Archive for June 2010
…and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
As you know, today featured another of those face in hand(s) afternoons, mixed with opening ones hands uttering, “Huh?”, “WTF?” or other.
Whilst England’s overall gameplay is always an issue for debate (we lack teamwork), if there is one thing that can fire up a team and fans, that is knowing you are on a roll and stand a chance. And for us, that chance came with the ignored second goal a few minutes ago. In most other sports, technology has been allowed to act as a second or third opinion in the form of a virtual witness or ref. Yet in football, we rely on ONE individual who may or may not be looking in the right direction.
If the ref or a Hawkeye system had been allowed to verify that second goal, our team would have been given a massive confidence boost and the likes of No.10 and 4 (and one or two others) would have have relaxed a little and focused their energy on placing the ball correctly when that once every 20 minute opportunity arises where the goal mouth is there for the feeding.
Fight back club: Dear Football governing bodies, can we allow virtual all seeing refs?
No matter what, Germany are a better younger passing team, and I reckon on 3-3 if that goal had been allowed followed by a penalty shootout of which the outcome is anyone’s guess. Hmm?
Today, two pertinent matters highlight how greed and lack of holistic creative thinking can lead to disaster. One slightly more important than the other:
1. Mobile broadband
Recently, some airtime providers in the US and UK have announced the end of unlimited data plans. This just as more advanced devices such as iPhone 4 arrive on the market offering even greater performance and display resolution. Such short termist corporate maleficence will be catastrophic for all parties. In a few months, users are going to receive bills way in excess of their calling plans. In view of the fragile state of the economy, some will default, causing inconvenience, stress and expense, and for those whose accounts are barred, loss of income to the air time providers. Foot shooting?
The air time providers have had 10 to 15 years to invest in a global ultra fast wireless broadband network capable of supporting mobile multimedia. Instead, they have focused on selling consumers what looks like value for money deals on services that cost them almost nothing, such as unlimited text messaging packages.
A text message uses up a tiny proportion of the bandwidth, and to be frank, like Twitter, is one of those ‘inventions’ that didn’t actually need to be invented. Mobile email is (as covered elsewhere on this blog) far more reliable and effective a medium – something more sensible Blackberry users have known for a while. As with the next defendant on this list, greed has meant that the networks have invested in marketing over infrastructure – and now we are all going to have to pay for it – or not for those who are forewarned and search for fairer calling plans.
Update: I omitted to mention the irony of the visionary AT&T advertisements from the optimistic days of the Internet in the 1990s featuring a wide screen video phone a few years into the future. Well, here we are in the future, where Apple, who (no doubt to their frustration) rely upon AT&T in the US are limiting the otherwise brilliant FaceTime feature of iPhone 4 to WiFi because the cellphone networks cannot cope.
Just as an underwater robot damages the cap on the leak, a director of BP commented that the Gulf of Mexico spill has been cursed. Incorrect. It was an accident waiting to happen – and will probably happen again. The fault does not lie with BP, it lies with the whole industry, who like the mobile wireless providers, has failed to invest on a Manhattan Project scale in all new technologies and methods that offer us an effective practical way of generating clean sustainable energy.
As a result of this greed and lack of vision, the whole population is going to have to go through 10 to 20 years of hell as things begin to fall apart. All while grand visionaries and industrialists of the future work away in the background out of the limelight, for fear that exposure to their good work will lead to strategic buyouts or special interest sponsored humiliation by corporate owned media. Such behaviour has gone on for decades and is why there has been so little progress in major technologies over the last 50 to 60 years. Yes, our gadgets may be smaller and our cars sexier, but the infrastructure that undermines our way of life is stuck in the past.
Fight back club: Only spend your money on products and services run by honorable visionary management who care more about their customers than their stockholders.
A while back, I blogged in a somewhat surreal manner about what was then rumoured to be called Natal. A paradigm shifting project from Microsoft that really will change how we interact with silicon through very clever use of 3D motion capture technology. And not just from an entertainment perspective. Today, they re-branded Natal ‘Kinect’ (clever, and dovetailing into their other ‘kin’ devices) and the demonstrations were spectacular. (Not all would agree though.) Either way, the thing is, conceptually, if it could be scaled down to all our devices, Kinect renders much else from many other consumer technology companies obsolete instantly. Including those from Apple and Google. The second intelligent awareness is introduced into an entity, it enables tasks to be carried out in a manner that is naturally intuitive and as hassle free as taking a walk in the woods – if you get my meaning.
However, like the awesome (but alas conceptual) Courier ebook/tablet device previewed by Microsoft recently, can they productise Kinect as successfully as they have with their office products and the XBOX itself? If so, things are about to change for the better. The best thing is, that like the Wii, the body movements required for some of Kinect functionality will help reduce the obesity epidemic facing young and old game addicts alike.
For years I have thought how cool it would be to get people out of their homes and into huge VR simulators where groups engage in battles or other team based scenarios. Similar to laser tag or paint ball, but for a whole day or even a week at a time? Think an episode of Star Trek with the crew played by you and your friends or family, and the view screens in the mockup space ship based on projected simulated 3D imagery. This would not only be great fun, but encourage team work. The military applications of Kinetic are mind boggling too. (Assuming they are not already using it!)
While the previous UK government were in power and I (like many) was getting despondent as we headed towards a privacy invading dignity destroying repressive dystopia, I often thought about where to live in order to escape this awful reality. Also like many, I concluded Australia – where a common sense conservative attitude is nicely blended with a Californian lifestyle.
That was then.
This is now.
So, where to go now?
Whilst in the US I was somewhat surprised that people owned shares in other companies due to the fact it caused all manner of conflict of interest problems with regards to business and personal relationships. More recently, I was intrigued to learn that many people here in the UK have interests in the oil industry. Like my hero Dyson, I don’t like the idea of public companies and don’t intend to own one, unless the law changes such that companies are not legally obligated to put shareholder interest ahead of social responsibility. Anyway, despite the appalling nature of the Gulf of Mexico disaster (an accident waiting to happen of course), the way BP have been stigmatised in the US is unjust for two reasons. 1) It could easily have been a US company – they have had their fair share of accidents too and continue to pollute the atmosphere around their refineries. 2) The whole industry and the public are culpable. And that brings me to the subject of this post.
Just as when a democratically elected leader commits wrong and therefore his or her electorate suffer the consequences of their actions, so, we the public deserve to share in the financial consequences of disasters caused by polluting industries. Most of those earning dividends or pensions based on interests in BP are most likely drivers, consume plastics and know full well from ‘reading the papers’ just how harmful the whole business is to the individual and environment.
So, the time has come for a collective punishment (towards the lot of us!) and a long term change in lifestyle. It won’t kill anyone, but will offer superb business and social opportunities for the future.
Many of the businesses that will create (and are creating!) the energy generation technologies of the future need our support. Sadly, they receive little public prominence and so are being listed on a forthcoming ecologically focused for profit web destination under development by my employer. This posting was not made to promote that, but alas there is no other online directory of sustainable technology companies. Said web destination uses 100% solar powered servers. 🙂
Fight back club: Live sustainably.
To be notified when said new venture goes live, leave a comment or follow @lifemachine.
See this patent from Apple for an ambient noise sensor – and what it does when things get too intense around you. Clever!
Why is it that after a tragedy caused by a 3rd party that anyone is entitled to financial recompense? Surely if any money is to be ‘awarded’, it should come from the perpetrators of the original attack? (They can more than afford it!) Secondly, why are people being ‘rewarded’ for doing their job, which by it’s nature is fraught with danger. I don’t want to be rescued by someone who is doing it for the money, rather than their desire to do the right thing. And finally, why is anyone profiting from such horror? This seems all wrong.
Why oh why is there no mechanical shutter release for the camera on your spanking new iPhone 4?
A minor addition that would improve the ergonomics considerably over trying to take a picture with a touch screen – in particular a high quality self or group portrait*
Further, on iPhone 4.1 or 5, please source a larger screen, 3.5″ just doesn’t cut the mustard any more, no matter the pixel density.
Such minor things make such a difference!
*The iPhone 4 may have a self timer. Unlike the previous 3 models, it has a flat edge, so one could place iPhone 4 on a surface and use the timer…
5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1.., “iCheese!”
What is worrying about reality is that unlike the movies, a white buff ladies man rarely comes along to save ones dignity and freedom when something like this is misused by someone with less self respect than the aforementioned figment of the Hollywood imagination.
Fight back club: Invent a brain scanner detector to deter some jobsworth with a chip on their shoulder from gaining a sense of control by discovering you are only human – without your express written permission.
Note to self: Learn how to write shorter less exhausting sentences.
Although I am planning a break with convention in the form of a trumpet blowing celebration of the effectiveness and accuracy of Vision Aforethought, here is one snippet of good news that undoes one of the countless dystopian issues highlighted within.
Fight back club: No need, we’ve won!
Is it yay or yey? Any ideas?