Nature: Future of Computing:

Nature has a special issue on Future of Computing

In the last two decades advances in computing technology, from processing speed to network capacity and the internet, have revolutionized the way scientists work. From sequencing genomes to monitoring the Earth’s climate, many recent scientific advances would not have been possible without a parallel increase in computing power – and with revolutionary technologies such as the quantum computer edging towards reality, what will the relationship between computing and science bring us over the next 15 years?

A lot of interesting articles available for reading and download and its a free access one.
Here are some of the titles

2020 computing: Champing at the bits by Philip Ball

2020 computing: Milestones in scientific computing by Jacqueline Ruttimann

2020 computing: Everything, everywhere by Declan Butler

2020 computing: Exceeding human limits by Stephen H. Muggleton

2020 computing: The creativity machine by Vernor Vinge


Led ThrowiesThe Graffiti Research Lab is a site that is dedicated to outfitting graffiti writers and artist with open source technologies for urban communication. They have people currently working in the lab and in the field to develop and test a range of experimental technologies for the state-of-the-art graffiti writer

Here is an instructional video about Electro-Graf

Dossier #2 from the Graffiti Research Lab: the Electro-Graf. An electro-graf is a graffiti piece or throw-up that uses conductive spray-paint and magnet paint to embed LED display electronics. The following pages describe the materials and processes used to create the prototype indoor and outdoor interactive electro-grafs created in the lab at Eyebeam.

Stroll over to and have a look at the video.

And then there’s LED Throwies ( to watch the video of the first campaign). These are an inexpensive way to add color to any ferromagnetic surface in your neighborhood. A Throwie consists of a lithium battery, a 10mm diffused LED and a rare-earth magnet taped together. Throw it up high and in quantity to impress your friends and city officials.

This is fascinating. I am so tempted to drag out my soldering iron….

Audacity – Open Source Audio

Screen Shot of Audacity

It was brought to my attention the other day that I had only ever mentioned Audacity in passing. Today we will rectify that.

So lets begin by saying that Sound Forge is possibly the greatest audio swiss army knife ever invented. I absolutely love it, but (there always has to be a but doesn’t there) it only works under Windows and it costs an arm and a leg as well.

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. The fact that I can use either Linux or Windows depending on how the laptop is configured is great.

Here is a short list of the things I have used Audacity to do recently:

  • Record live audio on my laptop. Chop out the quiet bits and then burn off a CD of the recording before we left the gig.
  • Edit MP3 and WAV sound files. Converting from one to the other.
  • Cut, copy, splice, and mix sounds together. This was to repair a butchered sound track on a video
  • Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
  • Generate Click tracks in a hurry. (This worked really well)

All in all a useful little program, and if you don’t require some of Sound Forge’s more obscure and esoteric functions well worth having in your toolkit.

UPDATE: It must be the day for it. Newsforge has an article on “Mastering podcasts with Audacity”.

Heres a quote…

Open source software makes podcasting easy — too easy. Listening to a playlist of first-timer podcasts can leave your ears ringing from sudden changes in playback volume. The problem is audio mastering. Recording sound is simple, but mastering that sound — compressing volume differences, maintaining a decibel ceiling, and similar operations — is anything but. Fortunately, an open source tool offers everything you need for mastering podcasts and other spoken-word recordings. Audacity is well-known among podcasters on all platforms for its ability as an editor; here are some tips and tools for mastering and adjusting volume, aimed at podcasters, but they could apply to anyone who needs to produce a spoken-word recording under less-than-perfect conditions.

The article mainly covers covers using compressors but it is very good. The comments down the bottom are worth a read as well.


Totality: Live from Turkey

The Exploratorium is doing a Total Solar Eclipse Webcast: Live from Turkey on March 29, 2006.

A total solar eclipse will occur when the new moon moves directly between the sun and the earth. The moon’s shadow will fall on the eastern tip of Brazil, speed eastward across the Atlantic, through northern Africa, across the Mediterranean, and into Turkey, where an Exploratorium team will be waiting.

Our crew will transmit a live eclipse Webcast, as well as a telescope-only feed, from a Roman amphitheater in Side, Turkey. Weather permitting, we’ll witness the spectacular moment of totality, when the moon completely blocks the sun, and the sun’s glorious corona (the outer part of the sun’s atmosphere) is revealed.

The “How We Do It ” page is pretty little toy shop. Satellites, server farms, fibre optic links from London to America…. Very Cool

What can I say? Go to the site do the complicated calculations to figure out which parts of the world are in Daylight saving (according to the site… it will be 9:00pm on the 29th for Melbourne) and which parts aren’t and have a look.

The rest of the Exploratorium is pretty cool too.


Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20060327


Well the Games are consigned to the fish wrapper of the past and now maybe we can get a seat on the tram again.

Now lets have a look at “Blame” no seriously, Thomas Edwards is an artist who creates “Technological art that explores the interface between people and machines”. He has created a sculpture titled Blame, which senses your presence and then swings an arm with an accusing finger towards you, and in a loud voice “proceeds to blame the viewer for some horrible crime against society”. Then the arm continues to scan for a new victim to blame.” Sorry but there is no video just some stills. It appeals to me… go figure.

Bored with your backdrop and the “network nazis” haven’t locked you out of changing your desktop background? Stroll over to Wikipedia , they have a page of featured images from the collaborative encyclopedia that are large enough and most will look pretty spiffy hiding behind your icons. I personally rather like the mushroom. Featured_desktop_backgrounds



Over at Miray they have a bunch of useful little tools. Today I am drawing your attention to HDClone, it enables you to move the content from an entire hard drive to another, larger one. The program installs itself on a bootable floppy or CD, and include it`s own operating system, so it runs completely independent from Windows.

Once HDClone has created the bootable floppy or CD for you, you can use it to boot your computer and copy the drive content to the new (installed) drive, using a graphical interface. The free version is perfectly suitable to upgrade your existing drive to a larger one. It supports IDE/ATA/SATA hard disks and is able to copy up to 300 MB/min.

This allows you to create backups or copies of complete operating system installations smoothly. In combination with the special ‘SafeRescue’ mode of HDClone, this technique is also perfect for rescuing data in case of defective hard disks. Furthermore, HDClone works independent of partition layout, file system and operating system (i.e. it works with FAT, FAT32, NTFS, etc.). Thus, it also works with proprietary data formats which could not be accessed otherwise. Besides copying complete drives, it is also possible to apply it to certain partitions only.

The idea is to try out the Free Edition to find out if a certain PC system and its hard disks or other media are supported. It shows all supported and recognized drives, but some of them may only be usable with one of the higher editions.

The Free Edition makes a great alternative to Ghost or True Image (my current choice) for those once or twice a year occurrences.

A good deal and some of the other utilities are well worth a look too (the Network Sniffer caught my eye).