Random Rants

Anything that tickles my fancy.

Google Art Project offers gigapixel images of art classics, ‘indoor’ Street View of museums

Posted by silverstag on February 1, 2011

You gotta check this out. http://www.googleartproject.com/

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Surveillance Backdoor Enabled Chinese Gmail Attack?

Posted by silverstag on January 25, 2010

via Slashdot by Soulskill on 1/24/10


Major Blud writes “CNN is running an opinion piece on their front page from security technologist Bruce Schneier, in which he suggest that ‘In order to comply with government search warrants on user data, Google created a backdoor access system into Gmail accounts. This feature is what the Chinese hackers exploited to gain access.’ His article is short on sources, and the common belief is that a flaw in IE was the main attack method. Has this come up elsewhere? Schneier continues, ‘Whether the eavesdroppers are the good guys or the bad guys, these systems put us all at greater risk. Communications systems that have no inherent eavesdropping capabilities are more secure than systems with those capabilities built in. And it’s bad civic hygiene to build technologies that could someday be used to facilitate a police state.'”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Apple launching 22-inch touchscreen iMac this year?

Posted by silverstag on January 18, 2010

via Engadget by Tim Stevens on 1/18/10


Apple launching 22-inch touchscreen iMac this year?Sure, those new Core i7, 27-inch iMacs are lovely things (when they’re working), but there’s something missing: the sense of touch. That’s coming soon, according to a report published in the Chinese Commercial Times. The new 22-inch model is said to slot in between current 21.5- and 27-inch iMacs, will use a capacitive touchscreen provided by Sintek Photronic, and unsurprisingly will be built by Quanta. Beyond that, and a supposed release before the end of the year, we know nothing — but maybe we’ll learn more at a certain press event next week?

Apple launching 22-inch touchscreen iMac this year? originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 18 Jan 2010 06:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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20 Things That Happen in 1 Minute

Posted by silverstag on December 26, 2009

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Cool trivia: Mistletoe

Posted by silverstag on December 18, 2009

via Daily Writing Tips by Maeve Maddox on 12/17/09


Before mistletoe became an excuse to kiss people at Christmas parties, it was an important symbol in ancient Celtic religion.

Pliny the Elder describes a ceremony in which Druids climbed an oak tree to harvest mistletoe with a golden sickle. Wrote Pliny:

They believe that mistletoe given in drink will impart fertility to any animal that is barren and that it is an antidote to all poisons.

Mistletoe figures in the story of the Norse god Baldur. (Also spelled Balder and Baldr.)

Baldur was the most beloved of the Norse gods. All the gods loved him except Loki the mean-spirited troublemaker.

Baldur’s mother Freya dreamed that he died and was taken by Hel. Norsemen who died in battle were taken by the Valkyries to Valhalla. Everyone else went to Hel’s kingdom. When Freya woke she went to Hel and begged her not to take her son. Hel said that if she could persuade everything in the world not to harm Baldur, he could go on living. Freya extracted an oath from rocks, elves, giants, plants, and everything else. Every thing and every creature swore not to harm Baldur. Unfortunately, Freya neglected to speak to the mistletoe. It was so small and insignificant that she didn’t see how it could be a threat to anyone.

When it became evident that nothing would kill Baldur, the other gods made a game of throwing weapons at him. Loki found out about the unsworn mistletoe. He went to the plant and took a cutting back to Asgard. He fastened it to an arrow and gave it to Baldur’s blind brother Hoder. Loki guided Hoder’s hand and the mistletoe on the arrow pierced Baldur’s heart, killing him.

There’s more to Baldur’s story, but this is the part about the mistletoe.

If you’re in the mood for more seasonal lore, you may enjoy these DWT posts from previous years.
Dec 2008 Deck the Halls
Dec 2008 December 26
Dec 2007 Festive Words
Dec 2007 The Meaning of Christmas


Your eBook: Click here to download the Basic English Grammar ebook.

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Mozilla Exec Urges Switch From Google To Bing

Posted by silverstag on December 11, 2009

via Slashdot by timothy on 12/11/09


Andorin writes "Asa Dotzler, Mozilla's director of community development, has published a brief blog post in which he recommends that Firefox users move from using Google as their main search engine to Bing, citing privacy issues. Disregarding the existence of alternative search engines such as Ask and Yahoo, Dotzler asserts that Bing's privacy policy is better than Google's. Dotzler explains the recommendation with a quote from Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google: 'If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines — including Google — do retain this information for some time…' Ars Technica also covers the story."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Learn Italian in Thirty Minutes

Posted by silverstag on December 8, 2009

via Nat Friedman by Nat Friedman on 12/5/09


For our wedding in Florence this summer, we created an Italian language learning CD for all of our guests.

Our CD is only 30 minutes. That’s all it takes to achieve fluency, right? The CD teaches you the basics of Italian, and gives an overview of Italian coffee, culture, driving regulations, and history since 1920.

And we threw in a few key phrases for attending weddings.

Anyway, it seemed a shame that our guests were the only ones to benefit from this highly concentrated language education resource, so you can listen to the CD here:

  1. Introduction
  2. Basic Phrases
  3. Ordering in a Restaurant
  4. Numbers
  5. Lightning Round
  6. Wedding Phrases

(Thanks to Flavio Castelli for his help with a few parts of the script.)

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Good news: Sony Reader Store to support the open EPUB format

Posted by silverstag on December 8, 2009

via Engadget by Thomas Ricker on 12/7/09


Listen up Sony Reader owners: you’ve got three days to change your ways. On December 11th, the eBook Store from Sony will be renamed the Reader Store with a new URL to prove it. In addition to a new store layout, the change also extends the open EPUB format to Sony’s entire inventory of eBooks. In fact, any new electronic books will only be available in EPUB which helps explain the motivation for Sony’s PRS-500 trade-in program. As such, we can say goodbye to Sony’s proprietary BBeB (“BroadBand eBook”) format which goes the way of ATRAC (outside of Japan, anyway). Sony’s also making its Reader Library 3.1 software for Mac and PC available on the same day with support for the imminent Reader Daily Edition launch and compatibility with Windows 7 and OS X Snow Leopard — how timely.

Sony Reader Store goes 100% EPUB on Friday originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 08 Dec 2009 01:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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HipLogic sounds to me like “snaptu”. Or am I wrong?

Posted by silverstag on December 2, 2009

via TechCrunch by Leena Rao on 12/2/09


Mobile application platform HipLogic has raised $7 million in Series B funding from Benchmark Capital, Stage 1 Ventures, Bay Partners, and Accrue Sports and Entertainment Ventures. HipLogic’s platform helps improve content discoverability and applications on both smartphone and non-smartphones.

Formerly known as Numobiq, the startup raised $4.5 million in Series A funding in 2008. Founded by three veterans from Sun Microsystems, it wants to bring sophisticated applications to the simplest cell phones by keeping all the complexity in the network. In essence, HipLogic is trying to bring the quick, easy interface of the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry to more simple, lightweight phones that are available for the mass market.

HipLogic makes existing phones ’smarter’ by allowing consumers to toggle on a more iPhone like interface complete with real-time content, social networking and apps. This is all done via a free downloadable mobile application that has yet to be launched. Behind the curtains, HipLogic’s application platform features a lightweight, JavaScript virtual machine connected to the cloud and aggregates info from network operators and the web to create mash-ups on mobile devices

HipLogic is currently being deployed through a partnership with The Carphone Warehouse, a European mobile retailer and hopes to partner with retailers and phone developers in the near future. The startup is remaining mum about the intricacies of its platform for now, but HipLogic could be on to something.

Crunch Network: CrunchBase the free database of technology companies, people, and investors

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Somali Pirate “Stock Exchange” – Should add this to my portfolio.

Posted by silverstag on December 2, 2009

via Slashdot by kdawson on 12/1/09


reginaldo writes to clue us that pirates in Somalia have opened up a cooperative in Haradheere, where investors can pay money or guns to help their favorite pirate crew for a share of the piracy profits. “‘Four months ago, during the monsoon rains, we decided to set up this stock exchange. We started with 15 “maritime companies” and now we are hosting 72. Ten of them have so far been successful at hijacking,’ Mohammed [a wealthy former pirate who took a Reuters reporter to the facility] said. … Piracy investor Sahra Ibrahim, a 22-year-old divorcee, was lined up with others waiting for her cut of a ransom pay-out after one of the gangs freed a Spanish tuna fishing vessel. ‘I am waiting for my share after I contributed a rocket-propelled grenade for the operation,’ she said, adding that she got the weapon from her ex-husband in alimony. ‘I am really happy and lucky. I have made $75,000 in only 38 days since I joined the “company.”‘”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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