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February 23 to 29, 2004
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Congratulations! You may be a content provider! "Nearly half of U.S. Internet users have built Web pages, posted photos, written comments or otherwise added to the enormous variety of material available online, according to a report released on Sunday." Too bad it's still so difficult - Web fonts suck, standards are flouted, cross-platform pages are hard to make, nonsensical patents abound, and intellectual property law is a minefield:
Here's the study:
Social Data Transmission
The cat's out of the bag: the first decent mainstream article on the brilliant BitTorrent, the file sharing network that "makes trading movies a breeze". As well as gigabytes of other stuff as well:
This has been pretty popular, but for those who don't know... DJ Danger Mouse released the critically acclaimed "The Grey Album", a remix of rap vocals and the Beatles' White Album. EMI demands a halt to sales, hundreds of sites protest with grey backgrounds, 100,000 download the album online:
"Implicit Structure and the Dynamics of Blogspace"
An HP study of the transmission of ideas via blogs (online journals), with visuals. For future research: How is the spreading of ideas like the transmission of virii? Can one reliably predict the most contagious vectors of ideas within information societies? Can ideas be engineered to spread faster than others? Can more efficient idea-sharing methods be devised?
New Tech
Face recognition technology will be incorporated into the MPEG-7 standard, allowing one to retrieve a scene with a specific person in a 24-hour video in one second. Of course, this has far-reaching ramifications for moviemakers, privacy groups, crime fighters, historians, genealogists, and Google Image Search:
Mind Over Machine
A nice overview from Popular Science on current brain-machine interface research. "If you think about using superconducting magnets, maybe you could figure out how to make a helmet," says [former DARPA program director] Alan Rudolph. Ever see the movie Brainstorm?
Video Games
Video game studies are making their way into college curricula - what is their form and impact on culture? What is a game?
"Game Development: Harder Than You Think"
Modern video games are on the cutting edge of reality simulation: where 20 years ago a shoot-'em-up game took one to four people, today's games require teams of 30+ and specialized knowledge of physics, persistent object storage, and AI. A good overview of what's needed and where we're at:
Terrorism and You
The Transportation Security Administration, which handles airport terrorist checks, mistakenly identified one of its employees as a sex offender and fired him, despite the fact that the correct information was publicly available online:
Modern Life
At a French cartoon festival kids draw pictures of obese Americans and Bush next to Hitler:
We don't support that "Ted, and those like him, have only one solution to their customers' problems. Erase everything on the computer's hard drive and start over from scratch." The latest in Salon's series of stories about jobs from hell. If you're a PC user and require phone support, beware!
A surreal report of Arayanfest 2004, the latest "international" gathering of white supremacists:
Summarize a novel in 25 words (or less)... "The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien: Little guys go to a lot of trouble to get rid of stolen jewelry."
10 million Pacific giant crabs are invading Norway's coast and destroying the local ecology. "But Glenn, a 30-year-old car mechanic, replied: 'It's true the seabed now looks like the Sahara but they certainly taste good.'"
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