I am not going to post right away about the unhappy news this week about Bilbo. I’m still digesting that. Instead, I’ll talk about something you may have noticed in my recent Twits (twitter posts), or if you follow me on Facebook. I’ve been talking about a re-awakened interest in motorbikes.
Years ago, shortly before the turn of the century, I had a pretty good backup solution. I had a 20 Gigabyte tape drive that I used to back up all of my storage.
That was a decade ago. Somewhere along the line, the combined increases in total storage I had to back up plus the slowness/cost/general hassle of maintaining tapes mean that my backup strategy broke down. I tried various things in the interim, including network attached storage in 2006, and the Time Capsule for backing up my Macintoshes. The Time Capsule works great, but even with a terabyte of disk storage I am rapidly running out of room- and it does nothing to back up my Windows or Linux machines.
I needed something expandable, multi-platform, fast, and inexpensive. Well, three out of four isn’t bad, I guess…
Apple ended months (for some people years) of speculation today by finally announcing the upcoming release of a tablet computer, the iPad. Like pretty much everything Apple releases, there is an overwhelming amount of hype surrounding the device, and many “true believers” are disappointed by what the device offers.
Even so, I plan on buying one when it becomes available. I thought it would be appropriate to explain my rational on the theory that my friends and family may doubt my sanity more than usual as a result.
Solid state drives (SSDs) have been “next year’s great technology” for about six years now. Each year it seems that all it would take would be some economies of scale, and we could cast off the shackles of mechanical “spinning disk” technology for good. Unfortunately, another year has come and gone, and still SSDs are too little for too much…
I’m organizing my electronics, clothing, and sundries for our trip to Nova Scotia. The plane leaves at around 7:30 PM tomorrow, and we arrive in Halifax at about 6:30 am or some similar ungodly hour- I’m only vaguely aware of the actual itinerary.
The actual details of the travel are not that interesting to me at the moment. The important stuff, of course, is what to take and what to do when we get there.
The progress of robotics over the last few decades has seemed fairly slow to me. Robots today at their best seem to shuffle or stumble along like zombies, their movements more scripted and controlled than dynamic or lively. I watched a video today, however, that makes me feel like some real progress is actually being made.
Here is what I watched… and be aware that this is a robotic appendage reacting in real time to visual and tactile data, *not* a strictly scripted series of movements.
Last week we had our air conditioning installed. Direct Heat was the company that did the work for us, and they installed a “ductless split” heat pump system from Fujitsu. It is 30 degrees celsius and 90% humidity outside, and about 20 degrees / 50% humidity inside. I’m pretty happy with the decision to install this system…
There has been a bit of a hullaballoo lately regarding overheating problems with the latest iPhone, the 3GS. Some users have complained about the phone getting hot enough to discolour the back of the case (most visible on white iPhones), and a few have even said it nearly burnt their skin. The funny thing is that this is far from a new phenomenon for iPhone users.
The news has been full this week with stories of what is going on in Iran, and more specifically with how technology is helping protesters get their message out. Without Twitter and its ilk, the story goes, no one would know what was really happening under the boot of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Unfortunately, the protesters are not the only ones benefitting from technology. Iran’s oppressive government, with help from Nokia and Siemens, has implemented a subversion scanning system currently deep-inspecting nearly every piece of data flowing in and out of the country. Apparently this includes virtually all phone calls. Better yet, they are now using crowdsourcing techniques to help put names and addresses to photos of protesters. Protesters who will undoubtedly be “disappeared” once identified.
Those folks in Iran using Twitter to let us know about what is happening there are taking their lives into their own hands, thanks to technology sold, implemented, and serviced by suppliers from supposedly enlightened democratic nations. If I was one of the employees from Nokia or Siemens responsible for their wonderful new spy system, I would be asking my bosses some pretty pointed questions right at the moment. Right before I put in my resignation.
E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) has suffered through some setbacks in the last few years. The industry show is basically a venue for the manufacturers of computer games and game related products to communicate with the media. Normal citizens like you and I are not allowed to attend. The big vendors like Microsoft and Nintendo decided a few years ago that the show was costing too much money for not enough return, and they withdrew en masse. E3 went through some gyrations to try to re-invent itself, but has basically come back identical to what it was, just a bit smaller. I’m not sure what has really changed, but the big vendors seem to be back.
This post isn’t about E3, though: instead, it is about a couple of interesting (to me) announcements that Microsoft made at the event. Project Natal, a full-body motion interface with no actual controller, and XBox Live full game downloads.