Is there really such a thing as a "geek defense"?

By Mark O’Neill

hansreiser A computer programmer is on trial accused of murdering his wife and the evidence against him is damning.   So his lawyer has uniquely resorted to what many have called "the geek defense".

So what is some of the evidence against computer programmer Hans Reiser that his lawyer dismisses as weird geek behavior?

  • He purchased two books on murder
  • He took no part in the search for his missing wife
  • He had removed the battery from his cell phone
  • The floor of his car was soaking wet as if it had just been cleaned
  • He had removed the front passenger seat of his car

So this has intrigued me to ask the geek readers of this blog – are the above actions typical of a geek?   Do you remove the battery from your cell phone on a regular basis?    Would you consider it normal for a geek to remove the front passenger seat from the car?   If you were a juror in the case, would you accept the "geek defense"?

* NOTE : the above Washington Post link requires free login to view the news article.  If you don’t have an account and you don’t want to register, you can bypass the login screen using BugMeNot.

AquaSkipper: Don’t just float on water, hop on it!

The Aquaskipper is an innovative human-powered watercraft that rests on hydrofoils, propelling itself forward when its driver hops up and down on it. According to its manufacturer, this is the fasted human-powered water vehicle on the planet. Built out of aircraft aluminum and fiberglass, the Aquaskipper only weights 26 pounds and goes at a top speed of 17 MPH. See it in action in the following video.

HD-DVD: We hardly knew ye

Did you actually think that HD-DVD was going to die gracefully? Perhaps with a solemn mourning ceremony and a tribute to the next-gen format that could have been?

You didn’t think about how retailers were going to dump their excess HD-DVD players though, now did you?

Apparently. both online and brick-and-mortar stores, are renaming HD-DVD players as ones which simply upscale plain old DVD’s. Ouch. Oh sure, HD-DVD playback is listed as a feature but this has got to be a pretty painful slap in the face. It has been a tough few weeks for HD-DVD and instead of dying quietly, it has attracted all sorts of terrible –and terribly hilarious– attention.

Looks like the “unnecessary” Bluray functionality of the PS3 suddenly became very necessary. Lem Kutaragi must be rolling over in his grave.

[Old] [new]

[via Eng]

Momenta: The Microsoft parasite-like computer that attaches to your neck

Momenta, one of the finalists in Microsoft’s 2007-08 Next-Gen PC design competition, is a personal computer that attaches to your neck and records what it considers as “the most memorable moments of your life”. The device works by monitoring your heart rate, and as soon as it detects some kind of excitement in your day, it start to record the moment in an active buffer, Cloverfield-style. Here are a few additional pictures of the thing, for your viewing pleasure.

The competition also features a lot of other interesting entries. I invite you to check them all out.

[Via Gizmodo]

Play detective with Channel 4’s Bow Street Runner

By Mark O’Neill

The British TV channel “Channel 4” has brought out on their website an online detective role-playing game called “Bow Street Runner” which invites you to solve a murder in 18th century London.

Named after the group which were the predecessors to the modern day London police force, this free game is remarkably entertaining, even for me.   Normally I am bored with PC games but this one managed to keep my complete and undivided attention the whole way through.

Using your computer mouse, you can lift pieces of evidence out of people’s pockets, search areas for clues and interrogate witnesses (you can choose between being polite and being nasty).     Also using the mouse, you can stitch up wounds to a dying victim (you only have two minutes though to clean the wound and stitch her up!) and you can also pick the lock of a suspect’s desk drawer :


When you have enough evidence, you can then go before the magistrate and present your evidence.   He can either accept your case and issue an arrest warrant, or laugh you out of his office.    I was personally laughed out of the office with my “flimsy case”!

The game is not complete yet.  Channel 4 has only posted Episode 1.  The other episodes are apparently coming soon and you can leave your email address to be notified when the next one is ready.

The only downsides are that you can’t pause the game if you need to, you can’t go back to previous scenes to re-check something and you can’t save the game to continue playing it later.  But hey it’s free and entertaining – who can argue with that?

Linutop: Tiny computing at its best

Tiny computers come in handy pretty often. Whether you need a beefed-up firewall/router or a cool way to store and access your media remotely, a small linux-based computer is the perfect solution.

The palm-sized Linutop 2 sports a 500MHz AMD CPU coupled with 512 megs of ram and 1GB of flash-based storage. Four USB ports and an ethernet jack are also featured. The specs make it perfect for running the Linux distro of your choice combined with some server software. Based on the number of available ports, external storage should be no problem.

Just looking at the size of this thing, all sorts of ideas come to mind as to how it can be implemented. A car-puter or backpack PC are just a few of the things I’d like to see. With a miniscule power consuption of just 8 watts, the device could be easily powered by batteries.

The Linutop 2 is available as of right now with a questionable $410 sticker. For that price you can easily afford an Eee PC or super-low-end Acer laptop.

Linutop 2 [LinuxDevices]

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