I've previously mentioned reinventing the desktop interface and the kind of changes that might be coming regarding how we use computers. I wanted to share another cool idea in this area that is simply being called a bend desk.


This looks promising.

bend desk is a prototype interactive display that takes the digital workspace from the screen to the desktop by the media computing group at RWTH aachen university. while a typical work setup combines a flat desktop with a vertical computer screen, bend desk combines the two into one single unit. bend desk is a vision for a future workspace that allows continuous interaction between both areas. using multi-touch technology, the display curves from a horizontal plane to a vertical plane. this workspace can be used to display digital content and interact with it directly using multi-touch gestures and manipulation.

The entire setup seamlessly combines a large multi-touch surface on the desk that curves into a multi-touch screen for display. Whereas it probably takes up more physical space than the 10/GUI concept video I linked to above, it resolves all of the same problems conceptually and has the added bonus of looking really cool. Additionally, you can see in some of the pictures on that the BendDesk could be used by more than one person at a time. I'm not sure I could choose between the two if presented the option. Based on the video...

I'd say that BendDesk is closer to being a reality. The future is now!


Share Your Keyboard & Mouse for Free! by Ron Knights

Everyone with more than one computer within arm's reach needs a KVM switch or some other method for sharing the same input hardware. Apparently, you can use some free software to sync two PCs and share their keyboard and mouse. Read the full post about this at


The Dell Streak

I've had a Dell Axim for a pretty long time. I consider it pretty long considering it's basically a handheld computer. Family and friends who've seen me with it marvel a bit that it has lasted this long. Some day, it will need to be replaced. But I've come to understand that handheld computers, PDAs and the like are no longer available per se. They've all been replaced or edged out by high end cell phones or tablet PCs. As a long time fan of handhelds going back to my old Palm m500, it was disappointing to me to learn that unless you want to buy a used/refurbished model you can't find one anymore.

I'll keep using my Axim until it craps out, but some day it will need to be replaced. Since Dell worked so well for me for so long (and their PCs too), I've been looking at what Dell has to offer and I discovered that they've come out with something called The Streak. Nice name *wolf-whistle*.

It's more of a tablet PC but small with a 5-inch display. Many see it as competition for the iPad and so on. I'm still learning about it, but from the following post, it would appear that the folks at Dell are getting ready to bring out a 7-inch screen version sometime soon. Here's more information: Dell CEO shows 7-inch Streak tablet. Please stay tuned.

The History Of The Internet (An Infographic)

There's a bit of a trend I've noticed lately where information is being shared in easy-to-understand infographics. They are sometimes a mix of the humorous and insightful along with a well laid out representation of information. I wasn't even born until 1976, so...

The following graphic is a timeline of the major milestones in the full History of the Internet. Some of this history I lived through and can recall, but much of it happened while I was a little oblivious.

MBA Online

Found via Digg.


Shamus Summarizes and Pontificates on the Used-Game Debate

Get caught up and educated by reading the article on The Escapist.


Apple iTunes Defaults to Ripping .m4a - Thumbs Down

I like Apple. I like iTunes. That's what is going to make this hard (and yet so very easy) to write complaints about them. In yet another argument for never ever updating software ever, a setting that I depend on in iTunes buried deep in the preferences menu defaulted to factory settings. I should note that I'm not sure this happened during an update or for some other reason.

I use iTunes for most of my music right now. I've used Winamp (yay), Windows Media Player (boo) and a few of the online services like What I find most often is that none of these free tools is fully featured, but depending on what you need at that moment the right tool is available. That's a presumably common thread for free software, right? But for the longest time, Windows MP would not rip mp3s from CDs and neither would Winamp so when need this I used iTunes only. By default, the star software from Apple will rip your mp3s to a ridiculous place on your computer's hard drive.

C:\Users\USERNAME\Music\iTunes\iTunes Music\Music

Really Apple? Isn't "Music" used three separate times a little redundant? And why would I care to separate out the "iTunes" stuff into it's own folder tree? Even if I'd bought it through the iTunes store (*scoff*) I'd just want it in the root music folder organized by artist. Thankfully, you can change this in the preferences to wherever you want. Since I share this PC with the whole family, I usually use something everyone can access.


The folders in this directory are organized by artist and album.

Aside from this, iTunes also defaults to encoding ripped music to AAC/m4a (mpeg-4 audio) format. I'm sure there is some sort of computer music snob --and I recognize I'm throwing stones in my glass house-- that could explain to me the differences and the advantages of .M4A for music files versus traditional .MP3. I prefer mp3s. Since music first became something usable on a computer, they've been the bread and butter standard. And I'll keep on preferring them and reinforcing them as the industry standard.

Again, iTunes preferences allow you to specify mpeg-3 and every file ripped from then on will be right. I've had it set that way for years. However, something recently has reset these preferences to their defaults and if there was a warning or notice about it, I missed it. Later, I went looking for stuff I knew I'd ripped from my CDs and couldn't find the mp3s right away. As it turned out, that's because they were saved in a redundant folder, in a different format than mp3. Even my next step for finding lost files using Google Desktop didn't work, because I narrowed my search to mp3 files.

My Steps to Repair

  • Change the settings in iTunes preferences.
  • Delete the \iTunes\ folder, and all M4A files inside it. I know that iTunes will recreate the folders when it next starts up, but at least for the moment, they are goodbye.
  • Find the CDs I wanted on the computer and rip them again into the right place.
  • Consider Winamp once again, as it's pretty good.

That's all, I'm done complaining. Go back to your regularly scheduled whatever.

More Information


Apple's 'Mac vs. PC' Ads Ending

Gizmodo has a post regarding the 'I'm a Mac' / 'I'm a PC' ads that Apple has been running for a long time. It seems that based on an interview with Justin Long (the 'Mac'), these commercials may be over. Whether you loved them or hated them, they were everywhere and arguably effective. Personally, I found them hilarious and rooted for Mac every time. If you'd like to see all of them starting with the first back in 2006, head over to Adweek, where they've collected them all.



Files get deleted unintentionally. It happens to everyone at some point. Sometimes they can be recovered from the recycle bin, but if they aren't there it's a little-known secret that they can still usually be recovered from the hard drive anyway. The reason for this is that when a file is deleted by the operating system, it only means that the file has been removed from a table of contents that the file system maintains. The data is still there, but the computer has simply stopped tracking it. It might still be there on the physical hard drive media. Over time, the system may write NEW data to that specific location on the media thereby making it impossible much more difficult to recover. But if that hasn't happened yet, special scanning software could find it.

I've been the loudest megaphone that I can possibly be to let people know about this and the free software that is available to accomplish this simple task. Currently, the most recommended tool available that I've seen is called RECUVA. This tool was reviewed positively on Lifehacker and I'd downloaded it upon reading the review.

It wasn't until today that I needed it. And it was for a friend's SD media card. Of course Recuva's details make it clear that it will work on SD and other media cards, so I confidently stated to my friend that I could get it done.

Where this went wrong is that the way that I read SD cards on my computer is to plug them into my Dell Axim. I don't have a built-in or stand-alone SD reader. My camera plugs in directly, but just for reading SD cards this indirect method has always worked.

Except it didn't work in this instance. The recovery software has some options for scanning hard drives, ipods, media cards and other devices. But it failed to scan and locate the media card, even though Explorer could browse to the files on the device with no problem. It seems that it only recognizes drives with letters associated with them (C:, D:, E:, etc.) and since the handheld doesn't get one, then it can't be recognized.

You should still download Recuva and have it in your arsenal anyhow, but don't rely on it to recover files on your Pocket PC, PDA or an SD card inserted in it.

Update: I had a moment after thinking about these steps and I tried the same tool with my camera instead of the handheld. But the results were the same. Oh well, it was worth a shot.

Reinventing the Desktop Interface

Who would have thought that step one would be to completely ditch the mouse? But if you think about it, the due date has perhaps arrived.

10/GUI from C. Miller on Vimeo. Here are more details:

Here it is: my crazy summer project to reinvent desktop human-computer interaction.

This video examines the benefits and limitations inherent in current mouse-based and window-oriented interfaces, the problems facing other potential solutions, and visualizes my proposal for a completely new way of interacting with desktop computers.

There's more information at

The real point here is that we need a leap-frog move to jump from what we have as an interface now to the next step. I'd like to see this kind of technology as soon as possible.