Technolotics #16 – No sex on the douche bag

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Listen: Part 1, Part 2


Googleblogger article

Google mobile is a new suite of features for US cell phones
Google mobile search – lets you search the web from your phones web browser
Google SMS – texts answers to your questions, directly to your phone – still very glitchy [1]

Google SMS howto [2]

Currently the following features are available

    Business & Residential listings
    Driving Directions
    Movie showtimes
    Weather conditions
    Stock quotes
    Q&A – fact based questions which google parses !!!
    Product prices

Google are also allowing mobile carriers to integrate google search into their own sites – making google mobile search available in a variety of flavours

    XHTML (WAP 2.0)
    WML (WAP 1.2)
    PDA Devices

FBI keeping tabs on thousands of Americans

This summer George Christian was given a letter in person by the FBI instructing him to to surrender [3] “all subscriber information, billing information and access logs of any person” who used a specific computer at a library branch some distance away.

He refused and his employer, Library Connection Inc., filed suit for the right to protest the FBI demand in public.

The letter was a “National security letter”. Originating in the 1970’s as way for the FBI to review in secret the customer records of suspected foreign agents.

The Patriot Act now allows clandestine scrutiny of U.S. residents and visitors who are not alleged to be terrorists or spies. More than 30,000 letters are now sent out each year.

Letters do not need the imprimatur of a prosecutor, grand jury or judge. They receive no review after the fact by the Justice Department or Congress.

The information gathered is kept in government data banks and the government retains the right to share the information within the federal government and beyond. This includes “state, local and tribal” governments and for “appropriate private sector entities,”.

A national security letter cannot be used to authorize eavesdropping or to read the contents of e-mail. But it does permit investigators to trace revealing paths through the private affairs of a modern digital citizen including web browsing habits, with whom he lives and lived before, how much he gambles, what he buys online and who telephones or e-mails him at home and at work.

Most worrying of all the House and Senate have voted to make noncompliance with a national security letter a criminal offense. The House would also impose a prison term for breach of secrecy as the reciever of a letter is not allowed discuss the letter with anyone.

CNET calls for Sony Boycott

Article written by Molly Wood, section editor, [4]

Sony’s actions regarding the rootkit, which may be criminal are an example of how so-called content creators and not on the side of consumers.

The increasing attempts by companies to restrict our fair use as encouragement for individuals and groups to circumvent these controls not because they want to break the law but “because you have sold us a crappy product, and, fundamentally, because it is not our responsibility to protect your profits.”

Short term solution is to not buy any Sony products of any kind.

Long term solution may be that suggested by Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal. [5]

Copyright law with teeth that concentrates on prosecuting large scale piracy.
But broad exemptions for personal use.

Glide Effortless, and the death of the desktop


On November 15th TransMedia will launch Glide, an integrated suite of applications all of which are available online and accessable through a normal web browser.

Glide includes applications for creating, sharing, and selling photos, music, video, and documents, as well as doing content management, calendaring, E-mail, and conferencing and marks another step in the emergence of the software-as-a-service model exemplified by Google and

Glide is not only being sold to end users, TransMedia is also licensing the software to media companies so they can sell it as a branded service. Hence media and cable companies can sell online applications and services which are more closely integrated than offerings from competitors.

The entire suite has be developed together hence Glide Mail is able to easily and securely send all sorts of media files, playlists, slideshows, and podcasts to anyone as tiny 5K messages.

Glide is able to share files securely because the actual files aren’t shared. Rather the act of sharing creates streaming browser-based preview files that are transcoded for universal compatibility. This neatly avoids the risk of piracy.

Cable and telecom companies may adopt Glide as a way to offer additional services on top of their broadband offerings. This would inevitably lead to further competition to software service providers like AOL, Google, MSN,, and Yahoo.

As we know many companies are moving towards the software as a service models, on November 15th we will see one of the first fully integrated services of this kind. The repercussions for the future and companies such as Microsoft will only emerge with time.

Cheap Fusion at last

A new breakthrough promices the dream of fusion without the expense and environmental costs of existing projects [7]

Physicist Eric Lernet – has suggested a new process of converting hydrogen and boron to helium -> releasing large amounts of stored energy

This could be a cheap alternative to the multinational ubber expensive Tokamak fusion projec in France

Lerner has been researching the technology for 20 years, initially at NASA’s Jet Propulsion lab

Unlike existing nuclear power, the process would not harness a chain reaction, nor require an intermediate lossy conversion stage into usable electricity – instead it goes straight from fusion to energy

Device can be started or shut down at the flip of a switch

The science bit: The process works by firing pulses of electricity through a hydrogen / boron gas, creating hot conducting plasma whirlwinds, which are twisted by magnetic fields into plasmoids. Magnetic fields then fire an electron beam at the plasmoids, igniting fusion reactions, and gaining energy before finally being decelerated to produce electricity; some of which is recycled to restart the process.

Lerner maintains the process would be so safe and simple that onsight personel would not even be needed

Despite being the first researcher to surpass a billion degree temperature in the lab, Lerner alleges that the US governement is unwilling to fund his research – a serious alternative to Oil and Gas

Amazons Mechanical Turk

Amazon have launched a service that ties human intelligence to the needs of software

agents [8]

The new amazon turk pays micropayments for cognitive tasks (they call Human

Intelligence Tasks or HIT) that humans find easy – but machines difficult or impossible

This human processing time can be used by companies in at least two ways

    As part of an automated process that would otherwise be impossible
    To build up banks of semantic data, with the goal of training artifial intelligence programmes for specific tasks

Companies set the price for specific tasks – and amazon takes its 10% vig off the top
Now you really are working for the machine [9]
The mechanical turk (named after a victorian machine which convinced audiences it could play chess, but contained a hidden human player) reversing the human computer relationship
The mechanical turk could prove a huge boon to machine intelligence, however it faces serveral drawbacks

    The slowness of humans to complete tasks
    The high cost vs potential value – exludes possible use by emergent Web 2.0 services operating on a small budjet
    Arguable that performing these tasks may not be cost effective
    As yet there are no hits available to try out applies to patent story lines

A test patent was filed in November 2003, attempting to patent a fictional plot [10]
The patently absurd story patented is an update on the tale of Rip Van Winckle – but apparently patent madness knows no limits
Copyright already protects the expression of an idea – but the development of human culture over thousands of years has been a gradual exploration of a set of underlying themes and archytypal plots
Patents seek to stop this evolution dead – or at least corporatise and delimit is
Patents give exclusive rights to an idea – what an absurd proposition!
In the past patents were granded to useful, novel, non-obvious designs for phsyical inventions, chemical and materials – more recently (especially in the US) the use has spread to processes, business practices, genes and software code => restrictions which would have prevented the development of Windows, MacOS and the Internet has they existed historically
According to Jay Thomas, Professor of Law at Georgetown University – “case law has established that virtually any subject matter is potentially patentable”
Knight hopes to set a precident to be used to patent all sorts of story lines [11]
And potentially values each patent between 5k and 67k
You’re already liable – the patent has been provisionally approved, and under us law [12] it can be used to litigate, even before final approval
Boing boing has more info [13]

Israel using sonic booms as non-lethal weapons

Israel have begun using sonic booms to terrorise the now totally palistinian population of the gaza strip [14]
The effect is generated by Israely air forse jets bypassing the speed of sound while flying over Gaza – creating noises so loud as to cause nosebleeds
This tactic has historically been used by Israel – namely in the lebanon
The united nation have described the tactic as an abuse of human rights [15], which are causing anxiety, panic, fear, and poor concentration in children, and leading to miscarraiges
Sonic weapons and other ‘less lethal weapons’, are increasingly used in conficts internationally, and against protestors in the united states and europe [16]
These weapons are often used in situations where no violence would otherwise have occured, and frequently result in serious injury or death. A campaign has already begun in the US to end use of ‘less lethal’ weapons [17]
Israel additionally continues to carry out air raids on QUOTE UNQUOTE militant targets, in Gaza
Since 2000, over 3700 Palestinians have been killed, including over 700 hundread childen, and many more injured; by Israeli soliers and settlers [18]

The CIA’s secret Prison

US officials have admitted in the Washington post, that terror suspects are being held in a secret prison in the former soviet union


The prison is part of a system set up after 9/11 which has included eight countries, in a hidden global internment network
almost nothing is known about who is imprisoned, or what methods of interrogation / torture are used within them
congress has been discouraged from questioning the CIA about them
The CIA refused to adknowledge the existence of the prison – to avoid foreign censure
Last month, Dickhead Cheney and CIA Directer Portly J.Gross asked congress to excempt CIA employees from anti torture legislation
The CIA argues that to be effective in the War on Whatever it needs to be empowered t hold and interrogate suspects without time limits or even the military tribunals of Guantanamo Bay
Despite host countries being signatories of the Geneva convention and UN convention against torture and inhuman treatment – the CIA enact these practices
The parliments of Canada, Italy, France, Sweden and the Netherlands have all opened enquiries into secret and illegal kidnap of their citizens by the CIA
Prisons considered less important may be handed over to ‘friendly’ intelligence services in the middle east – known as extraordinary rendition
After 9/11 the CIA drew up a High Value Target list – the head of the CIA’s counter terrorism Center, the CTC argued for assasignation by hit teams, others within the CIA argued that the network could be more effectively disabled with information
President Bush signed an order allow the CIA to kill and detain Al Qaeda operatives anywhere in the worlds
Initially CIA prisons were set up in Afganistan, where numerous deaths and abuses occured, at prisons like ‘The Salt Pit’
The secret prison system has now grown far beyond the original bounds of Al Qaeda operatives
prisoners being transported to these secret prisons are passing through Shannon airport.
At was 9/11 justified debate last night in Trinity college – one of the speakers – a member of the Al Muhajiroun organisation, which is on the hard line of the muslim community, was questioned about his approval of potential terrorist acts in Ireland among other things
His reply was that Muslims in Iraq would find Ireland a legitamate target, due to bombers refueling here – however he has been misquoted in todays independent newspaper as describing Irish people as US collaborators and threatening directly Ireland
The paper literally misquoted the speaker Anjem Choudary, as well as misspelling Mujahideen [20] as Mujahadem; adding weight to his claim that the media willfully distorts the opinions of Muslims

Media Pimp

Gareth: It may not be 3D [21], but it sure is Gorillaz [22]
Gareth: Pandora music picker [23] – creates a free radio station based on your favourite artist / song, using

The Music Genome Project [24] which attempts to classify songs based on sound rather than genre. PS: Youll need a US zip code to sign up [25]

Francis: The cast of Lost sing Bohemian Rapsody. This is brilliant, if you are a Lost fan you will love this.[26]

8 thoughts on “Technolotics #16 – No sex on the douche bag

  1. First off: Irelands first *independent* vidcast
    Second: goeat is borderline vidcast. If it wasn’t on itunes then it definately wouldn’t be…

  2. Seconded..Goeat is more of an advert / iptv show. At 5 minutes long, and offering no direct links to its video downloads or RSS feed from the site (link to itunes doesn’t count); it’s arguable whether its qualifies as a vidcast / vodcast.

    I’ll conceed that the syndication aspect means that its definitely a cast of a sort; but its yet to prove its a show per say, rather than an advertisement..

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