Neal Vitale Reviews: Grindhouse, The Hoax, Fracture
Gonzales: Content Not Style


by Craig Reynolds

When software fails: several spectacular software screw-ups made the news this week. Millions of crackberry users went into withdrawal as the result of a poorly tested patch: R.I.M. Offers a Reason for BlackBerry Failure and RIM offers explanation for massive outage. Similarly, insufficient software testing procedures for a Mars Global Surveyor patch have been identified as the cause of the craft's demise: Software 'fix' responsible for loss of Mars probe. And it apparently never occurred to the makers of TurboTax that a lot of their customers might procrastinate until the deadline: Intuit overwhelmed by last-minute tax filers. I bet if the IRS fined Intuit for each such delayed return they might invest in more robust servers.

Tiny tech: dusty distributed systems: 'Smart dust' to explore planets, Shape-shifting 'smart dust' may explore alien worlds and Scots scientists unveil 'spray-on' computer. A passive nano-tech: Plastic sheets perform auto-origami. This device is more of a surgical ROV than a robot, but still very cool technology: Caterpillar robot 'treats hearts'. Advances in insect inspired flying machines: Float like a robot butterfly.

History of the future: the future isn't what it used to be, as seen in AT&T's vision for the Internet in 1993 and from Paleo-Future, Disney's 1937 "Modern Inventions" (via Donald Duck's 1937 vision of the future).

Modern love: is this the golden age of dating for smart geeks and wonks?: In the New Dating Scene, the Attraction Is a Beautiful Mind. Instant background checks for potential dates: Google First … Date Later.

Technobits: Researchers explore scrapping Internet ('It's sort of a miracle that it continues to work well today') --- Google backs character-recognition research --- Feds: Accuracy of Face Recognition Software Skyrockets --- Can open source techniques be used to design a car? --- Patently at Odds ("Drug and Tech Sectors Battle With Reform High on Agenda") and Congress takes new stab at patent system overhaul --- Mathematician suggests extra dimensions are time-like --- The iPod and the Vacuum Tube Sing a Warm Duet --- Color barcode system to hit DVDs --- automatic transmissions for bicycles --- Birdwatching goes hi-tech with online video camera game like the Google image labeling game, another scheme for recruiting volunteer help by casting it as game play --- Scientists fear flight of Britain's bumblebees (anything to do with the disappearance of North American honeybees previously mentioned here?) --- Elephant dung helps scientists develop new biofuel --- Flu Vaccine Made From Caterpillars --- 'Pipe organ' plays above the Sun --- My Dog is a Jedi low-rent rotoscope test --- Steampunk R2-D2 a live-steam retro-tech implementation.