Tesco Homeplus Virtual Subway Store in South Korea – YouTube

This idea is simply genius. But what happens when some clever hoodlum covers up the milk QR code with a QR code linking you to his malware-ridden porn-serving wordpress blog? Or, even less intrusive but possibly more damaging, swaps it out for very expensive items, causing customers to scan the wrong items? Or even — pregnency tests?

The Internet isn’t just pipes; it’s a belief system (via @Om)

Draconian new anti-piracy laws that are being pushed through both the Senate and the House of Representatives are about more than just an academic debate over different legislative methods for fighting copyright infringement. They make it clear that media and content companies are fundamentally opposed to the way the Internet works. These laws are being promoted by media and entertainment conglomerates as a way to fight what they see as massive content theft, but in order to combat that evil, they are effectively trying to get Congress to take over the Internet — and trample on important principles like freedom of speech as well.

Finally, here’s an aweosme video sumamrizing the insane legislation:

PROTECT IP Act Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

Take action! This is very, very bad.

Are You Telepathic? Incredible Hack Gives Siri The Ability To Read People’s Minds [Video] | Cult of Mac

**UPDATE of sadness: http://www.idownloadblog.com/2011/11/14/siri-mind-control-hack-fake/ **

Since the advent of the iPhone’s multitouch interface, I’ve been fascinated by technologies that lower the bar between an operator’s thoughts and the actual result within the computer (/device). Before the advent of Siri, I hypothesized that speech input would soon come to replace touch, mainly because touch requires us to change our visual focus from whatever we’re trying to accomplish in the real world, to look down at the screen of our device.

But speech removes that hurdle, enabling a whole new kind of multitasking. Using Siri, I can now place calls, perform web searches (and have the resulting webpages actually ready back to me outloud), play any selection of my music, and much more, simply by raising the device to my head and speaking naturally. The best places to do this? While driving, or cooking – activities I don’t really want to be using a touch interface for (for one, because of safety, and the other, because my fingers are usually covered with olive oil and/or garlic) but which generally provide many opportunities for effective multi-tasking. (“Siri, how many tablespoons are there in three cups?”).

But of course speech inputs for years have had to be “trained” for days, if not weeks, ahead of time, and essentially amount to matching the specific sounds within words to your vocal patterns, a method which is both inaccurate, and slow.

But as this video demonstrates, we’re not too far off from a world where both touch and speech input could be replaced by a direct “thought” interface.

The advantages of that should be obvious: imagine a world with no keyboards or mouses, where your Xbox has no 18-button’ed controller, where composing a letter was a simple as thinking it.

The seamless integration of human thought and computing power will obviate much, if not all, of our current clunky interface systems, and bring the world one step closer to “Snow Crash“.

The Rise Of Pinterest And The Shift From Search To Discovery via @TechCrunch

The current toast of the web is Pinterest, the visual pinboard for collecting and sharing content online. The “pinning” phenomena is spreading from its modest beginnings to appearing in national media outlets. There are over 2.5m monthly active Pinterest users on Facebook. A co-founder of the site has over 500,000 followers on Pinterest. Ron Conway (an investor in the site) remarked that Pinterest’s user growth rate is what Facebook’s was five years ago. Earlier in 2011, it was valued through venture financing at $40m and, most recently, just a few months later, at around $200m.

What is going on here?

Awesome medium-depth analysis of popular image bookmarking/sharing social media upstart Pinterest. Why is the site experiencing Facebook-like growth?

Well, for one, it’s awesome. I use it to catalog projects I want to undertake, colors I want to paint, images I want to print out and hang, presents I want to buy, or stylish products I love. Then I use those pins as launchpads to share other ideas with my friends. It’s like a little display case for all the things on the internet you like.

I’m still fascinated by the intense desire to Pin, though – and this article glosses over the “soothing” experience, to use one quotee’s words, of being an active Pinner. A few of my friends and I are now avid pinners; I usually pin about 100 things a week or so, give and take how interesting other things are.

The most fascinating part is how certain ideas, or memes, will become trends, and the trends themselves trigger revivals and squashings of new ideas. A popular pin may get pushed around various categories throughout a couple days, then die out – only to be rediscovered by some Board-hunting newbie, which can in turn trigger a rash of repins and responses from people who missed the trend at first. It’s quite an active, engaging ecosystem for images and ideas.

Still more fascinating, is the predominance of women and gay men on the site. Why would a site with semingly gender-agnostic functionality attract such specific kinds of people?

A friend suggested that the social networking effect – that is, the propogation of things that appeal to for example women, leads more women to join and even more women-focused material to be pinned – and while I think this is definitely a significant effect, I think there’s something deeper about psychology and gender going on here.

Do gay men and women simply enjoy organizing more? The prevalence of DIY/Organization/Home boards suggests an accordingly significant interest in the process of categorizing itself.

And this is my guess to why the reader described the process as “soothing”.

There is something very basic to the nuturing role many women and gay men take on, about filtering huge quantities of data (images) into functional groups. It’s empowering, both to yourself and to others; it’s expressive, as a curatorial artistic tendency; it’s fulfilling, in the appropriation of public images into a kind of “personal display case”; and above all, it’s a damn fun recreational activity, that fills empty moments of mine anywhere from on a cigarette break to waiting in line at the bank.

Looking at it from a reductive, evolutionary standpoint, my guess is that Pinterest triggers something very primal within us, something that hearkens back to a time when the physical world was as unorganized as our informational world is now. Combing through reams of noise, to find the single image that tickles your fancy, which then can be shared with others in your community, is not too dissimilar from wading through weeds for hours to find a single nutritious frut tree, which can be brought back to the family for sustenance.

But note, how it is quite different from hunting an animal for meat: the searching, the waiting for the right moment, the heavy and violent weapons which must be brought beforehand, the pursuit, and the kill – a process very different from gathering, which in contrast, seems very passive and observational. To use the author’s terms, the “discovery” of pinning is quote different from the “hunting” behavior of Googling something specific for a specific result.

What do you think of my psuedo-behavorial-analysis? Am I touching on something that sounds right to you too? Or is it just a fact of history that the site has seen such overwhelming response from women and gay men?