Archive for March, 2017

Strange as it may seem, it does exist: an open-source motorcycle. At least, that’s what a company called Fictiv is telling us. Their name may not bode well in this context, but the company seems legit, going by their website. The blog post detailing their effort, “Open Source. Open road. Build your own fully customisable, street-legal motorcycle in a weekend“, is unfortunately rather skimpy on details.

The open-source bike on the open road

The bike does look good. I’m certainly not the only one who would like to know how it handles, what it costs, whether it can be done in a weekend, etc. If you have a more detailed report, let it know in the comments!


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First Tour Day of 2017

Sunday March 26th, was one of the best days of the year: sunny and not too cold. Time for a ride on the BMW F800 GT – and a nice ride it was. Proof by pictures: see them all on Flickr.

(Click the picture to go to Flickr)

Note: I wasn’t the only two-wheeler to take a bike to the road!

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Yes, Americans are lucky – at least, American users of unlocked Samsung smartphones running Android. Ars announced that “Samsung commits to monthly security updates for unlocked US smartphones“. That means that it is possible to run Android 7 on a Galaxy S 7 (of course it is!)… but I’m still waiting for the upgrade.

PS. I could add another screenshot to “illustrate” my story, but it wouldn’t show anything that you haven’t seen on March 2

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Each time I hear a “trendwatcher” or a “futurist” explain what tomorrow will look like, I cringe a little. I am looking to the future with optimism, but I do not pretend to be able to predict the future – as a historian, I know how hard it is to know the past, let alone extract the correct lessons from it. It’s hard to predict something as simple as election results… So what makes trendwatchers think that they know what is going to happen as a consequence of the progress in information technology (and technology in general)? The PC did not make paper disappear; social networking tools do not only bring people together; etc.

In “Our Gutenberg Moment” Marina Gorbis writes:

At a very deep level, changes in our basic communications tools and technologies alter existing power dynamics; they re-define who has the power of voice, the power to shape our dominant narratives, and the power to influence how we think and act. While acknowledging that we will likely see dramatic social changes, Dewar warns that such changes will result from unintended consequences of technological advances, rather than deliberate technological design, as was the case in the past. “The Protestant Reformation and the shift from an earth-centered to a sun-centered universe were unintended consequences in the printing press era,” he wrote. These unintended consequences will likely re-shape the basic elements of our society and culture.

“Unintended consequences” are what we may expect. Like the impact of human activity on our climate, I suppose. Makes me wonder how we, as a global species, will react when the climatic changes thoroughly disrupt the weather?

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Bruce Schneier says: “The Internet of Things Will Turn Large-Scale Hacks into Real World Disasters“.

Security engineers are working on technologies that can mitigate much of this risk, but many solutions won’t be deployed without government involvement. This is not something that the market can solve. Like data privacy, the risks and solutions are too technical for most people and organizations to understand; companies are motivated to hide the insecurity of their own systems from their customers, their users, and the public; the interconnections can make it impossible to connect data breaches with resultant harms; and the interests of the companies often don’t match the interests of the people.

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Yup, the browser (in combination with serious hardware, of course) is an operating system. And JavaScript is good enough to run real applications, even an operating system emulator. Like this one, an Apple Mac Plus running System 6 or 7:

Click the image to go to the live site

For the non-Apple-minded readers: there’s a Windows 3 emulator as well. But I don’t like that one as much ;-)

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More Socialist Provocation?

No, Dave, strictly speaking you’re wrong: “Health care is socialist“. But of course you are just provoking your readers, and you’re right about that. One’s health is priceless, and it’s a good idea to “pool everyone’s resources“, as you describe it, to make sure that affordable or free treatment is available for all.

Question: it’s good to have such a pooled system for health care – but shouldn’t the pharmaceutical industry follow?

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