Thursday, June 29, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

"What we take for granted might not be here for our children."
-- Al Gore

Scientists have long suspected that the reality of global warming has always been underestimated and blatently ignored by an environmentally apathetic public. Now, former US Vice President Al Gore, has produced a groundbreaking book accompanying the film, entitled An Inconvenient Truth.

The Inconvenient Truth is actually a documentary which premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and it received three standing ovations.

An Inconvenient Truth movie trailer:





Visit www.climatecrisis.net to unearth this inconvenient truth.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Steve Ballmer doesn't matter

Business 2.0 have released a list of 50 people whom they think are important (i.e. matters) and 10 people who who don't matter.

Surprisingly, they list Steve Ballmer and Jonathan Schwartz as people who don't matter... I don't really agree with that, because Microsoft is starting to take note of all these ajax stuff... but they can't seem to get their Live.com right.

My two cents worth on Live.com:

1. The live.com products and services have such long and confusing names. The newest's product - Windows Live Mail Desktop Beta (WLM Desktop) is easily confused with another WLM (Live Messenger) and also Windows Live Mail.

2. Their Live Search looks cool, feels cool, but something is just not right. Traditionally, search engines always have page numbers below, listing an approximate 10 results for every page. Any user looking for data will have a sense of 'search', a sense of how deep he has searched. E.g. I can skip to page 10 or 15 or go back to the previous page. On the other hand, Live.com presents an unorthodox method of presenting search results - by listing results infinitely using ajax into a small portion of the window. Though innovation, this makes searching a pain in the neck. [Trivia: Search for 'microsoft' in their live image search and the second first image is a penguin!]

3. Firefox 2.0 when it comes out, will be better than IE 7. More and more people will use Firefox..


But of course, I agree that Linus Torvalds don't really matter... Yes, and I do back the argument that "commercial businesses like Red Hat and Novell increasingly steer its future." (i.e. the future of Linux). Admittedly, I don't see Torvalds playing a big role in desktop software for linux (like multimedia programs or even web related programs like Firefox).


Conventional wisdom says that technological companies rise and fall with the tides of innovations that lash the shores of the technological business. According to Business 2.0, the most important person is the consumer. That reflects the wisdom of the crowd.


Update: Jonathan Schwartz has replied regarding his 'award'.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The future of nanotechnology

http://www.newscientist.com/blog/technology/2006/06/nanoengineers-toolbox.html

Interesting article on nanotechnology.

Here's a video linked from the article, showing the possibilities that nanotech can bring.

Productive Nanosystems (From molecules to superproducts)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Web 3.0, Enterprise 2.0

So Web 2.0 has hit saturation point... since so many prominent bloggers are already complaining? Bloggers, venture capitalists, technologists, programmers, etc, you name them... are starting to talk about Enterprise 2.0 and Web 3.0.

But besides all these talk about Enterprise 2.0 and Web 3.0, there has been lots of exciting stuff happening on the AJAX front.

1. Recently, Ajaxian talks about how the current use of Ajax is not really true "asynchronous communication." Among the four kinds of asynchronous usage proposed, Microlink is something that stands out. Check out the demo for TiddlyWiki, its fantastic, although I feel its a bit confusing.

2. ZK is now among sourceforge.net most active. The live demo is impressive as well.
ZK is an open-source Ajax Web framework that enables rich UI for Web applications with no JavaScript and little programming. With event-driven feature-rich components, developing becomes as simple as programming desktops. With a markup language, designing becomes as simple as authoring HTML.

3. Google has released a new search API that lets you add an Ajax version of Google Search to your site (instead of just a simple search box that redirects to the Google webpage).


Lastly, if you don't want to hear anything about Ajax, you might want to check out some of the cool stuff that have been produced in Blender.

Friday, June 16, 2006

FIFA World Cup 2006

Did you know that ...
During World War II, the trophy was held by Italy. Ottorino Barassi, the Italian vice-president of FIFA, also the President of FIGC, hid it from the Germans in a shoe-box under his bed after attracting the interest from Nazism.

There is quite a bit of history to that solid piece of gold... the FIFA World Cup Trophy.

Anyway, some people on the other side of the world (like me), are stuck because the television here (Channel 5, MediaCorp) only show the opening match, two semis and the final match. And since there are people like me who are desperate to watch the game live at home... thanks to technology, there are some solutions!

1. ASCII Live Streaming, via Telnet
on Windows, run 'cmd' and type in "telnet ascii-wm.net 2006"

2. Goto soccernet.espn.go.com and see the flash-based game cast live. (updates only)

3. Use a p2p streaming program like PPLive or PPStream. PPStream is more popular because there is this caifu sports channel, which has good quality streaming (but setting up PPStream is slightly troublesome). Anyway, such p2p streaming programs stream from China's server, so unless you have a really good connection... forget about it. More information on such programs on footballstreaming.info (you have to register an account, login and post 1 message first before you have access to the actual info)

4. Try LiveFooty. (I don't know if this works or not. Try at your own risk!)


Cometh the hour, cometh the man... and cometh the team. (hey... what the origin of that phrase?)
So... July 9... may the best team win!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Elephants Dream

Elephants Dream (wikipedia) is a computer-generated short film made primarily using open source applications and premiered on 24 March 2006.

So whats so great about this short film?
1. It was developed using opensource programs including GIMP, Blender and Inkscape.
2. Its 3D. Graphics are impressive.
3. Its FREE! Released under Creative Commons Attribution license.

So? Go get it on bittorent.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

An Historic Murder Mystery set in the Internet Bubble and Rubblem

Hackoff.com: An Historic Murder Mystery set in the Internet Bubble and Rubblem - by Tom Evslin

This is about a book (which you can read online), entitled "hackoff.com", some kind of self-published book on a fictional account of the Internet bubble. The book description sure looks captivating...
Book Description:
Larry Lazard, CEO of hackoff.com, takes his company public and watches its stock price soar and collapse. Following a hostile takeover attempt, Lazard is found dead in his office of what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Author Tom Evslin, a serial CEO, also took a company public in the Internet bubble and fought off hostile takeover attempts in the subsequent rubble. Unlike Larry, Evslin lived to tell what may be the definitive story of those wild and crazy times. The mystery moves backwards and forwards around the time of Larry’s death. Sex, power, money, farce, and tragedy mix…

Sunday, June 04, 2006

A very blur Apple iPod Killer

From engadget.com:

An anonymous tipster sent us a bunch of pictures he shot last night from the outside of the Saturn Cafe in Santa Cruz. While we don't normally toss up random pics we get in the tip jar, this guy claims the pics depict the filming of a commercial of a possible "iPod killer" from Microsoft. We can't vouch for the validity of this, or for this guy's camera steadying abilities, but there does appear to be something going on here. The device's screen ratio reminds us of the Gigabeat S, so Portable Media Center seems likely. Keep reading for even more nauseatingly blurry pictures of the device.


The full article and more here: engadget.com

I would think that this "leak" was done by microsoft personnel to generate "interest" it its new product. Lol!

SCIgen -- An Automatic CS Paper Generator

SCIgen is a program that generates random Computer Science research papers, including graphs, figures, and citations. It uses a hand-written context-free grammar to form all elements of the papers. Our aim here is to maximize amusement, rather than coherence.

One useful purpose for such a program is to auto-generate submissions to conferences that you suspect might have very low submission standards. A prime example, which you may recognize from spam in your inbox, is SCI/IIIS and its dozens of co-located conferences (check out the very broad conference description on the WMSCI 2005 website). There's also a list of known bogus conferences. Using SCIgen to generate submissions for conferences like this gives us pleasure to no end. In fact, one of our papers was accepted to SCI 2005! See Examples for more details.


Taken from SCIgen's official website.

In short, this little baby, written by three MIT students, generates garbage (and I really mean: absolute garbage) randomly and presents them in the format of a scientific paper. At first glance, the document would look like an authentic paper, but on careful reading, one would not make any sense out of it. No wonder the WMSCI people were fooled.

Do watch the video of the authors making impromptu presentations on their random garbage papers. Really funny.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Tiny little PC into your Jack



The Jack PC thin client fits into a wall socket and is so energy-efficient it can get its power over Ethernet

Newcastle-based Jade Integration will launch one of the smallest thin-client computers available in the UK to date, the Jack PC, next month.

Containing all the electronics needed to run as a low- to medium-power PC, the Jack PC, as its name suggests, will fit into a standard size wall socket. The entire PC sits on two layered circuitboards. It contains an AMD RISC processor to help reduce power consumption and heat output.


More here: http://news.zdnet.co.uk/0,39020330,39272166,00.htm

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Space Race - The Untold Story

1946 - Former Nazi joins US space program
1960 - A rocket explosion killed over 100 people
1968 - Man on the moon - but its one small step for a man, and one embarrasing blunder by the Soviets.
The greatest secrets behind the space race...

Check out National Geographic - The Space Race - The Untold Story
The interactive flash timeline is impressive!

Trivia: On the moon, Neil Armstrong apparently said, "Good luck, Mr.Gorsky." (But I really don't know how true this is.)