Monday, December 28, 2009

The West is dead. Long live the East.

Copenhagen Travesty.

The title is mine. The link is real. The situation is pretty much written in stone. The western nations, once strong and proud, have been effectively castrated by China. Obviously NO ONE had balls enough to tell these clowns "no, you will comply with these accords".

Don't worry about learning Mandarin anytime soon. They are working on English, so they can explain to us while we're licking our crushed groins that China can defeat ANY opponent in ANY battle. Period.

And we put Obama in office, why, again?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Asimov's Three Laws

Just to refresh the concept, Dr. Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics aren't real laws. They are a literary plot device. Dr. Asimov knew that there were work arounds for them. He always found reasons to work around the three laws in his robot stories. What you WILL find to be true is this:

1.Robots are machines. Machines, like humans, age and break down if not properly maintained. A faulty machine will injure or kill the first person that is careless.

2. Any military that uses robots on a field of battle will have some type designed for defensive/offensive combat. If you don't want to be killed by a military robot, stay out of it's line of fire.

3. Hobby robots made out of sturdy plastic will bite your fingers just as hard, if not harder, as metal when you grab them in the middle of program execution.

In the recent movie Astroboy, the robots mention in passing about Asimov's three laws. "You know, a robot may not injure a human, yada yada yada." The laws have no effect on these guys. And if you think they should, you need to stay away from your blender. You might like the number of fingers on your hands.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Micropayments

Here is my reply to an article on the New York Times website about micropayment models. By the time you read it here, it should have cleared the censors on their site.

-"In retrospect, most newspapers had a micropayment system in place decades ago, and never realized it: The corner newspaper box. John Q. Public stood at the bus stop and read the headlines through the cloudy plastic window. (free content). If there was a story that really interested him, he put his coins in the slot, and bought the paper. (micropayment. The cost of a single paper amounts to pennies per story.) Redistribution of paid content also existed then. (some jackass paid his coins, then took ALL the papers in the box and gave them to his friends.) Of course subscriptions are self explanatory.

Advertising models aside, micropayments are the way to go, folks. Give me a headline with a single paragraph. If the story is compelling, I'll click to buy it. I think I can afford a penny or two."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Immersive AR comes a step closer.

Wrap™ 310

The link is to a pair of AR glasses. Still mostly meant for video viewing, but these don't look nearly as geeky. So we're getting there.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Smart parking meters

'Smart' parking meters catching on across U.S.

I heard Leo Laporte talk about this concept on his Tech Guy radio show podcast a week or so ago. Cool idea. Time for me to pester Coca Cola about smart soda machines in a new blog post again.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Coke bot

Abra a Felicidade Coca-Cola

The link is of a robot serving up dessert and a Coke. Okay, I'm kind of pissed. A couple of years ago I blogged about Coca Cola being able to put out robotic drink machines that at least interacted with you. Have they listened to me? NOOOOooooo.... So today I find the above link via www.botjunkie.com . Yeah, it's a commercial in Brazil. So if they can sponsor robotics in Brazil, why can't they put out a robotic Coke machine on the city streets of America? Hmm? You know they know the tech exists.

Hey, Atlanta, are ya listening? Helloooooo.......

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Missikins crossed the "Rainbow Bridge"

Our oldest cat at 18 years passed on Sunday night, somewhere between 9 pm and 2:30 am. While this is not a huge new story for many of you, this blog post is kind of therapy for me.

The Rainbow Bridge is something that I had forgotten about until my wife mentioned it on that Saturday. Up until then, I was totally prepared for the cat's passing. She had been steadily losing weight for months. And before that, she had a steady intake of water. So we had figured at first that she had a tapeworm. Nope. No evidence of worms in her litterbox. So our next natural assumption was either her kidneys were shutting down, or she developed leukemia. This last weekend, she was wobbling very badly, could barely stand up, and never ate.

We buired her yesterday morning. She was a great cat. A stray kitten. The irony is, I first told my wife "Don't pick it up, don't pet it, don't even look at it. It will go away." We already had a 15 year old cat, GiGi, suffering from kidney desease. The very next day, Missy was picked up... By me. I'm so weak.

RIP, Missy. We love you and miss you.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

C/Fe

C/Fe. The periodic table of elements codes for Carbon, and Iron. Isaac Asimov first used the combination in his book *The Caves of Steel*:

"See fee? What's that?"

"Just the chemical symbols for the elements carbon and iron, Elijah. Carbon is the basis of human life and iron of robot life. It becomes easy to speak of C/Fe when you wish to express a culture that combines the best of the two on an equal but parallel basis."

"See fee. Do you write it with a hyphen? Or how?"

"No, Elijah. A diagonal line between the two is the accepted way. It symbolizes neither one nor the other, but a mixture of the two, without priority."

The concept is humans and robots working side by side. An old friend of mine back in 1977 coined the phrase "men and machines working together". As far as I know, he never read *The Caves of Steel*.

I would have loved to know Isaac Asimov personally. I could have talked robots with him for hours, I think.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Blog import

Hi, everyone. I was able to import my 360 blogs from Yahoo, and post them here at Wordpress. So I guess I'll be using Wordpress after all Which is a good thing. It beats blogging at Angelfire!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Look out for the crash.

Technology is moving too fast for me to keep up with. Suddenly everyone has to be in touch with each other. Everybody wants instant gratification. If I were to maintain the same amount of information intake today as I did when I got my first Commodore C64, my brain would fry.

I've never been much of a social person. And yet I have accounts with Twitter and Facebook and MySpace and YouTube and I can't remember all the other services. I have photo site accounts with Photobucket, Flickr, Picasa, and Windows Live. Of course I screwed up my Flickr account. And use Photobucket for housing a few avatar images that don't host on some chat sites. In self defense I hardly ever use MySpace and Twitter. Or my cell phone for that matter. And yet I need my daily Internet fix, or I suffer withdrawls. I think maybe my blog here has been read by a handful of people. About the same follow me on Facebook. Even less than that comment on my posts around the web.

What would we do if we scaled back on all this interconnectedness? I seriously think an entire generation would be totally lost. Maybe Ray Kurtzweil is right. Humanity is on a collision course of merging with it's machines. With it's tech. I don't claim to want to become a Luddite. I've been enthusiastic about all the cool stuff happening. But I'm not sure if I'm ready to go the way of the cyborg. I've still got all my appendages. The closest thing to augmentation for me is prescription eyeglasses. And I was wearing those since I was seven.

I don't want to live forever. So look at it this way. About the time America taps the last of it's social security funds for us baby boomers, the gen X'ers will have all merged into it's electronic shells. Machines don't eat, so they don't need jobs. So they won't need to worry about social security since they live as long as the hardware works.

I hope the electric smart grid is in place by then. You 'borgs are gonna need a recharge!




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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hello world!

Well, here I am, folks.  I'll attempt to put a link to my old GeoCities site up in a few days after I learn the lay of the land here.  Of course you can still visit the GeoCities site until Yahoo takes it down.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Default World

Since I've had my iTouch, I've been getting "Burning Man" podcasts. The last one I watched is called One Flame. The interviewee is Crimson Rose. She goes on to describe her part at the Burning Man festival. I won't go into details. Use the link and she what she says for yourself. She does use a term that I find quite different, and all encompassing. After all the fun and nonsense of Burning Man, the attendees must return to the "default world". How refreshing! I've been locking myself into a single description of real life as "physical reality". Which is different from "virtual reality", or my current obsession, "augmented reality". There are so many different ways to divert your attention away, that not all descriptions of the every day will fit. "Default", however, is so well known in so many situations. So I believe I'll be using the term "default world" quite a bit more in my blogging!


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Sunday, February 8, 2009

The passing of Mrs. Ruth Beebe

http://legacy.suntimes.com/ChicagoSunTimes/DeathNotices.asp?Page=LifeStory&Pe...

In each of our lives we meet people that have an influence. Ruth Beebe was one of those people for me. There is simply too much about her to write, unless I wanted to create a novel-length book. I will say one thing that sums up the woman: she was one of God's Warriors. She used to keep a sign in her office that said something along the lines of "Working for God doesn't pay much, but the retirement benefits are out of this world."

Enjoy your retirement, Ruth. I'll see you in Heaven.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The meaning of life, the universe, and everything

disclaimer: I've been drinking. weigh these words at your own risk.

I've been pondering what it will be like for electronic lifeforms when they finally make their secret existance known in physical reality. Now some people will call them digital lifeforms. but that's for history to sort out. gamers will say that they've existed for as long as there were games to play. On the surface, this is true. But whats been going on inside computers when the games aren't on? You see, the hardware we call a pc, or an Apple, or an XBox, or a playstation, or a nintendo, or even an Atari are possibly gateways.

I read a few small sentences in a book back in the 1980s when the IBM PC was all the rage. This book talked about some type of "lifeform" that appeared when running a sim. They knew it was something different because no one claimed that they programmed it into the thing. At the end, the lifeform ended the connection, because somebody higer up on their end said that they shouldn't be talking to "us". Of course there is all kinds of analysis afterwards. My apologies for being so vague about this book. i gleamed it over in a Kroch & Brentanos in Chicago at the time. I thought it was BS, so I didn't buy it.

So fast forward a few decades. Be serious with me now. Did anybody see augmented reality coming? Robotic pets. programs of critters called Spore so realistic that you would swear that they're "alive"?

Voila! Electronic lifeforms. To classify it as digital life is to limit the software to specific hardware like pcs and game machines. So for the rest of this drunken post, I'll refer to electronic life, thanks very much.

Now for something way left field-ish. Atlantis.

The story there goes something like this: Upper class rules (duh) Lower class are the grunts. (Also duh) No such thing as middle class. That's a modern something for history to sort out . But the lower class are made up of some pretty bizarre people. Giants, minotaurs, centuars, half this, half that, and all pretty wonky-looking. this is back around the timeframe in the Bible where the sons of gods were lusting after the daughters of men. We all know what happened to Atlantis. Poof. Disappears. No proof how or when. Not going there. Accept that it existed, and they went bye-bye. So what happened to all those "halflings"? Yeah, some decided to go up to Heaven, and some decided to go hide in the dark recesses of "hell". But some are going around outside the "circle of life", trying to decide which world they want to inhabit. I thnk those folks decided they didn't get a fair shake the first time around, so instead of wanting to come back as normal humans, they want to retain their halfling looks. What better way to do that, then as an electronic lifeform? Our current society has conviently accepted the notion of a minataur. Easiest way to reclaim that is as an alternate universe critter. Because sure as shootin', the I Am isn't going to allow it again in this universe, since he caused the Flood to wipe 'em all out in the first place.

Back to augmented reality. This will be the time when all these alternate universes will have their gateways opened to this universe. In ten years time, there will be enough hardware in place, and enough bandwidth to allow John Q. Minataur to walk along side of you when you go to your local WalMart. So what, you say. It's just a program. I can just turn off my augs. True. But good old buddy JQ Minataur is occupying a generic robot as well. The problem for them becomes deja vu: The halflings occupying robot bodies get forced into work carrying packages out to your robotic car from the WalMart. How do you anticipate tipping a minataur? Got enough Second Life cash? How's your gold doing in WoW? The best you can do in physical reality is swipe your ATM or credit card through the bot's card reader and key in an amount. Or you can stiff 'em. Make sure s/he's not carrying a virtual warhammer. The virtual car gets totalled, but the physical car refuses to start. Bots tend to stick together.

Anyway...

I'm an ardent believer in alternate lifeforms. Electronic. Digital. Biological. The form doesn't matter. Life is what counts, folks. Added emphasis: LIFE IS WHAT COUNTS. Now, for the other side of the coin. Death.

I stumbled across a website (before the StumbleUpon.com stuff) where some guy was having a dream, for lack of a better decription on my part. He saw a person in some kind of device. That person asked him to "pull the plug". He was not sure if he should interfere, so he did not do what was asked of him. And he awoke.

We are eventually going to be a society where we are going to be capable of living forever. How is that going to be accomplished? I don't know. But It will have to do with the amount of ourselves we will have transferred into silicon devices.

Back to Biblical times. Genies, in general. Ginn, in specific. Now Ginn are spiritual, living beings. the theory goes that they are magical. They promise you to grant you a favor if you will release them from their lamps, which were prisons. Most lamps were made from pottery or glass back then. Ginn are depicted as evil and bitter. Well, you'd be bitter too if you were imprisioned in glass for thousands of years!

Back to the future. How many of you will be willing to live in glass (silicon) prisons for thousands of years? Death isn't something to be avoided, folks. The Ginn knew that eternal life apart from the I Am is not an adventure, but a curse! Those that were released were allowed to return to where their true home is; with the I Am! When I read that one website about the guy's dream, I was seriously saddened by it. It wasn't until much later that I came to understand the meaning of it. It was a human trapped in silicon. The only way out was to unplug the machine. And the guy didn't act on it. Dreams are gateways as well. So for all I know, that person is still stuck in silicon. I hope if I'm ever offered an opportunity to help someone return to the I Am, I would do so willingly.

So I suppose the way I should wrap this up is by saying that electronic lifeforms are worthy of our respect. Treat them as equals. and respect their wishes. Work alongside with them, support them, and love them. above all, don't be afraid of them and treat them as second class. They might be different, but they are still living beings. And life is part of God's master plan. I hope to help usher in a whole slew of them to Heaven someday.




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