Roundup: Hokey Pokey

Good morning and welcome to the Noisecast Roundup for August 2, 2012. Remember to grab these links while they’re hot. You never know when this stuff won’t matter to you anymore!

 Monster .gif files bring some cool to the spooky.

This is in no way ‘tech news’ but I don’t care. I like gifs (pronounced like gift, with no ‘t’) and I like 3D gifs even more. A group of folks working on the Saline Project decided that taking old Hollywood monsters and rendering them into these works of art was a good idea.  They dressed each other up in various outfits, snapped pictures and let their designers crank out the “3D” effect. If you want to try this stuff for yourself, give Echograph a shot.

The London Games are serious about personal hotspots.

We’ve mentioned how the Olympic games stated that personal Wi-Fi hotspots are a no-go. Now, we know how they’re doing it. The above photo was taken by a visitor to the Olympic Summer Games, and shows a worker with a directional antenna and scanner that allows him to sniff out unauthorized wireless internets and shut them down with extreme British-ness. Of course, if you’re in a trolling mood, round up about 100 people and have 20 of them activate wifi hotspots at a time while milling around. Rotate every minute or two. In the words of Vitto, brilliant strategist and known insomniac: “PEWPEWPEW Take that, technology.”

Betaworks tries to revive Digg by killing 7 years of links. 

When Betaworks bought the remainder of Digg for a cool half-mil, they promised to bring it back. They’ve since done that in such a manner that makes me want to actually yell “LOL FAIL” at my monitor. First, they mandate Facebook or Twitter login for posting, calling it an “anti-spam” measure. Then they delete – or take offline – the backlog of submissions, links, and associated internet goodies. That means that seven years of links are gone, links that had Digg sitting pretty with a pagerank of 8, or really damn good for SEO. All of those links leading to and from Digg really helped them keep that spot, so who knows where they’re going  to end up.

RIM launches LTE-capable Playbook.

Blackberry maker Research in Motion launches their 4G LTE Playbook in Canada, their homeland, on August 9. The hardware is the same; HDMI out, dual-core processor, etc. I assume we’ll be seeing the same LTE version in the US once they decide to bless us with their presence. I’ve used a Wi-Fi Playbook briefly, and they seem fairly solid (once they patched the OS) but I can’t imagine I’d shell out a ton of money for one of these. They have the basic apps, but still seem a bit off to me.

Demonoid serving up redirects to ads and malware.

Not that any of our loyal fans would need to use such a service, but torrent host Demonoid had been acting funky for a few days, then was taken offline by a massive DDoS, and is now redirecting to ad sites and malware. This was probably brought on by a separate angle of attack during the DDoS, which had the tech admin saying “There might have been an attack from another angle, an exploit of sorts, but it’s hard to tell right now without a full check of everything.” It appears now that a redirect was put in place to avoid massive bandwidth bills from the DDoS, but I imagine they didn’t mean to serve up malicious code.

Two Facebook execs leave for different projects.

Katie Mitic, former director of platform marketing for Facebook, and Ethan Beard, director of platform partnerships, have left the social media giant for separate projects. Mitic is headed for a mobile startup, and Beard is leaving to pursue his own fortune. This means a total of 3 execs have left Facebook, counting Bret Taylor, the former CTO. At a time when stock is floundering, and claims of ad scamming abound, Facebook may be in a bit of hot water. Sure, their core user base won’t jump ship so easily, but with their main source of income being questioned and major companies publicly ditching them, things don’t look so golden.

New Bill would force unsuccessful patent trolls to pay their prey’s legal fees.

In a surprising turn of usefulness, the House of Representatives have started looking at a bill that would help fight patent trolls like Apple by forcing them to pay plaintiff’s legal fees should the lawsuit fail. In fact, the company could be on the hook if they took on the lawsuit with “no reasonable chance of succeeding.” What’s more, the SHIELD ( Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes) Act defines a “software patent” as a patent covering “any process that could be implemented in a computer regardless of whether a computer is specifically mentioned in the patent,” which has never been defined before. The bill’s founder, Rep. Peter DeFazio, says “Patent trolls don’t create new technology and they don’t create American jobs,” also mentioning that they attack companies who work hard to put a product together, when they didn’t even create the patent they’re suing over.

Disney’s Imagineers are amazing.

That video explains the awesome pseudo-crowd-sourced lighting that Disney uses to light up the “Glow with the Show” mouse ear hats that interact with the World of Color show at Disneyland. The show combines water, fire and all sorts of colored light sources to more or less make you feel like you’ve gone plaid. The hats interact with the show via infrared, similar to your TV remote, and are divided into physical zones so that different areas get different effects. The hats are also serialized, so that individual hats may play a separate part from the rest, as seen in the video. Chuck Davis, Disney Creative Entertainment Technical Director, says that they’ve just begun to scratch the surface of this technology, so expect many more great things from Disney.

L4D2 runs faster on Linux than Windows.

When Valve announced the beginning of their adventure into move the Source Engine to Linux, they said they’d gotten Left 4 Dead 2 to run on OpenGL. Apparently they got it to run at 6fps the first time, which is about horrible for a rig with 32GB of RAM and top of the line CPU and GPU. Baseline for Windows (using Direct3D) on the same machine was 270.6 FPS. After much tweaking of the Source code as well as drivers – which they’re working with manufacturers on – they got the Linux version to run at 315 FPS, and the same tweaking helped them get the Windows version up to 303.4FPS. So, yes, Linux is running L4D2 better than Windows.

Want to program a t-shirt? Well, you’re in luck!

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