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Current Topic: Technology

Bieber, Gaga, and Netflix: Internet heavyweights
Topic: Technology 4:12 pm EDT, Oct 26, 2010

Justin Bieber uses 3% of Twitter's infrastructure. Netflix Instant accounts for 20% of all non-mobile internet usage in the US during prime time. Now David Galbraith has done some back-of-the-envelope calculations that show Lady Gaga racking up a big bandwidth bill for Google:

My rough estimate: Lady Gaga has cost Google 10 petabytes in bandwidth same as 10,000 text messages for everyone on earth. If Lady Gaga's Google bandwidth was charged at what ATT charges for SMS, it would have cost: 10.5 trillion dollars.

The rate for SMS messaging is obscene but the real money is in ink cartridges, right? Apparently not. HP's basic black inkjet cartridge is available at Amazon for the astounding price of $29 and will print 495 pages. Assuming 250 words per page and six characters per word (five char/word + one space), 10 petabytes of text messages would cost only $503 billion to print out (excluding paper costs, which would add ~$89 billion to the total). Who knew that texting was more expensive than inkjet printing by a factor of 20?

Bieber, Gaga, and Netflix: Internet heavyweights

Pirate Parties Plan to Shoot Torrent Site Into Orbit | TorrentFreak
Topic: Technology 1:15 am EDT, Oct 24, 2010

It is almost four years ago that The Pirate Bay announced they wanted to buy the micronation of Sealand, so they could host their site without having to bother about copyright law – an ambitious plan that turned out to be unaffordable. This week, Pirate Parties worldwide started brainstorming about a similarly ambitious plan. Instead of founding their own nation, they want to shoot a torrent site into orbit.

Pirate Parties Plan to Shoot Torrent Site Into Orbit | TorrentFreak

1837 steam powered computer could finally enter production
Topic: Technology 7:56 pm EDT, Oct 15, 2010

When a man says he wants half a million dollars to build a steam powered computer, it’s not exactly the most conventional of funding pitches.

When that same man says he wants to build the world’s first digital, programmable computer, the pitch begins to look stranger.

But for John Graham-Cumming, the author of science history travel guide The Geek Atlas, the pitch makes perfect sense. That’s because he’s trying to take an 1837 design by Charles Babbage and make it a reality.null

1837 steam powered computer could finally enter production

Robot arm punches human to obey Asimov's rules - tech - 13 October 2010 - New Scientist
Topic: Technology 9:06 pm EDT, Oct 14, 2010

ISAAC ASIMOV would probably have been horrified at the experiments under way in a robotics lab in Slovenia. There, a powerful robot has been hitting people over and over again in a bid to induce anything from mild to unbearable pain - in apparent defiance of the late sci-fi sage's famed first law of robotics, which states that "a robot may not injure a human being".

Robot arm punches human to obey Asimov's rules - tech - 13 October 2010 - New Scientist

Google Wants to Kill the JPEG: Meet WebP
Topic: Technology 7:00 pm EDT, Oct  4, 2010

Google is introducing a new format for images: WebP.

Images on the web in this format — which CNET reports will be officially announced later today — will have smaller file sizes, load faster and relieve a lot of overclocked networks. They won’t necessarily look better — WebP images are as “glossy” as JPEGs — but the files might be around 40% smaller than JPEG files.


Google Wants to Kill the JPEG: Meet WebP

Stuxnet malware is 'weapon' out to destroy ... Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant? - Yahoo! News
Topic: Technology 9:16 pm EDT, Sep 22, 2010

Cyber security experts say they have identified the world's first known cyber super weapon designed specifically to destroy a real-world target – a factory, a refinery, or just maybe a nuclear power plant.

The cyber worm, called Stuxnet, has been the object of intense study since its detection in June. As more has become known about it, alarm about its capabilities and purpose have grown. Some top cyber security experts now say Stuxnet's arrival heralds something blindingly new: a cyber weapon created to cross from the digital realm to the physical world – to destroy something. nullnullnullnullnullnullnull

Stuxnet malware is 'weapon' out to destroy ... Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant? - Yahoo! News

GCreep: Google Engineer Stalked Teens, Spied on Chats (Updated)
Topic: Technology 1:03 am EDT, Sep 18, 2010

We entrust Google with our most private communications because we assume the company takes every precaution to safeguard our data. It doesn't. A Google engineer spied on four underage teens for months before the company was notified of the abuses.nullnull

GCreep: Google Engineer Stalked Teens, Spied on Chats (Updated)

Google Maps Misplaces Lincoln Memorial - PCWorld
Topic: Technology 4:55 am EDT, Aug 31, 2010

If the misplacement of the Lincoln Memorial on Google Maps is, in fact, an example of Google censoring search results, then it's not the first time. Google has previously removed controversial search results from its listings, including White Nationalist, anti-Semitic, and radical Islamic results from German and French Google search results.nullnull

Google Maps Misplaces Lincoln Memorial - PCWorld

ICT Graphics Lab
Topic: Technology 6:18 pm EDT, Jun 24, 2010

The Graphics Lab at the University of Southern California has designed an easily reproducible, low-cost 3D display system with a form factor that offers a number of advantages for displaying 3D objects in 3D. The display is:

* autostereoscopic - requires no special viewing glasses
* omnidirectional - generates simultaneous views accomodating large numbers of viewers
* interactive - can update content at 200Hz

The system works by projecting high-speed video onto a rapidly spinning mirror. As the mirror turns, it reflects a different and accurate image to each potential viewer. Our rendering algorithm can recreate both virtual and real scenes with correct occlusion, horizontal and vertical perspective, and shading.

While flat electronic displays represent a majority of user experiences, it is important to realize that flat surfaces represent only a small portion of our physical world. Our real world is made of objects, in all their three-dimensional glory. The next generation of displays will begin to represent the physical world around us, but this progression will not succeed unless it is completely invisible to the user: no special glasses, no fuzzy pictures, and no small viewing zones.

ICT Graphics Lab

Smokescreen demo: a Flash player in JavaScript
Topic: Technology 9:29 pm EDT, Jun 13, 2010

Smokescreen demo: a Flash player in JavaScript. Chris Smoak’s Smokescreen, “a Flash player written in JavaScript”, is an incredible piece of work. It runs entirely in the browser, reads in SWF binaries, unzips them (in native JS), extracts images and embedded audio and turns them in to base64 encoded data:uris, then stitches the vector graphics back together as animated SVG. Open up the Chrome Web Inspector while the demo is running and you can see the SVG changing in real time. Smokescreen even implements its own ActionScript bytecode interpreter. It’s stated intention is to allow Flash banner ads to execute on the iPad and iPhone, but there are plenty of other interesting applications (such as news site infographics). The company behind it have announced plans to open source it in the near future. My one concern is performance—the library is 175 KB and over 8,000 lines of JavaScript which might cause problems on low powered mobile devices.

Smokescreen demo: a Flash player in JavaScript

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