The black lung returns

It looks like the black lung is making a resurgence with the announcement today that office printers are bad for you. It turns out all those fumes that get thrown out and give you that mid afternoon high isn’t all the fun and games originally thought. These same printers throw out microscopic ultra-fine particle :

“Ultra-fine particles are of most concern because they can penetrate deep into the lungs where they can pose a significant health threat,”

As a result of this announcement printers are banned from all work places and pubs, they can only be used, outside, 10 metres from the premises. Disney also announced that it will no longer depict people in their movies using printers, with Miramax also committing to to curbing the use of printing to Tarantino films, last used to great effect during the crazy 88 fight in Kill Bill.

iPhone working in Australia

The Sydney Morning Herald is today reporting that the iPhone has been hacked to work on the Telstra network. While this is not a full hack, it can only make calls. It cannot receive calls or send and receive SMS messages.

The hack was reported over the weekend by a user called ozbimmer over on the hackint0sh forum board, link. There was a video posted on YouTube demonstrating the hack, however it has since been pulled by the user.

The hack is not an easy one and it require the user to trick out a AT&T SIM card so that it registers with the Telstra network. Not a task that comes easy to most users but hopefully the first step towards and more user friendly hack.

It may seem strange that Australia is the place where this hack might originate from. However with no release date for the iPhone confirmed in Australia, though 2008 has been mentioned, and the fact that it took over four and a half years for the iTunes store to open it’s virtual doors in Australia I guess ozbimmer wasn’t willing to wait.

It is also some what ironic that Telstra was the network that was hacked, in Feburary of this year Telstra’s operating chief, Greg Winn, was reported in the media of not being impressed with the iPhone, his opinion was summed up with this statement :

“There’s an old saying – stick to your knitting – and Apple is not a mobile phone manufacturer, that’s not their knitting”

Apparently Telstra is the only mobile phone that is currently running the EDGE network, which the iPhone is designed to use and not the more advanced 3G network which Telstra’s competitors, Vodafone, Optus and 3 are already using.

As quoted by CNN

I found a comment I made over on Ed Felten‘s Freedom to Tinker blog about the recent iPhone release been quoted by CNN link. My orignal post has been edited a little bit but I guessing that they at least they there there was some merit in my original comment :

I think that the iPhone will be the game changer that it has been touted as, but it may not necessarily be the winner (Apple isn’t always successful, the newton any one?). If some company comes along with a device that matches the iPhone but doesn’t demand a contract lock in, they could charge ahead and gobble up all the people who are interested in the iPhone but are not Mac zealots enough to accept the current situation.

I don’t know if that now makes me an authority, but it is good to know that know that some one out there is paying attention.

Original Freedom to tinker article.

For the record I recently acquired a Nokia N95 (unfortunately I had to buy it, I did try and drop a few hints around the internet and hoping that Santy or Nokia would hear it, but alas no). I’m still getting a feel for it but there is huge power here already but not as sexy as the iPhone. Nokia have a history of stylish design in the past and they may be able to churn out a iPhone killer.

From Darla Mack Blog :

This is not a paid endorsement from Nokia, however I am interested in any future devices you might produce, give me a call.

To Apple I still can’t wait to get an iPhone in my hand so all is not lost yet, also give me a call.

And finally to CNN I am a noisy windbag that pretty much has an opinion on any thing so feel free to quote me again in the future, you know where I am.

Raw Athleticism – Packaged as Hee Haw

I have been to Cirque du Soelil twice and both times was very impressed with what I say. The most recent one, Varekai, made good use of a contortionists, who was very flexible.

I came across this YouTube video today of three girls that start singing about potato salad and then move into an amazing contortionist routine. By way of Boing Boing by way of For your Entertainment.

While it would be easy and snarky to come up with some crude innuendo about how flexible the girls are blah blah blah. That I think belittles the extreme level of athleticism these girls must have been at and the time it had taken to get that good. I just have to say that I have never seen something as amazing as this, Cirque du Soleil included. Once you get past the singing, about a minute in, the fun begins.

Update : Apparently this is the girls are known as the Ross Sisters and this was in the 1944 movie Broadway Rhythm.

Polar Rose – Web Stalking 2.0

Web stalking, until now the purvue of clammy skinned, online geeks, is soon to get an web 2.0 upgrade. Polar rose, a startup company that is based in Sweden, have announced that they are entering the new phase of development and are preparing to unleash version 0.18 of their plugin for Firefox. For those that are not aware of this tool Polar Rose how to deploy a face scanning technology where they can link faces found all over the internet. While, to be fair, on their web site that they are working towards preserving the privacy of people who do not wish to be found. It is hard to imagine how to re-bottle this genie once it gets out and into the hands of less magnanimous people.

While there are probably many nefarious things that could happen. It will make taking a mental health day a little more demanding as you have to make sure you don’t have your picture taken and uploaded while your supposed to be laid up in bed. Already in a constantly connected world this is happening. In March of this year, 6 New Zealander students were busted in their school uniform at the Boobs on Bikes parade when they were supposed to be on their lunch break. They were lucky to only end up with detention when there photgraph was beamed around the world.

For now I am getting a robots.txt tattoo on my forehead and hope that works.

TK421 why aren’t you at your post?

Photo: AFP

A slightly more surreal photograph found on the web. In some ways it is hopeful, while terrorism has become a way of life, and those cops look ready for action, it shouldn’t get in the way of life, even if you life is dressing up as a storm trooper.

14 years – Optimal copyright term

Copyright, originally uploaded by Andrea Cassani.

It is just as well that for Ptolemy III that there was no equivalents to the RIAA or the MPAA wandering around in 240 BC. He passed a decree that all visitors to the city were required to surrender all books and scrolls in their possession, these writings were copied by official scribes and placed into the Library of Alexandria. Can you imagine the amount of infringement notices that they would be issuing, though he might have argued that it was his teenage son, Ptolemy IV, who had issued the decree because he had a P2P (Pyramid to Pyramid) installed.

What ever machinations went on behind the scenes the result, the library, became the most famous in the world, so we have one example, albeit an old example about how copying other peoples work can have a positive effect on society.

Nowadays we have copyright laws and they are meant to preserve the right of the artist and motivate them to produce art by guaranteeing a means of generating an income once it gets released to the public, but not the public domain.

However the rules and laws have been so upsurdered that it is hardly the artists that are rolling in the money, they are given a bit, but it is these massive media organisations that thrash people all over the world with copy right law pulling down royalties. In the US it runs for nearly 70 years after the authors death. I have covered this in a previous blog entry: copyright and tipping.

It is an insane situation, the poor old patent world only get 25 year dibs on making an invention successful and exacting any royalties they can. The CD patent expire a few years ago but not before it made a lot of money for Philips which had a virtually exclusive ownership, with Sony, on the CD patent. Technical companies, somehow, which are limited to patent law and its 25 years limit mange to stay in business and turn a few meager billion or so a year.

So it was quite refreshing to see a paper claim that the optimal copyright term currently is 14 year. This takes in to consideration the amount of time it takes to pay the artist and pay off all the costs associated with producing the content. This figure apparently will go down as distribution channels move over to digital means.

Imagine what this would mean, the top selling album of 1993, 14 years ago, was The BodyguardWhitney Houston. At the end of this year it would enter the public domain and you could re-record your own version and go on to be as big a star as Whitney was, piece of advice watch your yourself on the way down, she isn’t looking so crash hot anymore….

Here is the list of the other great songs and albums which would be getting freed up.

I don’t believe we will ever see a more sane application of copyright law in our life time, but the enforced revenue generated will dry up, meaning artist will have to move back to the old school way of earning some cash, get out there and play live. The live experience can’t be replicated.

Wireless Apple – Jobs game plan becomes clearer

One of my original posts on this blog was to call Steve Jobs a big fat liar, which I admitted at the time might have been a bit to harsh. However I wasn’t convinced that he had listed all his concerns with DRM and the Apple implementation, Fairplay, in his famous “Thought on Music” letter in February 2007. At first I thought that it was some thing fundamentally wrong with the current released version of Fairplay that Apple engineers knew but had yet to make it into the wild.

However AppleInsider today have a write up about a patent they found filed by Apple in September 2006. detailing a technique for one mobile device communicating with another.

“The mobile devices can then wirelessly transmit data from one mobile device to the other”

The natural extension of this is have iPod and iPhone swapping and sharing information seemlessly. Sounds pretty good (remember back in September 2006 Apple had yet to announce the iPhone)

iphone meet photo ipod, originally uploaded by b. andy andy andy d..

This, I believe, is one of the reasons Steve Jobs wanted iTunes to move away from been forced supplying and maintain DRM files. So far they have been able (barely?) to keep the DRM model working, as long as a computer must to use to download music to the iPod. However if Apple want to put add in the functionality as detailed in the patent, one mobile device pretty much transmitting data ad-hoc to another mobile device, supporting the current DRM gets problematic fast. First they would have to spend time getting it to work, getting two client devices to maintain DRM would be more complicated than the current host/client situation that is used. Then, more than likely, it would be cracked which won’t be as easy to fix as updating iTunes is, which would make Apple look bad. The solution make sure that Apple start moving away before the iPhone is released, Jobs letter on music was one month after the iPhone was announced.

So while Steve Jobs as always is less than honest about his intentions as listed in his letter, this is probably another example of how he is way a head of the game and on the way to making pant loads of even more money.

Steorn the perpetual joke

As unsurprising as it turned out Steorn has failed to produce a successfully working example or orbo. At least they have had the good sense to come out and eat some humble pie. Here is the YouTube video of Sean McCarthy explaining away why their demo didn’t work :

Apparently it was something to do with the bearings. While he is all humble and taking all the blame, which as chief charlatan he probably should. Here is the crux, if it is a really is a working technology they must have operating examples else where. They would at least get some heat off them to bring the media there and show it to them. However that is really a proof by contradiction, they haven’t done this which is probably proof that this technology doesn’t exist.

To the people of Steorn please, please disappear, you are not only carrying the name of you company and shareholders you are dragging down the name of the newly empowered technical Ireland. Or at the very least it better be a topper of a hoax, we all like a good laugh provided it is done well. It should at least be as good as when Gay Byrne announced that a truck of dehydrated water had over turned on O’Connell St and caused huge traffic delays as people tried to avoid it.

Watch out for RoboCrooks

There are a few things in life that are scary, terrorists and clowns are obviously at the top of the list. However officials can freeze my soul from time to time. It can’t be easy running a country or even small parts of it. Some times they might be privy to information that they would rather not know. The Sydney Morning Hearld has an article today with comments from the Commissioner for the Australian Police (AFP) Mick Keelty. In it he discussed the rise of more technical savvy criminal and the challenges that it places on the Federal government to have a matching policing response. I don’t think any body would doubt that this is true, online fraud is one of the fastest and most profitable industries today.

What did give me pause however was his comments on cloning :

“Our environmental scanning tells us that even with some of the cloning of human beings – not necessarily in Australia but in those countries that are going to allow it – you could have potentially a cloned part-person, part-robot,”

Now I see two possibilities here :

  1. That the aliens that crash landed in Roswell 60 years ago brought with the more fantastic technology than just velcro. During that time the wussy public face of robotic and cloning have hidden the real fact that a full human clone can now be grown and bits of the clone that are not up to the task can be married with fully functional bonic replacements that are not only as good but better than the human body. The result of these experiments are now, obviously, just about to break out as super criminals.
  2. That the Commissioner got wasted last night while watching DVDs of The 6 million dollar man” and The Island. The pizza was a bit funny and in the morning things hadn’t quite settled down so the barrier between reality and fantasy broke down briefly which resulted in the brain fart.

All jokes aside, comments like this are actually more dangerous than people might realise. Most of the Commissioners comments are entirely accurate, but when these very same comments are recorded and hit the intertubes it is no surprise when there is much dirision and the sanity gets drowned out by the nonsense.