Deutsche Telekom tracking graphicIf Big Brother comes for you, you’ve got seven minutes to make yourself scarce after tossing your cell phone in a nearby dumpster. That’s what a German politician learned when he took his telephone carrier to court to find out how often they tracked his position–and learned Deutsche Telekom tracked him 35,000 times in 6 months, even though he never explicitly chose to share his location.

The results make for a compelling interactive graphic, but also seem to vindicate free software guru Richard Stallman’s choice never to carry a cell phone.

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If the founder of console powerhouse Electronic Arts is right when he says “the browser is the platform of the future,” then here are some inventive takes on what that future might look like–from rolling up your favorite Web page Katamari Damacy-style to playing a game entirely in the URL bar.

This is a “bookmarklet” that turns any page into Katamari Damacy. Try clicking the Katamari! link above.

This was the winner of the 2011 Yahoo HackU contest at University of Washington.

How does it work?

Short version: css transforms (for things stuck to the katamari), canvas (drawing the katamari), and z-index (illusion of depth).

This minimalist gem crams an entire game into a single URL. via Byline

“Whether you think it is useful or useless, you can’t ignored the sheer cool geekiness of a game played entirely in the URL bar. From the article: ‘… While getting lost in a three dimensional virtual world amongst increasingly thoughtful plot and character development may be an adequate pastime for some, the only new title the gaming world should be talking about is URL Hunter, an experimental keyboard-character based game played entirely in your browser’s URL bar.’”

Trip breaks it down for us. via Byline

Trip Hawkins, founder of Electronic Arts, spoke at the recent Game Developers Conference about how he expects game platforms to evolve in the future. Hawkins thinks the role of web browsers as a platform will greatly increase as the explosion of mobile device adoption continues. “For all of the big media companies, this phase of disruption is dramatic and happening fast. Where it’s really going to lead is where the function of the browser is going. … The browser has taken over 2 billion PCs — it’s going to be taking over a billion tablets over the next few years, billions of mobile devices. It will end up in my opinion very strong on the television. The browser is the platform of the future.”

So many mobile apps are just dumbed-down versions of better applications. Here’s a really useful app that puts the smart back in smartphone. via Byline

A new iPhone application is designed to help blind people identify United States currency in real time by speaking the denomination aloud.

As much as I like crazy game reinterpretations, I find this one disturbing. It makes me wonder if all those times sitting in traffic in midtown Manhattan I was actually under the control of aliens playing a game of Find the Parking Place. via Byline An anonymous reader writes “Science is rarely ever this cool! ‘Physicist Ingmar Riedel-Kruse and his team from Stanford University have done just that by creating versions of classic games that you can navigate by physically controlling living organisms. A game called PAC-mecium is Pacman with a twist: players use a console to change the polarity of an electrical field in a fluid chamber filled with paramecia, which makes the organisms move in different directions. A camera sends real-time images to a computer, where they are superimposed onto a game board (see video above). By looking at the screen, a player can guide the paramecia to eat virtual yeast cells and make them avoid Pacman-like fish. A microprocessor tracks the movement of the organisms to keep score.’ Also available are versions of Pinball, Pong, and soccer.”

Over the past month, new media scholars have spilled a lot of digital ink arguing whether the Internet actually fostered the 2011 revolution in Egypt, Tunisia, and other Middle East countries–or whether it simply created a dependency that governments can shut down to stymie protesters. Here’s a “Middle East Internet Scorecard” showing where and when governments have cut off their citizens’ access to the net. 

How hard would it be for, say, President Beck to shut down Google, Facebook, and the like in the US of A? Read this Middle East censorship roundup to find out what Egyptians, Libyans, and the rest of us can do to safeguard access to a global electronic network.

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