Posts tagged as: tech


Sunday, March 16, 2008


Horseradish Fire Alarm

‘A new type of fire alarm in Japan has been developed using the pungent smell of horseradish.

The device is drawing attention as a new way to warn people with hearing disabilities.

Medical equipment manufacturers have developed a technology to extract components of the strong odor of horseradish, seal them inside a can and spray them out.

Shiga University of Medical Science Hospital cooperated with the makers and carried out experiments to see if the horseradish smell can wake up people from a deep sleep.

Fourteen people, including those with hearing disabilities, took part in the experiments.

In the experiment, 13 out of the 14 subjects woke up in less than two minutes after the smell reached their noses.’

Katie Holmes ‘feels like a prisoner’ in her own home

‘Katie Holmes has told friends she feels like a “prisoner in my own home”.

The former Dawson’s Creek actress reportedly made the comments after her husband, Tom Cruise, announced plans to have a $1.3m security system installed at their $40m Los Angeles home – dubbed ‘Cruise Castle’ by friends.

A source close to the actress – who fears the star will have no personal space away from domineering Tom, said: “Because of his high profile, his children and his Scientology connections, Tom believes his family is vulnerable to potential kidnappers, stalkers and crazed fans.

“Katie will barely be able to move around her own home without being monitored by cameras and electrical devices.”‘

Hacking attacks can turn off heart monitors

‘American researchers have proven it’s possible to maliciously turn off individuals’ heart monitors through a wireless hacking attack.

Many thousands of people across the world have the monitors, medically known as implantable cardiac defibrillators (ICDs), installed to help their hearts beat regularly.

ICDs treat abnormal heart conditions; more recent models also incorporate the abilities of a Pacemaker. Their function is to speed up a heartbeat which is too slow, or to deliver an electrical shock to a heart which is beating too quickly.

According to the research (pdf) by the Medical Device Security Center – which is backed by the Harvard Medical School among others – hackers would be able to intercept medical information on the patient, turn off the device, or, even worse, deliver an unnecessary electrical shock to the patient.

The hack takes advantage of the fact the ICD possesses a radio which is designed to allow reprogramming by a hospital doctor. The ICD’s radio signals are not encrypted, the Security Center said.’


Man read Bible to mother after mortally wounding her

‘A man beat and slashed his mother because he feared she would have him arrested for taking her computer, then read the Bible to her as he watched her die, state police said.

Jesse James Campbell told friends that he wanted to kill his mother, Cindy Jo Coleman, because she demanded that he return a computer he stole from her by 8 a.m. Thursday, police said.

Campbell went to his mother’s home before the deadline, grabbed a five-pound plastic weight and hit Coleman repeatedly in the face with it, police said. He also choked his mother and then grabbed a steak knife and stabbed her, police said.

Campbell later told his girlfriend things “got messy” when he confronted his mother about the computer and that he read his mother the Bible as she lay dying, police said.’


Saturday, March 8, 2008


Canon Laptop Harddrive Replacement Goes Bad

What a waste of two years. 🙂

(198kB MP3)

see it here »


Padded Lampposts Tested in London to Prevent Cell Phone Texting Injuries

‘People who have been injured while walking and texting on their cell phones may be in luck.

A London street is experimenting with padded lampposts to protect those not paying attention from banging into them, ITN reports.

A study conducted by 118 118, a phone directory service, found that one in 10 people has been hurt while focusing on their cell phone instead of where they were walking, ITN reports.

The test lampposts will be given a trial run in London’s East End on Brick Lane. If the trial is successful it will be rolled out in Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

The survey found that almost two thirds of respondents lost peripheral vision while texting, and more than a quarter wanted lines on the pavement to create routes for texters to walk while using their phones.’


Friday, March 7, 2008


Windmill Self Destruction

Hooray for windmills eating themselves.

(1.3meg Flash video)

see it here »


Who needs security when you have a robot?

‘Rufus Terrill has had it with the drug dealers, petty thieves and vandals he says roam the streets outside his downtown Atlanta bar, O’Terrills.

But instead of calling the police or hiring private security guards, Terrill reached for his toolbox.

He mounted an old meat smoker atop a three-wheel scooter and attached a spotlight, an infrared camera, water cannon and a loudspeaker. He covered the contraption with impact-resistant rubber and painted the whole thing jet black.

And so was born what surely must be Atlanta’s first remote-controlled, robotic vigilante. [..]

He flashes the robot’s spotlight and grabs a walkie-talkie, which he uses to boom his disembodied voice over the robot’s sound system.

“I tell them they are trespassing, it’s private property, and they have to leave,” he said. “They throw bottles and cans at it. That’s when I shoot the water cannon. They just scatter like roaches.” [..]

Terrill insists he’s not a kook, that he’s serious about using his robot to fight crime.’

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Pakistan removed from the Internet

‘I cannot let the irony pass with out commenting. A religious state, Pakistan, identifies a content provider, YouTube, as the source of blasphemous, seditious content and orders, King Canute style, that the Internet tides be stopped. A zealous ISP ignorantly decides the best way to comply with the decree is to re-route all of YouTube’s IP addresses to whatever site they thought was more appropriate. The first repercussion was that YouTube disappeared from the Internet for almost an hour. I suspect the second repercussion was that Pakistan’s Internet access crawled to a halt as all of a sudden they were handling IP requests for one of the busiest sites in the world. As of this writing YouTube has announced more granular routes so that at least in the US they supercede the routes announced by PieNet. The rest of the world is still struggling. So, while working on a fix that will filter out the spurious route announcements, PCCW has found it necessary to shut down Pakistan’s Internet access. The leadership of Pakistan just created a massive Denial of Service on their own country.’


Monday, February 25, 2008


Aussie scientists develop wireless breakthrough

‘Australian scientists have developed a computer chip that promises to remove the wires from your home entertainment system.

The chip was developed by National Information Computer Technology Australia (NICTA) at the University of Melbourne, and could appear in a range of electronic devices including laptops, televisions and home entertainment systems.

NICTA chief executive officer Dr David Skellern said the team had to overcome significant challenges in developing the chip. [..]

The chip uses the unlicensed 57-64 gigahertz frequency band to transmit and receive data.

It can transfer data at speeds of up to five gigabits per second within a range of 10 metres. This would allow the wireless transfer of the entire contents of a DVD in less than five seconds, 20 times faster than the current Wi-Fi standard.’

Friday, February 22, 2008


P2P pirates: three strikes and you’re out

‘The Australian Government is contemplating introducing ‘3 strikes and you’re out’ laws for online copyright offenders.

Broadband minister Senator Steven Conroy told the Sydney Morning Herald that such an approach, with ISPs being required to first warn offending users, then suspend their access temporarily, then cut off access altogether, was being seriously considered by the government.

The proposal is said to mirror similar suggested policies in Britain, though the details leaked of that plan suggest that the exact model for prosecution hasn’t been finalised. Using a system that mimics baseball also seems a tad un-Australian, though presumably being bowled out on the first offence would be even less popular.’

Microsoft slammed for ‘stupid’ friendly-worm idea

‘Reminiscent of the “good” Nachi worm unleashed in 2003, Microsoft researchers have touted the idea of “friendly worms” to issue software patches, which has been labelled “stupid” by security experts.

In a research paper entitled Microsoft’s Sampling Strategies for Epidemic-Style Information Dissemination, the software giant looks at optimising the dissemination of data over a large-scale network by sampling computers in a subnet or IP address block — a similar technique to that used by worms — to identify computers that contain a known vulnerability.

“My focus is fundamental research on improving the efficiency of data distribution of all types across networks, and isn’t limited to certain scenarios or types of data but investigating underlying networking techniques,” Milan Vojnovic, researcher at Microsoft UK, told sister site [..]

However security expert Bruce Schneier said the concept of using worm-like techniques to distribute software patches is “stupid”.

“Patching other people’s machines without annoying them is good; patching other people’s machines without their consent is not,” wrote Schneier in a blog post.’


Thursday, February 21, 2008


Giant LCD Screen Hack

‘This dude hacks the jumbo screen at Utrecht Central Station to announce train cancellations and prank bystanders.’

This is the same guy from Kids Hack German Highway Signs.

(2.9meg Flash video)

see it here »

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


F.B.I. Gained Unauthorized Access to E-Mail

‘A technical glitch gave the F.B.I. access to the e-mail messages from an entire computer network — perhaps hundreds of accounts or more — instead of simply the lone e-mail address that was approved by a secret intelligence court as part of a national security investigation, according to an internal report of the 2006 episode.

F.B.I. officials blamed an “apparent miscommunication” with the unnamed Internet provider, which mistakenly turned over all the e-mail from a small e-mail domain for which it served as host. The records were ultimately destroyed, officials said.

Bureau officials noticed a “surge” in the e-mail activity they were monitoring and realized that the provider had mistakenly set its filtering equipment to trap far more data than a judge had actually authorized.’

CCTV database to fight terror

‘POLICE are stepping up the heat on potential terrorists by seeking access to “tens of thousands” of closed circuit television cameras.

Police will store every NSW camera location in a central database so that terrorists and other criminal activity can be speedily tracked.

Owners of large and small businesses who have installed CCTV cameras in customer areas or outside their premises will be asked to register them with police.

The information will be used to create a map of CCTV locations, allowing police to quickly source footage showing suspects and crimes.’


Thursday, February 7, 2008


Pirate Bay Says It Can’t Be Sunk, Servers Scattered Worldwide

‘The world’s most notorious BitTorrent tracking site, The Pirate Bay, won’t be going to Davy Jones’ Locker, even if its four operators are convicted of facilitating copyright infringement, one of the defendants said in an interview Friday with THREAT LEVEL.

Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi, one of the four Swedes charged in Sweden on Thursday, said in a telephone interview that the site has set up a clandestine, double-blind operation with its servers spread throughout the world — and out of reach of the Swedish authorities.

“The Pirate Bay is not in Sweden,” the 29-year-old Kolmisoppi said.

Where are the servers?

“It’s a distributed system. We don’t know where the servers are. We gave them to people we trust and they don’t know it’s The Pirate Bay,” Kolmisoppi said. “They then rent locations and space for them somewhere else. It could be three countries. It could be six countries. We don’t want to know because then you’ll have a problem shutting them down.”‘


The vasectomy you can switch on and off at the push of a button

‘Vasectomies could be a thing of the past thanks to a remotecontrolled implant that can stop the flow of sperm.

The valve-like device can be opened and shut at the press of a button, using the same technology that locks a car using a key fob.

Scientists who invented the implant say it could be used as a form of male contraception.

Men who change their minds about having children would then simply point the remote handset at their testicles and press a button to open up the valve. [..]

Once the handset is pressed, it sends a coded radio signal through the skin to the implant, which contains a tiny antenna. The antenna picks up the signal and converts it into sound waves that “ripple” through the valve.

Since the valve itself is soft and flexible, the sound waves make it flap open – allowing sperm to pass through. As with cars, each device would have its own unique code so it could not be opened by anyone else.’


Man convicted of sending penis photo by phone

‘A 21-year-old German man has been convicted of sending a photograph of his penis to an unknown woman via mobile phone, authorities said on Wednesday.

“We all had a bit of a laugh when we saw the thing,” said Christian Kropp, presiding judge at the court in the eastern town of Sondershausen.’


Thursday, January 31, 2008


French police deal blow to Microsoft

‘The French paramilitary police force said Wednesday it is ditching Microsoft for the free Linux operating system, becoming one of the biggest administrations in the world to make the break.

The move completes the gendarmerie’s severance from Microsoft which began in 2005 when it moved to open sourcing for office applications such as word processing. It switched to open source Internet browsers in 2006.

Linux is an open-source operating system, which used to be the reserve of computer geeks but is now an easy-to-use system aimed at average users.

The gendarmerie’s 70,000 desktops currently use Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system. But these will progressively change over to the Linux system distributed by Ubuntu, explained Colonel Nicolas Geraud, deputy director of the gendarmerie’s IT department.’


Shape-shifting robot forms from magnetic swarm

‘Swarms of robots that use electromagnetic forces to cling together and assume different shapes are being developed by US researchers.

The grand goal is to create swarms of microscopic robots capable of morphing into virtually any form by clinging together.

Seth Goldstein, who leads the research project at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, in the US, admits this is still a distant prospect.

However, his team is using simulations to develop control strategies for futuristic shape-shifting, or “claytronic”, robots, which they are testing on small groups of more primitive, pocket-sized machines.’

Airbus A380 – cockpit

A 3D rendering of the cockpit of this airplane.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Buying A Doovde Player

I want Joovc. 🙂

(6.8meg Flash video)

see it here »

Monday, January 28, 2008


Stupid Client Quote #1338

‘I went into a new clients office to meet with them about a project they wanted done for their website.

When I walked in I found the president of the company talking to someone I had never seen before. They standing next to the photo copier and were talking about some ideas for the company website.

President of company: “This is Scott, he will be your point of contact within the company for this entire project. Under no circumstances do you allow anyone else to make any decisions about this project except for him. Ok so you guys take care of this, I have an important meeting I am late for.” [..]’

Hypothetical attack on U.S. outlined by China

‘In a hypothetical future scenario, the U.S. and China are poised to clash — likely over Taiwan.

The democratic Republic of China, commonly called Taiwan — which America backs and the communist People’s Republic of China considers part of its territory — frequently irritates Chinese leaders with calls for greater independence from the mainland. But while the American military mulls its options, Chinese missiles hit runways, fuel lines, barracks and supply depots at U.S. Air Force bases in Japan and South Korea. Long-range warheads destroy American satellites, crippling Air Force surveillance and communication networks. A nuclear fireball erupts high above the Pacific Ocean, ionizing the atmosphere and scrambling radars and radio feeds.

This is China’s anti-U.S. sucker punch strategy.’


Disabled spy satellite threatens Earth

‘A large U.S. spy satellite has lost power and could hit the Earth in late February or March, government officials said Saturday.

The satellite, which no longer can be controlled, could contain hazardous materials, and it is unknown where on the planet it might come down, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is classified as secret. [..]

Such an uncontrolled re-entry could risk exposure of U.S. secrets, said John Pike, a defense and intelligence expert. Spy satellites typically are disposed of through a controlled re-entry into the ocean so that no one else can access the spacecraft, he said.

Pike also said it’s not likely the threat from the satellite could be eliminated by shooting it down with a missile, because that would create debris that would then re-enter the atmosphere and burn up or hit the ground.

Pike, director of the defense research group, estimated that the spacecraft weighs about 20,000 pounds and is the size of a small bus. [..]’

These sorts of satellites often have plutonium based radioisotope thermoelectric generators. Fun. 🙂

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Top Gear – Self Racing BMW 330i

A car that drives itself around the race track at high speed.. Cunning. 🙂

(6.7meg Flash video)

see it here »

Thursday, January 24, 2008


aXXo’s Pirated Movies Used to Promote the iMac

‘The DVD ripper aXXo is without a doubt one of the most popular DVD-rippers. Even though he hasn’t been active since November 2007, his rips are still widely used, even by commercial outlets such as the John Lewis store. They must have thought, “Why use a real DVD if we can use a pirated movie for free?”

The aXXo rip was shown on an iMac displayed on an Apple stand at a John Lewis store. A member of the Hexus forums discovered this remarkable promotional material, and writes:

“So I was in my local John Lewis store a week or so back, and I was checking out their new little Apple mac area, which had lots of Macs on display, with some desks setup and other accessories. They also had some wall mounted iMacs. Imagine my surprise when getting closer to one of them to see ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest’ – ripped by Axxo playing.”‘


Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Geeks With Kids

‘(5:08:06 PM) Geek Friend: i’m outta here, i gotta go home, looks like the kids
are fighting
(5:08:15 PM) Geek Friend: no adult supervision
(5:08:20 PM) Me: haha
(5:08:26 PM) Me: you watching them on camera?
(5:08:27 PM) Geek Friend: i’m so glad my parents didn’t have video cameras all
over my house when i was their age
(5:08:30 PM) Me: hahahha [..]’


The Pirates Can’t Be Stopped

‘A teenager hacked into the outfit charged with protecting companies like Sony, Universal, and Activision from online piracy–the most daring exploit yet in the escalating war between fans and corporate giants. Guess which side is winning.’

This is a long article, but interesting. Kinda ties together a few interesting things that happened on the interwebs in the past year or so.


Carnal Knowledge: Sex with robots? Soon, he predicts

‘David Levy is an expert on artificial intelligence and president of the International Computer Games Association. He’s one of those people who seem qualified to prognosticate on our technological future. His forecast: In a few short years nearly everyone will be having sex with robots.

I have no trouble believing that men will have sex with robots. If I had a robot I’d make it clean the bathroom and dust.

But Levy, 62, author of the recently released Love and Sex With Robots, says women will want some too. [..]’