Saturday, September 29, 2007

IM in the workplace?

An interesting discussion thread.

IM best-practices in the workplace | 43 Folders

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It's like the telecomms want to drive customers away

Google, MySpace, Virgin, and Blyk are readying or deploying ad-supported phones that promise to be essentially free for consumers. Many analysts are assuming that most mobile phone users won't want to  switch, though, because who wants to go through the hassle of reading ads on their phone? Right?

But then we see stories like this one. Suddenly, leaving your telecomm and sitting through ads doesn't seem like such a big deal.

New AT&T terms of service: We'll cut off your Internet connection for criticizing us - Boing Boing

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Gizmodo says Don't buy an iPhone

Primarily because the recent upgrade sends a clear message: We don't want do-it-yourselfers. That's Gizmodo's core audience.
This week's Apple iPhone update may have bricked a few hacked phones, but this is the least important part of the problem. What probably upset many more early adopters was the way Apple wiped out their applications, reducing their phones to the "official" software. This sent out a very clear message: The iPhone is for dummies. It's not for gadget freaks, who only represent a tiny minority of the market.
Gizmodo says Don't buy an iPhone | Technology | Guardian Unlimited

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University tests its new text-messaging raid alert program -- with a real incident

In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings, some universities have moved toward text-messaging alerts in emergency situations. And at one university, the system was immediately tested, and worked:
At St. John’s, the “messages were sent so quickly that a student who helped subdue the suspect felt his cell phone vibrate with the information while he was restraining the gunman,” according to The Associated Press.

In other signs of the potential of the text messaging route, the alert quickly spread from people signed up for the messages to those around them, and the incident encouraged many more students to sign up in the aftermath.
No kidding.
More Adventures in Emergency Text-Messaging - The Lede - Breaking News - New York Times Blog

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TechCrunch places a wake-up call to Apple

.. after customized iPhones were bricked by the latest upgrade. Everyone knows this, but it's nice to see someone in the industry say it:
But Steve Jobs might be better served here to take his own advice and think different. Because, as he has so elegantly demonstrated with the iPhone, these devices are finally becoming little computers. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that consumers will expect them to act like computers. They will want to modify them to their exact, quirky predilections. They will want to use them any way they want, as a general-purpose device.
Note to Apple: Stop thinking Like a Phone Company

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Voting with your mobile phone?

Being floated in Estonia:
Mobile ID is more convenient in that one does not have to attach a special ID card reader to one's computer. A cell phone performs the functions of an ID card and card reader at one and the same time.
Slashdot | Out With E-Voting, In With M-Voting

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More rumors on the Newton

I imagine someone in mid-2008 buying a new Apple Newton, taking it home, and discovering that the sticker that says "Newton!" is coming off. They peel it off and below are the words "iPod Touch."

Slashdot | Newton II - Does The Rumor Have Legs This Time?

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Oh, Japan

How I envy you your mobile telecommunications infrastructure.

Why mobile Japan leads the world | Technology | The Guardian

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Return of the Newton

Apple is rumored to be preparing an Apple PDA. Huh. I would have thought that the Apple PDA would be the iPod Touch + some organizer software. Why are people still trying to make PDAs that are not phones anyway?

AppleInsider | Up next for Apple: the return of the Newton

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Deckard really was a replicant

Ridley Scott talks about the new director's cut of Blade Runner.
Wired: It was never on paper that Deckard is a replicant.

Scott:It was, actually. That's the whole point of Gaff, the guy who makes origami and leaves little matchstick figures around. He doesn't like Deckard, and we don't really know why. If you take for granted for a moment that, let's say, Deckard is a Nexus 7, he probably has an unknown life span and therefore is starting to get awfully human. Gaff, at the very end, leaves an origami, which is a piece of silver paper you might find in a cigarette packet, and it's a unicorn. Now, the unicorn in Deckard's daydream tells me that Deckard wouldn't normally talk about such a thing to anyone. If Gaff knew about that, it's Gaff's message to say, "I've read your file, mate." That relates to Deckard's first speech to Rachael when he says, "That's not your imagination, that's Tyrell's niece's daydream." And he describes a little spider on a bush outside the window. The spider is an implanted piece of imagination. And therefore Deckard, too, has imagination and even history implanted in his head.
Q&A: Ridley Scott Has Finally Created the Blade Runner He Always Imagined

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Texas' new nuclear reactors

Applications have been filed for the first new reactors in the US since 1977, and they may be fast-tracked:

The resurgence of nuclear power in the United States comes as companies seek new generating capacity from energy sources that do not emit carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas blamed for global warming.

The NRC says it expects US companies to file applications for about 30 new combined construction and operating licenses in coming months. If granted by the NRC, the licenses would allow companies to construct and operate a nuclear plant in one fell swoop, minimizing possible regulatory delays.

No applications for new nuclear power plants have been filed since at least 1977, and several planned plants were canceled after the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania that sparked a backlash against the technology.

Now Dominion Resources, Duke Energy and Southern Co are among the utilities in the process of seeking plant licenses, according to the NRC.

The regulator is expected to take about three years to process applications, and construction could take four years, putting the first new US reactors online sometime around 2015.
Planet Ark - NRG Seeks First US Nuclear Plant Permit in Decades

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Ontologist wanted

What an intriguing job ad. Check out the different disciplines that are being trawled:


Professional experience and an advanced degree in Information, Library Science, Ontology, Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Applied Mathematics, a discipline related to the science of humans (e.g., Psychology, Sociology, Linguistics), or a related field. Experience or knowledge of the Intelligence Community is highly desirable.

Knowledge of philosophical and computational ontology and more importantly knowledge of how these two subjects are different.
The Defense Talent Network

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Here's a scare story that lists the different ways that things falling from space might wipe out life on Earth. One of the focuses is the recent finding that common "bugs" can become "superbugs" (more virulent due to adaptive variation) in space. But the phrase I highlighted below really caught my eye:
It's just salmonella, nasty enough in its own right, and hardly what you might think is going to slaughter the human race ahead of the asteroid 99942 Apophis due to arrive between earth and the moon on April 13, 2029 or perhaps climate change-driven tidal waves a non-Kyoto future holds for us. But what of the bugs that might be attached to all the space junk, the old satellites, rockets, probes, missiles constantly falling back to earth?
Am I the only one who knows the rest of that story?

The Geelong Advertiser

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Amazon vs. iTunes

Apple has faced down a lot of hamhanded competitors in the online music sales industry. My sense is that Amazon has the user base and the clout to be a real competitor, though, and cutting the price by a dime won't hurt.

Game On: A Real Alternative To iTunes

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Slumming ninjas rob gas station

Danger Room - Wired Blogs

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