Sunday, October 30, 2005

Brand New Chicago House Goodness

sr logoMy friends John & Frankie (The Sound Republic) down in Chicago have been tearing it up on a regular basis at Grizzled, their monthly residency at The Lava Lounge. Usually with some sick guest DJs in tow, it's definitely worth checking out. They usually record their sets, so check up on their blog (linked above) to keep up with the new hotness. Here are the last 2 mixes that were posted.

The Sound Republic - Live @ Grizzled 9-10-05
The Sound Republic - Live @ Grizzled 10-8-05

If you didn't catch my previous post about their track on the newest Mark Farina mix, here is a link. I believe the link to download the Mark Farina mix still works as well.

Furniture Designed For Bookworms

This is one of the coolest pieces of furniture I have ever seen. Its called "CAVE" and was created by designer Sakura Adachi. This type of stuff is the reason I am studying industrial design. Here is his website with some of his other designs, but they aren't as good as this combo bookcase/chair/lamp in my opinion.


Friday, October 28, 2005

Build Your Own Robot

paper robotWell, I guess it's not actually a robot, but these papercraft robots are cool and provide a bit of DIY gratification anyway. This site called Ready Mech has 8 different robots that you can download (PDF files), print, cut & assemble for your own halloween crazy paper robo-monster party. Graphic design usually isn't much fun for the end user, so I'm glad people are doing something different. I know there is a whole papercraft movement going on so if I run across any more cool ones I'll be sure to post them.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Extremely Cool Urban Model Train Set

Peter Baum, a student at Yale has put together a very realistic urban city modeled after parts of Philly, NYC & Chicago. The detail put into this is simply amazing. The only thing missing is graffiti on the trains, which he said he couldn't bring himself to do because of the value of his models. Other than that, some of these pictures would probably appear to be legit if showed to your average Joe on the street. This has officially broken the "lonely grandpa playing in the basement with his train" stereotype in my eyes. I know what I'm gonna be doing when I retire. By that time however, I would hope I would have the skills to present it with something better than this guys hideous website.

Peter's Web Page
Straight To Photo Gallery (over 50 photos)

urban train 1
urban train 2

Sunday, October 16, 2005

One For The Home Team

no trespassingUSA Today reports on a recent federal court case in Chicago in which computer spyware was found to be in violation of trespass to chattels (trespass to private property) laws. In a time of much confusion about how to organize and keep the internet in order, this action shows that old laws can still be used to keep cyber-abusers in check.

"Simply put, plaintiff alleges that Spyware interfered with and damaged his personal property, namely his computer and Internet connection, by over-burdening their resources and diminishing their functioning. Accordingly, the court denies (the) motion to dismiss (the) trespass to chattels cause of action."

As a linux user I never personally have to deal with spyware, adware, etc... but I did spend quite a while on my grandmothers computer this weekend cleaning up that mess. I hope this case sets a president for future spyware issues. If no one steps in and does something the problem is only going to keep getting worse.

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Sunday, October 09, 2005

The US Military Lesson Of Intolerance & Hate

"My cell was 8ft by 6ft, the same size as the detainees’ cages at Guantanamo. Barely a week ago I had received a glowing evaluation for my work as the US army’s Muslim chaplain among the “Gitmo” prisoners. Now I was the one in chains.

It was my turn to be humiliated every time I was taken to have a shower. Naked, I had to run my hands through my hair to show that I was not concealing a weapon in it. Then mouth open, tongue up, down, nothing inside. Right arm up, nothing in my armpit. Left arm up. Lift the right testicle, nothing hidden. Lift the left. Turn around, bend over, spread your buttocks, knowing a camera was displaying my naked image as male and female guards watched.

It didn’t matter that I was an army captain, a graduate of West Point, the elite US military academy. It didn’t matter that my religious beliefs prohibited me from being fully naked in front of strangers. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t been charged with a crime. It didn’t matter that my wife and daughter had no idea where I was. And it certainly didn’t matter that I was a loyal American citizen and, above all, innocent........

......I knew why I had been arrested: it was because I am a Muslim. I was just the latest victim of the hostility born the moment when the planes flew into the twin towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

My real "crime" had been that I had tried to ensure that the suspected Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters detained in the Gitmo cages were given every opportunity to practise their religion freely, one of the most fundamental of American ideals."

Link To Full Story

It makes me sick how intolerant and hateful people are. It seems to me like the United States Military is encouraging this appalling behavior. An old high school friend of mine came back from an 18 month stint in Iraq. After a few days of hanging out with him I could tell that he was changed, and not for the better. Some of his views were honestly scary. He told me that he may re-enlist and go back over to Iraq because "America is just so full of bullshit. At least over there I have power. Those Habibs know that I can fill them full of holes and get away with it." I didn't know what to say. I don't know if I will be looking my old friend up the next time he gets back.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Don't Mess With..... Florida...?

confederate floridaWho would have thought? Sitting down there with it's wild geckos, torrential rain and abundance of senior citizen drivers that Florida, America's wang, would grow some balls and join the ranks of the trigger-happy south. The Floridian government has just passed law HB 0249 otherwise known as the "Stand Your Ground" law. Section 3 of this bill effectively extending the right of homicide in self defense to any public place, stating:

A person, not engaged in an unlawful activity, who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so, to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself, herself, or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

Wow... What's this about "to prevent the commission of a forcible felony"? So they don't even need to be attempting to kill you? This is just crazy. My grandparents are moving from Florida back to Illinois in a few months and this bit of news just makes me even happier about their decision.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Bigger Isn't Always Better

With all the efforts to make the internet faster, CPUs more powerful and higher capacity storage devices you may not thing to approach the data problem from the opposite direction. When someone does think about it though, you realize that it makes perfect sense. Don't concentrate on how to make your large files move faster, when you should be trying to find a way to make your large files smaller.

The Singapore-based startup MatrixView has done just that by developing a new image compression format that may just become the next universal standard. The format, aptly named, MatrixView Universal (MVU) can compress an image to around 15x smaller than a JPEG but unlike JPEG compression a MVU file does not simplify image details or degrade image quality. Because of this, MatrixView is beginning to distribute licenses for its new format first in medical applications where it can be used to efficiently store digital copies of detailed X-Rays, MRI's and the like, where loss of image detail can be a life or death issue. Talks are in the works to incorporate this technology into chips for digital cameras. Maybe in the not so distant future it won't be necessary to spend as much on a higher capacity memory card as you did on the camera itself.

Old School

calvin & hobbesWow, this brings back memories. A couple days ago they released a beautiful hardcover three book box set of every Calvin & Hobbes comic strip ever published (3150 in all). Now on sale at Amazon for $94.50. I doubt I will be shelling out to pick this up any time soon as my to-buy book list is already quite long. Still, it would be nice coffee table reading for reminiscing about simpler times every once in a while.

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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Chinese DRM Free E-Ink Reader

booksThe Chinese company Jinke has released a DRM free eBook reader called the Hanlin that uses the turbo cool E-Ink technology to display text and images on a 6 inch screen. E-Ink can display 4 shades of grey and black, can be viewed easily from any angle in any light condition, and only uses power when switching between pages making it very power efficient. With all the personal media players on the market that let us take our digitized music, movies, games and photo's on the go, why are books being ignored? With more and more books being released under the Creative Commons License eBook's are the means to get people interested in reading again. The best solution available to Americans is trying to find an old Palm on eBay. We need this.

Why doesn't someone release one of these things in the US? Ah yes, because with pressure about eBook piracy from places like the authors guild they haven't yet developed a system of file restrictions that would make it almost entirely unusable for their customers yet. The Sony Librie already deletes your books after six months. What else do they want to limit us from doing with our technology? DRM = Evil. Leave it to Communist China to give us the right to use our ebook technology however we want to. The V8 Hanlin reader will be available by the end of the year. The V2 reader will be available in May, the only difference being an open source linux based OS for user development.