Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Wikipedia on your iPod

There's only an online source of information which is better than Wikipedia: a portable Wikipedia. Encyclopodia, a free, cross-platform software for Windows, Linux and Mac, brings the most famous online encyclopedia on your iPod (tested on 3rd generation iPod and iPod Mini).
More infos about the ebook format and some screenshots are available on the official project page.

[via Digg]

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M4 Project: Celeron Vs WWII Enigma

The M4 Message Breaking Project is maybe the creepiest and yet fascinating distributed computing project you could devote your processor to (well, maybe after S.E.T.I.).
As you might know, during WWII Nazis used to encrypt their communications through a device called Enigma, consisting in a series of rotors activated by a keyboard.
In 1942, three encoded signals were intercepted in the North Atlantic, and their content remained unknown, until now.
The project, started on January 2006, is called M4 after the rotor which was presumably used for the encryption; the software is an open-source, cross-platform client written in Python, and the method used for the decryption is a mixture of brute force and a 'hill climbing algorithm': it has been estimated that 100 users, running the client 24/7 on Celeron 1,2 GHz processors, should cover the 'search space' in 4 days, with a successful result every 10 completed searches.
The first message has been broken last week (as the project blog reports), so if you want to take part in this geeky spy story you'd better hurry up.

[Via DIY: happy]

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Cleaning my filthy keyboard

Inspired by this tutorial from The Tech Zone, I finally decided to give my keyboard a well-deserved and long-waited cleaning.
The process required some extra work (more than the 45' needed to clean a regular keyboard, according to the guide) and a few adaptations, mainly due to the different structure and the tiny, fragile key retainers of my laptop, which made the removal phase slightly unnerving. But let's consider it as a sort of 'zen exercise'.
Believe me when I say that you do not want to know what I found under the keys, waiting for some creature to spring out of that indistinct mass of hair and crumbs and call me Dad.
It's amazing what you can do with a screwdriver, a vacuum-cleaner and an old toothbrush...
Disclaimer: no keyboards, nor tiny laptop-dwelling folks were injured during this project.

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Web Office Suite: best of breed products

Everybody loves lists, and so I do. Especially when they feature some of my favourite apps: Richard MacManus, from ZDNet's Web 2.0 Explorer, published Web Office Suite: best of breed products, a roundup of some of the most important web-based office tools.
I'm not surprised to see Google's Gmail still at the first place in the "Web email" category for the year 2006 (even if it was released in 2004), for its load of innovations and its unique - truly 'Web2.0' - approach to mail hosting.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Technorati launches Favorites

Technorati added a new feature to help you not to get lost in the constantly increasing number of blogs (T. is currently tracking 28.4 million weblogs): now you can add up to 50 blogs to your Technorati Favorites, either by typing the URL in the Favorites page, clicking a star icon all over Technorati, or through a bookmarklet during your surfing. Older subscriptions from other services can be imported via the Favorites Importer.
A widget allows you to display new posts from your Favorites on your blog.

If you're curious about this new service, just click here
Add this blog to my Technorati Favorites!
and add SpaghettiTech to your Favorites list!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The most promising Web 2.0 software of 2006

Dion Hinchcliffe just released an update to his Best Web 2.0 Software of 2005 roundup: lots of new Web2.0 applications are listed in The most promising Web 2.0 software of 2006.
The list includes some of the most interesting Ajax tools released or extensively overhauled since January 1st, 2006 and is organized into categories (Personal Productivity and Organization; Search; Video Storage, Sharing, and Search; Real Estate; Music; Ajax Start Pages; Other Promising Web 2.0 Software): for each category, Hinchcliffe suggests a 'best offering' - along with a brief description of the application - and a series of 'Runners-up'.

[via Downloadsquad]

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Automated book scanner

In the last few days, almost every tech-related site/blog featured a post about the BookDrive, a compact, automated book scanner which can flip pages of a book automatically by simply entering the number of pages you want to scan, creating an output in different digital formats.The BookDrive is able to scan up to 500 pages per hour.

Those who cannot afford the $35k required to own this jewel, can always take the DIY way, just like the guy who built an automated book scanner made out of LEGO bricks.

[via MAKE: Blog]

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Homemade portable Playstation 2

Apparently, Sony's UMDs (the PSP disks) aren't selling as well as expected.
Some guy has just found his own solution to the problem: a perfectly working, portable Playstation 2 which looks like an obscure military device.

Enjoy this video of the guy playing GTA on his brand new DIY tool.

Via Make: Blog

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Monitoring employees' surfing habits is illegal

With a recent sentence, the Italian Privacy Authority made clear that employers can't monitor their employees' surfing habits.
Of course, an unauthorized or improper use of the computer (detected by logging the connections, for example) can still be punished, but deeper investigations about the contents of the visited sites are against the Italian Privacy Code (since they could reveal intimate informations such as religious beliefs, political opinions and so on) and therefore illegal.
The sentence comes after an employee, fired on the basis of the cookies and the temporary files stored on his computer during the working hours, filed an appeal to the Authority.

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sentinel 2.1 - Free integrity checker and more

Sentinel 2.1 is a once shareware, now completely free tool, which scans your system folder (along with up to 20 custom directories) and performs an integrity check: whenever a file (.dll, .drv, .sys, .386, .ocx, .exe, .com, .pif or .scr) fails the test, Sentinel sends it to the AV/Anti trojan software of your choice to be examined.
A built-in registry watcher will prevent unwanted and suspicious changes in the system registry (e.g. new startup entries); the secure-shutdown feature adds an icon to the desktop, which allows to perform a scan (integrity check and registry audit) and shut down the system with a single click.
Every examined file is logged, in order to be re-scanned on demand.

The results of the first scan will serve as a reference for the following tests, so be sure to scan your system with an anti virus software before using Sentinel for the 1st time.

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Video Bomb

Pick Youtube, Clipshack, CastPost, Ourmedia, Daily Motion, Revver, Vimeo, vSocial, Google Video, [...a new one in 3... 2... 1...] , add a Digg-like voting system, tags, a clean interface and you'll obtain Video Bomb, a new community site meant to collect the best videos available online.
Like in Digg, each entry comes with a button to vote it (in this case you "bomb" the clip) and the score is displayed in a little - guess what? - bomb beside the thumbnail.
The Front Page and Most Bombed all-time feeds will help you not to miss an entry.

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