Sensationalism of Science: Is Japan’s Fuji in a “Critical State” for an Eruption?

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 10:07pm
Mt. Fuji might be gearing up for an eruption, but can we really trace it back to the 2011 Tohoku earthquake?

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Microsoft's enterprise offerings continue to carry the day (Mary Jo Foley/ZDNet)

TechMeme - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 9:50pm

Mary Jo Foley / ZDNet:
Microsoft's enterprise offerings continue to carry the day  —  Summary: Microsoft still is an enterprise-driven company, even if management wants to do its best to deny that fact.  Just look at its fourth quarter fiscal 2014 earnings for proof.  —  Microsoft execs continue to talk …

Categories: Technology

Open-Source Blu-Ray Library Now Supports BD-J Java

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 9:25pm
An anonymous reader writes: Updates to the open-source libbluray, libaacs, and libbdplus libraries have improved the open-source Blu-ray disc support to now enable the Blu-ray Java interactivity layer (BD-J). The Blu-ray Java code is in turn executed by OpenJDK or the Oracle JDK and is working well enough to play a Blu-ray disc on the Raspberry Pi when paired with the VLC media player."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Augmented Retaility

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 9:20pm
With the Fire Phone, everything around you exists to be bought on Amazon. The phone deconstructs and decentralizes the entire concept of a store. It's essentially Amazon’s brick-and-mortar strategy.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Amazon Fire phone review: a unique device, but you're better off waiting for the sequel (Brad Molen/Engadget)

TechMeme - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 9:12pm

Brad Molen / Engadget:
Amazon Fire phone review: a unique device, but you're better off waiting for the sequel  —  After producing a long line of e-book readers and tablets (not to mention a set-top box), Amazon has its sights set on the smartphone market.  But finding success here won't be easy, even for an established tech giant like Amazon.

Categories: Technology

EFF Releases Wireless Router Firmware For Open Access Points

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 8:30pm
klapaucjusz writes: The EFF has released an experimental router firmware designed make it easy to deploy open (password-less) access points in a secure manner. The EFF's firmware is based on the CeroWRT fork of OpenWRT, but appears to remove some of its more advanced routing features. The EFF is asking for help to further develop the firmware. They want the open access point to co-exist on the same router as your typical private and secured access point. They want the owner to be able to share bandwidth, but with a cap, so guests don't degrade service for the owner. They're also looking to develop a network queueing, a minimalist web UI, and an auto-update mechanism. The EFF has also released the beta version of a plug-in called Privacy Badger for Firefox and Chrome that will prevent online advertisers from tracking you.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Black Hat Presentation On Tor Cancelled, Developers Working on Bug Fix

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 7:49pm
alphadogg writes A presentation on a low-budget method to unmask users of a popular online privacy tool Tor will no longer go ahead at the Black Hat security conference early next month. The talk was nixed by the legal counsel with Carnegie Mellon's Software Engineering Institute after a finding that materials from researcher Alexander Volynkin were not approved for public release, according to a notice on the conference's website. Tor project leader Roger Dingledine said, "I think I have a handle on what they did, and how to fix it. ... Based on our current plans, we'll be putting out a fix that relays can apply that should close the particular bug they found. The bug is a nice bug, but it isn't the end of the world." Tor's developers were "informally" shown materials about the bug, but never saw any details about what would be presented in the talk.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 7:07pm
An anonymous reader writes: Brianna Wu, leader of a game development studio, has an article exposing the constant harassment of women in the games industry. She says, "I'm not writing this piece to evoke your sympathy. I'm writing to share with you what prominent, successful women in the industry experience, in their own words." She goes through the individual stories of several women targeted by this vitriol, and tries to figure out why it happens. Quoting: "We live in a society that's sexist in ways it doesn't understand. One of the consequences is that men are extremely sensitive to being criticized by women. ... This is why women are socialized to carefully dance around these issues, disagreeing with men in an extremely gentle manner. Not because women are nicer creatures than men. But because our very survival can depend on it. ... Growing a thicker skin isn't the answer, nor is it a proper response. Listening, and making the industry safer for the existence of visible women is the best, and only, way forward."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Researchers Successfully Cut HIV DNA Out of Human Cells

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 6:25pm
mrspoonsi sends word that researchers from Temple University have managed to eliminate the HIV-1 virus from human cells for the first time. "When deployed, a combination of a DNA-snipping enzyme called a nuclease and a targeting strand of RNA called a guide RNA (gRNA) hunt down the viral genome and excise the HIV-1 DNA (abstract). From there, the cell's gene repair machinery takes over, soldering the loose ends of the genome back together – resulting in virus-free cells." While antiretroviral therapy can treat people who are infected with HIV, the immune system is incapable of actually removing the virus, so this is an important step in fighting it. The researchers still have to overcome the problem of delivering the the genetic "toolkit" to each affected cell in a patient's body, and also HIV's high mutation rate.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Google Offers a Million Bucks For a Better Inverter

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 5:43pm
An anonymous reader writes: With the Little Box Challenge, Google (and IEEE, and a few other sponsors like Cree and Rohm) is offering a $1 million prize to the team which can "design and build a kW-scale power inverter with the highest power density (at least 50 Watts per cubic inch)." Going from cooler-sized to tablet sized, they say, would make whole lot of things better, and the prize is reserved for the best performing entrant. "Our testing philosophy is to not look inside the box. You provide us with a box that has 5 wires coming out of it: two DC inputs, two AC outputs and grounding connection and we only monitor what goes into and comes out of those wires, along with the temperature of the outside of your box, over the course of 100 hours of testing. The inverter will be operating in an islanded more—that is, not tied or synced to an external grid. The loads will be dynamically changing throughout the course of the testing, similar to what you may expect to see in a residential setting." The application must be filled out in English, but any serious applicants can sign up "regardless of approach suggested or team background." Registration runs through September.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Firefox 31 Released

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 5:00pm
An anonymous reader writes Mozilla has released version 31 of its Firefox web browser for desktops and Android devices. According to the release notes, major new features include malware blocking for file downloads, automatic handling of PDF and OGG files if no other software is available to do so, and a new certificate verification library. Smaller features include a search field on the new tab page, better support for parental controls, and partial implementation of the OpenType MATH table. Firefox 31 is also loaded with new features for developers. Mozilla also took the opportunity to note the launch of a new game, Dungeon Defenders Eternity, which will run at near-native speeds on the web using asm.js, WebGL, and Web Audio. "We're pleased to see more developers using asm.js to distribute and now monetize their plug-in free games on the Web as it strengthens support for Mozilla's vision of a high performance, plugin-free Web."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Buying New Commercial IT Hardware Isn't Always Worthwhile (Video)

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 4:18pm
Ben Blair is CTO of MarkITx, a company that brokers used commercial IT gear. This gives him an excellent overview of the marketplace -- not just what companies are willing to buy used, but also what they want to sell as they buy new (or newer) equipment. Ben's main talking point in this interview is that hardware has become so commoditized that in a world where most enterprise software can be virtualized to run across multiple servers, it no longer matters if you have the latest hardware technology; that two older servers can often do the job of one new one -- and for less money, too. So, he says, you should make sure you buy new hardware only when necessary, not just because of the "Ooh... shiny!" factor" (Alternate Video Link)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Why Are the World's Scientists Continuing To Take Chances With Smallpox?

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 3:37pm
Lasrick writes: MIT's Jeanne Guillemin looks at the recent blunders with smallpox and H5N1 at the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health to chronicle the fascinating history of smallpox eradication efforts and the attempts (thwarted by Western scientists) to destroy lab collections of the virus in order to make it truly extinct. "In 1986, with no new smallpox cases reported, the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, resolved to destroy the strain collections and make the virus extinct. But there was resistance to this; American scientists in particular wanted to continue their research." Within a few years, secret biological warfare programs were discovered in Moscow and in Iraq, and a new flurry of defensive research was funded. Nevertheless, Guillemin and others believe that changes in research methods, which no longer require the use of live viruses, mean that stocks of the live smallpox virus can and should finally be destroyed.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Why Is Internet Still So Slow And Expensive In The U.S.?

ReadWriteWeb - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 3:06pm

Most people in the United States can't get a decent Internet connection. That seems like a simple enough problem, but there is no easy solution. To make matters more confusing, most information floating around about broadband availability is confusing and contradictory. A lot needs to be sorted out before we get decent connections at an affordable price. 

Take the National Broadband Map. Many of us in the industry define true broadband as a symmetric connection with at least 100Mbps.  If you believe the National Broadband map, 97% of North Carolina (where I live) has access to 100Mbps.  Yet, almost no one that I know either in North Carolina or across the United States can download at at that speed. (Check my earlier article for a chart of speeds that my technology aware friends shared with me last fall.)

Meanwhile, the FCC’s minimum standard for broadband is set as 4Mbps download and 1Mbps upload, but no one I know considers that true broadband.

Beyond confusing information, I see six factors which impact the broadband speed and cost in the U.S.

Current providers monopolize the market

If you have options other than DSL or Cable Modem service from a couple of providers, you live in an area that is very fortunate among US  locations. The best number that I can find indicates that there are only 640,000 households in the U.S. that meet the gold standard of 100Mbps. 

Canada, which has a much smaller population, has 540,000 homes with similar fiber connectivity. With over 117,000,000 households in the U.S., our 640,000 homes translates to about one half of one percent of homes having access to true “big broadband.” 

Three quarters of the U.S.  has access to only two “little broadband” providers, usually cable modem or DSL—not really a choice if you want "big broadband" speeds. Just as in the days when we had limited choice with telephone service, costs will be higher and service will be poorer when there is no competition.

There is little incentive for better service

Current providers are reaping a fortune. Comcast made $6.8 billion in profits last year. Time Warner managed $3.6 billion in profits. Of course these companies don't make all of that money from delivering connectivity, but a Comcast proposal to buy Time Warner and further consolidate the industry is under review by the FCC. One has to wonder how consumers will benefit if two of the worst offenders on customer service merge. It's unlikely that we will get faster Internet connectivity out of the deal.

Current technology is old and expensive to upgrade

Cable and telephone/DSL providers mostly use copper wire technology. A lot of it is cable that was put in the ground years ago; the fully amortized infrastructure is helping to fuel the huge profits above. Installing fiber can cost $3,000 or more per home. We're already being gouged with premium rates, so why would we pay even more? Obviously the incumbents think it is highly unlikely we will, so there's little incentive to install lots of new fiber. Don't expect new upgrades to the old copper technology won't rescue us any time soon.

The is no national strategy to bring true “big broadband” to our homes

The FCC’s most recent program is focused on helping ETCs (Established Telecommunications Carriers) deliver broadband services. Yet if you look at all the recent successes in bringing fiber to communities, it is not ETCs but startups—innovative companies and municipalities—who are tired of waiting and are finding the help they need get fiber projects underway. 

The FCC has come down on the side of municipal broadband and challenged laws like the one in Tennessee that make it harder for cities to participate in broadband projects. On the other hand the House of Representatives wants to let states limit broadband competition from cities which have delivered most of our big broadband successes. Our government does not seem to have a coherent strategy of getting us to true big broadband.

Broadband is actually infrastructure

Broadband is best compared to the Interstate Highway System. We did not design and pay for our highways so that only trucks from one company could use it. We designed it so that everyone can use it. 

If we had a program to construct fiber-based "digital road systems," then any company that wanted to deliver services via the shared digital road system could do so—if they are willing to pay the appropriate fees. If we have more than one service provider offering services and competing for our business, we would get lower costs and better service.

On an open access fiber network such as The WiredRoad, business Internet connection costs drop up to 40% and consumer costs are reduced a significant but lesser amount. If it were easier to finance fiber construction with low-cost municipal or government bonds, we would have more fiber. However, incumbent providers have lobbied in many states like North Carolina to make that illegal.

People do not understand true big broadband and its economic benefits

True 100Mbps symmetric broadband has the potential to fundamentally alter many of the assumptions underlying our economy. Currently one of the reasons we travel to work in office buildings clustered in large cities is that is where it is economically feasible to provide the connectivity that modern workers need. 

If workers could get 100Mbps at their home, we could have smaller office buildings and people could work from home more often--reducing the use of fossil fuels and reducing wear and tear on streets and highways.

It would also become much more practical to start a business from home if you have affordable, high performance connectivity. If you can do high quality multi-point video conferencing from your home, you can accomplish more work with less travel. 

Fiber To The Home has the same kind of explosive growth potential as the Internet did when people were first getting connected. We have barely tapped the kind and type of services that will be developed for fiber-connected homes and businesses because there are currently so few of them. The potential for collaboration and new business growth is huge.

Fiber is actually one of the best investments a homeowner can make. While it may cost up to $3,000 to bring fiber to your home, studies have shown that the value of your home will rise from $5,000 to $10,000. You will not get that return from remodeling a kitchen or adding a new deck.

Currently, getting Fiber To The Home is almost a lottery. If you live in a Google city, a city like Danville, Va., Wilson, N.C., or even the WiredRoad region of rural southwest Virginia, you have access to fiber. If not, you are playing a waiting game similar to what happened during the last century when people outside the cities were waiting for electricity.

Unfortunately, the world moves much faster now, and as many will tell you the U.S. is falling farther behind other countries in getting access to true “big broadband.” It does not seem likely that regulatory relief will occur, so someone needs to step up to the plate. Our best hope lies with a combination of innovative companies, local governments and interested consumers working together.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Sean MacEntee

Categories: Technology

Researchers Test Developer Biometrics To Predict Buggy Code

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 2:55pm
rjmarvin writes: Microsoft Research is testing a new method for predicting errors and bugs while developers write code: biometrics. By measuring a developer's eye movements, physical and mental characteristics as they code, the researchers tracked alertness and stress levels to predict the difficulty of a given task with respect to the coder's abilities. In a paper entitled "Using Psycho-Physiological Measures to Assess Task Difficulty in Software Development," the researchers summarized how they strapped an eye tracker, an electrodermal sensor and an EEG sensor to 15 developers as they programmed for various tasks. Biometrics predicted task difficulty for a new developer 64.99% of the time. For a subsequent tasks with the same developer, the researchers found biometrics to be 84.38% accurate. They suggest using the information to mark places in code that developers find particularly difficult, and then reviewing or refactoring those sections later.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Researchers Won't Reveal How To Break Tor's Anonymous Web Browsing

ReadWriteWeb - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 2:35pm

Attendees of the Black Hat security conference were looking forward to finding out next month how the average person can identify people using Tor, a browser that masks the identity of users so people can do things like buy and sell drugs online and communicate privately without fear of people intercepting their chats and emails.

But lawyers from Carnegie Mellon University, where the researchers work, requested that Black Hat pull the talk, Reuters reported. The speakers are researchers at the university. 

The talk was titled “You Don’t Have To Be the NSA to Break Tor: De-Anonymizing Users on a Budget.”

Tor has frustrated the FBI, NSA, and other intelligence agencies seeking to tap into online communications. When the FBI busted the illicit Tor website Silk Road, it relied on other clues, like postings on non-encrypted websites, that helped them identify the man behind the operation, Ross Ulbricht.

The researchers from Carneige Mellon were planning to explain techniques that let them find out the identity of Tor users, as well as talk about cases in which criminals had been found.

There has been much speculation about why the popular talk was pulled from the conference. The Software Engineering Institute, a research arm of the university, is funded by the Defense Department and the Computer Emergency Response Team, which also works with the U.S. government. According to Reuters, one of the researchers worked there and hadn't sought permission from his employers for the talk:

[Black Hat spokeswoman Meredith] Corley said a Carnegie Mellon attorney informed Black Hat that one of the speakers could not give the Tor talk because the materials he would discuss have not been approved for public release by the university or the Software Engineering Institute (SEI). 

The Tor Project, a nonprofit which helps distribute and develop Tor software, was not involved in the removal of the presentation from the conference. In a statement released Monday night, the group said that they support research on bugs and other security vulnerabilities:

We did not ask Black Hat or CERT to cancel the talk. We did (and still do) have questions for the presenter and for CERT about some aspects of the research, but we had no idea the talk would be pulled before the announcement was made.

Tor officials have promised a fix for the bug that allowed researchers to find the identity of users. In an email to users, Tor project leader Roger Dingledine said:

Based on our current plans, we'll be putting out a fix that relays can apply that should close the particular bug they found. The bug is a nice bug, but it isn't the end of the world. And of course these things are never as simple as "close that one bug and you're 100% safe".

Photo by Mary-Di

Categories: Technology

UK Users Overwhelmingly Spurn Broadband Filters

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 2:14pm
nk497 (1345219) writes "Broadband customers are overwhelmingly choosing not to use parental-control systems foisted on ISPs by the government — with takeup in the single-digits for three of the four major broadband providers. Last year, the government pushed ISPs to roll out network-level filters, forcing new customers to make an "active" decision about whether they want to use them or not. Only 5% of new BT customers signed up, 8% opted in for Sky and 4% for Virgin Media. TalkTalk rolled out a parental-control system two years before the government required it and has a much better takeup, with 36% of customers signing up for it. The report, from regulator Ofcom, didn't bother to judge if the filters actually work, however."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Hacker Musician Turns E-Waste Into an Awesome Instrument

Wired - Top Stories - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 2:05pm
We tend to think of musical instruments in fixed terms: that’s a guitar, this is a saxophone, that’s a synthesizer. Colten Jackson, however, plays an instrument that's hard to classify.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Ask Slashdot: Linux Login and Resource Management In a Computer Lab?

Slashdot - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 1:40pm
New submitter rongten (756490) writes I am managing a computer lab composed of various kinds of Linux workstations, from small desktops to powerful workstations with plenty of RAM and cores. The users' $HOME is NFS mounted, and they either access via console (no user switch allowed), ssh or x2go. In the past, the powerful workstations were reserved to certain power users, but now even "regular" students may need to have access to high memory machines for some tasks. Is there a sort of resource management that would allow the following tasks? To forbid a same user to log graphically more than once (like UserLock); to limit the amount of ssh sessions (i.e. no user using distcc and spamming the rest of the machines, or even worse, running in parallel); to give priority to the console user (i.e. automatically renicing remote users jobs and restricting their memory usage); and to avoid swapping and waiting (i.e. all the users trying to log into the latest and greatest machine, so have a limited amount of logins proportional to the capacity of the machine). The system being put in place uses Fedora 20, and LDAP PAM authentication; it is Puppet-managed, and NFS based. In the past I tried to achieve similar functionality via cron jobs, login scripts, ssh and nx management, and queuing system — but it is not an elegant solution, and it is hacked a lot. Since I think these requirements should be pretty standard for a computer lab, I am surprised to see that I cannot find something already written for it. Do you know of a similar system, preferably open source? A commercial solution could be acceptable as well.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Soylent's Secret Ingredient Isn't People—It's Excuses

ReadWriteWeb - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 1:29pm

You’ve made a huge mistake ...

... is what people usually say whenever I tell them I’ve ordered the would-be food substitute Soylent.

I’m starting to believe them, because an order I placed last November has yet to show up, despite promises from the company that makes it. And I'm not the only one complaining about missing Soylent.

Soylent Unseen

The smoothie-like nutritional drink made waves last year when its founder claimed the vitamin-rich potion could replace eating by providing powdered versions of the nutrients their body needs to survive. That's why I decided to give it a try last fall.

Soylent has since become an object of fascination among the tech community, with reviews of the substance ranging from semen-like to a "great reminder of why food is awesome."

If you believe its most fervent proponents, it’s supposed to change the world, too. For instance, it can give people more time to work instead of thinking about pesky things like lunch and dinner. Some claim it might also provide an inexpensive way to reduce world hunger.

I want to try it because some people claim that Soylent's benefits include healthy weight loss and clearer skin. (Admittedly, part of the reason I bought it is because my boyfriend did, and he’s the one who usually cooks.) Since ordering a month’s supply last November, however, I have yet to try it.

According to the Soylent website, new orders ship in 10-12 weeks, and reorders in 1-2 weeks. I have a hard time believing that, considering my boyfriend and I haven’t received ours after almost eight months. And neither have a number of people on Twitter:

Soylent Has My Green, But I Have No Soylent

When I first ordered Soylent on November 9, the company took my money and told me to expect my order in January. A follow-up email in January that said that quality wasn’t up to snuff in December, the company had to fix the flavor and texture, and that shipping would resume in February.

Then in May, I received another email that said the company is shipping orders for 9-12 weeks worth of product, and promised that Soylent would be “much more deliberate in our distribution of internal operations information and our all of our shipping-related announcements will be based on fact rather than projection.”

Four days ago, I received the most recent update, along with some information I found discomforting. Without telling anyone who'd been waiting for months for their weird nutritional smoothies, Soylent had put a hold on shipping in early July. Apparently, people were going on Soylent-based diets and getting sick:

Early recipients of Soylent 1.0 indicated they were quite happy with the taste, texture, and ease of Soylent, but some experienced side effects including flatulence and headaches.

Wait, you mean people were replacing their meals with Soylent in exactly the manner the company encouraged, and their bodies didn’t like it?

Instead of telling people this could be a problem, the company stopped shipping until they could soften the blow by creating directions that tell people how to Soylent:

To mitigate potential digestive concerns:

1. Do not consume Soylent as your predominant source of food without easing into it slowly to allow your body and gut bacteria time to adjust. This should take at least 3-5 days and in some cases longer.

2. If you experience digestive issues, try drinking Soylent more slowly and over a longer period of time during each meal.

Over-the-counter digestive enzymes (Beano) and simethicone (Gas-X) can help reduce these issues.

Concerning possible hyponatremia (low sodium) or dehydration:

1. Soylent provides slightly less sodium per day than necessary. If you experience headaches or tiredness we recommend adding ¼ teaspoon table salt per pouch of Soylent.

2. The IOM recommends 2.7-3.7L+ of water per day depending on build and activity level. Soylent provides 1.6L meaning you must consume a significant amount of water in addition to Soylent.

The company claims it's begun shipping again, but I still haven’t received a shipping notification. 

A couple of weeks before I received the email about Soylent pausing shipping, I received this tweet from the company, which claimed that it was working through one-month orders like mine at the time.

If I do eventually get it, I'm going to take Soylent's suggestions seriously—otherwise, my boyfriend and I will be going through flatulence and dehydration together. Romantic, isn't it?

Time To Give Up?

I know that once I start using Soylent, my body will need to adjust. I’m just not sure how yet, especially since the reviews I’ve seen for the month-long Soylent experiments have been written by men. I was looking forward to seeing how it affects me as a woman, considering the difference in nutrients men and women need.

But this back and forth with a company that requests in its emails not to contact them or ask about shipping information, and that even halts shipping while informing people after the fact, is frustrating. Not to mention the company promoting 10-12 week shipping times for new orders when paid customers haven’t received their orders from 2013.

Instead, my boyfriend and I decided to try “DIY Soylent.” We purchased a bunch of vitamins, minerals, health powder, and oils to make our own nutrient smoothies. Soylent “open sources” recipes on its website, but there are other companies that are selling their own Soylent-like substances, and you can purchase all the ingredients in health food stores and on Amazon. Of course, Soylent isn’t thrilled with them.

I’m still waiting on a few, final ingredients before I can start mixing up my own version of mineral, hunger-suppressing smoothies. Maybe the other people in my position will do the same.

The Soylent Craze

Soylent isn’t really unique. Though the company picked up $3 million in crowdfunding last year, it’s far from the only nutritional drink that aims to give people a way to manage their health and diet.

It’s really just a startup that’s trying to disrupt Ensure.

Though my friends keep making fun of me for putting my money and trust in a company that wants humans to choose a smoothie over a hamburger, I’m still interested. Given all the diets we put our bodies through, pumping it full of vitamins and minerals isn’t the craziest idea.

At least Soylent replied to me. Other people on Twitter who've also been waiting a long time for their orders have never gotten a response.

If nothing else, I’ve learned my lesson about buying things from startups that claim big ideas but don’t deliver—except, of course, to the tech reporters who write about them. I’m still looking forward to trying Soylent—even my own month-long experiment—but at this point, I won’t hold my breath.

Maybe Mellow, the pre-ordered sous-vide machine that connects to your smartphone and is set to arrive in early 2015, will be delivered before my Soylent, and I’ll be too busy eating perfectly-cooked chicken to worry about it.

Okay, maybe I haven’t learned a lesson after all. 

Categories: Technology