Johnny Chung Lee is a Ph.D. Graduate Student at Carnegie Mellon university who is seriously into modding the Nintendo Wii, taking it to places other people can only dream of.
Below is what, IMHO, is Lee's most impressive achievement - a superb and realistic 3D display that is made up of a PC, a Wiimote and a sensor bar:
By placing the Wiimote in front of the PC display and attaching the sensor bar to his head, Lee lets the PC know where his eyes are in relation to the display. Thus the PC knows what image to render on screen to fake a 3D image. As Lee moves around, the image adjusts to match his point of view in real-time, giving a powerful VR illusion.
I am overwhelmed at how elegantly this is achieved. It is an ingenious utilization of the Wii's powerful hardware accessories. And that's not the only card up Johnny Chung Lee's sleeve. Check out his website for many other original projects he's working on - like the $14 steadycam. He is truly a man of great skill and wit.
While doing the casual "who are the friends of my friends?" tour in facebook this evening, I was startled to see this:
OMG!, thought I to myself - now anyone who visits this profile can see that I was the last person to browse it before them. Luckily, this wouldn't have been too embarrassing since this was the profile of someone I knew, but what if it was someone who didn't know me?
Once the panic subsided, two thoughts came to mind . One was - would facebook allow such a blatant intrusion on the privacy of its users? And also, why is this showing *my* picture? Shouldn't it show the picture of the last person before me to visit the profile?
The "I WAS HERE!!!" application page explained: The application is a hoax. Once it is installed, whoever browses your profile is shown their own name and picture to spook them into thinking they've been spotted and logged. The application does not actually make the visitors identity available to the owner of the profile (I hope) as this is a violation of the facebook TOS.
I've installed the I was here app on my profile, to give people the same jolt as I received and make them think a little about their privacy in facebook. I just hope no one gets a heart attack and survives to sue me.
I've finally been overtaken by the urge to experience Visual Studio 2008, most for the benefit of experimenting with the upcoming ASP.net MVC framework which gets me very very excited these days.
Sadly, as most of you know, the download is in the 3 to GB range and FireFox's built-in download manager is (surprisingly) not up to the task.
I remembered that someone mentioned something about a new P2P downloading tool from Microsoft that was the fastest and surest way of downloading large files from Microsoft.
That someone was Yaniv Feldman and the tool he wrote about was Microsoft Secure Content Distribution (MCSD). It is a P2P download client based on Microsoft Research's Avalanche project. Avalanche is (was?) an attempt at P2P data transfer, much like the popular BitTorrent. When MCSD was announced in July 2007, it even sparked a response from BitTorrent's creator who claimed faults in the protocol make it inferior when compared with BT.
My confused shifting between past and present tense in writing about MCSD comes from the fact that I have been unable to get my hands on it. Despite making some splash when it first hit the waters, MCSD has disappeared underwater - every single link I followed to get a copy of it is now a dead end. It's not available for download any more.
This (old) news story from Microsoft Research explains that MCSD was only available for a time-limited test between July 27 and August 22, 2007. The test is over and MCSD is gone. All that is left is the Avalanche project page above.
I hope MCSD was not an entire failure. The core idea is excellent - P2P downloads are clearly the best way to distribute software. Does anybody what fate this project has met in the depth of the "abyss"
that is Microsoft Research?
And what download manager would you recommend for me to download the Visual Studio 2008 trial software with?