October 23, 2004


brain_in_a_jar.jpgMy brother just wrote me from Santa Cruz about a bit of futuretech:

Did you hear about the "Living Brain in a Jar"? I think this stuff is really cool!! This guy is culturing rat neurons on an electrode array which he has hooked up to a computer, essentially making a living neural network. He even got the brain to control a flight simulator! Cyborgism around the corner?


Posted by nym at 04:20 PM | TrackBack

October 14, 2004

Garmin Sucks

garmin.gifDon't buy the Vista C or Legend C GPS Units from Garmin. I used to like Garmin, but it's hard to when I hear news like this, and as of November 7th, Garmin has still to call me as promised regarding this problem. Garmin really does suck.

Garmin's most recent outdoor GPS units sport a USB port instead of the strange proprietary connector they used to have. That sounds great, except that Garmin's gone more proprietary on the protocol they use to send location data over that connection, abandoning NMEA in favor of Garmin's own protocol - exclusively. [Simon St. Laurent / O'reilly Dev Weblogs]

What does this mean for you and me? GPS tracklog and waypoint downloading on Linux and Macintosh will not work. As Simon St. Laurent says, "Garmin will not work with a Macintosh and there does not seem to be an alternative according to the technical support at Garmin".

I called up Garmin myself, and spoke to Ben, a supervisor from technical support. Here is my summary.

Q: Do you consider Garmin a company that embraces the community?
A: We embrace technology.

Q: What efforts have Garmin made to get the GIS community to define an open standard?
A: I can't comment on that because Garmin is a publicly traded company.

I'm looking forward to finding out how or if they've made any attempts to embrace an open standard, or get the opinion of the GIS community at all. I think this is a stupid move on their part, and I will not buy any more Garmin products until I get an acceptable answer. I have a feeling their Public Relations department will not answer any of my questions.

Posted by nym at 09:01 AM | TrackBack

October 13, 2004

Cyborg Rumsfeld

Turns out cyborg bush has a companion in his ranks:



Posted by nym at 04:20 PM | TrackBack

Cameras and the War


GR2_Lonewolf.jpgThe above photo is a video game rendition of the Future Force Warrior for a new game, Ghost Recon 2. This photo, and the one from the army to the right are what our modern army is probably going to look like. On the opposite of the spectrum, a 27 minute film has been released called "60 Cameras against the War", which is one of the first compiled witnessal networks exposing the truth behind the 2003 anti-war protest in New York city. According to the film, protesters were denied permits to protest legally:

"To our great shock and outrage, a federal appeals court upheld the decision by Federal Judge Barbara Jones ruled on February 10 that the City of New York can deny United for Peace and Justice a permit to march on February 15. Citing "heightened security concerns," she ruled that we may only hold a stationary rally. We are accepting the rally permit, and our massive demonstration to stop the Iraq war will go forward no matter what. But we are appalled by this attack on our basic First Amendment rights, and we will continue to fight for the right to march. We are asking all of our supporters to protest vigorously against this attempt to stifle the growing opposition to Bush's war." [United for Peace & Justice]

I'm excited about the Future Force Warrior program, and the use of cameras by anti-war protesters, but it's important to be aware of the barriers between citizens and authority, especially when the government is suiting up police with the same kind of helmet cameras that the Future Force Warrior program is pushing.

I just hope that these cameras are designed to be open and free for everyone to see. When the police break the rules they're supposed to enforce, there should be a recording to make them accountable.


[Link to 60 Minutes Against the War (hosted for free by Archive.org)]

Posted by nym at 01:56 PM | TrackBack

October 11, 2004

Is Bush a Cyborg?


Some people think that this is a picture proving that Bush was 'wired' with a prompting with a device like this.

Personally, and much to my disapointment, Bush is a cyborg. Why would someone say things like "It will take time to restore chaos" if he wasn't a cyborg or robot bent on world domination/destrution? The monkey stuff is probably just a smokescreen to hide the truth.

Here's more damming evidence:


[isbushwired /indymedia]

Posted by nym at 12:41 PM | TrackBack

October 03, 2004

The Annals of Wearable Computing


[Cartoon from The Fifth Wave. Hyped by Steve Barr (stevebarr.com) on the Wear Hard Mailing List]

Posted by nym at 09:09 PM | TrackBack

October 02, 2004

Xybernaut IP Followup

I did a previous writeup on Xybernaut's Patent on a Collar Computer, which had a ton of prior art in my opinion. It's not that I don't like wearable computer manufactures, but it just seemed very creepy that such a 'generic' idea could be patented. I did no more than 1/2 an hour of research to find my sources on prior art, and I would expect Xybernaut and the Patent Office to do the same.

I forwarded it over to /. since they seem to like patent issues, and it got published. Here's an interesting tidbit about this company from MichaelH (puddingbowl.org):

"I interviewed Xybernaut's CEO several years ago at COMDEX. The interview was set up for the purpose of talking about his company's use of Linux on its gear, but he only half-heatedly showed me a few models, then launched into his spiel about Xybernaut's patent attorneys, which he had all over the world. I think he claimed over 60 countries.

He told me Xybernaut could see the downturn coming and that it had decided licensing and royalties were where it's at. To demonstrate the company's "innovative" strides in patent gamesmanship, he pulled out a unit that a hinged and retractable slot cover for a PCMCIA slot. It was a slot cover: It closed when the card was in place, and opening it caused the card to eject.

He said no one had patented anything like it, and that his crack team of attorneys were now vigilantly monitoring dozens of countries to make sure that if anyone did anything like it, they'd be on hand demanding royalties and a cut of the action.

When Xybernaut announces patents like this, I suppose we can take comfort in its consistency: It's going on four years of taking out patents and then watching for someone to run afoul of them so it can get down to its real business, which is making sure the only "useful art or science" left is patent litigation."

I had a similar conversation with the JonesCam people, except they didn't say anything blatantly stupid, like trying to patent closing covers. Hell, my floppy drive closes automatically. I understand companies try to protect themselves from heavy handed lawyers driving them out of business, but it really bothers me when I hear about companies that I would like to be a patron of- are more concerned about making money off of their heavy handed lawyers driving others out of business.

I welcome Xybernaut's response. I really haven't head any cool R&D out of that company in ages, and I think IP bullying is why.

Posted by nym at 12:38 PM | TrackBack