Mind Control? (Of a Computer!)

Controlling a computer with YOUR mind, that is! That is what they are trying to set up at the University of Pittsburgh research center! Cool!

Controlling a Computer With Thoughts?

“ScienceDaily (Feb. 17, 2011) — Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have been awarded funding for two projects that will place brain-computer interfaces (BCI) in patients with spinal cord injuries to test if it is possible for them to control external devices, such as a computer cursor or a prosthetic limb, with their thoughts.

The projects build upon ongoing research conducted in epilepsy patients who had the interfaces temporarily placed on their brains and were able to move cursors and play computer games, as well as in monkeys that through interfaces guided a robotic arm to feed themselves marshmallows and turn a doorknob.

‘We are now ready to begin testing BCI technology in the patients who might benefit from it the most, namely those who have lost the ability to move their upper limbs due to a spinal cord injury,’ said Michael L. Boninger, M.D., director, UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, chair, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pitt School of Medicine, and a senior scientist on both projects. ‘It’s particularly exciting for us to be able to test two types of interfaces within the brain.'”

Watson Not Only Beat the Humans on Jeopardy, It May Be Treating Them Soon!

Well, at least helping with the diagnosis!

What’s next for Watson? Or, should we say, Dr. Watson?

“IBM’s supercomputer Watson proved that it’s able to understand human language enough to stomp out the best contestants in Jeopardy history like they were a couple of high school freshmen. Now, it has its sights on a much more meaningful goal.

Watson became a household name this week during a three-day-long Jeopardy competition. While some may not have been blown away that it was able to parse together the often-verbose quiz show clues well enough to create a one or two word response, those who understand computer science should be able to appreciate what a breakthrough this is.

The way Watson works is by going through a highly complex series of algorithms to figure out what words in a sentence are the most important. For example, in a clue that reads, ‘This Ohio city shares the same name as a kind of bean,’ Watson can not only figure out that the word ‘city’ is the apex of the question, but also that it’s from ‘Ohio’ and needs to also be a type of ‘bean.’ (The correct response, by the way, would be Lima).

It’s more difficult than it sounds, as there are an infinite amount of potential questions and keywords. Yet, there’s only one correct response to each question.

IBM says the most parallel application of that in the real world is in medicine. Imagine a day when doctors can type in their patient’s symptoms, and feed it into a Watson computer that can comb through literally every medical journal ever published. Watson would be able to tell what the best course of treatment is and what the most likely diagnosis is.”

IE 9 Release Candidate Tops 2 Million Downloads

Yes, that is BEFORE the final release, when they will push it out via Windows Update. Pretty impressive! I guess it shows how much folks want Microsoft to support real web standards!

Without auto-update, 2 million users downloaded IE9 RC

“Raw first-week sales numbers are often used to indicate the efficacy of a product’s launch. But really, the thing these numbers best represent is the level of user excitement. Today, Microsoft revealed that users were very excited about Internet Explorer 9 RC, which launched last week.

According to Microsoft, IE9 RC was downloaded 2 million times in the six days following its launch. While a big number, it’s doubly significant because these were users who actively downloaded the software without a Windows Update auto update, or a system alert telling them an update was available. These users knew the update was there and went out and got it.

Starting on Friday last week, IE9 Release Candidate began rolling out as an Automatic Update to a small group of IE9 Beta users. The Internet Explorer Engineer’s blog said it will eventually expand to cover all beta users.”

Geek Software of the Week: LastPass!

What is FREE? Enhances your on-line security? Automatically fills in forms on-line? Has one click login? Synchonizes passwords across browsers? Stores secure notes? You got it! LastPass! Check it out!

LastPass Password Manager

Never forget a password again and log into your sites with a single mouse click.

Automatically synchronizes your data: access it from anywhere at anytime.

it’s SAFER
Protect yourself against phishing scams, online fraud, and malware.

All of your data is encrypted locally on your PC – only YOU can unlock it.

it’s FREE
No catches or gimmicks.
It’s free to use on all your computers!

Using a Mac, Windows, or Linux?
LastPass works everywhere.”

LastPass won out in the BetaNews “shootout” of Password Managers!

5 password managers for storing, protecting and syncing your personal information

Their final thought on it is: “It’s cross-platform, so staying up to date wherever you are isn’t an issue. Your data is stored securely online, which might be a problem for the ultra-cautious, but for most people looking for fuss-free password management, it’s a great choice.”

Scientists Build First “Antilaser”

“Anti-LASER?” Something that can cancel out a laser beam? Dewd! Cool! Now we can stop the alien invasion in its tracks!

Scientists Build First “Antilaser”

“The laser – a 50-year-old invention now used in everything from CDs to laser pointers — has met its match in the ‘antilaser,’ the first device capable of trapping and canceling out laser beams.

While such a device would seem most fitting in a science fiction movie, its real-world application will likely be in next-generation, optical computers, which will be powered by light in addition to electrons, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

‘It’s a device which basically works like running a laser backwards,’ A. Douglas Stone of Yale University, who published his findings in the journal Science, said in a telephone interview.

While a laser takes in electrical energy and emits light in a very narrow frequency range, Stone said, his antilaser takes in laser light and transforms it into heat energy.

But it could be easily converted into electrical energy, he said.”

The Roku Box “Secret Code!”


Yeeeesss! I have the secret code to add YouTube to your Roku box! (Don’t have a Roku box, you say!?!?! Then click on the Roku Advert here on the Blog and go get one!!!)

Here’s “The Skinny!”

NOTE: This is a secret code, kinda like an “Easter Egg” in games… no promises made with it! It falls under the “Private or Beta Channel” type on Roku.

1) On your computer, visit this link:


2) Log into your Roku account

3) Enter the “secret code” for YouTube, which is: B8VVK

4) On your Roku, enter and exit the Channel Store to refresh your dashboard apps!

Mu-ha-ha! You now have YouTube!

AND, here are more “secret channel” codes! At this link: Roku Channel Database

IMPORTANT UPDATE!!! This code no longer works to add the YouTube Roku channel! If you did successfully add it, it still will work, but no more may be added. YouTube asked that the private channel be “pulled.” However, a new channel should be made available soon. In the meantime, if you install the PLEX channel from the Roku Channel Catalog, and add the PLEX add-on in Firefox, you can mark a YouTube video with “Plex-It!” and then it will show up in your Roku PLEX queue. This is a workaround! PLEX is a very useful, and FREE option to stream you local videos and other media via a PLEX server on your local LAN as well!

The new YouTube access channel is called “VideoBuzz“… the code word is “VideoBuzz.”

Another option is “Twonky” – info on it is here: http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57575819-285/how-to-watch-youtube-videos-on-roku/

The best option to view YouTube now is to buy a Google Chromecast for $35.00. You can watch anything that you see on your Chrome Web Browser on your HD TV. Until there is a truly supported way to get YouTube on Roku, this remains the best way… Google Chromecast!

It’s really finally here, read all about it!

“The Mutant Radio Edition” of Dr. Bill Netcast #175

Dr. Bill Netcast – 175 – (02/12/11)

Dr. Bill demos a WiFi-based Internet radio, the Mutant Radio! The last of IPv4 addresses assigned and IPv6, an article by Robert Johnson, on developing for IE9, IBM’s Watson faces humans on ‘Jeopardy’ next week, Geek Software of the Week: GMER!

Links that pertain to this Netcast:


Mutant Radio

GMER Rootkit Tool

Start the Video Netcast in the Blubrry Video Player above by
clicking on the “Play” Button in the center of the screen.

(Click on the buttons below to Stream the Netcast in your “format of choice”)
Streaming M4V Audio
 Download M4V

 Download WebM
Streaming MP3 Audio
 Download MP3
Streaming Ogg Audio
 Download Ogg

Available on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHJFCNJ77oY

Available on Vimeo at: http://vimeo.com/19895429

Geek Software of the Week: GMER!

GMERRootkits are EVIL! They allow someone to take over your system. Grrrr! But, GMER, our Geek Software of the Week, is here to help!

GMER – Rootkit Locator and Remover

“GMER is an application that detects and removes rootkits .

It scans for:

hidden processes
hidden threads
hidden modules
hidden services
hidden files
hidden Alternate Data Streams
hidden registry keys
drivers hooking SSDT
drivers hooking IDT
drivers hooking IRP calls
inline hooks”

Humans Face a Computer on Jeopardy Next Week!

Yep, you can bet that I will be watching next week’s Jeopardy, with two human champions facing the IBM “Watson” computer! Dewd! It will rock, whoever, (or whatever) wins!

IBM’s Watson Faces Human Competitors on ‘Jeopardy’ Next Week

“Computer geeks everywhere will gather around their television sets next week to cheer on their most impressive representative yet. Ladies and gentlemen, the most anticipated Jeopardy! match of all time is about to air, a three-day blowout in which a non-human contestant could take all.

Three pre-recorded shows set to air February 14, 15, and 16 will pit IBM supercomputer Watson against Jeopardy’s two all-time biggest champions, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Those who attended the taping have been sworn to secrecy regarding the outcome.

Watson’s ability produce the correct questions (host Alex Trebek provides the answers and the contestants must come up with the questions) goes beyond the reach of other mind-matching super computers, like the chess-playing Deep Blue. Unlike chess, Jeopardy requires the players to suss out the subtleties of language, from jokes and puns to irony and anagrams. In a January test, Watson was the winner.

$1.5 million is at stake. The winner will take home a cool million. The second-place contestant will receive $300,000, and the third-place contestant will get $200,000. IBM, which would receive the cash if Watson won, said it would give the money to charity. Rutter and Jennings both said they will keep half if they win and donate the rest to charity.

Futurist Ray Kurzweil has placed his bets on Watson winning the show.”

IE 9 Will Change How We Write Web Pages

As you, I am sure, know, I am NOT a big fan of Internet Explorer, or anything Microsoft. BUT, I am looking forward to IE 9. Why? Not because I plan to use it, but because Microsoft will FINALLY support real web standards! FINALLY, we can write web pages that will be truly cross functional, without “programming” for Microsoft idiosyncracies!

Here is a neat article by Robert Johnson, on developing for IE9!

Five things that excite me about developing for Internet Explorer 9

“The IE9 Release Candidate, which Microsoft posted today, may change all that again. IE9 is the first Microsoft browser in years that has me excited about UI development. Finally, I can see a future void of the many CSS hacks necessary to get a page to play nice with IE. There are five features in this release candidate I am excited about as a UI developer.

Five Things
1) CSS 3. CSS 3 comes with loads of new features that will help make web-based apps feel and function more like desktop based apps. From a pure visual perspective, rounded corners comes to IE for the first time. At this time Safari 5 and IE9 are the only ones to implement it without special browser markup.

2) HTML5. With IE9 more developers can jump on the HTML5 bandwagon. Including myself. Support for canvas and video will go a long way towards making online video a ton easier to develop.

3) Hardware Acceleration. This one is huge. Not only does it bring with it significant speed increase, but it also results in fantastic looking graphics and text. No UI designer wants to design a great-looking site only to have it look terrible to most of the people who will see it. I’m a huge fan of TypeKit, and IE9 does an awesome job of displaying type from this service. In my opinion type looks better on the Mac, but most people don’t view the web on Macs. Most are on Windows PCs. And when it comes to IE9 vs. Chrome or Firefox, my sites (and hopefully yours too) look way better in IE9. Not only that, they load faster.

4) Jump Lists. I am particularly excited about this one. With IE9 sites can be saved onto the toolbar and launched just like any other application. With Windows 7 any icon on the toolbar has a jump list. IE9 allows developers to customize the jump list. For instance, if you run a sports site, you can store different sports categories in the list so that when a user clicks the NCAA Football link it will take them to that page. This feature is definitely blurring the line between desktop and web-based applications.

5) Developer! Developer! Developer Tools! I never really cared much for the developer tools in IE. In IE9 improvements were made and I think these tools are a lot easier to use now than before. While they won’t convert me from FireBug, I have to give Microsoft some credit here: the new Networking and CSS tab enhancements are welcome. The CSS tab organizes CSS files a lot nicer and will make debugging CSS issues a lot easier.

The new network profiler is another welcomed addition to the developer tools. The summary view will tell you the original URL requested, all resources requested by HTML and CSS, and all requests made through JavaScript. I no longer have to download add-ons when I need to quickly find out what’s slowing my UI down.”

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