Saturday, August 30, 2008

Green campuses

Sierra magazine describes "Colleges large and small get their green on", but no mention of Fresno State's big solar project, which at the time it was turned on last year was the largest solar installation at a US university. Arizona State says their installation will be bigger when it's done in December.

Changing subjects, if you liked the Mitnick video you might like this: a disgruntled hacker was tired of the TSA rifling his baggage, so he implemented the bagcam. Yes, you can watch his luggage go through the whole process from check-in to baggage claim. The audio is here (scroll down to the Bagcam talk), and the slides and videos here.

Sting (or String) and monowheels

The local public radio station has a good program called In the Mode. The 24 August 2008 show was about Sting and his lute-playing friend singing 16c songs. You can listen to it on the KVPR website, but watch for the funny typo: String plays Dowland.

What does that have to do with monowheels? Nothing, except maybe Sting watched the Olympics closing ceremony and saw them. In about third grade I think a bunch of us invented them while doodling. But we never actually made one like these folks did.

Bonus: I think I originally saw this on Slashdot, but it reminded me of the Mythbuster's visit to campus last year. On this video, Adam talks about how they were out-lawyered when they wanted to do a show about RFID. Adam does sort of Lessig/Hardt style PowerPoint presentation in Part 1.

While you are on YouTube you might also want to catch Kevin Mitnick's "Life of a Computer Hacker Revealed".

Monday, August 25, 2008


While getting my syllabus ready for an HCI class I found a Don Norman video I'd been looking for: "Cautious Cars & Cantankerous Kitchens". The content of the talk is good, but the presentation on the website is also nice. You see the video and the Norman's slides synchronized to the video. You can also flip back and forth between big-slide-small-video and big-video-small-slides.

Norman gave the same talk as part of the free Stanford HCI seminar. I've been a fan of the seminar for years, but accessing the videos can be a nightmare since you had to go through the Stanford professional education site, register, click around, ... Now you can subscribe to the Stanford HCI podcast and the world is much simpler. If you want to see the same talk, look in the Winter 2007 tab for Don Norman. Unfortunately, the video and audio quality is not as good, nor are the slides synchronized, like the other version.

Speaking of video, I watched part of a documentary about JPL on one of the Comcast high def channels this weekend. had an entry today that you can download the video (even captioned!), including the high def version here.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A kluge of a blog post

A bunch of things:
  • I saw Gary Marcus on Book TV about his recent book Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind. He did basically the same talk at Google.
  • Canadians are better than us: "The numbers are in. Compared to the U.S., we work less, live longer, enjoy better health and have more sex. And get this: now we're wealthier too."
  • "How To Fix the Poor Usability of Free Software" from Slashdot, and an essay "Why Free Software has poor usability, and how to improve it".
  • SpaceX failed again to get payload to orbit. I wonder if the engineer I sat next to on the plane to HNL is still as optimistic about the company.