Wednesday, June 29, 2005
What Happens to BitTorrent After Grokster?
Law professor Mark Schultz has written an examination of what the US Supreme Court's ruling on Grokster might mean for BitTorrent. He says, "BitTorrent and its creator, Bram Cohen, should be just fine. Some services that use BitTorrent to promote infringing file sharing for commercial gain, like the now defunct Suprnova.org, are most likely in trouble." He also goes on to address the new trackerless BitTorrent and BitTorrent search here.
[Via Declan McCullagh]
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
The Loud Report: The New Pornographers, "Twin Cinema"
Oh snap, how long has it been since I was supposed to file one of these? And how long has the greatest power-pop band in existence had a sneak track out from the album that still isn't even out for another two months, without me telling you people about it? Damn.
The Virtual Planet Explorer
A European Union program has helped several European partners to develop the Virtual Planet (or V-Planet) software, which will enable its users to browse and interact in three dimensions with any part of our planet, according to IST Results.
"Using Vplanet Explorer, anyone can set off on a journey to discover new regions in 3D, rather than staring at a flat map and trying to picture its scenery," says Eric Martin, coordinator of the IST project. The software can also be used for technical simulations and has already been used by both Airbus and Boeing.
It should be available this summer for about 10,000 euros (about $12K). Besides other details and references, this overview contains several pictures of simulations using V-Planet.
Toddlers Sing With RUBI
At the University of California - San Diego (UCSD), two robots are attending nursery school to teach songs, colors and shapes to one- and two-year old children.
QRIO (for "Quest for Curiosity") from Sony, and RUBI (for "Robot Using Bayesian Inference"), developed at the Machine Perception Laboratory of UCSD, are there to study the uses of interactive computers for early childhood education. "RUBI is a three foot tall, pleasantly plump robot with a head and two arms. It stands on four non-motorized rubber wheels for moving it easily from place to place."
Preliminary results show that the children like the robots, and even hug them -- until they're bored. Read more for other details, references and pictures of RUBI.
Monday, June 27, 2005
US Supreme Court Rules Against Grokster in File-Sharing Case
In a unanimous decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled today that file-sharing services can be held liable for theft of copyrighted music and movies -- Wired News has the AP report. The Supreme Court's full 55 page ruling is available here (PDF). Writing for the court, Justice David Souter said: "We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by the clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties."
Saturday, June 25, 2005
A proposal to use gaming consoles for distributed programs
X-Box Addict proposes using the XBox 360 and Playstation 3 as platforms for distributed computing. The XBox already has a networked environment with XBox live.
The proposal suggests that the wasted cycles of the new units could be better applied to projects like Folding @ Home. An effort to bring the gaming console world into the distributed group would serve two purposes. First, it would bring exposure to the projects that haven't seen much media play lately. Second, it has the possibility of generating millions of new cycles to solve some of the world's thorniest questions if advertised correctly.
This Robot Understands You in Noisy Environments
The Japanese Humanoid Robotics Project has produced the HRP-2 robot, which is known for dancing and preserving Japanese culture. But now, the HRP-2, which is about 1.6 meter high and weighs about 60 kilograms, can hear humans and understand them with its sophisticated software and hearing equipment. It uses an array of microphones consisting of eight omnidirectional microphones mounted around the robot's head.
Stable speech recognition is obtained by combining information from the microphone array and a camera also mounted on its head, and by isolating and eliminating noises, even from your TV.
These hearing capabilities are essential "for helping humans to communicate with robots in real environments by 2025." Read more for other details and pictures of HRP-2.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
London Air Pollution Warnings Via SMS
Thanks to a program called YourAir, thousands of people suffering from asthma and other breathing problems living in Central London will soon be able to be alerted of peaks of pollution by text messages sent to their cell phones.
This program, which soon will be extended to other areas in London, has been developed with the help of the European Space Agency (ESA). Currently, YourAir uses air quality forecasts provided by satellites as well as information coming from local traffic roads.
And it should soon incorporate more European regional data, as it becomes obvious to ESA researchers that a peak of pollution in London might have originated in the Ruhr Valley in Germany -- or even in Italy. Here are additional comments and references.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Google developing online payment system
Reuters reports that Google is devleoping an online payment system, but the company's CEO says it's not trying to compete with PayPal. Chief Executive Eric Schmidt would only tell Reurters that "[t]he payment services we are working on are a natural evolution of Google's existing online products and advertising programs, which today connect millions of consumers and advertisers." No word yet on when this mystery service will actually be available.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Geist on Canada's New Copyright Reform Bill
Following his post on the introduction of Canada's new copyright reform bill, which some have compared to the American Digital Millenium Copyright Act, law professor Michael Geist has begun a Bill C-60 User Guide, first looking at the bill's effect on ISPs and search engines. More entries are promised in the weeks ahead.
Monday, June 20, 2005
The 11 Layers of Citizen Journalism
Journalism site Poynter Online has an article about "The 11 Layers of Citizen Journalism: A resource guide to help you figure out how to put this industry trend to work for you and your newsroom" including how to use citizen reporting on a wiki. Handy information.
NASA's New 'Nanosatellite' Systems
In NASA's language, a nanosatellite-class system is a small spacecraft, but it is not a nanotechnology-based device. In fact, its new 'Mini AERCam' robotic cameras are small, free flying vehicles capable of performing inspection and viewing missions in space.
But these spherical-shaped cameras have a diameter of 7.5 inches and weigh about 10 pounds. These cameras are designed to help astronauts and ground crews see outside the spacecraft during a mission. During human space flights, like the ones of the International Space Station (ISS), their use will suppress the need for astronauts to walk in space.
And these cameras, tested on the ground today, should be soon deployed in space to watch human-based missions in space. This overview contains more details and pictures about the Mini AERCam external features.
'Smart' Textiles for Solar Sails?
The European Space agency (ESA) launched its Innovation Triangle Initiative in March 2004. The goal was to speed up the turnaround time from an idea to a product by creating a close collaboration between inventors and developers. Today, 27 space projects have been validated, "pioneering technology to explore other planets."
One of these projects is focused on smart new textiles, designed to be the basic building blocks of large structures to be deployed in space, such as future solar sails. This overview contains more details about this project, including pictures of jackets you're not about to wear anytime soon.
Holographic Movies For Your TV
A team of researchers at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center has developed the first true, three-dimensional, holographic movies. These movies should appear on a screen near you in about a decade.
For the moment, the initial markets for this holographic television system will be in medical visualization and military applications. The system is based on regular digital light processing (DLP) micro-mirror chips, but there is a twist. Instead of using regular lights, the researchers are using laser lights, which are using a unique wavelength.
And they feed the chip with interferograms coming from regular 3-D imaging applications. This unique combination leads the micro-mirrors to project a 3-D moving image that appears suspended in air, like a 3-D hologram. Read more today, or wait until 2020...
A 'Misty' Screen You Can Walk Through
In this article, Nature describes a technology invented by a Finnish company named FogScreen. But don't let you be fooled by the name, the images are not blurry, even if the screen is made of water.
You can even walk through the screen without feeling wet because the company uses 'dry' fog made of plain water without any chemicals added. The idea behind the technology is similar to the one used by laser shows for musical events.
And the real beauty of this innovation is its ease of use. You just replace your conventional screen by a FogScreen, and you're all set. This overview contains more details and references about this screen and the technology behind.
Friday, June 17, 2005
The Loud Report: Dosh, "You Can't Make Me Cry"
I'll venture a generalization and say that, as indie instrumental hip-hop producers go, the ones signed to Anticon tend not to sound like they could back a car commercial. That's starting to change, but, well, long story short: I heard a track by Dosh on the Res DVD this month, over some motion-graphics house's demo reel. (Hey, free band name for you - the Motion Graphics.) It had all the quirks, richness and originality that make up the Anticon pedigree, but yeah, it still sounded like it belonged on that demo reel. And did I mention it was dope? Anyway, that track's not here, nor is anything else from his latest release Pure Trash. So instead, take an enjoyable step back into the history of post-rock-influenced four-track electronica, with "You Can't Make Me Cry." As befits Dosh's history with Minneapolis' indie-folk turntablism outfit Fog, it's highly textured and noisy, and just as highly musical. It makes me really excited to check out Pure Trash, if that means more of the same with fatter beats.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Microsoft censoring Chinese blogs
BBC News reports that Microsoft is censoring users of its MSN Spaces blog service in China, blocking words like "freedom", "democracy", and "demonstration". According to the BBC, Microsoft's response is that they abide by the laws, regulations and norms of each country it operates in.
Saturday, June 11, 2005
'RealityFlythrough' Delivers Ubiquitous Video
Computer scientists from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) have developed a wireless application for ubiquitous video dubbed 'RealityFlythrough.'
By mixing images and video feeds from mobile cameras, the application dynamically creates a 3D virtual environment that remote viewers can explore. The software has already been tested by emergency response teams during the simulation of a terrorist attack. They had head-mounted wireless video cameras and GPS devices, and the control center was able to virtually explore the site of the disaster.
This technology could also be used for virtual tourism or virtual shopping, but one of the researchers had a 'cool' idea, delivering a driving experience on the Web. Instead of looking at a set of instructions telling you to turn left or right, imagine if you could 'fly' the drive before doing it. This overview contains other details, references and pictures.
Friday, June 10, 2005
The Loud Report: Elephone, "Chump Change"
So I was listening to the radio on the way back into work - yeah, I listen to the local commercial alt-rock station, they're improving - and they were broadcasting live from their big festival concert. A local band opened the small stage, and I recognized them as having opened, forgettably, for Elephone at a show I went to. When they came backstage for an on-air interview, they absentmindedly said there weren't any other local bands they were into (yeah, that'll win you friends), then hastily added that a great one was Elephone - "they do a different thing from us, but yeah." So, yes, Elephone is a different thing from forgettable. I'm glad they have posted "Chump Change" at long last, because it illustrates all the pieces of what they do - prog drama, John Hughes-ish '80's pop, and post-punk freaking out all over the place. They often sound balanced on the precipice between sounding rigid/cold, and lighting up into the aforementioned out-freaking... which makes them positively electrifying to see live. But if you're not in SF, you will just have to buy their stuff.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Supercomputing Center Reconstructs Car Accidents
Researchers at the Center for Computational Research (CCR) of State University of New York at Buffalo have developed a visualization software which allows to simulate traffic in three dimensions. The results can be displayed to urban planners or audiences at public hearings, showing them how a proposed project will affect traffic in their neighborhoods.
This traffic-simulation software, Streetscenes, is also used to reconstruct street accidents. The software analyzes the data involved to compute the unknown variables, such as vehicle speeds and changes in velocities, and delivers its results as 3D animations which can be shown to juries, lawyers and insurance companies.
This overview contains more details and references, and includes many links to pictures and animations.
Monday, June 06, 2005
Play Music By Driving on a Virtual Road
Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) have designed an interface for non-musicians to play music. This interface, part of the Expression Synthesis Project (ESP), is based on the fact that more people know how to drive a car than an orchestra.
In "Baby, you can drive my song," the researchers explain how they converted real musical scores into digital virtual roads. Then using a steering wheel and foot pedals, you 'drive' on this road to interpret the piece of music, becoming a real maestro.
Such a system should be demonstrated in a public exhibit by 2008 and become available to everyone in the same time frame. This overview contains more details and references and pictures about this innovative human computer interface.
When the US Air Force Wanted to Send Spies in Space
In a room that was locked for more than thirty years at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, NASA recently found suits for space spies. The long-forgotten training suits were in good shape, not even eaten by rodents.
These suits should have been worn by fourteen astronauts participating in the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program. The goal of this program, initiated during the Cold War era, was to put a manned reconnaissance station in space. The U.S. Air Force wanted to send two men in a Gemini capsule for 40 days to look over U.S. enemies.
But when the program was abandoned in 1969, the suits were lost -- for 35 years. This overview contains many more details, references and pictures about this abandoned spying project.
Sunday, June 05, 2005
Rushkoff on HDTV
Over on his blog, Douglas Rushkoff considers some of the implications of HDTV.
My main reaction is that it's weird.
McLuhan considered TV a "cool" medium, in that it required the participation of the audience to resolve those blurry black and white pixels into a real image. While film and radio enjoyed higher fidelitiy, and constituted hot media, TV was cool - and invited the cynicism and objectivity of distance.
HDTV is anything but cool, in that sense. It's crisper and more resolved than the prints of some movies I've seen. The characters are no longer the iconic, comicbook-like figures of regular TV, but - broadcast in such detail - they look like human beings. In many cases, that makes them a lot tougher to embrace.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Wireless In-Body Communications Systems Are Coming
According to Reuters, a Canadian company, Zarlink Semiconductor, has developed a wireless chip for medical implants to be used for in-body communication systems. With such a chip, a pacemaker could wirelessly be monitored by a doctor or an hospital several miles away. The company thinks there are many other applications for the chip, such as in implanted blood glucose meters, which control insulin for diabetics.
This is possible because the chip is sleeping most of the time, waiting for wake-up calls from a base station located far away. This allows the chip to use only 20% of the power needed by previous systems while sending much more data when awake. This overview contains more details about this promising new technology and a diagram showing how it works.
The 'Bugbot,' a Robot with Six Legs and a Camera
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that a robot combined with a swallowable camera could give doctors a better look inside the small intestine. This medical robot, dubbed 'bugbot,' is being developed at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in its NanoRobotics Laboratory. It will transmit thousands of images during its trip inside yourself with its embedded camera.
With the six legs attached to the microrobot, CMU researchers want to give more control to camera operators, such as coming back to a suspected lesion. This robot should be ready for human inspection within 2 to 3 years and opens the way for future nanorobots. This overview contains more details about this project.
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Ubisoft resists EA takeover
BBC News reports that French game maker Ubisoft (of Splinter Cell and Prince of Persia fame) is fighting off an attempted takeover by Electronic Arts, the world's biggest games company. Last December, EA bought a 20% stake in Ubisoft and just last month Ubisoft's Yves Guillemot told its company's shareholders to hold on to their stocks to try to keep the company independent. There's been loads of consolidation in the video game industry in recent years, but this would be a big deal even by those standards.
to our RSS feed:
january 26, 2006
Telephone Repair Handbook
Mark Pesce & Angus Fraser
In a three-part feature, Mark Pesce
and Angus Fraser propose a complete rethinking of a technology that
everyone depends on: the telephone.
may 30, 2005
Burgess: The Mindjack Interview
Melanie McBride recently caught up with Broken Saints creator Brooke
Burgess to talk about long form Flash and the way of this Broken Saints
may 13, 2005
is Good? How Battlestar Galactica Killed Broadcast TV
by Mark Pesce
the first part of a two-part article, Mark Pesce looks at how a re-visioned
70s camp classic changed television forever.
may 21, 2005
is Good? Part Two: The New Laws of Television
by Mark Pesce
the final part of a two-part article, Mark Pesce lays out some new rules
for television, which he says are good for everyone unless you're
february 01 , 2005
Future of Money
by Paul Hartzog
Paul Hartzog examines the changing nature of money and what might be in
store for the currency of tomorrow.
november 05, 2004
Without Borders: Digital Culture and Decentralization
by Paul Hartzog
Hartzog rethinks sociologist Saskia Sassen's idea of the Global City and
how it may or may not apply to digital culture.
august 31, 2004
Ads Invade Gamespace
by Tony Walsh
do you get when you cross the world's most measurable medium with the
world's most immersive medium? Video games peppered with Internet-style
banner-ads. This new method of marketing allows measurable demographic
data to be collected from the elusive online gaming community, targeting
dynamically-downloaded advertisements at specific demographics. The promise
of a new revenue stream is obviously attractive to advertisers and game
publishers, but will the idea win over gamers?
july 20, 2004
Gaming's Quiet Revolution
by Tony Walsh
Today's avatars in massively multiplayer environments like
Second Life are giving their users the gift of expression and infusing
games with something more, soul.
june 25, 2004
by J.D. Lasica Reports
collaborative work tools and the drawbacks of social software took center
stage at this year's Supernova. The third annual tech-in-the-workspace
conference "Where the decentralized future comes together!"
drew more than 150 technology thought leaders, software startup CEOs and
other heavy hitters (alas, fewer than 20 of them women) to the Westin
Hotel in Santa Clara, Calif., on June 24-25.
may 24, 2004
Digital Radio Be Napsterized?
by J.D. Lasica
Recording Industry Association of America has discovered that digital
radio broadcasts can be copied and redistributed over the Internet. The
so the RIAA, the music business's trade and lobbying group, has asked
the Federal Communications Commission to step in and impose an "audio
broadcast flag" on certain forms of digital radio.
may 17, 2004
by Mark Pesce
the earliest days of television, writers like George Orwell in 1984
and Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451 projected television as the
instrumentality of a totalitarian future - a monolithic entity dispensing
propaganda. And, if any of you occasionally watch Fox News, you can see
they weren't that far off the mark. But here's the thing: the monolithic
days of television are numbered. Actually, they've already passed - though,
as yet, very few people realize this.
april 19, 2004
Blogging, Equality, and the Future
the mainstream media's interest in blogging at a fever pitch, Mindjack's
Melanie McBride takes a critical look at the future of blogging and talks
to some of the bloggers trying to shape it.
april 12, 2004
Copyright Law and its Challengers
A profile of Jed Horovitz and his documentary Wilfull
Infringement, about his struggles with Disney over copyright laws,
and other individuals who have run into similar problems in their creative
march 11, 2004
Is Nothing Sacred?
Digital Music for a Digital Age
by Ian Dawe
nothing sacred?" This was the rallying cry, some years back, concerning
sampling. Pioneered by the fledgling hip-hop artists, with its roots in
music concrete, sampling is the art of extracting snippets of music from
other recordings and re-assembling them into a new piece, usually based
around some kind of electronic beat. Theft, it was called. Another phrase
applied to it was "art".
december 12, 2003
by Donald Melanson
software is the latest "next big thing" to get technophiles
excited and VCs interested. What exactly it is, few can describe.
In some respects, it is nothing new at all, but rather a means of connecting
and defining previously disparate elements. Mindjack editor Donald Melanson
takes a look at one group that has taken this idea and run with it, before
the idea ever had a name: film and DVD enthusiasts.
october 29, 2003
Variables for Understanding Online Communities
by Andrea Baker and Bob Watson
article is an attempt to discuss some of the qualities that define virtual
communities. It is a work in process, an exploration. The twelve variables
we've selected are most likely not all that exist, just the ones we find
most important in our thinking right now. These variables struck us as
important ways in which communities are differentiated despite the type
of software chosen to carry a given community.
october 29, 2003
by Nicholas Carroll
was puzzled the first time I read about "knowledge management." How can
you manage knowledge -- much less shuffle it around an organization --
when knowledge is a construct in an individual mind? People in information
science and neurobiology were of the same opinion: you can manage information,
but not knowledge. Knowledge is something that lives between your ears.
It has to be reduced to information to be organized, stored, and transmitted."
september 18, 2003
The Myth of Fingerprints
newest contributor, Ian Dawe, examines the history of identification technology,
from passwords to fingerprints to DNA.
The Trouble with e-Voting
is one of those things Iíve been dreading for several years. Since it
first became a technological possibility, the thought of all of the security
risks involved has been swarming in my head like a hornetís nest. On the
surface, it sounds like a beautifully democratic thing Ė each person anywhere
in the world just needs to get him or herself to a computer in order to
vote. But when one puts together the current legal ramifications and the
technological flaws, itís actually rather scary.
Have iPod, Will Travel
reviews the iTrip FM Transmitter for the iPod from Griffin Technology.
Alexander on The Matrix Reloaded
to The Matrix faces a series of challenges. It must satisfy, then exceed
its audiences appetite for imaginative fight scenes. It needs to
work with the science fiction concept of split-level reality, going further
without undoing the premise. Fidelity to an ambitiously defined alternate
world isnt crucial, yet unlike the situation of the Star
Wars and Lord of the Rings movies. However, a sequel is bound to plumb
the first movies underworld of technological fear and cultural theory
riffing. The Matrix: Reloaded attempts all of these, but diffuses, throwing
itself into an open, unsettled finale
may 26, 2003
examines the online, interconnected groups of people that you turn to
for advice on music, art, fashion, books, etc., and the broader implications
of these taste tribes.
may 05, 2003
Outside The MUD
CEO Stewart Butterfield on the Game Neverending
Sugarbaker talks to Stewart Butterfield about his company's take on massively-multiplayer
march 21, 2003
State of Digital Rights Management
Bryan Alexander reports from the
Berkely DRM Conference.
February the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology held a conference
to demonstrate and push the limits of DRM. For a sunny weekend in northern
California, representatives of computer science, entertainment, media
companies, Congress, the FTC, European copyright law, and the occasional
cypherpunk, offered their versions of DRM, while holding each other's
notions up to fierce scrutiny.
march 21, 2003
Two Degrees of Separation
In an entirely
unscientific study, Sarah examines the uncanny social connections that
sprout from the Silicon Valley populus.
march 10, 2003
Machine Than Flesh
essay of Rodney Brooks' Flesh and Machines: How Robots Will Change
february 17, 2003
reputation management" is reminiscent of the political term "spin control."
But the Internet is not traditional media, and opportunities for controlling
one's reputation are quite different – in theory unlimited, but in practice
limited by an almost inherent lack of focus, and the countervailing weight
of mainstream media.
november 04, 2002
The Internet Archive
away in one of the seediest neighborhoods of San Francisco is a roomful
of over two hundred computers with a terabyte of data stored on every
october 28, 2002
The Transmetropolitan Condition
An Interview with Warren Ellis
has never been a better time to read the work of comic book legend Warren
Ellis. From the formulaic pornography of news coverage to the on-going
ineptitude of our world "leaders", Ellis delivers an intelligent and savagely
funny antidote to global idiocy. The creator of Transmetropolitan, Planetary
and Global Frequency talks to Mindjack about his work, our times and the