Space arrays, mobile hell, book scanners, and open source brains:
- Great Brazilian Sat-Hack Crackdown (Wired) — Satellite hackers in Brazil are bouncing ham signals off a disused US military satellite array.
Truck drivers love the birds because they provide better range and sound than ham radios. Rogue loggers in the Amazon use the satellites to transmit coded warnings when authorities threaten to close in. Drug dealers and organized criminal factions use them to coordinate operations. [...] “Nearly illiterate men rigged a radio in less than one minute, rolling wire on a coil.” As William Gibson said, “the street finds its own uses for things.” One man’s space junk is another man’s Make project. (via BoingBoing)
- My Students, My Cellphone, My Ordeal — there’s probably a market selling lightweight forensic tools to schools, specifically to avoid scenarios like this poor man’s.
- DIY High Speed Book Scanner From Trash and Cheap Cameras (Instructables) — $300 of parts gets you a reasonably high-quality scanner. It doesn’t have an automatic page turner, but it’s still a step up on “open the scanner lid, change the page, close the lid, hit scan, wait, [repeat until braindead]“. We have a huge legacy of analog, and we’re going to need consumer-grade consumer-priced systems if we are to rip-mix-burn our cultural legacy. What would the Google Books settlement look like if we all had high-speed scanners to do to our bookshelves what iTunes did to our CD shelves? (via BoingBoing)
- OpenCog Brainwave Projects in Google’s Summer of Code — in case you think GSoC is all about GNOME apps getting alternate shortcuts for DVORAK keyboards, there’s some esoteric stuff being approved. I wish that when I was a college student someone had paid me to work on a Application of Pleasure Algorithm Project.
Maps, meaning, makers, and orphaned works:
- Lens Tools and Fisheye Map Browsing — a summary of magnification in maps through history, culminating in use of the fisheye/lens as a way to explore layers and data in thematic maps. (via Titine’s delicious stream)
- Socially Relevant Computing — frustrated by the meaningless examples and work in computer science classes, Mike Buckley started sending students into the real world and building projects for handicapped people, firefighters, children, etc. Read their SIGCSE paper (PDF) for more. (via Andy Oram)
- Maker Faire Africa — I wish I could go!
- Google Book Search Lawsuit Settlement Analysis — finally a simple statement of why many folks aren’t happy with the Google Book Search lawsuit settlement: Thanks to the magic of the class action mechanism, the settlement will confer on Google a kind of legal immunity that cannot be obtained at any price through a purely private negotiation. It confers on Google immunity not only against suits brought by the actual members of the organizations that sued Google, but also against suits brought by anyone who doesn’t explicitly opt out. That means that Google will be free to mine the vast body of orphan works without fear of liability. Any competitor that wants to get the same legal immunity Google is getting will have to take the same steps Google did: start scanning books without the publishers’ and authors’ permission, get sued by authors and publishers as a class, and then negotiate a settlement. The problem is that they’ll have no guarantee that the authors and publishers will play along. (via Glynn Moody)
There's been a lot of buzz on forward-looking publisher mailing lists in the past few days about Robert Darnton's piece in the New York Review of Books, Google and the Future of Books. When it hit techmeme today, I thought it might be appropriate to share more broadly the comments I made on the Reading 2.0 list (links added, minor…
Microsoft is shutting down Live Search Books, which includes its book scanning initiative. From the Live Search official blog: Based on our experience, we foresee that the best way for a search engine to make book content available will be by crawling content repositories created by book publishers and libraries. With our investments, the technology to create these repositories…
Google Book Search images and results can now be embedded directly into external Web sites thanks to a new API.