An Ode to Lady Ada, Random Hacks of Kindness, and More

  • Random hacks of kindness
    Yes! I was thrilled to see this O’Reilly Radar piece that exemplifies the very definition of the word “hacktivism”. According to the post by Brady Forrest, the idea was inspired by discussions at CrisisCamp here in DC and is being sponsored by some of the giants in IT.
  • Sonar software to detect user presence
    This makes an astonishing amount of sense and I wonder if it would make the aggressive power savings settings I use on my laptop less annoying. So far the software which uses your laptop mic to sense whether you are present is only available for Windows and Linux.
  • Pandora signed away its rights to protest webcasting royalty rates
    Mike Masnick at Techdirt explains the stipulation to which many web casters agreed to get the lower negotiated royalty rate. He ties in this waiving of the right to protest to Pandora’s maneuvering around the performance rights act, reasoning it may motivated terrestrial broadcasters to protest where the webcaster may no longer do so.
  • Could better disclosure help broadband subscribers?
    At Ars, Matthew Lasar contemplates this question posed in the FCC debate around consumer choice. The question is whether a “Schumer box”, that is information formatted clearly and prominently on credit card bills, could help broadband consumers as well in understanding the consequences of their choice of plan and provider.
  • An ode to Lady Ada
    Jaymee Goh at Tor focuses on Lady Ada as a continuation of that site’s discussion of the recent interest in Steampunk but she calls attention to Ada’s influence and place within the history of computing, the reasons I am fascinated in this historical figure. I love that Jaymee also linked to Sydney Padua’s 2D Googles web comic telling the well researched by alternate history of Ada and her contemporary, Charles Babbage.

Demystifying Luddism, Help Support Lovelace Biopic, and More

  • What’s inside a cup of coffee
    Just a brief listing up at Wired with a little bit of explanation for each component. I don’t describe myself as a coffee snob, per se, though all things being equal I prefer to drink good coffee rather than the usual drop swill on offer most places. I am also fascinated by those sort of scientific facts around the beverage as well as the lesser known elements of its history.
  • Skepticism of Mozilla’s response to Google Chrome Frame plugin
    At Ars, Ryan Paul not only recaps the comments by Baker and Shaver at Mozilla about Google’s plugin targeted at MSIE, he also deconstructs some of their concerns. I still tend to think getting users off at least the oldest versions of MSIE is a better long term goal but Ryan does offers some good food for thought on how Frame really is a fairly practical compromise building on a tradition of similar work by Mozilla and others.
  • Babbage, Lovelace documentary needs your support
    Cory points out what sounds like a wonderful film project that needs letters of support sent to the National Science Foundation. It sounds like the need is greatest for letters from people with stories of how Lovelace work directly influenced theirs, in particular women in computing related fields, and from folks with a network or organization that can help promote the film.
  • Monty Python turns 40 today
    What more can I say, really? The comedy troupe is a fixture of so many overlapping subcultures, including geeks of many strips and hackers.
  • Debunking modern ideas about Luddism
    Matthew Lasar has a great piece at Ars digging into a historical movement often invoked as a bane of technological advancement. The lessons are still relevant, once you understand what the Luddites were really doing at the time, but has more to do with the risks of unrestrained capitalism, aided and abetted by disruptive technology.
  • FTC approves rules for payment, freebies received by bloggers
    The Globe and Mail was the first place I saw this story, though details are scant. Is this only for bloggers that are paid employees or blogs that are incorporated in some way? I doubt it but I expect many other sites to pick this story up and add analysis and commentary soon.