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Kyt Dotson
"Burning rubber where angels fear to tread."
"Burning rubber where angels fear to tread."


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Here's some screenshots from tonight's foray into Star Trek Online. Including a picture of the Koss'kari (the gummy worm monster) and a giant gummy fish that got me.

Also, notice there's a group photo of everyone that came along with us!
4 Photos - View album
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Just another screenshot. Took this during the Friday MMO Anthropology livestream excursion into #Warframe. Got to explore the new content, "Plains of Eidolon," and shoot at some Grineer and others along with a small squad of players.
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I know this image is ancient, but this is the first I've seen it. Plus, I love sajuaro cactus -- and yes, in a way it looks kind of like the cactus is "flipping the bird."
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The fury of the storm hath visited the confines of Phoenix, AZ. The rain keeps falling and it keeps getting more impressive -- with the occasional peal of thunder punctuating the sizzle of crashing rain. Rooftops become rushing streams as skirls of rainfall skitter across their surfaces with mists gusting like angry ghosts past the windows.

Of course, I threw the shutters wide and pulled the blinds to the sounds of the storm.
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A better headline might have been "Comcast throws tantrum in face of public outcry against its policies." Net Neutrality regulation throws its weight heavily on the side of customer protections from large wannabe monopolistic Internet Service Providers that use their market power to strangle innovation and competition.

As likely as it is that I'm preaching to the choir here about this subject: strong net neutrality rules will keep the Internet safe. It will actually push people who use infrastructure built and subsidized by taxes open to use by the people who now depend on it.

I am a technology journalist. I am a technology-focused science fiction writer. I am a gamer. I am a researcher who studies massively multiplayer gaming communities. My livelihood, my research and my social structure all depend on the Internet being available, affordable and open. I am not alone.

The headline isn't the worst part of this article.

In my area CenturyLink is one of the few competitors to Cox Cable that I might turn to if I wanted to attempt to change ISP -- even if the service provided is incapable of supporting my needs.

"Keep the Internet Open and Free--Without Regulation" writes CenturyLink in what would be a tongue-in-cheek ironic Onion headline if it weren't said by the fox offering to guard the hen house. In an environment without oversight by the people who paid for and rely on the infrastructure that keeps ISPs in business is one where trust must be earned not demanded.

There's already a history of mistrust, or have we forgotten already?

If much of what ISPs such as Comcast have attempted to pull with data transmissions happened to analog voice calls over the current telephone infrastructure, the company would be counting its teeth after the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission finished with them.

You don't want to be regulated, we get it, Comcast.

Perhaps if you, and the company that you keep, didn't show a total lack of judgement when it comes to treating your customers and the technology you bring with support maybe we could have a chat about that.

Instead, while regulation was being figured out you and your peers shirked your responsibility, eroded your customer's privacy and worsened their service selectively for your own selfishness. Clearly you're incapable of self-policing.

If you want a voice in the framework that will regulate your services, that's exactly what everyone expects. However, you don't get to act like you're the only people involved in providing, delivering and consuming your services.

Grow up, Comcast, show some backbone, take some responsibility, or get off the Internet backbone.
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It appears that Arizona has become the first state, that I have discovered, that has passed a law that bans a use of blockchain technology for specific purpose--in this case firearm ownership tracking--although it also appears that it would generally ban shared or distributed spreadsheets or databases for the purpose of the law as well.

"It is unlawful to require a person to use or be subject to electronic firearm tracking technology or to disclose any identifiable information about the person or the person's firearm for the purpose of using electronic firearm tracking technology."

Under this bill, any shared electronic ledger system cannot be used to track firearm ownership and the legislation does mention "block chain technology" directly.

"For the purposes of this section, 'Electronic Firearm Tracking Technology' means a platform, system or group of systems or devices that uses a shared ledger, distributed ledger or block chain technology or similar form of technology or electronic database for the purpose of storing information in a decentralized or centralized way, that is not owned or controlled by any single person or entity and that is used to locate or control the use of a firearm."

I am no legal expert, but the language of this law appears to make it unlawful for unrelated private sellers and retailers to force gun owners to submit information to databases shared within the industry or with other groups.

More importantly for privacy, the law prohibits the disclosure of information about owners or firearms for the purpose of building such a database.

The mention of blockchains and distributed ledgers in this legislation seems as if it's some sort of "just in case people use this technology to do this." After all, in some ways a blockchain is a very complicated database format designed for a specific purpose (i.e. solving problems with distributed trust).

Arizona also recently signed into law a bill on April 20, in the form of HB 2417, that gives blockchain-based smart contracts legal efficacy. The signing of this bill possibly forms the basis for the legislative interest in looking at the use of blockchains in other industries--in this case the firearm industry.

Reading the exemption also makes me wonder, does this mean that this law allows for a blockchain-based firearm tracking system used by law enforcement? The law appears to allow law enforcement who "obtain a search warrant" to get the information, but this exception would also allow them to enter that information into such a system.

This would be important for Arizona's law enforcement electronic records because it may eventually explore blockchain-based systems for securing and authenticating the provenance of internally published records.
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Video gaming is a human social endeavor that brings together minds as well as spirits. Today, in the spirit of a gravely ill guild mate, BURN gathered in Hoelbrak in Guild Wars 2 to support their friend.
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Apparently, one of my articles about 3D printing was cited in this book for librarians. As a huge fan of librarians and archivists, I am honored. Of course, it was an article about biodegradable coffee-hull-based filaments--no, the printed objects are not edible, but when printing is smells like amazing coffee.

I am a huge advocate of 3D printing technology and its ability to make replicas of historical objects for handling and perhaps even use in archive science. While the resolution and context of 3D printing even now is still somewhat primitive for preservation; it opens up a lot of interesting uses for giving archaeologists and anthropologists a way to "examine" objects remotely (or even to preserve them in a digital to physical manner).

Furthermore, 3D printing for libraries and archives could serve a powerful educational role. It means that libraries can house more than just books and reference material, but could also become home to 3D printed objects for educational use based on actual objects that cannot or should not be handled.

I have not had time to read this book, so I can't say I recommend it or not, but if I got a citation, then I'm happy to mention it.

"3D Printing: A Professional Guide for Librarians" by Sara Russell Gonzalez and Denise Beaubien Bennett.
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I remember writing my first article about Bitcoin's market value exceeding $1,000 -- three years ago. I had only been writing about Bitcoin for a few years then, following the ordeals of a growing industry, and uncertain I really cared that much about the economics of a virtual currency. I was much more interested in the underlying technology and how it affected people.

Of course, I know now that economics also affects people profoundly.

So welcome to 2017 Bitcoin.

Three years ago when Bitcoin first cracked $1,000 the market was extremely different. There were far less exchanges and they were harder to enter into. In fact, Mt. Gox in Tokyo was at the time the most accessible exchange for anyone and represented almost all of the total trade volume.

So even hitting $1,000 could not save Bitcoin when Mt. Gox fell to hacking and eventual bankruptsy. That bust crashed the currency from its lofty $1,100 all the way back down to $200. Of course, even $200 was a leap from a mere year before when Bitcoin barely registered in the $50s (and before that when it was pennies).

Clearly, there was no going back after hitting $1,000. Now we've seen a much more stable run up from $200 to $1,000 without the sharp peak seen in 2013 and the market is much more spread out between companies using the currency and exchanges across the US, Europe and China holding their own in volume.

It's hard to say exactly how price increases in Bitcoin affect the technology as a whole. In the past, psychologically it created a burden for people who want to buy in: the higher price seems daunting to newcomers who think that a single coin must be bought.

Fortunately, companies that deal in Bitcoin have gotten better at hiding the underlying currency from customers and users, while also educating them that it's possible to buy $1 in Bitcoin and still work with it.

The increased market cap also means there's a lot more "money" in the money to move around. Not only does this make people who invest in the currency (by buying in and holding) but it also means that smaller fractions of bitcoins are more meaningful when traded.

Also interesting, at $1,000 a BTC that means that 1 mBTC is $1.
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