13 Mar 2006

japanese rfid payment system tracker

apparently, the rfid payment system in tokyo, suica, has an interesting feature. it stores the record of all your journeys on the card itself. the card itself is a read/write rfid card.

we make money not art describes how some artist have hacked up a suica card reader and extracted that information. i think that is great to have control of your own data, although it could also mean that your wife/husband can track where you've been by stealing your card for a couple of minutes and reading all the data off it.

here is the project homepage called suicalog and a google maps version (put in "1" and "10" in the two text fields).

i suppose when they designed it, they realised that maybe the past history could be useful for something, either mobile applications or some context aware usage. in the article, it says they chose to do it to reduce communication overheads -- probably to track how much you should be billed for by recording the last station. its great that someone has released tools to read the data.

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13 Mar 2006

audio extracted from pompeii pottery

a team(?) of french/belgium(?) researchers have managed to extract audio out of pottery from pompeii. it's pretty incredible. check out the video and listen to a small clip of it at the end. you can hear some words and then some laughter. i dunno how legit it is, but that technique of extracting audio is pretty creative.

(via interesting people)

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11 Mar 2006

great python talk from guido van rossum

google video has a two part video given last month by guido van rossum, the creator of python. the first one is a very interesting talk about the history of python, where it came from, what were the philosophies and mistakes in python.

check them out at google video by search guido python.

the talk is not just only for python programmers, it is aimed at any computer scientist looking at languages. interesting things include:

1. why does python have an explicit self?
2. where the whitespace rule came from?
3. how program languages should not impose machine restrictions implicitly (eg. int32 != long int on different machines). why does the user need to care about how long an integer is?
4. single augmentable namespace (very cool)
5. type inference, why it doesn't work with python.

given that i'm a big python fan and use it everywhere, it's actually very informative on why the language was designed that way.

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09 Mar 2006

pingmag - english tokyo online magazine

i just came across pingmag which is an english online magazine that talks about interesting things in tokyo. everything from kubricks, to vending machines, to jeans and it even has an interview with the guy who developer shiira who works on HMDT, HAPPY Macintosh Developing TIME .. capitals are not my emphasis. it's a very interesting read for mac users:

On A Safari Hunt: The Shiira Browser.

anyway, pingmag is awesome, i love the articles and the design!

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08 Mar 2006

location based services and technology magazine/blog

i just came across a location/positioning systems magazine that has a blog. its actually quite interesting, and its not all about GPS. probably some people like me who are interested in location technologies might find it interesting. here they are:
all points blog
directions magazine

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08 Mar 2006

the daily show on itunes!

finally comedy central and apple have done what everyone has been calling for, the daily show and colbert report is now on itunes! and the most shocking thing is that the price is actually extremely reasonable. $9.99 for 16 episodes, or $1.99 per episode. currently i just download my daily show (itunes) and colbert report (itunes) fix from bittorrent, but i'm definitely going to try this out, it is the same price as buying an album - but for 6 hours of entertainment.


that still doesn't compensate for the fact that itunes' video playing is crap. but i should be able to play it through quicktime. it would be perfect if there was no DRM, but at least i can pay something back to comedy central for putting out such a great show that i've been (*ahem*illegally*ahem*) watching all these years.

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07 Mar 2006

switching from mail.app to gmail

i've been so frustrated with apple mail recently. not only is it slow, but nowadays, it just freezes my computer for 30 seconds once in a while to catch up on the amount of junk mail i get (that is around 2000+ per week).

i'm slowly switching all my accounts to just forward to my gmail address leaving just one private account that i host myself and the gentoo one that i still haven't figured out what to do with. i might move that to gmail as well at the end of the day.

gmail is just so much faster than anything that runs on my powerbook. as much as i love the mail alerts and eyecandy, i can't tolerate slow mail clients and nothing on the mac has lived up to being snappy and easy to use. the only thing is that all my old mail is still on various imap server. i haven't figured out a way to import them (eg. i have not googled yet), and more importantly, haven't figured out whether i will import it.

chalk another one up for google.

(heh, just as i was about to post this, now google mail has all frozen up .. bleh!) oh why do you have to taunt me google! why?!

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07 Mar 2006

celebrating 70 years of what?

this was also spotted at baker st. station. really worth celebrating! crack open the champagne people!

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07 Mar 2006

floating bell tower in london

i was down in london a couple of weeks ago for an interview (which sadly i didn't get what i was applying for), i saw this near baker st. underground station:


in what could only be described as the most amazingly pointless engineering feat, they seemed to manage to suspend the top section of a bell tower and completely destroy whatever was underneath. i suspect that due to some council heritage preservation law, the developers were required only to preserve the bell tower, and nothing else, so they knocked everything down to maybe build a huge cinema, or tescos, and then slap that bell tower back on top of it.

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07 Mar 2006

fake sushi

patricia got me this present a while back and i was meaning to blog about it but never got around to it. here it is now:


from the front, it looks like my favourite meal, sushi! but from the back, they're actually just rice crackers. i got such a big laugh out of them. they were delicious, not crazy delicious, but rice crackicious.

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