Friday, May 22, 2009

Death by Human Error Trumps Technology Again

This article is icing on the cake for my ethics term paper on cyborgs due tomorrow morning.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bike Race Prank

Sports Videos, News, Blogs

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Trekkie vs. Trekker

I alluded to this post when I posted the latest Star Trek trailer. Anybody know the difference? I was enlightened the other night

I was hanging out on the corner of 188th and Burnside one cold Saturday evening. I was kickin it with some brothers and sisters from Luz Del Pueblo loving on our community serving up some hot coffee, hot cocoa, cookie, chili, and conversation. Rockwood is a colorful community, not only racially. There are people with a wide range of interests.

One particular man was walking by. I offer coffee or hot chocolate. He takes me up on the hot coca. As I am pouring out a cup he observes the tent, the conversation, the people, the laughter. Leaning in as if to tell me a secret he says "this reminds me of a scene from Stark Trek IV: The Voyage Home, you know it?". I tell him he's in luck because I was raised a trekkie.

He abruptly breaks the conversation, steps up into my face and adamantly declares "I am not a trekkie - I am a trekker". I shyly ask him to explain the difference. To my amazement, he rips open his button up shirt in one swing revealing a bright Star Trek logo tattooed on his chest shining through the forest of hair and declares "THIS is the difference, I'm a trekker"

He defiently turns around and walks into the night leaving me wide-eyed and speechless.

But oddly enough, my heart is warmed. A smile creeps onto my face. I love humanity. We are such a colorful family!

Fake Car-Warranty Operation SHUT DOWN!

Thank you FTC for shutting them down.

That was quick. I just heard 4 days ago that they were starting the investigation. I suppose bureaucracy can make things happen quickly when it affects them on a daily basis as well.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Left Right Left Right Left

Free live Coldplay album? Free is a hard price to turn down, but this is Coldplay! Yomayo!

The Joy and Beauty of Community

I just posted a quick update over at the Barberrian Villagers blog that I wanted to share with you all: The Joy and Beauty of Community.
I have come to relish in the joy and treasure the beauty of the community that has grown here at Barberry.

I can go outside at just about any hour of any day and run into someone I know. All I have to do is go outside with a football and I can almost guarantee that there is someone i can toss a ball around with.

I went outside yesterday even after I got home from work and started doing just this. Within 5 minutes there were 6 other kids and a handful of adults tossing around a football and just having a great time together. Over the course of the hour that ensued 3 other adults walked by with whom I would step away from the game and just chat and catch up.

I am amazed at how all of this has grown within 6 months with the infusion of God's love compelling us to live in love and compassion.

Downloadable Klingon Dictionary

The very fact that it exists is comedic, but the articles clarification of Trekkie/Trekker reminded me of a post that I fully intended, but have yet to publish.

Star Trek Movie Recognition Guide

There is much truth in this flowchart:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Firefox < Safari > Chrome?

I just finalized my trial run of Safari 4 Beta and it finally trumped my 5+ year run with Firefox. As it turns out, I make this decision just in time for the developers release of Google Chrome for Macs.

So beings the latest battle in the browser war waging on my laptop.

Download the latest builds here (multiple builds are being released daily, so scroll all the way down to the bottom).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Safari > Firefox

It's official, I'm sticking with Safari.

Back in February I did the thinkable and committed to not using Firefox for two weeks and give Safari 4 (Beta) an extended test drive. I blew past the cut off date, not even thinking of looking back until now.

Simply put, Safari 4 (Beta) is smoking fast. Top Sites has become essential. Coverflow visual bookmarks and history makes tracking down sites a breeze. And together with a couple hidden UI tweaks you can execute easily through the Terminal and the free add-on Glim (compatible with the beta) there is just no rational reason to use Firefox at this point.

To all the hard working folks at Mozilla, I appreciate and respect your work. You saved me from IE over 5 years ago, and for that you will always have a special place in my heart. I eagerly anticipate your latest dispatches in the trenches of the browser war. I am always open to a rematch for the honored spot of being my daily browser.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

"The Warranty of Your Vehicle is About To Expire!"

And I haven't owned a car in over two years!

I know I am not the only one who receives these obnoxious calls regularly. ABC News has a great report on this Phone Spam nuisance. Hopefully NY Senator Schumer is able to shut them down!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Star Trek Reflection (Spoiler Free)

I already twittered my glowing opinion of Star Trek, but I need to explain in more detail (albeit with no spoilers).

There are a few areas that needed to be addressed by the team

  • JJ Abrams needs to strike a perfect balance in showing a deep respect and appreciation for where the series has been while still making it fresh and approachable for those not heavily invested in the series. This is essential in order to preserve it's roots while still branching out, both direly essentially at this point if there is any hope for there being a future to the series. (5/5)

Pretty early on in the film I knew Abrams had nailed both sides - respecting the roots while embracing the branches. I feel like two scenes are representative of this. First (I will be vague to avoid spoilers), the clear reference to events that are revealed in Wraith of Khan (This really is the best, and only, Star Trek movie I highly recommend watching before seeing it). That is, besides the lines scattered in just about every scene that any Trekkie will love. On the other side of things, I feel like the base jumping (a prominent element of current pop culture) scene is representative of Abrams relevant understanding of a fresh audience.

  • Castings is key for a series that has to much history. Even more so, Abrams was stepping on sacred ground when he attempted recast the characters that made kicked it all off. If done correctly, this will be a thrill for anyone who is familiar with the original. (5/5)

While I am younger then the majority of long time fans, and I understand this might influence my opinion, I thought the cast was nailed. I had a huge grin on my face each time a new member of the cast was revealed.

  • Recent trends of the Star Trek series has been to embrace the action packed thrill ride formula that dominated the blockbuster list of Hollywood. Unfortunately, this was done with a tired cast and lacked the creative direction to even pull that off. Abrams needs to resist the allure of the action formula and craft a story and characters that are engaging on more levels then punches and explosions. (4/5)

Much to Elena's dismay, this wasn't quite a 5 out of 5. She loved Wraith of Khan, but lost interested half way through when the action started to pick up. While I understand the complaint, I didn't feel like it really detracted from the effort to revitalize the series. Anyone who enjoys the likes of a Bourne flick will feel right at home. One of the sweet spots for both Elena and I was the probing look at Vulcan culture early on in the film. Not to mention the opening scene will grab you and pull you along for most of the movie in and of itself.

So as I twittered, Star Trek was everything (and more) I was hoping it would be.

With JJ Abrams views on television (he likes it more, and sees a more prominent future for it, then movies) and a cast that largely has experience with television, this Trekkie is crossing his fingers for a renewed interested in Star Trek and a revitalized team to move it forward.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

3G Equipped Macs

A recent Mac rumor caught my attention. There is some speculation that Apple will start equipping their portable computers with wireless 3G capability.

This connects so many pieces.

Apple has repeatedly stated their apprehension about the netbook market being that it is impossible to make a system with a solid user experience at the $500 price point (think about it, that's the cost of an iPhone without contract). But by putting a 2 year contract for 3G services, with say AT&T, would open up the opportunity for a hefty subsidy (similar to with cell phones) on a $700-$1000 system and hit the price point that the market demands. This would also give users a more complete always-connected mobile experience.

I see this happening before 2009 ends.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Slap Chop Remix

Most amazing (remixed)infomercial EVER:

I'm sitting here watching it for the fourth time and some interesting thoughts are emerging. How many tens of thousands (if not hundreds) were spent on the production and airing of the original infomercial? How much more immensely enjoyable, entertaining, and effective is the "Rap Chop" remix which was made on someone's spare time?

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Fear

I have had this song lingering in my head for a few weeks now. Every time I hear it I am captured by the lyrics.

It's an excellent social commentary ("And I am a weapon of massive consumption, And it's not my fault it's how I'm programmed to function"). I'm especially fond of the anchor-less confused fear voiced in the refrain. We are lost, heading a million miles and hour, not sure where we are going. "Now I'm not a saint but I'm not a sinner" communicates the apathetic middle of the road self view that I have known so well. The feelings of helpless defeat (again, "it's not my fault, it's how I'm programmed to function").

It really is a catchy song. Watch. Listen. Read. Share.

The Fear
Lily Allen

I want to be rich and I want lots of money
I don't care about clever I don't care about funny
I want loads of clothes and loads of diamonds
I heard people die while they are trying to find them

And I'll take my clothes off and it will be shameless
Cause everyone knows that's how you get famous
I'll look at The Sun and I'll look in The Mirror
I'm on the right track yeah I'm onto a winner

I don't know what's right and what's real anymore
And I don't know how I'm meant to feel anymore
When do you think it will all become clear
Cause I'm being taken over by the fear

Life's about film stars and less about mothers
It's all about fast cars and cussing each other
But it doesn't matter cause I'm packing plastic
And that's what makes my life so fantastic

And I am a weapon of massive consumption
And it's not my fault it's how I'm programmed to function

I'll look at The Sun and I'll look in The Mirror
I'm on the right track yeah we're onto a winner

I don't know what's right and what's real anymore
And I don't know how I'm meant to feel anymore
When do you think it will all become clear
Cause I'm being taken over by the fear

Forget about guns and forget ammunition
Cause I'm killing them all on my own little mission
Now I'm not a saint but I'm not a sinner
Now everything's cool as long as I'm getting thinner

I don't know what's right and what's real anymore
And I don't know how I'm meant to feel anymore
When do you think it will all become clear
Cause I'm being taken over by the fear.

Augmented Reality

I mentioned Augmented Reality in the Digital Eyes post yesterday, but I came across a really good article on how it is being applied in the iPhone. One of the many new features on the 3.0 iPhone coming out in June is the inclusion of a magnetometer. The article discusses the application the magnetometer, as well as visual recognition technology, to augmented reality

The article on macrumors provides an excellent definition of augmented reality "as a combination of real-world and computer-generated data, where computer graphics objects are blended into video footage in real time".

There are many fascinating applications of AR that consumers will be interacting with come as early as June. "The iPhone could even overlay graphics and text on top of the image to provide additional information. Another application described is the ability to show information about stars and constellations simply by pointing your iPhone towards the sky."

For some eye candy, here's a less practical gaming application:

La Vida Cyborg

There's a great video on LiveScience about connectivity and how it relates to individuality, privacy, and dignity.

Friday, May 01, 2009

A Smarter Planet

An interesting article from the BBC about the potential of technology when using a systems perspective on life. The article all but falls short of (though it does allude to, depending on your interpretation) the application of technology to the efficiency and productivity of the human body. Relevant quotes relating to my paper below:

"Almost anything can have a digital presence in a networked world. All of this instrumentation generates new data, which advanced analytics can turn into insight - so better decisions can be made in real time."

"We have the intelligence, we have the instrumentation - so much of the computing and technical power is there. Those companies, countries even, that put this intelligence to practical use will be those that seize competitive advantage and emerge from the current turmoil as leaders."

"In the last two decades, we have seen our planet become smaller and "flatter". In the next two, we will see it become smarter."

Digital Eyes

Some more research for my Cyborg paper. The content of this post helps ground the paper on tangible capabilities of current technology.

There have been a lot of advances in recognition technology. Relevant ads are blasted at us based on the textual content of the websites visit and our emails everyday, but things are about to be taken to the next level. NevenVision, A company on the cutting edge of image recognition, was gobbled up by Google. iVisit had splintered off before this, to focus on mobile conferencing and wellness applications. So while the world braces to be bombarded by increasingly self aware ads, iVisits recently released a new product called SeeScan/SeeStar, which aims to help the blind and visually impaired to identify their surroundings by using the camera on their mobile phone. (mobihealthnews)

The CEO of Qualcomm envisions a future where this technology is mainstreamed. "Because phones have connectivity and location awareness capabilities, cameras and other things in the phone, in the future you will be able to hold a phone up and have it look at the world around you and things will be identified for you, including people and places. I think we'll end up with this merger between physical reality and virtual reality. Essentially it will infuse the real world with all the other information associated with the things you see around you.”(Investors)

Here's some videos demonstrating the technology:

iVisit's SeeScann Realtime Object Recognition:

Realtime Object Recognition:

An example by Intel:

Logo recognition:

A youtube search on "Augmented Reality" (A term the CEO of Qualcomm uses to describe what he sees as shaping the next 25 years of the cell phone industry) will return some interesting glimpses of how this kind of technology could change the way we see our world.