The Sock Diary

Musings of a part-time Sweaty Sock.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I-Remote control you

Scary tech, cool for gaming, bit el-dodge as a weapon or Ipod plug-in:
felt a mysterious, irresistible urge to start walking to the right
whenever the researcher turned the switch to the right. I was convinced
— mistakenly — that this was the only way to maintain my balance.

Remote Control Device 'Controls' Humans

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Time for sale on eBay?

I was listening to an IT conversations podcast from OSCON by Paul Graham today. He was talking about what business can learn from Open Source. His most hard hitting comment was that business should learn to invest in people rather than paying them to do a 9-5/8-7/whatever prescribed job. People enjoy doing what they're good at and want to do, rarely do they enjoy what they're told to do. If people are not enjoying themslves, they tend to be less productive, etc. If you have a partner, maybe kids, a mortgage, packing it all in and doing what you like (and getting a VC to finance it) may be a little daunting.

"a consultant could auction their time on ebay"

Talking to a friend last night, he mentioned he had this idea which may or may not be cool. He suggested that a consultant could auction their time on ebay. A consultant or group could offer their time and expertise, maybe a 40 hours over two weeks in December, or the opportunity for people to invest in something they are building for general release. A Sourceforge project could get some funding for rackspace, or bandwidth with the promise of kudos, or maybe profits from consultancy on the new project.

All the feedback and payment solutions are already in place. Excellent consultants or groups get good feedback and commensurate increase in their reserve price and crap consultants are unmasked. Buyers know what they're getting from previous feedback, links to CVs and maybe LinkedIn detail, and consultants get invested in. They may be doing a project the client requires, or doing a project they've always wanted to do, with a number of people investing in it.

It could work for other industries other than IT. What about looking on ebay for your plumber? With all the feedback, you'll be able to check whether they're any good, turn up when they say they will, etc. You could bid on time slots during the day and evening.

I know there maybe a number of practical problems to overcome to get this working, but with the rise in home working, nearly ubiquitous broadband, and PayPal, I reckon it's a probable goer. More and more people are downsizing, or carefully thinking about downsizing, and this kind of departure from the normal way of working is an option to keep in the industry of your choice without the usual employer - employee relationship and the costs associated with that for both parties. It's speed short-term contracting. e-contracting? i-contracting? Someone will call it the i-con :)

Of course, I haven't got the guts to do it myself, and I'm quite enjoying my job at the moment, but I reckon I know a few people who might give it a go in their spare time. The question is: will any potential employers or investors be up for it?

I think it's a damn good idea.

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Skype needs upgrading

Skype has some problems. Nothing a quick upgrade (Help...Check for updates...) won't fix in about 2 mins. Suggest you do it soon as though.
researchers have identified two groups of potentially serious security
vulnerabilities involving Skype, the popular VoIP client software. Both
create a means for hackers to run hostile code on systems running
vulnerable versions of Skype. Skype has issued patches for the
"critical" security bugs.

Scramble to fix Skype security bug | The Register

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Adam Curry's boots?

A friend of the family died recently and somehow I have ended up inheriting his brown leather and sheepskin boots (with steelies, oh yes). They're... just what I always wanted, very warm.

Anyway, it occurred to me that they look like a match for Adam Curry's jacket in Camoby's (isn't that Kosso/Blugg from the Bluggcast?) photo.

The boots

Dead man's boots

Adam and the jacket

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Beeb asks for pictures

After the problems in Birmingham last night, I noticed the BBC was asking for pictures.

Do you have any pictures of the clashes? If so, you can send them to

BBC NEWS | England | West Midlands | Plea for calm after city clashes

I had a quick look around at SkyNews and ITN, but no-one else appears to be. Looks like the Beeb has learned a lesson from the 7/7 attacks and the pictures and video coming from mobile phones, but the others appear to have missed it. Weird. Maybe they assume people will come to them, rather than being asked.

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Just how much data can we store online?

...the potential Gmail storage obligation [will be] 404 million gigabytes or about 400 petabytes

PBS | I, Cringely . October 20, 2005 - Seeing Is Believing

Cringely reckons there's going to be an Energy Crisis surrounding free storage space on the net. If his figures are right (I have no reason to distrust them), a rethink may be order, or quantum computing (had to link to that one, cos of the cat. I love that example) and storage better be ready real soon now.

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Got The Postal Service album... finally

If you haven't heard The Postal Service - Such Great Heights then listen to it here (mp3). Even if you're tempted to stop before the chorus, don't. It's a grower that captures you with the hook in the chorus. Once you've heard it once, you'll probably love it. The album is called Give Up.

I first heard it from the IndieFeed Electronica channel at the beginning of March. Quality.

Partner of the Week

A bit of background: The gorgeous SocksWife is fifteen weeks pregnant. Hurrah! I am a very proud man.

So I'm sitting at my desk, playing around with some sound files and Flock, generally minding my own business, when I hear "Ow, I hurt myself" from the kitchen. Patter of medium sized feet in the study direction. I turn round, expecting the usual bleeding/bruised finger from some incalcitrant piece of kitchenware, but no. The beautiful one is standing, with her swelling (and lovely) tummy exposed, blood pouring from just beside her belly ring... and a pair of longnose pilers in her hand. I nearly pissed myself laughing.

Flickr Photo
She explained she was trying to get the belly ring out before her tummy got too big (she is fiercely independant, and had assessed this operation as "no risk"), and would I, after I had stopped being so unfeeling, mind helping so she wouldn't disembowel herself. Two pairs of pliers, some GT 85, much hilarity, and ten minutes later, she is piercing free and will, I have no doubt, be proud winner of this weeks Partner of the Week Award from my workplace.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Google drops Gmail address in UK

Not as bad as it sounds for those us with gmail addresses. The BBC reports that coming to an email address near you due to trademark infringements. That's gotta hurt. Doesn't exactly trip off the tongue the way does. Google are a bit annoyed by the sounds of things.

Update at 14:28 from SlashDot

Friday, October 14, 2005

Google Earth: Security Risk?

The Register reports the results of Black Helicopters competition for people to find black helicopters on Google Maps and Google Earth. Some quality pictures, possibly of things various govts would rather weren't available.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Pod Racing

From the BBC: X-Prize man launches rocket race. Excellent. Hopefully there'll be overtaking, unlike F1 :)

Monday, October 03, 2005

Dress Like Darth

The Register shows us how to dress up as Darth Vader (for a mere US$799). If you've got that dough lying about, you know you want to.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Anti-blog Rant

If these words were people, I would embrace their genocide. Brilliant rant. Worth a read. Check "E-nable" if you don't read any of the rest of it.