Archive for Technology - page 4

Life-logging! This is a job for ….

Life-logging!  This is a job for ….

…Wearable Technology!  When I wrote a few days ago about the evolution of wearable technologyI wondered whether a particular need inspired the technology or if  it was the rise of the technology that manifested the need.  And now I have learned of another use for wearable technology: life-logging.

I have never heard of life-logging, and the fact that I am only now learning about it is a bit of a surprise to me.  Though I’m no techie, I don’t live in a cave either.   Maybe I’m in denial about my cave dwelling.  No matter.  But when I read Rachel Metz’s review of 2 life-logging devices in the MIT Technology Review, I learned that certain “data fanatics and academics” have been life-logging since as early as 1994.  

This post isn’t so much about the performance or practicality of the devices – basically small wearable cameras.  If you want that information I suggest you read Ms. Metz’s review here.  This is more about the actual activity of life-logging;  As in what is it and why do it?  Fortunately for me, Ms. Metz provides the needed background in her review.    Life logging is precisely what it sounds like:  logging chronologically, in real time, the events which you area a party to that make up your life, and compiling or cataloging the information into an archive. To achieve this, one wears a device clipped to the clothing or around one’s neck that continually records images.  Not a video recording, but still shots taken at intervals (like the old school security cameras), I suppose because bandwith and storage isn’t (yet) free so some conservation of data is required.   The author reviews two such devices, the Autographer and the  Narrative.

That takes care of the “how”, now on to the “why?”  In 1998 one of the early adopters, Microsoft researcher Gordon Bell, started to collect as much digital information about his life as he could.  His goal?  To create a searchable archive of his memories.  If you think about it, people have been creating archives of their memories to some extent for a long time already.  How many have kept diaries?  Or compiled photos of special events into albums – albums which are now replaced by digital photo archives both online and off.  Camera phones have become ubiquitous and are now readily at hand to record any daily events whether momentous or mundane.  The progression seems logical – from once daily written records, to photographic records of special occasions, to photographic records of many daily events to life-logging: photographic records of all life’s events – compiled into a searchable archive.  So we don’t forget.

To me, this describes the process of creating a substitute memory – one that doesn’t forget or distort the way our organic memories do.  This is a clinical recording of the data that makes up an individual’s life experiences (assuming narration or dialog could be added).  One that will survive once our organic beings cease to exist.  And it could readily be imagined that in some future time the use of this technology might become as common as smartphone use has become today and that more and more people will compile such archives.  Could or would these archives then be compiled into a super archive – the collected memories of humanity?  And if so would that be a good thing?

What effects might this have on us a human beings?  Do we even understand what our memories mean to us?  It is a fact that our memories of events change over time – some traumantic events we forget altogether.  Is there a purpose to this we don’t understand that may be sidestepped by life-logging?  I am on the record as being skeptical of new technology, though history has also shown that I eventually adopt and conform.  History has also shown that technology often evolves from our servant to become our master; and that if technology can be abused, it will be abused.  

So as technology evolves, so do humans evolve.  We adapt to new technologies and increasingly assimilate them into our very being.  In my opinion, we should tread lightly and thoughtfully.

Cross Posted at Men Out Of Work Blog

Elon Musk says building a flying car “wouldn’t be hard”

Elon Musk says building a flying car “wouldn’t be hard”

My post over at Men Out Of Work Blog

Finally! Nasa Reveals Warp Drive Spacecraft Designs!

Finally!  Nasa Reveals Warp Drive Spacecraft Designs!

Those sly devils at NASA have been working quietly behind the scenes perfecting their design for a faster than light starship.  According to this article in the UK Daily Mail, NASA reveals warp drive spacecraft designs!  The most important research hurdles have been cleared, and therefore we may be traveling to interstellar destinations in only  a few hundred years.

It has been theorized that faster than light travel is impossible in much the same way it was believed that the sound barrier was impenetrable, but recent breakthroughs have completely changed how the public and journalists view the likelihood of achieving this goal;  We now know that important breakthroughs have brought this accomplishment to the very brink of realization.  The first step toward making this dream a reality was drawing a picture of the proposed spaceship.  Scientists must have said “how can we create warp drive if we don’t have a drawing of a cool spaceship?” Crossing this threshold was such an important first step, artist Mark Rademaker was chosen to complete the task.

ISX Enterprise credit Mark Rademaker

Only with this accomplished could the next logical progression  take place, which was to make a movie about interstellar travel.  Not just any movie about how interstellar travel is possible.  A movie showing that interstellar travel is imperative!  To Save Mankind!  With this achievement within reach, only one barrier remains – the discovery of an energy source for the ship.  Scientists are hard at work and have already eliminated some candidates such as Unobtainium and Doesntexistium as not feasible due to their imaginary nature.  After exhausting the search for illusory energy sources, researchers zeroed on on things that actually exist – space and time.  And though there is no process for rendering them into energy, they have achieved the important first step of giving the process a name: “switching on the field”.  This name was chosen for it’s speculative smooth acceleration curve, which also would yield the benefit of allowing the craft to be without seatbelts in order to save precious weight:

“The process of going to warp is also one that is smooth, rather than using a massive amount of acceleration in a short amount of time.  ‘When you turn the field on, everybody doesn’t go slamming against the bulkhead, which would be a very short and sad trip,’ Dr White said.”

Now at last mankind is poised to leap into the great unknown and spread our wisdom, entertainment media and advertising to the farthest reaches of the cosmos!  But can we afford to wait several decades or more to ensure our survival against all those bad things humans have done that will surely wipe us out?  Is it wise to just sit back and hope we make it before Gaia unleashes her certain and terrible revenge upon us?  We have no choice but to wait and find out.

Cross Posted at Men Out Of Work Blog

The Dawn of the Robot Revolution is nigh

The Dawn of the Robot Revolution is nigh

When I read the headline The Dawn of a Robot Revolution as Army of Machines Escape the  Factory, I confess that  my imagination took me back in time to this:

That's me.  No, not the robot.  The robot karate dude

That’s me. No, not the robot. The robot karate dude

 

I imagined hordes of malevolent robots escaping their factories, bent on revenge and mayhem against their creator-oppressors.  But in reading the story, it turns out that the revolution is in how and where robotics are used instead of human labor.  A more accurate headline might have been something like “Increasing number of benign machines make cost effective replacement of human labor with robotics more commonplace outside of traditional industrial factory settings”.  However…that loses a little of it’s ooomph…the revised headline could possibly be used to sedate a large animal.  How about you?  Still awake?  Good.

As I like to say, just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me.  And so the robot conspiracy may yet be underway regardless.  I have heard that robots are a patient lot.  I’d keep an eye on that Automatic Cow Milking Machine if I were you.

Oh..and since it’s Music Friday:

 

The idea of wearable technology isn’t new…

The idea of wearable technology isn’t new…

…or a fad.  This movement has been evolving for centuries.

For many people, myself included, the concept of wearable technology – wearables for short – is taking things a little too far.  Do we really need “smart” watches so we can post to social media at any second?  Is Google Glass essential to function in business or socially?  Today, I say “NO”.  But what will be my answer in 2,3,5 or 10 years from now?

For some proper context, let’s go back in time (no pun intended) and look at the early, if not the first wearables: pocket watches.  Precise timekeeping was not commonplace before the medieval period, and I’m sure people got along just fine by observing the position of the sun.  But as clocks became  more and more prevalent, so did timekeeping assume a more predominant role in aiding commerce and organizing a growing and more complex society.  As society progressed, punctuality became not just desirable but inceasingly essential and the pocket watch evolved into the wristwatch.  A person wearing a wristwatch was making a statement that they were a serious, modern, productive person.  Perhaps even a moral person.

So the question may be, does a need drive the technology, or does the advent of the technology reveal a need?  Or indeed create a need?  Certainly in the middle ages when the first bells tolled to mark the hours, someone said “what do we need that for?”.  Then, “why could anyone possibly need to carry (later wear) a watch?” Now fast forward – I know that when cellular phones began to be common in the 1990s, I was a doubter.  Yet today everyone including our children view them as a neccessity.  And so it will likely be with smartwatches and wearable computers.

But didn’t we become slaves to the clock?  Many have argued so.  Have our smartphones evolved from capable servants to unrelenting masters?  The epidemic of people unable to ignore the devices even for a few minutes to concentrate on important tasks such as driving suggest it may be true.  Then what of our newest “toys”?  What hell do they have in store for us?  And what about future as yet undreamed of technology?  What price will we pay for them?

So the new fad isn’t a fad or so new either.  And though I find myself once again skeptical of the new technology, I will no doubt be sporting it myself in a few years.  But must we be damned to losing another little slice of our soul to each succeeding generation of technology?  Sadly, I think this is one question to which I can answer “yes”.

Cross posted at Men Out of Work Blog

Hmmm…I wonder what the Internet “looks like”

Hmmm…I wonder what the Internet “looks like”

Obviously, it’s just a bunch of machines, right?  I mean, what else could it be?  Here’s an article at Wired.com with some pictures of the inside of a large data center in Spain and…yep.  A bunch of machines.  I feel kind of ripped off.  Like the feeling I have when I realize the jet packs and flying cars I so looked forward to when I was a child not only don’t exist, but probably won’t in my lifetime.  Rrripped off.

Of course, I suppose a bunch of machines and wires is better than what might be in store for us if the movies are any predictor of the future.  These hollywood machines run the gamut from murder and mayhem to simple senility and incompetence.  Kind of like me on a Monday.  Let’s look at a few shall we? *Mike levels the .38 and pulls the hammer back*

There’s HAL 9000, the red-eyed murdering monster that knows better than you from 2001: A Space Odyssey.  

2001!!  Were they wrong!  In 2001 I had a Packard Bell PC with a 500MB hard drive and a dot matrix printer.  I could easily have kicked it’s ass.  But I digress…In Rollerball we have the less malevolent but rather disorganized and forgetful Computer Zero, where the Corporations that rule the world of the future have hoarded All The Information:

Yeah..try calling Tech Support when that thing springs a leak.  More recently from I, Robot we have VIKI, another violence prone misunderstood do-gooder who (which? that? whom?  Never mind) could be much more efficient if there weren’t so many bothersome humans around:

Probably just angry since she isn’t taken seriously because she’s been given a female name.  *Mike sets the .38 down on the desk*  So I guess we are safe..for now.  But you have been warned!  For in the future…Xbox Kinect plays YOU!

Hey! You Kids! Get Your Internet Off My Things! (Updated)

Hey!  You Kids!  Get Your Internet Off My Things! (Updated)

I’ve been reading lately about something called “The Internet Of Things”.  If you don’t know what that means, it refers to the increasing interconnectivity of devices that is  happening today, devices other than typical ones like your computer, smartphone or tablet and your printers.  Some examples that currently exist are your household alarm system, your household thermostat, one or more of your major appliances.  Other examples bandied about for the future are clothes, medical devices and cars.  The interconnectivity of these devices is ostensibly to make your life easier, save energy or save you money.  Or we might say to enhance your life’s “user experience”.  Will having an interconnected world make your life better?  I have my doubts.

According to the Wired Magazine article, “Why Tech’s Best Minds Are Very Worried About The Internet Of Things”, tech’s best minds are..umm.. very worried.  Some of their worries are valid from my viewpoint;  concerns over security or privacy, for example.  Other concerns are PC handwringing in my opinion – developing countries might be left behind!

The Internet of Things is coming. And the tech cognoscenti aren’t sure that’s a good thing.

For years, the prospect of an online world that extends…into wearables, thermostats, and other devices has generated plenty of excitement and activity. But now, some of the brightest tech minds are expressing some doubts about the potential impact on everything from security and privacy to human dignity and social inequality.

And I’m pretty sure if we ever find a cure for “social inequality” (hint: we won’t), it won’t come from the tech community.  Wait a sec…if in the future all human reproduction was done by cloning and all humans came from test tubes and had identical appearance and genetic makeup, that would be technical, wouldn’t it?  Still wouldn’t work.  Never mind.

It is quite possible that in the quest to simplify our lives, we will overcomplicate them.  I can see it coming – I’ll use the example of “the kitchen of the future” since that’s something people of my vintage can relate to.  Antique stores these days are full of kitchen of the future kitsch.

Sales Brochure: In the All Digital Kitchen Of the Future, your appliances are members of the appliance universe!  They talk to each other – they talk to other appliances like them all over the world and learn how to serve you better.  You’ll never run out of butter again!  You’ll never forget to run the dishwasher!  

Sounds dreamy.  In reality, on Monday morning your toaster goes offline and you have to make toast with a bic lighter.  The coffee maker refuses your login request and the password reset email never arrives.  The grocer delivers 200 cases of dill pickles that your refrigerator ordered.  Then you come home from work to find that your auto-chef range has made Lutefisk for dinner.  No thank you.  I’ll stick to analog.

Hey! you kids!  Get your internet off my things!

 

UPDATE!: Red Button Flaw Exposes Major Vulnerability in Millions of Smart TVs.  Just great!  In the home of the future, TV watches YOU!

 

Cross Posted at Men Out Of Work Blog

How Can An Airliner Just Disappear? Part VIII

How Can An Airliner Just Disappear? Part VIII

I haven’t written lately about the diappearance of the Malaysian Airline Boeing 777 for awhile since there was really nothing new to report.  As of my last post, the plane was presumed crashed in the Indian Ocean, with all passengers and crew lost even though not a trace of wreckage has been recovered.   The presumtion of a crash and also the presumed crash location (vague as it may be) have been inferred by analysis of communication signals between the plane and  a satellite done by the satelite’s owner, British telecommunications company Inmarsat.  Authorites have based their search on the assumption that the plane was somewhere within a large area of the Indian Ocean where no possible landing could have occurred when the signals stopped and this assumption was based on the sattelite data analysis done by Inmarsat. Since no trace of the airliner has yet been discovered, outside experts are attempting to confirm Inmarst’s analysis – and they are finding inconsistencies which call into question the accuracy of the analysis that all investigative assumptions have been based on so far – mainly the assumtion that the plane took a southern flight path over the Indian Ocean instead of north toward Pakistan.

mh370 inmarsat graph

“This graph is the most important piece of evidence in the Inmarsat analysis. What it appears to show is the frequency shifts or “offsets”—the difference between the normal “pitch” of the plane’s voice (its radio frequency) and the one you actually hear.
 
The graph also shows the shifts that would be expected for two hypothetical flight paths, one northbound and one southbound, with the measured values closely matching the southbound path. This is why officials have been so steadfastly confident that the plane went south. It seems to be an open-and-shut verdict of mathematics.

So it should be straightforward to make sure that the math is right. “

Problem is, it’s not so simple.  There are a few aspect’s of the airliner’s flight path before radar contact was lost that are absolutely known, and some of the Inmarsat analysis does not line up with that data.  Officials close to the investigation stand by the accuracy of their analysis, but will not release all relelvant data that outside experts would need to conclusively confirm it’s accuracy.

“Until officials provide more information, the claim that Flight 370 went south rests not on the weight of mathematics but on faith in authority….The biggest risk to the investigation now is that authorities continue to assume they’ve finally found the area where the plane went down, while failing to explore other possibilities simply because they don’t fit with a mathematical analysis that may not even hold up…After all, searchers have yet to find any hard evidence—not so much as a shred of debris—to confirm that they’re looking in the right ocean.”

When I wrote my first post on this I believe I said that when the truth about what really happened comes out (if ever), it would be stranger than fiction.  So far that is the case.  As they say, Stay Tuned.

Source Article:  The Atlantic.com – Why The Official Explanation Of MH370’s Demise Doesn’t Hold Up

Cross Posted at: Men Out Of Work Blog

EGO VERO: How a search for truth led me to blogging

EGO VERO: How a search for truth led me to blogging

Apparently since I am over 50, I am a dinosaur as are most of my family and acquaintances.  I know this is true because when I tell people I know to read my blog, they say “what’s a blog?”  I am so screwed – since I don’t write about Beyonce or Justin Bieber no one under thirty will ever read this and no one over thirty knows what a blog is.  So let me tell you a little bit about how I found out about blogs, became a reader of blogs and then went on to blogging.

i blog

I have never thought of myself as an early adopter of technology but I have been using the internet since the early 1990’s.  Thinking about it now, it was the dawn of time.  My chosen portal: AOL, now just a footnote to history.  I started out reading what they called “newsgroups” which were kind of like discussion boards where someone would post an article or website adress, people would read and discuss.  Usually I would “lurk” in these newsgroups, a term that means to look in, read the article and discussion but not participate – if you don’t speak up, no one knows you’re there.  This evolved into general web surfing and a few sites helped fuel that, mainly The Drudge Report (which started out mainly as movie industry news and gossip) with it’s many links to news stories.  Another was Lucianne.com founded by Jonah Goldberg’s mother, Lucianne Goldberg.  It’s still around.  Finally, sometime in the early 2000’s a Radio Talk Show host I listen to named Hugh Hewitt began talking about this new thing on the internet with a funny name.  Blobs?  No, that can’t be it.  BLOG!  That’s it – internet lingo shorthand for weblog.  Weblog = weBLOG = BLOG.  He wrote a book about it.  Anyway, the amount of information and perspectives on information available to me online took a quantum leap with that revelation.  There are blogs about everything you can think of.  I zeroed in on politcal blogs mostly, but also branched out into Law, and Science as well as general interest.  Many bloggers write about other subjects in addition to their area of expertise if they have one.  When 9/11 happened, I started reading the military blogs or MILblogs.  Yes, the blogosphere has covered the War on Terror.  Over the course of years, I came to admire some of these bloggers (whom I have never met, nor communicated with) and at some point decided that imitation would be the best form of flattery.  On the sidebar to the right you will see a heading that says “Some Blogs I Like”:  Click on any of those, they are worth your time.

tseliot109032

The subtitle of Hewitt’s book sums up the what Blogging is to me and why I decided to become a participant instead of just an observer:  “Why You Must Know How The Blogosphere Is Smashing The Old Media Monopoly And Giving Individuals Power In The Marketplace Of Ideas”.  I have decided to exercise my power and transform my exploration of life into a creative exercise – and to invite you along.  If you are lurking here, your journey has already begun.  Step into the light, introduce yourself and we can all continue our journey together.

For New Readers: Welcome!

For New Readers: Welcome!

I write about anything that happens to be of interest to me, and the subject matter is varied.  The posts are  in chronological order, the newest at the top – you can keep scrolling down to the bottom of the page and keep going back to view older  posts, all the way back to the beginning of time…err.. when I started this blog in February of 2014.  If you like what I write about some subjects but don’t care for others, look on the sidebar to the right.  You will see “categories”.  All my posts fit into one or more of these categories.  Click on the category you are most interested in, and you will see only posts in that category.  Simple.  Within my posts I often link to additional information and/or another blog or article that inspired the post.  When you see a word in red text, that is a link to additional information.  Click on it and the link will open in a new tab.  Any pictures within a post can usually be viewed in a larger version by simply clicking on the picture.

Godzilla warning

Please comment! To the left of the title you will see a box with the date and below it a box that says comments.  Click there and a dialogue box will open where you will be able to write comments on the article. This is how I know you’re reading and I welcome all feedback on my writing. You will be asked for your name and e-mail adress but don’t worry!  You can use an alias if you don’t want to disclose your name and your e-mail adress will not be displayed, nor will I spam you.  I moderate all the comments so I will see your comment.

Thanks! and Enjoy!

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