Category Archives: Technology

Clear WiMax USB modem ( by ebee)


Computer ware is designed with the human (the end-user) in mind, and looking at this little example, one can see how close we are to AI – it’s right arounbd the corner.

Check out the specs on Clear’s “4GWiMax” device, which plugs in to a USB port on a computer and creates a “hotspot” with twin internal antennas that broadcast and receive from Clear towers (actually space Clear rents from existing cell phone transmitting towers/stations)



No wonder, at places like the University of Washington, the Engineering department “Technical Communication” (a pretty non-specific name, anyhow) was renamed two years ago to the Department of <em>Human</em>-Centered Design and Engineering.</h3>


Below: Federal Communications Commission (FCC) details from registration docs on the device (emphasis my own):

Construction of the (TWIN SAM V4.0)
shell corresponds to the specifications of the Specific
Anthropomorphic Mannequin (SAM) phantom defined in IEEE
1528-2003, EN 62209-1 and IEC 62209. It enables the
dosimetric evaluation of left and right hand phone usage as
well as body mounted usage at the flat phantom region. A
cover prevents evaporation of the liquid. Reference markings
on the phantom allow the complete setup of all predefined
phantom positions and measurement grids by manually
teaching three points with the robot.
FILLING VOLUME Approx. 25liters
DIMENSIONS Height: 810mm; Length: 1000mm; Width: 500mm
CONSTRUCTION Symmetrical dipole with l/4 balun enables measurement of
feedpoint impedance with NWA matched for use near flat
filled with brain simulating solutions.
Includes distance holder and tripod adaptor
CALIBRATION Calibrated SAR value for specified position and input power at the flat phantom in brain simulating solutions
RETURN LOSS > 20dB at specified validation position
POWER CAPABILITY > 100W (f < 1GHz); > 40W (f > 1GHz)
OPTIONS Dipoles for other frequencies or solutions and other calibration conditions upon request

Below is a screen cap of the actual page (for some reason a PDF could not be extracted from the page or its source):





So there are even industry recipes for “tissue simulating” material (in this case “liquids”)? I especially like the little Ingredient-to-Muscle Simulating Liquid table. And preservatives go in foods, right? The above page shows that an anti-fungal-bacteria drug, manufactured by Bayer AG, is in that little USB device, too. Maybe we need it here in mossy, rainy, and potentially mildewy Seattle…


It’s all public record: computer hardware all have FCC IDs where you can see the company’s submitted manufacturing paperwork, with signatures and everything. The companies by law must submit these details.


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Why do you need PGP (Pretty Good Privacy)?

Because of this:

And this:

From an article written back in the mid-’90s by one of the creators of PGP:

More and more of our private communications are being routed through electronic channels. Electronic mail is gradually replacing conventional paper mail. E-mail messages are just too easy to intercept and scan for interesting keywords. This can be done easily, routinely, automatically, and undetectably on a grand scale. International cablegrams are already scanned this way on a large scale by the NSA.

– Phil Zimmerman (from his article published at


And that was written in the mid-’90s.

Fast-forward to today and PGP/Pretty Good Privacy is fast becoming a necessity. This story just broke today on the muckracking news site Drudge Report:

Google’s Wi-Spying and Intelligence Ties Prompt Call for Congressional Hearing


If anyone would like to correspond with me and they have an OpenPGP key pair (they’re often referred to as “Key Pairs” because one is public and one private) through Enigmail (a Thunderbird plug-in) or one of the PGP tools available for Microsoft Outlook Express, etc., then below is my Public Key. Just attach yours or provide your “Public Key ID”.


Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (Darwin)




























– d.g.w.


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Phobos Hollow?!

Photo courtesy Richard C. Hoagland/

To paraphrase Mike Bara, if jumping to conclusions were an Olympic sport, Richard C. Hoagland would have three gold medals!

But seriously, this is some fascinating, bizarre stuff. Phobos hollow?! Stranger than fiction – science fiction – or not, as Hoagland touches upon at the beginning of the page: A 42 year-old Star Trek script follows roughly the same storyline of a hollowed out asteroid inhabited by a soon-to-be gravitationally doomed alien race.

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“Cybersecurity” bill in Senate

This current government is Stalinist.

A new Senate bill would give the U.S. administration emergency powers to unplug the Internet from private networks in the name of “cybersecurity”:

Read the article on CNET at

People should be alarmed. Very alarmed in light of the other legislation in Congress this past year. The outlines of a trend…

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info overload

Sheez! How does one deal with information overload on the net? Information overload period. I honestly don’t think I’m getting a valid picture of a subject online if I only consult one or two sources, so I might “Google” something (or as Microsoft would have you do, “Bing” it), which multiplies that by 25 discreet pages per screen.

At that, the gazillions of web pages aren’t all created equal, so one has to be discriminating. If you have a television, and if you read (print) newspapers, and then magazines, and then you go online – that’s total information overload (notwithstanding the hard fact that most news is not good and it’s not only overload, it’s overdose.

So powerful Web concerns push various solutions:

1) Dumping “information and entertainment” on the same page you use to access your email, or

2) And less successfully, bombarding your inbox with:
a. SPAM, or
b. Crap you don’t want to hear about, but having originated tangentially in a distantly related matter that at one time you showed some interest in by filling out an online registration form or made a purchase online.

3) “Feeds” where web site material is pushed on you through what is termed “web syndication”; i.e., one night you clicked on a catchy-looking icon to “Subcribe to this!” and now you get it all the time, even when you don’t care to look.

4.) Browser-based apps that organize your feeds onto a UI or menu, like Google Reader or iGoogle or MyMSN, which seek to personalize content to your tastes, based upon some CADIE-derived formula, or based upon your own subscriptions, feeds, or otherwise “bookmarked” web pages.

5.) Physically pushing certain web content at you through factory-bookmarked web pages that come ready-installed in your browser or otherwise physically through technologies installed on your computer (or, until a couple years ago, by CD-ROM sent by snail mail).

…And a thousand other minutiae of methods for “selling” whatever to you on the World Wide Web.

Of course, Web concerns seek to constrict what comes up on a computer screen, by browser or otherwise, to their preferred content, whatever that may be and for whatever reason, though the bulk of it is for the purposes of making a sale of one sort or another.

I sometimes wonder what the Web will look like in 20 years. Computers are one technology whose growth is measured not linearly but exponentially. This is reflected in how we get information over the web. There are ways to describe the phenomenon – Web 2.0, Web 3.0 – but how to do justice to what “version” of the Web we’ll have two decades hence?

I’m guessing that if political trends regarding the Internet continue at their present trajectory that we’ll see a narrowing; a constriction of the information portal. It makes sense from a logical, evolutionary perspective too, that the Web, from its onset to rapid flowering that the progression would be from flatly democratic access and distribution (thanks in no small part to the vision of programmers who kept the original software platforms open source – Apache HTTP comes to mind) to a consolidation of control. Some have commented on the biological, life-like nature of the development of computer technology; it’s exponential growth and its tendency toward negative entropy. But humans are still in charge, for the time being anyway, and much of the Internet that was not ten years ago is now subject to human or political controls.

I think it’s fair to say that the above five ways of pushing stuff onto you is a sampling of what this “constriction” will look like. When political leaders realize what a force the Web can be in elections – the ’08 U.S. one a case in point – they will (and already have) be looking to exert control over the information that ultimately reaches the human user on the other end.

And it could be that such strictures will come out a very practical desire to control the often overwhelming flow of info onto our computer screens and hard drives!

– d.g.w.

For more information on keeping the Web free and clear, check out the web site of Richard Stallman, the originator of the GNU Project, at

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CADIE on Gmail sign-in page


April 2, 2009

I am still unsure about the “CADIE Technology” bit discussed below, because now, a day later – the day after April Fools’ Day that is – Google’s CADIE link, (shown below), reads:


We apologize for the recent disruption(s) to our service(s).

Please stand by while order is being restored.

Mysterious huh? “While order is restored.” Then were we hoodwinked for April 1?

– d.g.w.

April 1, 2009

I saw this new CADIE Technology bit on my Gmail sign-in page –

March 31st, 2009 11:59:59 pm

Introducing CADIE [“Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity]

Research group switches on world’s first “artificial intelligence” tasked-array system.

– and I read the explanation below it (see and thought it was an April Fools’ Day joke. I am not the only one to have thought this I am sure – it’s such a weird and heavy thing to see on the left side of your email sign-in and then they preface the several paragraphs with “Announcement: March 31st, 2009 11:59:59 pm”!

I think there’s an element of Google trying to have it both ways, i.e. serious and joking at the same time. Because how many Gmail users are
A) actually going to understand a technology with a name like this (I don’t)
B) comprehend it any better after having clicked on the link to “its” (CADIE’s) self-designedintriguing homepage?

Google, don’t play with my mind. Being a really smart computer nerd is indeed very, very cool, I agree, but don’t push it on mainstream Gmail users (ya). Because I still can’t figure out exactly whether this March 31st, 2009 11:59:59 pm” announcement” is an April Fools!
– d.g.w.

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"cloudmir1" by Autechre.

Gantz Graf [Best Quality version – not embeddable]: directed by Alex Rutterford, music by Autechre.

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