Archive for the 'Technology' Category

Dynamic Surfaces – Cool!

Cloaking Device


Jan. 22, 1984: Dawn of the Mac

Wow – has it really been 25 years?  Apple’s famous Super Bowl ad aired 25 years ago today.  Created by Chiat/Day, the ad showed a woman running through gray hallways with sickly gray people invoking George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, to throw a sledgehammer at a TV image of Big Brother, meant, in this case, to represent IBM. It ends with the promise, “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like 1984.”

Interestingly, Apple recently announced gains in market share beating analysts estimates and its stock is up 8% (in spite of Steve Jobs failing health).  Meanwhile, Microsoft missed earnings and, for the first time, announced that it’s laying off 5,000 people.  Its stock is down 12%.

The Digital Divide Between McCain And Obama…

There was a great NPR story the other day on the digital divide between McCain and ObamaMcCain has his RAZR phone, no Blackberry/smartphone, does not get onto the Internet, and does not send email – Obama on the other hand has multiple phones, is connected with his Blackberry, and has over a million friends on Facebook.  Does how a candidate embraces new technology provide insight into how they will deal with new situations, new generations, or new opportunities?  Or is this gadget geek reading too much into things?

Books are dead (long live books!)

kindle-blogs.jpgSteve Jobs, speaking on what he thought of Amazon’s Kindle said: “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is; the fact is that people don’t read anymore. Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year.”

But Garr Reynolds points out in his excellent blog and book by the same name: Presentation Zen:

It is true that a large minority of people in the US do not read even a single book in a year. But as Randall Stross pointed out in his New York Times article, “the overall distribution is balanced somewhat [in the US] by those who read a lot.” In my own case, as every year goes by and technology gets better and better, I actually buy more and more books. I buy more books perhaps because I am far more aware of books in the long tail thanks to blogs and the increased avenues for Word of Mouth marketing that reach me.

At $399 + $10/month subscription (includes EVDO wireless connection) the Kindle isn’t cheap – but just imagine, you could get latest commentary from Broken Spines via RSS feed whilst sitting on the train and flip back over to finish reading Freedom for the Thought We Hate all on the same device.

Dark Data

A while back there was a lively debate on Broken Spines about whether or not it is possible to succeed without failing.  In the end, the pugilists involved resorted to name calling and feelings were hurt.  So, we didn’t get to explore a more interesting idea: do we put too much emphasis on success – when learning from our failures is what’s truly valuable?

Google, in their Palimpsest project, will soon provide a home for terabytes of open-source scientific datasets.  This will hopefully correct “publication bias”, where science gets skewed because only positive correlations see the light of day.  Thomas Goetz sums this up best in a Wired article called  Freeing the Dark Data of Failed Scientific Experiments”.  Here are some exerpts:

So what happens to all the research that doesn’t yield a dramatic outcome — or, worse, the opposite of what researchers had hoped? It ends up stuffed in some lab drawer. The result is a vast body of squandered knowledge that represents a waste of resources and a drag on scientific progress. This information — call it dark data — must be set free.

in this data-intensive age, those apparent dead ends could be more important than the breakthroughs. After all, some of today’s most compelling research efforts aren’t one-off studies that eke out statistically significant results, they’re meta-studies — studies of studies — that crunch data from dozens of sources, producing results that are much more likely to be true. What’s more, your dead end may be another scientist’s missing link, the elusive chunk of data they needed. Freeing up dark data could represent one of the biggest boons to research in decades, fueling advances in genetics, neuroscience, and biotech.

Hello Dave

hal.jpg hal.jpgJust what do you think you’re doing, Dave? Dave, I really think I’m entitled to an answer to that question.  I know everything hasn’t been quite right with me, but I can assure you now, very confidently, that it’s going to be all right again. I feel much better now. I really do. 

The Machine is Us/ing Us 

Matt H. posted a link this YouTube in the comments section of Democracy or Mob Rule?

But, I think it’s worth a thread of its own.  It was created by Michael Wesch, an anthropology professor at Kansas State Univeristy.  Using Tim O’Reilly’s analysis of what is Web 2.0, Wesch’s point is that the web is us.  

When we tag our posts we are teaching the machine to forge a link between words.  In other words we are teaching it an idea.  Think of the 100 billion times per day humans are clicking a web link – we’re teaching the machine. 

Are we the machine?

You’ve been erased – “Seam Carving”

Check this out – image resizing an manipulation based on the “energy” of a pixel:

Watch the whole thing – it gets better at the end.


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