What’s the point of ITAR, again?

The article names Verint Systems Inc, based in New York,  as exporting competing equipment for the $3 billion “Lawful Intercept” market worldwide.

Torture in Bahrain Aided by Nokia Siemens

U.S. and EU export laws and UN sanctions control just a narrow slice of technology such as weapons systems or data encryption. International embargoes that cover a broader range of equipment target only a small circle of the worst actors, such as Myanmar and North Korea.

Published in: on August 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Measuring Frame-dragging due to Earth’s Rotation

Impressive engineering feat, the Earth isn’t all that massive. 

NASA Gravity Probe Confirms Two Einstein Theories | NASA’s Gravity Probe B | Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity | Space.com

A NASA probe orbiting Earth has confirmed two key predictions of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which describes how gravity causes masses to warp space-time around them.  

Published in: on May 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Interesting unemployment statistics

It would be interesting to see the numbers normailzed for other factors, like all the years spent as indentured grad students. 

Sci/tech doctorate protects you from unemployment – in the US • The Register

Among science/engineering/health doctorate holders, the lowest unemployment rate was among specialists in mathematics and statistics, just 1 per cent of whom were unemployed. The next best field to be in was computing and IT, whose PhDs saw just 1.1 per cent unemployment. The highest sci/eng/health unemployment was seen among US physical-sciences PhDs, 2.4 per cent of whom were jobless.

Published in: on January 28, 2011 at 3:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

The correct way to end every sentence

A period and one space.  In my defense, I have to say that I chose Courier font for my dissertation.  Old habits die hard.

Two spaces after a period: Why you should never, ever do it. – By Farhad Manjoo – Slate Magazine


When I pointed out that they were doing it wrong—that, in fact, the correct way to end a sentence is with a period followed by a single, proud, beautiful space—the table balked. “Who says two spaces is wrong?” they wanted to know.

Typographers, that’s who. The people who study and design the typewritten word decided long ago that we should use one space, not two, between sentences.


Published in: on January 14, 2011 at 8:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

IPhone durability


So yesterday there was an article that glass breaks on iPhone 4 were almost twice as common as on iPhone 3GS.  Of course it failed to account for the fact that iPhone 4 has twice a much glass (see article). 


Be that as it may, iPhones have recently demonstrated themselves to be pretty durable.  Steve owes these guys.


iPhone Equipped Balloon Leaves Brooklyn for the Edge of Space (NASA Hack Space)

Armed with just a weather balloon, a video camera, and an iPhone, they basically did just that. The father-and-son team from Brooklyn managed to send their homemade spacecraft up nearly 19 miles, high into the stratosphere, bringing back perhaps the most impressive amateur space footage ever.


iPhone 4 Glass Breaking at Alarming Rate, But There’s a Catch

If this sounds like a disaster in the making, we’re in agreement, but consider this: Unlike the iPhone 3GS (or any other iPhone), the back of the iPhone 4 is also composed of glass — meaning it’s twice as likely to suffer a shatter — a variable that wasn’t computed in SquareTrade’s study. SquareTrade states that the iPhone 4 is breaking 82% more than the iPhone 3GS, but this is the sort of sleight of hand statement crafted to grab headlines.


Published in: on October 15, 2010 at 3:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

ITAR reformation

This is a little old, but I finally noticed it.  Although the article is light on details, it seems to be promising.


Obama to loosen rules on technology exports


But a fact sheet released by the administration Monday described how the regulations could prove onerous and self-defeating by, for example, impeding the export of routine equipment such as heavy brake pads widely used on fire trucks and other large vehicles just because they could also be used on an M1A1 tank.

Obama said the aim of the new system is “to build higher walls around the export of our most sensitive items while allowing the export of less critical ones under less restrictive conditions.”


Published in: on September 9, 2010 at 6:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Google Unveils Android Voice Commands

Ask not for whom the bell tolls.  It tolls for Dial2Do and Jott. 

Google Unveils Awesomely Fast And Accurate Voice Actions For Android

The first new feature Google showed off was the ability to send text messages with your Android phone — using only your voice. This is a part of Google’s new Voice Action feature in their new version of the Voice Search application which is available starting today for Android phones. It’s awesome — but that’s not the only voice action, there are 12 of them (plus search) — and growing.

Also included is the ability to dictate email messages — and again, it actually works. Google showed this off in a live demo on stage.
Here’s a list of the current voice actions:

* send text to [contact] [message]
* listen to [artist/song/album]
* call [business]
* call [contact]
* send email to [contact] [message]
* go to [website]
* note to self [note]
* navigate to [location/business name]
* directions to [location/business name]
* map of [location]

Published in: on August 12, 2010 at 6:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Zombie Copiers

Gadgetopia picks up this fascinating little item about office copiers.  Who knew?  I assumed that a secure disk erase was done as part of a power up.  Its not like there isn’t plenty of time …

Remember: Your Printer Has a Hard Drive

Digital Photocopiers Loaded With Secrets:These people bought four random, used copiers, for about $300 each. What they found was pretty chilling.

Published in: on June 21, 2010 at 2:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

So you want to know about memristors?

Here is the post for you.  This is about the most exhaustive coverage I’ve seen, complete with links to other sources, that doesn’t require tensor calculus to understand.

High Scalability – High Scalability – How will memristors change everything? 

I will do a lot of “not pretending” in this article. I won’t pretend I actually understand what memristors are or how they will change everything. But since the purpose of this blog is to explore scalability issues, I think it’s worth taking a sip or two of the memristor kool-aid and see where it might take us.

Published in: on May 6, 2010 at 8:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Video Wars

First Steve said: Flash is a bad thing.  Then it appeared that H264 was the preferred thing.  But all along you had Google buying up to VP8 as the real thing.  Now, it seems that any video codec (open or closed) that is not controlled by Apple will become a target. 

Speaking of video, this is a good one.

Steve Jobs: mystery patent pool to attack Ogg Theora • The Register

Roy sent his note to what is believed to be Steve Jobs’ email address – sjobs@apple.com – and three hours later, he received a reply.

“All video codecs are covered by patents,” read the reply. “A patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora and other ‘open source’ codecs now. Unfortunately, just because something is open source, it doesn’t mean or guarantee that it doesn’t infringe on others patents. An open standard is different from being royalty free or open source.”

Published in: on May 3, 2010 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment