Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Saturday, December 18, 2004day link 

 Google Suggest Dissected
Chris Justus diggested the very cool Google Suggest. The code is absolutely brilliant and uses a bunch of tricks that few people knew about. I didn't even realize there were functions that could pick up live XML data without reloading the page. As he says, that's going to raise the bar for what we expect from webpages. I just have to figure that out and do some cool things with it. Apparently most of the major browsers support the necessary functionality. Which means one can do web apps that work much more like "real" apps, in terms of being responsive and picking up data from a database without having to reload the whole thing. It is still a mystery how google's servers can respond so damned fast, though.
[ | 2004-12-18 16:24 | 17 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 World's Smallest P2P Application
To demonstrate how simply it could be done, Ed Felten wrote a tiny peer-to-peer file-sharing program. Fifteen lines of Python:

# tinyp2p.py 1.0 (documentation at freedom-to-tinker.com/tinyp2p.html)
import sys, os, SimpleXMLRPCServer, xmlrpclib, re, hmac # (C) 2004, E.W. Felten
ar,pw,res = (sys.argv,lambda u:hmac.new(sys.argv[1],u).hexdigest(),re.search)
pxy,xs = (xmlrpclib.ServerProxy,SimpleXMLRPCServer.SimpleXMLRPCServer)
def ls(p=""):return filter(lambda n:(p=="")or res(p,n),os.listdir(os.getcwd()))
if ar[2]!="client": # license: creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0
   myU,prs,srv = ("http://"+ar[3]+":"+ar[4], ar[5:],lambda x:x.serve_forever())
   def pr(x=[]): return ([(y in prs) or prs.append(y) for y in x] or 1) and prs
   def c(n): return ((lambda f: (f.read(), f.close()))(file(n)))[0]
   f=lambda p,n,a:(p==pw(myU))and(((n==0)and pr(a))or((n==1)and [ls(a)])or c(a))
   def aug(u): return ((u==myU) and pr()) or pr(pxy(u).f(pw(u),0,pr([myU])))
   pr() and [aug(s) for s in aug(pr()[0])]
   (lambda sv:sv.register_function(f,"f") or srv(sv))(xs((ar[3],int(ar[4]))))
for url in pxy(ar[3]).f(pw(ar[3]),0,[]):
   for fn in filter(lambda n:not n in ls(), (pxy(url).f(pw(url),1,ar[4]))[0]):
      (lambda fi:fi.write(pxy(url).f(pw(url),2,fn)) or fi.close())(file(fn,"wc"))


And it can both be a client and a server. Of course this isn't going to run any network with 100s of thousands of users. But it shows how impossible it is for the enemies of file sharing to stop it.
[ | 2004-12-18 16:48 | 18 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 Neurocam
picture A posting on Metafilter about a mysterious, eh, project, called Neurocam.:
A billboard appears near a Melbourne freeway entrance inviting people to "Get out of their mind". "Those who follow the instructions on the neurocam website are assigned missions, with the threat of grave consequences should these tasks not be carried out. Individuals prove their mettle by completing progressively more complex, riskier assignments - possibly of questionable legality."

Is it an art project, a cult, a marketing ploy, a game or a psychological experiment? Neurocam says none of these. Melbourne's Age newspaper investigates (free reg sometimes req'd). You can also read some blogs from participants here and here. Plus it seems to have something to do with this place dealing in Human Possibility(TM), which makes as little sense as the rest of it.

Reading the second blog there... hm, very interesting. Kind of like The Game. I'd be very tempted to join if I were in Melbourne. Mindlessly delivering packages, without knowing whether they contain drugs or explosives. But it is fun to be a secret agent.

I bet it is a psychological experiment. It will show how thrilled we are to do stuff we don't really know the consequences of, if we're just played the right way.
[ | 2004-12-18 17:48 | 17 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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