and high-larious illustrated guide for sloppy roommates who live in the faery world where plates left in the sink somehow magically get cleaned up without any human intervention.
Pizza and takeaways die
A little-known fact is that eating half of a takeaway kills it. The pizza may have arrived at your door on its own, but once you eat half of it, it's dead and it won't actually go away on its own. It doesn't matter if you hide it somewhere like some sort of demented squirrel, it will stay there. Unless someone throws it away. That means you, if the world is just, which it plainly isn't.
The sofa is not magic
Contrary to popular belief, putting items under the sofa means that they are still there. Just because nobody can see the burger carton, it doesn't mean that it's gone. Usually people master this at the age of fucking two, but it can apparently escape some.
If this is confusing, try thinking about this obvious counter example to the "under the sofa, it's not there" theory. What do you think that smell is? It's your fucking detritus under the sofa, mate. Things that aren't there don't attract flies and start to smell. Got that?
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Here's a mind-blowing new image-processing paradigm (yes, I hate that word too, but this really is a new paradigm). Researchers at the NYU Media Research Lab have built a trainable image filter. You give it an original image (say, a photo of a pear) and a "filtered" image (say, a watercolor painting made from that photo), and it analyzes the steps it needs to take to transform the original to the modified version. Thereafter, you can give it any image and it'll "filter" it according to its derived rules. This is the ur-filter, the self-modifying code that learn from any example you present to it. Wow.
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Toronto embarks on a Big Construction folly that approaches Boston's Big Dig for madness and hubris. The plan for revitalizing the waterfront calls for burying a giant eyesore of an elevated highway, while bulldozing the warehouse where I live when I'm there. I've got 50'x40'x20' of stuff crammed into that loft, and I've got no idea what I'm going to do with it all, nor when I'm going to cope with it. But the funding for the project's been approved and it's only a matter of time until they knock down my home to make way for a park. I'd had hopes that with the economy collapsing, the City would be reluctant to drop a couple billion on a big earthworks project, but I was wrong, alas alack. Link Discuss (via Exciting Monkeybum Stories for Boys and Girls) Read the rest
Hoaxbusters from snopes.com interviewed on Salon this morning:
Part of it is a lot of these are just really great stories; they're horrifying, they're titillating, they're funny.
But legends that we tell are an expression of what's going on in society's heart at any given moment. They're not just random bits of lore that get dropped in here and there. It's amazing because the stories we tell, although they generate spontaneously, end up through the process of natural selection becoming a very finely honed body of lore that reflects current society's concerns, fears, apprehensions, morals.
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Streaming audio excerpt from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on today's Salon. Link Discuss Read the rest