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Step away from the Wi-Fi

My name is Will.  This is what I clicked.

June 21, 2006 |

I feel like I've been playing catch-up all week.  I still have a few meatier items I'd like to share, but rather than post nothing while I sit here sucking my pencil eraser, here's what else I clicked lately:

— I can't make up my mind about this one.  The guy was sitting in the parking lot using the coffee shop's free Wi-Fi without buying anything.  I'm generally in favor of sharing Wi-Fi for free, but I also understand concepts like "bathrooms are for customers only" and "parking for customers only" so I see the reasoning behind "Wi-Fi for customers only."

Speaking of Wi-Fi abuse, Researchers hack Wi-Fi driver to breach laptop — "'Wireless device drivers are like the Wild, Wild West right now,' Maynor said. 'LORCON has really brought mass Wi-Fi packet injection to script kiddies. Now it's pretty much to the point where anyone can do it.'"  Includes new vocab word:  "Fuzzing."

Animated from the Gulf.  These are kind of a pain to navigate because each one has to be clicked individually, but they're pretty powerful transformations.

Trailer for Disney's coming .

What does it cost to buy ads on some of the ?

I wasn't sure why this was coming up as a popular link so I also clicked of the relative popularity of the opposing poles of the pundit blogosphere.  It's been a while since I've seen any talk of the different structures of the left and right blogosphere, but it appears to still be relevant.

.  It may answer the question of how well the Digg model works outside the tech community.  (Or it may show what else the techy readers of Digg click.)

Speaking of hyped sites, for all the hype about Flickr, they're only photo sharing service.

The New York Times has launched a .

"Everything from political propaganda videos to nip slips..."  Nip slips?  On the New York Times?  Really?

The online design community is enjoying this .

Speaking of video, " feature each and every Wii game at E3, with footage showing how they are played using the Wii-mote."

— It's very strange to read an essay that begins with "When I invented the Web..."

— Instructions from Modern Mechanix, 1933.  In addition to the usual warnings about building yourself something that could kill you, I have to think that cookie tins in 1933 were made better than they are today.

Less dangerous: 

How to never leave the house ever again:  .

Video of the Day:  — School project of Pixar's John Lasseter

— Maybe should get rid of the fly-out menu and go with a moving 3D sphere.

Speaking of cool interfaces, the is a must-see.

"[T]he Ribbon and new UI in Microsoft Office 2007 is in the history of computer software."  He says that mainly because of the amount of money at stake.  A new idea that fails could cost Microsoft billions.

appears to be drawing attention for its showcasing of the CL Sound Machine, but since I clicked the main link, I'll advise you start there and click the word "objects" at the top to see what cool things they have to show.

— Wait a minute... this guy hacked NASA with a dial-up??


American Apparel has in the game Second Life.  These MMORPGs have a lot of organizations in a quandary.  There are millions of participants in these online cultures, and these aren't free accounts or spam bots like pad the stats for blogs, these are paying citizens of a virtual world.  Last I looked there were .  That's enough people to populate a major city.  Should the news report on it?  Should politicians pander to it?  (Is there something wrong with me for not signing up too?)

— "This is both sensible and entertaining audio, and it's got a great title: 'How to Do Precisely the Right Thing at All Possible Times.'"

I know I should just avert my eyes, but I'm really amazed by the folks at TruthOut who .  They claim it's a sealed federal indictment called 06 cr 128 and Patrick Fitzgerald simply hasn't released it yet.

Meanwhile, has taken to calling them TruthNot.  I just can't get over the balls they have to stick to their guns on this.  The pressure must be immense.

I try not to get too excited about science stories involving technology that "may one day be possible," but I really like .

— "Once we start seeing close up video of Dad's scalp on the big-screen TV, you know it's been another successful Thanksgiving dinner."  It's a magnifying camera with some odd marketing photos.

— It's a pretty mundane list.  I can't see how these words themselves would be a problem.  Someone must have gone through a massive list of terms, looked at the results and decided from there what was acceptable.  I wonder how often they update the list as new sites come into being.

— This has Onion parody written all over it.  One of the proposals is the "red crystal."

(Large flash video) — The goal stated at the end is to prove we're not alone by finding another Earth.  Of course, we really know that the point of finding another Earth is so we have somewhere to go when this one starts to reject us like an incompatible organ.  To that end, I was under the impression that terraforming a closer planet was a better idea than trying to trying to reach a more distant one.

Video of the Day:  What Did Rhythm & Hues Do To Marlon Brando ? Behold! — Goes over the CGI tricks used to put words in Jor El's mouth.

— This is a pretty technical page and it doesn't look like anyone's going to be roaming the streets with one of these in their pocket, but it is worth noting that as you walk around with credit cards and an EZ Pass transmitting your personal information through the air, your information is accessible to more people than you might have realized.

Speaking of exceeding my technical know-how, .  How to what my what?  I spent a ridiculous amount of time this morning trying to learn what this video is about.  The instructions are so clear and well presented, I couldn't stand that I didn't know what he is showing me how to do.  The easy part is that a DS Lite is a portable video game player.  The harder part is understanding what it means to "flash" it.  The short answer is that a person who wants to hack their portable game player can trick the machine into reading their own computer code from a flash memory card.  I think that's the "flash it" part, but a more common term I ran into is "."  Homebrew software, as you might guess, is programming written by amateurs - or at least, unofficial coders.

A quick correspondence with myself:

Dear Will,

Will replies:  Dear Will, Thanks for your note, that's a question I ask myself often, including about this very link.  The answer is that I have a general sense that my readers are smarter than I, so they may appreciate links like this more than I can.  For those readers who are closer to my own level of technical proficiency (yet still with a high level of curiosity) links like this at least serve to keep us abreast of trends and terminology.

— "Today, the deepest hole ever created by humankind ...[is]... a hole about nine inches wide which snakes over 12.262 kilometers (7.5 miles) into the Earth's crust."

Funnest cool site of the day:  .  It's Google's map, but it's also a wiki, so anyone can write on it.  While playing with it last night I made two corrections and labeled a pond near my parents' home and the Indian Larry Legacy garage in Brooklyn.  Plus I learned the location of some things near where I live that I wasn't aware of.

Speaking of interactive maps,

Speaking of nuclear calculations, between the enthusiastic war mongers in this country and the downright insane leader of North Korea, I can't figure what to make of the missile test story.  The best (meaning most satisfying) link I clicked on the matter is .

— Weirdest part: "Belle was the first canine recipient to win the VITA Wireless Samaritan Award, given to someone who used a cell phone to save a life, prevent a crime or help in an emergency."

.  It's got a closed shaft drive.  The good news is that you don't have to fix it.  The bad news is that if you ever have to fix it, it's no where near as easy as putting a chain on a sprocket.

Are telecoms sandbagging on through an agreement for which you (as the government) have already paid?  I've never heard of this before, but since I was just complaining that politicians aren't forward thinking, if they really did make this deal with telecoms, that would have been pretty forward thinking of them.  Of course, lacking spine to make it happen in the face of corporate greed and laziness makes the whole matter moot.

The struck a chord with a lot of bloggers.

".  In other words, .9999999... is the same number as 1."

I didn't even know there was such a thing as .  According to , I'm not the only one.  (The video is almost an hour long, which may be more than you wanted to know.)

— I found this one a little harder to play with than the 80s videos because the titles weren't as familiar.

Having reaped only meager reward from a programming strategy of appealing to the grumpy and bitter through the use of partisan America-hurters and their talking point efforts to encourage Americans to hate each other, cable news appears ready to shift to silly news and jackass videos in an effort to "" - "the YouTube crowd".

Speaking of jackass video, I've seen on many "pwned" video compilations, but I never saw the original.  Turns out it's a melon full of gasoline.

And still speaking of jackass video, as I write this, my colleague Bob Sullivan is leading the site with showing up on all the upload sites.  I'm friends with Bob, but as you might guess by the fact that I've linked to most of the videos he's complaining about, I don't agree that they should be censored or that they're dangerous to society or that video sites have anything to do with people doing stupid things.  When I was in high school, portable cameras were still relatively new, but a friend of mine had one and he'd film skateboarding stunts and other adolescent high jinks.  For that matter, skateboard videos in the 80s all had "slam sessions" that included the kind of hand-rail-between-the-legs clips that are now popular online.  I think there's equal argument to be made that videos of violent real stunts serve as a warning to any aspiring idiot considering, for example, launching a bottle rocket from his anus.


The Dean Koontz transcript is .  I think it came out really well, though I couldn't help but notice that in the Amazon link, he was on his new online talk show.  So after hanging up the phone on my interview I got to watch that one and compare right away.  I still have a ways to go, but for a DIY operation I'm not ashamed of it.  By the way, I only promoted the chat here, so all of those questions from readers are Clicked readers.  Purely a Clicked production.


Tomorrow at Noon ET I'll have the opportunity to talk on the phone with author Dean Koontz.  He's got a new book out called The Husband, but I'll be keeping the interview pretty general about writing and the book business.  If there's something you'd like to ask him, send it through the box below and I'll include it.

UPDATE:  This went great.  I hope to have the mp3 available by the end of the day.

June 20, 2006 |

The new Tool CD has a cool trick when a few of the songs are played overlapping.  The explanation is not exactly obvious, however (from the comments):

exactly sychronization appears in 9:14 of the track,cause 9+14=23(number of synchronism)..viginti tres means 23 in latin.viginti tres is the 11th track of the album.result: 11.23--->1,1,2,3-->the fibonacci sequence which tool uses in lateralus.

I clicked , but clearly .  I guess since CDs can't be played backward and audio editing is relatively easy, overlapping tracks is the new hidden message.

Half-time Songs of the Year: Part 1


.  And not a moment too soon because by coincidence I have had "Turn up the radio" by Autograph in my head for days ("Daytime, nighttime, all we know: things go better with rock!" [air guitar the little riff]).  Beware, however.  There's no stop button on the player and you're going to end up finding new songs while you listen to the song that's playing and then next thing you know, your wife is throwing the headphones at you.

Folks are really liking this , but for today's Video of the Day I recommend this music video:  .

— Extortion meets Web 2.0

Speaking of sites with an unvowelled R, (It's a .)

— Twenty bucks a year in energy to play XBox.  (I think this site is struggling with high traffic so you may get a "not found" error.  The page loaded correctly for me after hitting refresh a couple of times.)

"50 Cent and Steve Jobs are currently in talks to bring a to inner city families."  I wonder if they'll be piggy-backing on the 100 dollar computer idea.

— I'm not sure what's so shocking about it other than the "truth to power" element.  Basically the memo (actually a "cable") says that things are getting worse in Baghdad, not better.  Shocking.  Naturally, pundit bloggers are taking the usual sides.

Speaking of pundit bloggers taking sides, Sunday's Meet the Press appearance by Congressman Murtha drew a lot of links.  I clicked a couple of his .  Others thought he did a good job responding to Karl Rove's bashing with bashing of his own.  Many savored the "" remark.

— I was thinking it must generate some kind of field that disrupts the computer in the camera, but actually, it literally looks for the camera and then shines a laser or other light into the lens.

  I was wondering this too.  He wrote that blog largely on Microsoft's dime, but it's also his personal blog.  He blogged his own mother's death on it for Pete's sake!

:  "In this country where women are forced to completely cover themselves in public, are barred from driving, and need permission to travel abroad, it's small wonder many are embracing the freedom of anonymity on the Internet."

— Instead of games, the kids just sat quietly and read. (j/k)

It's so weird to see forward thinking techies get .  I can't think of any group of people less forward thinking than members (or former members) of Congress.

— Yes, just like the Simpsons, but is a bear.  The pet store near me had a pair of them one.  No one bought them, they were ridiculously huge, bigger than guinea pigs.  Oh, and they .

There are 6 states in .

— Apparently the Chinese have modeled their civil servants on the character of Cliffie from Cheers.  "Well actually, it's a little known fact that..."

It was that I clicked a link on how to make your own air conditioner.  And today I clicked it again: .  The home page is actually.

Speaking of funky air conditioners,

— "500 MB of storage and 15 GB monthly downloads"  I wonder how long it takes to burn through that and have to bump up to the subscription service.

:  What I learned and what I said at Princeton.

— Lists like this are becoming increasingly common.  They're easy for readers to digest and putting each item on a separate page really drives up the page view stats.  Personally I find it annoying to have to keeping hitting "next page."  I do like the "why it matters" paragraph they put on them all.

Ze Frank does , Eric does , Photobloggers challenge themselves with , and now the Scientific Activist does Fantastical Fridays.  This week's installment, .

— Not really interesting enough to watch the whole thing, but it doesn't take long to envision the future of this.

Heartwarmer of the day:  — What a great idea.

Speaking of Idaho (I don't say that very often), Rare "rainbow" spotted over Idaho — Whenever you see the word rainbow in quotes, you have to click it.

Speaking of weird stuff in the sky, how about ?

One for the future mystery novel file, .  Mysterious rash and eye irritation results.

We've seen perspective art on streetscapes before.  .

— Of course, anything can be a USB device if you stuff a memory stick into it, but the image of the bear with its head stuck in the computer is funny.

Here's a good idea.  .  Good URL name too.

Here's some into the "scoop" that Karl Rove had already been indicted.  Some underhanded tactics.

(The purchase button says "coming soon" so I guess it's all a joke.)

(not a joke)

Woman deep fries a quarter pounder with cheese and .  Admittedly, beer battered fries look kind of good.

— In case it didn't occur to you right away, electrically conducting tissue for the heart means growing a pacemaker from human tissue.

Do the new Apple ads fail because than cool kids?

Commuter Click: "Turkey guts, junked car parts, and even raw sewage go in one end of this plant, and ."

The instant messenger associated with Nintendo's new Wii is .  Not sure how that's pronounced. "Eem"?

Speaking of instant messengers, the new is out.  I'll try it on my work machine first.

Speaking of gumming up the works with fakes, — I haven't heard much about this in the mainstream yet but it seems like a pretty big deal.  There's a lot of money at stake, not to mention the utility of search.