VoIP patent reaffirmed

03/25/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/23/AR2007032300986.html?nav=rss_business

Like to use Skype to talk to people who use POTS (the plain ol' telephone system) rather than a computer? Maybe Vonage's equivalent? Be prepared to say bye-bye to it. In the linked-to article, Vonage has been found guilty of infringing on three VoIP patents belonging to Verizon. Two of them aren't mentioned further, but the third is to do with how a gateway between traditional phone systems and VoIP systems are constructed.

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Bad Day LA : American McGee

03/22/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Reviews, Games

It was a game that looked mighty silly on the shelf, and amazingly cheap (I picked up my copy for $15 at Electronics Boutique). Given previous American McGee Presents releases like Alice (they're making a movie out of that!? Holy crokinole!) and Scrapland, I knew that it might not be an Age Of Empires or Half-Life, but expected that it might be fairly well-written and pretty darned quirky.

I have not been disappointed :)

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An Introduction to Genetic Engineering : Desmond S. T. Nicholl

03/18/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Reviews, Books, Science

Link: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/0521004713?ie=UTF8&tag=thecerealkill-20&linkCode=as2&camp=15121&creative=330641&creativeASIN=0521004713

This was a pretty interesting book. Note, though, that it is in no way an introduction to biology at all. As a matter of fact, if you don't have at least the highest level of high school biology or equivalent hobbyist reading under your belt, you might as well skip to the short discussion chapter right near the end of the book :)

The most surprising feature of the book is that it's a surprisingly practical book. If you wanted to clone a fragment of DNA, or sequence it, or determine which bacteria took up the segment of DNA that you wanted them to, there's enough practical information in here to do it. However, lest you think this be some cookbook of doom for armchair geneticists, it's pretty unglamorous hard work to do such things, including very strict matters of cleanliness (if you're trying to amplify DNA, for example, you can imagine how anything containing DNA getting in contact with your work could prove to be a problem), hours of chilling, heating up, growing, mixing just the right dilutions of enzymes to chop things up into the right pieces, running gels, working with radioactive phosphorous (just for marking things! this isn't even about creating radioactive creatures!)...

...I'm not saying that it's not nifty, just that I'm glad I'm not doing it.

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Fewer seats on the LRT

03/17/07 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri, Calgary

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2007/02/27/lrt-transit.html?ref=rss

One of the issues that's hit Calgary what with all the growth an' all is that the public transit system is overloaded. In particular, the LRT is horrible for hours around rush hour due to incredible density of usage.

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The visible hand of the marketplace, et, traffic circle

03/17/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://www.bitforms.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=29&Itemid=58&lang=en#id=83&num=2

Link is to an exhibit in New York where one of the presentations is a Korean artist's video of a hand overlayed on a traffic scene. It's quite effective.

(Via PopGadget)


"Magic Man Done It"

03/17/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, YouTube

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdocQHsPCNM&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fscienceblogs%2Ecom%2Fpharyngula%2F2007%2F03%2Fthe%5Fhistory%5Fof%5Fcreationist%5Ftho%2Ephp

Very funny riff on creationist thought. Posted since Ritchie appears to have taken a long holiday somewhere and I think we're dropping below our monthly quota of rationalism and snark.

(Via (where else?) Pharyngula)


"Ship It"

03/17/07 | by Adam | Categories: Macintosh

Link: http://blogs.msdn.com/macmojo/archive/2007/03/15/ship-it.aspx

The MacMojo blog over at the Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit (or MacBU for short) has quite a good post on the problem of corralling in developers' enthusiasm for new and better features during the implementation cycle.


Interesting job perks

03/10/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/10/technology/10google.html?ex=1331182800&en=272d04d67d29e1f4&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

This New York Times article covers a perk of working for Google that I wasn't aware of: free bus shuttle rides to and from work.

Now that's a cool bonus for anyone living in a sprawling city.

(Via Daring Fireball)


Musical Plagiarism

02/28/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright

Link: http://www.gramophone.co.uk/newsMainTemplate.asp?storyID=2765&newssectionID=1

One of the more interesting stories to come out of the world of classical music recently is that of the recordings of the late British pianist, Joyce Hatto. She retired from the public eye for a few years to fight and recover from cancer. At some point she started recording again, and put out a large number of CDs on her husband's small label. From what I've read, these were well received as this review from the Boston Globe attests.

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Oh, darnit!

02/26/07 | by Adam | Categories: Macintosh

Link: http://fire.sourceforge.net/

My preferred Macintosh multi-system IM client, Fire, has just been discontinued. On the upside a number of the developers for it have moved over to Adium which is pretty similar and quite good too.

(Via Daring Fireball)


More wonderful patent insanity

02/26/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright

Link: http://www.wired.com/news/culture/music/0,72785-0.html?tw=rss.index

I'm going to preface this thing with the "IANAL" disclaimer.

I wouldn't normally defend Microsoft but this latest suit against them by Alcatel-Lucent just seems wrong. The summary of the Wired story is that Microsoft violated AL's patent around MP3 encoding and has been fined $1.5 billion for it.

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People are still falling for the 419 scam

02/26/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/01/25/treasurer_accused/

This simply amazes me. How can anyone been so utterly daft as to fall for the old Nigerian money laundering scam? I could kinda see it when the internet was new and people were unfamiliar with the old mail version of it, but this is getting ridiculous. Every week there seems to be another report of someone who should know better getting caught up in one of the oldest tricks in the book.

Sometimes I weep for humanity's greed and gullibility 'cause this doesn't work unless both of them are present.


I'm going to need the version pretending to be the VMS Reference library

02/26/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002ZPUBM/ref=nosim?tag=i4ufututechne-20&creative=374929&camp=211189&link_code=as2&creativeASIN=B0002ZPUBM

Link is to some bookshelf speakers pretending to be books. Alas, waaaay too small for my needs. Wonder if they sound "wooden"? Ah, I kill meself.

(Via Gizmodo)


It looks cool, but what's it like to use?

02/26/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://steampunkworkshop.com/keyboard.shtml

Nifty looking "steampunk" keyboard

(Via Gizmodo)


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