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Six Dumbest Ideas in Computer Security

From the Apple Server list, someone posted a link to this article. Great piece of you’re interested in computer (specifically server-related) security at all. Any article that can legitimately use the word “badness” gets a thumbs-up in my book.
We’re off to Vermilion Bay this weekend for the annual meeting of Cambrian Presbytery (church stuff). Gorgeous location that I’m looking forward to exploring. We’re hooking up with our usual group of teens from across NW Ontario for the annual fall youth retreat.

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You Can Call Amazon, EBay, and Other Web Businesses

So that it’s recorded somewhere that at least *I* can find easily, from this PC World Article:
Sometimes the best e-mail and chat support in the world is no substitute for a conversation with a real person. But that kind of talk isn’t cheap, so to cut costs, Net-based companies like Amazon often make their phone numbers hard to find. Not to worry: A site called Clich

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Idea Today: Immersive Associative Browsing

November 29 — Happy Birthday to me! — 3.5 miles, Treadmill, 3 degree incline
November 30 — Day Off
The nice thing about reaching the anaerobic stage in my runs is that it leaves me free to think about things other than the sound of my breathing. One of the things that occurred to me on Sunday had to do with the iTunes Music Store, and iPod/iTMS browsing.
I love my iPod and iTunes, and, for legal music, I think the iTMS is a pretty good mix between rights and freedoms in digital music. Not perfect, but good enough for me to plunk down some cash for (among other things) the new kd Lang album, and Lisa Loeb’s recent release. Apple thinks I’m American, apparently, so I can buy from them.
So here’s my issue. While I love the iPod/iTunes and their interfaces, I’m forever listening to it just in random play, since I’m too lazy to go searching for tunes. And, I find that when I browse the iTMS, I usually either search for a specific artist, or start from one of the links on the front.
Both Apple and stores like Amazon have recognized the value of associative product upselling (“People who bought X also bought Y, Z, A….” as well as the “Celebrity Playlist” concept). But what about if you could click through metadata associations of songs or albums in real-time?
Here’s what I’m envisioning. You start with a song in the middle of the screen in, for lack of a better idea, a bubble, and have lines drawn from the song to other bubbles. Use Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion” as the example. These associated bubbles would be labelled with items that were directly associated with the song. A bubble attached to “Sweet Emotion” might be labelled “Armageddon Soundtrack,” (shudder), with a sub-bubble that is labelled “movies.” The movies link would go to other movies that have used the song in their soundtrack. The “Armageddon” link (shudder again) would go to the album, from which more bubbles would emerge. Now, picture the whole thing being in a 3D environment, where the bubbles get bigger and smaller as you move closer or further away from each one.
I can’t believe Apple hasn’t looked at doing something like this in the iTMS yet, from what we’ve heard publicly. Why can’t I? Two reasons:
1) They’re all about metadata these days. Look at the new “Spotlight” feature that’s going to be built into the next version of Mac OS X (Tiger), which is metadata searching in realtime, through indexing of supported files or content and (bing!) metadata. Read more about it here.
2) They’ve already got the technology. Years and years ago, Apple had an idea like this that was a browser plugin and standalone application, called HotSauce (thank the Maker for Wikipedia). HotSauce generated a 3D visualization of the contents of a Meta Content Framework file that you could interactively browse. I remember downloading it and fooling around with it, but not seeing a feasible use for it.
I think this is it.
Hey Apple, I’ll give you the whole package, too. Apple’s penchant for taking words and making them into pseudo-trademarks (Rendezvous, Spotlight) fits this one perfectly. Just call it it this:
Okay, it’s cheese, but then, so are the others. Look after the jump for a screengrab of HotSauce in action, courtesy of Wikipedia.

more »

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The Invisible Train

Via the Scobleizer, we find the Invisible Train, a train that runs on wooden tracks (a la Thomas the Tank Engine, a known favourite in our household), but really doesn’t. Those crazy college kids:

The Invisible Train is a mobile, collaborative multi-user Augmented
Reality (AR) game, in which players control virtual trains on a real wooden
miniature railroad track. These virtual trains are only visible to
players through their PDA's video see-through display as they don't
exist in the physical world. This type of user interface is commonly called
the "magic lens metaphor."

I don’t think it would hold Gareth’s attention for very long — and Naomi would wreck the PDA with drool and repetitive chewing.

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343,000 Feet, and one of Two

I need a category for “so cool I can’t stand it.” Mike Melville did it again this morning, and took SpaceShipOne past the 65.3 mile mark, and completed part one of the two parts to win the Ansari X prize. Note the Virgin logo that is now on the tail of SpaceShipOne. Who cares? This is unbelievable. Now they have to make the next flight on Monday.

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