Things tagged tech:

An Engineering Evaluation of SHA-3 candidates

Niels [Ferguson, of the Skein team] has started a page of SHA-3 engineering comparisons.

Yes, they are biased, but I still trust the results.

Via Schneier on Security.

Beijing Cubism: How ETFE Revolutionized the Bubble

ETFE is temperature-resistant, lightweight (1/100th the weight of glass), recyclable, non-toxic when exposed to flame (it actually shrinks away from heat, thus helping to vent smoke out of a burning building), highly insulative, non-porous, and non-stick. Even better, its high-tensile strength makes it easy to manipulate—it can be spun into thin sheets for ease of transport then inflated on-site to create the “pillow” effect of the Aquatics Center walls. It can also be finished in varying degrees of translucence—as transparent as glass or opaque as glass bricks.

Via at cityofsound.

What Sun Should Do

Tim Bray on Sun:

Sun is going through a lousy spell right now. Well, so is the world’s economy in general and the IT business in particular, but this is about Sun. This is my opinion about what my employer should do about it. [. . .] Sun should adopt a laser focus on building a Sun Web Suite and becoming the Web application deployment platform of choice. It’s a large space, a growing space, and one where we can win.

He is obviously absolutely right, there is no place for the old Sun in this world. However Sun does have some excellent tech, and importantly they seem to still have a lot of top engineers, so if they can manage a major restructuring they have a fighting chance.

Shirky on Coase, Collaboration and Here Comes Everybody

Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, talks about the economics of organizations with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. The conversation centers on Shirky’s book. Topics include Coase on the theory of the firm, the power of sharing information on the internet, the economics of altruism, and the creation of Wikipedia.

And a great bit of discussion on representative vs. direct democracy and the possibility that networks can enable direct democracy.

Via EconLog.

The Mother of All Maker Zen Clips

Bruce Sterling at Beyond the Beyond:

*This French guy is serenely hand-manufacturing his own vacuum tubes.

*This video is seventeen minutes long. I’d also be guessing this gentleman has invested about seventeen years in acquiring that vacuum-tube zen.

Generation. Man, now that's typography.


Late in April the super friendly people from Print Magazine commissioned me to create a cover design which would conceptually support the main feature article about “kinetic typography” of their special summer issue.

Via Bruce Sterling at Beyond the Beyond.

How to be an instant Web me-2.0 developer

The Reg:

The first, most basic, skill: be able to distinguish the different versions of the web.

Web versions, 1.0 to 2.0
Version Characteristics
Web 1.0 Programming model equivalent to that of a slightly up-market 3270 terminal. Forms are filled in with the sequence: tab tab tab tab tab tab bonk.
Web 1.00001 The beginning of the rich web experience: the first ever, primitive Javascript code fragment is written. It generates an unwanted popup, and snaffles your credit card details.
Web 1.1 No visible difference from Web 1.0, apart from IE showing the text 'Javascript error' in its status bar.
Web 1.2 Standard buttons are upgraded with smart 3D-looking GIFs. These react to mouseover events by bobbing up and down politely over their drop shadows. Remember when we were excited by this sort of scriptery? (None of your CSS cleverness then.) It seems so quaint now. It makes me want to cry, thinking about the good old days of ugly web pages loading slowly.
Web 1.3 When you get to the home page of a V1.2 site with FireFox, it displays badly. When you go to a V1.3 website such as with FireFox, it tells you to eff off and get IE. (These traditionalists in fact would seem to prefer it if you used IE4.) The age of 'you aren't good enough for our website' has begun, reaching full fruition at Web 1.5, see below.
Web 1.4 Basic client-side validation added. Forms are filled in with the sequence: tab tab tab tab tab What do you mean 'invalid post code' you bloody thing? The dread phrase 'next generation of 3d smileys' is encountered for the very first time.

Via Tim Bray.

Beautiful Machinery

Ted talk by Arthur Ganson:

Sculptor and engineer Arthur Ganson talks about his work -- kinetic art that explores deep philosophical ideas and is gee-whiz fun to look at.

Via Wohba!.

Dynamic Languages Strike Back

Steve Yegge:

Some guys at Stanford invited me to speak at their EE Computer Systems Colloquium last week. Pretty cool, eh? It was quite an honor. I wound up giving a talk on dynamic languages: the tools, the performance, the history, the religion, everything. It was a lot of fun, and it went over surprisingly well, all things considered.

Via Tim Bray.

Microsoft acquires Stefan Brands (patents and friends)

Posted by iang to Financial Cryptography.

Interesting news: According to the posts over at identity corner, Microsoft is picking up (some of? all of?) Credentica's patent portfolio, and Stefan Brands himself will join the team.

Brands has one (of two) lineages of patents on digital blinding, the other one was via David Chaum, and is now lost somewhere in some bank's hands due to bankruptcy. Though Chaum was working on something new, haven't heard anything about that . . . Anyhow, this means Microsoft is in control of the current state of the art for digital money, and identity management.

Comment by Stephan Engberg:

Congratulations - it must have been a fantastic monetary offer to make you withdraw credentials from the open market like this and hand over control of identity to MS.

This just set [Privacy Enhancing Technologies] back many years.

And Kim Cameron (Microsoft) has a great round up of the PR and reactions in the wake of the announcement at identityblog: Reactions to Credentica acquisition

He ends with:

That doesn’t mean it is trivial to figure out the best legal mecahnisms for making the intellectual property and even the code available to the ecosystem. Lawyers are needed, and it takes a while. But I can guarantee everyone that I have zero intention of hoarding Minimal Disclosure Tokens or turning U-Prove into a proprietary Microsoft technology silo.

Sure you don't, but what about your evil overlords?

Long Duration Love Affair

JMorrison at the nonist:

That cylindrical object you see pictured above is a roughly school-bus sized structure which was deployed into space in 1984. It orbited the Earth for five and a half years with nothing expected of it other than to float there, getting battered about by whatever the great black yonder saw fit to throw at it. You see, every inch of its outside surface was covered with Science. 57 separate experiments, mounted in 86 trays, involving the participation of “more than 200 principal investigators from 33 private companies, 21 universities, seven NASA centers, nine Department of Defense laboratories and eight foreign countries.” Its purpose was to study the effects of space on a multitude of materials. Its name is the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) and I am deeply in love with it.

Via cityofsound.

Digital technology is transforming photojournalism

Andrew Blum in Hard Focus (Print Mag) reproduced on his site:

Gone are the days when photojournalists lugged a chunky Rolleiflex TLR into the field and sent film home on planes. Digital technology has streamlined the process—while adding a few of its own complications. To find out more about how technology is changing photojournalism, I tracked down a few of the conflict photographers who travel around the world from hot spot to hot spot

Via cityofsound.

Bruce Sterling: State of the World, 2008

Urban Computing and its Discontents

Since the late 1980s, computer scientists and engineers have been researching ways of embedding computational intelligence into the built environment. Looking beyond the model of personal computing, which placed the computer in the foreground of our attention, “ubiquitous” computing takes into account the social dimension of human environments and allows computers themselves to vanish into the background. No longer solely virtual, human interaction with and through computers becomes socially integrated and spatially contingent, as everyday objects and spaces are linked through networked computing.

Conversation between Adam Greenfield and Mark Shepard.

Go read, this is important.

Via Bruce Sterling at Beyond the Beyond.

The Ken Kutaragi Crazy Game Exec Quote Award

Posted by Game|Life to Wired News.

With PlayStation dad Ken Kutaragi taking home the Lifetime Achievement Award at DICE this year, there’s one achievement of his that isn’t in the list of honors: His ability to come up with amazingly insane sound bites. Just a few:

(On PS3’s price) “It’s probably too cheap.”

(On PS3’s price) “We want consumers to think to themselves ‘I will work more hours to buy one.’”

(On PS2’s tech) “Same interface. Same concept. Starting from next year, you can jack into The Matrix!”

constraint city

A chest strap (corset) with high torque servo motors and a WIFI-enabled game-console are worn as fetish object. The higher the wireless signal strength of close encrypted networks, the tighter the corset becomes. Closed network points improve the pleasurable play of tight lacing the performer‘s bustier. Thus, constituting the aether as a space of possible pregnancy, filled with potential access-points to the networks of communication. Everyday walks between home, work and leisure are recompiled into a schizogeographic pain-map which is fetched from GoogleMaps servers with automated scripts. By wearing the straight-jacket, the artist not only writes, but is at once also able to read the city code.

Via MAKE: Blog.


Posted by John Gruber to Daring Fireball.

Free online web app, converts bitmap images into vector art, and does a surprisingly good job of it. (Via Gus Mueller.)

Musical Tesla Coils

Handheld Projector Demo


Via Bruce Sterling at Beyond the Beyond.

Electric contacts are mounted on the support block of the Machine, where the hand is situated. These contacts are activated as soon as the first "nervous sweat" appears that turns the skin into a conductor. Subsequently the computer becomes disturbed by the electric current that is now transmitted via the skin.

This has two effects: on the one hand, sounds are generated by the closure of the contacts (circuit bending) that can either be interpreted as warning or act as an additional source of stress. On the other hand, they can have an effect on the position of the knife which is controlled by the computer and thereby hurt the potential perpetrator of the disturbance.

By 5voltcore