“Choice” – RSAnimate with Renata Salecl

Just watched an interesting RSAnimate with Renata Salecl on the topic of the results of overwhelming choices in contemporary capitalism. My thoughts after the break…

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Bonnier R&D Proof of Concept Digital Magazine

Now all we need is an affordable, beautiful, touschscreen tablet to implement these ideas…

Mag+ from Bonnier on Vimeo.

Gmote on the MyTouch 3G and an Ubuntu 9.10 HTPC

Finally got a chance to play around with Gmote on my MyTouch 3G running Android 1.6. Installed the Android app a couple of months ago and then never set it up on any of my desktops. This afternoon I installed Gmote server on my custom HTPC hooked up to my Samsung HDTV. It’s running Ubuntu 9.10. I’m writing this post on the beautiful 1080p 42″ screen, as a matter of fact.

I downloaded the server tarball from the Gmote website and ran the shell script to start and setup the server. It didn’t run the first time. Ended up having to install the latest JRE – no big deal. Ran the script again and the server started up prompting for a password to be created and to tell the server where my media files were. The server uses VLC to access and play media files on the host machine. I’m less interested in that functionality. The thing I was interested in is the remote mouse access functionality. Essentially you make the phone touchscreen into a remote touchpad for the server. Sweet.

I turned on wifi on the MyTouch and fired up the Gmote client software. If you’re on the same network the software will go out and find the server on the default port number (8889). If you need to access it across the 3G network you can port forward that port from your router. I’ve already got another PC setup as a DMZ and I’m not doing any other port forwarding. The only downside for the wifi for me is the battery that the wifi radio eats on the phone. Pretty cool little piece of code. Now I can sit in my recliner and control the machine from 10 feet away, which is good, ’cause that’s where I left my Bushmills…

Frakencamera or Camera 2.0

Marc Levoy and his graduate students at Stanford are creating an open source camera platform for researchers in digtital photography and computational photography to write code on top of. Proprietary cameras make it difficult or impossible to write custom software to take advantages of new advances in fields like computational photography.

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Asus Eee Color E-Reader

Wired’s Gadget Lab has a story today about new specs that are trickling out about the upcoming release of Asus’ color e-reader. It’s an unbelievable set of technical specifications with an even more unbelievable price tag. According to rumors, the Eee E-Reader will have two color touchscreens and will be about the size of a hardcover book. In addition, it will have a webcam and microphone for accessing Skype. According to the source of the leak, all this will go for approximately $165! I ain’t holding my breath on that one… Even at a higher price the device looks to be a fantastic offering. I might have to retire my aging Sony PRS-500. 2010 is going to be good year to buy an e-reader.

Just One Word: Plastic

There have been a couple of tech news reports in the last week that focus on new plastic technologies, especially for eBook/Reader applications.

An article in the IEEE Spectrum, “Inside the Plastic Electronics Revolution“, outlines the work that Plastic Logic has done in developing plastic-based electronics. These cheap and low-power polymer-based transistors are perfect for applications like eBook reader devices and interactive signage.

Arizona State University has recently shown prototypes for flexible active matrix displays. The technology was funded by military grant programs and early devices will be used there first. The representative from ASU’s Flexible Display Center believes consumer applications may be available as soon as 18 months. According to the press release, the “electrophoretic” screens are lightweight and consume only a fraction of the power of a typical LCD.

Very cool stuff just over the horizon.

arc90’s Readability Bookmarklet

If you’re like me, you do a lot of reading online. Unfortunately, often much of the page is taken up by superfluous and sometimes distracting clutter. Here’s a simple little tool that works on some (but not all) pages to help make it a bit easier to read:


Click on the settings in Step 1 on the left side of the page to see which one suits you best in the example text below. Drag the link under Step 2 to your browser link bar or to your bookmarks. The link is a Bookmarklet, a bit of client-side JavaScript that performs a set of operations on the currently viewed page. If you want more information and explanation of this tool, check out arc90’s experiments page on it. Try it out!

WikiDashboard from PARC

Since it has become a popular destination for students, Wikipedia has had a special place in the hearts of faculty, and by that I don’t mean a nice and sunny place. It’s often argued that because it is freely editable by anyone and everyone, the overall quality of the articles is suspect. Perhaps this assertion is true, but it’s not one that has been shown conclusively to be true. And there are those that argue the exact opposite is in fact true.

Researchers at PARC have given us all a tool that might help us come to a better conclusion by providing what they call “social transparency” with respect to Wikipedia articles and their editors. Check out their really interesting work on the issue:


They’ve also included a quick start if you’re not exactly sure how it works.

The TechCrunch CrunchPad Prototype B

Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch just demoed the second prototype of their custom touchscreen tablet. After reading the article and checking out the videos of the prototype I found myself using Will Smith’s words in Independence Day, “I gotta get me one of these!” The tablet runs Ubuntu and the user interface is essentially a browser OS (it runs a custom version of Webkit). I love that you get a full 1024×768 resolution display, which is well-suited to web browsing. You can access all of your favorite sites including the Google suite of tools, Wikipedia, Hulu.com, and YouTube. The designers think they could produce this thing for about $300. Sign me up! I hope they move forward with production.

Check out the details and demo videos at Tech Crunch.

Antikythera Model Completed

A couple years ago, I wrote about the world’s earliest known computer, the Antikythera, finally being decoded as a result of X-Ray Tomography. Now two years later, Michael Wright, a former curator at the Science Museum in London, has built a working model of the device. I absolutely love that the Antikythera was finally cracked by an interested “amateur” – though this is probably a misnomer. In any case, Wright is clearly an extraordinary hardware hacker, rather than a research scientist. And I really love that he was able to do what many others have not. Here’s the article on Wired.com, which includes a video interview from New Scientist with Michael Wright.

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