Archive for December, 2008

Tuning and temperament

Meantone and otherwise non- equal temperament tunings

A description:

And a demonstration:

(Read the article)

stuff on internet tv

NBC hosts flash versions of all of its TV series on its site. The interface is generally good but there are some quirks about when ads must be viewed. The ads are forcibly inserted between chapters of an episode. Whenever the chapter boundary is crossed in the forward direction, the overlay ad is played and the underlying video is paused. (As an aside, this kludgy architecture actually makes me believe it is possible to disable the ads…) So for example, if you’ve already watched to certain chapter, then backtrack, then return to it, the boundary is crossed again in the forward direction and the ad must play again. This shouldn’t happen. Also, suppose you want to start playing a late chapter. The ad immediately before that chapter plays, but if the video was freshly loaded, the ad at the beginning of the video is also forcibly played before a chapter can even be selected. This also seems like incorrect behavior.

But I understand… playing ads too many times in error is of no concern to NBC, of course.

So what’s on NBC’s site? Most shows have only the latest episodes on a time delay (to not preempt live broadcast and DVD sales, I suppose), but a few have all past episodes available. One of these I’ve been watching is Friday Night Lights. Actually never saw any ads for this, but all of Season 1 was surprisingly good. Unfortunately, Season 2 was crap and total BS. Sadly, there is only so much good material for writers to crank out.

biometric authentication

Now that I have gotten seriously addicted to Tablet PC (the faux paper templates in Windows Journal alone were enough to get me hooked), I’ve been pondering about some limitations of the platform. One is authentication. One of things you are not happy to do with a mouse — which the pen is, sort of — is inputting random strings that have become of modern-day passwords.

So I understood the point of the fingerprint reader option on this build. Swipe and you can bypass having to type passwords in tablet mode when the keyboard is hidden. But I didn’t get the option, and I believe there are other alternatives.

There are many modes of biometric authentication, fingerprint, face recognition, handwriting, voice, etc., and getting nearly perfect reliability in each case is a difficult problem when used alone. State of the art is just not good enough. But combined into a multifactored authentication protocol, it may just work. Here is something that should work today with existing hardware:

Look into the webcam, solve a quick reflexive cognition problem, and provide a handwriting sample.

That should do the trick for a quick keyboard-less authentication. Why hasn’t anybody written software to do this?