29 March 2006

Khalsa Ice Cream truck

Khalsa Ice Cream truck
Originally uploaded by ptufts.
If you're lucky, you have an ice cream truck in your neighborhood. If you're really lucky you have a Khalsa ice cream truck.

I'm not sure what Khalsa ice cream would taste like, but I want some.

23 March 2006

Danger: Everything's Fine!

Caution: Signals working
Originally uploaded by Verabug.
A street sign in San Francisco.

22 March 2006

Apple Serial Numbers decoded

There's an on-line service where you enter an Apple device serial number, and it tells you about the device.

Sadly, it didn't recognize my Apple ///+ or //c, but it should work for anything from the Macintosh era.

read more | digg story

Satanists, baby-eaters disappointed by findings

University of Minnesota researchers have released a study with the headline "Atheists identified as America’s most distrusted minority."

Firefox 2.0 Alpha out

Firefox 2.0 is ready for alpha testing. The major changes over are:

  • Changes to tabbed browsing behavior
  • New data storage layer for bookmarks and history (using SQLlite)
  • Extended search plugin format
  • Updates to the extension system to provide enhanced security and to allow for easier localization of extensions
  • Support for SVG text using svg:textPath

read more | digg story

21 March 2006

Duxbrowrenikal iconoclastics

Ask Dr. Hal (3-20-06)
Originally uploaded by Laughing Squid.
I often see Frank Chu him walking on Market Street in downtown San Francisco. His signs look great, and the words (even the fake ones) are visually arresting. I am compelled to read.

You'll find it between Ath and Cth Street

Originally uploaded by ptufts.
Bth Street in San Francisco. The curb corners are labeled with street names. For the blind to feel with their canes? To show the Department of Public Works where to return street signs that have run away? I'm not sure. But this is my favorite of all the corners. It's actually 5th Street, and if you look very closely, you can see where a prankster modified it before the concrete set.

I have this possibly false memory that this sign was featured in a Zippy strip.

20 March 2006

Sinking Feeling II

Sinking Feeling II
Originally uploaded by moonbird.

The unusuals, touched up

the unusuals, touched up
Originally uploaded by sharpeworld.
The Unusuals: A much better choice than their original name, The Aristocrats.

19 March 2006

Do you know these people?

found camera
Originally uploaded by hundertwasser.
Flickr user hundertwasser found a digital camera and posted the pictures in an attempt to find the owners. Click on the photo to see more from the same set. If you recognize these people, please let them know or contact hundertwasser on Flickr.

This photo is the answer

carleen fredricks
Originally uploaded by sharpeworld.
This photo is the answer.

The question is: "what do you get when you cross a Mouseketeer with a Vegas cocktail waitress?"

18 March 2006

Most likely

uknown man in shadow
Originally uploaded by sharpeworld.
Voted performer most likely to issue a beat-down to his audience.


Originally uploaded by sharpeworld.
When threatened, the guy second from the left shoots laser beams from his eyes.

17 March 2006

Find your name in the digits of pi

The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Lawrence Berkeley put up a Pi Search engine that lets you look for words and hex strings in the first four billion binary digits of pi.

Cool, I'm there starting at the 1492283092th digit.

Thankfully, there's no goatse in pi.

15 March 2006

Blogger gangsign

Blogger gangsign
Originally uploaded by lawgeek.
Bloggers can now identify themselves, gang-style.

Playsh - the playful shell

Ben and Matt present Playsh
Originally uploaded by ptufts.
Matt Webb and Ben Cerveny showed off a super cool (and super geeky!) multi-user interactive environment that looks like an extension of a MOO but allows the user to code network objects (RSS, http) and grep them from within the game. It includes a python interpreter -- a multi-user python interpreter -- with which game players can collaboratively extend the game. Really neat!

Here's a screenshot. Click on the image for a larger version.

Playsh demo

Link to description of session.

Matt interacting with Playsh during the demo:

Matt Webb demoing Playsh

The code is available under a BSD license at playsh.org

Update: Playsh is on Sourceforge.

14 March 2006

13 March 2006

iWood for the iPod

The retro wood case trend - I should hate it. What is the point of wrapping plastic items in wood? But then I see something like this and I want to go out and carve my own.

read more | digg story

My company gets BoingBoinged

Xeni Jardin broke the story that Metaweb got funded. Great news! Particularly because Metaweb is my employer. We spun off from Applied Minds, which itself is a great company, and are building some really exciting things.

Oh yeah, and we're hiring.

Boing Boing: Metaweb gets meta-dough: $15 million financing round

Ray Ozzie speaking at ETech

Ray Ozzie speaking at ETech
Originally uploaded by ptufts.
Ray Ozzie gave a neat demo at ETech. His team has taken Microformats and integrated them into applications via a clipboard enhancement. When you select web information that's marked up as a microformat, the clipboard understands this and preserves the structure so that, if you take an event from a page and then paste it into Outlook, instead of a block of text, you get a real event in your calendar.

Pretty neat, and it shows how seriously companies are taking Microformats as a way to connect the web to applications.

11 March 2006

The accelerator has jammed, the brakes have burned out and I'm trapped in my BMW doing 130mph

The Telegraph featured an article on a driver whose BMW's accelerator stuck while he was on the highway. The driver phoned police from his car to say "the accelerator has jammed, the brakes have burned out and I'm trapped in my BMW doing 130mph". Just a typical commute. BMW's response to the incident? "We are unaware of any issues of that nature with that particular model."


09 March 2006

I was probed by an alien on SecondLife

SecondLife gave a talk at ETech about unantipated consequences of SecondLife. One thing they really didn't expect was the phenomenon of alien probes. It became popular in SL to not only get probed by an alien, but then to proudly sport the must-have "I was probed, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

Here's where you can buy your very own Alien probe avatar.

More discussion on Jurvetson's Flickr page.

Eventful Demand: Dream Events

Eventful Demand: Dream Events
Originally uploaded by ptufts.
Brian Dear of Eventful / EVDB gave a presentation at O'Reilly's ETech conference. He showed off some of Eventful's new features. Eventful is a site where you can post upcoming events. They had the insight to create a new feature, Eventful Demand, where you can post events you wish would happen. With this, fans can directly express their desire to see a performer and even promote the event via web posters and stickers that they can put up on their blogs.

Performers can see the demands. If they see 1000 people in San Francisco who want them to come, they can choose to make the event happen. It's a way for fans and performers to communicate directly.

This is the kind of simple feature that completely changes how things work. Really cool.

08 March 2006

DJs Adrian and Mysterious D

DJs Adrian and Mysterious D
Originally uploaded by ptufts.
San Francisco mashup DJs Adrian and Mysterious D at the Yahoo Developer event at ETech in San Diego. I first heard them at a Nina Hagen concert, when they were the house DJs at DNA Lounge.

Brian Dear | EVDB, Eventful | ETech announcement

Brian Dear of Eventful.com and EVDB talked at ETech about the platform and site for events, and then announced a new feature: Eventful Demands. It's a way for fans and performers to communicate directly, a la ebay, about events that should happen.

Here's an example of an event sticker that you can create around a demanded event, in order to promote it and make it actually happen.

Clay Shirky's pattern language project

Clay Shirky at ETechAt ETech, Clay Shirky announced a project to build a pattern language for discussions, wikis and mailing lists. The site for this project is social.itp.nyu.edu/shirky/wiki and there is an associated mailing list: moderation_strategies@yahoogroups.com

07 March 2006

Ben Cerveny at ETech

Ben and Matt present Playsh
Originally uploaded by ptufts.
Ben Cerveny spoke at ETech about game design, and about the importance of getting users into a playful spirit, so they're more willing to explore and learn an application.

Raw notes from ETech: SecondLife

Here are my raw notes from the SecondLife presentation at ETech 06 in San Diego. I'll update this with photos of the presentation later in the day.

Not a subscription model. Users pay from $0 to $16,000 per month.

In the past 30 days, 240k items sold
5m p2p transactions
US $6.5M internal economy
US $800k exchanged
75m IM messages

Average value per transaction doubling each year

Taxes - users didn't like them, began setting their property on fire in protest. So the new user experence? Seeing angry established users ... on fire. This puts a dent in customer retention. So they did away with taxes.

Approximately 25% of user online time is spent creating items.

Scripting is necessary to give objects behaviors. The scripting language has a C-Like syntax - it's very hard. Yet 15% of users in the past ... have written scripts from scratch.

2.5M lines of code a week.
SL itself is only 800k lines of code.

Tringo - SL game that has moved to the real world. When you create something in SL, you own the IP. The creator of Tringo is licensing it for the GameBoy Advance.

Demographics of SL - most users non-technical, median age 36, gender neutral by hrs of use.

05 March 2006

Citibank ATM network pwned

According to multiple sources, Citibank is saying its ATM system has been compromised, and that the bank is locking out travelers who try to access funds from outside of the US.

The San Francisco Chronicle ran an article in February that may be connected to this. Some BofA clients find debit cards canceled. From the article: "Bank of America customers have had their debit cards canceled ... after an unnamed company experienced what appears to be a major security breach. BofA is refusing to identify the company.... BofA confirmed Wednesday that the breach in this latest case wasn't at a processing center used by the bank or any other affiliate."

Adweek has created a parody Citibank ad about the ATM fiasco.

New: The story continues:

TechWeb: The unfolding debit card scam that rocked Citibank this week is far from over, an analyst said Thursday as she called this first-time-ever mass theft of PINs "the worst consumer scam to date."

[R]etailers improperly store PIN numbers after they've been entered, rather than erase them at the PIN-entering pad. Worse, the keys to decrypt the PIN blocks are often stored on the same network as the PINs themselves, making a single successful hack a potential goldmine for criminals: they get the PIN data and the key to read it.

The victim of the hack attack isn't yet known, although some banks have pointed fingers at OfficeMax, which has denied that its system was penetrated.

Chiucago Tribune

A story in Wednesday's New York Times, citing unidentified sources, said it appeared that the Citibank debit card information was obtained through a security breach at OfficeMax Inc., the Itasca-based office supplies retailer.

OfficeMax said Wednesday that it had "no knowledge of a security breach."


Slashdot's take on the issue.

01 March 2006

Darth Vader's secret hobby

Many faces
Originally uploaded by doc18.

pug vader

pug vader
Originally uploaded by adampsyche.
Best caption from Flickr user dogwelder: "I have altered the couch cushion. Pray I do not alter it any further.'