Gmail Auto Log-out Problem

Three friends of mine are travelling the South Pacific (currently they’re in New Zealand). One of them mentioned to me that he is having trouble accessing gmail from his laptop. I was wondering if anyone has heard about anything like this:

Whenever anyone tries to access their gmail account from our laptop it logs in and then automatically logs out and shuts down that window. I think an add-on has been enabled or disabled to some how to prevent this gmail thing from working.

I think their best bet will be to contact the gmail team and see if they have any suggestions, although my gut tells me it’s a malicious script/virus. What do you think?


Human Computation

This Google sponsored tech talk, human computation, explains how the fact that humans are sometimes smarter than computers can be used to solve some interesting problems and is extremely interesting. I am going to have to check out these tech talks more often.
For more video’s like this one, check out Google’s collection of Tech Talks.

Science technology

M.I.T. Digital Drawing Board

Check out the future of digital drawing in this video of an M.I.T. researcher showing off some of the features in their new digital drawing board.

Update: This looks like a prototype for the Smart Board. At the time I originally posted this the technology was mind blowing.


CBC Podcast Roundup

I’ve subscribed to a few really good podcasts from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp that I need to tell the world about:

And if you haven’t already, let me just re-recommend that you subscribe to the TED Conference talks and theThis American Life podcast. These are my two favourite sources of inspiration and entertainment on the web right now.


This American Life

I recently subscribed to the This American Life podcast and I love it. They just started offering their show as a free podcast this week and I’m so glad they did; consider me hooked.

A quick description of their show for those that have never heard of it:

One of the problems with our show from the start has been that whenever we try to describe it in a sentence or two, it sounds awful. For instance: Each week we choose a theme and put together different kinds of stories on that theme. That doesn’t sound like something we’d want to listen to on the radio, and it’s our show. In the early days of the program, in frustration, we’d sometimes tell public radio program directors that it’s basically just like Car Talk. Except just one guy hosting. And no cars.

It’s easy to say what we’re not. We’re not a news show or a talk show or a call-in show. We’re not really formatted like other radio shows at all.

Instead, we do these stories that are like movies for radio. There are people in dramatic situations where things happen to them.

There are funny moments and emotional moments and—hopefully—moments where the people in the story say interesting, surprising things about it all. It has to be surprising. It has to be fun. There are shows on public radio with no sense of fun or surprise and we hate those shows.

business Google technology

Google Buys YouTube

You’ve probably already heard the big tech news this week that Google is going to pay $1.65 billion for YouTube (the creators are happy). What you may not have seen is this anthology video of YouTubers in action, which goes to show that there is a lot more happening on YouTube than just copyright violations.

(via Waxy)

advertising technology

First iPod Ad

It’s not as memorable as their 1984 ad, but it’s still interesting—First iPod Television Ad:


Teens Fight Back

Remember the Mosquito anti-teen device that was supposed to deter kids from hanging around by emitting a high pitched sound that only folks under 20 can hear? Well students have turned lemons to lemonaide with the technology. According to a news article from students have highjacked the high-frequency sound out of adult hearing range and are using it as a ringtone in a defiant challenge against authority.

From the article:

Schoolchildren have recorded the sound, which they named Teen Buzz, and spread it from phone to phone via text messages and Bluetooth technology.

Now they can receive calls and texts during lessons without teachers having the faintest idea what is going on.

Clever. Here is a clip of the Mosquito Anti-teen device sound and a clip of just the ringtone—or so I’m told because I can’t hear anything.

(via Waxy)

Update: According to BoingBoing, using a 20hz sound as a cell phone ring is not possible. I suppose we are left to assume that the students have just pulled the wool over the teachers’ (and reporters’) collective eyes making them believe that there is something happening which they cannot hear.

Update: It’s now been pointed out that since new phones can play MP3’s and apparently people under 20 can hear the sound on the mp3’s it’s likely not a bogus story.


Are Software Patents Evil?

One of the things I think I would enjoy most if I were an employee at Google would be listening to all the great speakers the company pays to come in and give lectures. Here is an tremendously interesting talk about the pros and cons of software patents and the related trappings: Are Software Patents Evil?

Because there’s so much scope for design in software, a successful application tends to be way more than the sum of its patents. What protects little companies from being copied by bigger competitors is not just their patents, but the thousand little things the big company will get wrong if they try.


PC World Busts the Biggest PC Myths

PC World Logo
PC World published an article revealing the truth behind some common computer myths. Have you ever wondered:

  • If magnets will damage your data?
  • Does using a cell phone on a plane actually interferes with the navigation and communications systems of the aircraft?
  • If you don’t “eject” a USB device before unplugging it from a PC, will you really screw things up?
  • Do cookies track everything you do on the Internet?
  • What terrible things happen if you turn off your PC without shutting down Windows?
  • Does opting out of spam gets you even more spam?
  • If you don’t periodically run your laptop batteries down to zero, will you lose battery life?

Find out the answer to these questions and more as PC World exposes the myths that waste your time and money.