Feb 23 2013

Tech prediction: Wearable computing

We all know wearable computing is coming. But what will it be like?

Google glass is kind of cool, but the current version suffers from an input problem. It’s voice activated, which isn’t super-practical. I’m not very interested in writing my text messages with that, and like someone said on Reddit: “I can’t wait to run into the office bathroom and yell ‘OK glass, take a picture and upload to Facebook'”.

Microsoft has been working on a bracelet that can sense hand-gestures (sort of a Kinect for your wrist), and Apple is probably joining the soon to explode Smart-Watch market.

Now let’s put all this together:

Smartwatch:

  • Flexible screen shows you notifications and allows simple touch-input
  • Hand sensor detects the location of your hand and fingers down to a fraction of a millimeter, allowing for precise gestural inputs
  • Motion detectors, self-facing camera and whatever else they think would be useful on there

“Glasses”:

  • Screen with a controllable transparency or in eye laser that can show stereoscopic images (3D)
  • Can also record everything you see (in 3d?)
  • Can be placed on/over normal prescription glasses or shades OR has cameras and lenses that self-correct to give you 20/20 vision when worn

“Phone”

  • Computing hardware with a touchscreen, much like our current cellphones

The glasses and smartwatch will be optional, but you need the phone as a computing/storage center.

There used to be a time where I couldn’t see how all the input and output problems of wearable computing could be solved, but now I’m getting really excited. All that’s left now is figuring out the details and designing actual products.


Jun 23 2012

List of free online Ross Kemp videos

I love Ross Kemp’s documentary shows, so I thought I’d compile a short list of his stuff that can be wathed for free online. At least the ones you Youtube. From war, to pirates, to gangs and poverty, he shows the side of the world you won’t be shown very often.

Frontline: Afghanistan

Return to Afghanistan

In search of pirates

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Jun 2 2012

How to create ebooks for all major vendors

First of all, let’s look at what file formats the different vendors expect, and what they offer:

Biggest Stores

Kindle (Amazon)

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May 5 2012

The Holy Economy: Our lord and saviour

I like to think about what people will say of us in the future. Of course, they’ll have their own nonsense to deal with, but it’s fun to figure out what it is we take for granted today but will be considered ridiculous later.

There must be a lot of things, but let’s take the holiest of holys: The Economy.

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Nov 6 2011

Book proposal: “Conspiracies and Hidden Information: A Primer”

Been listening to a lot of Red Ice Radio and hanging out at Reddit’s conspiracy subreddit for a while now. There’s a lot of interesting ideas floating around in this space, and when you look at enough of them, you see an overarching structure emerge.

(Image by fallingwater123)

 

While some of it is just bad science or even science fiction, and some of it no more than the paranoid fantasies of raving madmen, a lot of it is well sourced and cited and can be demonstrated to be true. Most fit somewhere in between, they are somewhat sourced, with leaps of faith in between that seem reasonable at a glancing observation.

Now, I’m thinking it might be interesting to draw together these theories and show their internal structure, the credibility of each section, and where to go if one wants to study that in more detail. The table of contents might go something like this: Continue reading


May 7 2011

Book Report: How to Practice: The way to a meaningful life – Dailai Lama XIV

How to Practice : The Way to a Meaningful LifeHow to Practice : The Way to a Meaningful Life by Dalai Lama XIV

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is an odd book that seems to span the entirety of Buddhist practice from beginning to end.

The first third of the book was easy to connect with. It talks about things in our daily lives, what the tenets or Buddhist practice are, how these two relate, and basically what Buddhism encourages people to do and why. Having studied Buddhism a little before, there were few surprises there for me but it was yet a welcome reminder and well structured.

The middle part of the book tackles subjects that are somewhat familiar and desirable to me but out of my reach as of yet, like deep meditative states, practicing extreme generosity and benevolence, complete non-harm and such.

The last third of the book flew right over my head. Among the subject were the luminous nature of the mind, the inherent emptiness of all things, concepts of (non-sexual) Tantra and other concepts I seem ill-equipped to fully grasp.

The feeling I get from this book is that the reader’s experience is going to be extremely personal. It is suitable for newcomers to Buddhism, as all the basics are described in full detail in the first sections, but they might find themselves frustrated by the last few chapters.

Likewise, those that have practiced Buddhism for a long time might be bored with the level of details in the first basic chapters, but more interested by the last sections.

Worth reading, but don’t expect the whole book to be useful and relevant to you at any one time.

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May 7 2011

Book Report: The Happiness Advantage – Shawn Achor

The Happiness AdvantageThe Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unlike most books in the genre, this book is deeply rooted in psychology studies and written by a researcher, rather than a journalist or a professional author. Yet, it never gets dry or pedantic.

Fantastic book for anyone interested in being happy.

To begin with, it spends a considerable portion of the book explaining what the effects of happiness are on individuals and groups, dispelling any lingering fears that maybe working towards individual happiness is selfish and unproductive.
In fact the author shows that happy people are considerably more productive and benevolent than than their unhappy counterparts.
Though the book never states it directly, the implication is that the selfish and unproductive thing to do is to not work on your own happiness.

The rest of the book is about the major causes of happiness, backed up with practical advice on how to leverage those causes in our own lives.

All statements about effects and causes of happiness are firmly backed up by psychological papers and articles.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for all the practical advice. Much of it is, but some of the sources are other books on how to be happy (whose credibility is entirely unknown to me) and others are online articles, with no formal research or peer review behind them.
A few bits of practical advice are entirely unsourced, but appear to come from the author’s own experience consulting major companies.
That said, the advice all seems sound, and I can’t wait to build habits to put it into daily practice.

A fun read, a useful read, and backed up by a healthy dose of science. No “feel good” fluff here.

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May 7 2011

Book Report: Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life – John Kabat-Zinn

Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday LifeWherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book provides a great reminder of how to use mindfulness in daily life, rather than just meditation, and what the effects of doing so can be.

Whether it’s standing in line at the bank, dealing with unruly kids, paying bills or whatever situation, he has a way to remind yourself to be mindful of the moment and not get caught up in things.

While the book has good and diverse material, I felt that it was a little bloated, the editor should have swung his axe a little harder. For the same reason it felt chaotic. It starts off all nice and structured but then it veers into so many different subjects that there is no sense of connection or logical progression.

This would be an excellent introduction for anyone unfamiliar with the concept of mindfulness or anyone that wanted to learn more about how to maintain it in daily life. But it’s a book that needs study and selective reading. You won’t get the most out of it if you just read it from A to Z.

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May 7 2011

Book report: The Lost Art of Enochian Magic – John DeSalvo

The Lost Art of Enochian MagicThe Lost Art of Enochian Magic by John Desalvo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I purchased this book to find out what Enochian magic was all about and was a little disappointed to learn later that the author’s take on it is apparently a unique, greatly streamlined version of the traditional magic system.

It gets a little annoying how much the author tries to hammer in his opinion that magic should only be used to get oneself closer to God, and how the Enochian system should only be used to invoke angels.

The chapters on the history of the Enochian system are great. I can’t vouch for their accuracy but the are written in a manner that kept me interested and even entertained.

All in all it’s worth reading for the curious but I’m sure there are better introductory books in the Enochian systems out there.

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Apr 30 2011

Book Report: The Invisible Hand

The Invisible Hand (A financial thriller)The Invisible Hand by Idrian N. Resnick

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Interesting story, poorly written.

I loved the premise of the story and I found the characters quite interesting and engaging. The book could have used a round or two of editing and rewriting though.

Poorly written, with intensely emotional scenes frequently portrait through “tell, don’t show”, just telling the author what the characters were feeling, instead of showing the effects.

Full of spelling and grammatical errors and unnecessary plot elements. With a good round of editing and rewriting this could have been a tight, concise economic thriller. Instead it’s a long-winded tragedy with some exciting bits.

It’s almost as if disappointing endings were in fashion today. This story peters out gradually until the writer found nothing more to say.

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