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Erasing your digital past November 18, 2008

Posted by farshadf in Uncategorized.
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ComputerWorld recently did a piece about erasing your digital past and how difficult it can be to remove embarrassing and damaging search results from sites like Google. They gave themselves a week to try to expunge unwanted online mentions, using three real-life examples as test cases: First, a recent college graduate with a distinctive last name would like to get rid of an entry on someone else’s long-abandoned online journal. Next, a freelance writer is mistakenly identified as a movie critic on Rotten Tomatoes, and doesn’t want her byline juxtaposed next to the word “rotten.” Last, an IT professional who gave a quote to Computerworld in an interview seven years ago that included a salty phrase. So who’s reputation is now clean?


LowKey Stand February 5, 2008

Posted by farshadf in Art.
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2008-1-31keystand.jpgLooking to streamline the look of your desk? The LowKey Stand lets you hide away your keyboard and add some functionality to your desk.

The brushed metal would complement any Mac setup and the four port USB hub lets us rationalize that we may actually need this for more than aesthetic reasons. As soon asMacessity’s site recovers from the traffic (we can’t get back on the site), we’re heading over and buying one of these for our desktop. And, unlike most cool Mac-centric products, this one would work well with any monitor.

Buy it here for $60.(Via: CrunchGear)

Robots accountable for war crimes? January 22, 2008

Posted by farshadf in Interesting.
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Annalee Newitz over at io9 raises an interesting ethical question when she asks, “Will we hold robots accountable for war crimes?”

Here’s a bit of her post:

This isn’t idle speculation. An automated anti-aircraft cannon’s friendly fire killed nine soldiers in South Africa last year, and computer scientists speculate that as more weapons (and aircraft) are robot-controlled that we’ll need to develop new definitions of war crimes.

So how will justice be served in these cases? Presumably, we’ll punish a guilty robot by smashing it flat or refabricating it into a Kia Sportage owned by someone who commutes into DC.


But who else would we punish, especially if these robots are autonomous? The programmer who came up with the algorithm? And would the programmer, in turn, try to prove a software glitch caused by the manufacturer? Of course, this is the same question raised when 2001: A Space Odyssey hit screens almost forty years ago and more recently in the Will Smith vehicle I Robot.

If you want to weigh into this issue on the ground floor you should make it a point to attend the Technology in Wartime conference. Your conference fee even gets you a free T-shirt (bonus).

(Gouge: CM)

(Photos: iRobot’s Bomb Disposal robot in action, courtesy iRobot; Capture from film “I Robot” starring Will Smith, courtesy 20th Century Fox)

Electronic Contact Lenses Give Future You Crazy Eyesight January 18, 2008

Posted by farshadf in Interesting.
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Researchers at the University of Washington managed to embed an electronic circuit and LEDs directly into contact lenses, which seemed to look good on rabbit eyes. Though the circuit is not functional and the lights don’t light up, the development shows that future applications like direct video to the eye may indeed be possible.


Four waterfall sculptures installed in New York City January 18, 2008

Posted by farshadf in Art.
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thumb463x_waterfall1.jpgWhile this image of a gigantic waterfall cascading down from beneath the Brooklyn Bridge looks like some wacky photoshop, it’s actually something that’s being installed this summer. A new art project will have four waterfall sculptures installed in New York City from mid-July to mid-October, spewing water from heights of 90 to 120 feet, or about as high as the Statue of Liberty The installations will cost about $15 million to put in place, but they’re expected to bring in over $55 million in tourist revenue. Because hey, nothing says “road trip” like going to see a freestanding waterfall in the middle of the East River. Which is where all of the waterfalls will be: one in the river under the Brooklyn Bridge, the other three just freestanding scaffolds in the middle of the river. Personally, I’m pretty excited about this as I see the Brooklyn Bridge every day as my train goes over the Manhattan Bridge and I’m always on the lookout for things to stare at so I can avoid eye contact with other people. Here’s to ambitious public art installations actually being funded and created!   

Share Files Over the Internet from Your Computer with HFS January 11, 2008

Posted by farshadf in Uncategorized.
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Windows only: Freeware application HFS (HTTP File Server) makes it dead simple to run a server to share files from your computer over the web. All you have to do is run the application on the computer with files you want to share, then selectively pick files or directories you want to allow access to. In addition, you can even upload files to your HFS server from elsewhere. You’ll need to set upport forwarding for port 80 on the computer running HFS and then either remember your public IP address (which may change) or assign a name to your home server (for free) so it’s easy to remember. HFS is freeware, Windows only, and weighs in at a svelte 550KB. HFS Advanced mode even supports user accounts.

Steal Music From Any Shared iTunes Library January 11, 2008

Posted by farshadf in Uncategorized.
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Windows/Mac only: Freeware application ourTunes downloads music from any shared iTunes library on your network to any folder on your computer. There’s a good chance you’ve heard of ourTunes (or a similar app, myTunes) before, as it used to be the go-to app for sharing music with your peers using your iTunes library, but every time Apple updated iTunes, ourTunes would die another death. Well, it’s back, and it works with iTunes 7. I hadn’t used ourTunes in a while, and things seemed to be working differently, so to get you up and running, here’s how it works.

First you’ll want to download the ourTunes.jar file from the Save OurTunes web site. If it’s not already installed, you’ll also need to download and install Java on your computer.

Now fire up iTunes and ourTunes on your computer. Before you go any further, I’d recommend choosing a download folder for all that music you’re about to download. Done? Then let’s move ahead.

If there are other computers on your network, you’ll see them start popping up in the ourTunes (and iTunes, for that matter) sidebar. In ourTunes, click on the name of the library you want to download music from. ourTunes will work a little magic, creating a duplicate entry for this shared library in your iTunes sidebar. Click on the duplicate library in iTunes, let it load the library, and then you’re ready to go.

So how do you download songs? Easy—just play the song in iTunes and ourTunes will start sucking down the file to the folder you chose above. It downloads quickly, so you don’t have to listen to the entire song before moving to the next. Generally songs just take a few seconds to land on your desktop.

The world’s tallest elevator testing tower January 3, 2008

Posted by farshadf in Interesting.
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The world’s tallest elevator testing tower has just opened in Inazawa City, Japan, and is named Solae. Why would you build a tower just to test elevators? Because the world’s tallest buildings (including Taipei 101, which I rode in last year) have a need to install elevators that take you from floor 1 to floor “high” really fast. Solae will be used by Mitsubishi to test their latest drives, gears and cables in a controlled environment instead of say, a mall in downtown Tokyo. If Mitsubishi can lift me 100 stories in a minute, they can figure out a way to build a better looking Galant. [BBC]

Moscow’s Crystal Island January 3, 2008

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Moscow’s rapidly growing skyline will soon feature an eye-popping new addition: Crystal Island, which will be the world’s biggest building when completed. Sir Norman Foster’s mountainous 27 million square feet spiraling “city within a building” will cost $4 billion and it is scheduled to be built within next 5 years.

The Crystal Island will be Lord Foster’s second large scale project in the Russian capital, and his third new building design that resembles a volcano (we’re talking about his two mountainous buildings in Astana, Kazakstan). Although many people are calling this design the ‘Christmas Tree’ of Moscow – we can’t help but be reminded of the utopian and also rather volcanic X-Seed 4000 design for Tokyo. Unlike that pipe-dream project, however, Foster has a track record of getting buildings built, so the likelihood is high that we will see this striking structure towering over the Kremlin within 5 years time.

75-Story Skyscraper New York’s MoMA November 19, 2007

Posted by farshadf in NYC.
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Jean Nouvel unveiled his design for The Tower at 53rd West 53rd Street this weekend. As well as the now-obligatory apartments and seven-star swank-hotel, the 75-story glass-and-steel structure will have three floors dedicated to housing the overflow collection of the neighbouring MoMA. Check the gallery below to see what the skyscraper, whose construction is expected to begin some time next year, is expected to look like.