Tag Archives: Tech

State-of-the-Art Toilet Technology

I’m not normally an early adopter, but I confess to a little bit of toilet envy when it comes to green toilets.

Now, I’ve spent more than enough time living in apartments with toilets that are literally, and unintentionally green; I’d really love to live with one that was green in metaphor only — like a composting toilet, say. Who can’t get behind the knowledge that every time you visit the lav, you’re helping grow some rhododendrons?

Even just a low-flow variety or a rig with a bidet would be an improvement. It may not be polite to say, but we spend an awful lot of our lives in that private, special place — some of us far more than others. Is it wrong to think I’d like a little variety in my quiet time?

This rig, however, may be going overboard. I’m mildly appalled at this article on Mother Nature Network about INAX’s Regio (READ MORE)


Russian Space Plane Prompts Talk of a New Space Race

U.S. Air Force image of the U.S. X-37B before launch.

Flight Global reported yesterday on Russia’s announcement of a new space plane to rival the United States X-37B, an unmanned orbital craft designed to deliver payloads but not ferry people.

The Russian program was announced by Oleg Ostapenko, “the head of the armed forces unit dedicated to military space operations.”

David Axe of Wired’s Danger Room…(READ MORE)

Steve Vai to Teach World’s Largest Online Guitar Lesson

Public Domain photo of Steve Vai by Snowdog, via Wikipedia.

Guitar god Steve Vai is staging what he hopes will be the world’s largest online guitar lesson on March 3, 2011 at 1:30 pm Eastern Time.

Berkleemusic.com, the extension arm of Boston’s legendary Berklee College of Music, is partnering with Vai and Livestream.com to stream the thing from Livestream’s NYC studio. (READ MORE)

Amazon Erotica Authors Complain of Content-Based Removal

Creative Commons image by Mike Licht of NotionsCapital.com.

A kerfuffle has erupted recently among authors of erotica who have published Kindle titles on Amazon.com. It turns out that those featuring content that violates Amazon’s notoriously vague “content guidelines” have been removed not only from Amazon’s catalog but from the Kindles of customers that have already bought that title.

…As a writer, I frankly don’t give a damn.

But I read a hell of a lot more than I write. From a consumer’s perspective, this trend is completely new, and is phenomenally dangerous. It must not be allowed.

In fact I would say that, as a buyer of books, Amazon’s trend of retroactively canceling sales and removing work from your virtual bookshelf is absolutely catastrophic. It renders Amazon completely unacceptable as a retailer. In the case, for instance, of a CD that I buy, then legally rip, then illegally distribute as a set of MP3s, it takes legal action to hold me liable for that.

If Amazon’s position is that their sale to you can be rescinded at any time without notifying you, it has ceased to be a retailer. It can’t even claim to be a library, because libraries are (nowadays, usually) free. It is, at best, the on-demand equivalent of a radio station, except most radio stations are free, too. Why would one pay for the temporary use of a piece of text that they might have snatched from their computer at any time, when in the vast majority of cases they could obtain the same text for the same price from a company that doesn’t have a history of changing its mind and taking its purchase back?

Again, I will deliver my opinion explicitly, in case anyone missed it: Amazon must not remove from customers’ Kindles books they have already sold to them.

Amazon, either lock down your content at the starting gate, or take your lumps when you profit from the sale of something you’re uncomfortable profiting from.


New World Record On Totally Obscure Space Invaders Clone

Creative Commons photo by Flickr user die_gabel (Achim).

You know, I think Joystiq summed up today’s gaming-world fandango-in-a-teapot best when they said:

It’s an inspiring tale of perseverence, one that teaches a valuable lesson: if you want to be the best at something, pick something nobody else has ever heard of.

Which has always been my theory when it comes to the sport of Speed Nostril-Flaring.

Joystiq was referring, of course, to a far less obscure pastime. The target of their huzzah is 38-year-old Justin Baxter, who rescued a Cosmic Monsters console from the junkyard seven years ago and recently skunked the 1983 world record of about 105,000 by hitting 145,680.


Facebook Threatened With Contempt of Court

Facebook failed to send a lawyer to Sacramento Superior Court in answer to a subpoena yesterday — leading Judge Michael P. Kenny to “issue an order that Facebook show cause why it shouldn’t be held in contempt of court.” The next hearing in the case, on January 7, will probably result in a contempt charge if a legal representative for Facebook doesn’t show.

The case is a trial of five alleged members of the Killa Mobb gang on charges relating to the beating of a man in the Sacramento area on Halloween, 2008. According to a story in the Sacramento Bee (READ THE REST OF THIS POST ON TECHYUM)

UK Man Charged With Obscenity For Private Text Chat

A Swanscombe man named Gavin Smith has been charged under the UK’s Obscene Publications Act based on a private chat he had with one other individual. According to an article this week in The Register titled “‘Pervy’ Private Chat Case Springs Back to Life,” the case was originally filed in May, but was discharged by the court as being unfit for prosecution.

Since then, “new evidence” has been introduced allowing the Crown Prosecution Service to re-file against the defendant under the Obscene Publications Act.

In May, the Register’s Jane Fae Osimek (who also reported on the recent re-filing) wrote… (READ THE REST OF THIS POST ON TECHYUM)