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Saturday, December 1, 2007

Crayon Physics game is way cool!

Here is a very cool game that Robert Scoble posted about on his blog... as Scoble says, makes you want to own a talet PC! Check it out.

Facebooks Beacon program under fire

My RSS feeds are full of Facebook Beacon stories, in particular the decision by Coke to sit back on it's initial decision to participate in the program. It seems that Facebook lead Coke to believe that the advertising program would be opt in but changed it's mind on that by launch time. There has been a steady backlash from users and consumers rights groups ever since. Here are some of the stories to follow if you're a Facebook users: TechCrunch, BBC, paidContent, and NYTimes Bits. I wonder if Hong Kong billionaire, Li Ka-shing, knew about the fire storm that was about to hit when he invested $60 million in Facebook?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Google announces intention to apply to participate in spectrum auction

In a press release, Google announced today it's intention to apply to participate in the Federal Communications Commission's upcoming auction of wireless spectrum in the 700 megahertz (MHz) band. "We believe it's important to put our money where our principles are," said Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO, Google. "Consumers deserve more competition and innovation than they have in today's wireless world. No matter which bidder ultimately prevails, the real winners of this auction are American consumers who likely will see more choices than ever before in how they access the Internet." The auction is part of the federally mandated transition to digital television in order to free up spectrum airwaves for more efficient wireless Internet service for consumers.

New Zealand teen alleged botnet kingpin

Police in New Zealand questioned an 18 year old Hamilton resident and seized a number of computers in an international investigation aided by police in the Netherlands and the FBI. The teen who was later released is alleged to be a ring leader in a group of hackers that the FBI estimates controls more than 1 million computers and has caused combined economic losses of more than $20-million. “He is very bright and very skilled in what he's doing,” said Martin Kleintjes, head of the police electronic crime centre, “He hires his services out to others.”

The Globe and Mail has more.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hackers go large scale to hijack search results and take over machines

An attempt by hijackers to manipulate search results and steer searchers to sites containing malicious code bent on exploiting an Internet Explorer flaw has apparently been thwarted. The BBC is reporting that the large scale attack, which involved tens of thousands of domains being set up to convince search index software they were serious sources of information, and was likely the works of Russian hackers (pure speculation). The domain names were registered in China and the sites hosted in the US, but were apparently only live for a couple of days before Google started to strip them from search results. Why can't we all just use Firefox?

Google investing in greener energy development

In an initiative it's calling "Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal", Google Inc. will be investing heavily in alternative energy projects through its philanthropic arm. While the aim is to lessen the environmental strain caused its appetite for power to run its computing centers, there also appears to be a profit motive. Larry Page is quoted in this Yahoo! Finance article as saying "If we achieve these goals, we are going to be in the (electricity) business in a very big way," and "We should be able to make a lot of money from this." The fan boy in me wants to applaud Google for the initiative, and if through their investment they are able to bring cheaper technology to the market all the better, but let's not lose sight of the fact that they are a corporation and there is money to be made here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Europeans dropping the land lines, many homes use mobile phone only

According to this report on the BBC News site article, Europeans are shedding their land lines in favour of their cell phones. The statistics are quite interesting, in particular the number of cell phones per 100 persons... the EU average is 95 but Luxembourg leads the way with 158 mobile subscriptions per 100 people! "Lithuania heads the nations who have turned against landlines with 48% of households replacing a fixed phone with a mobile. Finland was second with 47%." I'd really be interested to see what the numbers look like in Asia! I'll bet they are even more in favour of the mobile, on a trip to Hong Kong in 2000 I was amazed by how many people I saw carrying two cell phones!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Zero Emission No Noise car built in Canada but not street legal here!

The ZENN car made by ZENN Motor Company in Quebec, is an amazing little vehicle that is winning awards and sales globally, but is only legal for sale in one Canadian Province! The company's brochure states "ZENN not only looks like a car; it performs like one, too. Equipped with front-wheel drive, brisk acceleration and capable of achieving a regulated maximum speed of 25 mph (40 km/h), it keeps pace with traffic on local streets to get you where you’re going safely and in good time. And ZENN’s battery efficiency gives you the freedom to cover a lot of ground: approximately 35 miles per charge (56 kilometres)."

It's just unbelievable that our governments cannot see the benefits of enabling the consumer to make greener choices! I realize that we can't just allow anything on wheels to travel our roadways, but there must be some happy medium?

Rick Mercer says it all here...

Women believe they are better multitaskers according to online survey

A recent multitasking survey conducted online by Illuminas, for Nokia, suggests that women think they are much better multitaskers than men. The study conducted in the United Kingdom, Spain, Finland, Italy, China, Brazil, Germany, Denmark, France, USA, Sweden and Norway had 60 percent of respondents, both men and women, saying that women where the better multitaskers but interestingly only six percent of women believe that men are better at doing more than one thing at a time... there are about a hundred smart remarks coming to mind right now but in the interest of peace between the sexes I'll refrain from further comment ;-)

The Nokia press release is here.

TiVo coming to Canada in time for Christmas...

A big hit with consumers in the U.S., TiVo has been unavailable in Canada until now. In a press release TiVo Inc. announced the entry into the Canadian market place starting early December. The device, which allows users to record shows and skip commercials, will be available nation wide, with the exception of Quebec, via big box retailers Best Buy, Future Shop, The Brick and London Drug stores for $199. The service also requires a monthly subscription fee of $12.95. While similar technology is available through most of the cable services, the TiVo price is about $100 cheaper than the current offerings and is bound to heat up the market. The CBC has more here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Viewing Colonel Sanders from space...

About a year or so ago, the folks at KFC created a giant Col. Sanders logo in the Mojave desert and now, thanks to Google earth, the Colonel himself can be seen from space. I guess we can deduce that the time it takes to pull one of these stunts off is about a year... first the satellite has to fly over and capture the image and then the data has to make it's way to Google. I wonder how they kept the vandals away? Google Sightseeing blog has the discovery... and many more.

Update... Molson's pulls Facebook contest

Molson's has decided to pull their Facebook contest in which students were encouraged to post pictures of themselves partying on campus after growing criticism from Universities around the country. In a follow up article in The Globe and Mail, Ferg Devins a VP at Molson's is quoted as saying “The whole realm of social media – there's lots to learn,” and “It's really a new area. We're probably groundbreaking and leading in a lot of things we've been doing.” I'm not sure the context of these comments but it doesn't sound much like Mr. Devins is apologizing for anything. The prize of a trip for five to Cancun worth about $8000 will be awarded this week. Not surprisingly, the most entries to the contest came from students at Memorial University in St. John's, Nfld. Those folks on the Rock can sure party!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Exoskeleton a military reality?

Wired brings us an interesting and impressive look at exoskeleton technology developed by Sarcos, recently purchased by defense contractor Raytheon. I've seen many of these type videos but this looks like it's very close... The video is really impressive, and I suspect it's only a matter of time before we start to see battlefield images of this technology.