The interesting internet compendium – Volume I

I’ve recently been cleaning up my enormous (~300) bookmarks folder on my browser and my similarly ponderous Evernote database and dug out a list of stuff I’ve bookmarked (and used) over time and reach an sufficiently arbitrary level of geeky coolness to share for viewing pleasure.

Many are courtesy of this link. (Beware obsessive-compulsives. You WILL click on them all. )

(Note: This list and post are my own work through and through. Nobody asked me to write it or what to include or anything. Don’t try to read anything into the order or section lengths either. All arbitrary.)

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3 opinions I COMPLETELY agree with…

The internet is going the way of real life. Forget those old notions of freedom and anonymity. The new internet will be a place of narrow public areas which get from 1 piece of ‘private property’ to another, and no more. Its just more profitable, in the same way a skyscraper of leasable office is space is more profitable than a public park.

Analyst James Governor at Redmonk toots that horn in a much more sober fashion, even ending on a positive note. (linkage courtesy slashdot)

The 3-strikes law is literally like sentencing a person to house arrest for jaywalking.

Cory Doctorow has his own rant. Makes perfect sense,but not good corporate-bottom-line economic sense. (linkage, again, courtesy slashdot.)

I was annoyed when the Iphone came out. I still am. A little. The hype and hoopla was just that. A marketing blitz that suddenly put this maker-of-all-things-cute in a consumer device segment that even the dumbest of dumb blondes and meathead-iest of meatheads could use with ease. 0mgz0rz!! Apple’s making a phone. How cute will that be!!

Yeah, well, it does say PHONE. and the phone part of it sucked. It still does, but not so much. But full, deserved credit where it’s due, Apple made sure people knew that the Iphone was never about the phone. and that they never forget that. From the actual product to the nice walled garden that is the App Store to the genius of tying up with AT&T to take the heat on mobile issues (in batttle parlance, AT&T is what would be called a meat-shield), Apple pulled it off.

And now we come to the ISlate. It’s on its way. The hype on the net right now is eerily familiar. It’s the Iphone. bigger. with no phone part for even me to crib about. It has absolutely no competition. at all.

MG Siegler has a similiar view on TechCrunch. He also makes the good point that the cool-factor of being like the dudes in Avatar with the portable screens will play its part here.

A last point I’d like to make here is that the iSlate may have enough horsepower to run the graphic design, audio / video editing applications which have such a strong home in regular Apple PCs.  If Pro Tools, Final Cut and iMovie find a new home in iSlate, all I can say is: “Whoa”.

The Arts and Technology

get promiscous:

It came at the end of a conference on the future of cinemas and other artistic venues in a digital world, while we were enjoying a DJ set from Captain Buck Rogers. The music we were listening to was being streamed live into the virtual world of Second Life, and being played out in replica of the renowned Baltic Mill gallery, situated on a newly-opened virtual Tyneside island developed by a local company, Vector 76.

Avatars from around the world were dancing to the music we could hear, while we watched them projected onto the wall of the cinema bar, so I got out my laptop, logged in to Second Life and made my way to the virtual Baltic, where I joined in the dancing.

I could see my avatar moving around on the screen of my computer, but I was also clearly visible among the crowd projected onto the wall, dancing like every teenager’s embarrassing dad in cyberspace while drinking a deliciously cold beer in the real world.

….

In the new digital world I suspect that artforms, artists and cultural organisations will succeed by occupying the liminal space between offline and online, building a compelling presence in both that allows something unexpected to emerge where they meet and blur together.

Rather like dancing in Second Life while drinking a beer in the the first one.

As reported by the BBC.

Anyone who reads my blog knows that technology and art rank pretty high up in my interests. And while I wholely agree with the end point of the article, I think what artists really need to do to succeed is involve the consumer. Artistic expression will have to universally become more than a uni-directional flow of creativity from the artist to the viewer.

Crowdsourcingpainting anyone?

New Ipod Shuffle only works with Apple earphones (updated)

Via BBG and Techcrunch.

The earphones of the new super-small Ipod Shuffle contain a DRM chip. Without which the shuffle won’t play music through the earphones. Now the old “in-line” (whatever the hell that means) adapters no longer work with the shuffle. Now only manufacturers who have a licensed chip (from Apple, of course) can make shuffle compatible earphones.

Way to go arseholes Apple.

Update: The latest on BBG is that 3rd parties will need to license the chip from Apple to get the ‘Made for Ipod’ tag, but equipment will work without it as well. so they say. not as crass as originally thought, but very RIAA nevertheless.

Virtual Army Experience?

Just what in the hell is this?

I always knew their US army had its ways of indoctrination (like any army) and loved equating real combat to video games, but this? this is ridiculous. They are trying to make war (i.e – death, killing, people die in front of you, getting blood on your hands) look like REAL ULTIMATE FUN RIDE ON THE HAPPY ROLLERCOASTER.

From this article, this statement is priceless:

“Events like LAN parties are useful because we want [the recruits] to see the recruiters as regular folks, like themselves… and to help future soldiers to stay the course,”

Wrong. What it really does is at some level get kids to equate real-life war with a video game. What you’re telling the public is: “You want to know what its like to be in the army? Play this really cool video game.”

Gopher – the forgotten internet

So this lazy sunday morn’ I was skimming through a week’s worth of slashdot feed articles. Chasing down links I came across this article which spoke about something encountered and long since forgotten in the semi-drunken insomniac blur of college life: Gopher.

Gopher actually pre-dates the internet, and interface-wise isn’t too far from FTP. It started as a nerd information sharing system between universities, and promptly died under the glare of the early interweb’s awesomeness. Today, it consists of a little over 100 gopher sites. Some of them, I was pleased to discover over the last couple of hours, are real gems.

Like I mentioned, gopher isn’t that big, barely a 100 pages. But it is a completely different protocol, just like FTP is different from HTTP. Firefox and Camino users are in luck since these browsers support Gopher. Everyone else either get an alternative or use the Floodgap Gopher proxy.  I suggest something equally old-school; the text-only browser Lynx.

(note: Unless you have a compatible browser, most subsequent links in this post won’t work).

The google of the Gopher-verse is the Veronica-2. There’s the search itself, and then there’s the eminently more fun  (for Gopher) list of all gopher servers known.

I won’t pretend to have surfed the entire Gopher-verse, I don’t have such an attention span. I did find a few nice pages:

1. The Necron Card Game

2. The Online Book Initiative

3. Venus Ventriloquist (a band)

4. Public Gopherspace

so yeah, go enjoy.

I wrote about these guys before

Aviary is up to tricks again. As Techcrunch writes, the maker of browser-based design applications, notably Raven and Phoenix, is now getting its talons into sound with the acquisition of Digimix, a browser-based audio editor developer.

As I’ve said before, there’s a yawning gap / niche between the horror of free tools like Gimp and MsPaint and fully-loaded enterprise-level tools like Photoshop, Illy and Final Cut Pro (to name a few) and Aviary are starting to more and more look the part for filling that niche.

They have a large collection of ideas here. While I am suitably impressed by their ambition, I do have a couple of reservations.

Both Raven and Phoenix, as well as Myna; have great potential as mentioned earlier, they fill a fairly important niche between bad, hard-to-learn, free tools and very good, harder-to-learn, really-expensive tools. However,  tools like Tern will be going up against the very good, popular and free Terragen. Penguin will be battling against super-established players like Google Docs and even (being free) OpenOffice. I wish them well, but I frankly am not that hopeful. I’d rather see them focus more on Raven, Phoenix, Myna and a few others where they really have room to grow.

Another concern I have is that some of the things they are trying to do, like terrain generation and video, are fairly data and processing-intensive. I’m curious to know where Aviary is going to be doing all the processing (server/client) and manage all that data transfer without killing usability. too much. Anyhoo, good luck to them. Hope they succeed.