ISP founder was a wanted man
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Turns out IQuest's founder, Robert Hoquim, led a double life. His name was really John Paul Aleshe and he made an appearance on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list for shooting a Texas police officer and then fleeing arrest in 1986. He resurfaced as a computer BBS operator in Minnesota, where he allegedly defrauded other system operators. Then he changed names again and settled in Indianapolis, where he started IQuest.
A roommate found him dead late last month, three months after he sold IQuest. Officials say it was a heart attack. IQuest's current owners say they had no idea.
In the Year 2525Forget CPUs. Researchers in Chicago and Italy have built a robot basically run by nerve cells from a lamprey, according to a report in the New Scientist. One set of electrodes passes stimuli to the cells; another set monitors their reactions, then acts on them.
The magazine concludes:
Kevin Warwick, a cyberneticist at Reading University, believes that it may even one day be possible to have your brain transferred to a robot when your body dies. It would be extremely difficult, "but mapping the entire brain to a robot can't be ruled out", he says. More realistic, he says, is connecting electronic devices such as mobile phones directly into our brains.
New use for digital certificatesAn Australian couple recently used digital signatures for their wedding certificate. No, the story doesn't say why.
Fantasy ISPWhen it comes to your ISP, if it's not one thing, it's another, isn't it? Your e-mail goes down, so you call technical support, only you hang up after 40 minutes on hold.
Think you can do better?
Fantasy ISP lets you see if you've got what it takes to run an ISP. Sign up now for a match starting June 15. You configure your initial offerings, technical staff and monthly pricing, then compete against other players to see who can make money - and keep customers happy.
The site's British, so you'll have to remember to convert pounds into dollars.
I need an eye examBecause as reader Brandon Wright points out, I jumped the gun in Monday's report (see below) on sleek, lightweight wearable networks at MIT. "The technologies that the scenarios describe are from the not too distant future," the site itself says, and fairly prominently, too.
Life before the WebWay back when, even before Tim Berners-Lee was born, some guy named Edison invented something called the phonograph. Now, thanks to the miracle that is the Web, you can hear the very first recording (make sure your sound is turned on, and be patient).
Oh, rats!In the U.S., it's fiber-seeking backhoes. In India, it's rats that take out major fiber-optic telecom links. Lured by the scent of optical fiber, the rats enter the pipes carrying the lines, then get trapped and begin eating the fiber. Lines linking New Delhi with other major cities have repeatedly failed due to the trapped, hungry rodents.
You need this like a hole in the headThe Trepanation Trust wants to bring back that old-time Cro-Magnon art of drilling holes in your head.
"The purpose of trepanation is to give the closed skull of the adult an expansion window and thereby to restore the full pulsation which was lost when the skull sealed. The pulse wave then blows up the brain capillaries with blood to the level of childhood, accelerating brain metabolism and empowering the brain to permanently regain its youthful level. "
Is this for real, or another of those pranks we gullible columnists are too prone to? Nah, must be true - Salon ran an article about it last year.
12 items or lessYou read the Weekly World News because the checkout line is taking forever and you're bored out of your head (see above for one remedy for that). So what's your excuse for reading the Weekly World News online? Think quick - here comes the boss.
Another domain hijackingThis time, it was internet.com, which saw its domain transferred to an alleged Montreal concern. As happened last week with a Canadian concern, somebody managed to convince Network Solutions' database to change the domain records. NSI quickly switched internet.com back to its real owner. "It's clear there is a security issue here that Network Solutions' needs to address," internet.com CEO Alan Meckler said.
Privacy, shmivacyThe Washington Post reports that seven online biggies (AT&T, AOL and Microsoft among them) today will unveil online buying guidelines designed to make consumers feel better about online purchases. You'll have to dig fairly deep into that article to find out exactly what those guidlines are - basically, sort of BBB-ish things about refund policies and the like.
However, one thing they don't cover is what happens to the information about your transaction once it's entered into the company's computers. A Supreme Court ruling could clear the way for the companies to do pretty much whatever they want with such information. The court overturned an FCC regulation that prohibited the telcos from using data on consumer phone habits to market services to them without first getting consumer approval. Such spam, the court ruled, was protected under the First Amendment. The telcos claim they will only sell consumer data to other companies with prior permission from the consumers.
You don't know where that's been!When it comes to paper money, though, now you can find out. Where's George is a database of U.S. dollar serial numbers, so you can track the whereabouts of that folding money before it landed in your wallet. You can even sign up to be notified when another user of the system picks up a bill you've entered into the database.
Wearable networksThe network is the computer? That's so 1990s. Today, the cool thing is person as computer. Wearable computers and personal area networks have changed from balky Borg-like add-ons to chic fashion accessories. MIT's Media Lab has set up a site for first-person accounts from two cyborgs - Kio, a 19-year-old MIT sophomore and Guy, a 54-year-old art expert with Sotheby's in Paris.
"Now, my computer is always with me," Kio writes. "I use my wearables all the time, everywhere. I’ve never been more connected, or more free, in my whole life. My friends all use wearables. If we want, we can stay in constant contact with each other, with school, even with our families. But we’re not replacing reality; we’re enhancing it."
Kio also describes the RF network that connects her various peripherals (all of which weigh less than a pound): "Even if I am just wearing the base module I can interact with the network. Just by sitting in front of one of the computers at the library, the network recognizes me and brings up my files, my desktop, my system. I can get my e-mail or surf the web without lugging around a laptop."
Her mother has learned to recognize the slight cloudiness in her eyepiece that signals she's watching TV. She adds: "My parents were a bit worried about me not having a social life because of how much time I used to spend in front of computers. Somehow they feel a lot better about wearables."
Tai-chia petCombining ancient Chinese rituals with goofy fuzzy green planters.