Archive for January, 2006

Dance Dance Password Entry

A recent Apple patent yields some details on their much rumored tablet computer and good news: it came to get down. That’s right, the key revelation of the patent (other than confirming existence of the tablet project) is that the tablet is motion sensitive. Many of the proposed uses for this technology are what you’d expect: turning pages of a document, moving around in a game, scrolling, determining that the device is in motion, etc. Buried at the bottom of the list, though, is an idea that’s more curious: password authentication. Seriously.

Just how might this final bit work? How does one make a motion that is both complex enough to constitute a password yet simple enough to be reasonably repeatable? Could the answer be dance? Yep, it’s starting to sound like the days of mapping Salsa’s sultry hip swiveling or the latest boyband moves into the world of hard credentials may almost be here. Imagine passwords that mine the intricacies of line dancing from the boot scoot to the tush push. “But boss, I can’t stop, I have to get the high score — it’s my password!” Now that’s killing two birds.

original image grabbed from yahoo games

Facing Darwin

Everyone knows the Toronto Raptors had an impressively horrible start to the season, setting a new franchise record with 9 straight losses. And, as if for good measure, they’ve followed that astonishing opening with a consistent 30% win record, enough to anchor the league (alongside Atlanta and Charlotte). This poor record was recently punctuated as the Raps provided Kobe a flatfooted foil in his assist-free quest to top Wilt’s 100 point game. Sadly, Kobe’s 81 points weren’t injury enough. Some sports pundits were kind enough to argue that, beyond the fact that the Raptors aren’t near great, greatness isn’t even possible in their vicinity:

Question: Was this the greatest individual performance in NBA history?

Ken Shouler, ESPN.com NBA historian: No. The word “great” is context dependent. The greatest performance in NBA history can’t come against Toronto in January.     Daily Dime

True, but ouch. Then again, you might have seen this coming back when the Raps traded Vince Carter for, oh, nothing in particular. Now that’s skills.

Thankfully (for all 12 people still paying attention north border ball) some sweet mercy was handed down today as Raptors GM Babcock was launched into deep space where he belongs. It comes at least a season late, but better late than never when Canadian basketball is facing extinction, eh?

images grabbed from spielbergfansite and thestar (with apologies to jose)

Google and Unexpected Vacations

Greetings from Lovely Guantanamo BayWhile Google fights the good fight against the Fed’s search subpoena, it seems they are also prepping for the worst — and quietly enlisting us all to help.

With the typical media freak-out surrounding Google’s subpoena battle, it’s been somewhat easy to miss the fact that their colleagues at AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo each caved instantly in the face of the exact same request. Clearly, Google’s pushback should be applauded but, then, they’ve also got the most to lose. It’s not hard to see the handover of the search data as a first step on the road to handing over everything else. For Google this is particularly damaging because it means coughing up Gmail, the archive-everything target of privacy peeps everywhere. If the fed takes the next logical step and wraps its carnivorous jaws around this designed-to-be-searched mail treasure chest, it’ll prove the privacy pundits right and “don’t be evil” starts to look nice in the rearview.

That’s where preparing for the worst comes in. Ultimately, if the data is there it is subject to subpoena. Solution: kill the data (as much as “organize the world’s information” Google hates it). Is it really much much surprise, then, that Gmail just recently promoted its Delete function from a backwater submenu to the very front page, giving it nearly equal prominence to the “save-it-forever” Archive button? And this promotion preceded the Fed going public by only a week or two. Coincidence? Doubt it. More like Google placing the last line of defense front and center for those of us hoping to avoid winning one of Dubya’s Gitmo getaways.

Update 2/3: Google admits legal requests for Gmail messages but says no more.

image grabbed from whitehouse.org

Disobey

On every day (but especially today), much respect to all those who risked their lives to change our world for the better — Malcolm, Rosa, Martin, and all the underknown heroes of the Civil Rights Movement.

What better way to celebrate MLK’s birthday than with a bit of subversion? So you gotta love this clever turning of the tables on Fairey’s underground-no-more Obey Giant street art campaign. Subverting the former subversive? Not bad.

See the original shot on flickr and read more about Obey Giant at wikipedia.

Back to Africa

Boys of Baraka opens with a startling statistic: 76% of black male students in Baltimore City Schools will never graduate from high school. The balance of the film is spent exploring one possible solution: taking kids out of their environment — ten thousand miles out, and for nearly two years.

Some will compare this movie to Hoop Dreams and as far as documentaries about inner city kids go, that’s fair. But what Boys of Baraka has that others can’t touch is, well, Africa. Seeing the effect being there has on the kids — being in a country run by black folks, miles from the nearest town, surrounded by people poorer than them but prideful — is worth the trip.

It made me think about the middle passage and all the family history and heritage lost beyond doors of no return; connections we can never reestablish. It reminded me of the importance of knowing you come from someplace you can be proud of. All things lost through slavery. The question the film asks, then, is can this kind of journey back to Africa begin to help kids rebuild some of this for themselves? Can what was lost be regained in some way?

As you might expect, Baraka doesn’t provide any easy answers. But it does ask a number of thoughtful questions, and that’s why it matters.

Read more about Boys of Baraka at Loki Films

image grabbed from thinkfilm

Gaming Hotness 2005

The year started out with big expectations, many for the high tech showstopper that was to be Sony’s PSP. By comparison, Nintendo’s DS seemed cobbled together at the last minute in fear of Sony’s offering. Redeye’s 2004 rant sums up the DS (“dual screen”) consensus nicely. Here’s a taste: “Simply by looking looking somewhere else you can see something else. Short of the imagination to actually innovate, they’ve just doubled their components and told you you’ll be doubling your pleasure, and they’re expecting you to buy it.” (Edge 134) Honestly, I thought Nintendo was in serious trouble. We all did.

How times have changed. A year after launch, innovative new titles seem to be popping up every month for DS while the PSP is scraping by with a pile of afterthought PS2 ports. And sales are following fun. Looking back, then, 2005 was the year of the looking-real-smart-in-hindsight DS. And that explains why fully half of my favorite games last year appeared on Nintendo’s keenly underestimated new handheld. Here they are, alphabetically:

Continue reading ‘Gaming Hotness 2005’





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