You go girl!

One never knows how to react when a good friend starts a weblog. I mean, sure, everyone’s doing it and I support each and every little one of them! Go blogs! But when a friend picks up the torch, there are only two ways things can progress:

  1. You pick up some new facts about them that you didn’t want to know, or ignored purposefully, an intentional amnesia that sustained your tenuous friendship, or
  2. Everything about them makes you more intrigued, allowing your friendship to blossom into something bigger, better, and more beautiful.

andrea harnerAndrea Harner, the girl behind the pictures behind BlackPeopleLoveUs.com, among other things, is an old friend with a new blog. And unfortunately she falls into the first category. LOL! LOL! No really, her shit is tight, and putting me to shame.

you go girl: andrea’s photo blog

Some notes on WiFi theft

Some may remember that I chose my current apartment based on the wifi capital of the neighborhood. The area is richer than I would ever have expected, moving from 2 networks last May to a whopping 15 at current despite the sparseness of residences (mostly Victorians).

Of these 15 networks, 10 are strong enough to reliably reach with my antenna-equipped laptop, and only 2 of those are not encrypted. I made a huge faux pas last week when, under extreme duress due to network link droppage, I opened up my benefactor’s router control panel, released the host DHCP and rebooted the router. Note that I’ve done this before many times, and with no effect.

Someone in the household must have noticed because now, despite getting a signal and IP address, I am unable to push anything through the router. At first I assumed this behavior to be a timely bug, but as it persists, I’m starting to suspect some human intervention.

I want free wifi, no doubt about it. But given that people will be suspicious of my theft, I’m willing to lend a helping hand and contribute to the cause. Sans posting flyers all over my neighborhood, I can’t see any way of contacting my potential providers (especially since 14 of the 15 have default SSIDs). It’s just unfortunate that the technology is engineered in a way that prevents me from contributing.

To my old network provider: so long, and thanks for all the bandwidth.

Silly Americans, the Internet is for other countries

sunsetThe last posted date on my weblog often becomes a daunting reminder of how thin I can spread myself. More importantly, it’s a testament to how connected a person needs to be to keep up to date with the connected lives of webloggers.

As it turns out, Mexico was a dichotomous experience with respect to the online world. On one side, stranded at my resort for the Sunbelt Conference, I had access to the hotel’s “business center,” a euphemism for one computer with 57.6k modem and a fax machine open 4-8 hours daily. With 200 conference attendees looking to keep in touch with their distant friends, the line for this stupid computer was usually 5 deep. The final two days of the conference the hotel closed the business center altogether, claiming a transition between service providers. To say the least, my aspirations of doing some live blogging of the conference went unfulfilled.

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Imminent departure

I’m currently shuffling to clean up my results for the Sunbelt conference in Cancun next week. No time for procrastination now, so the weblog will go fallow for a few days. Not to mention that posting will probably be slow while I’m sitting on the beach sipping sweet cocktails. Ahh the life of a graduate student.

The Terrible Mr. G

What happens when you play Counterstrike too much? You end up with a potty mouth. And some enemies:

So, the story goes that co-worker A got sick of co-worker B’s constant profanity whilst playing Counter Strike. Co-worker A then hid a microphone next to co-worker B’s desk, and captured this stream of rantings. Then, as co-worker A was a member of an electronic music-making concern, he endeavored to edit it all together. The end result was this: The Terrible Mr. G.

I highly recommend the song above to anyone who has played/knows someone who plays/heard someone play Counterstrike (via my first mine).

Audioscrobbler

Audioscrobbler is a plugin for WinAmp and XMMS that collects your listening behavior and aggregates it online along with other users. With data on what people are listening to, the system could begin to connect people to each other, users to new music they’re unaware of, or make predictions on the popularity of a given artist or song.

Unfortunately, the service has yet to reach critical mass (it only has 83 subscribed users), but it appears to be growing slowly. Even with a limited amount of raw data, its experimental artist similarity system pulls out pretty good predictions: a search for slowdive returns Sigur Ros, Mahogany, Bowery Electric and Mogwai, among others.

I’d love to see it grow, and I’d love to get my hands on the data. Mmmm… data.

Audioscrobbler Home

What Cameron is listening to

Morning after the Media Lab

pfeiffer sunPaul Pfeiffer, the respected video artist famous for his video-art-gone-screensaver John 3:16 is doing an installation at the List Visual arts center here at MIT (which is housed in the same building as the Media Lab). As promotion for the event, they’ve taped a giant photo from his new video piece Morning After the Deluge (2002) on the side of the Lab (which is shown on the right)

I couldn’t help but notice the irony.. a sun setting on the Media Lab? How strikingly appropriate for the current air surrounding our institutional success. Upon further investigation though, it turns out that the cleverness of Pfeiffer’s piece is the synthesis of both sunrise and sunset. The image taped to our building is a superimposition of both moments in the day. How appropriate. A statement of ambiguity on an institution with an ambiguous place in the future.

LVAC: Pfeiffer Exhibit

Bubb Rubb’n it up

bubb rubbIf you haven’t seen him yet, Bubb Rubb is the next internet video superstar. Check him out whoop whooping the whistle tip (windows media).

Every time I see a piece of video online that seems to be spreading like crazy, I make a local copy knowing well that these high-bandwidth memes tend to push people over their server quotas in rapid fashion. Given that my bandwidth at MIT is essentially unlimited, I host all of the video I link to locally, and as a result tend to serve up quite a bit of content.

In the case of Bubb, I like the man, and I want to make sure he lives to the fullest of his potential.

Bubb Rubb info center: unofficial bubb rubb and lil’ sis info center, Metafilter post, flash animation, sound clips, Bubb Rubb remix project. thousands more to come, I’m sure.

Tiny but deadly

sapphire virus map The Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA) has completed a study of the recent Sapphire virus, with some fascinating results (and noted missteps by the programmer).

As opposed to previous viruses, which depended on responses from randomly chosen potential hosts, Sapphire sent UDP packets that required no such return. In other words, Nimbda and Code Red were bounded by network latency, and Sapphire simply by bandwidth. Using this strategy, the virus was able to double its infected population every 8 seconds, while Code Red checked in at a snail-like 37 minutes. Most of the vulnerable machines were affected within 10 minutes.

CAIDA: The Spread of the Sapphire/Slammer Worm