Stop SOPA: Protect Your Online Rights!

Stop SOPA: Protect Your Online Rights!

PROTECT-IP is a bill that has been introduced in the Senate and the House, and is moving quickly through Congress. SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) gives the government and corporations the ability to censor the internet, in the name of protecting “creativity.” The law would let the government or corporations censor entire sites; they just have to convince a judge that the site is “dedicated to copyright infringement.” The government has already wrongly shut down sites without any recourse to the site owner. Under this bill, sharing a video with anything copyrighted in it, or what sites like Youtube and Twitter do, would be considered illegal behavior according to this bill.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, this bill would cost us $47 million tax dollars a year. That’s for a fix that won’t work, disrupts the internet, stifles innovation, shuts out diverse voices and censors the internet. This bill is bad for creativity and does not protect your rights.

PROTECT-IP/SOPA Breaks The Internet

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Steve Jobs: Rebel, Icon and Genius

Steve Jobs: Rebel, Icon and Genius

Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s Co-Founder and visionary, who helped usher in the era of personal computers and led a cultural transformation in the way music, movies and mobile communications were experienced in the digital age, died Wednesday at the age of 56. Mr. Jobs had waged a long and public struggle with cancer, remaining the face of the company even as he underwent treatment. He underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2004, received a liver transplant in 2009 and took three medical leaves of absence as Apple’s chief executive before stepping down in August and turning over the helm to Timothy D. Cook, the chief operating officer. After leaving, he was still engaged in the company’s affairs, negotiating with another Silicon Valley executive only weeks earlier.

I have always said that if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s C.E.O., I would be the first to let you know,” Mr. Jobs said in a letter released by the company in August. “Unfortunately, that day has come.” By then, having mastered digital technology and capitalized on his intuitive marketing sense, Mr. Jobs had largely come to define the personal computer industry and a wide range of digital consumer and entertainment businesses centered on the Internet.

Steve Jobs: Rebel, Icon and Genius

1984 Apple Macintosh Super Bowl Commercial

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The Infamous Mark Zuckerberg Nervous Breakdown

The Infamous Mark Zuckerberg Nervous Breakdown

You’ve all seen that spooky Social Network trailer with the choral cover of Radiohead’s Creep.  It works on the real-life Mark Zuckerberg, too.  Here’s the infamous video of his nervous breakdown at the D8 Conference set to the same music.  Zuckerberg broke out in a profuse sweat last month at the conference when he was pointedly asked about Facebook’s privacy lapses.  By the end of the clip, he’s so flustered that he removes his hoodie which perpetually encases him like armor.  Inside was a creepy symbol, which one interviewer initially thought looked similar to an Illuminati-like emblem.

The Infamous Mark Zuckerberg Nervous Breakdown

And for comparison, here’s the original trailer for The Social Network:

The Social Network Trailer with Choral Cover of Radiohead’s “Creep”

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Parisian Love: An American Finds Love in Paris

Parisian Love: An American Finds Love in Paris

Well, I ended up missing most of the Super Bowl, as well as almost all of the ads that went along with the Big Game.  But I did catch the Google ad and it’s a knockout, a real triumph of story over the technical wizardry that’s usually showcased in Super Bowl ads.

Parisian Love: An American Finds Love in Paris

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A Special Super Bowl Sunday History of the Internet

Oh my…it’s Super Bowl Sunday again! Football, football, football everywhere. What’s a poor soul to do who’s just not into this locker-room Super Bowl football sort of stuff? Do you have to just slink away into the kitchen and try to hide from all the drunken mister macho clamor? Nope, this one here’s just for you! Now I’m getting educational on you…watch this great little video and learn all about how the Internet came into being and developed. Plus, after watching this, you’ll sound super, super-smart as you dominate the idle chatter at all of this weekend’s After-Super Bowl cocktail parties. Everyone will absolutely marvel at your stunning techno-chic brilliance!!

A Special Super Bowl Sunday History of the Internet

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IgniteNYC: Reprogramming Techie Nightlife

IgniteNYC: Reprogramming Techie Nightlife

Allen Salkin has written in The New York Times about a new form of social networking for technology and new media people. IgniteNYC is one of those networking sites, part of the new techie party scene. Last Tuesday night at IgniteNYC, a large crowd pressed forward to watch the soldering contest as it entered its final stages. A dozen men, gripping hot irons, sweated over circuit boards at M1-5, a TriBeCa bar. Their goal was to win a race to put together a primitive remote control, the prize a lump of resin embedded with flashing blue L.E.D.s.

As four camera people from three Web video sites circled them, the crowd sipped glasses of dark beer and wine. Who would be the first contestant to jump up, point the remote at a television resting on a side table, and turn it off? Such tension!!

The contest was the first of a series of proceedings at IgniteNYC, the kind of new techie event that originated in Seattle in 2006. Later that night, there were super-speedy PowerPoint presentations, and from the laptop and smartphone-bearing legions who had aligned themselves on a banquette, a barrage of live blogging.

IgniteNYC is part of a new social networking group for techies in New York City called, Tech and New Media Folks. A decade ago, a typical party for New York City techies would have been held at a fancy club to celebrate the start of a web site. There might have been minor celebrities, go-go dancers, an open bar and expensive giveaways, all to build brand-awareness, which it was believed, would somehow, someday, lead to profitability.

But when the Internet bubble collapsed, so did the Silicon Alley 1.0 party scene. Now, young internet entrepreneurs, with some enterprisors from the old days, and a few members of the city’s creative class are engaged in a new type of party, such as IgniteNYC. The new techie parties are devoted to unveiling ideas. And these days, many of those ideas are about producing and delivering video content.

IgniteNYC: The New Techie Nightlife

The New York City Soldering Championships

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Jeff Han: The Amazingly Orgasmic Pixel Guy

Jeff Han: The Amazingly Orgasmic Pixel Guy

The Emergence of Multi-Touch Technology

When Steve Jobs first introduced Apple’s iPhone at Macworld last year, the feature that evoked the most excitement was its touch-screen interface, allowing more than one touch at a time. The multi-touch technology added innovative new functions, such as allowing the user to easily zoom in and out of pictures and web pages by pinching the screen with two fingers.

But a more advanced version of the amazing power of multi-touch technology has been unleashed upon screens much larger than those on the iPhones. Over the past few years, Jeff Han, a research scientist at New York University, has developed a relatively inexpensive way to make large multi-touch screens that can accommodate 10, 20, or even more fingers. He foresees applications that range from interactive whiteboards to touch-screen tables and digital walls, any of which can manipulated by more than just one person. Han’s company, Perspective Pixel, is based upon the unique multi-touch technology that he’s pioneered.

The Amazing Perspective Pixel

Han’s touch display is made of clear acrylic with light-emitting diodes that are attached to the edges, which illuminate a six-millimeter-thick acrylic piece with infrared light. Normally, the light from the diodes reflects along predictable paths within the acrylic plate, a physical phenomenon called total internal reflection. However, once a finger or other object touches the acrylic, the internally reflecting light diffuses at the point of contact, scattering outside the surface. Behind the acrylic surface, there is a camera that captures this light and using simple image-processing software, the captured scattering is interpreted in real time as discrete touches and strokes.

Many researchers who’ve been working for decades on touch technology have been extremely excited to see these developments. “For almost two decades, we’ve been trapped by the tyranny of the screen, the mouse, and the keyboard,” observed Don Norman, professor at Northwestern University, in Chicago, and the author of The Design of Future Things. “It’s nice to think we’re breaking away from that and going toward touch-screen manipulation in the real physical world.”

What follows below is a video that presents a fascinating demonstration of Han’s Pespective Pixel, an exhibition that he made of “Perspective Pixel” at the annual TED Conference in Aspen, Colorado.

Jeff Han Presenting Perspective Pixel at TED

You can read more about Jeff Han’s groundbreaking Perspective Pixel in The Technology Review here.

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