Thursday, August 30, 2007

vigor of youth

If you are an engineer, or even if you aren't, you might find this inspiring. This 17 yr old has combined bits of information, no small amount of gumption, and a heroic consumption of stimulating beverages in order to bend the will of two large corporations - Apple and Att. His blog says it best. But I can't help echo. He documented and performed the first complete hardware unlock of the iPhone so that is can be used with any SIM on any network globally. It was entertaining, as an computer scientist and amateur hacker myself, to go over his steps and marvel at the hours of time it took to complete this task with no certain end. Admittedly, he was not alone. But no one put the pieces together before he did.

I remember well cracking open my own Playstation case with soldering iron in hand. At least I had a 15x15 glossy diagram showing me what to solder. But 8 molten globs of solder later I was the proud owner of a cracked machine that could play any game from any country. Which in no way compares to his monumental achievement. But I can identify with the glee of subverting the corporate will of protectionism.

In similar news of dissolution of corporate angst, Sony is releasing the walkman to DRM free music and evaporating the Sony music service. I'm not sure why one had to lead to the other. But I'm hopeful for the example this may serve. And also hopeful this puts Sony back in the black. I'm fearful their BluRay bid will be spoiled by their greed. This gives me hope that the pain of isolationism will infect other areas of the company thinking. Perhaps what they need is more of the unafraid vigor of youth.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

crazy quaff

What is that growing on his head? Oh, that's just my latest attempt to make something for myself in Second Life. Boring hair, begone. So if you haven't heard, Second Life (SL) is a boom town. And the exciting bit is... you can make real money. This has a lot of people rushing to stake their claim and make a quick buck. SL is an online world with about 30,000 people on average playing simultaneously. With about 9 Million accounts they see 1 Mil US dollars spent there every 24 hours. Wow. I won't bore you with crazy stats, they are all up on their web site . So the cool twist is anyone can make anything and then they own it, set a price, and can sell it. The details get more complicated, but the mechanism is simple and everyone gets it. You can make dough online. And man does that put dollar signs in people's eyes. Even mine.

So I'm considering ideas about what kind of store to open myself. Ideas anyone? So far I'm thinking.. hair shop ( don't laugh too hard ), maybe sunglasses or hats, or maybe an all asian atire kimono shop. There is not a lot that hasn't all ready been done. So I'm trying to think of something original for which there will be demand. Anyway, it's just fun to make stuff..

Did I say that this was my idea too? I was working on technology 4 years ago to do this same kind of thing.. (big online world where people can make and share stuff). Maybe I should finish that instead of making hair. :P

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

take a trip

There may be a flying car in your future, if big business doesn't shoot it down. Moller International is slowly but surely nearing operational tests that will enable it to pass FAA regulations and enable users to take off and land at any airport. This amazing achievement is made possible in no small part by it's 8 Wankel rotary engines delivering 1700hp. Conceived in 1924, the rotatary design was used by Mazda but has yet to achieve wide spread use. It has fewer moving parts, lower vibration, and higher fuel effiency than conventional piston designs. Maybe my son will have one. There's a 500 acre plot in Canada I was eying for my futuristic utopian experiment in living. This would be the perfect vehicle for my tech savy inhabitants. Now I just need that billion dollar idea to fund it all...

Monday, August 6, 2007

in another life

Do you have another life? I do. It's where I do all the things I tell myself I should do - but lack the will to do - now. The wonderfully magnanimous, civilization improving, selfless acts that ignore such trivialities as personal pain or hardship in the interest of future humanity. 10 years ago, when filled with much more of this youthful elixir, I imagined a career in particle physics - particularly the lines of research that would lead to practical, clean, sustainable nuclear fusion. In my gut, I know it would change everything about the world now. I followed the work of scientists on the Tokamok and I was disheartened to see the UCSD program cancelled in 1998 from lack of progress. I know other international bodies continue to pursue this dream. But until I saw this video, I thought it very far away. Seeing this raises my conspirational hackles and I try hard not to look cynically at the forces which work to keep this dream a reality. It's a huge step, that this secret work of 11 years is now seeing the light of day in a scientific forum. I hope it's not like many other discoveries, that lay dormant for centuries before adventurous souls discover the hidden gem. And I wonder what I could do to help push this effort forward in some minuscule way?