Spending time with my digital memories

I spent the last 3 days at home looking after our youngest son William who had the chicken pox and during that time I did a little bit of a tidy up of our digital photos and, during that time I reminded myself, yet again that we have HEAPS of photos, but finding any particular one, on any particular subject is pretty hard.

This then lodged itself in the back of my head and, as a result – two technologies have jumped out at me since then.

The first concerns the accessibilty and display of this data, and the vapourware representation of Microsoft Surface certainly struck a chord in our house.
“I’ve found our next coffee table” I announced to Amanda, then played her ‘The Power’ section of the demo from the above link.
“Wow, that’s cool – when could we get that?” was the response (and from a non-geek, that was certainly high praise indeed!)

Leveraging the display device of surface (and I’d be interested in open source alternatives I could cobble together earlier than waiting for the official product release), is the technology discussed in the clip below from the recent TED talks (I love the TED inititive)

Check out the presentation below… and imagine what it could mean for your collection of digital memories.

[Edit: Here’s a link via my collegue Justin – nice find, interesting if you want to learn the workings]

Getting a Weather Station?

I’ve always (well, not ALWAYS, but for quite awhile) enjoyed Weather information and, around 3 or 4 years ago I started thinking about putting together a weather station at my place, so I could prove to those nay sayers that Auckland weather isn’t really as bad as people may think.

Initially I looked into the 1-Wire weather solution from Texas Instruments, there is a few open source projects like this one which support the equipment and of course, then my life got busy 🙂

So – now I find myself eagerly awaiting a tax refund and planning to finally update the technology in the house, my question is – should I start down the slippery slope of home weather tracking hobbiest or should I spend the money in more disk, CPU, RAM and or graphics performance?

I revisited an online store based here in New Zealand, and I’ve currently got a couple of things sitting in my checkout basket, awaiting some feedback. My intention is to start with a good base of technology and expandability, and build the system out from there as money, time and interest level allows – so initially I’m looking at the following:

So – has anyone else set up a home based weather system? Was it worth it?
If you haven’t set one up – is it something you’d be interested in doing? What’s holding you back?

Workplace Blogging – US Military Blogs to get a whole new set of regulations

Ars Technica (via Wired‘s Noah Shachtman) are running this story on a raft of new regulations about to hit the US Military which could see the end to US troops being able to run their own blogs. Basically, bloggers will need to seek a commanders opinion prior to publishing a blog entry to ensure that said entry does not contain any operational security related information (the Military term being OPSEC – see, they make up acronyms like I do!).

“Fair enough” you might think, “it’s important to keep the troops safe and the enemies guessing” but then the article introduces you to the man behind the new regulations, Major Ray Ceralde, who has an (apparently well advertised – i.e. he bangs on about it at any opportunity) pizza theory.

“…Specifically, he’s concerned that an upswing in pie “deliveries to a headquarters [could] be an indicator that a major operation is underway” — and therefore be useful to an enemy…”

Yow, you can’t really argue with that eh? The Ars Technica article covers the issue a lot better than I will here, but what I really want to discuss is the realities of enforcing this. As a rule, information wants to be free, and there’s enough free hosting blog spaces online which, in conjunction with the right anonymizer and proxies to route through, will allow you to post what you want, from where you want. Who, as a commander, is going to take the risk of authorizing a post anyway? From what we’ve seen over the last few days on Digg around the HD-DVD Linux key, it’s nigh impossible to put the geni back in the bottle once the blogosphere has got hold of it. The Digg staff made a good point, they were taking down stories because they were required to, and then – under the pressure of thousands of voices, they’ve stated that hey, there’s not a lot the community owner can do if the community members wants certain information to be available.
More on this later I think… time to go pickup the boys for rugby practice