hackers and sadness

I usually think of hackers in a happy white hat way…that is until I have to wipe german porn and house music from a hard drive or figure out which range of chinese IP addresses to block. Today’s downtime was a bit more enigmatic since VerySpatial is on a hosted server and the hosts couldn’t really tell me what is was that caused them to change the permissions on a key WordPress folder to 000 leaving the PHP calls kind of left hanging, other than ‘an exploit’. I have been administering IIS and Apache on local machines for years so it kills me when the folks who blocked access couldn’t offer more than a line from the Apache log….Arrrrgggghhh…

OK I feel better now and WordPress is now at the current version. Oh and my additional incoherence is thanks to a cold. yipee


GPS Navigation Projected on the Windshield

Engadget is reporting a pretty cool device that projects navigation information on your windshield. The navigation is really nothing more than a red line indicating which direction you should travel. The nice thing is that it places the line into your real world context, plus it doesn’t require the driver to take his or her eyes off the road. The company that makes the product, Making Virtual Solid, says it can be implemented for around $400. No working demos quite yet, but hopefully there’s something available in the coming year. It’s a pretty cool idea if they can get it implemented!

Footage of PS3 Home Beta Trial – Sony’s interactive 3D world

Awhile back, we talked about Sony’s upcoming 3D virtual world/social network for the Playstation 3, dubbed Home. Right now, Home is in a closed beta trial, and is scheduled for release in early 2008. GameTrailers.com and Veoh recently posted a 25-minute walkthrough of the beta of Home, showing some of each features and 3D environments. The look of Home is impressive, and the realistic 3D graphics and embedded multimedia and interactive capabilities are pretty cool. Unlike Second Life, Home’s basic environment is pre-designed to look like a typical real world environment, although users can customize their avatar’s look and get their own apartment to customize as well. Home’s main focus is as a 3d online social network, but it demonstrates again how advanced 3D graphics applications are converging with the idea of creating virtual worlds that are based on real-world data and features.

MapEcos – mapping US industrial pollution

Students and faculty at 3 leading US business schools, Duke (Fuqua), Harvard, and Dartmouth, have launched a site called MapEcos, which utilizes the Google Maps-based Mapmundi Mapping Platform interface to map data that are regularly collected on air quality and chemical emissions from more than 20,000 industrial sites in the US. While the map entries show what and how much industrial sites are releasing, the project is focused on telling both sides of the story, especially companies and sites are have not only reduced the amount of their emissions, but also reduced the levels of toxicity. Air quality is a crucial environmental issues, and tools like MapEcos can help show what works and what doesn’t in terms of reducing industrial pollution, and also help raise awareness about how industries in our own backyards are impacting the environment.


3D Nature Holiday Sale

VNSWe had a great interview with Chris Hanson of 3D Nature this week, but we aren’t going to post it until after all of the holiday travel and our year in review episode. In the interview Chris pointed out the great sale they are running on the GIS friendly Visual Nature Studio 2. I have been using their World Construction Set, and more recently VNS, since the late 1990s and am a huge fan. I actually received my first literal ooh and ahhs during a presentation where I was showing some reconstructions of prehistoric landscapes made with WCS. Anyway…great software at a great price for the holidays.


Our good buddy Rick Lawson over at ESRI sent us all a lovely little YouTube video/song – G-I-Yes. The folks down in Austin put this together for GIS Day it it is darn amusing. At our day job, we’ve had a server going wonky for the last few weeks, so I found the middle part particularly pertinent. Thanks Rick!

UK Homes Wind Powered by 2020

Engadget is reporting a news item that the UK is planning on powering all the home in Britain via off shore wind power by 2020. That’s a pretty ambitious project. The interesting portion of this is the off shore wind farms, which have been in use in Europe for upwards of a couple decades. The US has been rather slow to adopt off shore wind farms for a variety of reasons. Hopefully plans like these – even if ultimately unsuccessful – will spur the US to explore the technology further.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this project, as I’m a HUGE proponent of offshore wind energy.