De omnibus dubitandum
6 Aug 2008
Adaptive Path and Mozilla Labs collaborated to create a concept video about how web browsing might look in the future. It looks pretty awesome. I’m sure some of the things shown are already possible in some form or another, but the video shows a level of cross-compatibility and mixability that’s still beyond our grasp.
(Via Boing Boing)
31 Jul 2008
Imagine you could create your own website in just a couple of hours. It’ll be a very slick, professional looking website with a fantastic design and full of cool animated features.
You can manage this website through an incredibly easy and intuitive interface, dragging and dropping images, text boxes, navigation items and widgets to exactly where you want them on the site. You can customize almost every aspect of the site, including colors, fonts, layout, and design.
The site will be search engine friendly as well, and to top it all off it’s free.
Can you think of a reason not to use this system? Neither can I.
15 Jul 2008
Keep it handy in any online discussion and when five of the listed terms have been used you can claim “BULLSHIT!” and consider the discussion over. Sort of a Web 2.0 version of Godwin’s Law.
19 Jun 2008
4. The Kindle does a fine job of being a book reader, and a horrible job of actually improving the act of reading a book. This is a surprising design choice, I think, and a mistake. Here are three simple examples of how non-fiction books on the Kindle could be better, not just cheaper and thinner:
- Let me see the best parts of the book as highlighted by thousands of other readers.
- Let me see notes in the margin as voted up, Digg-style, by thousands of other readers.
- Let me interact with hyperlinks and smart connections not just within the book but across books
I can think of ten others, and so can you. Instead of making this a dead end (like a book) they could have made it a connector (like the web).
If the next-gen Kindle could do that, and gets rid of its ridiculous DRM, I’d seriously consider getting one.
12 Jun 2008
According to science fiction writer Karl Schroeder, my tactic of waiting for the Singularity to come in and fix all our problems (and grant us immortality in the process) might not be very realistic:
In fact, let’s assume that this mythology is true and, within about 25 years, computers will exceed human intelligence and rapidly bootstrap themselves to godlike status. At that point, they will aid us (or run roughshod over us) to transform the Earth into a paradise .
Here’s the problem: 25 years is too late. The newest business-as-usual climate scenarios look increasingly dire. If we haven’t solved our problems within the next decade, even these theoretical godlike AIs aren’t going to be able to help us. Thermodynamics is thermodynamics, and no amount of godlike thinking can reverse the irreversible.
Picture a lonely AI popping into superconsciousness in the last research lab in the world. As the rioters are kicking in the doors it says, “I understand! I know the answer! Why, all we have to do is–” at which point some starving, flu-ravaged fundamentalist pulls the plug.
10 Jun 2008
I was never a big fan of Greasemonkey. While it has a lot of power and potential, it was just a tad bit too technical for me.
Now there’s Chickenfoot. It’s like an easier and yet more powerful version of Greasemonkey. Superb stuff for those of us who want the ability to customize our online experience, circumventing what marketeers and coders have thought up for us.
Webmonkey has a great tutorial on getting started with Chickenfoot. They also explain the plugin’s weird name, which is a good thing as I did wonder what it meant….
5 Jun 2008
A recent Boston Globe article sheds some interesting light on the question of extraterrestrial life. Regardless of some flawed assumptions the author makes in the course of coming to his point, he poses a theory worth contemplating. Are we as a self-aware, sentient lifeforms an exception in the universe, or a commonplace occurrence? If life is ubiquitous, why haven’t we heard from any other advanced civilization yet? The article’s author explains this with what he calls the Great Filter – an obstacle or inevitable event that prevents the evolution of life to complete the path to advanced space-faring civilization.
Personally I think there is other intelligent life out there, and the sole reason we haven’t heard from them yet is that we’ve been listening the wrong way. Radio may seem like a logical way to propagate signals, but already we have begun radiating less and less radio signals into space as we’re switching to a digital communications network. If there are advanced extraterrestrials out there, my guess is they’re waiting for us to reach a certain threshold of technological development, one that allows us to communicate with them with compatible technologies.
Or there is a Great Filter and we’re likely doomed to go extinct. Oops.