Posts about geeky (old posts, page 9)

Lego's Mindstorms EV3 robots are here

The third full generation of Lego's programmable robotics platform, EV3 is aimed at both enthusiasts -- young and old -- and educators, and blows past the previous generation with a long list of new features that add speed and power, intelligent programmability, and more ways to communicate with the robots. Lego expects to begin selling the product, which includes 594 Technic pieces that can be used to make five different robots, this summer at a retail cost of $350. It will also release instructions for 12 additional robots at launch.

Lego's Mindstorms EV3 robots are here

How To Become A Hacker

There is a community, a shared culture, of expert programmers and networking wizards that traces its history back through decades to the first time-sharing minicomputers and the earliest ARPAnet experiments. The members of this culture originated the term 'hacker'. Hackers built the Internet. Hackers made the Unix operating system what it is today. Hackers run Usenet. Hackers make the World Wide Web work. If you are part of this culture, if you have contributed to it and other people in it know who you are and call you a hacker, you're a hacker. The hacker mind-set is not confined to this software-hacker culture. There are people who apply the hacker attitude to other things, like electronics or music -- actually, you can find it at the highest levels of any science or art. Software hackers recognize these kindred spirits elsewhere and may call them 'hackers' too -- and some claim that the hacker nature is really independent of the particular medium the hacker works in. But in the rest of this document we will focus on the skills and attitudes of software hackers, and the traditions of the shared culture that originated the term 'hacker'. There is another group of people who loudly call themselves hackers, but aren't. These are people (mainly adolescent males) who get a kick out of breaking into computers and phreaking the phone system. Real hackers call these people 'crackers' and want nothing to do with them. Real hackers mostly think crackers are lazy, irresponsible, and not very bright, and object that being able to break security doesn't make you a hacker any more than being able to hotwire cars makes you an automotive engineer. Unfortunately, many journalists and writers have been fooled into using the word 'hacker' to describe crackers; this irritates real hackers no end.

Google Zeitgeist 2012

Google studied an aggregation of over one trillion searches (or queries) that people typed into Google Search this year. We used data from multiple sources, including Google Trends and internal data tools. We filtered out spam and repeat queries to build lists that best reflect the spirit of 2012.The "trending" queries are the searches that had the highest amount of traffic over a sustained period in 2012 as compared to 2011.

Windows 8 Disappointing Usability

With the recent launch of Windows 8 and the Surface tablets, Microsoft has reversed its user interface strategy. From a traditional Gates-driven GUI style that emphasized powerful commands to the point of featuritis, Microsoft has gone soft and now smothers usability with big colorful tiles while hiding needed features.The new design is obviously optimized for touchscreen use (where big targets are helpful), but Microsoft is also imposing this style on its traditional PC users because all of Windows 8 is permeated by the tablet sensibility.How well does this work for real users performing real tasks? To find out, we invited 12 experienced PC users to test Windows 8 on both regular computers and Microsoft's new Surface RT tablets.

Why From Nigeria

Finally, this approach suggests an answer to the question in the title. Far-fetched tales of West African riches strike most as comical. Our analysis suggests that is an advantage to the attacker, not a disadvantage. Since his attack has a low density of victims the Nigerian scammer has an over-riding need to reduce false positives. By sending an email that repels all but the most gullible the scammer gets the most promising marks to self-select, and tilts the true to false positive ratio in his favor.

Abbott consciously lying on NBN costs

In a statement last week, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said Abbott's claim that consumers would pay three times more for broadband under the NBN was "just wrong". "Prices for NBN plans released to date are cheaper than, or equivalent to, existing ADSL plans, but with much improved quality of service," Conroy added. "For example, Skymesh is offering NBN services from $29.95 per month. Exetel's entry-level plan costs $35.00 per month. A number of other retail providers, including Optus, offer NBN services starting from $39.95 and $49.95 per month. Thanks to the NBN, competition between retail providers is increasing.""Tony Abbott should check his facts before delivering a national address in the Australian Parliament."Another aspect of Abbott's speech may also be incorrect; his statement that the funds being ploughed into rolling out the NBN could be invested instead in building transport infrastructure such as roads, whilst still leaving "$10 billion" to invest in broadband as well.Abbott made this same claim in February. However, at the time, analysis showed that the NBN is not an expense in terms of the Federal Government's annual budget, and cutting the project would not free up money to be spent in other areas. This is because the project is an investment expected to make a return for the government -- a long-term profit. That return is currently projected to be between $1.93 billion to $3.92 billion.

1982 Atari Futurists View Of Mobile Computing

These drawings date from 1982 (thirty years ago). Alan Kay had just become the Chief Scientist at Atari and he asked me to work with him to continue the work I started at Encyclopedia Britannica on the idea of an Intelligent Encyclopedia. We came up with these scenarios of how the (future) encyclopedia might be used and commissioned Glenn Keane, a well-known Disney animator to render them. The captions also date from 1982.