follow us in feedly
The AMAZING $20 cure for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and wrist pain
01.28.2015
02:45 pm

Topics:
Science/Tech

Tags:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


 
Okay, so this post has nothing to do with the topics normally considered to be within our wheelhouse—no punk rock, cult films or other avant garde zaniness here—but if you or someone you know suffers from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or severe tendonitis from working on a computer all day, read on, I hope this will be of (great and lasting) benefit.

As the editor of a blog and a small business owner, I’m generally online most of the day and it’s not at all unusual for me to be at a keyboard for twelve hours at a time with few breaks. I fit into the category of extreme workaholic, but since around May of last year, my body has been trying to send me a message I wasn’t heeding: a painful tendonitis afflicting my right hand and arm due to squeezing a mouse and right-clicking all day. It went very quickly (a matter of weeks) from being a minor but persistent irritation to becoming a “9” out of ten on the pain scale. From my wrist to my elbow, my inner arm felt raw, red and swollen.

The top of my hand was worse, with my “mouse finger” feeling like it was soon going to become useless altogether, as in my hand felt like it was on the verge of no longer functioning much like a hand anymore. Not only did it really hurt when I was working, even when I was away from my desk, it made common activities like washing dishes, opening a car door, brushing my teeth or even wiping my ass excruciatingly painful. Anything I had to grip at the gym was a problem. I began to wonder how much longer I could take doing what I do for a living before I had to go on a long break, or get an operation or some sort of physical therapy.

I mean it really sucked. BIGTIME. And no one ever feels sorry for you for having a repetitive strain disorder unless they’ve been troubled with it themselves. You seem fine, and you look just fine, but the reality is, it’s super depressing when you lose the proper use of your hand and your livelihood itself causes you lots and lots of pain. A little over three weeks ago, I dropped and smashed a Coke bottle in the shop around the corner. It slipped right out of my hand as I stood in line and exploded on the floor. It was embarrassing enough, but I’d dropped something equally messy the day before in the very same shop. I didn’t even feel it slip out of my grip. Like I say, depressing!
 

 
After that I decided to get aggressive and went online to research my options. The first advice you read—and it’s sage wisdom—is to STOP doing whatever it is that you are doing that is causing the problem in the first place (i.e. what I was doing at that very minute). That’s great advice if you don’t have to worry about making a living, but unsatisfying for those of us who do.

A lot of the advice centered around alternate keyboards and ergonomic mice. To that end, I bought the RollerMouse Red “ergonomic mouse-central pointing device” from Contour, which reviewed very well and came with a money back guarantee and free FedEx shipping. It’s not cheap, but it made a significant difference and I found it easy to get used to. I liked it so much that I bought an ergonomic mouse from Contour as well, which I loved at first, but then came to find that it made my problem even worse than it already was. (This is not to say the same would happen for you. Contour Design’s product line is very, very well-thought out and I am using the RollerMouse Red to type this.)

Nearly ready to admit defeat, as of three or four weeks ago, I was starting to investigate speech recognition software and picking up the phone again for the first time in years instead of writing email. I bought another mouse that’s shaped like a pen, an Anker vertical mouse (which I like and use, but it’s not perfect) and one that works sort of like a joystick. Nothing really produced any sort of improvement (save for the RollerMouse Red) let alone a breakthrough.
 

 
Reading on Amazon about the various CTS “splint glove” arm guard options and then realizing that most people say they don’t work at all (which seems obvious the minute you put one on) I kept clicking until I came across the inexpensive M BRACE RCA. It was $20 and had amazing reviews. Why not? If it brought ANY relief whatsoever, it was worth more than 20 bucks and if it turned out to be snake oil, it was only 20 bucks. Despite the stellar reviews, my hopes were muted.

The M BRACE RCA is a Velcro-fastened wristband with an angled plastic piece that’s meant to fit over your wrist. THAT’S IT. My first thought was “How’s this going to work?” I looked at the box for instructions or any information about it, but all it basically said was “make a fist, pull strap tight, but not too tight, fasten” The packaging really offered… not much of anything.

I put it on at approximately 4:30 in the afternoon. I remained skeptical and I was annoyed at first by the feel of the plastic brace on my wrist. Within a few hours I noticed not just a slight reduction in pain, but actually a significant change! I had cause for optimism if this unassuming device could work that fast.
 

 
The next morning I woke up and forgot about the M BRACE RCA until my throbbing tendonitis quickly reminded me of it. I put the wristband back on and spent the entire workday nearly pain free. If I had to quantify the situation, the pain went from being a “9” (the cusp of unbearable / “I can’t take this anymore!!!” territory) to a “2.5” in LESS than 24 hours.

It was crazy. It was totally unexpected. I felt like doing the happy dance of joy it was such a major RELIEF.

The Amazon Marketplace dealer who sold me the M BRACE RCA sent an email offering to mail me, at no additional charge, padding for the M BRACE RCA should I find that it was irritating (it doesn’t) and directing me to his quite extensive explanation of how he came to find out about the M BRACE RCA himself and how it works to the actual patent application filed by the inventor, Dr. Mark A. Davini, DC, a Boston-based chiropractor.

It’s been three weeks, maybe a little longer now since I got my M BRACE RCA. The tendonitis pain has gone from a “9” to a “2.5” and today, as I type this, I’d say it’s about a “1” on the pain scale. Maybe less. The M BRACE RCA basically does one thing: it prevents your wrist from being flexible enough to cause a repetitive strain injury (RSI) or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. You’re forced to work slightly differently (without curtailing movement much) but this makes all the difference. It also creates the space to allow the wrist’s median nerve to heal, which for me continued rapidly for over a week until I was virtually pain free.

I don’t want to make this post overlong because I want the message to be simple: Try this thing, like I did. It costs practically nothing and if it doesn’t work for you, who cares, you’re not out very much. It worked GREAT for me and for most of the reviewers on Amazon.

Additionally, I wanted to stress how getting rid of the mouse, or more specifically switching to the Contour RollerMouse Red (which requires no constant gripping, you could probably operate it wearing oven mitts) really helped in my case. Without the M BRACE RCA I wouldn’t be saying that, but I have noticed that when I use my Anker vertical mouse for too long—or not even that long at all—it starts to hurt again. For me, the ideal combination is the M BRACE RCA, the Contour RollerMouse Red and a standing desk, but without a doubt, the M BRACE RCA was the primary and most important factor in my own (speedy!) recovery from severe tendonitis.

If you take my advice about the M BRACE RCA and find that it works for you, too, consider leaving advice for others in the comments and spreading the word about this simple, cheap and nearly instantaneously cure for RSI, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and even severe tendonitis brought on by spending too much time on a computer.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Gramovox: The Bluetooth gramophone for the douchey anachronistic hipster music fan in your life
01.20.2015
03:35 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Science/Tech

Tags:
gramaphone


 
I tend to have a pretty unsentimental perspective on “media,” as opposed to art. Beyond preferring books to e-readers (mostly for the comfort of a spatial division of text), I find a lot of media nostalgia pretty hokey, vinyl-obsession included. Don’t get me wrong, I love my records, but the quality of my favorites have definitely deteriorated over time—those “warm” crackles and pops are fine by me, but they’re hardly integral to the song. If an album is good, it’s not “ruined” by a decent transfer to digital—although a lot of that obsession with “quality” is bullshit, too, and certain things, like old sci-fi movies, can look pretty ticky-tacky after hyper-clear Blu-ray transfer. As unsympathetic as I am to pining for giant and expensive music collections, I understand that people have their preferences for a myriad of reasons—different strokes and all that.

The Bluetooth gramophone however, is where I draw the line.

First of all, gramophones sound shitty. If you have ever heard one, it’s novel and it’s interesting, but they’re tinny, and the recording is buried under a soft static of white noise. That is why the technology has been improved upon since Edison. Second of all, no one in the target market for this thing legitimately nostalgic for the gramophone, and no one who DID actually grow up with one is thrilled they’re making a retrofitted comeback! If they’re even alive, it’s more likely they’re surprised you’d eschew technological and space-saving advances in favor of dumbshit retro aestheticism. You’ll notice in the product description, very little attempt is made to justify the design from an audiophile perspecticve:

The Gramovox Bluetooth Gramophone is a bold design with a vintage sound inspired by the 1920s horn speakers. Use any Bluetooth-enabled device to stream nostalgia and experience the vintage, organic sound of a gramophone. Utilizing the latest Bluetooth 4.0 technology, the Gramovox Bluetooth Gramovphone has a range of over 30 feet and battery life of 15 hours, meaning it can easily be controlled from across the room all day.

Is the novelty of a “vintage” sound really worth a product that was designed to look cool, rather than sound good? Or are people just so nostalgic nowadays that “vintage” automatically translates to “good”? Some vintage things sucked! Ever hear of… progress? So if you’re trying to sell this boondoggle of a speaker, you’d better do better than, “It looks like what your grandpappy had!” or “Make your music sound shitty!” Oh and their commercial! Dear god, the that fucking commercial!

I try so hard not to use the word “hipster,” since half the time it’s just code for a thinly-veiled homophobia sneered by some meathead in cargo pants who would have beat the shit out of Richard Hell back in the day for “dressing queer,” but man—this thing was funded on Kickstarter and goes for $400 at Urban Outfitters? If you want a beautiful historic object in your home, why not just buy an actual antique gramaphone?

I can’t possibly think of anything less cool than this thing! Hipster, heal thyself!
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Dirty Teletext pages from Germany
01.20.2015
12:25 pm

Topics:
Advertising
Science/Tech
Sex

Tags:
sex
Teletext


This lady has an “Apfelpo”—that is, a butt like an apple
 
These images require some clarification. Roughly a decade before the rise of the World Wide Web in 1995, citizens of Germany and Austria (I’m not sure where else) could access through their TV sets a digital mode of information dissemination known as Teletext, a system that had been developed in the U.K. during the 1970s. If you had the right kind of TV with the right kind of remote control—and they weren’t uncommon at all, loads of German speakers know about this—you could switch your TV into an interactive mode where you could dial up certain basic, updated information such as headlines, weather information, sports scores, traffic updates, and even flight departures and arrivals at airports.

Many channels (ZDF, 3sat, etc.) have their own Teletext systems, and by punching in “100” you could get the homepage; other 3-digit numbers would be displayed on the screen for other forms of information, and if you typed in one of those numbers, you would get a page dedicated to this or that story or perhaps a list of cities and temperatures or the like. What was charming about it was that it was pretty resolutely low-bit—the screens would often use a crude form of ASCII art for logos. Furthermore, the system scarcely seemed to change over time—during an era in which incredible resources were being thrown into improving and maximizing browser technologies, poky old Teletext just stayed the same year after year. You could look at a Teletext display from today, and it would look about the same as an equivalent display from 1990. The fact that Europe was so far ahead of the U.S. on such matters was not lost on me, I would sometimes tell Americans, prone to gushing about U.S. tech superiority, about it.

I’ve spent a lot of my life in Austria, particularly in the pre-WWW years of 1992 to 1995, when I lived in Vienna full-time (although I didn’t own a TV set), so all of my associations with Teletext are uniformly from that country. Here’s a “normal” Teletext screen from ORF, the Austrian news organization, with headlines (Schlagzeilen) about military helicopters (101), terror arrests in France (127), Austrian chancellor Werner Faymann (115), a demonstration in Leipzig (133), something about the Swiss Franc (117), and Argentina (134).
 

 
Every one of those numbers will lead to a “story” that is parceled out in screens of no more than 12 or 15 lines at a time, and maybe 35 characters across. It’s a little like trying to read a newspaper on a clam phone—it’ll do in a pinch, but not really satisfying. Useful as Teletext may be—and it is useful—it’s also unremittingly boring. Once you find out about the immediate news you were seeking, there’s almost no way to spend more than about 10 minutes fiddling with Teletext on the TV.

I didn’t know until today that there exist XXX pages on Teletext, when some of them popped up on a blog I sometimes look at, text-mode, which is dedicated to ASCII art and anything that has a remote resemblance to pixelated art (certain kinds of weaved tapestries, for instance).

I found these Teletext pages funny, and I thought you might as well. If it’s not entirely obvious, these are ads for phone sex workers
 

I suspect that the numerical string “80085” does not require translation, but for those of you without a calculator, it’s “boobs.”
 

“AV-Spass” = “AV fun,” where “AV” means “Analverkehr” or nevermind…
 

“Dauergeile” means “constantly horny,” “stute” means “mare,” so it’s like you’re boning horny mares. Eesh.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
follow us in feedly
This is what the bacteria that lives on your cell phone looks like
01.16.2015
05:42 am

Topics:
Science/Tech

Tags:
phones
bacteria

00bactphon.jpg
 
This week the University of Surrey in England released images of the types of bacteria that live on cell phones.

Scientist at the university put their phones in petri dishes containing agar—a gelatinous substance, obtained from algae that is supplemented with nutrients—to document the bacteria’s growth over three days. Though the images look gross most of the bacteria are harmless, and the final photos give a close-up view of the microscopic world with which we all intimately interact on a daily basis.

The most troublesome bacterium found was staphylococcus aureus that can cause skin rash, respiratory disease and food poisoning. The boffins at Surrey thought the staphylococcus aureus contamination had been caused by someone picking their nose.

Dr. Simon Park, senior lecturer in molecular biology told the Daily Mirror:

“From these results, it seems that the mobile phone doesn’t just remember telephone numbers, but also harbours a history of our personal and physical contacts such as other people, soil and other matter,” he said.

“[The experiment] was a way of showing [our students] directly and quite strikingly how contaminated their phones could be.”

The best advice to stopping this kind on bacteria thriving on your smart or cell phone is simply to clean it every week with some disinfectant.
 
001bactphones.jpg
 
03bactpho.jpg
 
Via Daily Mirror.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
follow us in feedly
‘American Psycho’ babble: E-mails from Patrick Bateman


 
In 2000, online marketing of Hollywood movie releases was in its infancy. Does anyone remember the Beast, the online alternate-reality puzzle that was created to promote the Steven Spielberg/Stanley Kubirck movie A.I.? That was in 2001. A year earlier, Lions Gate Films, tasked with distributing the Mary Harron’s movie American Psycho, created an online advertising campaign in which you could sign up to receive emails from the movie’s psychotic protagonist, Patrick Bateman. The emails were helpfully collected by and have been posted online by a man named Brian Kotek.

The book American Psycho has had a remarkable journey since its incredibly controversial release in 1991. I can’t think of another case in which a book was so shunned by the publishing community—Ellis had always been considered somewhat suspect, a flash in the pan, by New York publishing types, and when his third novel turned out to be a deadpan account of a psycopathic day trader, the New York publishing community, as one, decided they weren’t interested in plumbing the work for irony. The novel was acquired by Simon & Schuster, but the company dropped the project because of “aesthetic differences.” Vintage Books then purchased the rights to the novel and published the book. Essentially, the novel was unjustly treated as …, shall we say, a piece of disgusting pornography when in fact sensitive adults should have been perfectly able to differentiate between that kind of titillation and a more nuanced critique of American capitalism or of the violence of life in America. However IMO the negative perception of Ellis by people in the publishing world, overly eager to serve him his comeuppance, blocked that option.

When the movie was later adapted by Harron, the feminist-identifying (and British) director of I Shot Andy Warhol, that considerably helped resuscitate the book’s image and make it easier to see it as a deliciously nasty jape rather than a soulless exercise in sadism, which it never was in the first place. The movie has become something of a cult item, and Patrick Bateman (particularly for a passage in the book, repeated in the movie, relating his adoring attitude towards Huey Lewis) has become a favorite in memes, to the point that Weird Al Yankovic and Huey Lewis filmed a parody of the American Psycho scene for Funny or Die! in 2013.
 

This image comes from one of the Patrick Bateman emails.
 
The emails were not written by Ellis, but Ellis did approve them, so it’s not a stretch to consider the content of the emails as canon—at the time, they were touted as an “e-quel” to the novel (gag). In the emails we are transported from the heady world of the late 1980s to the year 2000, the present tense for the email recipients, and it turns out that Bateman did indeed marry Jean, his secretary. They have a son (Patrick Jr.) and he would like to get a divorce. Bateman’s attitude in the emails is more or less that of a truth-telling asshole, pretty much what you’d expect of a shallow, aggressive day trader who has literally gotten away with a handful of brutal murders. The emails are quite well written. We’re excerpted two of them here, but you can read ‘em all at this website.
 

Sun 3/26/00 4:45 PM
Subject: 10 Things I Hate

I Hate False Hope.

Don’t tell me everything will be fine when you know in advance that it won’t.

I Hate Bad Service.

You’re an Actor, fine. Go sleep with a Producer, and allow a trained professional to filet my Salmon.

I Hate people who refer to themselves in the third person.

It’s only acceptable if you’re already dead, as in the opening scene of “Sunset Boulevard.”

I Hate Davis Ferguson.

I believe I’ve already touched on that.

I Hate Bad Albee.

Don’t bring up your inner demons to share with the others at the table. We really don’t care to know if you’re afraid of Virginia Woolf. Stay home and freak out. Buy a Chainsaw.

I Hate The Work of Jean Michel Basquiat.

Let’s see what he could do sober.

I Hate Politicians Who Comb Over Their Bald Spots.

If you are going to lie about the state of your own head, how can anybody trust anything you have to say about anything important?

I Hate False Modesty.

Why bother?

I Hate Beggars.

They CAN be choosers, like in choose to get a job.

I Hate Not Being Understood.

Do I make myself clear?

I Hate Davis Ferguson.

All right, that’s 11.

Virtually yours,
Patrick Bateman
bateman@AmPsycho2000.com

 
This next one is a personal favorite of mine because Bateman shows off his music criticism skills, which won him so much favor when he applied them to Huey Lewis’ “Hip to Be Square.”
 

Tue 4/4/00 1:21 PM
Subject: The Hills Are Alive

In spite of Rap Artists’ protests to the contrary, music today, for the most part, has lost it’s soul. Actually, “Killed” is a better word, for the call to violence that is such an integral part of today’s music betrays what music was meant to be. From the first caveman who noticed the haunting chant of the wind over an entrance to his cave, all the way to the most contemporary interpretations of techno-pop by artists such as Tangerine Dream, music is meant to glorify life—to be a treat for the soul, an exclamation point, an expression of hope, a celebration. Not an outlet for hate.

The mood and needs of a Society are best expressed by the work of the Artists of the day, who speak for a people better than any politician or pundit.

Bob Dylan expressed the need for self-evaluation during Vietnam. Cole Porter spun fantasies as the world faced depression. Elvis liberated the youth of America born during a time of War. The Beatles were perhaps the world’s first cultural happening, bringing together the children of the world across the boundaries of geography and culture.

Madonna doesn’t just sing about freedom for women. She IS freedom for women. It is fascinating that after the turn of the Millennium, the world has found a renewed appreciation for artists such as Burt Bacharach and Santana, comfort food for the ears.

Meatloaf, if you will, both literally and figuratively.

Virtually yours,
Patrick Bateman

 

Another image from the Patrick Bateman emails.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
follow us in feedly
A recording of Carl Sagan saying the word ‘billions’ once, but stretched for an entire hour
01.08.2015
12:11 pm

Topics:
Music
Science/Tech

Tags:
Carl Sagan


 
The sound recording below reminds me of the ambient drone surrounding the spacecraft that hovers over the barren lunar surface before Dr. Heywood Floyd and crew visit the obelisk in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, or maybe a group of highly focused Franciscan monks or possibly the very sound of time itself. This, of course, makes complete sense, because the track is of Carl Sagan saying the word “billions” one time, but stretched out over the span of an entire hour.

Sagan, host (obviously) of the original, pre-Neil DeGrasse Tyson Cosmos series sounds downright avant-garde in the listenable(?) piece that results from the supposed stretch. 

John Kannenberg, a reader of the very cool, futurist io9 website apparently sent the recording to the site via Sound Cloud link recently. He asked simply, “This might be of interest?” io9 replies in their inevitable post that:

Yes. Yes, John, you beautiful genius. This is our wheelhouse.

As I write this, I’m sitting in my local library listening on headphones, and, oddly enough, it’s kind of great.

I’d like to join the folks at io9 in saying “Bravo, Mr. Kannenberg,” whoever you are. 
 

 
via io9

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Nerd Alert: The Internet Archive releases thousands of classic MS-DOS games
01.07.2015
09:46 am

Topics:
Games
Science/Tech

Tags:
Video Games

Oregon Trail
 
If you like your game play pixelated and your background music repetitively bleeping, or if you just want to take a look at how far along video game design has come over the last thirty-or-so years, you’re in luck! The Internet Archive has just released a collection of over 2,000 MS-DOS games that you can play through your Internet browser right now.

The collection, which you can find here, holds some popular titles you’ll probably recognize if you’re of a certain digital vintage including Q-bert, Ms. Pac Man, The Oregon Trail, Double Dragon and a couple of titles from the Street Fighter series, to name just a few. You’ll also find lesser known (at least to me) games, some of which are bound to generate a laugh or two such as Sex Vixens from Space, Tongue of the Fat Man and the inexplicable Captain Bible in the Dome of Darkness.

By the way, the page for these selections warns that the “EM-DOSBOX in-browser emulator” used to play these games can be a little buggy. So watch out for that I guess.

Below you’ll find a clip just over 13 minutes long of somebody playing the aforementioned Tongue of the Fat Man created in 1989 that might give you an idea of the kind of wacko video game action that we’re talking about here in some cases.
 

 

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Listen to John Cage’s 4’33”—on Auto-Tune!
12.30.2014
10:41 am

Topics:
Music
Science/Tech

Tags:
John Cage
Autotune


 
Somebody had the genius idea of applying the glorious technology of Auto-Tune, previously most associated with the likes of Cher, T-Pain, Kanye West, and Lil Wayne, to John Cage’s iconic “silent” composition 4’33”. Reports Matthew Reid, uploader of the YouTube video, “I performed John Cage’s 4’33’‘, treated the recording as a found object and re-mixed it in autotune. Let the debates begin.”

Amusing as it may sound, in the execution it’s pretty close to Cage’s original intent, as far as I can tell. 4’33” was always about ambient sound, not silence, and siccing Auto-Tune on it seems right in line with the general agenda.

If you click on the video and find it boring, well, that’s on you. You knew going in that it no instruments are played, right? Here’s a look at the score (yes, 4’33” has a score). “Tacet” is Latin for “It is silent.”
 

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
John Cage: 4’33” (Vuvuzela cover version)
Nicolas Cage does John Cage’s 4′33″

via Lawyers, Guns & Money

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Do drummers have different brains from the rest of us?


 
The April 25, 2011 issue of the New Yorker contained a fascinating article about David Eagleman, the celebrated neuroscientist and director of the Laboratory for Perception and Action at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. The title of the piece is “The Possibilian: What a brush with death taught David Eagleman about the mysteries of time and the brain.” It’s far too complex an essay to summarize in a blog post, but if you enjoy pop science articles (and Doctor Who) as much I do, this one is an absolutely terrific read.

What I wanted to call your attention to here is an incredible event described in the article where a bunch of professional drummers, invited by Brian Eno and from some of the biggest bands in the world, allowed Eagleman to observe them. They were outfitted with EEG units on their heads in special workstations for the data collection. The tests were conducted on a laptop. A software program asked the drummers to do four things: Keep a steady beat; compare the length of two tones; synchronize a beat to an image and compare different rhythms to one another.

Burkhard Bilger writes:

Early this winter, I joined Eagleman in London for his most recent project: a study of time perception in drummers. Timing studies tend to be performed on groups of random subjects or on patients with brain injuries or disorders. They’ve given us a good sense of average human abilities, but not the extremes: just how precise can a person’s timing be? “In neuroscience, you usually look for animals that are best at something,” Eagleman told me, over dinner at an Italian restaurant in Notting Hill. “If it’s memory, you study songbirds; if it’s olfaction, you look at rats and dogs. If I were studying athletes, I’d want to find the guy who can run a four-minute mile. I wouldn’t want a bunch of chubby high-school kids.”

The idea of studying drummers had come from Brian Eno, the composer, record producer, and former member of the band Roxy Music. Over the years, Eno had worked with U2, David Byrne, David Bowie, and some of the world’s most rhythmically gifted musicians. He owned a studio a few blocks away, in a converted stable on a cobblestoned cul-de-sac, and had sent an e-mail inviting a number of players to participate in Eagleman’s study. “The question is: do drummers have different brains from the rest of us?” Eno said. “Everyone who has ever worked in a band is sure that they do.”

The drummers study was inspired by an anecdote Eno told Eagleman:

“I was working with Larry Mullen, Jr., on one of the U2 albums,” Eno told me. “ ‘All That You Don’t Leave Behind,’ or whatever it’s called.” Mullen was playing drums over a recording of the band and a click track—a computer-generated beat that was meant to keep all the overdubbed parts in synch. In this case, however, Mullen thought that the click track was slightly off: it was a fraction of a beat behind the rest of the band. “I said, ‘No, that can’t be so, Larry,’ ” Eno recalled. “ ‘We’ve all worked to that track, so it must be right.’ But he said, ‘Sorry, I just can’t play to it.’ ”

Eno eventually adjusted the click to Mullen’s satisfaction, but he was just humoring him. It was only later, after the drummer had left, that Eno checked the original track again and realized that Mullen was right: the click was off by six milliseconds. “The thing is,” Eno told me, “when we were adjusting it I once had it two milliseconds to the wrong side of the beat, and he said, ‘No, you’ve got to come back a bit.’ Which I think is absolutely staggering.”

Read: The Possibilian: What a brush with death taught David Eagleman about the mysteries of time and the brain (The New Yorker)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Just a week after Pirate Bay raid, Tribler makes shutting down BitTorrent impossible


 
When police in Sweden carried out a raid on a server farm in Stockholm on December 9th, seizing servers, computers and other equipment and simultaneously knocking The Pirate Bay and several other prominent torrent trackers (including EZTV, Istole, Zoink and Torrage) offline, it was assumed that they’d struck a crippling blow to the BitTorrent ecosystem.

But before Hollywood and the music industry could celebrate comes the news that a team of Dutch researchers at Delft University of Technology have figured out how to make BitTorrent completely anonymous and remove the necessity of central servers, producing a new client—called “Tribler”—that will keep things alive, even after all torrent search engines, indexes and trackers have been pulled offline.

Tribler’s lead researcher Dr. Johan Pouwelse told Torrent Freak: “Tribler makes BitTorrent anonymous and impossible to shut down.”

“Recent events show that governments do not hesitate to block Twitter, raid websites, confiscate servers and steal domain names. The Tribler team has been working for 10 years to prepare for the age of server-less solutions and aggressive suppressors.”

After last week’s Pirate Bay raid Tribler saw a 30% increase in downloads. The tax-supported team at Delft are confident that their encrypted torrent client can make the Internet safer for downloaders:

“The Internet is turning into a privacy nightmare. There are very few initiatives that use strong encryption and onion routing to offer real privacy. Even fewer teams have the resources, the energy, technical skills and scientific know-how to take on the Big and Powerful for a few years,” Pouwelse says.

You can download Tribler here. There are versions for Windows, Mac and Linux and Tribler is completely Open Source.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
follow us in feedly
Page 1 of 57  1 2 3 >  Last ›