I think first time I heard Kevin Warwick was in 2002 at a public event at IISc. I think I was still a student then. It kind of got me interested in robotics and artificial intelligence. I am sure that was the point of public lectures. Ten years later he was back in Bangalore to give Pinkerton lecture at Infosys. I was very curious about his talk. I wanted to know what he had done in last decade.
Todays talk was very interesting to say the least. Specially growing rat brain cells to create a micro (or nano or smaller than that) brain to control a robot. Which learns by itself. Check the video. It’s very very impressive.
Now imagine if we could build a decent brain to drive my car in Bangalore :)
For most of us who work with data, Scraping is the default way to get the data out of public internet. To give you an example what it means. Lets say you have a published URL like
which gives you the postboxes in the pincode area 571120. If you are smart enough you will replace 571120 by 560100 to get the postboxes for the area 560100. But I as the owner of OpenBangalore didn’t want you to access 560100, so it was “hidden” and was not linked from anywhere. But then I was so lame and didn’t password protect it. I published it and assumed no one else will get access to it. So when you accessed the page with 560100 with out my explicit permission and I assume you broke law.
This is exactly what happened to Weev, who accessed pages on AT&T servers which were published by AT&T and was hidden from public view. Weev like any curious hacker recognized the pattern in url and exposed the security flaw through Gawker Media after AT&T had been notified. Unfortunately AT&T is a huge company to take this embarrassment. Also the leak exposed 114,000 iPad users personal data, including those of celebrities, the government and the military. Hence they sued.
Like I expected yesterday on November 20, 2012, Weev was found guilty of one count of identity fraud and one count of conspiracy to get access to a computer (public web server) without authorization. It’s the price one pays for embarrassing rich and powerful.
But the worst part is this can make many genuine actions on internet illegal. What if I am using StumbleUpon and land on one of those pages which I am not supposed to. Or if I am a data enthusiast and scrape pages of a published public website for data using simple url logic. Is there a chance of getting sued for these actions? I am sure of it.
End Note 1: I kind of expected Apple/Ipad owners to sue AT&T for negligence. Strange it didn’t happen.
End Note 3: Indian IT laws are not very different. I am sure the same would have happened in India.
Not all instgram pictures have to stay on instagram. They can be part of your life if they are good memories. I created this fun bookmarks using instgram pics as a gift.
With pictures on them they look like this. Choose a thinner paper as we need to fold. The picture size is 200px by 200px and hence the block is 400 by 400. We can have two such prints on an A4 sized paper.
I bought a new Karbonn SmartTab2. It was roughly INR 7K ($140). Many of my friends were surprised that I bought a cheap tablet (especially because I have plans of upgrading my Nexus One by year end). I have been exploring cheap tablets for a while and I settled down for SmartTab at last for a couple of reasons.
- It’s sturdy, portable and affordable.
- It has all the connectivity I wanted—USB (can connect to USB modem, hard disk etc), Bluetooth, MicroSD, HDMI out, WiFi and front camera. GSM was not required as I have a phone which is capable of getting onto cellular network and also tethering.
- Enough power—1GHz and 512 MB RAM.
- Decent OS, ice cream sandwich
- Apps that matter like 3G app which can connect to Internet using my USB modem.
I have plans for some hardware hacks which need cheap, accessible (ports) and decent computer to use. I think Android as an OS suits the deal and hence SmartTab is a perfect fit.
I will probably use Processing + Android (Amarino) + Arduino + bebox for my hacks. Any suggestions are welcome.
As of now I am just watching movies, reading books ad taking Internet offline. I must say I am very impressed with it and I might buy one for my parents.