Macca's win on hot drinks [28mar02] - "MCDONALD'S customers should know coffee or tea is served hot and can burn them if it spills, a London High Court judge said today in a ruling against 36 people who claimed they were scalded by hot drinks bought at the fast food chain...". In America, the plaintiff got millions. In the UK, they were told to use their brains - coffee is meant to be hot. So don't try to drink it immediately, while you're *driving*. Silly twats. Apparently quite a few of the people injured were young kids - what were they doing running around with cups of coffee anyway? Kids shouldn't drink coffee!

No big surprise here: the constant use of games and mobile phones has led to what is technically a mutation in young peoples' hands. The thumb has become the most dextrous digit - as opposed to the index finger in older people. Not only that, but thumbs are becoming ambidextrous thanks to SMS-style phone usage. We change our environment; our environment changes us. Equal and opposite reactions.

Flo Control. Flo is a cat; and like most cats she likes to catch small animals, drag them inside and torture them for hours. However, now her cat door can tell if she's carrying a small animal; and if she is then it won't open. Pretty clever stuff, eh? Of course, I'm sure Flo was really unimpressed the first time she encountered the locked kitty door.

Yahoo has posted a photo of a virtual keyboard. Looks cool, although I'm not sure how it works.... Besides, just like prototype cars, this sort of stuff rarely surfaces again once the trade show packs up. The rapid development of some areas of computing/hardware blind us to the lack of development in others. While entire generations of processors and RAM have gone by; most people are still using a CRT monitor, standard keyboard, standard mouse, etc. The only real input device advances that have made it into homes are the odd ergonomic or wireless keyboard; and if you've just bought a computer perhaps an optical mouse. We're a way off from when Windows XP's icons are accurate - showing LCD/flat monitors, for instance. At least one corporation is being a tad wishful about what your average joe has sitting on their desk.

Spammer Sues E-mail List Providers for providing a list of email addresses from people who *gasp* hadn't given their permission to receive spam. Fuck me, imagine that. They didn't want to receive spam. Plus; imagine the people who are supplying you with spam lists being unethical! It's so hard to imagine!

Pelamis wave-powered electricity generator. Basically it's a long thin bendy thing, which uses the bending action to push hydraulic rams and generate energy. No emissions, no fuel usage, not reliant on a sunny day. Put this thing in a good surf break and you're set. Apparently it's quite feasible for the UK to generate 25% of its power requirements using this technology. I love this idea!

Scientists have reported that an asteroid nearly hit Earth. In layman's terms: "Shit, that was close". Apparently the asteroid came out of a "blind spot" as it approached from the direction of the sun. I'm a bit disturbed by the idea that Earth has a blind spot. I'm struggling with the mental images of massive wingmirrors.....

Slashdot links to a transcript of a lecture given by Donald Knuth, author of The Art of Computer Programming (among other things). The session was entitled All Questions Answered; where Knuth basically answered any question posed by his students (final exam not included). It makes for interesting reading, even if you're not familiar with Knuth or his work (like me :)). I recognise a fellow font freak though - refer to the restaurant menu thing.

For those of you who have succumbed to NYT and got an account - At Airport Gate, a Cyborg Unplugged tells the tale of a guy who's as close to a cyborg as currently possible. He's been using various wearable computer components to augment his abilities, apparently for quite a few years now. So having security guards strip search him and ruin various bits of hardware was probably pretty traumatic, as well as expensive. I can't help thinking that Airport Security has really gone over edge - even in the circumstances.

There a Server Naming RFC. It seems weird, but considering some of the server names I've seen it's a good idea. Plus, it gives the Cup of Tea ISO standard a run for its money as proof that there's a standard for everything.

pong + real pain = painstation. i thought it was a joke until i looked at the gallery. you can get the idea pretty much even if you're a dumb mono-lingual fool like me... or you can see the wired article; where the painstation's designers discuss their motivations - challenging the standards, making people sit up and take notice and really think about what a game should be. in that light, it starts making sense. plus, i know that two guys really will go through that sort of pain to win in front of a crowd... or even just in front of each other. machismo is a bizarre thing.

Testing web pages in old browsers is a hassle... AnyBrowser.COM approaches the issue by emulating the compatibility levels of certain browsers. Unfortunately this sort of thing is generally not quite as reliable as running a couple of old machines loaded to the gills with old versions of Netscape and IE (well, as many as you can get winbloze to accept at once).

You may recall the parents of a Columbine Massacre bringing a suit against computer game designers and AOL Time Warner (for producing violent games and The Basketball Diaries, respectively). The case has been thrown out: U.S.judge dismisses Columbine suit against media. "The judge said the two gunmen were the ones responsible for the teacher's death. " It's a pity he didn't say that being beaten up by jocks was probably more of a contributing factor than some movie they watched.

The Customer Is Always Wrong, a piece discussing the way the record industry's attitudes will alienate their customers by treating them like criminals. Would TV shows be as popular if you couldn't video them and watch them later? No, you just wouldn't watch that late episode. Would your CD collection be as big as it is if you hadn't traded tapes at high school and broadened your musical horizons? Hell no. Do you exercise your rights to Fair Use by creating compilation tapes and CDs? Of course you do. But the record companies want to cripple everything in the small-minded view that they can increase sales by forcing people to buy every single song they listen to. People, get real - no preview, no sale.

Oooh. ClearPC. A clear PC case. Very cool. Now I can't decide what I want more - a brushed metal case with a window; or one of these. 'course, until I win the lottery I'll be stuck with my regulation beige case.

Boy, 8, faces charges for pointing toy gun. That's it. America has lost what little remaining foothold on reality it could ever claim to have had. They're just a big courtroom now. Just assume you're being sued from the moment you're born, people. Hell, the Australian legal system is bad enough; but it doesn't come anywhere near the fucked up shit the American system spits out. Is nobody supervising these people? Playtime has got out of control, it's time to go home now children.

A worthy cause - please sign this one: Captions and Subtitles in videogames and PC games Petition. Deaf users need captions; blind users need alt tags and other web accessiblity features... various physical barriers prevent some users from using electronic media the same way as the average user. It's absolutely within our grasp to make the computer world accessible to all users - it just takes a small amount of empathy and an even smaller amount of attention to detail. Hopefully this petition will get the world just one step closer to the reality we should already have.

Wired writes... Online Company-Flamers: Beware. Basically it's talking about the sickening trend of companies suing people for things they say online. Have no opinions, people - you might get sued by companies who can afford lawyers to say you defamed them. Free speech be damned, apparently - people are too stupid to realise that bobby87 posting to some bitchy chat forum might be stating an opinion. Riiight.

The Teddy Borg. A teddy bear with a network switch inside; with the cable jacks in the paws and the uplink in the base of the neck. For added freakybear points, they've put the power and activity LEDs in behind the teddy's eyes. Jump to pics of the completed teddyborg if you're impatient. This would bother me a lot - but only because I live in a hot climate and have visions of teddyborg bursting into flames. But that's just me being paranoid.

THE DOMAIN OF THE FATMOUSE. Every time I think the 'net can't come up with something more fucking weird than the last fucking weird site I saw.... something like fatmouse comes along. Seriously, seriously fucking weird. But you're grownups - you can handle it :)

Still more case-mod goodness - Iris Indigo Case Mod. In this case it's more of a case resurrection; retrofitting an old box with new hardware. It's great to see so much of this going on - maybe the mainstream manufacturers will eventually get the idea that people want variation (but they don't want a Mac - or a computer that looks like a lollypop, for that matter).