Tag Archive: technology


CDs and DVDs Not Worth Stealing

It seems that in Britain, burglars aren’t bothering to steal CDs and DVDs.  Why?

The reason is the falling value of physical media products. The average price of a CD album in Britain fell from £10.77 to £7.32 between 2001 and 2010, according to the BPI, a trade group—almost a halving, in real terms. And the dishonest get their music and films free, via the internet. DVDs are under pressure not just from piracy but also from video-on-demand services.

Instead they’re stealing computers, purses, jewelry, and anything else that has greater value.  Technology has disrupted traditional thievery as well.

How companies can save money and “go green(er)” by simply lowering the air conditioning in data centers.

AdBlock Plus to Allow Ads

In a strange turn-about, AdBlock Plus will now allow “acceptable ads.”  Why?

Starting with Adblock Plus 2.0 you can allow some of the advertising that is considered not annoying. By doing this you support websites that rely on advertising but choose to do it in a non-intrusive way. And you give these websites an advantage over their competition which encourages other websites to use non-intrusive advertising as well. In the long term the web will become a better place for everybody, not only Adblock Plus users. Without this feature we run the danger that increasing Adblock Plus usage will make small websites unsustainable.

It’s an interesting idea.  It allows users to support their favorite sites, without having to deal with obnoxious advertisements.  This also encourages sites to only choose these acceptable or not-obnoxious ads.

(hat tip: Linear Fix)

The controversial V-22 Osprey, the Marine Corps’ hybrid helicopter/airplane just got its first taste of combat… and performed well.

Smart Gadget Sleeper Cells

Smart Gadgets are Like Sleeper Cells in Your Kitchen: Most people don’t know their gadgets can already talk to one another, and even be controlled remotely by their utility company.”

GE has been shipping appliances for the past three years that are “smart.”  Smart meaning that they are equipped with ZigBee wireless capabilities so that your appliances can communicate with each other—and more ominously, with your utility company or anyone over the Internet.  Most of the ZigBee capable appliances aren’t even labeled as such.

This is potentially a huge privacy breech.  It seems that few of these appliances communicate back… yet.

(hat tip to the blogfather)

The fax machine is one technology that is past its time, but refuses to die.  Some people like the convenience of the fax, while others perceive a fax to be more secure than e-mail.  Doctors’ offices rely on fax and refuse to use e-mail because of the security concerns.

After hoping to be rid of faxes forever, I came to the realization that they’re here for the foreseeable future.  I signed up for HelloFax and have been quite satisfied with the customer service and the convenience of it thus far.  I was able to get a fax number in the 646 area code, and it integrates well with Dropbox.  It also lets you easily add a saved signature to a document without printing it out, signing it, and then scanning it before sending it.  Thumbs up from me.

Because you needed to find a use for those old 3.5″ floppies.

The Cloud

The Cloud

Facebook may have won the social media battle, but what’s the prize?  Bob Cringely predicts a finite shelf-life for Facebook.

[W]hile Facebook is certainly a huge social, cultural, and business phenomenon, I just don’t see it being around for very long.

Facebook is a huge success. You can’t argue with 750 million users and growing. And I don’t see Google+ making a big dent in that.  .  .  .

Each era of computing seems to run for about a decade of total dominance by a given platform.  .  .  .

I give Facebook seven years or until 2014 to peak.

Does this feel wrong to you?  Listen to your gut and I think you’ll agree with me even if we don’t exactly know why.

I’m inclined to agree with him on some level, but I think it’s more of the finite shelf life of the “walled garden.”  Eric Raymond discusses an alternate universe of no Internet as a “world of walled gardens:”

Welcome to a world of walled gardens. Your digital universe is a collection of competing fiefdoms run by CompuServe, AOL, Genie, and later entrants that came into the fray as demand rose, many of them run by big media companies. Each network has its own protocols, its own addressing conventions, and its own rigidly proprietary access software. You get the services they choose to offer and that’s it – there’s no end-to-end, no access to the bitstream.

You can only do the equivalent of email and instant-messaging with people on the same provider you are using. Inter-provider gateways are buggy and often nonexistent – some providers think they add attractiveness to potential customers, others think they can shoulder smaller networks aside by making them relatively inaccessible.

Facebook, like old AOL, lets you leave, and has some interoperability with its instant messaging platforms, but it’s effectively closed.  The Facebook e-mail system is closed to Facebook, and its IM is not entirely open either.  It has an API to allow other software to work with it, but it controls the ecosystem.

Facebook is smart and will probably learn lessons from AOL’s failures, but its hard to see what it can do beyond a certain point.  I think I agree with Bob Cringely, even if I don’t know why.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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