Saturday, May 31, 2008

Can NoScript help?

In watching an episode of Tekzilla, they mentioned a Firefox addon called NoScript. Always willing to try something new, it was installed within seconds and after restarting FF my browsing experience was changed forever!

The first thing you notice is the "S" down in the lower right corner of the browser window. The second thing is the popup "Options" line also down in the lower portion of the browser. It is a simple matter to authorize the scripts on a page and NoScript automatically reloads the page after changes are selected. For me, it works well and reasonably unobtrusively. However, some who desire a transparent browsing experience may not appreciate the attention required for this added safety.

The unexpected benefit for my browsing experience was the identification of all the scripts within a web page. Both the ones that make the page "work" as well as the insidious background, hidden scripts that track, collect or basically spy on your internet behaviors. NoScript easily exposes these to the user and provides a way to be in control of both your actions and what others can collect about those actions.

Of course, there is the matter of trust. Yes, Noscript is an excellent aid to safe surfin', but it has the opportunity to abuse that trust. However, I don't believe that this is the case and since its introduction it has been closely reviewed. It is free software under GPL licensing. So for now, I will trust it until I learn something different.

Information from the web site:

The NoScript Firefox extension provides extra protection for Firefox, Flock, Seamonkey and others mozilla-based browsers:
this free, open source add-on allows JavaScript, Java, Flash and other plugins
to be executed only by trusted web sites of your choice (e.g. your online bank),
and provides the most powerful Anti-XSS protection available in a browser.

NoScript's unique whitelist based pre-emptive script blocking approach
prevents exploitation of security vulnerabilities (known and even not known yet!)
with no loss of functionality...

You can enable JavaScript, Java and plugin execution for sites you trust with a simple left-click
on the NoScript status bar icon (look at the picture), or
using the contextual menu, for easier operation in popup statusbar-less windows.

Watch the "Using NoScript" video
kindly contributed by John Wilkerson.

Staying safe has never been so easy!

Experts will agree: Firefox is really safer with NoScript!

Bottom line: NoScript has been around for a couple of years. For this author, it has opened his eyes to just how nasty some of the scripting is on various sites. Even if you plan to globally authorize all scripting, be sure to at least check out the scripts on the pages you visit, they could be helping you in ways you really, really don't want to have happen.

NoScript was written by Giorgio Maone who cofounded Informaction located in Palermo, Italy.

You can get NoScript here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Virtual Cable™

This might be listed in the "too cool to be true" section, but if it is truly as good as they say, I love it!

Mentioned at their web site:
Virtual Cable™ is a unique display for a car navigation system. The driver sees the Virtual Cable™ image through the windshield. It appears as if suspended over the road, similar to a trolley cable. The image is in true 3D and appears to be a natural part of the landscape. The driver uses only peripheral vision to follow the Virtual Cable™.

The Virtual Cable™ is so powerful, intuitive, unambiguous and safe because it appears and behaves with true 3 dimensionality within the landscape.

Also noted on their site:
They have video simulations demonstrating the Virtual Cable™. These videos are limited by the 2 dimensionality of your computer screen. Nothing we can show on a flat screen can prepare you for the impressive way the truly 3 dimensional Virtual Cable™ looks within the real landscape.

And finally, how it gets to the consumer:
To appear real within the landscape, the image must be truly three-dimensional. The Virtual Cable™ uses a unique volumetric display to create this 3D image (patent pending).

The Virtual Cable™ displays can be offered at prices competitive with the embedded screen-based car navigation systems. All components used by the Virtual Cable™ display are currently mass produced for other purposes.

In terms of components independence, the Virtual Cable™ display (as a part of navigation system) is analogous to a PC monitor (as a part of a personal computer system). Just as a PC (CPU) may by upgraded, or replaced, without replacing the monitor, the route-planning device may be upgraded, or replaced, while keeping the original, factory-installed Virtual Cable™ display.

The Virtual Cable™ display must be factory-installed in a car and can be integrated with ANY method of route planning: voice interface, in-car instrument panel screen, portable map display system, cell phone, PDA, or PC.

This flexible design allows car companies to integrate with a single navigation/telematics service provider or to give customers a choice of several providers. The car companies could improve their share of the car navigation market by offering a superior display while freeing them from having to participate in the day-to-day customer support of the route planning devices and services.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

twitter crushed under its own weight

As Calacanis would say: "TWITTER!"

UPDATE: 2008.05.29
You have to admit their error messages are artistic, well at least cartoonish.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


As the iPhone made a mobile leap, the XOXO will be the leap for eReaders and small "usable" devices (don't say laptop). If they do a G1G1 program, I would gladly participate.

Details from Christoph Derndorfer's post.

At the much-anticipated press-event that took place at OLPC HQ in Boston earlier today, the organization unveiled its plans for second generation of XO hardware. The XO-2, or XOXO as it's also called, comes with dual-touchscreens which has some tech journalists thinking of the Nintendo DS. As you can see on the photo to your right one of the touchscreens can be used as a keyboard to enable the standard typewriter style of computing.

The XO-2 will make use of displays developed by Pixel Qi which was founded by former OLPC-CTO Mary Lou Jepsen in early 2008.

TED -Yves Behar: Creating objects that tell stories

Designer Yves Behar digs up his creative roots to discuss some of the iconic objects he's created (the Leaf lamp, the Jawbone headset). Then he turns to the witty, surprising, elegant objects he's working on now -- including the "$100 laptop."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

TED Talk- Joshua Klein: The amazing intelligence of crows

Hacker and writer Joshua Klein talks about his crow vending machine experiment and the thriving urban mutualism between humans and crows.

Included are examples of human-crow research encounters.

Joshua Klein TED bio