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News from the Weird

Cows with blogs.

Yes, that was the subject of conversation in the pub last night. I can't provide any URLs, but I am assured that the dairy industry in Scotland is extremely interested in fitting their herd with telemetry to track everything from their location (via GPS) to their blood pressure, activity levels, and possibly even emotional state: an eventual goal is that the subjects of this exercise will effectively become spimes. As Bruce Sterling (who coined the term) explains it, "a Spime is a location-aware, environment-aware, self-logging, self-documenting, uniquely identified object that flings off data about itself and its environment in great quantities." Presumably the blogging bovines would emit an RSS feed that their owners could browse (or should that be "graze"?) in order to determine that Daisy has gotten into the bottom field again, or is overdoing the clover.

NB: I want the wikipedia admins to know that I am very annoyed that someone has deleted the wikipedia article on spimes. It's all very well to do the housekeeping, but it's gone too far when useful resources are being erased before I can link to them from my blog, dammit.

(I ascribe the subsequent conversation about GM cows with nitrated oligosaccharides in their milk, and the utility of explosive blogging bovines in any future Pakistan/India conflict, to a combination of beer and jet lag.)

Meanwhile, it has been reported that dwarfs represent a growing crime problem in Sweden, with thieves robbing long distance coaches by sneaking miniature accomplices into the luggage compartments inside sports bags. Mind you, that's positively mundane compared to the nude wet meat soil bandit's antics in Cool, California.

I was going to try and say something sensible about the Dyatlov Pass incident, but just the facts of the matter beggar the imagination. Sort of like a Russian Blair Witch Project, only it actually happened, kinda-sorta.

And I've been brain-wormed by a phrase from nowhere — "I'd sleep with the teddy tonight if it didn't smell so strange". I don't know what it means, don't really know where it came from, and I wish it would go away. (I think it wants to hatch into a story, but I'm not ready to write it yet because I think it also wants to be ... gruesome.)

If all this sounds a bit dazed and incoherent, it's because it's a grab bag of my current jet-lagged preoccupations (leaving aside the research into penile degloving injuries, the future of spam, and browsing wikileaks). I'm still a bit disoriented, and I think I'm going to spend the next day putting my feet up with some easy reading. I've just received the galley proofs to SATURN'S CHILDREN (due out July 1st!) and I should really get to work checking them, then pick up tools and crack on with THE REVOLUTION BUSINESS, but all this intercontinental travel and sleep deprivation has left me feeling like a character out of one of William Gibson's more recent novels. And you know what? Living inside that man's head is No Fun At All.

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58 Comments

1:

Mr. Charles jet-lagged Stross, may I repost a comment from a couple of years ago which dealt with the proto-spime theory?

Charlie's Diary
http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2006/09/into_penalty_time.html
Previewing your Comment

"The future is here. It's just unevenly distributed."
--William Gibson

The Science Fiction community and Techie communities alike ignored the first few Science Fiction authors active on the ARPANET (which became DARPANET became
INTERNET). So far as I can reconstruct, these first few included Jerry Pournelle and Greg Benford, with me trailing a few months behind. We all spoke about it at
conferences (scientific) and cons (sfnal) and were greeted with skepticism.

Basically, nobody seemed to see that once this went from niche to universailty,
everything would change.

You can go back to an earlier generation of prophets: John McCarthy, Dr. Douglas C. Engelbart and his team headeed by Bill English at SRI International who created many of the concepts and tools that set the global computer revolution in motion (mouse, computer network as communications tool), Ted Nelson.

Weird thing is, even though all these prophets were belatedly hailed for accurate prediction, their OTHER predictions are still widely ignored.

John McCarthy warned that the term "Artificial Intelligence" which he coined was so misleading that he's sorry he promulgated it in the 1950s.

I've talked to Engelbart about what he calls "the big WHOOSH!" when cyberspace is flooded by an exponentially increasing volume of data from more and more smaller and smaller distributed smart sensors.

He's ignored on this, although it's also central to The Singularity (whose prophets have been described at length elsewhere).

Ted Nelson, when he accepted the top award at, I think, the 5th WWW Conference [the one in Australia], said (I paraphrase from memory): "You all thought I was crazy when I explained Hypertext and Hypermedia. Now you all use it. But you still think I'm crazy, and don't listen to all the other things I say."

Charles Stross is an interstellar treasure because, besides his stylistic gifts and discipline to work hard and long through pain, he HAS listened carefully to The Prophets. he has though long and hard, and come to surprising and compelling conclusions.

I thus predict that many things he'll say in Halting State will turn out to be embedded in Words of Prophets Pournelle, Benford, Nelson, Englebart, McCarthy et al.

I've used computers for forty (40) years, and emailed since before the Net, and was on the Net before it had more than about 1,000 netizens. I've been consciously writing Hypertext since I met Ted Nelson in 1973 or 1974, and saying so, and several of my publications of the mid-to-late 1970s prove this. But now EVERYONE (well, a billion or so, 1/6 of the world) are amphibians, half in, half out of cyberspace. Should we first lungfish crawling up the shore be heeded? The fate of the world depends on this.

Posted by: Jonathan Vos Post | October 2, 2006 7:49 PM

2:

"criminals of limited stature" WBAENFARB

3:

The first thing that comes to mind reading the Dyatlov Pass account is the paradoxical undressing that is sometimes seen in hypothermia. The massive injuries to some of the bodies I would guess resulted from an avalanche, but it's difficult to know whether that would be plausible without knowing the layout of the area. As is commonly the case, the mystery may really arise from the paucity of recorded facts rather than from anything inherently unlikely.

4:

As a police officer of many years experience, I admit I've never seen anything quite as odd as the naked meat burglar.
You just have to wonder what was going on the guy's warped psyche....

The dwarf crime raises a number of interesting problems. How do you conduct a line-up of the suspects? "Him, the short one!"
Or..."Will number Five through number Two please kneel..."

"Round up the usual dwarf suspects!"

5:

That's why I like it here; you always bring us the very weirdest stuff. I was going to google `penile degloving' to see what the hell you're talking about, but I decided maybe...not...

6:

In the early 1990s, I heard research foresters discuss doing similar things with trees (not including location; they tend not to roam.)

7:

Although I'm slightly bitter that I missed the vote on deleting the 'spime' article, I've at least created a redirect page to go straight to Sterling's page.

8:

Per my last comment, I find myself wondering whether Wikipedia has become the de facto arbiter of the survival of neologisms? Certainly it's not true in all cases, but in the case of 'spime,' the votes of eleven people may turn out to decide whether the word lives or dies. Certainly my first instinct when I encounter an unfamiliar term is to run it through Wikipedia; if there's not an entry, I may not bother to pursue it further.

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9:

I'm not sure if they are still there, but there was a grazing project on the Pentlands 6 months ago that featured cows with GPS transmitters. The devices also measured tilt as well as position so that it was able to monitor when the cows were eating - something to do with a feasibility study of whether it was practical to graze larger animals on topologically interesting landscapes... I suspect that it was organised by the SAC.

10:

If anyone is interested: the deletion debate for Spime can be found here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Deletion_review/Log/2007_November_23

and in long here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Spime

The content of the last deleted revision of spime looks (without links) like this:

Spime is a neologism for a currently-theoretical object that can be tracked through space and time throughout the lifetime of the object. The name “spime? for this concept was coined by author Bruce Sterling. Sterling sees spimes as coming through the convergence of six emerging technologies, related to both the manufacturing process for consumer goods, and through identification and location technologies. *

These six facets of spimes are:

1. Small, inexpensive means of remotely and uniquely identifying objects over short ranges; in other words, radio-frequency identification.
2. A mechanism to precisely locate something on Earth, such as a global-positioning system.
3. A way to mine large amounts of data for things that match some given criteria, like internet search engines.
4. Tools to virtually construct nearly any kind of object; computer-aided design.
5. Ways to rapidly prototype virtual objects into real ones. Sophisticated, automated fabrication of a specification for an object, through “three-dimensional printers.?
6. “Cradle-to-cradle? life-spans for objects. Cheap, effective recycling.

With all six of these, one could track the entire existence of an object, from before it was made (its virtual representation), through its manufacture, its ownership history, its physical location, until its eventual obsolescence and breaking-down back into raw material to be used for new instantiations of objects. If recorded, the lifetime of the object can be archived, and searched for.

Spimes are not defined merely by these six technologies; it is, rather, that if these technologies converge within the manufacturing process (CAD and automated manufacturing are already in wide use in the manufacture of many things today; RFIDs are becoming more and more prevalent in consumer goods) then spimes could indeed arise.

Contents

* 1 What is an “Object??
* 2 See also
* 3 References
* 4 External links

What is an “Object??

The use of the term “object? may seem abstruse and overly generic. As an example by what is meant by “object? in the context of spimes, consider a pair of tennis shoes. A tennis shoe can be thought of as an object in the manufacturing cycle — it first exists as a digital specification for a shoe, then raw materials are gathered and formed into the shoe, an RFID may be embedded into the fabric, and then it is sold. Location and searching for this shoe may involve asking a computer search engine “where are my shoes?? To which the reply may be “your shoes are under your bed,? which would combine identification, location, and data mining (linking the shoes to your ownership of them). Once the soles wear out, the shoes may be sent back to the manufacturer, who will break them down back into raw material which could be used to fabricate a new pair of shoes for you.

"Spime" was probably first used in a large public forum by Sterling at SIGGRAPH Los Angeles, August 2004. The idea was further expanded upon in Shaping Things.

See also

* An internet of things
* Everyware
* Next nature
* Hyperreality
* Cyberspace
* Semantic Web
* Spam

References

* When Blobjects Rule the Earth Speech by Bruce Sterling, at SIGGRAPH, Los Angeles, August 2004
* Sterling, Bruce (2005). Shaping Things. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-69326-7. “A SPIME is, by definition, the protagonist of a documented process. It is an historical entity with an accessible, precise trajectory through space and time.?

* Bruce Sterling's speech at the South by Southwest conference in March 2006 The "Spime Elevator Pitch" is about halfway through (22 min 30 sec.)
* Bruce Sterling's videoblog interview - Minnesota Stories, March 23, 2006. 6 minutes.
* Bruce Sterling's talk “Shaping of Things to Come?, given on 13 December 2004 at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich.
* Bruce Sterling's talk - Lift Conference, Feb 3, 2006. 34 minutes.
* The Internet of Things: What is a Spime and why is it useful?, given on Google Tech Talks 30 April 2007. 49 min 5 sec

External links

* MIT PressLog: The Ultimate Guide to Spimes
* Del.icio.us spime tags
* Beyond spimes: Kirkyans
* On the Path to a Spime-Filled Future: Proto-Spimes
* Ambient Findability: Talking with Peter Morville, Boxesandarrows, Liz Danzico

This content was part of Wikipedia prior to November 27, 2007. Wikipedia admins can see the list of authors here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Undelete/Spime


11:

I remember working on a physics project in '84 related to cow telemetry. Apparently when cows fall pregnant their activity patterns change, and this occurs before other visible signs. Telemetry data would help identify this in a timely fashion to reduce pre-term losses.

The brief would have been more interesting if had been to detect whether or not said cows were being chased around by Swedish dwarfs.

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12:

M. Werner @ 4:

"Round up the usual dwarf suspects"

This actually happened a couple of years ago, in Iraq. A US patrol was tasked to go into an urban area (possibly in Baghdad, maybe elsewhere) and arrest a suspected high-up in an insurgent group. He was described as distinctive in that he was a dwarf.

When the truck came back it had about thirty dwarves on board (and as it turned out, not the dwarf they had been looking for). Dwarfism in Muslim countries is regarded with some prejudice and a small enclave of dwarves had settled in one of the urban areas that was coincidentally the area the US troops had been sent to raid. Since all the dwarves looked the same to the troops, they rounded up all of the dwarf suspects and bought them back to base...

13:

Ah, Charlie, I see from my LJ that you've remembered where the teddy remark came from.

One of my cats died and his companion has been very lonely so I got her a teddy bear to sleep with and what I actually said was "I'll sleep with the teddy tonight so it won't smell strange." Charlie was lag-reading.

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15:

I'm glad you told us about that, Marilee. Charlie might have gone on to write that story without remembering the context of the quote, and we all know how nasty Charlie's imagination can get ("Antibodies", "A Colder War", "Missle Gap"; need I go on?). I was afraid we'd end up with something like Sturgeon's "The Professor's Teddy Bear", only scarier. Almost 50 years after I read that story I still occasionally have bad dreams about it; rather not have to go through that again.

16:

Charlie@14 - hmm. You really need to get some sleep...

17:

Bruce @15: what makes you think that knowing where I got the sentence from will defuse it? Little ticking meme bombs ...

Dave @16: Can't sleep ... the clowns will get me ...

18:

You've got the clowns too, huh? I thought it was just me...

19:

Actually, while we're both fighting off the clowns, I wanted to ask, why didn't `Something Sweet' find its way into Toast? I'm not complaining, you understand, it just seemed a strange ommission.

20:

I'm trying to picture the face of the commanding officer when the troopers pulled in with a truckload of dwarves...


Anyone remember the rather distasteful X-files episode with the Indian dwarf who entered the country INSIDE his victim?

21:

@18. Clowns everywhere. I have a recurring nightmare of Carly Simon singing "I had some dreams they were clowns in my coffin/You're insane/You probably think this song's out to get you/..."

22:

Don't worry - keeping the meat wet prevents the clowns from coming in. And even if they do get in, the soil trails will confuse them and lead them out to the truck. Where the exhumed plants will get them...

23:

That sentence ties in nicely with my fear of Teddy Ruxpin.

24:

I was thinking of the other kind of teddy when I remembered a bit I pulled on some people in a game of Tunnels and Trolls.

Evil cult's temple, ladies temple robes, maleficent mutation producing vampire cloaks. taking this to the present day we get...

Heroine's best friend finds a tatty old teddy, is over come by the urge to put on said teddy. She declines in health and vigor and weight as the teddy improves in appearance. The worse she gets the better the teddy gets. Best friend dies.

Heroine is given teddy, fights off urge to put teddy on. Until...

Pulls herself together, takes teddy off, finds that regular clothes are now too dang itchy and scratchy to be tolerated. Unless she wears the teddy. Can she defeat the gruesome garb before she gives in again? Will she find a way to do her weekly shopping at the grocery without causing a fuss? How many threads do her cotton sheets need per inch until they stop giving her a rash?

Complication; Her eight year old daughter puts on the teddy in a game of dress-up. (I'm evil, you need to ask?)

25:

Speaking of teddy bears smelling odd, Something Positive had a week-long story starting here:

http://somethingpositive.net/sp03052005.shtml

26:

I'm getting more and more into the habit of using Google as my URL of first resort when I want to provide context, e.g.

http://www.google.com/search?q=spime+object

This is not because I hate Wikipedia: quite the opposite, it's because I'm tired of the endless entitlement tantrums wikipedia.com gets from "customers" dissatisfied with some aspect of the free ice cream. This way takes the pressure off wikipedia, as nobody ever blubs wah! wah! Google downgraded that article I like!

Plus, if there is a popular Wikipedia article, it will likely appear near the top in a Google search anyway.

27:

That Dyatlov incident reminds me of this one really neat SF story I read where the Soviets were using weaponised shoggoths. I can't remember who wrote it now...

The freakiest detail is the girl's missing tongue.

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28:

@9: Link for SAC based GPS project for cows: http://openscotland.gov.uk/Topics/Research/15597/SAC2006CPb

29:

Yes, Charlie, you SHOULD crack on with The Revolution Business...mutter grumble cliffhanger mutter sniff....

30:

23:

That sentence ties in nicely with my fear of Teddy Ruxpin.

Posted by: Andrew G. | February 24, 2008 4:43 AM

Are you still waiting for them to resume the special TV broadcast with the control messages in the extra lines? Drop it, man. It's over.

Regarding Web-addressable cows, I was in a seminar at 3GSM a couple of weeks back about M2M (Machine to Machine) comms; it's an absolutely huge field, but what stood out was a curious paradox.

Specifically, mobile phones turn over every 18 months, network infrastructure elements 3-5 years; but the things they want to embed GPRS modems in tend to have much longer design lives. Machine tools. Cars. Buildings. Offshore wind turbines. So the radio stuff has to be very carefully future-proofed; you've got to be able to update all the firmware (including Software-Defined Radio profiles) over the air.

And - here's the bastard - you need to be able to rollback a borked update programmatically, without using the network. After all, if your update fuxx0rs the RF stack, you're not getting in any way other than physically going out there and plugging it into your laptop. Which is difficult if the device is mounted on an offshore wind turbine. Or a cow.

31:

Connie, I'm currently taking a pause to refactor what I've got so far. Which is 60,000 words, of which the first 40K do what it says on the tin, and the latter 20K ... not so much. Turns out I've closed the diversion I went on in book #4, but I need to nail down where the final lump of story arc is heading in books #5 and #6. A week of intensive outlining is indicated. These things take time (and especially so when I've actually got an itch to be working on "419", the sequel to "Halting State", instead).

Alex: speaking of future-proofing, I seem to be of that generation which actually wants a PDA that's separate from their phone. While in the US, I fell off the wagon and bought an iPod Touch (anyone want a couple of slightly used Nokia internet tablets? Didn't think so) for inflight entertainment on the way home, and suddenly realized that it was quite a decent little PDA, if only it did all the other stuff my Palm TX used to do. And you know what? This just turned up.

It seems to me that the future is emulators, all the way down.

Now: how practical would it be to define some really crude, basic baseline for a lowest-common-denominator wireless protocol -- something crude and simple, not for voice/real-time comms? In effect, to turn over some of the GSM/GPRS channels in 5-10 years' time -- when all the humans have migrated to 3G or WiMax or whatever -- for M2M updates. All it's there for is to reload the real RF stack, so you can run the wireless drivers needed to bring a borked box back from the dead. By that time -- 5-10 years hence -- a simple embedded GSM-on-a-chipset radio ought to be do-able and thoroughly commoditized, and something you can embed in infrastructure kit as an emergency lifebelt to call on if the real boot process fails. Feasible?

32:

Already here, Charles; the actual GSM/GPRS bit isn't much more than a chipset anyway, and in fact we/they are already thinking of filling the old network with this stuff. Really, it's simple enough that you could just use the cellular data channel and good old IP. Although there are a couple of old-tel capabilities in the GSM core nobody uses - USSD, frex - that are useful in this connection.

33:

Your brain-worm comment has reminded me of a question about the Atrocity Archive universe:

If philosophers are considered dangerous and a magnet for Other Things and monitored by government agencies, what about science fiction writers, who think about strange things and then spread them as memetic viruses in the population? In short, what is the Laundry doing about this strange SF writer up in Scotland?

34:

NB: I want the wikipedia admins to know that I am very annoyed that someone has deleted the wikipedia article on spimes. It's all very well to do the housekeeping, but it's gone too far when useful resources are being erased before I can link to them from my blog, dammit.

Includipedia, my fork of Wikipedia, exists to address exactly that problem (among others).

35:

Martin @33: you may take it as given that ALL my novels exist in parallel universes where science fiction novelists do not exist. Because? To do it any other way would invite Madness™, never mind courting the Brain Eater.

36:

I think the Swedish people are just starting to learn about insurance fraud but haven't gotten the excuses down to believable stuff yet.

"How did you lose the diamond ring?"
"A dwarf stole it."

I'd lie even though I truly believed that!

37:

Charlie, I'd probably like one of the Nokia tablets if I could afford what you're selling them for! I'm still trying to find a reasonably priced book reader.

38:

It's a crying shame that CDMA was hamstrung by incompetent wannabe-monopoly telecoms in all the countries it was released in. My 7-year-old CDMA phone still has better voice quality than a new GSM phone, and still doesn't look that fat. Shame I can't get it registered in Australia, even though it can see the network...

39:

I did the whole PDA thing for years... let's see... Royal DaVinci (when I was a poor teenager with shit for brains)... various Handspring items, back when they still existed... a Zaurus 5500 (linux-based handheld - came in handy when the lab I was working at was using 50 of them [MIT Media Lab, MIThril Wearable Computing Project] and because I owned one I could debug it pretty happily)... but after that summer, I went back to a good pen [these days, a fountain pen] and a good pocket notebook. I've played with the Touch and, while deeply tempting as yet-another-iPod, I want one that uses the Toshiba 1.8" drives rather than flash. I realize that it'll need to be thicker, but I like the idea of carrying around enough entertainment material to not be bored when traveling (currently, I'm carrying ~35 gigs of MP3s and another 40 gigs of video on an iPod classic).

On another note, I rather enjoyed your talk at Pandemonium last tuesday - and the friends who were using me as a beast of burden for books are quite happy.

40:

DLS could get away with putting a crime writer in her mysteries, but had to turn them into romances.

Then again, she did seem to fall head-over-heels for Lord Peter, but Harriet Vane isn't so blatant a Mary-Sue.

41:

Jim @ #36

Having, multiple times, used SweBus (the bus company in whose cargo units the alleged thefts may or may not have happened), I think the scenario is plausible. I'd fit inside one of those, with space left over to move and I'm about 1.8 metres, heel to crown of head. A suitable dwarf, in a suitable bag (openable from the inside, ideally with wheels to make it easier to move around) would be, ahem, child's play to arrange. To make it better, the line I usually used (Stockholm-Linköping) has about an hour from stop to stop (Nyköping, Norrköping, then Linköping; I can't recall if it stops at Södertälje or not).

42:

Charlie @35 you may take it as given that ALL my novels exist in parallel universes where science fiction novelists do not exist.

Comparing the news stories you've linked to to SF, you could make a case they don't exist in this universe.

43:

there was a grazing project on the Pentlands 6 months ago that featured cows with GPS transmitters. The devices also measured tilt as well as position so that it was able to monitor when the cows were eating - something to do with a feasibility study of whether it was practical to graze larger animals on topologically interesting landscapes... I suspect that it was organised by the SAC.

By Strategic Air Command? Boy, talk about mission creep. (Now trying to think of a Strossian justification for SAC to be funding that particular project...)

44:

Fall-out tracking, obviously. In fact I'm surprised UKWMO didn't do it. (I was a little boy in the Yorkshire Dales when the sheep went radioactive due to Chernobyl.)

38: No point, mate. Telstra is looking at ripping out the CDMA net once they're happy with NextG. (the rockingest mobile network in the world - aiming for 42Mbits/s peak downlink by 2010! 200km-diameter cells in the outback, powered by solar panels!)

45:

"It seems to me that the future is emulators, all the way down."

That brings disturbing memories of reading Ken McLeoud's stuff and wondering if legacy programming is going to be the new old thing...

46:

I'm trying to picture the face of the commanding officer when the troopers pulled in with a truckload of dwarves...

These are not the dwarves you are looking for...

47:

Charlie @35:

Now you've got me trying to imagine an alternate history where Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, et al never existed. It's rather creeping me out here. Congratulations, you win again.

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48:

Alex @30

I worked on a project 20 years ago that had that sort of rollback.
each remote station had a slow (~24h) watchdog timer and an emergency software image (ESI).
after an upgrade if it failed to connected back to HQ in time, the timer didn't get reset, and it rebooted into the ESI. sorted :)

All you need is money to build the hardware


49:

Alex @44: yeah, and when I got my CDMA phone, 3G was just around the corner... only took five years to be almost working. That's exactly the kind of feature-creep incompetence I'm talking about. They already had a better technology, but they were falling over themselves so hard to make it even better that they never capitalised on what they had.

Telstra can barely manage 42Mbits/s in large chunks of major cities. And apparently they threw out all their network records about 15 years ago, so they have no idea what wires are even capable of carrying that much. I kid you not. Those Telstra vans are out physically testing local exchanges to see if they can run ADSL bandwidths before they try to hook people up.

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50:

Alex @ 30

If we want to be able to fix an update on a cow it sounds like cow-tipping is going to have to become a respectable profession.

"Yeah, just get her on her back and I'll plug in the serial cable and start the download."

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51:

Charlie @ 31

How much memory did you get in your iPod Touch? I'm planning on buying one in the next few weeks, and I'm not sure if it's worth going the full 32 Gig for what I want to do, which is mostly use it as a PDA and ebook reader, with some music and photo storage thrown in.

52:

#47,

S. M. Stirlings'upcoming In the Courts of the Crimson Kings (March 8th, 208) has a prologue in which the pro attendees of the 1962 World Con get together to watch the first video from the Viking One Lander on an inhabited Mars. The crosstalk between L. Sprague de Camp, Isaac Asimov, John Campbell, Bob Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Theodore Sturgeon, Bob Silverberg, Ray Bradbury, Fred Pohl, and Larry Niven (among others) is fun.

53:

There are also plants that blog. Or Twitter, anyway!

54:

***MILK 1.5 on a Nokia E90; kernel 2.6.70.11
Logged in user: farmerpalmer***

ssh 123.124.125.126/daisy/
password: moofighter

daisy@123.124.125.126 $]: moo root
password: chewincud

sudo apt-get install kde-methane kmilk4 grasshopper3.0

daisy@123.124.125.126 $]: ruminator stomach2 -silage
*****
****
***
**
*

OH HAI!

im in yr kowz killin yr guys

!!1! i haz mad skillz

(I knew I shouldn't have left the MILK out where the lolcat could get at it..)

55:

Bruce @51: I got the 32Gb model. (Aer Lingus in-flight entertainment is ... let's just say it's straight out of the 1980s, technology-wise.) There's no jailbreak for the 32Gb iTouch yet, but it's under development; I reckon it'll be a couple of weeks before I can load Book.app and the other goodies. I also want to be able to carry Wikipedia around on my PDA, along with a bunch of movies and music, and the incremental cost of adding 16Gb to it wasn't that great, so I figured, why settle for the smaller model?

56:

MILK, of course, stands for MILK's not a Linux Kow...

57:

There are also Xboxes that blog! :)

I would be curious if the cows were given a personality through their blogging... would we still want to eat them if we establish a relationship with them via that blog?

I tried to create a Wikipedia entry for "blogject" but that was removed as well... I tried to fight the system, but the system won. Wikipedia really doesn't encourage people to add content anymore... you have to pass the judgment of some mysterious "elite" which really harms participation.

58:

Trapper: I'll second that! I am really shocked at how many things I try to search on Wiki have been deleted. Don't they know about the whole "long-tail" theory? I want my obscure data now! (Somehow as I type that I picture the Golden-egg room scene from Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.) They are literally cutting off their own tail. Mark my words, Wiki is on it's way down and something with an un-wiki-look yet with the long-tail approach to information is going to emerge.