Monday, April 10, 2006

And on the lighter side...

We had Katie's 1 Year Birthday Party over the weekend. It was really nice. (Pictures will be available soon!)

Of course, Katie got to enjoy totally playing with her cake unhindered. (Although she didn't seem to enjoy eating it too much. Ice cream was a hit though.)

However, during a 1 Year birthday party you (as a parent) realize that this one birthday party is as much for you (or more) than for the child. You think back over the last year and all the amazing things that have happened. And in some ways, time has flown; but at the same time, you can hardly remember your life before your child entered your life.

What an amazing ride life is.

Friday, April 07, 2006

MIT Researchers Build Tiny Batteries With Viruses

This is pretty cool - using a virus to do nanoconstuction for us. You can "read more" below to get the details. If you want a very user-friendly intro to nanotechnology, Michael Crichton's Prey is both a great read and a good layman's intro to nano and other technologies. I'm sure some techno purists will point out many errors in Crichton's novel - but I think it's good as an intro to the concepts.

Article 1 digg story
Article 2 Slashdot story

I know my blog has been getting pretty technical lately, but I promise there was be some more lighthearted entries in the near future.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Digital Legacy

Today Matt IMed me with a witty little digital adaption of some dialog from everyone's favorite movie, The Princess Bride. ("I am the Dread Slashdotter hypnotik!") The original source of this was this Slashdotters journal entry.

Which really got me thinking after I read it. For those of you who will never follow the above link (I know you're out there...), here's the summary:

We are all currently creating digital bits of ourselves all over the Internet. All of our saved email; accounts from websites such as Slashdot; photo albums on Flickr or Web Shots; etc. etc. etc. The question is, should we take steps to ensure that after we pass that our survivors will have access to this information?

Just as today we may read old letters that our grandfathers wrote home during WWII with keen interest, will my children read through my old email with affection? For instance, they may find the flurry of emails I sent and received in the immediate wake of 9-11 very interesting. (Although, I don't know how much of that actually got saved, but you get my meaning.)

What will happen to our digital identities in the future? Will they be carried forward for generations, copied from one database to another, or simply get erased due to inactivity after we're gone?

I've heard many historians wonder aloud how they will do historical research in the future. Today, much is learned by perusing old letters, notebooks, etc. With so much being done today in word processors and email, they say, what will future historians have to look at?

Maybe this is the answer. Maybe we have an obligation to our descendants to preserve all this new digital information we are producing for use after we are gone. Maybe we need a Digital Will and Testament. ("Little Johnny is to get sole access to my email, but you can each have a copy of my photo albums!") Maybe we should all have a slip of paper in a safe deposit box with all of our Internet user IDs and passwords - just in case.

There was a mention in the comments to the journal entry linked above about parents of a soldier that died in Iraq trying to get access to his Yahoo email account to preserve some of his last thoughts and communications. They were (probably rightly) denied - it was against the privacy rules that their son had agreed to upon signing up for Yahoo email.

Just something to think about. And if this is my great-grandson reading this decades from now - you're welcome. ;-)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A confession

The other day, a friend and I were discussing how badly the "new" Star Wars movies were. In particular, we were talking about how in Episode II, Obi-Wan finds out that the clones were ordered by a Jedi Master named Sifo-Dyas. And that's it - it's never really explained better than that.

So just like whenever I have a question about anything these days, I turned to Wikipedia. And of course, it had the answer - as best as anyone can tell. As often happens on the web, I followed a link trail that only one hundred monkeys clicking on mice for one hundred years could recreate, ended up on the page for my favorite Star Wars videogame, Knights of the Old Republic.

This is a fairly deep game that I have played for like 40 hours and not completed the storyline. It's not been months since I have booted it up, and truth be told, my gaming time is so limited these days that I knew I would never really get back to it. Therefore when I saw the "spoiler warning" I was very tempted. At first I resisted the urge to read the entire article, but then I caved.

I was pleased to see that I had properly guessed the "plot twist", but was pretty amazed at another development in the game. Now I feel as if I've somehow cheated myself out of something. Even if I do get the chance to complete the game, it won't have the same thrill.

Sigh. Oh well, There is always Knights of the Old Republic II.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Web 2.0 Explained

This makes two technical posts in a row - and I really want to avoid this being a technical blog. But this article sums up so well the direction many people (including myself) believe the Internet is heading I had to put it out there. It may be a little on the technical side for some, but it's definitely worth the read if you have the time.

This is what the Internet really should be.