Boing Boing turns eight!

Yesterday was the eighth anniversary of the first-ever Boing Boing blogpost:

Street Tech Reviews and news for gadget-lovers and propeller heads of all stripes.

Happy birthday to us!

Link to first-ever BB post,

Link to earliest Internet Archive snapshot of the Boing Boing blog (Feb 28, 2000) Read the rest

Aussies: Here's your chance to expand your rights under copyright!

Kate sez,

The Australian Attorney-General's department is inviting submissions from the public on copying of movies and images in different formats for private use.

These were sections of the Copyright Amendment Act introduced in December 2006 that made it legal for Aussies to do things they'd been doing for decades, such as recording a tv broadcast to tape or disc, but illegal to watch such recordings more than once!

The Minister is required by the Act to review these exceptions after two years and is now inviting comment.

This is a good opportunity to argue for the exceptions to be expanded (not contracted!) to come into line with general consumer behaviour.

You can download an issues paper on the topic (including instructions for making a submission) here.

General info on the Australian Copyright Council website.

(Thanks, Kate!) Read the rest

Rusting cargo ship wreck on the Great Barrier Reef

Today in my ongoing series of photos from my travels over the years -- this wrecked, rusting cargo ship off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, as seen from the deck of the Spirit of Freedom. Shot this on the same trip where I came up with the idea for my post-Singularity coral-reef story, I, Row-Boat. The ship wrecked in the sixties and has been rusting out ever since. Down below, in the shallows around the reef, there's a propeller and shaft so long that you can't see one end from the other end. We were chased by a school of 1.5m parrotfish in formation around us -- they executed a series of coordinated right-angle turns, then turned their backsides to us and emitted a cloud of sand, reducing visibility to zero. When the water cleared, they were gone. The wreck really does look like the Parthenon in this shot, I think -- apparently it's all but gone now, washed away in last year's storms.

Link Read the rest

Victorian madness clock sculptures

My buddy Roger Wood, the mad assemblage clock-sculptor, continues to wow me with his email newsletter featuring his latest creations. This pair of handsome fellas are the most recent products of his workbench.

Link Read the rest

Pro-file-sharing video from European Green Party

The European Green Party -- which controls about ten percent of the continentwide vote -- has put together a PSA in support of file-sharing and new laws that legalize the activity. Called "I Wouldn't Steal," it's an answer to the terrible "You wouldn't steal a car" nagware ads that run at the beginning of your store-bought DVDs (Hey, MPA, here's a hint: if I went to the store and bought the DVD, you don't really need to lecture me on the evils of downloading. I bought the DVD).

Whenever you rent a movie, the multinational media industry forces you to watch their propaganda. They claim that [downloading movies is the same as snatching bags, stealing cars or shoplifting]. That’s simply not true – making a copy is fundamentally different from stealing.

The media industry has failed to offer viable legal alternatives and they will fail to convince consumers that sharing equals stealing. Unfortunately, they have succeeded in another area – lobbying to adapt laws to criminalize sharing, turning consumers into criminals. They argue that their laws are necessary to [support artists], but in reality all they’re protecting is their own profits.


(Thanks, David!)

See also: IT Crowd Season 2, Episode 3: Great anti-piracy PSA sendup Read the rest

Build-A-Bear's private information seduction system

Cyberlawyer Denise Howell sez, "As far as I could tell, the same parents driving themselves to distraction with fear over their evening chardonnays about MySpace and FaceBook are willingly helping their kids fork over a slew of personal data when they visit Build-A-Bear. It's hard to fault them too much though, as the computers there masquerade as anything but a corporate info-racket."

You see, each Build-A-Bear critter is issued a "birth certificate," which is generated after the kids -- and hopefully their parents, though that didn't seem to be making a bit of difference on the common sense front -- visit a bank of computers. These are big orangey-purple affairs, sort of Dr. Seussian in presentation. The keyboard buttons include stars and other colored shapes to make data input all the easier and more intuitive for youngsters. In fact, the computer-plus-keyboard experience is very close (no doubt intentionally so) to something children and their parents might have experienced in a kids' museum, library, or school. Before their new friend can get its birth certificate, the kids are prompted to enter a host of very personal personal information: birth date, home address, gender, phone, and email among them. Along the way is the option to "skip" some of this input, but unlike what we're used to in the world of online retail forms, there's no effort to communicate what data is "required" for the transaction to proceed, and what's "optional." The overall effect is to sideline the privacy-savviness that might otherwise accompany the parent and/or child.

Read the rest

HOWTO: 70 gory photoshopping HOWTOs

Here's a gallery of seventy horror and gore-effect Photoshop HOWTOs for bubbly burns, twisted scars, scary demons, zombies, vampires, and other spooks and scares. Just the thing for the run-up to Valentine's Day.


(Thanks, Enrique) Read the rest

Josh Harris - Silicon Alley/Pseudo/'net video pioneer - profiled.

Jim Hanas (who can also be blamed for the Boring Boring parody site lo those several years ago) has written a story for RADAR about Josh "" Harris, and his new project, Operator 11. Jim 'splains:

I spent all fall tracking Josh, detailing his past exploits and watching as he worked on engineering his comeback. (Which doesn't look like it's going so great at the moment.) The real bonus, however, is that Ondi Timoner (who directed DiG!) has allowed us to post a 12 minute concept trailer for We Live in Public, the unfinished documentary about Harris that she's been working on since 2000. It has lots of great footage from Pseudo and of the Silicon Alley scene.

Link to story, and here's that trailer: Link. Read the rest

Homeland Security Convention snapshots

Photographer Dave Bullock attended The Homeland Security Stakeholders Conference for Wired News, and shot photos of the security tech products on display. "From throwable video cameras to shotgun-wielding robots, these are the gadgets that help you sleep at night, unless you have something to hide..." Link to photo gallery. Read the rest

Mail-art odyssey earns artist spot on TSA watchlist

Snip from a NYT article about Ramak Fazel, an Iranian-American artist whose art-quest to visit the capitols of every US state turned into a very different experience:

His mission was to photograph each of the nation’s 50 state capitol buildings and dispatch a postcard from each city, using postage stamps from a childhood collection. Each postcard would be mailed to the next state on his journey, where he would pick it up, continuing until he had gone full circle back to Indiana.

But there was a problem. On a flight from Sacramento, Calif., to Honolulu, Mr. Fazel described his project to a fellow passenger. He later discovered that she had reported him as suspicious – perhaps to the pilot or the Transportation Security Administration – and taken a picture of him as he slept.

Maybe it was because he was vaguely foreign looking, he reasoned, and his photographic endeavor seemed menacing in a post-9/11 landscape. He also had a three-day growth of beard, he recalled. And, although Mr. Fazel grew up mostly in the United States and is an American citizen, there was his Iranian name.

In his view that woman’s report began a chain reaction, turning him into a person of interest for officials from local law enforcement agencies on up to the F.B.I. On a stop in Annapolis, Md., for example, he was interrogated about his activities and read his Miranda rights. Today, he said, his name lingers on what he thinks of simply as the “the list.” (He doesn’t know where it originated or who controls it.) He believes it has prevented him from receiving a visa to India and caused him be questioned at the border of Poland, both of which he had visited in the past.

Read the rest

BBtv Vlog: Joel Johnson - Blipfest / Candy Expo

Boing Boing Gadgets editor Joel Johnson visits the 8-bit music event Blipfest, then wreaks havoc at a Candy Expo. Link to video, and Discuss how awesome Joel Johnson is at Read the rest

Martin Luther King, Jr. playlist

Old-school bOING bOING pal Jim Leftwich writes, "Today on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, nothing can really describe Dr. King's life and work better than his own words. Here's a SeeqPod playlist of a number of his speeches and sermons, gathered from across the net." Thanks for this amazing link of links, Jim. Link Read the rest

Tunnel of Love loveseat

RetroPlanet sells gleaming, restored amusement park Tunnel of Love carts for $4k. Yes, more than I want to spend. Yes, I would totally get one if I had a heptillion dollars. And yes, I'd love it to tiny pieces.


(via Cribcandy) Read the rest

Wikifying video production

Yochai Benkler writes in with word of a collaboration between Wikipedia and Kaltura to make open, peer-production video: "Kaltura in general is an interesting effort to create an open platform for peer production of video and rich media. Very different, and from the perspective of collaboration more interesting, than the aggregated distribution platform of materials created by solo creators or off-site collaborations, which YouTube represents, or the emphasis of some other of the newer video sites on how to achieve monetization. Offers a collaboration platform for video editing instead, with creative commons licensing (BY-SA) of contributed elements and outputs built in. Software itself is already, or on its way to being, free (still depends on Flash, but working to get GNASH to the point where it'll be good enough to replace it)."

Link to Wikimedia announcement,

Link to Kaltura

(Thanks, Yochai!)

Read the rest

Darth Vader Hello Kitty tatt

This Darth Vader Hello Kitty tattoo is a brilliant real-life take on the unfortunately fake pink Hello Kitty Vader.


Read the rest

Free Jumper comic preview

Steve Gould's magnificent young adult novel Jumper has been adapted for a big-budg movie (with Samuel Jackson, no less!) and there's a comic book tie-in from Oni, who've put the first 23 pages online as for free preview.


(via IO9)

See also: Hayden Christensen to star in film of Gould's "Jumper" Trailer for Steve Gould's JUMPER Reflex: brilliant, page-turning sequel to Jumper Read the rest

Chair made of melted ball of rope

Tom Price's "Meltdown Chair" is made by heaping up a big cuddly pile of nylon rope, then melting an Eames-ish chair-shape into it. Don't miss the video of the hot former-on-nylon action.

This chair is created by heating and pressing a seat-shaped former into a ball of polypropylene rope. The rope begins to liquify as it comes into contact with the heated former and, as it cools, it sets in the shape of a seat creating a contrast in form and texture to the remaining rope. No additional material has been added to make the seat - it is all made from melted rope.


(via Geekologie) Read the rest

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