October 31, 2003
The personal portable server cont.
I have been thinking about a personal portable server. A couple I have seen lately are based on these USB flash memory devices, sometimes with a thumb print device. Most don't have software to truly sync, or enough capacity.
My friend Troy sent this which is a major step forward if it is made:
MetaPad is an ultraportable PC HD and CPU capable of docking to any number of input or display devices. The concept solves data synchronization problems, doesn't make you buy a brand new PC for your PDA, and is much more convenient than hauling a laptop or being limited to a handheld. Take the 3x5x.75" core, dock it anywhere.
I saw the initial announcement, then heard IBM wasn't going to develop it. http://www.research.ibm.com/resources/news/20020206_metapad.shtml
but these folks licensed MetaPad from IBM: http://www.antelopetech.com/en/index.aspx?view=i-products_theVision.htm
Having an ultraportable chassis (9"), a fat notebook chassis (16"), and a desktop chassis could hit mainstream affordability. The display is about half the cost of a laptop, so given $1100 laptops, we could see $500
(incremental cost) for a new form factor.
October 30, 2003
Mossberg reviews three digita music devices and services
The Mossberg Solution -- Personal Technology from The Wall Street Journal. The iPod, Dell and and Samsung offering. Good overview. I don't like any of them because they don't have an FM tuner. I need that in a digital music device. And the ability to play lots of formats. High capacity is not so important. 10 gig is enough.
New SPAM study
Pew Internet & American Life Project has produced a new SPAM study. Some may find some of the things surprising. Like the fact that 7% of respondents actually bought somehting from a SPAM. Who are these people? They can have my spam.
Here are the guys making the fastest electric car. AC Propulsion Home I hope they have a real business outside exotic cars. I would love one for $40K or so.
The history of bot baffling
I always wondered who dreamed up those distorted images that you have to get through to prove you are human. Here is the entire background... Scientific American: Baffling the Bots -- Anti-spammers take on automatons posing as humans
The World's fastest electric car
Now here is a car I could buy! Forbes.com: The World's Fastest Electric Car But at $220,000 I may wait for the consumer model. It has speed and range, something missing in most current electric cars. Read on to find how it achieves these innovations...
How do you lend money to friends?
Over the years on occasion I have lent money to different people. Sometimes family, sometimes friends. The general rule is to not do these kind of transactions due to the ramifactions to your personal relationship if the business relationship goes bad. My solution was pretty simple. Consider the money a gift. Consider it gone. If it ever came back, be happy. Never talk about it. If I couldn't afford to loose the money completely, don't make the loan. That strategy has worked well for me and allowed me to sleep and keep up relationships.
Now, there is a solution that may work better. Especially for people who actually want to believe they will get their money back some day. CircleLending | Home Page: Complete loan and mortgage document creation and servicing, including contract development, billing, and payment collection. Maybe I will try using this next time.
October 29, 2003
Found the place to buy performance stuff for Avalanche
Just down the road in Tacoma. G&M Honest Performance - Seattle's best source of performance parts and machine work!. The options are
1. Exhaust, cold air, and chip upgrade. About $1,000 and one day install.
2. Whipple Supercharger, 50% increase in torque and HP, about $4900 installed, two day install, 10 days out.
Hummmmmm how much power do I want?
Dr. Dan in Seattle delivers Biodiesel
Was reading the seattle times this weekend and ran across these guys. Dr. Dans Altenative Fuel Werks Someone who actually is doing something about delivering alternative energy today. They manufacture biodiesel which can be used in any diesel engine. Those who would rather buy a clean source than the further deplete the oil reserves can sign up. I wonder if that business is scalable?
Performance stuff for my Avalanche
OK, it has come time to upgrade the Avalanche. I am trying to decide how to get another 80-90 hp out of it. There is the chip, airbox, exhaust way or the supercharger way. This site has some great guides on how to do it. Performance Products - Your best source of parts and accessories for your Porsche car - Mercedes - Toyota - Jeep - Chevrolet - GMC - Ford Truck and SUV and more. I guess I could do both. But the issue is installation. Without a garage now, I need a local installer. Let me poke around for one.
October 28, 2003
here is the code to change you MT upload directory
So you can find it again. movabletype.org : Support Forum
Yes my blog is now my memory.
How to configure thumbnail image upload in MT
I have been hacking away trying to figure out how to get images in my blog. As you can see below, they are now working thanks to: Sniptools °| Tutorials | Thumbnailing with NetPBM and Movable Type. I found this VERY helpful tutorial by following a bunch of links. My ISP didn't have IMAGE:Magick, so I installed NetPBM and it was up in a jiffy.
testing netPBM image uplaoder
this is weird
October 27, 2003
You can now buy a Sipura VOIP eval unit!
Here is the site if you can't wait! Sipura Technology SPA-2000.
October 26, 2003
The coolest Gadget... Wheelman
I have been following these guys for a couple of years. Invented down in Australia. Wheelman. It is a powered offroad surfboard/skateboard thing. You stand inside the wheels and there is a handbrake. They are just starting to make them for the US. Gunna put my order in tomorrow...
Tim Bray promotes pay for e-mail (again)
there are many variations of "pay for e-mail and the spammers won't be able to keep up" tim bray revives another one. ongoing · Another Whack at Spam. This is being tawked about alot on Slashdot, but there is alot of emotion and not as much reality. One of the things that I do agree on though is that the "talking heads" won't solve the problem by some kind of industry agreement. The people need to have something easy to implement that they can implement themselves. Cloudmark is working on some interesting things in this area.
October 20, 2003
Ironport trying to gain street creed
One way for companies to gain credibility with the masses is to provide some kind of free service to the industry. Ironport is offering SenderBase. Basically a list of which ISPs and IP addresses are creating the most e-mail on the internet. I guess it is one piece of information that a mail administrator could use to verify senders.
The problem with so many of these one trick pony techniques to SPAM is that they are just that. And typically you need more than one approach. Or layers. For example, just because a domain is sending alot of e-mail doesn't mean it is spam. It could be a listserver. It could be any number of valid senders. The problem is multi-faceted, the solution needs to be too.
October 19, 2003
RIAA repeats failures in history and ignores market
There is a guy who has been writing here:RIAA Sequentially Repeating Edison's Mistakes about all the ways that the RIAA is repeating the mistakes of history. The most recent article is in response to the RIAA crackdown on DJ mixes in Independent record stores. The recording industry is taking a typical "consolidate at the top" approach to retailers. For example, the new CD wholesale prices from Universal are only available to the largest distributors who buy 30 or more CDs. The "street compilations" of local DJs are a staple of many small independent record stores profit margins. The record companies would rather have a few very large distribution partners that they can whip into submission.
Here is a personal example of how far they have screwed up their distrubution channel. Saturday I went to a new movie from a director I really like. The soundtrack was AWESOME. I like the guy and want to support his work, so I went to the record store to buy the soundtrack. Tower was out. So was Barnes and Noble. Amazon said three week delivery. Kaaza said about 15 minutes.
October 16, 2003
Canada gets into the music download business eh!
Always a follower, Canada is now here. NATIONAL POST And they matched the current $.99 per track industry pricing. But remember, this is Canadian! So buy your tracks and drugs across the boarder....
VOIP vendor Packet8 seems to be a favorite
I am just starting to research home VOIP systems. There is a good thread here lauding the virtues of Packet8. broadband » Forums » Voice over IP » 1st Day -Packet8. They seem to be the low price leader and the crowd favorite. In fact, our own Mark Price sent me a mail saying he uses them and is very happy.
I read a review in a magazing that looked at Packet8 and Vonage (I can't find it on-line) and the reviewer gave Vonage the nod for market leadership and features. Although it is higher price per month. I bet is really a packaging thing. Also I understand that Vonage uses SIP and that Packet8 uses a codec developed by parent 8x8. Although Packet8 does sell a SIP video phone.
What I want right now is just a dongle that I put in between my existing phone system and the broadband switch that lets me switch VOIP providers on the fly. I see a heavy price war a coming on the carrier side. I e-mailed the guys at SIPURA and asked when their open dongle would be available. They replied November. So I am going to probably wait till after Christmas to buy into the deal at home. There will be many more options then.
Case study for VOIP meets 802.11
Red Hering points to a case study where the University of Arkansas (yes that technology hub), took their monthly phone bill for intercampus calls from $530,000 to $6,000. RED HERRING | The Business of Technology The phone companies better be quaking in their boots.
The one dongle that may be useful
You see those USB hard drive dongles everywhere these days. I get them free at trade shows. I never understood who would really pay for just repackaged memory. There has to be more value. Now there is: Migo by Forward Solutions, Inc.. When you put some smarts on the memory, sync all important files and settings so that when you plug it into another computer it basically becomes your computer, now that is useful. Think about it. How many files do you normally use. I bet there is way less that 1Gig of files that I actually care about on my 60GIG drive. There are less than 200mb of files that I use in any one week. Lets see, would I rather carry an extra bag with a laptop and all the associated crap, or a little dongle on my keychain? Which is more likely to be stollen on a trip? Which costs more?
The Migo is definitely a 1.0 product. According to Rafe the thing doesn't sync all the stuff that you need (like network settings, VPN settings, IDs, passwords) and the first one he got didn't work, so he had to send it back.
There was actually a guy in my office three weeks ago from a different company with a prototype of a similar device that was still in R&D stage. His had a fingerprint reader like the next Migo is supposed to have. I would probably want that.
It will be interesting to see where this goes. I would buy one.
October 15, 2003
Photo book printing
I was talking to my friend Chris McQuarrie monday as we were shooting large calibre handguns over at Wades on Monday about digital photography. I was pining for an application that would let me print books with pictures and words from my digital pictures. He, being a MAC user of course recommended ilife from Apple. I need a PC version. Found it here: MyPublisher Home. Gunna try it today. Let you know how it goes....
Sipura VOIP adaptor looks cool
The way I want to implement VOIP in my home is basically to buy a little box that I can plug in my existing phones on one side and into my ethernet on the otherside. Then I go somewheres else and sign up for a VOIP carrier to carry my calls to where they need to go (another computer or another phone). The original guy who designed the leading dongle like this (cisco ATA-186) has started a new company called Sipura to make a Cisco killer. Feature-Packed Telephone Adaptor to be Released :: Voxilla.com :: A user's guide to the communications revolution. I can't wait to buy one...
The blowhard starts puffing about VOIP
Voxilla has an interview with: Internet "Bad Boy" Michael Robertson on the Future of Phones :: Voxilla.com :: A user's guide to the communications revolution
When I started Loudeye Technologies I was on a panel a couple times with Michael. A total blowhard who likes the spotlight over thinking deeply about a business. All hat and no trousers as they say in Texas.
I am interested in VOIP and how I can use it at home though. Look for more posts. I recently bought a lot on Queen Anne here in Seattle and hope to have a new house standing up in two years. It is an interesting exercise to try to pick systems for a house in two years. What do you do for phone? Connectivity? LAN? Security? Home monitoring?
October 13, 2003
The next TIVO
I have a TIVO that has revolutionized the way I watch TV. For example last night, I read a book instead of watchin Alias and The Practice, but I can watch those tonight and skip all the commercials! Now if you love Linux, there is a DVR that is built to hack. I get Rich orders one immediately. Device Profile: Dreambox DM7000 -- an open TV hacker's paradise
Missouri files first suits against Spammers
Well let's see if the laws work. Nixon files first suits under state's No Spam law - 2003-10-09 - St. Louis Business Journal. I am doubtful that laws like this will work because it is so easy to just move offshore or hide your identy through shell corporations. So the questions becomes who do you sue? In the end someone has to benefit from the e-mails though, usually the provider of goods or services being schlocked. If you made that person liable....
Poor man's Segway
Many people have been tracking my experence with my Segway here. A friend found this post: Building a Balancing Scooter It is basically a home-made Segway. It is self-balancing and has electric motors. It runs on a standard controller, tractor wheels, and some wheelchair parts. A couple of the parts were made for the battlebots hobbiest. I love finding tinkerers who do stuff like this. There is no market for this home-made one because it doesn't have even rudimentary safety features (like redundancy) that a commercial product needs, but it sure looks like fun! I bet one of the really cool things you could do with it is make it go as fast as you wanted! Something I am still trying to figure out with my Segway...
October 10, 2003
The power of the people in security
Most of you know my affinity with community based technology to solve complicated, distributed problems. Like Cloudmark for spam filtering. Well, take that concept into intrusions and you get myNetWatchman - Network Intrusion Detection and Reporting. Basically this is a community based IDS service. You sign up and contribute your firewall logs to the community. The central database tries to do a good job of filtering out false positives and tracking trends across the net. When something real is found, they go into pro-active mode with their customers (ISPs). I have seen a number of security consoles for the enterprise that do this for one organization, but this is the first community based one. I am sure there are more.
The RIAA should read more history
This professor at Wharton points out that the auto industry tried the "sue your customers" strategy 100 years ago to prevent them from buying "the upstart" Henry Ford's "unlicensed" cars. It didn't work then and it won't work now. Knowledge@Wharton -
3G radiation problems
My friend Mark Anderson (email@example.com) Strategic News Service - Home Page, in his recent newsletter has a very interesting piece on the potential issues with 3G base stations. I have put the entire section here with credit to Mark. He is absolutely right about one spooky aspect of airwave regulation, the fact that health effects are not even considered. He rightly points out that you are basically introducing a very large amount of new stuff into our environment without testing the consequences. If someone wanted to add something to the water supply, there would be endless hearings and studies. But the airsupply? The ionisphere? Just because you can't see or hear it, doesn't mean it can't kill you.
3G Base Station Radiation Issues
Having early predicted the biological dangers of 2G cellphones, we are now entering a new phase of interest and concern: as operators and users rush to new global 3G standards, will they be at risk for biological radiation effects?
Let's begin by noting the complete lack of any initiative taken by governments, almost universally, worldwide, on this and related issues. If I were to start a company whose business was to add a special secret sauce to U.S. drinking water, you can imagine how many minutes it would take until 50 government agencies were breathing down my neck. But exposing all U.S. citizens to the unknown potential effects of radiation is not cause for the slightest concern - or testing.
On that note, we can now thank the more rational Dutch for at least asking the question, as 3G users move into the millions. Specifically, we should note a report issued this week by the Dutch ministries of Economic Affairs, Health and Telecommunications, noting stastically significant negative (and positive) effects caused by exposure to radiation like that emitted by 3G cell towers.
The double-blind study, done by the Dutch technological institute TNO, found exposure to expected average levels of radiation caused tingling sensations, headaches and nausea, as well as boosting cognitive functions and memory. (Earlier work in England also found these "beneficial" results, together with radiative heating of brain tissue; it is possible that both of these benefits are directly proportional to the heating itself, and/or to related increased bloodflow.)
Summary: Here is what matters from this first study on 3G health effects:
1. The double-blind test produced statistically significant changes in users; no base station test has done this before. Therefore, 3G may warrant more attention than 2G, in terms of health effects.
2. The type of 3G examined was in the GSM standard; this group currently has the largest user base in the world, and therefore provides another reason for caution.
3. The modeling used presumed that base station exposure would be more constant in amplitude, and weaker, than exposure caused by 3G handsets. No studies have been done on 3G handsets, but if the lower levels of base station radiation received are problematic, this should be prioritized.
Prediction: We will now watch the cellular industry again do all it can to obscure and obfuscate, instead of improve designs, to assist in avoiding health problems. If you are a 3G phone user, you already know you should use an earmike. If you live near a tower about to be upgraded, you probably should have new concerns about negative physiological responses, at the least.
October 9, 2003
New SAN/FBI top 20 vulnerabilities
Read 'em and weep...SANS Top 20 Vulnerabilities - The Experts Consensus
New names for gigabytes
Turns out that the difference between base 10 and base 2 math is at the heart of much confusing in computing. Not so much for the computer scientists and geeks used to base 2 math, but more when it gets into the hands of the marketers who only understand (barely) base 10 math. For example, when you say a GigaByte of data, do you mean 1 000 000 000 B, (base 10 math) or do you mean 1 073 741 824 B (base 2 math)? Turns out hardware guys (marketers) mean the former and software guys (geeks) mean the later.
On of the upshots of this is a recent movement to change the names we call things so that base 2 and base 10 have their own unique names. Definitions of the SI units: The binary prefixes So a gigabyte GB would be 1 000 000 000 B (base 10) and we would have a new name gibibyte GiB which would be 1 073 741 824 B (base 2). It is about time.
now I can sleep
The mysteries of hard drive capacity
I recently have the joy of installing two spanking new 200gig hard drives into an extra tower system I have under my desk at home. Now this experience was fraught with lots of fun that only tech geeks like myself could love including long strolls through the BIOS, endless jumper position fiddling, multiple card slot swaps, various cable positions, and the ever joyous Windows configuration. Most of this happy work went along just fine (meaning it took a long time to do and was very complicated but intellectually rewarding with lots of "ah ha!" moments) with the notable exception that Windows only understood 120gigs of the 200gig drive. Never fear says the manufacturer, just download this little thing, reconfigure your BIOS, set a couple switches and all weill be well. All is well with one drive, but the other still looks small to windows.
A socially responsible angel group
I have a friend with a very interesting bicycle start-up who is raising money. The venture capital market is hard enough for traditional tech start-ups, for non-tech it is nearly impossible. An interesting resource for those types of deals could be: Investors Circle. A group of angel investors who want to balance financial, social and environmental issues. Could be an interesting idea.
October 8, 2003
E-mail the California Senator on SPAM
Senator Kevin Murray, firstname.lastname@example.org from Los Angeles wrote the new Californis anti-spam law that basically makes it illegal to spam Californians. Members Database
Wireless internet meets green energy
those crazy brits. Two of my favorite subjects together. iTrike: The World's First Solar-Powered Internet Rickshaw! Not so much a practical application, but a publicity stunt. We need more of these. Raise awareness of how to be cyberconnected, but earth-responsible at the same time.
October 7, 2003
More fun blog indexing
Just registered at: Blizg - The Blog Resource. looks like they are trying to get more people to use metadata. That is a good thing. Not sure how useful it is, other than allowing computers to understand more about a page than simply scraping the text. Structured data actually. Interesting effort.
Just changed my firewall
To Zone Labs Pro with Anonymizer. Zone Labs: Product Information. It has too many pop-ups right now (asking for permission to go to the internet), but I haven't really configured it yet. So far I really like it. It does seem though that some of the pop-up blocking functions may conflict with a pop-up blocker I already have.
I will do a full review of Anonymizer later. Initial impression is that it slows down web surfing signifantly. It basically routes all URL requests through their servers. This is kinda silly. Maybe the way they keep centrally updated a list of things to block and how they obfiscate the referrer, but the hit on performance is unacceptable. I currently have it turned off.
October 3, 2003
New draft of AMTP
On Sept 28, the new draft of AMTP, a secure alternatitive to SMTP was released. <a title="" href="http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-weinman-amtp-01.txt">AMTP draft 2.0</a> I still don't subscribe to the idea that you can change the mail protocol to solve the spam problem. I just think it is too engrained in the infrastructure and the upgrade would suck. Maybe there is a phase in approach. This group seems to be doing good work in the area though.
A twist on the Blog...
One cool thing about a Blog is that you can use it sort of like a memory. I have replaced my IE Favorites with the blog. I just post links here that I want to share with other people or even just ones I want to remember. One interesting twist on this is <a title="RAM" href="http://www.randomaccessmemory.org/">RAM</a>. They are trying to get people to post memories by year. Then they aggregate them by year so you can see other people's memories next to yours. Not a very good search tool. This may be good for public memories like who won the super bowl and what the hit song was, but it doesn't scale down very well to groups or personal memories. What this site is doing could be done equally as well by just mining the existing BLOG databases like <a href="http://www.technorati.com/">Technorati</a>
October 1, 2003
If I had a travel trailer
this would be it. Not that I am the travel trailer type. But if i HAD to... <a title="Airstream :: International CCD" href="http://www.airstream.com/product_line/travel_trailers/intccd28_int.html">Airstream :: International CCD</a>