Video:Loading Ready Run: Internet Receptionist

by on Sep.22, 2011, under Computers, Culture, Entertainment, Internet, Videos, Visual Media

Video Source

Hehe. Nunchucks and Skateboards. I love callbacks.

Comments Off on Video:Loading Ready Run: Internet Receptionist :, , more...

TedTalk: Taking back the Internet

by on Aug.10, 2011, under Articles, Computers, Information Technology, Internet, Technology, Videos, Visual Media

I have to agree with everything Rebecca MacKinnon talks about in the above video. It is a 15 minute long video but well worth watching, talking about the use of the uses of the internet and how it’s use is being mishandled by governments and corporations that are using it in ways no citizen would allow.

Comments Off on TedTalk: Taking back the Internet :, , , , more...

What Books Will Become (Part 2 of 2)

by on May.09, 2011, under Articles, Books, Computers, Design & Development, Gaming, Information Technology, Internet, Science, Technology, Video Games, Videos, Visual Media, Writing

Recently I came across this article, which takes an even more in-depth look at the possibilities of where books could go.

What Books Will Become by Kevin Kelly []

That is a long article and I’m sure enthusiasts, such as myself, likely read it all. For those of you not interested in reading the entire thing, here are some interesting points I’d like to point out and discuss. In Part 1 we discussed the problem with the word books and the transition to non-book formats.

Picking up where we left off:

At the same time, a screen that we watch can watch us. The tiny eyes built into your tablet, the camera that faces you, can read your face. Prototype face tracking software can already recognize your mood, and whether you are paying attention, and more importantly where on the screen you are paying attention. It can map whether you are confused by a passage, or delighted, or bored. That means that the text could adapt to how it is perceived. Perhaps it expands into more detail, or shrinks during speed reading, or changes vocabulary when you struggle, or reacts in a hundred possible ways. There are numerous experiments playing with adaptive text. One will give you different summaries of characters and plot depending on how far you’ve read.

This is where we start getting into interesting areas of information technology and adaptive text. I both like and hate this idea. As a gamer I find this idea intriguing. As a reader I’m not sure I like this. The article goes on to discuss that adaptive text has never been widely accepted. I remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books and Lone Wolf books that were effectively the same thing but relegated to the children’s book section. Perhaps with the growing number of adults who are used to playing video games, books might become a more interactive media.

The article also discusses the idea of the inclusion of movies inside text. I recently attended a seminar given by Edward Tufte, a well-known name in Information Technology, who talks about, prior to the invention of the printing press, it was common for images to be included, in-line, with text. It is an idea that modern technology limits us from, even today. In order to embed an image for you to see here in this blog, I have to set alignments and specialized tags. Images and text don’t flow well together in modern technology. This is something I personally hope the advancement of eBooks will fix, even if it is a tangential part.

The current custodians of ebooks — Amazon, Google and the publishers — have agreed to cripple the liquidity of ebooks by preventing readers from cut-and-pasting text easily, or to copy large sections of a book, or to otherwise seriously manipulate the text. But eventually the text of ebooks will be liberated, and the true nature of books will blossom. We will find out that books never really wanted to be telephone directories, or hardware catalogs, or gargantuan lists. These are jobs that websites are much superior at — all that updating and searching — tasks that paper is not suited for. What books have always wanted was to be annotated, marked up, underlined, dog-eared, summarized, cross-referenced, hyperlinked, shared, and talked-to. Being digital allows them to do all that and more.

I don’t think he is crazy. It’s the nature of the transition for the people who held all the power to try to adapt technology to the same limitations that they once had but eventually the old powers, or some new power, will figure out how the market works adapt to it. Hopefully anyway.

But the last topic of the article I want to bring up is introduced in the above paragraph. The idea of a  networked book. There are paragraphs devoted to this concept in the article and I both like and dislike the idea. I do like the idea of a book forming its own metadata as it is read, shared, discussed, and copied. I don’t think it will be as beautiful or seamless as Kelly is describing. He talks about books that continue evolving, being edited not just by the author but by the meta content that is created for it. You can see a proto-example in theweb series of novels Shadowunit. Movies and television already regularly make use of the web to try to create this content, to create a following around a show, so this idea isn’t new or alien. I think, however, at this point, we will have birthed a new media that is very different from the kind of stories told in books today. I don’t think that is a bad thing, but it’ll be a transbook media.

And I look forward to reading it.

Anyway if you’ve liked some of this discussion, read the original article. There are more neat ideas about where books are headed in here.

Comments Off on What Books Will Become (Part 2 of 2) :, , , , more...

What Books Will Become (Part 1 of 2)

by on May.08, 2011, under Articles, Books, Computers, Design & Development, Gaming, Information Technology, Internet, Roleplaying Games, Science, Technology, Video Games, Videos, Visual Media, Writing

Readers might remember I wrote an article awhile back about the evolution of how stories are told. It discussed the current transition we find our media undergoing, between analogue and digital. I stopped short, in that article, of discussing where it could possibly lead and left that theorizing to the reader.

Recently I came across this article, which takes an even more in-depth look at the possibilities of where books could go.

What Books Will Become by Kevin Kelly []

That is a long article and I’m sure enthusiasts, such as myself, likely read it all. For those of you not interested in reading the entire thing, here are some interesting points I’d like to point out and discuss. (continue reading…)

Comments Off on What Books Will Become (Part 1 of 2) :, , , , , more...

The Digital Public Library of America

by on May.02, 2011, under Articles, Books, Computers, Information Technology, Internet, Politics, Technology

Ruling Spurs Effort to Form Digital Public Library By Miguel Helft [New York Times]

This news header caught my eye because the concept seems like almost a no brainer. Except that copyright and laws are all confusing in the idea since digital media is so easily transferable as compared to physical media. Still an online public Library of America is a great idea and I hope it gets off the ground and becomes popular enough to stay alive.



Comments Off on The Digital Public Library of America :, more...

Videos: Light painting WiFi

by on Mar.15, 2011, under Art, Computers, Entertainment, Information Technology, Internet, Technology, Videos, Visual Media

Immaterials: Light painting WiFi from Timo on Vimeo.

A little on the long side but really interesting. I’d like to see a less artistic version where someone maps an entire region and visualizes it in 3D space. I imagine it wouldn’t be too hard. Instead of lights you put a little position tracker that records its place and wi-fi levels, walk slowly over time, download the data and generate the visual based upon position information and wi-fi levels. Sure it’s not slow light photography but you can super impose video of the area you measured into the 3D world.

1 Comment : more...

The Fragile Internet

by on Mar.12, 2011, under Articles, Computers, Information Technology, Internet, Technology

When the Internet nearly fractured and how it could happen again by Nancy Scola (The Atlantic)

The above link is to a three page article that discusses some of the history of the internet. Spurred by the show of power Egypt displayed by turning off its own internet during their recent revolution, the author recounts a time when the internet was still forming,  officials in the US government were trying to promote the internet to private companies about how useful it could be, and how one man managed to steal half of the internet’s traffic to his own version of the internet.

The internet is more fragile than we think.

To explain it in a slightly non technical way, the internet works on a two-address system. There is the Domain Name Service (DNS), which handles all the ASCII, or English character, based names. And there is the IP address, which is a series of numbers. The internet really only needs the IP address to actually work but that wouldn’t be very easy to navigate (although these days we almost all use Google anyway). So we use the DNS system. These are what give us the .com, .net, .org, .gov, .info, .us, .ca, names, etc. These names are called domains and you can associate an IP address to one or even many.

These associations are stored in large tables in the big hub networks and then filter down into smaller and smaller hubs until every router that connects your computer to other computers on the internet knows, for the most part, where to send your data next in the string to get to its destination. It’s kind of like a series of tubes…

But someone needs to run and organize the Domain Name System because someone needs to approve how domain names associate to IPs. The old domain name system runner was InterNIC as noted in the story. The newer version ICANN. Both run the DNS on behalf of the US government (although ICANN is now independent of two for profit companies, Network Solutions, Inc and AT&T).

So fundamentally the US government controls the internet. This actually has some parts of the world scared and there has been movement to try to push the US to hand over governing of the higher levels of the infrastructure of the net over to an organization like the UN. Which seems fair to me, actually, assuming the UN can actually keep its neutrality.

Of course these days tons of congressmen are making news by saying they want to put stop switches on the internet. And the FCC is talking about regulating the people who provide access to it (not to be confused with the FCC regulating the internet itself). I’m anti the first and pro the second. There have been actual raids against websites by the Department of Homeland Security targeting sites that distribute child pornography and sites that connect people to downloads of music and movie files protected by copyright. Some of these raids have been fumbling errors that wiped out the connections to tons of non-offending sites, according to the article above.

This is why parts of the world are clamoring to get organizations like ICANN under some sort of international control, rather than under US control. If the internet truly is supposed to be neutral ground, and the US is starting to throw its political weight around on it, then can the world trust the US not to abuse the net? I wish I could say that I’d answer yes to that question but I really don’t know. On the other hand putting ICANN and other pieces of the internet infrastructure in the hands of multinational organizations like the UN seems a little worry some to me as well as there is a significant digital threat from other countries such as China, Russia, and parts of the Middle East.

The real point of this article is to try to show you that there are factors and pressures on the internet that expand beyond what telecom monopoly is trying to make money off your access to it. Governments want control, some for good reasons, others for bad, private industry wants control, and hopefully general users want control too. I know I like The Singularity and I am comfortable with the level of control I have over it and don’t wish to see my control of it taken away, intentionally or accidentally. We are past the formative years of the internet and are now solidly in young adult hood, where the internet is trying very hard to figure out what it should be doing, rather than learning about what it could do. We all should keep an eye on what the other groups are trying to make the internet do so it doesn’t turn into something useless for all.

1 Comment :, , , , , more...

An evolution of how stories are told

by on Mar.09, 2011, under Art, Articles, Books, Computers, Entertainment, Information Technology, Internet, Music, Novels, Podcasts, Short Stories, Technology, Videos, Visual Media, Writing

So one of the topics I am very much interested in is the evolution of media and information technology. One of the budding areas that we are watching grow into its toddler, if not teenage, years, is the ebook. To keep the metaphor going, it really is only a matter of time before our teenager starts experimenting in order to figure out what they really are. But first lets talk about where stories, in the form of books, have been going.

Aren't they cute?The popular e-readers of today are trying desperately to copy books. This is because books have an established niche of readership that keeps them afloat financially that has been steadily declining since the invention of video. Declining but not being erased. Actually since the internet became popular, we’ve seen an increase in the amount that people read daily, thanks to email and websites.

The internet gave birth to what I’ll call the first evolution of story, that being the jump to self published internet fiction, which you can find all over the internet in audio and written form if you try. Serialized web novels are popular these days, along with terabytes of fan fiction and much more. But this evolution doesn’t hold up economically for most authors, at least not until recently. There has been another slower evolution, the eBook.

[feed]More on the site, including a peek at a possible evolution beyond eBooks.[/feed] (continue reading…)

1 Comment :, , , , , more...

What is a fair price for Internet service?

by on Feb.04, 2011, under Articles, Computers, Information Technology, Internet, Opinions, Politics, Technology

The issue of internet service has been heating up in Canada as the telecoms have started charging even more and setting data caps that have more than a few Canadian internet based content providers annoyed.

Huge Thompson, a writer for The Globe and Mail, decided to investigate the justifications for these price hikes and the reasons for the concept of usage-based billing.

What is a fair price for Internet Service? by Hugh Thompson (The Globe and Mail)

Realize that while this article is focused on Canada, this easily applies to many parts of the world. It doesn’t get into a lot of the tech explanations and yes some of his statements on pricing are a bit generalizing, for example there is a significant cost difference between wireless signal providing and land based cable providing, but the price gouging is still there.

There is a war for the internet going on and I’m sadly not sure if that phrase is a hyperbole or not. (continue reading…)

Comments Off on What is a fair price for Internet service? : more...


by on Dec.15, 2010, under Computers, Entertainment, Exerpts, Internet

The following happened on one of the XKCD IRC Chat rooms. We know, we, we have the log.

<Happyjew> So why was Jesus given gold when he was born? Wouldn’t diapers or clothing make more sense?
<Caig4> Not really, as they kingly gifts.
<Happyjew> Kingly gifts? For Jesus?
<Caig4> He is King.
<Happyjew> Oh, King, eh. Very nice. And how d’he get that? By exploiting the workers! By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society! If there’s ever going to be any progress…
<Caig4> What?
<Happyjew> Anyway…who exactly is he King of?
<Caig4> …the jews.
<Happyjew> Who are the jews?
<Caig4> Are you joking? The jewish people, you’re name states you’re jewish.
<Happyjew> Well, I didn’t vote for him.
<Caig4> You don’t vote for Kings.
<Happyjew> How did he become King then?
<Caig4> It was foretold that the messiah (king) would come, and he was the son of God.
<Happyjew> Listen, being the son of a deity is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not having a god as a father. You can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just because daddy is a divine being. I mean if I went around saying I was emperor because my papa is Thor, they’d lock me away.
<Caig4> Are you f***ing serious???
<Happyjew> I’m just trying to clarify…

Comments Off on XKCD DB :, , , more...


August 2017
« Nov