Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tiling Docking (Real and Virtual) of iPhones/Touch screen gadgets

So here's an idea I don't want anyone to patent, so I am publishing it right here, right now.

If you have a household of n people all with mp3 players with displays and phones with displays, why not have a dock for them that tiles them?

so the idea is you have n areas on a panel, and people drop their devices in their area - when all the devices are there (esp. if they are say htc tuch or iphone) you have a larger continuous area of (touch) screen - actually quite high resoluton too - so it could be your tv too...or your computer display...

you could coordinaet this either via the mirousb, or wifi or bluetooth....

it could work approximately so crowds of people could hold up their iGadget at a sports event and do a mexican wave without moving...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

google crime wave

an interersting feature of large systems run by large organisations is that, somewhere, sometime, someone is going to turn out to be bad - an argument used by the security research group in cambridge against many systems that share too much data (e.g. children's data base in UK, the HMRC fiasco, the NHS patient record spine).

So to date, we havnt seen any massive abuse of google (or yahoo or hotmail) huge repository of personal data evidenced by large scale misbehaviour - why is this? the penalties for someone accepting bribes, or being blackmailed would be no higher than those for someone working for a UK government agency that abuses their access to private data.

I don't think the procedures employed by the large scale search engine/mail/socal net systems are inherently immune from misuse of power by an insider especially more than the UK governemtn's "transformational" systems - by the way, what a great phrase
transformational government is ! given what most of the attempts to federate government databases have achieved, there has surely been a transformation
from Blair to Brown....but it has largely been one of rapidly increasing entropy, as the pathetic IT-consultant-ignorati that they contract to for these giant projects screw up again and again...oh well. maybe thats it - maybe most people in yahoo and google are paid well and enjoy doing a good job too much to do a bad thing:)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

virtual libraries and french literary criticism

Just finished the awesomely clever-clever, witty
How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read by Pierre Bayard ...

far from being a naff "self-help" "make-good" type book, this is a witty and ingineous dissection of the different ways society reads, avoids reading, and discourse about books - it could well apply to the way the scientific community works on reviewing papers too (indeed he talks about academics reviewing each others academic books). and to films, and music and so on.

each time you choose a book, you leave out 18M other books - in your life, you read a small fraction (infinitesimal ) of the available literature of the world. When you skim, you make rapid interpolations and extrapolations. once you finish reading a book, your memory plays tricks. You may remember reading books you have not read and don't even exist - indeed, I was disappointed that his discussion of imaginary books cited
I Am a Cat by Soseki Natsume, which actually does exist, rather than creating a fake book for the purpose - especially since he deliberately gets several details of other books (and films) such as The Name of the Rose and The Third Man subtly wrong to prove a point about imperfect recall, and "desired" or even "screen memory books".

everyone, especially geeky nerdy computer scientists with a literary bent, should read is a hoot....ever so slightly cynical (all the examples are chosen to maximise relevance to a general argument, but then the argument is claimed to apply to everything when only extremum example are used - clearly the "norms" of reading and of virtual, screen, private, shared and other types of libraries are not the same as the extremes.

Also, annoyingly, he uses several arguments which are extremely clearly illustrated more amusingly in the Library of Bable by Jorge Luis Borges (indeed, whose is namechecked by Eco since the blind monk in the Name of the Rose - jorge of borgos- who is the crucial part of the argument about talking about books you havn't read (Aristotle's lost volume of poetics on comedy, of which Wiliam of Baskerville deduces the existence and content, and then debates with jorge, who is blind so hasnt read the book for decades and only, possibly falsely, recalls the contents).

Other Lacunae exist, where, if this was a paper submitted to a scolalry journal, I would have to ask for minor revisions...

I give this a SB++

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

peer assisted power over DSL

for today's lesson in green networking, I'd like to consider the problem of
heat dissipation in the PoP, and a radical new approach.

YOu;ve heard of power over ethernet? You've heard of broadband over powerline?
You've heard of Peer-assisted TV?

Well, now we propose: Peer-assisted power over DSL.

Here's how it works.

Take away power from the DSLAM from the exchange building, and provide it from the consumer side - 900 consumeers per DSLAM should be plenty to run the whole thing - as in the old days, when telephones were powered by the exchange, we can certainly run
20 milliamps at 25 volts over a few hundred meters, per consumer - easily enough.
We then put sails and solar panels on peoples houses, and voila,
entirely electrically self-sufficient broadband.

If there is a drop in wind, or a cloudy day, some users can get on an excercise bike.
others can walk up and downstairs. Others can just reduce their downloads.

By decentralising the power suply, we make it more robust, and we make it much greener as we dont have to dissipate all that heat in one place, but it is naturally dispersed by the wind (in the sails)

We can even load balance power and data - it might be possible with AC to network
code the different components in the power too, together with multipath routing of power

multihoming would have to make sure that they got the polarity right (perhaps a BGP
option could be added to convey this?)