Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Yahoo and Google to provide OpenIDs

Another geeky posting I'm afraid. This time we have two articles from TechCrunch, both about OpenID.

The first is about Yahoo providing OpenID and the second about Google doing the same. I haven't tried this but it should allow you to sign into a huge number of websites using your yahoo or Google id. I.e. you don't have to create an id on every single site you visit.

The Google offering isn't quite as useful as it could be as they seem to be only allowing people who have blogs on Blogger (which Google owns) to use their id. I suppose this may change in the future.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More Domain Shenanigans

Following up on my earlier post about someone registering domains after they have been searched for, TechCrunch is reporting that Domain Solutions, the original and still largest domain registrar, is doing something similar. If you search for a domain using their search tool, they will register any unregistered domain that comes up. That way if you want it you have to buy it from them.

Japanese Robot Snowplow Makes Ice Bricks

InventorSpot has a posting about a robotic Japanese snowplow that packs the snow into bricks of ice which it can then stack up.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Sound Mirrors

Deputy Dog has a post about the sound mirrors that were built along the British coast before the Second World War. In the era before radar the sound mirrors were designed to gather the sound of incoming aircraft and reflect it to a microphone so that defending aircraft could be launched.

A Gaza Primer

Slate's Explainer has a background column about the Gaza Strip.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Mystery of a Found Digital Camera

Yahoo has an article about the quest to locate the owner of a digital camera found in the back of a New York taxi.

US Private School Endowments

The New York Times has an article about the huge endowments that some older American private schools now have. The article mainly focuses on Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire. The school, which has a thousand students, now has over US$ 1 billion in its endowment fund.
With its small classes, computers for students receiving financial aid, lavish sports facilities and more, Exeter devotes an average of $63,500 annually to house and educate each of its 1,000 students. That is far more than the Thomas family could ever afford and well above even the $36,500 in tuition, room and board Exeter charges those paying full price.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Travel Quiz

Travelpod has a traveler IQ test that is a fun little quiz game.

I went to a presentation by the founder of travelpod at the Ottawa BarCamp last year and he said that the game was a huge driver of traffic to the site as well as a source of new members.

Friday, January 25, 2008

New Drug Could Eliminate Sleep

Wired has an article about a new drug, orexin A, that may be able to eliminate the need for sleep.
The monkeys were deprived of sleep for 30 to 36 hours and then given either orexin A or a saline placebo before taking standard cognitive tests. The monkeys given orexin A in a nasal spray scored about the same as alert monkeys, while the saline-control group was severely impaired.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Collapsable Home Office

Here is an interesting item of furniture. It is a home office that folds away into a nice looking little rolling cart.

Flash: Flying Polar Bears

An amusing little flash game that features a leaping polar bear and falling ice cubes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Funny Business at the Domain Registrar

There have always been rumours that if you search for a good domain name on one of the online name checker sites, someone will register it before you do. Now the DailyDomainer reports seeing numerous domains registered within 30 seconds of being checked. The problem is made worse by domain tasters who manage to register their domains for free for 30 days.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

18th Century Messaging

Low-tech magazine has an article about an 18th century French communications system that could send a message from Amsterdam to Venice in 1 hour. The system consisted of a towers fitted with semaphore signals. The operator in each tower watches the previous tower through a telescope and copies its signal. The operator also looks at the tower before the previous one to confirm the signal is correct.

I've only started looking at the Low-tech Magazine site but it looks interesting so far.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Ten Hour Work Week

The New York Times has an article about the Canadian website The site is a dating website that owner Markus Frind developed on his own as a programming exercise. Frind is the only person who works on the site, and he only puts in about ten hours a week, but the site makes about ten million dollars a year.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Money Shots

Some interesting photos on Flickr using US money and real landmarks.

DVD: Next

I didn't really notice this movie when it first came out. It is the one where Nicholas Cage plays a character who can see two minutes into the future. Naturally the government want him to help them catch terrorists but he just wants to be left alone.

I really liked the movie. There were a few problems with the plot - like "who were the bad guys and what were they trying to accomplish" but on the whole things moved fairly well. The main emphasis was on Cage's character's power and how he uses it.

Well worth watching.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The end of Direct Current in Manhattan

The New York Times has an article about the ending of direct current (DC) electrical service in Manhattan. The service was originally started 125 years ago by Thomas Edison when he was trying to establish DC as the standard for distributing electricity.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Tracking Shoppers

TechCrunch has an article about a new application that allows store managers to track where customers walk in their stores. The system uses radio receivers that listen for the pings the customers' cell phones send out periodically.

I'm not sure if there are privacy implications here or not. The system can tell people apart but can't identify them. Plus I suppose people could just turn off their phones if they are worried about this sort of thing.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Origami: Make a Drinking Cup

Wikihow has a page on how to make a drinking cup from a sheet of paper. This may have been more useful over the holiday season but could still come in handy. I'm not sure how long a given cup will last but I was amused at the warning not to use the cup for hot beverages.