Thursday, July 30, 2009

WD-40 & Mind Blowing 3-D Projection

When Elena and I were getting settled into our apartment I knew we needed to pick up a can of WD-40. Elena was skeptical of why the can deserved the precious storage real estate in our small apartment. After easily removing annoying patches of sticky residue left behind from the stickers on the soles of a pair of sandals she picked up from Nordstrom Rack - she has seen the light.

I cannot recall ever seeing a WD-40 advertisement. Witnessing it's effectiveness and versatility in the hands of my father was all I needed to be hooked.

John Barry is the man behind the can. He recently passed away at the age of 84. LA Times published an excellent obituary highlighting his honorable character and integirty.

I will leave you with this mind blowing 3-D projection on the side of a building in Germany:

555 KUBIK | facade projection | from urbanscreen on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rand Paul

He's a spitting image of father. I'm hoping he wins the Kentucky senate race and can continue providing a political voice of reason. Rand gave a thrilling speech titled "Who Killed the Constitution" at a 4th of July festival in his home state:

Part 1

Part 2

Monday, July 27, 2009

Augmented Reality on Your iPhone

I blogged about Augmented Reality when I was researching my ethics papers on cyborg technology (not as sci-fi as it might sound). This technology is going to be hitting all of the iPhone 3GS users en masse as soon as version 3.1 goes live.

Here's a little sneak peak of what's to come:

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Twittering in 1954?

I bet you never knew people were twittering back in 1954.

"You didn't have to be amongst them to hear it all. It was in the nodding and the twittering..." Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming
There is a deeper humor to this cheesy joke. As my eyes were scanning the words on the pages of this novel written in 1954, constructing the scene in my minds eyes there were suddenly iPhones and Blackberries in everyone's hands furiously updating their twitter. In the same moment I laughed at the foolishness of my own minds eye, but it got me thinking about how quickly things are changing for my generation and younger. I would even venture to say that if a young teenager picks up this novel in a few years he would be genuinely confused.

This reminds me of a conversation Elena and I had over dinner about the phone jack on the wall in our apartment. We did not even discuss whether we would get a landline - not even on the radar. I pondered that in the next decade, many a children will look at that odd outlet in the wall and ask "what is that for daddy?". Daddy will pause for a moment, chuckle, and casually state that you used to have to plug phones into the wall. The child will be absolutely stupefied by this simplistic explanation and daddy will wrestle with a volley of "why" questions, trying to convey how and why phones used to have to be plugged into the wall.

I just have to brag, I got 13 of the 14 James Bond novels for free at a garage sale!

Daniel the Lego Creator

Recently I wrote about an eye opening interaction I had with Daniel when we were playing with Lego's. If you are interested in seeing pictures of some of his Lego creations (and more of his inspiring talents!) check out his blog:, and leave comments!

I helped him set it up to give him a creative outlet to showcase his work (with Legos, but also musically). Last weekend I saw a clear real life application of his Lego skills. He was very helpful as an assistant to me in constructing a book shelf. Because of it's similarity to Lego construction diagram he was able to perfectly comprehend the diagrams and part designations of a fairly intricate design.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Multi-Touch Tactile Feedback and Islamic Super Heros

Apple has a spiffy new patent out to resolve the iPhones (or any) multi-touch sceens biggest disadvantage. Apple proposes to do this through "a grid of piezoelectronic actuators that can be activated on command. By fluctuating the frequency of these actuators, the user will "feel" different surfaces as their finger moves across it" (MacRumors). Another patent filed along side it would allow for the iPhones multitouch screen to recognize the fingerprints on your individual fingers to perform different functions (i.e. Play/Stop is index finger, Fast Forward is middle finger, Rewind is ring finer).

The author of a comic book featuring Islamic super hero's published a letter to his sons. It is a heartfelt letter explaining what is behind his frequent absence as well as his passion that is driven by his part in his hopeful view for the (their) future. THE 99 is about 99 boys and girls from 99 different countries who each find a stone representing 99 attributes of Allah, such as generosity, mercy, wisdom and dozens of others which he explains are not used to describe Islam in the media.

Two of the most interesting quotes from the article is the role (or lack there of) that the Islamic religion actually plays in the comic:
"None of (the super heros) prays or reads the Koran, as they are meant to have equal appeal to children of all faiths"
On a similiar note, he writes to his children that his vision will be fully executed "only when Jewish kids think that THE 99 characters are Jewish, and Christian kids think they're Christian, and Muslim kids think they're Muslim, and Hindu kids think they're Hindu".

So what do you think about that one? Personally, I would be interested in getting my hands on a couple issues.

My last tidbit for today - not included in the title because I thought it was already random enough - is about unemployment numbers in the EU. I found them to be surprisingly low compared to what I have been used to hearing around Portland.

The E.U. average is 8.9% with Spain topping out the high end at 18.7% and the Netherlands working their butts off at 3.2%. In May Oregon hit 12.4%, a number I fear has creeped up even more in the last month.

How's that for a depressing - or cheery if you are as blessed as I am with a job that you are thankful for! - conclusion. Time for sunshine and a 3 day weekend!