Social TV

Tom Coates post his concepts for Social Software for set-top boxes on his blog.  Similar to the way IM software (like AIM or MSN Messenger) will do a little pop-up showing you buddies comming online, set-top box software could show you what your buddies are currently watching.  It makes watching TV social even if you're alone in the room.

Disposable email address is a great way to deal with annoying site registraion, or if you ever need disposable/temporary email addresses. You don't need to set-up or sign-up with Mailinator. Suppose you are on a registration form for In the email address field, just make up any old address at, like Then to get the email, go to and enter rtuuug (the thing you made up). There's no passwords, and there is no sign-up.

Of course, you don't want to use this for email that will contain sensitive data. As their FAQ says:

Q: This sounds pretty insecure. What if I send important emails with sensitive super-secret information in them to mailinator?
A: Then you are a stupid-head. That isn't what this is for.

They even have an RSS feed for each made-up account, so you can almost use this as a "real" email if you don't have any privacy/security concerns. You'd use the RSS to get notified when new email arrives.

I first discovered this a few years ago. Looks like there are now others doing the doing the same thing, like

PriUPS: Toyota Prius as a power plant

Turns out the Toyota Prius can supply 5-6 kW of power at 220 volts DC for as long as you've got gas in the tank. is a guy who is working to figure out the details on how to get this power into his house for power outages. You might also be able to make money by feeding power back into the grid during times of peak demand, but that would depend on the price of gas and the price of power.

Upgrade to Firefox 1.0.7

If you use Firefox, be sure to upgrade to 1.0.7 as soon as possible. To see what version you are running, use the "Help, About" menu option.

There is an especially bad bug in earlier versions: A "bad guy" can create a web page, and simply viewing that web page allows the bad guy to do pretty much anything he wants on your computer.

If you only view your bank's web site, and your local newspaper, you're probably not at much risk. On the other hand, if you browse the web widely, read online forums, etc, you never know when you are going to stumble across a web page written by a bad guy. And if you do — bang!

How to "reset" a GPS receiver

A friend was having problems with his GPS reciever. He figured out that the thing probably needed a "reset", but there was no reset button, and removing the battery had no effect. After a bit of sleuthing, he figured out that there was a "backup" battery which is why removing the battery did not cause a reset.

I liked his write-up of the process to bypass the backup battery to get the device to reset. This is a great example of why all electronics need a "reset" button. It's stupid that he had to go to these extremes just to reset the dang thing.