"robo-cop" controls crime and/or harasses the homeless

Posted on: Mon, 03/03/2008 - 12:55 By: Tom Swiss

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, this story of a remote-controlled robot armed with a water cannon that its creator, Rufus Terrill, claims has helped prevent break-ins and drug deals on his block and stopped vandals from trashing a local day care center. Others suggest he's a vigilante who's harassing the homeless.

better than free?

Posted on: Thu, 02/28/2008 - 10:07 By: Tom Swiss

Over at Edge, Kevin Kelly confronts the economics of the digital age:

When copies are super abundant, they become worthless. When copies are super abundant, stuff which can't be copied becomes scarce and valuable.

When copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied.

Well, what can't be copied?


From my study of the network economy I see roughly eight categories of intangible value that we buy when we pay for something that could be free.

Was the New Hampshire primary "hacked"?

Posted on: Fri, 01/11/2008 - 10:49 By: Tom Swiss

Rumors fly about the New Hampshire primary results, tabulated by Diebold machines from paper ballots. There are calls for a recount, but there are said to be issues with the ballot chain of custody which might make a recount worse than meaningless.

The results don't match the exit polls, which is a big problem. It was results not matching the exit polls that set of the "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine. Of course, when that happened in Ohio, Bush apologists claimed that people just lied to exit pollers.

It's already been admitted that one town "mistakenly" reported zero votes for Ron Paul when the actual count was 31.

Nike + iPod = stalker's dream

Posted on: Wed, 12/12/2007 - 19:44 By: Tom Swiss

Wired reports on how "security flaws in the new RFID-powered [Nike+ iPod] from Nike and Apple make it easy for tech-savvy stalkers, thieves and corporations to track your movements."

While I'm not surprised that a product from a team-up of such notable corporate bastards has problems, the carelessness here - the system turns your running shoes into radios transmitting uncoded "here I am!" messages to range of about 60 feet - is notable.

filling in at Load of Fun

Posted on: Fri, 11/16/2007 - 22:40 By: Tom Swiss

Blogging from the new toy again, my Palm Centro. Kind of wild to be able to access the full internet on a pocketsize portable - Wikipedia and Google in my pocket. I can even ssh into work. (Not that I'd want to do a lot of work typing on this tiny keyboard, but for emergency access, rock on.)

Julie called this evening. the band and poets she had scheduled to play at Load of Fun had to cancel. So a couple of us Zeldaeans filled in with some poetry and music - Julie, Mike, Robin, and I had a nice little circle o' poetry.

posting from my new toy

Posted on: Wed, 11/14/2007 - 22:51 By: Tom Swiss

I'm posting this from the tiny tiny keyboard of my new Palm Centro. Just got it today - so far, so good. I've installed an ssh client and am now seeing what I can do with the web browser.

If you're considering buying a Centro - or any Sprint service - you ought to Google for "Sprint SERO" to find out about a great deal.

CFC-free foam has nothing to do with Space Shuttle damage

Posted on: Wed, 08/15/2007 - 18:21 By: Tom Swiss

Been a lot of talk recently on the net about the damage to the Space Shuttle; anti-environmentalists have been bringing up old BS about the CFC-free foam used in insulating the main tank. Here's something I posted to Slashdot on the topic:

environmentalist groups got their way and now we have a riskier space program.

This point about how the foam insulation process was changed has come up many times in discussions about the damage to Endeavor. And it's wrong.

It has its origin in one of Rush Limbaugh's lies.
As it turns out, the foam that dealt Columbia the death blow was the
old-style CFC foam. The problem was in the hand-spraying application method
used on that area, which left gaps and voids in the foam.

Yes, when they first started using the CFC-free foam in 1997 there were
some problems seen. Changes were quickly made to improve the adhesion.

There were also plenty of problems with the CFC foam - "popcorning" from
trapped air bubbled was noted in 1995
, while in 1992 Columbia was
struck by a large piece of foam, ripping a 12cm gouge in the tiles. Both of
these were before the switch to CFC-free foam.

Tom Swiss | the infamous tms | my blog
You cannot wash away blood with blood

why sucks

Posted on: Tue, 06/26/2007 - 14:07 By: Tom Swiss

Back in 2000, I put a profile up on, which at the time was largely a job board. Job leads were all I wanted out of them (and as I recall, didn't get any useful ones).

Somewhere along the line, they became a "resource" site, and started sending me weekly sales pitches for their sponsors' various products. It wasn't really spam, I suppose, but it was annoying. Only a bit though, so I tolerated it.

Until today. When I went to unsub, they wanted to collect more data from me to complete my profile, before letting me unsubscribe from their mailing list.

Um, no. When I'm telling you to stop bothering me, I'm not about to give you more information about myself so you can market to me better.

Somebody hand me the clue-by-four. Bam! Bam! Bam!

So now there's an entry in their database telling them I'm from Zimbabwe and work for a company called "Bite Me". I hope the marketing drones have fun with that.

"Don't give your right name, no, no, no." -- Fats Waller

Subscribe to technology