Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Simplicity of the home in the digital age

I read an interesting article from Fast Company about the simplicity of the digital home...meaning that in western cultures the home is not very simple at all.

In any case it is an interesting take by an enthnographer who does some work for Microsoft.


20 Must Have Firefox Extensions

Ok...I know it has been a long time that I have been away, but I have been unbelievably busy.

In any case I happened up this article today and thought I would pass it on. I haven't had a chance to check all these extensions out yet. In them meantime tell me what YOU think of them?

20 Must Have Firefox Extensions at Computerworld

Friday, February 23, 2007

Internet Speed test

Here is cool speed test for your internet connection.


Meetings Make You Dumber!

From MSNBC.com...meetings make you dumber

An article today on MSNBC.com discussed a study done by researchers on group brainstorming sessions. It showed when decisions were made as part of a group the group members thinking could be clouded.

They also found that people had a harder time coming up with alternative solutions to a problem when they were part of a group.

The researchers speculated that when a group of people received information, the inclination was to discuss it. The more frequently one option was said aloud, the harder it was for individuals to recall other options.

Individuals, whether students, executives or football fans, should take time to consider the facts on their own before coming to a consensus.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Make My DNA Open Source

Michael Crichton had an interesting OP-ED piece in February 13th's NY Times regarding patents on human genes. He asserts that they stifle innovation with regard to new medical applications and treatments for diseases, in addition to hampering scientists from further exploring a gene and how it functions.

In short the holder of the patent can charge whatever they want to someone that wants to develop an application for a diagnostic test, or do basic research. In most cases of research he says that the investigators choose to study something else. He goes on to say that in countries where there are no gene patents there tends to be a better level of diagnostic testing available. He finsihes by mentioning 2 congressmen that want to remove the idea of patents on gere. What do you think?

I think of the genome as being open source. Under the current system if I wanted to donate some DNA to a scientist to study one of my genes I would be constrained by any patents being held on a particular gene. So in essence I don't even own what is in my body. I should. After all... I made it!

I say there should be no gene patents. In fact any naturally occurring gene or protein should be kept as open source. Keep the patents for the novel, synthetically created molecules, and leave my genome and proteome in the public domain.

Check the article out for yourself

Sunday, February 11, 2007


Go to this site, type something in and hit enter.....the result is you get an all the anagrams of whatever you typed....pretty cool for Word Nuts

Internet Anagram Server

A British Apple Hater

This guy really hates Macs

National Identity Card

I have been seeing a lot of articles lately about a new federally mandated National ID. Mandated under the Real ID Act this card will be required to get SSI payments, open a bank account or even drive.

Some say it will help with illegal immigration while others say it will increase your chance of identity theft, and invade your privacy.

Some states such as NJ are for it, while others such as California are reported to be against the card.

Here is a link to a site set up by the ACLU.

See the Wikipedia entry for the Real ID Act

Democrat Party Vs Republic Party


Time To Come Home In Their Own Words


If Ya Talk The Talk Then Walk The Walk.

Perhaps Australia should have more than 1400 troops in Iraq then?

Howard Slams Obama on Iraq War

"Howard, a staunch supporter and personal friend of Bush, has defied widespread domestic opposition to the war, keeping about 1,400 Australian troops in and around Iraq, mostly in non-combat roles."

"The United States has sacrificed more than 3,000 brave young men and women and $400 billion, only to find ourselves mired in the middle of a sectarian civil war," he said. "Even Republicans ... know that more of the same is only going to attract more terrorists to Iraq and make our country less safe."

Gibbs went on to say that Howard was not in a position to be overly critical.

"If Prime Minister Howard truly believes what he says, perhaps his country should find its way to contribute more than just 1,400 troops so some American troops can come home," he said. "It's easy to talk tough when it's not your country or your troops making the sacrifices."

Interesting Photos

I found this site today that has a bunch of pictures taken by photojournalists. The photos have captions describing them...interesting.

Check it out

The link to the photos is at the bottom of the page.

Microsoft Mounts "Fiji"

I read today that MS will be trying to roll out the first service pack to Vista dubbed "Fiji" by the end of 2007. It is supposed to include features that were axed to meet the January release date.

Interesting to me is the speed at which this is being done. MS released the last service pack for XP in 2004. It's 2007 now..where is SP3?

Apparently MS is planning for a late 2007 or early 2008 SP3 release.

First Vista...now Vienna?

I read today that Microsoft has announced that their next new OS to be released will be in 2009, and is code named Vienna. This seems odd to me...

First it took them 6 years to roll out Vista from when they released Windows XP. What makes them think they can deliver this by 2009?

Second...why would they announce this? Given the cost of the new OS I think this would give someone pause before forking over money for Vista. The prices range from $99 to $259 depending upon which flavor you get or if it is a full version or upgrade version. If I was going to have to purchase a new OS in 2 years time I may think twice before buying Vista now.

Of course nobody really HAS to purchase a new OS. I know some people that are still hanging onto Windows 98 and Windows 2000. As I write this post my laptop is whizzing along on Windows XP Pro even though an upgrade copy of Vista Business Edition has been sitting on my desk for 2 weeks....more on that in another post.

By announcing Vienna I think MS may have undercut themselves a bit. I am sure people will adopt Vista, and I expect that Vienna will experience delays just as Vista did. Perhaps 2012? Time will tell.

Look Out For the Dark Red-Orange Stain

Just an article I found regarding the usage of hotel coffeepots to brew meth....who knew?

"Instead of brewing coffee, coffee pots are sometimes used to brew methamphetamine.

And since meth labs in hotels aren't anything new, Rick Phillips of the Marshall County Drug Enforcement Unit says there's definitely a risk"

Hotel Coffeeports Used to Cook Meth

French Pine Bark Extract Slows Glucose Absorption

I stumbled upon an article today that details a study that could yield hope for those who are obese or suffer from Type 2 Diabetes.

New Study Discovers How Pycnogenol Lowers Blood Glucose Levels In Type 2 Diabetes

They found that a bark extract from a tree found in France can slow the uptake of glucose during digestion. Slower absorption of glucose into your bloodstream will not only help keep your blood sugar levels stable, but also allow for greater satiety after meals. Sugar levels have been a big deal since the advent of all of these low carb diets. In essence they put forth that by eating low carb you are less likely to get a "surge" of sugar into your system. Type 2 diabetes occurs in people that have an impaired ability to handle sugar that surges into their bloodstream. So finding ways to slow that surge would be a big help to diabetics, and to people who are obese.

Here's the Wiki entry for Type 2 Diabetes

Monday, February 05, 2007

More details on LG's Hybrid high def DVD player

I had previously blogged about the LG hybrid HD-DVD/Blu-Ray DVD player here

According to Engadget's website the unit will be available sometime in Q1 2007 for the bargain basement price of $1199.

I don't know about you but I wonder what the rationale of early adopters (EAs) will be for getting this? I think the current DVD picture quality is fine. For me the excitement with this move to a newer high definition format is in the amount of data that can be stored on the discs. I guess you have to hand it to the EAs because it is they who make the eventual lower prices for merchandise possible for the rest of us! I think I can hold off on watching The Fifth Element in high definition for the time being, but I sure would like to be able to use either for data archival purposes

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Wasn't there a Frank Zappa song by that name?

I don't care what anyone says. NEVER in any situation eat the yellow snow.

Russia says mysterious yellow snow not toxic

Bloglines...Another cool RSS/Web page reader

Tonight while browsing the internet in Borders I happened upon a pretty cool and useful website. You'll recall that I recently posted about Google's Reader web based application that allowed you to track changes to websites and blogs. Tonight I found one that appears to be a bit more mature. It's called Bloglines, and albeit I have only been browsing through it for about 15 minutes, but must admit that I am somewhat blown away by what I am seeing.

It took about 30 seconds to create a free account after which I was able to subscribe to feeds in certain categories. The prepackaged bundles that Google offers are few in number compared to what is immediatley available on Bloglines. I clicked off about 30-40 subscriptions for starters and began reading.

When first using a site/application like this there is the tendency to over-subscribe to feeds. There is only so much you can read in a single sitting. Each individual feed could have from 1 to up to 20 or 30 new articles depending on how busy a site it links up with. The links should stay live if the sites are using permalinks which is true for most mainstream blogs ,but possibly not with websites. So if you want to read it make sure you read it now.

One thing that was cool was that the feed panel on the left hand side automatically updated as new feeds were available; no need to refresh it manually...nice touch.

I have no doubt that Google's Reader application will gain in popularity and maturity as they have probably the most visited site on the net. Still it's nice to see something in IT that is not borne of a behemoth of a corporation.

Study on lefties vs righties

Ya see....this is what I have been trying to tell people. Plus it was reported by the BBC.

BBC report on left handers

Like an RSS feed for Web Pages

Lately I have been getting into mining for information on the internet, and setting up RSS feeds to gather information. I first became interested in this while reading a book called Information Trapping: Real-Time Research on the Web. Basically it deals with setting up traps for information. These traps are based on queries you set up on news aggregators or on RSS feeds. I am still working my way through the book so I don't have all the specifics down yet, but it is cool. It allows you to come up with a very specific set of criteria for a search , and then delivers the content from a site or a blog to you whenever something new is published on the internet that matches your criteria. So you could set up RSS feeds for newspapers, websites, and blogs, or anything offering an RSS feed. RSS feeds and traps based on search parameters allow you to sift through a massive amount of information very quickly.

While browsing the web last night I found something that works in a similar way for web browsing. Google has a new application called Reader. I just set mine up last night and it appears that they have several websites bundled together by subject. You can subscribe to a particular subject and they feed updates to the website to your browser, and all the new articles appear in a panel on the left hand side.

It's seems to be interesting. Time will tell if it is something I use.

Try it out and let me know what you think.

Where the hell have I been?

I know....I have been away. I just wanted to drop a little note in here to show that I am still quite alive and kicking. I have been pretty busy in the past few weeks and am just becoming involved with doing some new things. I have come across some cool ideas, websites, and technologies in the past few weeks. I will be writing about some of this stuff in the coming days. So don't worry...I'm back.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

It's Deja Vu again

As the article states...it's VHS vs Beta all over again. For those of you too young to remember...VHS and Beta are types of videoTAPES.

In any case it seems that the war may be over now between Sony's Blu-Ray technology and Hitachi's HD-DVD. The porn industry announced they will be using HD-DVD


MIT's Open Courseware

A cool site was brought to my attention a few days ago.


It's at MIT and basically gives you online access to several of their classes. You can download the syllabi, list of readings and assignments, and pretty much everything but access to the faculty or credit...it's FREE ya know.

I have been out of college for many years , and have thought about going back for additional study. One of the things that has prevented me from doing so is the indecision on what to study. Something like this MIT site is cool because you can go in and sample different disciplines at no cost to you except your time. I may check this out in the near future; if not as a prelude to return to the academic world then for personal enrichment.

Cisco vs Apple

I found out today that Cisco is suing Apple over it's use of the term "iPhone" for it's new ipod/cell phone hybrid. Apparently Cisco own the rights to use the name as part of a deal in which it acquired a company called Infogear in 2000.

Here's the article: