an image of an eye glowing green...

0wn yourself


small steps (a minor social hack for democracy)

next time you buy a product that doesn't live up to its promises, especially a small one, take it back. something you would normally just live with instead of complaining about, not want to make a fuss--take it back.

not for the five bucks. not for the chance to be mean to some salesclerk (unless it happens to be the little fucker who lied to you to get you to buy the damned cell phone in the first place), but for another reason entirely.

the chance to exercise your democratic power through your purchasing power.

whether you're poor or affluent, you (likely) still have _some_ amount of money flowing through your possession, and by taking the trouble to make your purchases count in exactly the way you want them to can help (especially when combined in aggregate with the millions of other people (some of whom are making informed and conscious decisions as well)) to apply pressure for positive change in the right areas.

and then explain (if you have have the opportunity) exactly why you are taking pains to verify just where your money is going. this way, the offending entity gets the chance to experience a real opinion, and others get exposed to this meme in practice (and possibly start being more conscious of _their_ purchases as well).

the other added benefit of this practice is that it simultaneously helps to improve and increase your willpower and self-discipline.


0wn yourself


why do we fall?

so that we can learn to pick ourselves up. okay, i'm sorry. i just hadda say it.

anywho, the old cliché about learning more from a failure than a success seems to have a new study to back it up.

researchers found a much more rapid response from the brain when stimuli were shown which had previously led to errors. the brain seems to have a mechanism for flagging things that have caused it trouble in the past.

it's nice when science agrees with folk sayings.

anyway, some food for thought...


0wn yourself


what i want to see...

0what i want to see....

i want to see more mom and pop shops.

i want to see more flea markets and more swap meets.

i want to see pollution-free, automated power plants.

i want to see automated, generic factories that can make a million exact copies or a million different variations in the same amount of time.

i want to see every piece of menial human labour that still has to get done relegated to the past by reliable, inexpensive or free technology.

i wanna see more clubs meeting up to talk about ideas and communicate.

i want to see pioneers living on the moon and then mars and then a thousand other worlds.

i want to see a vast, interconnected public transportation system.

i want to see people putting forth their energies with the intention to make something better for the world.

i want to see artists painting and sketching in the streets and the parks, and children under trees, reading.

i want to see strangers mingling with each other, both teaching and learning and always sharing the experience of life and how we all perceive it differently.

i want to see real, regular people in politics, instead of politicians.

i want to see multinational corporations evolving into benevolent institutions of education and social sustenance, or fade away into the past, no longer applicable.

i want to see underwater cities and cities in the clouds.

i want to see generational space vehicles, heading off to see what might be out there.

i want to see a technology to nullify the danger of nuclear and biological and chemical weapons, and i want to see education and communication and strong community ties and better thought and discusssion given to the social infrastructure to deal with all of these threats in the mean time.

i want to see stronger local governments.

i want to see a more transparent federal government.

i want to see the general populace break free of the influences of the so-called engines of apathy and distraction and take a look at themselves, each other and this world we're all living in.

i want to see the country around me from the top of a mountain and to see the horizon in every direction from the middle of the ocean.

i want to see the earth from orbit.

i want to see a public transit system that includes destinations around the solar system.

i want to see free education for anybody who desires it.

i want to see people who desire it.

i want to see the world as a good world, as it could be.

i want to see if aliens exist, and if they do, i wanna see what they're like.

i want to see a cure for cancer and aids and bird flu and everything in between.

i want to see god.

i want to see people who do the work they do simply because they want to, rather than because they have to for whatever reasons.

i want to see more cops and doctors who just want to help people and cooks who like to just like cook and to see people enjoy their food and toymakers who make toys and games simply because they like to see children (or anybody, really) enjoying the toys and games that they produced.

i want to see engineers and inventors who build the better mousetrap to catch more mice, not to market and get rich.

i want to see more hackers and tinkerers.

i want to see the open source model applied to more things than software.

i want to see the solution to the problems.

i want to see m-theory succeed as the theory of everything.

i want to see rechargeable batteries that can be recharged indefinitely.

i want to see waterproof and shockproof electronics.

i want to see neural interfaces.

i want to see independent media explode.

i want to see millions of blogs and independent newspapers and short stories and novels and video shows and movies and audio shows and video games and new sorts of media that haven't even been thought of yet all being shared and adding to this wonderful stew of human culture that we have at our disposal.

i want to see society pulling together to spread the resources around in the best ways for the most people, rather than the abnormal and unnatural concentrations of wealth and power that abound today.

i want to see star trek come to life as a model for social behaviour and structure.

i want to see everybody's crazy ideas, pick out the best ones and stick them all together.

i want to see the ubiquitous exemplification of 'the right thing'.

i want to see a new renaissance.

google stands up to viacom

google is being sued over youtube, which they bought to go along with their google video project.

viacom is blaming google for all of the copyrighted material that's made it onto youtube (not to mention pretty much every other media sharing site on the internet).

google says they can't be held responsible for the actions of their users without taking away all of the good, legitimate uses of the youtube service as well. they also are pointing out the differences between this situation and the filesharing case that got shot down by the supreme court (saying that it's different because the file sharing services were encouraging users to disseminate copyrighted materials, while youtube offers 'substantial non-infringing use'.

this case is both interesting and important for a number of reasons.

it's interesting because viacom's going after the biggest dog first. if they win this case, you can bet that it'll be open season on all of the other video distribution services.

the new media distribution outlets the internet provides people with an unprecedented capacity to share information and communicate. the resulting side effect of this is that media distribution industries (yes, entire industries) are basically no longer necessary (or even desired, depending on where you're standing).

media channels have pretty much always been out of the hands of mortals. new technologies are either prohibitively expensive or they're locked down by big business or the law as soon as they pop up.

new media tech scares the bejeezus out of those in control of current media outlets--printing presses, radio, tv, cd's, dvd's--they've all been held tightly under the control of a few major powers (at least at first).

and as new developments occur, those in power (seeing a possible end to that power) have responded to defend themselves. they've had an amazing amount of legal pull over the years, as well.

the internet supersedes all the previous forms of media transmission all at once. print, audio, and video can be combined in powerful new ways, and then transmitted across the globe very rapidly, and to more than one end point.

all without the help from any 'distribution industry'--except the internet infrastructure itself.

even looking specifically at this case--youtube is not really the issue, here. take the youtube infrastructure out of the equation--all they are really doing is making it easier to distribute media by giving you one centralized location to upload stuff and find stuff. that doesn't change the fact that the internet inherently has this ability.

without sites like youtube, one can still broadcast pretty much any information they have available to just about anywhere else on the internet. this just isn't going to go away.

if viacom does win this case (and even if they go after every other utube-style video sharing service out there, this still doesn't change the fact that the internet still has the built-in ability to move information from any point on the net to any (other number of) point(s) rapidly and efficiently.

the bittorrent protocol can more or less replace the distribution infrastructure that google's video service provides (by using the bandwidth of those participating in the downloads (and incidentally adds a kind of natural moderation--it's easier and faster to get the more popular files in a bittorrent swarm), and as far as providing a centralized place to find all the torrents in the first place, we've only to look at existing tracker sites--frequently, they are hosted in countries where the laws don't protect copyrights (or, as an alternative, could be hosted through privacy obfuscation filter services--i.e. tor/privoxy or things like project freenet).

i hope it doesn't ever come to this, but if it does, the internet is ready.

as far as i can tell, the only way to combat these forms of obfuscation would be to look at a large enough section of the internet (all at once) to see where things go in, and where those things come back out--you can't track info as it makes all the hops.

god, this situation is a mess.

this whole free speech/fair use/intellectual property thing is about to explode. people have realized that large portions of the media industry are basically no longer needed. they're essentially middlemen, which the internet very effectively replaces.

the trouble is that these industries (or rather the few people running them) can see this predicament as well, and they don't want to fade into extinction. thus, they're going to do whatever it takes to ensure their survival.

the trouble with _that_ is twofold--they don't seem to care _how_ their survival is maintained, just so long as it is, and they also seem to be very good at getting laws passed. laws which benefit them, not the citizens.

so, i'm not necessarily sure what the best solution is, but i can see all this coming on the horizon and it scares me. at a time when technology puts us in touch with people and information which has never before been possible, when technology should be making our lives easier (making way for more time to explore and tinker with these vast amounts of information and meet these diverse people), a time that should be the beginning of the new renaissance, we're too busy working our asses off to 'make a living'.

i'm sure i'll continue this as time goes by, but i need to stop before i get further off on my tangent here. in the mean time, google, we'll be with you, and to you media bullies, we'll still be here, ready for whatever happens.

in the words of jello biafra--become the media....


0wn yourself


the green glowing eye

green glowing eye
have i ever told you how much i _love_ the gimp? maybe one of these days i'd like to save up for photoshop, but gimp (gnu image manipulation program) is free (both as in beer and as in speech), is nearly as powerful (not quite the range of filters and no true color space) and is growing steadily (including splitting into several subprojects).

it just amazes me, every time i fire up a good open source/free program, to see what people can make just by cooperating and volunteering their time and energy to an idea.

if you've never used gimp (even if you're hooked on photoshop) you might give it a try some time. you might like it, might find something useful it has to offer, or might find something useful you could offer the gimp community.



you down with opb?-- other people's breastmilk

this article talks about the changing patterns (past and present) of breast feeding infants, and specifically about someone other than the biological mother doing the breast feeding.

the article mentions wet nurses, the re-rise of breastfeeding in the us, and cases where it's not possible--e.g. adoption. the article goes on to mention something i've thought about before, but never heard a name applied to--cross-feeding (babies breastfeeding from multiple women).

now, while most of the women mentioned in the post seemed to be doing it more for reasons such as scheduling, but the reason i thought of it was slightly different. when i heard that mothers pass antibodies which help to build the immune systems of infants through breast milk, i immediately thought 'cool, does that mean that if i would have been breastfed by say thirty or forty different women (each with their own various immunities) that i'd have an immune system like wolverine?

just goes to show you how differently people perceive situations.


0wn yourself

the many or the few?

slashdot (/.) had a story today that really illustrates the gray area which harbors the current incarnation of intellectual property laws (even the concept itself and the definition of the word is in dispute). shelley batts, a grad student at university of michigan, received legal threats from wiley interscience (one of whose projects she posted about on her blog (retrospectacle (which, incidentally is a very clever name)).

her call to the global internets was met with a rally of online support and the situation quickly resolved itself (apparently, it had all been a misunderstanding...

now, whether this was really all just a simple misunderstanding, or whether this wiley group changed their tune after the topic started to gain some ip (independent press), i could not tell you for certain. but what i can tell you is that this sort of thing is important, because these technological/social/economic pressures are really building and it's gonna come to a head pretty soon.

there've been a lot of crazy scary laws passed the past few years and if we're not careful, some bad decisions will slip by, and a few people will get screwed--no one really pays too much attention. but then that stuff starts getting held up as precedent and case law, and then a whole mess of people start getting screwed. but by then, it very well might be too late.

money seems to be able to make laws that benefit the few instead of the many.

now, like i said--this is just me talking. i wasn't there, and i don't really know what happened for sure or why, but from an external perspective, my first instinct is that the right thing happened for the wrong reason.

and, truth be told, i guess i'm alright with that as long as there's always enough good people in the world (who are paying attention) to make sure that 'the right thing' _does_ happen. anyway, i'd say that this situation definitely turned out to have a good resolution, and that's a good thing.

something to think about.


0wn yourself


opposition in the the war on 'piracy'

the disc-sniffing anti-piracy dogs now have a price on their heads. or so sayeth cnn.

i just wonder if this is right way to fix this sort of problem. don't we have other things to worry about?


0wn yourself


temporal locks

seriously? temporal locks? how sweet is that?



in all the wrong ways...

you might have heard that bittorrent dot com has announced a new modus operandi--they've partnered with major media corporations to transform into a 'new' legitimate channel for distributing media for money.

there are two problems which spring immediately to mind with this scenario. one--with the bittorrent protocol you need to have a good upstream going where you share the pieces of the object being downloaded that you already have with the other people downloading that object (so everybody shares with everybody, all at once--that's how download swarms work), which adds to your bandwidth usage. and two--the effing industry powerhouses are still the ones getting in there and setting the prices and restrictions (and other unnecessary middleman-type behavior).

nobody (well, almost nobody) has a problem with paying the artists they want to support, but who wants to support these tycoons who've had the industry cornered and divided for longer than any of us can prolly remember? i don't.

i think that at one point in time these middlemen (a comparison i'm fond of) were a necessity. you really couldn't get out and touch the whole world unless you had some help. please bear in mind that this in no way excuses some of the practices which evolved in these industries, but this is another matter, i s'pose.

the bittorrent protocol allows for user moderation in a sense. it's self-feeding (almost like a turbo). when a file becomes more popular (and more people are downloading it) then it becomes much easier for everybody to find other users to swap packets with ('cause everybody's downloading the same things) and start getting all the pieces they need ('cause everybody's downloading the same bleeding things).

media of small or infrequent interest is prolly better off with more traditional (http/https/ftp/etc) protocols, but in pretty much any situation where multiple people are going after the same file(s), bittorrent is the modern-day supreme protocol for the job. there's just nothing better (yet, anyhow). makes the most efficient use of bandwidth, runs hashes for verification, supports resumes, etc. and the more people going after it, the better the whole system will work for everybody.

but the question still begs--if this magic protocol is running the show, these aggregator sites for torrents are creating the jumping off point (with search capabilities), the artists are making the media, and it's our (the consumers') bandwidth that's making this a reality, then what do we still need the likes of mtv and paramount for?

there're about six billion creative and vibrant people out there with ideas of their own, many of which have something to say (a few of which are saying it) and the internet brings us all together. what are you going to do now?


0wn the media distribution channels


what do you do when . . . . find yourself agreeing with a category who hold values that repulse you?

racism is terrible. it's a horrible concept which should never have been accepted, yet by many it is (whether they admit it (even to themselves) or not). judging people on stereotypes is just as flawed an idea, but ignoring stereotypes is not the answer either.

stereotypes bear a lot of similarity to demographics. one's a word used to describe a science trying to make assumptions about people based on their measurable or observable characteristics (or the various 'groups' to which they belong). the other's a word used to describe a person trying to make assumptions about people based on their measurable or observable characteristics (or the various 'groups' to which they belong).

for better or worse, demographic analysis/stereotyping does work at least in a limited and incomplete fashion. does it work all the time (or with everyone)? no. no way. does this make it right? depends on what you're using it for. should you make decisions based these practices? nope.

when you're making a decision, you want to make the best decision possible, right? that's what demographics are all about, too, right? efficiency. used in marketing, you want to get the biggest return on your investment--get the right message to the largest body of people who will be the most sensitive to your message.

similarly, in day to day life decisions you want to make the best decision you can--and that means taking into consideration all of the information you can acquire about the situation, weight that against the sum of your knowledge about how the universe functions, and then pick the most advantageous choice.

the trouble comes in from two vectors--people making uninformed choices (or choices based on the wrong set of statistics) - and - the behavioral influences of 'being in' a particular 'group' or demographic.

i'll address the the first one first. when you go back to my previous example, and start running certain statistical assumptions through that filter, you can see them ground to logical fallacies (or poorly made decisions based on incomplete or improperly weighted criteria). racism unfortunately jumps back to mind.

making a decision about somebody solely on the colour of their skin or the layout of their dna is a prime example of a stupid decision. there are too many other factors, too much variance within that type of a grouping of a given population to make any kind of good choices. simply put, that's just not nearly enough information to judge a person on.

the other kind of trouble i see is the alteration of behavior based on influence of a group. in other words, changing your behavior (whether restricting actions or causing expansion of actions) in order to 'fit in' to a certain group (or tragically because somebody else placed you in a group and now you feel that's what's expected of you).

and actually, these practices aren't necessarily bad either. if you choose to make certain alterations to your conduct in order to align yourself with a group or idea you believe in and agree with can be both healthy and admirable. but when the group or idea you're trying to emulate is not a good one, you can damage yourself and those around you.

i guess the trick is to know as much as you can, sort it out as logically and level-headed as you know how, and then pick the best choice. easy enough, right?

i know.

but all we can do is keep trying. when we change, let's change for the better, okay? this post is for those who are trying. trying to be better. trying to make the world a little better.

the group that i associate myself with is the group of the like mind--those who are trying.


0wn yourself


project blackbox

this is kinda cool. i've always been a fan of modular things. and shouts to aghaster for pointing this out.

project blackbox, by sun microsystems, is basically a datacenter built into a shipping container (i.e. the trailers pulled around by semis).

if all their claims are valid, this is actually a really sweet setup. s'posed to be über energy efficient--it can be easily packed up and taken to just about anywhere. they also say it ranks in the top two hundred supercomputers in the world.

i want one.



0wn your black box



looks like walmart's gonna have a class action lawsuit about discrimination based on sex.


i guess we'll see what happens, won't we?


0wn your evil corporations

a few thoughts on augmented reality

the convergence of media and communication through technology just keeps becoming more ubiquitous in our lives. augmented reality, or the process of overlaying metadata/alternate data streams over a set of realtime inputs, has rapidly been improving lately.

i mean, when you think about it, it's been around for awhile (at least as long as camcorders have been around--zoom and date/time overlay) and with the advent of more powerful computers (not to mention improvements in search/tracking algorithms) are really providing some powerful new tools.

this short list of projects might give you a few ideas about what some of these cats are doing with this. definitely some interesting possibilities.

howstuffworks has an okay piece on it, too. personally, i'd love to have access to that much data while i'm walking around in the real world.

crazy times we're living in.


0wn your reality


is she serious?

this girl
serious? i just can't tell. you decide.


0wn yourself


can games improve your spatial perception?

i've lately been addicted to this game at the wiicade website.

i've often thought about the educational potential of video games, and i think this one might just be good for the old grey matter. i'm not exactly sure what skillset i'm learning here, but it seems to me that to beat these puzzles, you either have to brute force it, or be able to 'see' the solution (i.e. visualize the right possibility).

i'd like to see more examples of games that are engaging and teach you something. maybe i'll write one some time. i'm sure there have to be some good ones out there that i haven't found yet.



a convergence of ideas + capabilities

a convergence of several underlying memes, methods, and tools...

  • rapid development tools

    • libraries
    • templates
    • intuitive ide's

  • information retrieval tools

    • heuristics
    • fuzzy logic
    • pattern analysis
    • indexing

  • proliferation of metadata (indeed, the metadata abounds, and grows daily...)

    • networking
    • social networks hooking people up
    • collaboration tools
    • peer to peer
    • distributed computing

  • open source projects

    • volunteer work accomplishes everything
    • various reasons for volunteering

      • the challenge
      • desire to help the cause
      • desire to use the finished product/service
      • to enrich mankind
      • to learn

    • various levels of participation

      • users (when users send feedback, the development process is enriched
      • users mass use by a lot of people flushes out many circumstances for discovering bugs, etc.
      • developers contribute new code to the project
      • artists contribute media (video, audio, images, etc..)
      • debuggers check the existing code for errors
      • everybody helps spread the meme by word of mouth (telling

i've been thinking, right? sites like ebay, and craigslist, and all the match dot coms all work by hooking people up, right? everybody on there either is looking for something or has something to give, yeah, and these sites just play middle man/connect the dots (whichever you wanna call it).

what if that sort of approach was used on things that make up everyday life?

open source/cooperation/volunteer based cars, satellites, power, food, housing, electronics, etc... kind of a crazy thought, i know, but it seems like it would work (if you could get enough people involved to cover all the required inputs (resources, time, knowledge, skills...)).


[ 0 w n y o u r s e l f ]


The Legendary Katamari Damacy Super Happy Fun Remix Video

diy katamari damacy

anti-missile laser beams?

well, they're starting to install (a test batch) of missile defense system on airliners.

basically, it's a little pod with lasers to interfere with the missiles' guidance system. at least, that's what they're saying. two questions that hop immediately into my mind are what types of guidance systems the anti-missile device will handle (and what about non-guided rockets?) and also, what happens to the miq (missile in question) when it's steered safely away from the plane?


don't get me wrong, here--i'm all about cool new technology (and let's face it, missile-defense laser pods on the front of jets are pretty cool) but since we live in a world where money runs everything, should this really be a priority (simply because this is almost certainly going to be very, _very_ expensive and that money could go to other more productive uses).

also, depending on the answers to my above questions, how effective is this actually going to be in it's current incarnation? well, we'll just have to keep our eyes open, won't we?


0wn your anti-missile laser pods


drm--the love child between satan and osama bin laden

people are getting it. strong words? sure, but they're not too far of a stretch. drm (and all the other forms of intentionally _breaking_ technology to protect someone else's interests) is (are, and will be) very bad (for almost everyone).


0wn your media


wiimote + looking glass = just what i've been waiting for

nintendo's wiimote (or wii remote as they insist on calling it) has been hacked. that's right i said hacked. it's nothing new. now i want to see it in conjunction with things like project looking glass.

whether people end up using the third accelerometer for controlling the z axis in a three d environment or not, i don't see this just blowing over. this is frickin' cool, and i think it's gonna continue to get better and more commonplace (as in like possibly maybe replacing or competing with the mouse?).

okay, maybe i'm overestimating the mean dorkiness of the overall internet/nerdy kid/hacker/gamer demographic slice of people who know about this whole wii hacking phenomenon don't know about it yet.

it's a very intuitive method of input as well as being very open ended and robust. bluetooth from across the room and drag, drop, gesture. i think that teh homebrew wii mote thing is going to continue to advance, and we'll probably see some wiimote inspired products aimed specifically at the pc pretty soon, too.

now, granted, the wii remote may not be as useful as a mouse is for more detailed work like image editing in gimp (though, that could be interesting...) but a lot of the detail work is better accomplished with a digital pen/pad setup anyhow. i can think of several powerful command methods that would be perfect for browsing the web or your media collection, reading, file manipulation, etc.

and then like i said--having the third axis in regards to a 3d desktop environment would be terrific. and i think hardware has matured enough to make this possible (i mean, just look at aero). and then, if you _really_ wanted to get crazy, you could track two of them (one in each hand) and you could stretch windows from both sides simultaneously, push them out of your way, and even flip through stacks of them (and, yes, i know these things can all be done with a mouse (or two of them in some cases), but i think in a lot of instances, it would be more comfortable to do with a wiimote-style hid).

i dunno, i think i might be just ranting at this point, so i'll stop, but the possibilities that are here are really exciting. lemme know what you think.


0wn your human interface device