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They’ve Hacked The Internets

matrixcodeWell, it looks like the MD5 hashing algorithm is falling with a big thud. A research group recently attacked the MD5 algorithm using 200 PlayStation 3 systems and were able to construct a bogus Certificate Authority that looks like a known trusted CA. What does this mean? Well, it could mean lost revenue for online retailers (Amazon, E-Bay, etc). If HTTPS connections become less and less reliable due to the certificate authorities dragging their heels on upgrading, then more and more people will be more timid about making online purchases. Especially when they can run down to the Barnes & Noble down the street and not have to worry about such techy topics.

This news of course comes to you from CrunchGear. Read the whole article titled: MD5 collision creates rogue Certificate Authority. WARNING: it gets a little technical so you may just want to scan it, unless that sort of thing is your bag… baby!

What Is A Bush Robot?

Bush RobotNo, it’s not an evil plot to take over the presidency and the White House. It’s also not that singing bush on The Three Amigos. I’m talking about “fractal branching ultra-dexterous robots.” So what the heck is that? A bush robot is a branched hierarchy of articulated limbs, starting from a macroscopically large trunk through successively smaller and more numerous branches, ultimately to microscopic twigs and nanoscale fingers. With its huge numbers of opposable fingers of all scales, a bush robot’s dexterity would greatly exceed anything known. This of course is highly speculative and there are some other technologies which must be advanced in order for these guys to begin to be built including:

  1. Computational power increased at least a millionfold in density
  2. Means to build mechanical structures over the entire range of scales from macroscopic to microscopic
  3. Scalable high-power actuators
  4. Scalable high-density power distribution and storage
  5. High-strength materials



Why would anyone want to build one of these things? Also when can we expect these highly dexterous robots to hit the assembly line? To find the answers to these and many other questions I’m sure you may have you’ll have to check out this site.

Also it might be of interest to some as to why I posted this. Well… I don’t know; it just seemed cool.

Free Your Phone With OpenMoko

OpenMoko PhonesCell phones are for the most part proprietary in their platforms. Sure you can write J2ME applications for them. BlackBerry phones also have an API which you can utilize to write custom applications. It’s the actual operating system though that you really can’t get too. Don’t care? Well, then this review isn’t for you. However, if you like to slice and dice things and hack your way to hardware euphoria then read on.

OpenMoko.com is building an open platform for cellular phones. Why? To support what they are calling ubiquitous computing. Ubiquitous computing means more than computing wherever you wander: It means knowing the locale, weaving seamlessly into the local fabric, and vanishing.

So how can you jump on the bandwagon and begin to help building the next open cellular platform? You’ll have to actually buy a Neo1973 phone (pictured above)… boo! Yeah, it would be nice to be able to get a software simulator so that you can poke around for free. Not only that but at the time of this writing they were sold out of the phones so you’d have to wait until they became available again.

The consumer hardware is reported to become available “by years end.” I certainly hope so. Why? Well, I’m not so sure I’ll be jumping on the OpenMoko bandwagon, but I fully support openness in technology and competition. Openness means that more people all over the world can participate and help to make better products. Competition means… cheaper for me! If you want to check out the hardware and software specs and see some more pictures of the new open phone (Neo1973) you can go here.

Wireless Storage For Your Digital Camera

Eye-Fi Card, Wireless 2 GB SD Memory CardHave you ever lost the cable that connects your digital camera to your PC? I have and it sure is annoying. So when I saw this little gem, I thought I’d share it with my readers. Eye-Fi has created a Wireless SD Memory Card that can connect to your Windows or Mac PC through your wireless home network. Pretty cool!

So, how does this work? The product comes with software called Eye-Fi Manager which you run on your Windows or Mac PC. You pre-configure a folder where your photos will be stored and when you connect through your camera it automatically uploads your photos to the assigned folder. You can also configure it to upload your photos to one of many photo sharing, processing and social networking sites. The Eye-Fi Manager software takes care of securely logging into the site(s) of your choosing and uploading your photos. It can even automatically resize your photos if the site requires it.

Product Features

  • Uploads photos automatically from Eye-Fi Card inside your camera. Built-in Wi-Fi connects to your home network
  • Provides free and unlimited photo uploads to your computer and your favorite photo or social networking website. Photo transmission is secure and private
  • Supports sharing and printing websites, including Fotki, Shutterfly, dotPhoto, webshots, phanfare, Picasa Web albums, flickr, TypePad, Wal-Mart, snapfish, VOX, smugmug, facebook, photobucket, Kodak Gallery, and Sharpcast
  • Handles full-resolution jpeg images and intelligently re-sizes photos if limited by your chosen photo or social networking website
  • Fits digital cameras that use SD memory cards and offers 2 GB of memory to store photos on the card

Technical Details

  • Model: EYE-FI-2GB
  • Item Package Quantity: 1
  • Hardware Platform: PC, Mac
  • Networking Feature: Network adapter
  • Form Factor: Plug-in module
  • Network Interface Description: SD Memory Card
  • Connectivity Technology: Wireless
  • Data Link Protocol: IEEE 802.11n (draft), IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g
  • Maximum Range Indoors: 45 feet
  • Minimum system requirements: Apple MacOS X 10.4, Microsoft Windows Vista / XP, Apple MacOS X 10.3
  • Width: 1.3 inches
  • Depth: 0.9 inches
  • Height: 0.1 inches
  • Weight: 0.1 Ounces


In The Future Will We Grow Computers?

“Throughout human history, we have been dependent on machines to survive. Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony.” – Morpheus

It’s fun sometimes to think about what the future will be like. For instance in The Matrix, a futuristic movie by Larry and Andy Wachowski, machines and computers have taken over the world and grow humans to harvest their electrical energy. That is a pretty far fetched scenario, but what if we turned the tables a little? What if humans grew computers and machines? Impossible you say?

Well Drew Endy Ph.D., an Assistant Professor of the Biological Engineering Division at MIT, would have to say nay, nay. He asserts that while we may be in the very infant stages of this type of technology, the groundwork for manufacturing with biology is real and viable! “Welcome to the real world.”

I came across this very intriguing story by Quinn Norton over at O’Reilly Radar. It is a five part series and I highly suggest you take the time to read over them all… well, if you are into to science, technology and that kind of thing.

Everything you needed to know about human-created life forms but were afraid to ask
The dummy’s guide to engineering genes
Play God for fun and profit (mostly fun)
Managing the unmanagable future
Synthetic Biology: The conclusion of the very beginning

Subscriber Count Madness

Up ArrowWow, I loaded up my page this morning and noticed that I had a slight increase in my FeedBurner subscriber stats. By slight increase of course I mean it jumped from around 70 – 80 to 2,887. Wow, talk about a jump in numbers! I checked my web statistics and there isn’t a huge jump in visitor traffic, which I really didn’t expect to see. Inspection of my FeedBurner account shed a little light though. Apparently the FeedBlitz service is the culprit that has caused my numbers to exponentially multiply. FeedBlitz is the RSS feed to Email Subscription that is offered by FeedBurner. So I guess they made a change or are having some issues with that service. Hopefully it will iron itself out soon. While having that many subscribers would be nice… I’d also like them to be real people, not just a computer mistake.

IM Using Yahoo While Flying

BetaBlue

Yahoo has launched instant messaging in the skies! Of course it’s currently only on their BetaBlue plane, the first domestic carrier to offer in-flight WiFi internet access. While on board you can connect via your WiFi enabled laptop or Blackberry device to use your Yahoo Instant Messaging service. What’s next? World of Warcraft anyone?

Read the full story on Yahoo’s blog: IM From The Sky On JetBlue

Want A FREE Subscription to Oracle Magazine?

Subscribe To Oracle Magazine FREE!Are you at all interested in Oracle products? Would like to find out more about them? Would you like tips, tutorials, sample code and a ton of valuable Oracle-related information? Why not head over and grab yourself a FREE subscription to Oracle Magazine. Of course they reserve to right to refuse free subscriptions based on your qualifications (there is a short survey), but it’s worth a try if you are interested. I’ve subscribed to this magazine for probably eight years now and love it.

Feel The Pain! Simulated Bullet Hits In FPS Games Coming

According to PC World Magazine, TN Games, makers of “physical experience hardware,” will release a PC vest accessory on November 21 that simulates the feeling of being hit by real bullets when playing first-person shooter games. The 3rd Space FPS Vest features eight embedded contact points that are said to simulate the direction and force of bullet fire in a first-person shooter game. The rumble suit retails for US$189, although it can be purchased online without Call of Duty II for $169.

OK… what!? Do I want to feel like I am getting pelted by real bullets? Let me think… um, no! Ouch! Seriously I play games so that I can escape reality. Of course I don’t know how realistic the sensations will be, but I’ve heard that getting hit with bullets hurts. You can read the rest of the story on the PC World site [original article: Feel the Bullets While Playing Shooter Games].