['taken'] is in these articles:
Some comments on
playing with Django. Django versus
Cheetah. Various reviews
of Django. Some observations
on using ElementTree with Django. Django for non-programmers.
Guido has taken
note of Django. A podcast
interview with Guido where Django is mentioned as a favourite. Django
after using Rails.
- Another product that is intended to be hacked: the Chumby "clock
radio" replacement. The main web page is here. An Aug'07 the Chumby was
getting ready to ship to customers. An initial look at one is here
from Engadget. Ross Rubin writes out Chumby. LinuxDevices.com has more information on this. A new version of the Chumby, perhaps with a $100 price tag, may appear in late '09. This was added to their web store in Nov'09 at $99.95, it is called the Chumby One (I guess the first version must have been the Chumby Zero), progress is being made but you still cannot buy one in Canada. The Chumby One gets reviewed by Engadget. A kit of Chumby's guts is now available so you can build it into your own projects. The Chumby One gets taken to pieces in this ifixit teardown.
The least dense solids are aerogels,
which date back to the 1930's. Here are some
pictures taken at NASA.
And here is Aerogel
Super Insulation from Aspen
- I wonder if anyone tried to copyright the classic Nigerian
419 scam? Here's a few more sites that exploit
the scammers for some fun. Here's another attempt at scammer
baiting, and another.
is home to an updated unclaimed lottery winnings form of this
scam. Finally someone's been arrested
garbage, oddly enough this happend in Australia. A Canadian nearly got
arrested for doing this to an American, but the charges were
dropped. Here's a site dedicated to baiting
these scammers. Sometimes someone gets
taken by these scammers. Now it looks like you don't even need to
travel to Nigeria to collect,
just head on over to Scottland... In July '04 the scammers
decided to switch to a form of extortion (almost sounds like
something from Thieves'
World). Some 419 scammers have finally be brought to justice. The state of Utah got taken for $2.5M on a classic Nigerian scam. It looks like the UK justice secretary may have been phished. After many years late 2009 saw some progress in actual attempts at shutting down some scammers.
The EFF now has taken
up arms against junk patents and are running a patent busting project.
- Fujitsu's LifeBook U1010, built with a 5.6 inch 1024x600 display and an 800MHz processor looks like it might make for a nice, compact, mobile unit. A video review can be found here. The U810 model looks like it might be rather nice and is priced at $1000. Some pictures of the U810 by Engadget taken at CES'08. 
- freeware EXIF reader
will add EXIF header information to regular JPEG files so that they can
be loaded into a digital camera, this allows you to use the camera to
display these on a TV, along with other regular images you have taken with the
Recognition software in use, reported by the Register
, and here
too, now in use in Florida
too, and now in Tampa
too. And the first case of mistaken
identity . Now the RAND
think tank is in favour of its use on a broad scale. Now Borders
is going to use it in their stores to identify known shoplifters. And a
few days later Borders
has decided not to invoke Big Brother. Now the Register
reports that these systems are nearly useless. The ACLU has finally
spoken on this subject. And this report
states that it has not proven to be reliable at the Palm
Beach International airport. But the Statue
of Liberty is going to give it a try next.
CKC Power has
and accessories, plus some comparison photos taken through
Computer Geeks (Sept 02) is selling off this media
player which will allow you to view images (and other media types)
stored on various flash cards. Might be useful for reviewing photos
that have been taken if you do not have a video output on your digi-cam.
- NSI registers every domain that is searched for using their whois interface - this means if you search for a domain on their site and then try to purchase it from a different registrar you will find it has been taken. 
- A liver transplant patient has taken on the blood type (and immune system) of her donor. 
- The ICANN has voted to eliminate the free trial (domain tasting) period that many scams are being built on. The have also discussed Network Solutions' front running practice (registering domain names automatically under their name whenever someone does a whois search for the name), but have not taken any action on it. An ICANN committee has determined that domain name tasting may be causing problems (probably because of Google's pressure) but that there is nothing wrong with the practice of front running. 
- The ECS GIL10IL is an 11-inch sub notebook (additional pictures) that might compete against the Eee, but because the specs are somewhat higher I'd expect a higher price too. This update says it will come in 8.2 or 10.2 inch versions. This got a hands-on review at Computex in June'08. This is now expected to be available in Sept'08 and starting at $399. Here is a brief look at one. 
is now watching your toilet, some tests have been made to monitor the
drug usage of entire neighborhoods by taking samples from the sewage
and analyzing them. Obviously only a matter of time before the samples
are taken at the end of a particular street and then on a
house-by-house basis. While this is being applied to look for users of
drugs, this should also be very effective in finding drug labs or grow
opps as these are bound to flush some identifiable waste products down
the drain from time to time.
- For an RSS feed file to be valid you need to escape any "<" and ">" bracket characters that are part of the data. This is because the RSS file is XML so these will be taken as XML tokens by the parser in the feed reader. This is an issue because it is quite natural to want to put HTML fragments into the item/description elements. One way to do this is to do a simple substitution of "& l t ;" and "& g t ;" (ignore the embedded spaces) for the two angle brackets. Another thing to note is that because some URLs contain & characters you can run into an issue with parsers thinking those & are the start of an HTML special character sequence, so you also need to replace & with "& a m p ;". This sort of thing would really be much simpler if XML had just included a proper opaque data blob tag from the beginning (or perhaps a special attribute that could be used with any tag), something to indicate that the contained data is a base 64 encoded ASCII string and all the parser is to do is to read it, decode it back to the original form (which may include anything, even non-printable binary) but then do no further parsing on this content. The CDATA is somewhat intended to do this but its not a very clean solution. 
- Rumors are circulating that the next step in the ASUS Eee dance will be taken in June'08 with the introduction of an Intel Atom-based Eee. This would improve performance while also increasing battery life, both of which are weak spots for the current 7 and 9 inch Eees. 
- Factoring out common args to zipped generators gives some examples of generator usage (taken from a project on additive waveform synthesis). 
- Fujitsu is going to get into the netbook game, this has taken them a long time, especially considering some of their other small laptops. 
- Windows may be falling behind the curve on supporting new technologies, the adoption of a fast booting small Linux system (that ASUS first implemented in some of their motherboard BIOSes) has started to go mainstream with Dell's "Latitude On" system. Dell has taken this a step forward and included a special low power ARM processor that runs the laptop in this mode to greatly extend battery life. 
- Microsoft's Image Composite Editor can be used to quickly build panoramas from separate images. It appears to do a nice job, even on images that were taken hand-held and at odd angles and with foreground objects.  
- TakeNote is a cross-platform note taking and organizing system, also available here on PyPI. 
- Netbooks have hurt Windows profits, Microsoft is finding it hard to monopolize the low-end market because the cost of their Windows license is a significant part of the overall machine cost. This is something that anyone who has tried to build a low-cost "appliance" type machine (like a NAS device) based on Windows knows quite well. Typically you can buy all the new hardware you need for a few hundred dollars, and then the $140 or so for an XP license is close to half the cost of the hardware making you think strongly about using Linux instead. It looks like the netbook manufacturers are getting their XP licenses for something like $50, which means that on a $250 machine Microsoft is still 20% of the total, leaving little room for profit. The sudden development of the netbook market has taken Microsoft by surprise, its increasing size and popularity due to the typically lower price point is seen as threatening to erode the sales of traditional laptops and desktop systems and thus reduce Microsoft's profits. What Microsoft is not considering is that many of these netbook sales are going to people who are adding a second or third computing device, and who are only doing so because of the tempting price, so it is likely this new market is not eroding the traditional markets to the degree that Microsoft fears. In fact, if Microsoft were to extend its reduced price XP license some more it might find XP showing up in other low-cost devices like NAS boxes and set-top media players where Linux (thankfully) has a near total monopoly. 
- Pretec has taken the CompactFlash physical form factor and given it a SATA interface to allow for much faster flash storage. What would be really neat would be to have a SATA interface at one end of the card and the old CF IDE interface at the other end, then you could use the same card in old and new devices. 
- New toll road systems that work by photographing license plates could be put to other uses, like issuing speeding tickets if the average speed of the car (as measured by the distance between entrance and exit toll points and the time taken between them) is too high. 
- Astrometry.net is building a system that will allow one to provide an image and it will automatically figure out what part of the sky it is of and when it was taken. Discussed here on Slashdot. 
- The PeaPod is a neighborhood electric vehicle with about a 30 mile range, a short video clip of it is here and a photo gallery is here. They are talking about a $12K price for this which might produce a lot of demand as most of the other electric car solutions are much more expensive currently. While some might call this a golf-cart, it really shows a lot of thought about providing a fresh solution to short-trip driving (which is what the majority of miles probably are). Some of the steps they have taken to reducing weight (and increasing usable space) like the "thin seats" are quite clever and very appropriate. I'm not thrilled about the massive sunroof though, that's going to get quite hot in the summer - to the point of needing air conditioning. 
- Windows 7 (in the more expensive editions) is to include an XP mode which will run in a virtual machine and will include a fully licensed copy of XP Pro to support this. More information on this here. The Register has taken a look at the virtual XP mode, this gets discussed here on Slashdot. 
- StraighterLine is attempting to offer college education by the course for $99 a course and has taken some steps to ensure that other colleges will recognize their courses for credit. 
- The Google Nexus One Phone does work on Virgin Mobile in Canada. As of 26-Mar-2010 I was able to successfully connect my (ATT/Rogers style) Nexus One to the Virgin Mobile network in Calgary, Canada. It runs fine and with the data plan activated it works over the 3G (HSDPA) network quite nicely. Getting connected was much more painful than it needed to be. Here's the story:
- It all started when I heard from a couple of friends that the unlocked Nexus One was now available to Canadians and that they had taken the plunge. So I did a bit more research and found that there were now two variants: one (the AWS version - for "3G on T-Mobile USA") would only work on the Wind network in Canada and the other ("compatible with 3G on ATT and Rogers Wireless") should work on Rogers, Fido, Telus, Bell and Virgin. I ordered the ATT/Rogers version because it offered me more carrier choices in Canada.
- After researching the various carrier offerings (and rediscovering that the thinly-disguised monopolistic cell phone price fixing conspiracy was still alive and well in Canada) I decided to stick with Virgin Mobile where I already had a pre-paid phone.
- I then called Virgin's support to see if they thought the Nexus One was compatible, they confirmed that the specifications were a match and stated that: as this was not a "supported phone" they could not guarantee data would work. They said when I got the phone to take it to one of their stores and get hooked up using their GSM SIM card.
- I then paid a visit to their North Hill mall booth (they don't really have "stores" just booths in Calgary) only to be told "they only do CDMA phones". Of course Virgin has only recently begun handling GSM/3G type phones, but you'd think their staff training would have mentioned the fact that now they are carrying the iPhone and offering SIM cards and that they had joined the GSM/3G service crowd (like the rest of the Virgin operations around the world). I also visited the Bell booth (Virgin runs on Bell's network in Canada and shares network towers with Telus, competing with Rogers and Fido) and they were ready to try right away.
- Undaunted I called Virgin service the next day, reconfirmed that the phone would work and that I would be able to port my pre-paid phone number and remaining balance to the new plan and then settled back to wait for DHL to deliver the phone.
- Once the phone arrived I returned to the Virgin booth, this time it was staffed by someone who did know that they did more than CDMA, so we got set to the task of hooking up. After about 15 minutes of credit check, verifying that the phone's IMEI number was listed in their database as compatible (for the 3rd time!) we got to the part where they scan in the SIM card's number and associate the phone by its IMEI number. At this point we got a rather odd error from their system saying something like "the SIM card is incompatible with the selected plan". The salesman called his support line and they got the same error and after a few minutes they just gave up. The salesman gave it another shot (this time starting as if I did not have an existing account, in case the pre-paid legacy account was messing things up) and even used a different SIM, but still got the same error. As I was running late, I just called it a day and left.
- The next morning I called Virgin support and told them what had happened, they went through the same registration process (again checking the IMEI for compatibility) and ran into the same error (using a SIM card on their end as I had been unable to purchase one). This time support called their support, and after a few minutes on hold, they returned to say they had got around the error and we could proceed, but that I would have to now buy a SIM card from one of their stores. However, all the account stuff had been done and I had a new (non-working) phone number and once I had the SIM I was to call back and they could complete the process.
- So at lunch time I went SIM shopping, its just a little $5 card that all the Virgin retailers carry and there are several a short ways from my office, so I checked stock levels at The Source (as the Virgin Booth is further away) and walked over. On my way I passed "The Telephone Booth" which had a big Virgin Mobile display at the front of their store, so I went in and asked for a SIM, they wanted $42 for it (unless I registered through them) so I resumed my search for The Source.
- At The Source they said no problem, they had the SIMs but needed to check the phone first, so they checked the IMEI against the database and then got out their "test SIM" (which was from Bell), popped it into the phone and declared it good. So then they proceeded to sell me the Virgin SIM, but at some point in the checkout process they have to have a Virgin Account number (to sell the SIM against), so they wanted to go through the registration process (again!). I told them this had already been started and it was on hold pending purchase of the SIM. They called Virgin, and after about 10 minutes of back and forth (and another IMEI check, credit card check and photo ID recheck) they got the account number out of Virgin and were able to complete the sale. All in all, about 25 minutes to make a $5 sale - how do these guys stay in business?
- Later that day, SIM in phone, I call Virgin back again to resume the process. After about 10 minutes on hold I get an operator and after a brief description of what I need to do she decides another department needs to handle the call, so back on hold. After about 30 minutes more on hold I hang up and call back to the support line again, this time I get through and after about 5 minutes we have completed the next step. The SIM and the IMEI are now associated! So now I have to power off the phone, pull out the SIM, reinsert it, power up the phone and then wait for 2 hours for the phone and network to connect up and then call them back to finish the data configuration step.
- After 2 hours I check the phone and the it appears to be on the GSM network (I don't see any 3G indicator), I can make a phone call with it and I have received two text messages from Virgin welcoming me to the party. Things are looking good, so I call them up, wait for about 15 minutes, talk to someone in support who curtly tells me the phone is not supported by them so 3G ain't going to work, your phone's only going to do what its doing now, goodbye. I hope Virgin reviews their call recordings on that one... Muttering to myself I dig through my accumulated net-searches on Virgin 3G lore and find this helpful article where the author reports the same sort of grief. He mentions that the solution is actually documented on Virgin's site (note: Virgin has since removed this page from their site and when I pointed it out to them they denied it even existed, you can get the information you need from Bell's site, since Virgin just resells Bell's service) in a cunningly concealed section of the page on their SIM cards. I found that following the setup (under the misleading heading "What Do I Get?") for the iPhone 3G/3GS eventually worked just fine. These are the settings that worked for me, there are some other settings that I didn't enter anything for.
To get to the data entry page on your Nexus One go into the Settings menu, then "Wireless & networks", then "Mobile networks", then "Access Point Names", then (for me) it says "virgin pda.bell.ca", I click on this and it gets to the "Edit access point" menu.
Initially it did not seem to do anything, but after a few minutes I thought "what if my phone's too smart, perhaps when it is connected via WiFi it does not display the 3G indicator?". So I shut down my WiFi connection and the 3G icon popped into view, a quick test confirmed that data was flowing through 3G and all was well!
- APN: pda.bell.ca
- Proxy: web.wireless.bell.ca
- Port: 80
- MMSC http://mms.bell.ca/mms/wapenc
- MMS Proxy: web.wireless.bell.ca:80
- MCC: 302
- Well that should have been the end of the story, only the next day I realized that in all of this Virgin never actually shut down the old account and ported the number, so I had to call them again (20 minute hold) and go through the number porting process. This required another SIM remove/replace and wait an hour or two cycle, but now things appear to be working.
- I just have to wait a few days and check that their accounting department did move the unused balance from my pre-paid phone to the new monthly (one month term contract) plan. Oh joy, another half hour of hold time ahead. And yes, they did transfer the remaining balance from the pre-paid plan, so nothing was lost there.
- Toshiba is going to try to pick up on the idea of a dual display netpad with their W100. Engadget has taken a preview of this in advance of the Aug'10 shipping date, and while they were great Courier fans they have not flipped over this unit. Plus the $1100 price seems a bit high - but Toshiba has never been one to aggressively price laptops. 
- Scammers have taken to using micro charges to large numbers of credit cards to avoid detection. 
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