Sunday, July 18, 2010

They Grow Up So Quick!

This year we decided to take down the old wooden swing set and replace it with some garden beds. Lemony found information about square foot gardening, and we (mostly our youngest, zilla, and myself) recycled all the old swing set lumber into garden beds. All this worked out well and now we are harvesting the fruits and vegetables of our labor.

Of course if you have an garden you will have bugs. Lemony found a very large caterpillar eating the tops of the carrots one day. After much debate if we should squish him or not (I thought it was probably just going to eat everything and turn into a tree-destroying moth), our daughter fairyberry came to the rescue with her butterfly book. We think it is an Eastern Black Swallow Tail, and with a little research, found that it was the second easiest caterpillar to raise in captivity. So he was named, housed and fed all the carrot tops and parsley he could eat.
Below is a closeup of the caterpillar, a little blurry through the glass. He was green with black strips and yellow dots.

So we fed the bug and waited. A few days latter it attached to a stick we had placed in the bowl and hung like a J. The next morning the brown, woody looking chrysalis had formed. A little over a week latter my wife came home to find this in the bowl.

Lemony took this picture and released the butterfly in the yard. He flew away over the neighbors house. I have to admit, I am happy no one listened to me and we did not squish the caterpillar.
Update from Lemony: Turns out that Heimlich is a girl.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy 30th PAC MAN!

Google is celebrated Pac Mans birthday with a working javascript of the google logo.

Thats just cool.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Park 2010

Some new pictures from the local 4H farm/park.

Iron Man and Information Security

This is an interesting article about Information Security and the movie Iron Man 2 from CIO.  It does include spoilers so read at you own risk.
Since Stark is the only person who knows what makes Iron Man tick, the world's security rests entirely in his hands. Not surprisingly, the U.S. government wants to reproduce the Iron Man suit for its own militaristic purposes; the debate over private vs. public security forms one of the movie's core conflicts.

Meet the villains: Hacker, security vendor

See the link for the entire article.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wired Article On Geek Power

This is a good article from Wired;
But behind the inventiveness was something even more marvelous — all real hackers shared a set of values that has turned out to be a credo for the information age. I attempted to codify this unspoken ethos into a series of principles called the hacker ethic. Some of the notions now seem forehead-smackingly obvious but at the time were far from accepted (”You can create art and beauty on a computer”). Others spoke to the meritocratic possibilities of a digital age (”Hackers should be judged by their hacking, not bogus criteria such as degrees, age, race, or position”). Another axiom identified computers as instruments of insurrection, granting power to any individual with a keyboard and sufficient brainpower (”Mistrust authority — promote decentralization”). But the precept I perceived as most central to hacker culture turned out to be the most controversial: “All information should be free.”

Stewart Brand, hacker godfather and Whole Earth Catalog founder, hacked even that statement. It happened at the first Hackers’ Conference, the week my book was published, during a session I moderated on the future of the hacker ethic. “On the one hand, information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable,” he said. “On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.” His words neatly encapsulate the tension that has since defined the hacker movement — a sometimes pitched battle between geeky idealism and icy-hearted commerce.
It is worth a read.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tetris anyone?

This is cool;
There are two things that are universally true about Tetris: that Russian-style theme music is impossible to get out of your head, and everybody loves Tetris. Which is why we had to take a moment to highlight the Tetris-Bot, a simple PC gaming robot patched together from a digital evaluation module (EVM), a web cam and a Lego Mindstorms robot kit.
The cam is positioned in front of the screen, where it gathers visual data that it feeds to the EVM. The EVM -- the brains of the operation -- puts those data inputs through a series of algorithms, providing an output command to the Mindstorm assembly positioned over the keyboard. It's not perfect, but who's ever played a perfect game of Tetris?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Whole World in My Palm Pre

I got a new toy and I must say after 24 hours I still love it. I got a Palm Pre to replace my Samsung Windows Mobile touch screen. The old phone was ok, I liked the features, but it never performed well. Sounds like Windows doesn’t it? I would like to try an iPhone, but as long as they are only on AT&T, no thanks. So long story short, there was a sale and offering free hotspot functionality, so I couldn’t say no.

So I am in the process of pimpin out my new phone with apps, wallpaper and ringtones. I also ordered the cordless charger and will review it when it gets here. I did make some wall paper for it out of a desktop wall paper and thought I would share. I will review the phone more once I have kicked it around a little more, but the Amazon reviews are a good place to start.
Wall paper below is 320 x 480.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Katgrrl

Happy Birthday to our eldest.  She helped dissect a shark for her birthday.  It was a spiny dog fish shark.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

This Bee A Problem

Honey bees continue to die off;

The 2010 prognosis for honey bees doesn't look good, according to Jeff Pettis, Research Leader at the USDA Bee Lab.

Although hard data won't be available until April, preliminary surveys of our nation's beekeepers suggest that at least as many bee colonies have died off over the winter as they have the last few years -- and possibly even more than in years past -- thanks to Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD.

I last spoke with Pettis in 2007, when I visited his lab as they researched the cause of CCD. Back then, they were pretty optimistic about finding the cause, but three years later answers are still elusive. I spoke to him this week about the state of the investigation.

Jeff Pettis: “We obviously think it’s more complicated than we first believed as in we don’t believe that we’re looking for a single virulent pathogen, although that can’t totally be ruled out. At first we were thinking that we’d find a single causative agent, a virulent pathogen sweeping through the bee population, and that doesn’t appear to be the case.”

I do know that lemony pays alot for honey, and if this keeps up so will the price of honey.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Feds Want To Be Your Facebook Friend

From the article;

In a quaint presentation, cybercrime prosecutors last year gave fellow Department of Justice officials an introduction to social networking sites and their possible investigative uses. In detailing the possible value of sites like Twitter and Facebook, lawyers John Lynch and Jenny Ellickson--both with the department's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section--noted that information gathered could "establish crime or criminal enterprise" and "prove and disprove alibis."
So who are your friends and Twitter followers?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cyber Crooks Leave Traditional Bank Robbers in the Dust

Interesting articel; "Organized cyber criminals stole more than $25 million from small to mid-sized businesses in brazen e-banking heists in the 3rd quarter of 2009 alone, federal regulators said last week. In contrast, traditional stick-up artists hauled less than $9.5 million out of U.S. banks over that same time period last year."

Where Not To Put A USB Drive

From the article;
MARCH 2--In a bold and bizarre attempt to destroy evidence seized during a federal raid, a New York City man grabbed a flash drive and swallowed the data storage device while in the custody of Secret Service agents, records show. Florin Necula ingested the Kingston flash drive shortly after his January 21 arrest outside a bank in Queens, according to U.S. District Court filings. Necula and several codefendants had been transported to a Secret Service office in Brooklyn, where they were to be questioned and processed. While there, and in the view of investigators, Necula "grabbed Subject Flash Drive 2, which had been on his person at the time of his arrest, and swallowed,"

New Netbook Wallpaper

I adjusted the resolution on some of my pics and some that I have found to 1024 x 600 for my netbook and thought I would share. Enjoy;

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pailin To Testify Against Her Email Hacker

I have mentioned Sarah Palin before. Now it looks like she will be testifying in the Yahoo email hacking case.
From the article; "Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will testify in person against the college student accused of breaching her Yahoo mail account and leaking some of its contents online, according to published reports."
My point is still that Palin broke the law. It looks like the state of Alaska may agree: "Palin also said the interception of personal and official phone numbers "created paralysis" by severing easy communication with her "Alaska staff". The admission supports claims she may have skirted state laws requiring official business to be carried out using email accounts maintained by the government."
Well see what happens.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

TED Top Ten

I posted about TED in the past. A CNN article mentioned TED recently and I checked out a few more of the new talks. From the CNN article;
Here are 10 big ideas from TED2010...
$60K a year can make you happy
Psychologist and Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman says millions of dollars won't buy you happiness, but a job that pays $60,000 a year might help.
Save the world through games
Jane McGonigal, a game designer, says playing online video games gives people "superpowers" that help them improve the real world...
Anonymity promotes honesty
Christopher "Moot" Poole runs one of the seedier corners of the Internet. His site, called 4chan, is known as a den of porn, hacking and anonymous rants...
We can end slavery
Kevin Bales, founder of a group called Free the Slaves, said he was surprised to learn slavery still existed when he read a pamphlet saying just that...
Moral ideas are right or wrong, not both
Writer Sam Harris -- who is perhaps best known as a stern critic of organized religion -- says we use science to prove or disprove hypotheses, and we should similarly use evidence to say some activities are moral and others are not...
'What we eat is really our chemotherapy three times a day'
William Li, president and medical director of The Angiogenesis Foundation, which focuses on the connection between blood vessel growth and aggressive cancers. There are 11 FDA-approved drugs that inhibit growth of blood vessels that sustain cancers, but Li pointed out that there are a number of foods and beverages that could offer substances that accomplish the same thing -- and could help prevent cancer...
The ukulele can stop war
Ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro says his traditional, Hawaiian instrument, which he learned to play at age 4, can make the world a less violent place...
$28 billion mostly wasted on placebos
Holding up bottles of herbal supplements, writer Michael Specter spoke out against what he sees as a growing rejection of science. He says it's resulted in parents refusing to vaccinate their children due to an unfounded connection to autism and people shunning genetically modified foods that have the potential of helping the world fight increasing hunger.
The herbs, he said accomplish one thing: "They darken your urine. You want to pay $28 billion for dark urine? That's OK."
'Stop politicians doing stupid things that spread HIV'
Elizabeth Pisani, epidemiologist who has studied drug abusers and sex workers who are involved in the spread of HIV-AIDS, said nations that have followed former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's example by creating programs to provide sterile needles to drug abusers are much more successful in curbing the spread of the disease...
Every eight days, the toll of a Haiti quake
Esther Duflo, a professor in MIT's economics department, said, that every day, 25,000 children die of preventable causes, adding up every eight days to the approximate death toll of the Haiti earthquake...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Are You Telling People To Rob You?

So how much information do you share online? Do you share where you are? "A new website called does nothing more than aggregate publicly shared check-ins, but its name and purpose attempt to shed more light on the dangerous side effects of location-sharing."
There have been several incidents where people have been robber, or their homes trashed, after posting there location or when they are going to be home.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Give,Stop Snowing!

Here are some pics from the second blizzard this week. Notice the fence in the last pic and look at the snowman pic in the post below. See the difference? We had 31 inches from the first snow and at least 12 with the new snow. 31 + 12 = time to move somewhere dry and warm.

UPDATE: New total for todays snow, 20.5 inches.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Let it snow...

We had 30 inches of snow dumped on us over the weekend. Here are some pictures of us digging out.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

BigDog v. Roxxxy: robots that you fight and ....

BigDog is a cool robot that looks like a giant headless dog. It was design to carry supplies over almost any terrain. The video below is from 2008, and is impressive. I especially like it crossing ice, and jumping.

So now the next step; "DARPA just awarded a $32 million contract to build it.
The contract's been won by maker Boston Dynamics, which has just 30 months to turn the research prototype machines into a genuine load-toting, four-legged, semi-intelligent war robot--"first walk-out" of the newly-designated LS3 is scheduled in 2012."

"LS3 stands for Legged Squad Support System, and that pretty much sums up what the device is all about: It's a semi-autonomous assistant designed to follow soldiers and Marines across the battlefield, carrying up to 400 pounds of gear and enough fuel to keep it going for 24 hours over a march of 20 miles."

Meanwhile the inventor of Roxxxy the adult robot has named his price. "Meet Roxxxy, who may be the world's most sophisticated talking female sex robot. For $7,000, she's all yours.
"She doesn't vacuum or cook, but she does almost everything else," said her inventor, Douglas Hines, who unveiled Roxxxy last month at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada."

Again I wonder which robot will cause the most problems over the world in the next 20 years.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Guarding Life's Dark Secrets

I have been interested in privacy, focusing on electronic information privacy for several years. Wanting to read more on privacy, in a more legal perspective, I searched on Amazon and found this book; "Guarding Life's Dark Secrets: Legal and Social Controls over Reputation, Propriety, and Privacy". It is an interesting look at the history of reputation and privacy, from the Victorian era through today. A good, interesting read.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

So are you supposed to marry the robot or.....

So everyone knew this day would come, when robots started to move into the bed room. This week a new robot was announced, meet Roxxxy.
From the article; "A former Bell Labs scientist, Douglas Hines, has unveiled what he describes as the world's first sex robot: "She's a companion. She listens to you. She speaks. She feels your touch. She goes to sleep." Christened "Roxxxy," the robot has life-like silicone skin, a mechanical heart, and five personality options ranging from "Wild Wendy" to "Mature Martha." Read more if you want to, beware some content may not be work or kid friendly.

So while new and unusual, this is not surprising. Science fiction stories have been telling us this would happen. Human nature tells us this would happen. But what is more unusual, sex with a robot, or falling in love with a robot.
From the article; "Inventor Le Trung spent Christmas Day with the most important woman in his life - his robot Aiko.The science genius enjoyed a festive dinner with his mum, dad and his £30,000 fembot which he designed and built by hand.Le, 34, from Brampton, Ontario, Canada, even bought gifts for his dream girl, who is so lifelike she speaks fluent English and Japanese, helped cook the turkey and hang up decorations.'Aiko is like any woman, she enjoys getting new clothes,' he said.'I loved buying them for her too.'
What can you say about young robot love? I wonder if in the future we will talk or interact with people at all.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Back to School and I Hate Paper Books

I finished registration today for Cyberlaw courses and it was an interesting experience on lots of levels. First, I felt quite out of place with all the young kids running around. By “young” I mean late teens, early 20’s. Second, I don’t enjoy academia, I have never enjoyed school. Third, I hate paper books.
Since getting my Kindle in 2009, I have read three non-technical books. That is three more than I have read in the last 5 years. The features to enlarge text, convert text to speech, and automatically provide word definitions and notes in book make it very useful. These features make it invaluable to me to provide the most efficient way for me to input information into my brain.
So back to the point, I went to the college bookstore to get my required books, hoping to find at least a couple later on for Kindle, maybe in PDF format on supplemental CD like a lot of technical books nowadays. Long story short, no such luck. The only options were electronic format was e-book for a couple titles, and that format is not compatible with Kindle.
So why don’t textbooks support more electronic formats? Money in resale. The textbook companies make money over and over again on the resale of book at only a slightly discounted price. Like the newspapers before them, they have no idea how to make money in this new media, so they are squeezing every cent they can get now, before they end up like the newspapers: bankrupt. In the meantime, we will have to keep paying top money for used books.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Killer App of 1900

"A hundred years ago, lighting was the killer app for electricity, the thing that made it worthwhile to have installed. No one particularly understood what else electricity might bring to the mass market, because other uses were generally specialized, the province of experts, the wealthy, or industry. Compressors to allow refrigeration and freezing, electric heat, and other innovations came later to homes."
This is an interesting articel that compares electricity 100 years ago to broadband access today. Here is a section that if you replace the word electricity with broadband it could be used today.
"In researching a KUOW segment airing soon about the digital divide and Seattle’s particular problems with broadband, I found this marvelous statement from Oct. 24, 1905, in the Richmond, Virginia, Times-Dispatch newspaper. A lawyer named Henry Anderson was arguing on behalf of two clients of the city who didn’t want to be taxed to pay for a municipal utility. Among other arguments against municipal ownership, he said, eloquently:
“Unless we adopt the principles of socialism, It can hardly be contended that It is the province of government, either state or municipal, to undertake the manufacture or supply of the ordinary subjects of trade and commerce, or to impose burdens upon the whole community for the supposed benefit of a few….
“The ownership and operation of municipal light plants stands upon a different basis from that of the ownership of water works, with which it is so often compared. Water is a necessity to the health and life of every individual member of a community…It must be supplied in order to preserve the public health, whether it can be done profitably or not, and must be furnished, not to a few individuals, but to every individual.
“Electric lights are different. Electricity is not in any sense a necessity, and under no conditions is it universally used by the people of a community. It is but a luxury enjoyed by a small proportion of the members of any municipality, and yet if the plant be owned and operated by the city, the burden of such ownership and operation must be borne by all the people through taxation.
“Now, electric light is not a necessity for every member of the community. It Is not the business of any one to see that I use electricity, or gas, or oil in my house, or even that I use any form of artificial light at all.”
When will we listen to the past?

A Review Of The Best Robots of 2009

This is an articel that lists some cool robots and achivements in 2009. Cool videos too.