Linux and Flash – cut the crap already!

Linux and Flash - cut the crap already!Look, Adobe, can we please get with the times and start making a product that works on Linux? Please? It’s getting closer to 2010 and we’re still missing flying cars, meals in pills and a flash player that actually works most of the time. You see that? I’d even settle for most of the time right now. The sad truth is, Flash locks up on my current Ubuntu install, with the latest Flash release and it happens all the time.

Why on Earth should my modern browsers (Firefox, Opera) still freeze up on every third embedded video I try to play? Business websites are rendered ugly as hell because Flash just doesn’t know what to do with them. You do realize that by hindering a portion of today’s web browsing consumers you’re eventually affecting your own bottom line, right? Even a small portion who can’t do the things that web developers, web store owners and viral marketing execs expect them to do can be significant if it impacts delivery and sales.

For those who aren’t employed by Adobe. Yeah, I think that Flash sites are not the way to go, even with Google’s revelation that Flash can now be indexed. The truth of the matter is Flash is here and it’s probably here to stay so we need Adobe to please swallow whatever bitter pill they’re fumbling around with and just get a working version out to all of us in Linuxland so we can watch cats attack string on YouTube or whatever it is we’re wanting to do online. Okay? I know of lots of local, small sites like restaurants and small brick and mortar shops who have Flash front ends on their sites. And you know what? It stinks not being able to patronize them – for them and for me.

We need a working Flash. Let’s hope 10 does a much better job of it than 9. Until then, I’ll be taking my own petty mental revenge by referring to this monstrosity of a rich media crap fest as ‘flunk’ using my inside voice. No, that won’t fix anything but at least it will get that grimace on my face into a twisted smile as I kill and restart my browser yet again.


Designing the Singularity: Intel receives the Overreaching Statement Award

Designing the Singularity: Intel receives the Overreaching Statement Award. “We’re making steady progress toward Ray Kurtzweil’s singularity,” says Justin Rattner, CTO of Intel.

THE Singularity, that’s what he’s talking about. You know, the point where machine intelligence jogs past human intelligence and brings us to a new era where combined computer cognition is the equivalent of a minor deity. Not only that, but it’s Kurzweil, without the T. I don’t know if that’s Intel’s fault or Cnet’s on the transcription.

What is the Singularity really? It’s where machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence – even by just a tiny bit. At that point, the machines, which are now more knowing than we are, can recursively improve on themselves in a never ending and rapidly accelerating cycle of getting better and better.

Kurzweil tones it down a bit and simply says it’s going to be a time where machines can manifest their own rapidly advancing technology. The implications of a meteoric rise in technology, self replicating smarter than human intelligences and you know, superbeings. . . it’s all still there though. Perhaps in Intel’s mind, the Singularity involves computers designing processors for their next of kin to the point where we have the 1nm Intel processors featuring 10,000 cores.

Is this something we really want to work towards? Is it inevitable? And will these machines become self aware? No one really knows but it’s certainly an interesting concept to think on.

For their part, I’ve awarded the first ever ArsGeek Overreaching Statement Award to Intel. Congratulations Intel! Stating that they are actively working on the Singularity goes a bit beyond miniaturizing processors and coming up with interesting ways to optimize code for multiple cores. It’s a bit like casually stating that your experiments on family dog have yeilded a doberman with the intelligence of your or I and the ability to speak several languages.


Adam Savage Is a Geeky God

Adam Savage Is a Geeky GodAt the end of July, the H.O.P.E. (Hackers On Planet Earth) conference was held in New York. One of the featured speakers was Adam Savage, co-host of the Mythbusters. Savage talked about his geeky passion for creating and learning, and described (among other things) his personal recreation of a dodo skeleton. He also took questions from the ArsGeek forum members.

The best part of the video is when Adam breaks from the itinerary to show a slow-motion video of fellow co-host Jaimie Hyneman slapping him across the face in an attempt to sober Adam up. While locating the file on his laptop, someone in the audience points out the somewhat suspiciously named “Batman The Dark Knight.avi” on Adam’s desktop, to which Adam responds, “Well, I hadn’t seen it yet.”

The video is an hour long, but totally worth watching.

Edit: It turns out the video in question was just the trailer of Batman. But still, Adam is a Batman fan, he recreated a Dodo skeleton, he hand-drew a map of Middle Earth, and his official occupation entails blowing stuff up on TV. He would be hard pressed to be any geekier (or cooler).

You need to have flashplayer enabled to watch this Google video


Ditko’s Objectivist Tracts

As a geek, you’re likely to know that Steve Ditko created Spider-Man. Amongst his lesser known creations are a series of Objectivist comics presenting his unconventional political beliefs. If you’re a follower of Ayn Rand yourself, or you just get a kick out of Jack Chick-style political tracts, check out this post over on Dinosaur Gardens, where one of his full comics entitled “The Avenging World” is presented in PDF and Comic Book Archive format. Read more about featured business books on our blog..


Got a band but can’t afford to shoot a video? Use public CCTV cameras and then demand the footage!

The Get Out Clause are an upcoming UK band who are currently unsigned. They took a brilliant and I’m sure soon to be much copied method to producing their own business video. Unable to hire a production crew for a standard 1980’s era MTV music video, they performed their music in front of 80 of the 13 million CCTV “security” cameras available in England, including one on a bus.

They then used Britain’s Data Protection Act to request the footage that was shot of them. Grab some decent and inexpensive video editing tools (say. . . an iMac) and presto! They got themselves a unique and in my opinion quite interesting music video.


Google experimenting with search boxes within a search

Now with Google you can find search boxes – or at least search box – within a search! It’s currently only working (so it seems) with some major players but searching for Amazon returns the expected result with a bonus. While I was doing some research for ArsGeek business partners I noticed this: under the highest ranking return, is another search box.


Searching within this included search box yields results from itself directly. So a search for the term Stardust got me this:


What Google doesn’t seem to realize are the implications of endless searches within searches, which if used maliciously could theoretically lead to the implosion of the web as we know it and a possible Singularity state, where the internet through billions of iterative searches becomes self aware and all absorbing.

Careful Google, please!