Monthly Archives: May 2002

general May 18, 2002 posted by

Free pop up advert remover

There are lots of pop up advert removers out at the moment, obviously reflecting the widespread distaste that most people have for this kind of intrusive advertising. Free Surfer is a free pop up advert remover that is nicely designed, works well and is very unobtrusive (which to my mind is the sign of a good software utility). It was also recommended by the inimitable Chris Pirillo at Lockergnome, which is in itself a good sign.

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general May 16, 2002 posted by

The Bivings Group – fake persuaders?

I’m really surprised that this disturbing article in the Guardian hasn’t been picked up more around the Net. It deals with the use of clandestine Internet lobbying companies like The Bivings Group who apparently specialise in secretly spreading opinions on forums and list-servers to benefit their clients. The article quotes an apparently suspicious set of links between this PR group and biotech company Monsanto in relation to a controversial paper in Nature magazine. The point is that this kind of…

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general May 16, 2002 posted by

Reading firewall logs

The Firewall Forensics FAQ is a very complex and technical explanation of how to read your firewall logs to determine if your computer system is being attacked or not. Not for the faint hearted but a valuable resource if you think that you or your company is a target.

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general May 16, 2002 posted by

Update on the T919

More information has been released on the T919 smart phone from Austrian company Tel.Me. The phone is due to be released in October for around 529.00, and will be based around a proprietary operating system rather than Symbian. There are some interesting differences between this handset and the SonyEricsson P800. T919: No Bluetooth, smaller screen than P800 (256×128 vs 208×320) and only dual band not tri-band as with the P800.The camera resolution is also lower at just 352 x 288…

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general May 16, 2002 posted by

The Creative Commons arrives

The Creative Commons initiative, championed so eloquently by Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig, now has a Web site and a fully formed proposal. The idea is that artists and other IP holders should be able to attach different strengths of rights to their works depending on their needs. The idea is to move away from a blanket process of copyright protection by offering a more pragmatic menu of different legal rights. What’s great about this system is that it does…

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general May 16, 2002 posted by

The Virtual keyboard

The folks from Virtual Devices have moved fast to develop their ‘virtual keyboard’. A project which looked like a concept a few months ago is now being touted as at working prototype stage, and in fact the press releases claim that products will be on the market by the end of this year. The device works by projecting the image of a keyboard onto a desk or other flat surface, using cameras to detect where your fingers strike in order…

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general May 16, 2002 posted by

People power

TVShowsonDVD.com is an interesting site which lets fans vote for the shows they would like to see be produced on DVD sets. The idea is fascinating because it gives ordinary people an opportunity to tell the studio and network television people what they would like. Fans register and then can vote for their fave series, as well as specifying whether they’d like it delivered as a best of, season run or individual units). Of course there’s no guarantee that anything…

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general May 15, 2002 posted by

Putting words in their mouths

An absolutely terrifying report from the Boston Globe newspaper which details an MIT project where manipulated video appears to show people saying things that they have not said. The trick is done by reprocessing the footage to generate new lip movements for an audio soundtrack. It is currently limited to short duration shots where the person is facing the camera without moving, which makes it slightly less scary. The computer samples the face of someone talking for a few minutes…

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general May 15, 2002 posted by

Far out, man!

Over the past few years there have been a succession of reports detailing the work of the Hubble telescope, accompanied by beautiful photos taken by this amazing device. Today I was intrigued enough by this BBC report to hunt around for a central source of the images and bingo, I stumbled across the Hubble Site Gallery. OK, so it’s not that hard to find, but it’s definitely worth a visit – if only to bask in the glory that is…

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general May 15, 2002 posted by

The easy way to lose money

Or how to shrink a quarter coin using nothing more than a dose of high velocity electromagnetic energy and a metal coil. Twiddle a few knobs, push a few levers, shoot a few piccies and what you’ll be left with are a collection of midget sized ‘mini-me’ coins, almost identical to the original except for being…er…smaller. But why Bert, why?

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general May 15, 2002 posted by

The Internet enabled microwave scam?

Behold, the LG [email protected] Internet connected microwave oven, a masterpiece of engineering we are told. What the advertising appears to avoid mentioning, however, until you go to the Web site, is the fact that you can’t connect this little beauty up directly, you need to connect it to a PC which is then hooked up to the Net. So let me get this right. I am supposed to lug my PC (or maybe laptop?) into the kitchen, stick it down…

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general May 15, 2002 posted by

Stupid computers

Well OK the title is actually a bit unfair on the poor old computer, what we’re really talking about here is something more like stupid programming. The Interface Hall of Shame has been around for quite a while but it’s still good value, especially as a reminder of how NOT to create a user interface. Some of the examples of bad software interface design are simply astonishing, especially in the Stupid Computer section.

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general May 15, 2002 posted by

Hack this!

Now here’s odd. A small British games developer has come out with a game based around computer hacking. Uplink is not your usual shoot ’em up and run fare, instead you have to conduct clandestine operations – i.e. hack other people’s computer systems – on behalf of a mysterious agency in order to earn money. And with the money you can buy yet more tools to hack your way to fame and fortune. I’m intrigued because this would make a…

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general May 14, 2002 posted by

Window shopping

In six days time this ‘family’ of strangers are going to be moving into the shop window of Harrods of London, as some sort of Big Brother type commercial gimmick. Web viewers will be able to watch them via Webcams, vote on challenges and activities for them to do, and all the while passers by will no doubt stand and gape in bewonderment at the strange antics of this pack of 21st century zoo freaks. Still, I suppose everyone deserves…

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