November 3rd, 2003

classic beard

hacker emblem?

ESR has proposed a "hacker emblem", or badge:




I think it brings home what has always subliminally bothered me about some of ESR's stuff - namely, the conflation of hacker "culture" with hacker "community", and having slipped from describing the former into attempting to motivate the latter. One could argue that community-building is more useful (or at least more satisfying) - but it just makes me twitch, some, probably because we have a pretty obvious "we are all individuals (I'm not!)" culture and don't necessarily want to be seen as a community. After all, beyond "tinkering is cool" there isn't anything that ties us together, and that's ok, really. (Yes, I've read the FAQ, and I think the "dreams of freedom" part is actually wrong, and certainly not broadly descriptive. Start thinking about power and ability to manipulate the world, and you're closer to a broad vision of hacking.)

On the other hand, it's a pretty good choice of an emblem, though; it works at many levels, including the "hyperfocus providing the appearance of progress" aspect shown by the glider's relentless drive in a single direction up until it encounters some unexpected pixel and explodes :-) Likewise, not asking for votes, just trying it out on a few people and posting the result is the right process for this environment.

I wonder how it will play at CodeCon. More practically, I wonder if I'll have time to wrap up any of my side projects to submit as papers, though I suspect none of them are actually sufficiently cool - they're precursors to cool, I'd bet I can build really cool stuff on top of them, but they're not all that cool as they are now. They're almost useful, though, which might suffice. Anyone else here going?
  • Current Music
    Come Out and Play - The Offspring
classic beard

About frickin' time

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  • Current Music
    we are the champions - queen
classic beard

toys: Belkin Voice Recorder for iPod

The iPod audio thing is cute. Not very loud for playback (reminds me of an old transistor radio, actually) but fine for memo verifying, and I suspect it wouldn't be bad for audio-books either. Picks up my normal speaking voice from across the room, faintly, but is very clear within 6 feet of it; would probably record meetings just fine. I did get it to scream once, though it didn't record it which is probably just as well. If it happens again I'll probably submit a bug report, but pausing and restarting fixed it.

It seems to record, and then dump-to-disk when you finish; that may just be side effect, there's no documented memo size limit. It saves in WAV mono format. I'm not convinced it's loud enough to serve as a travel alarm, but I'll try it tomorrow...

Mechanically, the connection is pretty solid, you can wiggle it a little front to back but it isn't loose and it takes a reasonable pull to remove it. One odd thing: once plugged in, it is very hard to get at the lock slide-switch - it isn't obscured at all, but unless you have long fingernails you can't get at the "lock" edge to pull on it. A little more friction on the surface of the switch might suffice.

The iShrine in the Cambridgeside Galleria had them in stock today

Update 2003-11-05: I recorded a one-hour lecture at work today, with the iPod in my shirt pocket. It got somewhat warm, not uncomfortable to the touch but enough to get the idea that it was definitely working. It stopped updating the time counter at some point (just left it at 00:00:00) and when I hit stop-and-save it went back to the menu with nothing listed... but the drive still spinning. The screen blanked, it wasn't responding to keypresses, and the drive is still spinning 15 minutes later. I plugged it in to the mac (to sync, but also make sure it had power) and it hasn't woken up iTunes yet, so the firmware is still "busy" doing something. This implies that it's not all that useful for recording multiple lectures, at least not in a row...
Further update: after spinning for an hour, I finally did a menu+play hard reset. The Mac did not find any of the recording. I'll have to experiment further.
  • Current Music
    Experiment 22 - Laurie Anderson, Big Science