We’re glad you made it; welcome to the future! Right now a lot of the backbone that feeds the routers that feed the cable modems and other WAN/LAN interfaces runs at 10Gig. That isn’t because the switching technology can’t support higher throughput, but rather the ability to encode data for a higher bitrate and throughput has been lacking… until now. Over at Cornell a team has developed a Time Lens system, a chipset that takes that 10Gig baseline data rate and uses an optical split-and-recombine setup to turn it into a 270Gig output to the same optical distribution system. True Broadband may be on the horizon at last, and the same technology could help speed up the end-users computers as well. And here is another fine production that makes you think from TeacherTube.
The first full day of Dragon*Con has ended, not because people have gone to bed for the night, but because we crossed the line into Saturday in its time zone. The best real-time reporting I have found so far is the aggregate at the Dragon Con Twitter filter; it’s 2:30AM here (and there), and in the time it took me to type this 58 new Tweets have arrived. Most of the Dragon Con tweets come with links to some wonderful pictures like this one of strange Cosplay, or the Doctor Horrible cast, perhaps performing live like they did last year? One of the tweeters contributing is Fancy Fembot, and the latest episode of her podcast, SciFi Party Line #31 just went live yesterday. A ton of other podcasters are there, like Escape Pod, and a ton of authors, including Scott Sigler, bringing his Rookie Tailgate Tour to the Con.
Since I can’t be there this year, my plan was to hit the movies It Might Get Loud and Gamer tonight. It didn’t quite work out that way; I managed It Might Get Loud, which is undeniably the best rockumentary of the last few decades (longer if you are a guitar player). The scene where Jimmy Page picked up a guitar and started belting out Whole Lotta Love, U2’s guitar guru The Edge jumped up, electrified, riveted, and all but foaming at the mouth, and White Stripe’s Jack White also jumped up, staring at Jimmy’s hands like he was memorizing the secrets of the Universe, was worth every penny of the ticket price. The other hundred minutes of the film were just bonus, glimpses of history, genius, style, attitude, and everything that goes into creating people that much larger than life. Just because that wasn’t good enough to make up an entire movie (or for whatever reason they like; I enjoyed it to much to care), the three of them kept jamming together on songs they each had written. The film started with Jack White building a guitar from some spare lumber, a coke bottle, and some wire he had hanging around; when it ended, they went out jamming on the Dylan/Band classic The Weight. How perfect is that? To see when it plays by you, check the release dates. I also saw Cold Hearts tonight, and plan to see Gamer tomorrow night; but those reviews can wait until the next Blog entry.
This week saw a few important birthdays in the evolution of Nerd and Geek culture which I thought I should mention. To start, on the 1st of September, 1902, the very first science fiction movie ever made was released: La voyage dans la Lune. I find it fitting that it was based on two stories about human space travel, one written by Jules Verne and the other by H. G. Wells. After all, between them they invented modern science fiction as a written art form, so it is appropriate they would inspire the first movie (and ironic that Wells would also become the movie critic for a British newspaper who panned Metropolis in 1925). One day after the birthday of Sci-Fi films was the birthday of the Internet; on September 2nd, 1969, two computers in two different locations exchanged packets over some twisted-pair copper. So Happy Birthday, all of us Nerds and Geeks! I think I’ll celebrate by voting for the Scream Awards nominees I like best, and then going to see It Might Get Loud, and follow that up with Gamer. Sounds like a party!
The folks at io9 have put together a fun little chart graphing the science fiction after Star Trek (TOS). It goes rather nicely with one they posted a week ago, a timeline of Time Travel, which shows the start and end jumps of many fictional time travelers. Doctor Who was left off the chart, or you wouldn’t be able to see any of the other travelers (he may get his own chart later). Paste has a small but accurate chart comparing the Best and Worst of SF: District 9 vs. Plan 9 that you might also enjoy. To see more Chart Porn, stop by Information is Beautiful.
The second season of True Blood, and the show has gotten downright intense! There are only two episodes left, and I don’t know how they can crank it up any harder. If you have missed it, no problem; the entire season is available through Video On Demand or download-able from ITunes. If you are a fan of J-Rock, one of the best sources I have found is Japanator Radio. The podcast has over 100 episodes so far, and covers a range of artists including High and Mighty Color and Base Ball Bear; the site also runs concert reviews and covers all things Otaku (anime, gaming, cosplay, etc.). Another good J-Rock site (leaning a little heavier on the Rock is ZB’s A to Z of JMusic.
Paste Magazine has a very insightful article about the four movies that saved SciFi this summer; District 9, Moon, Cold Souls, and , of course, Star Trek. In the real world (a place I sometimes visit), a few new twists in the development of the Web are mentioned by MIT’s Technology Review. First, using White Space for Wi-Fi was proposed this week at SIGCOMM 2009. In the old analog TV days, the White Space was the empty spaces in the video datastream where things like closed captioning could be inserted. These days it means the gaps between existing digital Radio and TV transmission spectrum allocations. While this process has been going on for a while, with Google, the FCC, and many others fighting over the bandwidth, the SIGCOMM presentation makes it a global push. Even more interesting, it looks like we are several steps closer to building a quantum internet, and the quantum computers to run on it.