Google CADIE, Google Gulp, and April 1st RFCs

Gulp Sero-tonic water
By now, inquisitive Google users will have taken a look at CADIE and maybe even read about CADIE for a bit before remembering earlier Google April 1st announcements like Google Gulp (BETA)™ with Auto-Drink™ (LIMITED RELEASE). or its PigeonRank™ announcement from 2002.

Google’s hoaxes are high-profile continuations of an Internet tradition that dates back to at least 30 years, when the Internet Engineering Task Force published RFC 748, entitled “Telnet Randomly-Lose Option”; PigeonRank harkens back specifically to RFC 1149 (A Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers).


April 1, 2009 at 10:40 pm Leave a comment

Internet terms in French

Word of the WeekThis week’s Canadian French Word of the Week (podcast here) is actually several words, all Internet-related.

  • Naviguer sur/dans Internet: To surf the Web
  • Fureteur: Browser
  • Courriel: Email (made up of a cross between courrier, mail, and électronique, electronic)
  • Pourriel: Spam (a portmanteau of poubelle, garbage can, and courriel, email)
  • Clavarder: To chat (online)
  • Bavarder: To chat (anywhere, not just online)

The podcast is a repeat which predates Twitter, so I’m wondering what the French word is for “tweet“?

March 30, 2009 at 10:40 am Leave a comment

Geek Pop

Fans of “Code Monkey” and related songs by Jonathan Coulton should check out Geek Pop.

“Geek Pop”  got mentioned on the Nature journal podcast from March 19.  That journal’s podcast is mostly about science; the “Geek Pop” blurb was preceded by stories on molecular machines (“by combining tiny metal rings with carbon-based axles, scientists are making components for molecular machines”), hot rocks (“a nifty laser experiment helps us investigate heat flow in the Earth’s crust”), Antarctic meltdown (“a new model shows that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could collapse in just a few thousand years”), and the state of science communication (“as the recession hits mainstream media, are blogs replacing traditional science journalism?”).

March 24, 2009 at 9:52 pm Leave a comment

And you thought you had all the flashlights you need

Coleman 2AA LED flashlight

Coleman 2AA LED flashlight

One of the things I got for Christmas was an LED flashlight.  I already had an “Extreme Series” 10-LED flashlight I got a few years ago from Cabela’s, a couple of hand-cranked never-need-batteries flashlights, and an assortment of Maglites in sizes that range from pinky to “Driver’s license, registration, and insurance.”  Lantern batteryAnd I’m ignoring the old-school flashlights I’ve stuffed in the corner of the coat closet, like the one with that huge lantern spring battery.

What I got for Christmas was a Coleman’s 2AA LED flashlight, and it’s become my favorite.  Its single LED (a Cree XR-C, whatever that is) produces twice the light of the 10 LEDs in my Cabela’s and is lighter by two-thirds (though in defense of the Cabela’s I’ll note that the latter’s hefty case also doubles as a hunter’s coup de grâce weapon). And something else I’ve grown to like: the on/off button is on the back, parallel to the bulb, so you hold it CSI-style (like a javelin instead of like a frying pan) and turn it on with your thumb.

March 7, 2009 at 11:15 am Leave a comment

Grooming on facebook

Here’s an interesting article from The Economist about facebook.  It points out that Facebook features such as commenting on photos or Groomingposting on walls are an online equivalent to the grooming behavior observed in primates, and the vast amount of data you make available to Facebook is likely to be studied with that in mind.  It also supplies some statistics, courtesy of Facebook’s “in-house sociologist“:

  • 120: the average number of friends in a man’s Facebook network (women have “somewhat more”)
  • 10: how many of a woman’s friends actually get that woman to respond to any of their postings (for men the number is 7)
  • 26: for a woman with 500 Facebook friends, how many of them on average get that woman to respond (for men with 500 friends, the number is 17)

So as you grow your network, you’re mostly enlarging the number of people you monitor passively.

March 4, 2009 at 1:40 am Leave a comment


Started 2008 taxes on turbotax online. 25% off from Fidelity. Anything better out there?

February 1, 2009 at 4:34 am Leave a comment

Replacement for Obama’s BlackBerry

BlackBerry addict Barack Obama is replacing that device with a more secure version:  the Sectéra Edge (a.k.a. the BarackBerry), available from General Dynamics for $3,350, according to CNN.

The BarackBerry (a.k.a. Sectéra Edge)

General Dynamics calls the BarackBerry the only smartphone “that switches between an integrated classified and unclassified PDA with a single key press” though I suppose the Secret Service will want Obama to cover that button (the “Unclassified PDA key” at bottom left) with a label that says “Don’t press this button”…

April 2009 update:

Three months later, we find out that Obama had not replaced the BlackBerry with the Sectéra Edge but was instead using the two together in some secure but clumsy way. That interim solution is about to be replaced by a custom BlackBerry 8830 loaded with software from Genesis Key. Fast Company says the software is called SecurVoice and the bespoke-for-spook BlackBerry  won’t be ready for Obama for a few months.

January 22, 2009 at 2:32 pm Leave a comment

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