Remember how I said the Internet was doomed?



On Feb. 27, a diplomatic process will begin in Geneva that could result in a new treaty giving the United Nations unprecedented powers over the Internet. Dozens of countries, including Russia and China, are pushing hard to reach this goal by year’s end. As Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last June, his goal and that of his allies is to establish “international control over the Internet” through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a treaty-based organization under U.N. auspices.

Guardians of the Net, take up your spears!  The Wall Street Journal has sounded the alarm, and this time it ain’t some American Intellectual Property bill.  The Communists are coming!

Nicholas Carr on the permanence of digital

Nicholas Carr and Hideo KojimaI found this interesting.  Fans of Metal Gear Solid 2 know that the game comments on the permanence of digital information, portraying traditional culture as fragile and transient, and digital culture as a swelling “flood” of eternally accessible garbage.  Physical records conform to the idea of evolution and natural selection, he suggests.  But yesterday, respected technology prophet and bestselling author Nicholas Carr flipped this idea on its head by suggesting that it’s actually old, physical culture that remains accessible, and digital information that becomes swept away in a stream of technological change…

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By the way: Clay Shirky on SOPA and PIPA imageI’ve become a fan of Clay Shirky in the last few months, so I wanted to share a presentation of his on SOPA and PIPA.  I know that the bills have been squashed, but the way he makes his argument, together with his conclusion, speak to the future of this problem more than the present.  You can check it out after the jump…

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So I’ve been paying attention to the Consumer Electronics Show 2012, and this stuck out to me.  It’s a pretty clever alternative to the QWERTY keyboard, and although it uses predictive typing (room for error) it could really catch on once you learn the basic premise.

The idea is to take all the characters on a normal keyboard and reduce them to only four “buttons”–those that stand on one point (F, I, T, etc.); those that stand on two (M, N, X…); those that stand on a wide base (Z, U, L…); and characters with a closed circle (@, P, O…). Snapkeys introduces four new icons for each of these new typing areas, effectively reducing the full QWERTY board down to only this:

CNET image of SnapKeys

These cute, emoticon-esque figures are hoping to kill QWERTY. (Credit: Screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET)

You can fool around with the idea here.  In order to teach how it works, it gives you something to type (found between the header and the SnapKeys buttons) and doesn’t ask you to click on a specific letter.  Instead, you hit the square that contains your letter, and it predicts which one you want.  The second test is to see whether you can type a sentence while only thinking about the four “types” of letters you want, and let the predictive system do the rest.

Once you start thinking about the alphabet in terms of closed loops, long bases, two points, and single points, it’s quite fun.  The developers say that this system will render QWERTY obsolete on touch-screen devices within three years, and I believe it.  I always thought adapting the QWERTY system to a touch screen was awkward, and this is exactly the kind of ingenious system that I’d expect to replace it.

They also mention installing this software directly into steering wheels, although they admit they don’t know whether this would make things better or worse for road distractions.  Can I make a suggestion?  If you’re going to let people type on their steering wheel, make sure it’s only enabled while the vehicle is parked!  My goodness.

DOTA 2 makes six Ukrainians millionaires

I used to play Defense of the Ancients when WarCraft III was still burgeoning, leveling up my heroes and mostly trying to figure out what to do next, buying items and playing against a static A.I. instead of other players.  With the release of StarCraft 2’s map editor I heard some strong rumblings from the Blizzard community about whether or not it would be able to handle DOTA maps, but I never knew how popular the map had become while I was gone.  Ever since the name ‘DOTA 2’ surfaced — now belonging to Valve instead of Blizzard! — I have been eagerly following it.

So I’ve been watching The International DOTA 2 Championships with some degree of shock.  How can the grand prize for this thing really be $1,000,000 USD?  I know that ‘eSports’ have been growing over the years, but we’re talking about an closed beta of a sequel to a very old WarCraft map, with no sponsorships.

My hat is off to Valve for putting this together and having the balls to steal everything from the original DOTA right in ActivisionBlizzard’s face; and to the Na’Vi team for becoming absurdly wealthy this weekend.

The Wisemen’s Committee

Have you been paying attention to the news lately?

President Johnson: The Patriots — even I don’t know who the actual members are. Are they financial, political, or military leaders? No one knows who the Patriots really are. Even my instructions come from a cut-out. All I’ve been told is that every key decision is made by a group of twelve men known as the Wisemen’s Committee.

Is Kojima a prophet or what?

Thanks to John from Snake Soup forums for comparing the FOX News image [here]

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