October 10, 2005
October 03, 2005
Robot racing gets under way
It's the ultimate robot reality show: 43 contestants battling for a spot in a government-sponsored desert race intended to speed development of unmanned military combat vehicles.
The reward? A $2 million cash prize.
The autonomous robotic vehicles began competing Wednesday in the first of a series of qualifying rounds at the California Speedway. Half will advance to the October 8 starting line of the so-called Grand Challenge.
The grueling, weeklong semifinals are designed to test the vehicles' ability to cover a roughly 2-mile stretch of the track without a human driver or remote control.
Participants ranging from souped-up SUVs to military behemoths will be graded on how well they can self-drive on rough road, make sharp turns and avoid obstacles -- hay bales, trash cans, wrecked cars -- while relying on GPS navigation and sensors, radar, lasers and cameras that feed information to computers.
October 02, 2005
Google offers free Wi-Fi for San Francisco
Google Inc. wants to connect all of San Francisco to the Internet with a free wireless service, creating a springboard for the online search engine leader to leap into the telecommunications industry.
Google spokesman Nate Tyler said Saturday that the company doesn’t have any plans to offer a Wi-Fi service outside the San Francisco Bay area.
“Unwiring San Francisco is a way for Google to support our local Bay Area community,” Tyler said. “It is also an opportunity to make San Francisco a test-ground for new location-based applications and services that enable people to find relevant information exactly when and where they need it.”
Google has been quietly experimenting with Wi-Fi service in a few connection spots around the Bay Area and New York during the past few months. In another sign of its interest in Internet access, Google recently bought an undisclosed stake in a Maryland startup, the Current Communications Group, which is trying to provide high-speed connections through power lines.
Building its own wireless Internet network connection also would help Google save money by reducing the fees that it pays to the telecommunications middlemen that provide a bridge between the company’s data centers and Internet service providers whenever Web surfers make a search request.
Any free Internet access service would threaten to siphon revenue from subscription Internet service providers like SBC Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp. that have invested heavily in high-speed connections that depend on phone lines and cable modems.
A Google Wi-Fi service also could divert traffic from many popular Web sites, including Yahoo, MSN and AOL, if it’s set up to automatically make Google’s home page the first stopping point.
September 25, 2005
Keystrokes Reveal Passwords to Researchers
BERKELEY, Calif. - If spyware and key-logging software weren't a big enough threat to privacy, researchers have figured out a way to eavesdrop on your computer simply by listening to the clicks and clacks of the keyboard.
Those seemingly random noises, when processed by a computer, were translated with up to 96 percent accuracy, according to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
"It's a form of acoustical spying that should raise red flags among computer security and privacy experts," said Doug Tygar, a Berkeley computer science professor and the study's principal investigator.
Researchers used several 10-minute audio recordings of people typing away at their keyboards. They fed the recordings into a computer that used an algorithm to detect subtle differences in the sound as each letter is struck.
September 24, 2005
Ask Jeeves decides to axe Jeeves
Search site Ask Jeeves is getting rid of the iconic valet that has been its companion since its earliest days.
Citing "user confusion" over what the butler character represents the search site has said that Jeeves will soon be phased out.
However, Ask's research revealed that Jeeves was getting in the way of people realising that the search site had changed and that it can handle many more types of queries than just straightforward questions.
"As a result," said the Ask statement, "the character may be phased out as the prominent icon of the brand, although no timeline or details have been determined."
In line with a series of changes made to the Ask site last year, Jeeves got a makeover which saw him get slimmer and more tanned.
In its statement Ask said that no decision had yet been made on the new brand name it will adopt to show how the search site had evolved.
September 16, 2005
Bill Gates meets Napolean Dynamite.
Bill Gates meets Napolean Dynamite. Microsoft has a history of doing little spoofs at their developer events (a couple years ago Gates and Ballmer did a send up of the GTI commercial and then there was The Matrix). While this one is a shaky camera capture (hopefully someone uploads the original), it's still pretty amusing and fun to watch Gates poke fun at himself. Of course, the unintended comedy videos involving Gates are often funnier.
August 28, 2005
Laura is a security guard at a large, unnamed facility, and she has some time on her hands. She writes about palindromes, time travel, and her dog Helen. She offers pithy observations on the various people she sees every day, like "The Sexy Lady" and "The Inspector." She records herself walking on tile floors, drinking glasses of water, and reciting the alphabet in a breathy voice. With plenty of pictures and a controllable webcam, she seems to be exploring ideas of surveillance and identity. But just who is Laura? In her first entry, she says that she's waiting for something to happen in her life. Does it? We don't know the answer -- or even if her world is real -- but we're strangely drawn to the view through Laura's eyes.
July 22, 2005
"I, for one, welcome our new alien overlords"
- in what looks like a thinly-veiled attempt at viral marketing, a company claims to be giving bloggers the opportunity to send a piece of their lives into space to potentially connect with extraterrestrials.
Let's just hope that future generations will not have to endure this kind of thing, next time a blogger decides to quit ranting on about themselves.
July 21, 2005
Google Moon - Google Maps gets the Lunar treatment, in honor of the first manned moon landing. No directions, though, so you won't be able to plot the best route from Tycho Crater to Mare Imbrium. (Fun Hint! - try the maximum zoom level)
June 22, 2005
Photoshop 911 is the reader response division of Photoshop Tips & Tricks. These blog will answer all your questions and give you plenty of new tricks and hints.