Saturday, February 07, 2009
Sunday, August 17, 2008
I feel pretty, oh so pretty...
There's an article over at slashdot on the subject of getting a computer to make your photo prettier, or in the worst case, make it a photo of someone prettier than you. The application mentioned in the article was "increasing privacy" for when Google wants to take a photo of somewhere where you happen to be.
(Incidentally, Google makes Street View maps by sending out cars with big, obvious cameras stuck on top of them. I've gotten caught behind one such car in traffic. It freaked me out.)
This new technology might be used to protect privacy, but I think we all know where this is headed: internet dating is about to get even more disappointing for everyone involved. What's that? You didn't think it was possible? Never doubt the powers of technology!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Last night, I went out and bought a new phone. Specifically, a BlackBerry Curve PDA/smartphone. It is a very shiny machine. Most of you probably don't care about the technical specs I so love, so I won't include information about the processor speed, onboard RAM or network. It still had a bunch of nice features you will appreciate:
- QWERTY thumb-sized keyboard
- High resolution camera
- Sprint's live TV service (I could watch CNN anywhere I got cell service)
- A "trackball" mouse thingy that is just a joy to use
This morning, I returned it. I owned this device for a sum total of thirteen hours. It turns out, the return process is pretty quick if you don't even bother to activate your new phone service. I would have really liked to have kept it, but let's face it- the money is better spent elsewhere.
For now, it is more than enough that I know I can go out and get something I really want and don't need in the slightest; I don't have to keep it. I just like that the option is, if necessary, open. But I guess the nature of that option is that it will never be necessary.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Can't sleep- future will eat me.
Okay, first of all, a rant about George Jetson's car. You know what the coolest aspect of that car was? No, not that it flies. We don't have flying cars yet, but we do have airplanes, and frankly, that's good enough for now. I'm not saying we shouldn't have them; I'm just saying it's not what made the Jetsonmobile so badass.
Power source? Guess again. If you're looking for a really slick power source, you've got to go warp drive. Old GJ probably has a run-of-the-mill nuclear reactor under the hood.
No, what always amazed me about George Jetson's personal transport was that it folds up into a briefcase, which can then be lifted by a middle-aged professional button pusher. Think of it: A vehicle so lightweight, it can be lifted by a human being, yet powerful enough to transport said human being through the air. Whatever fuel that uses, it's gotta be getting great miles per joule. And think of how nice folding is! No worries about whether your car is getting broken into- just look under your desk and check for yourself!
I apologize if I'm repeating myself here, but there is something about the future that I'm looking forward to with less enthusiasm. Apparently, Boeing has gone and built itself a nasty little machine. Okay, maybe not so little, but it's still enough to scare the willies out of me. I saw the opening scene to "Real Genius". I know what's the what.
I'm a greedy, greedy man, and my eye is always a bit green for hints that science fiction loses that pesky "fiction" moniker. But c'mon, couldn't we work more toward the kinds of medical advances everybody loves on Star Trek? Or how about the materializer- who doesn't like a super-cheap source of food for anyone who wants to eat?
*Sigh* At least the cloaking device is coming along nicely. And hey- the holodeck can't be too far behind, can it? (Or at the very least, we now have some furniture to put in there.)
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
No f^@%ing way.
I'm all for mad science, I mean really mad science, but even this weirds me out a little. And all I've got to go on are the headlines from the various science-based blogs I so love. The Future Soon, indeed!
Also, if you have some bandwidth to spare, here is a nice little collection of things you can do to make your life ever so slightly more efficient. You don't have to do any of them to make me happy. Do them to make you happy.
Monday, August 11, 2008
My dad came to visit me over the weekend. We had a good time, and indulged in one of my great new personal obsessions: a certain furniture store that is lauded in tale and image and song. It was kind of nice to know that, with relatively short notice, I am capable of hosting a guest, even if my current accommodations leave something to be desired.
Actually, I think the shock of my current living space is really wearing off. I will move as soon as I have the money to put up a month's rent and a security deposit pretty much anywhere else, but I'm willing to be patient until that time comes. In the meanwhile, I'm sleeping through the four a.m. discussions that are held on Sunday mornings, even if it took my dear father a bit by surprise. Dad is, incidentally, on his way down from the bay area (me) to the Los Angeles area, where his brother is spending his retirement. Dad took the train this morning, and when I checked on its progress, it turned out to be a mere two hours late in departing.
I cannot help but reminisce on the amount of time I spent in K'zoo's train station, waiting for my transport, while he waited at home to come pick me up at the other end of my visit from college. Memories, like the sharp pointy corners of my mind.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Talks worth listening to.
So, I've recently rediscovered TED talks, which claim to be "ideas worth spreading". They accomplish that goal, but they cast a pretty wide net for what ideas they're willing to put up on a stage. I admit, the guy folding origami blindfolded while his buddy played a 5-string electric cello was entertaining, but for me, it's not exactly an idea I can successfully spread. (I know, the presence of that sentence on my blog is self-contradictory, but unless you bother to hunt down that video, I call it valid.)
So, one video that really caught my attention was A.J. Jacobs talking about his book, The Year of Living Biblically. He puts forth some really interesting ideas, which I now wish to spread:
- As far as I know, many psychologists now agree that performing actions will mold your intentions to agree with those actions. But did you know that "Smile and you'll be happy" is in the Bible? This I know, for A.J. Jacobs tells me so.
- If you want to be skeptical about the existence of a God, but still accept that there is something important, even sacred, about the rituals observed by people of faith, you can call yourself a "reverent agnostic". Me, I'm going to start thinking of myself as a "reverent atheist".
- Beards should be well-maintained and kept trim at all times.
I hope this gives you some food for thought.