Four short links: 23 Apr 2009

Multitouch, visualizations, body hacks, and ubicomp:

  1. Dell Demos Multitouch on the Studio One 19 (Engadget) — the multitouch software on this baby is Fingertapps from the New Zealand company Unlimited Realities, whose founder was at Kiwi Foo Camp this year. Multitouch hits consumer PCs in a very mainstream way.
  2. Circos — open source Perl library to produce beautiful circular data displays. (via flowing data)
  3. Brain Gain: The Underground World of “Neuroenhancing” Drugs (New Yorker) — more on the body hacks theme of radical and literal self-improvement, as originally documented by Quinn Norton. What I found interesting was that when BoingBoing linked to it, they quoted the “Provigil might make us smarter” bit, and when MInd Hacks linked to it, they quoted the negative effects of amphetamine-based drugs.
  4. Towards the Web of Things: Web Mashups for Embedded Devices — slides and notes for a presentation given at MEM 2009. Basically saying that the Internet of Things should be built on JSON and REST, with demo. (via Freaklabs)

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  • I’ve played with providing an HTTP REST API to the Arduino:


  • That circular data graphic almost made me tear up. I tried to design and produce something like that to track technology development in a game… 12 years ago. I’m glad to see someone has done it, and done it so beautifully!

  • Smart drugs, eg Nootropics, are sold in many forms. Provigil is of course a capital example, but there are quite a few non prescription nutrients sold as brain food.

    Wikipedia has a fairly extensive list:

    Across the board, the common view on these substances is that they’re ways of making your piss really expensive. Theres some justification for that view given the lack of conclusive evidence and questions of bioavailability, but the question I always ask back is “what would it take in terms of potential benefit/cost for you to consider a drug which may help possibly improve your mind but does not harm you?” Its the self improvement Pascal’s Wager.