Saturday, August 1, 2009

EA Booth Babe Bounty

I could hardly believe this post from Ars Technica. You can win prizes if you get a shot of yourself lewdly abusing an EA booth babe at the Comic Con in San Diego. As if they don´t have enough sweaty nerds to cope with already.

Joel Tenenbaum Loses RIAA Gets $625,000

Since fair use could not be argued in the case, even Harvard Law Professor Charles Nesson couldn´t defend against it. Joel testified to using P2P applications for illegal downloading and file sharing and now has to pay damages to the RIAA. Ars Technica has been covering the case and Nesson´s defence case and has the result of the case here.
Although I don´t condone illegal behaviour, RIAAs tactics of forcing individuals to pay disproportionate damages and bankrupting individuals, when the record companies have themselves failed to adapt their business models to take advantage of a new medium, I find unacceptable. In a recent post I commented on how people are using music downloads to discover new music and buy CDs, so the damages that are being claimed are not justifiable with their arguments of lost record sales. Although I remember the ¨piracy is killing music¨ campaigns of the 80s, I somehow don´t remember the humble cassette tape, the related fair-use rules and the individuals that used them being witch hunted in quite the same way. It is a shame that Nesson was not given the chance to present some refreshing arguments and bring the whole electronic media debate to a court of law.

Clippy´s Return: It Looks Like You´re Firing a Rocket

Just when you thought Clippy was dead and buried, DARPA are going to use similar technology for learning and automatically handling decisions in military applications. It is intended to take away some of the mundane tasks and decision like scheduling meetings and provide assistance in case of unexpected situations. Engadget reports that a spin-off application for the iPhone will be released for civilians, which sounds not unlike the internet agents that were going to be the next big thing 15 or so years ago. Is the time now ripe, will they provide an additional stimulus for the already successful mobile applications market and more importantly will the general public have more chance this time round of accepting an automaton romping around the net under their own ID?

Airbus Urges Replacement Pitots

The BBC reports on how the air speed sensors, or pitots should be replaced on all Airbus A330 planes with elements from a different manufacturer. Although the recent crash in the Atlantic is still under investigation, another recent incident involving bogus readings has prompted Airbus to issue the recommendation as precaution.

Men At Work Attacked By The Kookaburra

The BBC report on yet another plagiarism case exposed after a TV show in 2007, in which Men At Work are being taken to court over the use of the Kookaburra tune, a popular school rhyme written originally for the Girl Guides, in the flute riff of their 1981 hit Down Under. Although the band say the copyright was bought in 1990, the original publisher of the school tune has been granted approval for a court hearing by a federal judge.

Y! M!

After last year´s near miss, there is finally a deal between Microsoft and Yahoo regarding search and advertising, the BBC reports. Apparently they will be using Microsoft´s Bing search technology as a basis and Yahoo will share advertising revenue with Microsoft.
I´ve used MSDN on a few occassions and even though my terms can only possibly refer to a specific section, my first hits are always related to some other product group. So my prior experience with Microsoft search has not been positive and that coupled with Microsoft´s lack of innovation (everything they do is playing catchup on existing success stories), means I have little faith in the service. US regulators are of course also apparently watching the deal.

Wild Black Panther In Scotland

There are regular sightings in the UK of large cats in the wild, probably exotic pets that have been let loose. This one was filmed by a police officer working in the garden. If you look at how long it is compared to the width of the train tracks, this no ordinary domestic kitty.

Internet Innovation Under Threat

This summary from Science describes how the current internet trends are suppressing innovation. Since local applications and processing power becomes less important, people rely more on services in the cloud and are less likely to be creative and innovative at a local level. Although this is good for standardisation and robustness, the two-tier proposals for prioritising network traffic particularly move away from the original principals of information for allon which the web was based. Although I see an increasing trend in mobile applications, though many of them are simply presenting information served somewhere in the net rather than processing anything locally.

Cheese In Space

The BBC has a story about Somerset cheese makers launching cheddar into the upper atmosphere to celebrate 40 years since the first moon landing. Unfortunately the GPS stopped working and they can no longer track it. Watch out for flying cheese.

Milk Good For Children

The BBC reports a study which shows that children who given dairy products regularly as children have a reduced risk of stroke and that calcium can help reduce blood pressure. That might explain why the Dutch are so tall, that they regularly eat cheese and drink milk during lunch. I am also of a certain age that when I went to primary school, we would each get a carton of milk to drink in the mornings. This was one of the things that then education secretary Margaret Thatcher succeeded in cutting out to all but nursery and primary school children, so over 7s were out of luck. Looking at the state of the fried food kitchens in schools today, no wonder we have so many dietary problems.

Japanese Baseball Playing Robots

Outside the US, Japan stands out as one of the few countries that play baseball. Japanese researchers at the University of Tokyo have created robots that can bat and pitch baseballs with reasonable accuracy according to this report from USA Today. The next step is to add subtleties to the throws like curves.

Iced Coffee Same Calories As A Small Meal

The BBC reports that the popular Frappucinno style iced coffee drinks mostly contain at least 200 calories and some in excess of 400. That is apparently a quarter of a woman´s recommended daily intake. Cancer research organisations are trying to get people to reduce calory intake since obesity increases cancer risk.
They used to say that a pint of Guinness was equivalent to a small meal and looking around, a UK pint (20 fluid ounces) of this is about 200-250 calories. However it contains antioxidants, no fat, and has some protein value too. I´m damned sure you don´t get Frappucinnos by the pint, in which case the Guinness wins when it comes to a calorie controlled diet. Cheers!

Women Getting More Beautiful, Men Aren´t

Researches at the University of Helsinki have found that women in general are getting more beautiful over the generations, says The Times online. Attractive women tend to have more girls and pass on their beauty through their genes. For men this is not the case, since looks are less important to a mate than being able to care for and support a mother.
Although I can understand the arguments about procreation and agree that both and men and women can appreicate the beauty of a women, how many people are influenced by the fashion designer´s forced advertising of what they define as beautiful? Also, modern women are generally more independent and able to take care of themselves which was less common 50 years ago.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Samsung Star

Okay. This is a test go see just how easy it is to add new blog entries from my phone. Apparently you can add images too, so we'll try that and see: this one is from my day out in Amsterdam with my girlfriend yesterday. Some actors were dressed in traditionsl costumes from around the world, probably for an advertisement.

Nazi Gnomes Part II: Salute Not Illegal

More news surrounding a recent blog post on a gallery in Nuremberg displaying gnomes performing the infamous salute. The BBC reports that city officials agree the golden gnome is form of Nazi ridicule, so the artist is off the hook. However they warn against any copycat displays in the future.

German Man Gets Transplant Arms

The French had a premier a couple of years ago with the facial transplant. This story from the BBC describes how a man who lost his arms in a combine accident 7 years ago has received two new arms as a transplant, after he was unable to have artificial limbs. A good scratch was what he missed the most.