Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tech Links: December 1, 2011

Are We Building a Fatter, Slower Web?: The average page download size has jumped 25%  since this time last year — 626 kB per page to 784 kB. The main culprit: JavaScript. 

Berg London's Little Printer is a small, net-connected printer for your home that will print you a small, daily newspaper with content you add or subscribe to via a phone app. 

CarrierIQ, a data-logging software present on most new Android, Blackberry and Nokia phones, secretly records keystrokes, dialed numbers and text messages. It also can't be turned off. Trevor Eckhart, the Android user who discovered and recorded it, labelled CarrierIQ a rootkit (you can read Eckhart's further analysis here). CarrierIQ sent Eckhart a cease-and-desist letter (PDF here), but has since backed off. Eckhart's findings confirm earlier rumors.

The Day the Music Died: Why Labels Are Abandoning Streaming Music Services
"In many ways, this situation feels like filesharing’s threat realized in full, with music sales falling because the Internet has changed the way people think about obtaining and listening to music."

Eleven Equations True Computer Science Geeks Should (at Least Pretend to) Know

Science writer Angela Saini on the joys of avoiding tech upgrades and being a late adopter. Some of us haven't adopted at all. Perhaps there are some less resistant to peer influence? Or just more into making stuff? Or perhaps it's anotherway to be cool?

Soft robotics are inspired by animals which don't have hard internal skeletons, like squid, worms, and starfish. Developed at Harvard, with funding from DARPA, this particular soft robot, "not only walks, it knows several different gaits and can deflate to stuff itself through tiny little gaps." Another design here, and another (also), and another. In addition to movement, soft robotics can also be used for grip. More information about the Harvard lab is available here (with a student describing the research here).

ThinkUp is a free, open source PHP/MySQL app that you install on your web server to collect and store all of your activity on social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Google+. It can be used to search and backup your own social nework activities, create a time capsule of online activity, analyze social media discussions, or create a more interactive discussion.

YaCy is an open source fully decentralized peer-to-peer search engine designed prevent any single entity from exercising power over search results.

Amazon Won't Release Specific Kindle Sales Numbers: They say only that this Black Friday was their best ever, but they're refusing to release the specific numbers on how the Kindle sold - including the much-ballyhooed Kindle Fire.

eBay Sold Four iPads a Minute on Cyber Monday: Reports of the demise of the Tablet That Started It All at the hands of the Kindle Fire are greatly exaggerated, as the auction site reported that iPads sold at as fast a clip as ever during the unofficial kickoff of the online shopping season.

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