Friday, December 28, 2007

Bart vs. Homer

Playing with Hulu and found a neat feature where you can create your own short clip from any episode they have and embed it online.

Quality is pretty decent, and features like this show they realize the need to retain the social aspects if they really want to be the "legit" YouTube.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Alexander Graham Theft

Book argues that Bell stole phone idea

In "The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret," journalist Seth Shulman argues that Bell — aided by aggressive lawyers and a corrupt patent examiner — got an improper peek at patent documents Elisha Gray had filed, and that Bell was erroneously credited with filing first.

I found this line most intriguing:

Bell, not Gray, actually demonstrated a phone that transmitted speech. Gray was focused instead on his era's pressing communications challenge: how to send multiple messages simultaneously over the same telegraph wire. As Gray huffed to his attorney, "I should like to see Bell do that with his apparatus."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Scold the cell squawkers

Scold the cell squawkers
A woman at the Rose Cafe shouted her eyeglass order into her cell -- going into great detail about her family's medical plan (they have flexible spending; they'll pay after the first of the year). So I blogged her conversation, including her phone number, and she got calls from around the world: "Eva, your glasses are ready!" I'm guessing she has newfound respect for others' profound disinterest in her life.

Barry sure does. He shouted his number across a Venice Starbucks. I went home and called it: "Barry, I know everything about you but your blood type." Next time I saw him, he took his calls outside.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Smack The Penguin

It ain't elf bowling, but it ain't bad.

Happy Xmas to all...

Super Smack The Penguin

iPhone Hacking as Internship

Apple hires author of the unofficial iPhone SDK

Lucas Newman of Delicious Monster has been hired by Apple as an “iPhone engineer” according to a post from “Chief Monster” Wil Shipley.

Newman is an avid iPhone developer who worked on the first native iPhone game, Lights Off and helped iPhone Atlas develop their initial 5-step native application install guide back in August.

(Above is paraphrased because, to quote the second commenter on the original article: "Please proofread your posts. This one is utter gibberish.")

Related: Wired puts Jailbroken iPhone on top 2007 gadget list

Friday, December 21, 2007

Video from a Time Traveller

Okay, so this could be hoaxed. But its an intriguing story.

A Norwegian man was working on his kitchen plumbing when he claims he inexplicably travelled into the future and met his future self. Bonus: he has video from his mobile.

Yeah, that could be his dad, I guess. And the story is frustratingly light on the details - did he get back? What did they talk about?

But interesting nonetheless. Maybe interesting enough for Jacob to dig up more...


More at the Retire Trajan blog.

Social Enemies

Parody sites start anti-social networking trend

Tired of phony online friends? Make enemies instead. Riding on the popularity of social networks such as Facebook and MySpace, new Web sites are poking fun at online friendships that connect you to the people you like, by turning attention to the ones you don't.

"I didn't understand these fake-friend war chests that people were so busy building online," said Bryant Choung, a technology consultant who started Snubster last year.

Kevin Matulef, the creator of Enemybook, said the idea for his Facebook application started as a joke last summer when friends at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were asking if someone was a real friend or a Facebook friend.

"It started basically as a satire, sort of a parody of some of the superficial aspects of Facebook and the connections that you have, but now it's kind of evolved and it allows people to express themselves via their dislikes," said Matulef, 28.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Me too!

I think I've said this before, but the best side effect of Google's innovations is that they light a fire under Yahoo to stop being so stagnant.

Yahoo Maps Gets Drag-and-Drop Rerouting

Props to Yahoo for the comparison of old route vs. new. I also liked the rubber band effect on the drag, but have to agree that Google showing you the name of the street you're dragging onto wins out.

Now, when will someone give me my web based LineDrive directions back?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Copyright Controversy

Controversy surrounding the video Bo previously posted about the tech bubble.

Misunderstanding Copyright Law And Ruining Everyone’s Fun
So the video that everyone has been talking about is history. It is the victim of a bullying tactic by a photographer and her lawyer. Once again, a perversion of copyright is being used to destroy art.

The video, set to the tune of We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel, mocked just about everyone in Silicon Valley as being part of a new technology bubble. But the video has now been taken down, because Lane Hartwell, the photographer who took one of the pictures that was included in the video, complained that she wasn’t paid for her work. She hired a lawyer, and the creators, Richter Scales, decided to take it down rather than fight that Hartwell had no right to stop them from using the image.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Helpful Help

This might be one of the worst website help articles I've ever encountered. I know MySpace shouldn't be required or expected to teach basic html to their users, but a little effort via description or simple tools would go a long way.

How do I add color, graphics, & sound to my MySpace Profile page?

  • Simply go to "Edit Profile"
  • Enter the desired HTML or CSS coding where appropriate.
  • If you do not know HTML or CSS, you can reach out and make a new friend by asking someone who has color, graphics, and/or sound on their Profile page how they did it. People on MySpace are friendly and always willing to help, so just ask! This is a great way to meet new people!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bye Bye Payphones

Um, what took them so long?

Also, remember this database from the Surfboard?

AT&T to Disconnect Pay-Phone Business After 129 Years

AT&T Inc., the biggest U.S. phone company, plans to leave the pay-phone business after 129 years as more people use wireless handsets to make calls on the go.

The first pay phone, installed in 1878, had an attendant who took callers' money, AT&T spokesman Michael Coe said. Inventor William Gray set up the first coin-operated phone in 1889 at a bank in Hartford, Connecticut.

At their peak in 1998, there were 2.6 million pay phones in the U.S., San Antonio-based AT&T said today in a statement. That number fell to 1 million this year, including the 65,000 phones AT&T has in 13 states.

Pay phones, especially those in booths, have played a role in U.S. pop culture for decades. Clark Kent started using them to change into Superman in the 1940s. In the 1989 movie ``Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure,'' a phone booth doubled as a time machine. In 2002, actor Colin Farrell played a man trapped at a phone by a sniper in the film ``Phone Booth.''

It's A Gas Gas Gas

Wis. drivers line up for gas at 33 cents

An employee closing Trig's Minocqua Shell for the night mistakenly entered the price of a gallon of gasoline as 32.9 cents instead of $3.299 on Monday night.

He left about 10 p.m., but drivers could still use their credit cards to buy gas.

Word of the bargain spread fast in the rural northern Wisconsin community, with 42 people buying 586 gallons of gas in an hour and 45 minutes. One person had pumped 27 gallons and two purchased 18 gallons.

"I was very upset that there's that many dishonest people," said store manager Andrea Reuland. "They knew there was a problem, and they took advantage of an employee's mistake and I think that's terrible."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Back to...

Back To The Future Flux Capacitor Replica

Three thoughts:

1. Guess what I want for Xmas...

2. $220? My word!

3. needs to work on their "related items" algorithm at the bottom of the page, as it seems to think any other movie starting with the words "Back To" is related to BTTF.

Shift Happens

A little long and slow, but interesting.

The Luxembourg broadband stat was especially surprising to my dial-up using self back in 2003...

The Chuck Norris Effect

Hilarious, but also pandering a bit if something like this can really have an effect on an election. Have to give them credit for the buzz factor though.

Chuck and Huck: GOP's Delta Force?

Here's a Chuck Norris fact you may not know. If Chuck Norris endorses you and appears in one of your campaign's TV ads, you take the lead in an Iowa poll and your Web server crashes.

(In Huckabee's defense, in the article he says "We didn't seek his endorsement, but we're sure lucky to have it.")

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Friendship Bracelets Are the Next Big Thing!

Are we in another bubble?

I believe so, but it's being around to watch it.

(UPDATED 12/20 to new video link)

The Science of Santa

Santa Claus is coming to town -- for 34 microseconds

"We estimated that there are 48 people per square kilometer (120 per square mile) on Earth, and 20 metres (66 feet) between each home. So if Santa leaves from Kyrgyzstan and travels against the Earth's rotation he has 48 hours to deliver all the presents," he said.

"He has 34 microseconds at each stop" to slide down the chimney, drop off the presents, nibble on his cookies and milk and hop back on his sleigh, Larsson said.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The SMS Novelists

I can barely fathom this:

In Japan, cellular storytelling is all the rage

"In just a few years, mobile phone novels - or keitai shousetsu - have become a publishing phenomenon in Japan, turning middle-of-the-road publishing houses into major concerns and making their authors a small fortune in the process.

Remarkably, half of Japan's top-10 selling works of fiction in the first six months of the year were composed the same way - on the tiny handset of a mobile phone. They sold an average of 400,000 copies."

via TechCrunch (with inspiration from Kit)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

From the Future

I know sports isn't usually on topic for our blog, but the technology bits and time travel undertones are quite Towformian...

A letter to the Junior High Sports Guy