Archive: August 14th, 2005


A video blog (or vblog, if you prefer). It's fun.

How to Use Google Maps EZ

A handy guide to using a wrapper for the Google Maps API.

Web 2.0

Everybody’s talking about the new meme on the block: Web 2.0. But what exactly does it mean?

Tim Bray doesn’t like the sound of it. Tim O’Reilly, on the other hand, is all for it:

"Web 2.0 is the era when people have come to realize that it’s not the software that enables the web that matters so much as the services that are delivered over the web."

Over at Wired News, Kevin Kelly says it’s all about joining the hive mind. Digital Web, meanwhile, are starting a whole new series about Web 2.0 which aims to cut through the hype and get down to brass tacks, examining the technologies that are driving the new paradigm.

[I can’t believe I just used the word paradigm in a completely unironic way.]

There’s still no quick and easy definition for exactly what Web 2.0 is. It’s kind of a "I know it when I see it" type of thing. In any case, it looks like the moniker is here to stay so let’s get used to it.

Ligers, Lamarr and Eliza

When I first started reading this National Geographic article about ligers, a creature named in Napoleon Dynamite (it’s probably his favourite animal), I thought it was a parody. When the article began quoting actress Tippi Hedren about ligers and tigons, I was convinced that National Geographic had turned into The Onion.

But no, Tippi Hedren (of The Birds fame) does indeed run a wildlife preserve and yes, ligers are real.

Now I have a new respect for Napoleon Dynamite and Tippi Hedren. When it comes to truth-is-stranger-than-fiction stories of actresses though, you can’t beat the life and times of Hedy Lamarr:

"She was known as The Most Beautiful Woman In Films and also as a co-inventor of the first form of spread spectrum, a key to modern wireless communication."

This isn’t one of those parodies to get young men interested in science. Following a daring escape from Nazi Germany, Lamarr made her way to America where she found fame on the silver screen as "the Olivier of the orgasm". Together with composer George Antheil, she invented frequency-hopping spread spectrum, a way of rapidly switching a carrier signal for say, radio controlled torpedoes or WiFi.

She sounds like a latterday version of Eliza de la Zeur from Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle: the hottest fictional character ever imagined.