Talis Mashup Competition

I just stumbled across this: Talis is sponsoring a Mashing Up The Library competition, due date Friday 18 August. This is your chance to wow the world with your ideas; your chance to build better systems on top of library data; your chance to demonstrate the value and the power of libraries; your chance to take library information and display it in exciting new ways. This is a cool idea,.. Read More

Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities & Social Sciences

The American Council of Learned Societies Commission on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities & Social Sciences has released a report on, well, cyberinfrastructure for the humanities & social sciences. Conclusion We should place the world’s cultural heritage — its historical documentation, its literary and artistic achievements, its languages, beliefs, and practices — within the reach of every citizen. The value of building an infrastructure that gives all citizens access to the.. Read More


Complexity causes 50% of product returns, from Computerworld Half of all malfunctioning products returned to stores are in full working order, but customers can’t figure out how to operate the devices… …the average consumer in the U.S. will struggle for 20 minutes to get a device working before giving up. This is absolutely the clearest statement for why user testing is important that I’ve seen in a long time. I.. Read More

2020 Visions

The current issue of Nature is a special issue containing articles on the future of computing; speculations on what computing will look like in 2020. Vernor Vinge suggests that “The Internet will have leaked out, to become coincident with Earth.” Sounds like Dan Simmons’ noosphere. This is why I love SF, folks. Two articles discuss how we will cope with an explosion of scientific data. Redefining Big Science: big as.. Read More

Minority Report, brought to you by NYU

This is the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time: A multi-input touch screen that looks like a cross between something from Minority Report and a 2-D theremin. The technology has the rather bizarre name, Frustrated Total Internal Reflection. Brought to you by some very clever people at the NYU Media Research Lab.

Moss is the new Negroponte

Press release from the Media Lab: Moss appointed Media Lab director A seasoned entrepreneur and technology executive, [Frank] Moss has spent the last 25 years building a diverse set of companies that are on the leading edge of technology — from startups to large public companies, from high tech to biotech. With Moss’s appointment, Media Lab co-founder Nicholas Negroponte will step down as chairman to concentrate on One Laptop per.. Read More


Apologies to My Beloved Audience for the extended radio silence. I could claim I was taking a holiday break, but the truth is I just didn’t have much to say. So, I posted last year about the discovery of the then-largest known prime number: 225,964,951-1 Well, GIMPS has done it again: On December 15, 2005, Dr. Curtis Cooper and Dr. Steven Boone, professors at Central Missouri State University, discovered the.. Read More


Maybe I’m just tragically unhip that I hadn’t heard about this before, but Yvonne introduced me to a new word yesterday: machinima. Wikipedia defines this as: Machinima (a portmanteau word for machine cinema and/or machine animation) is both a collection of associated production techniques and a film genre (film created by such production techniques). As a production technique, the term concerns the rendering of computer-generated imagery (CGI) using low-end 3D.. Read More

Trying out StoryStarters

My last post, in case you were wondering, was me testing out the StoryStarters system, currently under development by the Information Institute of Syracuse, & currently in beta. My response appears on the StoryStarters site here. Critique of using StoryStarters from the point of view of an answerer: pretty damn good, guys. Nice work by the IIS, once again. So far there’s only a plugin for WordPress, though more are.. Read More

Galactic Network

Joseph Liklider was the head of DARPA and helped create the Internet. One of his landmark contributions was a paper called (I think) “the Galactic Network”. Where can I access a copy of that paper? Thanks for asking this really interesting question! I have not been able to locate any paper or book by J.C.R. Licklider with the title “The Galactic Network,” or any variation on that. Instead, what I.. Read More