Mike-Ward.Net

Friday Links #52

Hey, it’s been a year of links already. Hard to believe. To celebrate the event I’m posting 2 days late this week. OK, I’m kidding, the holiday messed with my schedule so I’m a bit behind. Seeing as it has been one year, I thought I try grouping the links by topic. Let me know what you think.

Science and the Environment

[The Artificial Hippocampus h+ Magazine](http://hplusmagazine.com/articles/neuro/artificial-hippocampus) – I recently finished Ray Kurzweil’s, “The Singularity is Near. When Humans Transcend Biology”, so articles about biological augmentation are of particular interest. Biomedical engineer Theodore Berger at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles has developed an artificial hippocampus: a silicon substitute for the part of the brain that scientists believe encodes experiences as long-term memories. To do this, Berger built mathematical models of neuronal activity in a rat’s hippocampus and then designed circuits that mimic those activities.
[I Am Ironman! h+ Magazine](http://hplusmagazine.com/articles/robotics/i-am-ironman) - Mass production has begun of a cybernetic bodysuit that augments body movement and increases user strength by up to tenfold. Not as sexy as the movie version but amazing all the same. Unlike previous models, this unit reacts to your movement and automatically assists. The video demonstrates the strength enhancements (towards the end). Surprisingly, it’s only $4,200 US, which is cheap as these things go.

Environmentally-friendly Cooling With Magnetic Refrigerators Coming Soon – Magnetic refrigeration technology could provide a ‘green’ alternative to traditional energy-guzzling gas-compression fridges and air conditioners. They would require 20-30% less energy to run than the best systems currently available, and would not rely on ozone-depleting chemicals or greenhouse gases. Refrigeration and air conditioning units make a major contribution to the planet’s energy consumption - in the USA in the summer months they account for approximately 50% of the country’s energy use.

Air-fueled Battery Could Last Up To 10 Times Longer: Ground-breaking Technology For Electric Cars - This step-change in capacity could pave the way for a new generation of electric cars, mobile phones and laptops. Improved capacity is thanks to the addition of a component that uses oxygen drawn from the air during discharge, replacing one chemical constituent used in rechargeable batteries today. Not having to carry the chemicals around in the battery offers more energy for the same size battery. Reducing the size and weight of batteries with the necessary charge capacity has been a long-running battle for developers of electric cars.

Programming Computers

[Slashdot Open Source Solution Breaks World Sorting Records](http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/05/16/1316242&from=rss) – File this one under, “Only a geek like me would find this interesting.” Yahoo’s grid computing team announced that Apache Hadoop was used to break the current world sorting records in the annual GraySort contest. It topped the ‘Gray’ and ‘Minute’ sorts in the general purpose (Daytona) category. They sorted 1TB in 62 seconds, and 1PB in 16.25 hours. Apache Hadoop is the only open source software to ever win the competition. It also won the Terasort competition last year.”

CodeProject: Communicating from the Browser to a Desktop Application – An interesting approach using bookmarklets.

Java Profiler - .NET Profiler - YourKit Profiler 4.0 for .NET released.

BCL Team Blog : What’s New in the BCL in .NET 4 Beta 1 – Check out all the new goodness in .NET. I love this framework.

Google Testing Blog: Yet Another JavaScript Testing Framework – Unlike other JavaScript testing frameworks, this one does not require a browser and is driven from the command line, making it friendly to Continuous Integration scenarios.

Adventures in MVVM – Commands in Silverlight – My colleague Brian Genisio has posted another excellent article on Silverlight and MVVM’s. He is giving a talk at Code Stock next month. I’ve seen it and can highly recommend it.

UppercuT - The Insanely Easy to Use Automated Build Framework – I don’t have any experience with this tool, but the idea is intriguing. If your project follows a particular layout, this tool can analyze and build it. Designed for anyone who needs a standard way of building applications across an entire organization.

Using your Personal Computer

Svchost Process Analyzer - a svchost.exe file checker – Ever wonder what all those svchost.exe program’s are running when open the task manager? 100% freeware program from www.neuber.com. There is absolutely no installation required. Simply download and run the software.

svchost

Nimi adds visual effects, arrangement features to Windows – A fun if not very useful collection of visual effects for Windows.

How To Kill Unresponsive Programs without The Task Manager – Not a program, but a tip for creating a shortcut to kill unresponsive programs in a single click. I added it to my desktop last week and have already used it several times. Simple, clever idea.

MaxTo – MaxTo splits your screen into rectangular regions. Every time a window is maximized, MaxTo intercepts the event, and instead moves the window to fit inside one of these regions. I had considered adding this functionality to FreeSnap at one time.

DeskPins adds an “always on top” thumbtack to any Windows app - There are plenty of ways to make an application stay “always on top” in Windows. But DeskPins is one of the simplest, most useful solutions I’ve seen in a while.

Lifehacker - CopyPasteTool is a Tiny, Dead-Simple Clipboard Helper - To use the new function, simply copy a couple of different pieces of text to the clipboard, and then hold down the Control key while hitting the V key more than once, and the utility will cycle through the various pieces of text on the clipboard. It’s tiny, simple, and is meant to do just one thing.

On the Web

wolframalpha

[Fun with Knowledge Computation at Wolfram Alpha Smarterware](http://smarterware.org/1538/fun-with-computations-at-wolframalpha) - What’s the unemployment rate of San Diego versus New York? How many football fields would fit between the Earth and the sun? What’s the likelihood of getting 2 heads in 10 coin flips? As of tonight, one web search engine can calculate all that for you on the fly and more.

Wolfram Alpha Google :: Firefox Add-ons - Just do a search on Google and the Wolfram Alpha result for that search will appear on the right side. Very cool and useful.

DeeperWeb Gets More Out Of Your Google Search – DeeperWeb promises to offer more as an alternate search engine extension. DeeperWeb gives several new angles to the same Google search results. Rather than try to describe it, just go try it. It’s beta and needs some work but adds some interesting options to plain old Google Search (POGS anyone?).

Microsoft dumps 3-app limit from Windows 7 Starter – File this one under, “The incredible lameness of being.”

fire dude

Pick of the Week

AxCrypt - Forget password vaults. Put all your important information in a text file and encrypt it with AxCrypt. It will encrypt any document and also has a self-extracting feature so you can send to others without them needing the software. Integrates with the shell. Open source and uses the latest AES standards for encryption.

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