Thursday, February 21, 2008

Music Library: Fast Forward

New cue in the library: Fast Forward.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Is Google Reader a keylogger?

A recent post on the Google Reader blog got my attention:
The "j" key (which takes you to the next item) is perhaps the most well-known keyboard shortcut. However, there are many more keys to press, and I was curious to see just how much they were tapped in Google Reader. A quick analysis later, I came up with a simple top-10 list, and I thought it would be fun to share. The units here are "milli-Js", where 1,000 milli-Js are equivalent to all the presses "j" received.
The chart that follows is presumably generated by sniffing the keystrokes of Reader users. Google goes on to say:
Partly based on the data we gathered, and in our quest to make Reader as keyboard-accessible as possible, we've actually added a few more with the latest release.
A few questions:
  • Can Google log keystrokes in other open tabs (Firefox?)
  • *DOES* Google log keystrokes in other tabs? URL's?
  • What other properties does Google track keystrokes? Gmail? Blogger? Does Google know what I'm posting to my blog before I click "Publish?"
  • Can Google's data be used as evidence, exculpatory or otherwise ("My client is innocent, your honor, as Google shows him at home pressing 'J' in Google Reader at the time of the murder.")
  • Is my own keylogged activity open to me?
Google's response, of course, is that they're only using this data to analyze the usage of their Reader product. And for most Google employees, this may actually be true. History has shown, however, that every tracking feature that can be (ab)used, will be (ab)used.

Next Nature

Absolutely mind bending look at the relationship between "nature" and "culture" (both in quotes because the way the concepts are used in this presentation), specifically how closely related they are (in essence, our culture is our natural environment).

One highlight is the short film "Metallosis Maligna" which looks at a future where the human body completely assimilates metallic implants. Incredibly creative. (Incidentally, I was fascinated to notice the film's opening score is eerily reminiscent of my own piece, "Declining Light.")

In other news, the inventor of the Segway has a new prosthetic arm device, called the "Luke."

Next Nature, indeed.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pathway Foods!

An insanely clever take on advertising.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Comment Tracking - Do you?

I'm curious, loyal readers: Do you track comment threads? If so, what method do you use? RSS reader? Do you just revisit the page and see if it's been updated? I think most people do drive-by commenting (myself included) and don't take the time to actually track a conversation. I know on larger communities this is usually a feature, but can also be overwhelming (Digg, Fark).

As Ritholz is fond of saying: What say ye?

The Most Important Video You'll Ever See

In 8 parts on YouTube.

“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” (RealPlayer version, full-length).

For the rest of your life, every time you read something like this:
At this stage, it is impossible to forecast the length and severity of any recession. It is, however, safe enough to predict that the US economy will return to positive growth in due course. Within a few years at the most, income will surpass its pre-recession peak. If the recession brings about an unwinding of the massive imbalances in trade and capital flows that have built up over the past decade, it may even yield some long-term gains.
...or this...
Scientists there [LANL] say they have developed a way to produce truly carbon-neutral fuel and useful organic chemicals at large scale using water and carbon dioxide removed from the air as raw materials.
...think of the presentation above.