Recently in Hardware Category

Yesterday, we started planning our veggie garden and started a compost bin. I'm trying to figure out what percentage of my total food intake I can grow at home. We have a relatively large yard by Japanese standards so most of this will be a matter of personal energy. I'm going to start small this year but try to increase my nutritional independence from commercial networks every year.

My goal is to be able to cover nearly all of our fertilizer needs through the composting of all of our biodegradable garbage this year.

Thinking through the various scenarios, I realized that I could significantly reduce inputs and outputs from our house by going this route. When I imagine walking over to the garden every morning, picking my veggies, then chucking the waste into the compost bin, I get a happy feeling inside. I realize this is pretty simple and not so significant, but "just add water and sunlight" is very appealing.

I think that I can also make a significant impact on my energy inputs through photovoltaics and maybe some day get off of the power grid. This requires a larger financial investment but is an area that I've already done a bit of work in this area from my time at ECD.

In my lab/office/Tokyo pad we just finished setting up (thanks to the folks at WIDE) a dark fiber connection to the WIDE box at the Japanese Internet exchange. It is currently a 1G connection. WIDE is a research project and I'm only paying for the dark fiber. WIDE is routing for me. I am not going through a single licensed telecom provider for my Internet connectivity. Consequently, going from 1G to 10G is just a matter of buying more hardware and has no impact on the running cost. More bandwidth is just about more hardware. The way it SHOULD be.

It's exciting to think about making my footprint smaller and smaller in nutrition and energy and thinking about nutrition, energy and bandwidth more and more as assets that I operate rather than services from big companies.

I was going to Twitter this as I was sitting here drinking my morning tea, but it turned into a blog post. Thanks Twitter. ;-)

I am going to be flying on Lufthanza to go to 23C3. If I'm lucky I'll have Flynet (Boeing Connexions) wifi on both legs. It's suppose to terminate on the day I return from Berlin. However... I don't have enough Watts. The Lufthanza seats (as with most airlines) only do 70 Watts. My MacBook Pro takes 85 Watts and My Dell XPS M1710 130 Watts. Arggh! This is so frustrating... If you haven't experienced trying to draw more wattage out of an airline plug, it's a pain. It looks like it's working for a minute, but it will just shut down and the LED turns red when you try to draw too much power.

It may be because of all of the complaining from people like Larry, but Apple released an airline power cable for the MacBook Pro which allows you to plug it into DC Power connectors which most US airlines use. It doesn't recharge the battery and appears to solve the problem. However, this solution doesn't help you on the airlines that just have an AC power outlet. (Most of the rest of the world.)

I wonder if it's possible for the airlines to increase the maximum power on the seats. I sure hope so.

In a last ditch effort to get my computer operational I reformatted what appeared to be a corrupt disk and borrowed an external disk to boot from. My OTHER MacBook Pro is in the shop and I had wiped it clean before sending it in. This SECOND MacBook Pro was the backup so the only backup I have is a backup backup which is about 6 months old.

Erasing the disk that possibly had the only copy of 6 months worth of data on it was an interesting thing. I knew that if I sent it to some service or used some tool that I might be able to recover some or all of the data. However, I imagined the time, stress and grief that it would cause me to engage in such an activity. I tried to take inventory of what I had done in the last six months and what items were unique and what I could recover from other people or from the Net. When I clicked "erase" on the Disk Utility, it was actually extremely liberating. Like decided to "let go" after dwelling on a loss in the family or something...

I realize this may sound a bit high drama, but I'm sure I'm not the only one whose brain shuts down to almost all outside input during a broken computer incident. Now I'm running on a fresh install with very little baggage and it actually feels quite nice. This also means no World of Warcraft and possibly more blogging. ;-)

I've started having a weird problem on my MacBook Pro. It hangs in a mode where the mouse moves and all of the applications are basically frozen. It process stuff in bursts every once in awhile. It doesn't show weird CPU activity on the activity monitor and I have about 10G of disk space free. It happens when I only have a few applications open. I've done an fsck and a permissions fix with Disk Utility. Does anyone know what the problem might be? When I reboot, it gets better, but the starts to degrade again after running for awhile...

On another MacBook Pro note... My first one is in the shop because my fan started to rattle and my CD bay and the delete key broke. This is a "backup" that I bought and it's already broken while the first one is in the shop.

OK, one more gripe. The MacBook Pro draws more power than the airline seats are designed for so the breaker on the seat will pop as soon as the MacBook Pro starts charging while on or even with the battery out, you run something that taxes the CPU. A laptop that doesn't work with airline power really cramps my style.

So although the speed is addictively fast, I'm not sure it's worth all of the problems that I've been having with it.

Anyway, I'd be very grateful if someone could help me with my most recent problem. ;-)

Have started working with Justin... or rather Justin has started working on editing video. I'm about to learn to use Final Cut Pro and turn this blog into a video blog. ;-)
Justin Hall @
Open Source Physical Objects: Limor Fried and her x0xb0x Synthesizer

Open Source Physical Objects: Limor Fried and her x0xb0x Synthesizer - a conversation between hacker/artist Limor Fried ("Lady Ada") and Joi Ito with Phil Torrone of Make Magazine. Fried talks about her popular x0xb0x synthesizer kits, and the increasing elaborate revisioning of the product that's coming from her users. With Ito and Torrone, she proposes that this is a promising model for "open source physical objects" - extending the permitted hackability of software to hardware. This is an interview from South by Southwest: Interactive, in March 2006; the camera was held by Merci Hammon, the editor was Justin Hall, and Joi Ito was the executive producer - this is part of a series of videos released online from that event under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 license.

Kevin Marks has created a Quicktime movie of the Steve Jobs keynote at WWDC 2005 with chapters which makes it easier to view. This is the first time I've seen chapters. Pretty neat.

UPDATE: Here's how you do it.

Technorati Tags:

Click image to see flickr image
including notes on the objects.
whatsinyourbag Originally uploaded by Joi.

I saw this fun whatsinyourbag flickr tag on Minami's blog so I decided to dump the contents of my shoulder bag on the floor (at 5AM) and take a picture.

As usual, there were a lot of PowerBooks at this conference. Interestingly, Esther Dyson, Lawrence Lessig, Bruce Sterling and I were the only people I noticed who had stickers on our PowerBooks. Other people who I know who have stickers on their PowerBooks are Mena Trott and Cory Doctorow. I wonder what this means? What do those of us who are willing to vandalize our pristine PowerBooks with stickers have in common?

Anyway, just an observation...

I saw this picture on Boing Boing. It's a ancient (about 30 years old) hard disk that probably fit about 256K according to a Boing Boing reader.

This iDuck can hold 1000X as much as that disk drive.

And these little 0.2mm RFID chips hold 128K each.

I wonder when they will start selling memory at the drug store in Petabytes per gram...

At least Kerry has good taste in computers.

via Markoff

During my session at Bloggercon, I got Stealth Disco'ed by Halley Suitt.


Who took the video?

Had dinner tonight with Ken Sakamura, the father of TRON, the realtime embedded OS which is a dominant and essential part of most embedded systems in Japan today. He is also the Director of the Ubiquitous Networking Laboratory. He brought a bunch of amazing gadgets to dinner. The most impressive were the 0.2mm 128K RFID chips in a little vial.

(c) Ted Kaehler 2003
Here is a site with a graph of the SARS epidemic. Incidentally, it is powered by Squeak.
Epidemics usually follow S-shaped curves. The predictions here are based on pure exponential growth. When the middle of the S-shaped curve is reached, the rate of infection will slow, and exponential growth predictions will no longer be useful. The reported data shows that the epidemic is still in an exponential growth phase.
Via Dave Smith but blogged first by Frank.

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