Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Commuter

Directed by the McHenry Brothers, was shot in just four days with the Nokia N8 using no back up cameras, with the streets of London and St Albans providing the backdrop to Nokia's story about one commuter's eventful journey to work.


Operative 4511 is a space marine on his own and outnumbered. Sometimes the voice you reach at the other end of the comm can mean the difference between life and death!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Joseph Nye on global power shifts

Historian and diplomat Joseph Nye gives us the 30,000-foot view of the shifts in power between China and the US, and the global implications as economic, political and "soft" power shifts and moves around the globe.

R.A. Mashelkar: Breakthrough designs for ultra-low-cost products

Engineer RA Mashelkar shares three stories of ultra-low-cost design from India that use bottom-up rethinking, and some clever engineering, to bring expensive products (cars, prosthetics) into the realm of the possible for everyone.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ripley`s Does Technology

Baseline Magazine: "When you think of Ripley’s Believe It or Not, you think of old-school oddities like abnormally large or small people, or a two-legged lamb, or even, to choose a fresher example, a bust of Kevin Bacon made out of real bacon. Such is the legacy of weirdness associated with the iconic creation of Robert Ripley, “the explorer, reporter, adventurer, illustrator, collector and seeker of the odd and unusual.” The modern-day incarnation of Ripley’s—though still interested in enormous bugs, shrunken heads, and monster sinkholes--also scours the world of technology for the oddball discovery. In its new book, Enter If You Dare!, Ripley’s features a number of tales of wild technology. A certain amount of wonderment makes sense, given Arthur C. Clarke’s famous line about sufficiently advanced technology seeming like magic, but some of it seems weird for the sake of weird, and the useful stuff will seem mundane in about five minutes. Nothing in there about big software projects done on time, though – that would simply be too much to believe."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The world's coolest data centers

InfoWorld reports: "Data centers need to be secure, temperature controlled, spacious, redundant, reliable -- nothing sexy. But that doesn't mean they can't be. Here are a few that rise above the crowd and take advantage of the possibilities."

Star Trek Technologies: Modern Day Equivalents

Geeks for generations have been inspired by the science-fiction technology from the Star Trek TV series and movies. So over the last forty plus years, they have been converting these technologies into real life practical devices and theories. Some of these technologies are used every day, others are in their infancy and others are in a theoretical stage.

Here is a brief update on where we stand today.
  • Communicators [Status: Practical]
    • Description: A personal communication device that worked over great distances
    • Closest modern technology: Cellphone
  • Tablet Computers [Status: Practical]
    • Description: A PADD (Personal Access Display Device) was a handheld tablet computer.
    • Closest modern technology: Tablet Computers
  • Warp Drives [Status: Theoretical]
    • Description: An engine with the ability to travel faster than the speed of light.
    • Closest modern technology:  Faster-Than-Light Travel
  • Transporters [Status: Infancy/Theoretical]
    • Description: Converting matter into energy, moving it to a new location, and reassembling it.
    • Closest modern technology: Quantum Teleportation
  • Shields (aka force fields) [Status: Infancy/Theoretical]
    • Description: An energy barrier for protecting equipment and personnel.
    • Closest modern technology: Plasma window
  • Cloaking device [Status: Infancy]
    • Description: The ability to render an object invisible to optical and electromagnetic spectrum.
    • Closest modern technology: Metamaterial or Active camouflage
  • Holodeck [Status: Infancy]
    • Description: An enclosed room that used a mix of 3D holographic images and force fields to create an immersive virtual-reality experience, which included sounds and smells.
    • Closest modern technology: Virtual Reality
  • Phasers [Status: Infancy/Practical]
  • Replicator [Status: Infancy/Theoretical]
    • Description: A machine capable of creating (and recycling) objects.
    • Closest modern technology: 3D Printing
  • Tractor Beam [Status: Theoretical]
    • Description: An energy beam with the ability to attract one object to another from a distance.
    • Closest modern technology: n/a
  • Tricorder [Status: Infancy/Theoretical]
    • Description: A portable scientific device with a detachable hand-held scanner.
    • Closest modern technology:See the following real-life examples.
  • Dilithium Crystals [Status: Doesn't Exist]
    • Description: A fictional crystalline mineral that is used to regulate the anti-matter-powered warp drives that allow star-ships to travel faster than light.
    • Closest modern technology: n/a
  • Universal Translator [Status: Practical]
    • Description: Converts one spoken language to another.
    • Closest modern technology: Phraselator
  • Scalpel-Free Surgery [Status: Infancy/Theoretical]
    • Description: Noninvasive medical surgical techniques and protocols
    • Closest modern technology: Bloodless Surgery
  • Prosthetic Vision Attachment [Status: Infancy]
    • Description:  a device used by the blind to artificially provide them with a sense of sight
    • Closest modern technology:  VISOR (Visual Instrument and Sensory Organ Replacement)
  • Communications Earpiece [Status: Practical]
    • Description: A wireless earpiece used the ship's communications officer.
    • Closest modern technology: Bluetooth Earpiece

Diminished Reality: Real Time Object Removal From Video

For an object to be remove from video, an enclosed loop is drawn around it. The software, works by first reducing the resolution of the object, removes the image (using a technique that's similar to the smudge tool in Photoshop), improves the result, then increases the resolution incrementally until this image is restored.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Multiple Apple iPad Killer Tablet Computers Loom

Channel Insider: "Apple has enjoyed nine months or so of a relatively uncrowded marketplace for tablet computers. The company’s iPad tablet computer has dominated for much of 2010 as consumers and business users have snapped up the iPad for both personal and business use. But Apple’s iPad has its limitations as well. What about cameras? And USB ports? Can this ARM-based machine really be considered seriously for business? Or do companies from SMBs to enterprises need something more – something that has actually been designed for business users and IT organizations. Indeed, some of these new tablets planned by computer vendors will be sold through the channel under the tighter control of IT. There’s no shortage of options for business that is looking to make its users more mobile and productive while they are on the go. IT organizations are recognizing that mobility is a growing trend. Now is the time to standardize on a tablet. Take a look. Here’s what’s coming on the business side for tablet computers."

Are you looking for a tablet computer? There are now several choices available for you to choose from.

So If you're looking for 'tablet tech' for the holidays, this article is a good place to start to see what is available.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Inside DHS' Classified Cyber Coordination Headquarters

InformationWeek reports: "The Department of Homeland Security recently brought its classified National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center down to an unclassified level for one day only, and InformationWeek Government was there to take photos. The facility looks and functions like a state-of-the-art network operations center and much more. The NCCIC, as it's called, is the locus of DHS-led inter-agency cybersecurity work in the federal government. That includes providing an integrated response to cyber threats against government networks, monitoring network sensors across the government and coordinating any requested government aid and response to cyber attacks against private industry networks like power plants or communications networks."

MovieReshape: Tracking and Reshaping of Humans in Videos

Here is how they can now 'Photoshop' movies. Below is the excerpt from video: "We present a system for quick and easy manipulation of the body shape and proportions of a human actor in arbitrary video footage. The approach is based on a morphable model of 3D human shape and pose that was learned from laser scans of real people. The algorithm commences by spatio-temporally fitting the pose and shape of this model to the actor in either single-view or multi-view video footage. Once the model has been fitted, semantically meaningful attributes of body shape, such as height, weight or waist girth, can be interactively modified by the user. The changed proportions of the virtual human model are then applied to the actor in all video frames by performing an image-based warping. By this means, we can now conveniently perform spatio-temporal reshaping of human actors in video footage which we show on a variety of video sequences."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Comcast to Protect Customer's Computers From Malware reports: "Comcast is expanding a test of a service that will monitor for signs of botnets, a particularly threatening form of malware that can invade its customer’s computers. It appears to be the first provider in the United States to do this.

The service, called Constant Guard, monitors traffic over its system anonymously, looking for activity that indicates the presence of a bot, without looking into individual hard drives."

It's good see that ISPs are now starting to take a more proactive approach to the botnet problem.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Google Experimental Self-driving Cars Logged 140K Miles

eWeek reports: "Google is using Toyota Priuses that drive themselves in an ambitious experiment to save peoples' lives, time and pare strain on the environment.

Google Oct. 9 said it has built technology to make cars drive themselves, an exercise to help reduce traffic accidents, free up motorists' time and ultimately curb carbon emissions."

Self-driving cars are nothing new. The DARPA Grand Challenge in 2005 was one of the earliest successful fully autonomous car type 'races' I have seen. Although there were more primitive fully autonomous cars that existed before that. Although, I consider the DARPA Grand Challenge a critical milestone in this field because of the complexity of the course.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Seven Years of Cool YouTube Video (2003-2010).

A compilation of some of the best YouTube videos from 2003 to 2010.

In order of appearance

Friday, October 08, 2010

The Atomic Cannon, Largest Nuclear Artillery

The Atomic Cannon, at 280 mm, was the largest nuclear capable mobile artillery piece manufactured by the United States. On May 25, 1953, a 280 mm cannon fired an atomic projectile a distance of 7 miles at the Nevada Test Site. Twenty 280 mm cannons were manufactured. None were used in battle.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Dynamics Card 2.0 : The Future Of Credit Cards

Dynamics Credit Card 2.0 is the next logical step in personal banking. Half credit card, half futuristic gadget, the cards are as versatile as they are secure. You can tie multiple accounts to the same card or completely hide certain digits of your card number at the push of a button — buttons which are embedded in the card and are as thin as the card itself.

Macs Don`t Matter So Much to Apple Anymore: 10 Reasons Why

eWeek reports: "When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak first started their company, they called it Apple Computer. It was a name that lived on through decades. But a few years ago, Apple officially dropped “Computer” from its name. And now, the company is known as, simply, Apple. Although some called the name change symbolic, today, it seems to be quite fitting. Apple is no longer a computer company that focuses its efforts on delivering the best machines users can buy. The company is now an electronics maker. And it wants to be the world’s top hardware maker going forward. But in order to achieve that goal, Apple has forgotten about Macs. And although those computers are still somewhat important to the company, they aren’t nearly as important to Steve Jobs and Company as they were years ago. Read on to find out why Macs don’t matter to Apple as much as they once did."

I wonder if this is true? Time will tell.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Google, Facebook Tout Serendipity Engines, Personalized Media

eWeek reports: "Google CEO Eric Schmidt touted autonomous search while Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said the future of media will be personalized. The circle of machines is drawing closer.

One day after Google CEO Eric Schmidt touted autonomous search as a serendipity engine where information comes to users instead of tracking them down, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said the future of media will be personalized."

Mozilla Seabird Experiment Provides 3D Projection for Smartphone Interface

eWeek reports: "Mozilla Sept. 23 took the covers off Seabird, an experimental 'Open Web' mobile phone concept created by product designer and Mozilla Labs community developer Billy May. Here's Mozilla's teaser: 'Drawing on insights culled from the Mozilla community through the project's blog, a focus quickly developed around frustrating physical interactions. While mobile CPUs, connectivity and development platforms begin approaching that of desktops, the lagging ability to efficiently input information has grown ever more pronounced.' In other words, get ready to stop text input and leverage innovation around motion capture and projector software used by mobile phone makers such as HTC, Motorola and Samsung. Maybe text input won't completely go away yet, but these new technologies will help users more efficiently access small mobile devices by projecting keyboards and applications on a range of surfaces. In this slide show, eWEEK runs through Mozilla Seabird."

Why CIOs Are Right to Worry About Security

CIO Insight reports: "Security continues to be one of the biggest issues facing CIOs today. Attacks come in via smartphones, E-mail, or the desktop, and there is a constant concern in the workplace that malicious hackers will compromise sensitive information. It would be nice to tell you that you shouldn’t worry. It would be nice to say that the threats enterprises face today aren’t as troublesome as those of years past. Providing such reassurance would mask the truth: enterprises face an inordinate number of threats that put entire operations at risk. Symantec’s MessageLabs Intelligence report for September 2010 illustrates that point. With spam, viruses, phishing scams, and malicious Web sites wreaking havoc on companies around the world, the latest report from the security solutions vendor shows that CIOs must do everything they can to try and stay ahead of malicious hackers. Read on to see some of the highlights from Symantec’s most recent security report, and learn about the issues you will face going forward."

Friday, October 01, 2010

Biggest insider threat? Sys admin gone rogue

NetworkWorld reports: "What's one of the biggest insider threats to the corporate network? The high-tech folks that put it together, make changes to it, and know more about what's on it and how it works than anybody else.

When the database, network or systems administrator goes rogue -- stealing data, setting up secret access for themselves, even in anger planting logic bombs to destroy data , or just peeking at sensitive information they know is off limits -- they become the very insider threat that the IT department is supposed to be guarding against."

Jesse Schell: Visions of the Gamepocalypse

This is one of the best talks I have heard about the future of gaming and how it will effect our lives. Even if you don't like games or play them, you might be surprised how they can potentially be integrated in to future products. Jesse Schell is very entertaining to watch, but the video is long (almost two hours).

Games perpetually revolutionize computer use toward denser interaction with the human mind. To do that, they perpetually revolutionize themselves. Understanding the next frontiers of the genre is one way to understand where society is going.

In this talk Jesse Schell explores the social, cognitive, and technological trends in computer game design and use.

Jesse Schell is the CEO of Schell Games, the author of the authoritative text, The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses, and a Professor of Entertainment Technology at Carnegie Mellon, specializing in Game Design. At Walt Disney, he was Creative Director of the Imagineering VR Studio.

Google Searches for Staffing Answers reports: "The Internet search giant recently began crunching data from employee reviews and promotion and pay histories in a mathematical formula Google says can identify which of its 20,000 employees are most likely to quit."

Its interesting and scary that anyone can make these assumptions based on data that was mined. Although, I am sure it has to include other internal company data sources (such as: emails, IMs, etc.). And I am pretty sure the software scans for keywords like "quit" or "hate", then arrogates them, and performs some statistical analysis.

Building a Flying RC Towel

Want to build you're own RC airplane from extra "stuff" you might have lying around (plus some other parts sold separately). Check out the "towel", here is an excerpt from the site: "The best way to build a Towel is to do it with Brooklyn Aerodrome. The process is for you to get the radio gear/plane parts and we provide a parts kit for $20. The Towel takes around 3 hours to build if you have help from someone who has all the tools/parts and knows how to make the parts. The plane flies well and easy to repair. It's major parts are the deck, the towel airframe and optional lighting for night flying."