Link Latte #15

Even further behind with everything than I was last time I got further and further behind.

I think I might need to get glasses actually. That would be weird. Mind you, it might make me look more intelligent – and I’d be able to see etc. I haven’t been able to concentrate on anything for months.

1) A thing that stands up by itself

Are we learning to walk? I think we’re learning to walk… but at least when you’re a toddler, you kindof know what you’re walking for.

Or do you? Do you just do it because everyone else does it… and we humanoids spend our entire lives copying each other. Pretty much.

So now we make robots, that also copy us… and we don’t really know why. Everything is replication. As above, so below.

2) iPad Spyblimp interface

With a dismayingly low-res video… but you get the idea.

I still think this needs to be a heads-up type display, and that iPads are a farcically crap design… because you either have to lay them flat and wreck your neck, or hold them up with one hand… which means you can only use one hand to operate your weapons systems etc. This turned up the other day… a keyboard/stand combo for an iPad – which basically turns it back into a laptop.

This thing – that I call 3rd Personism, but other people call Telepresence IS going to be a big thing I think though. It’s just too cool to be able to be somewhere where you’re not.

3) Telepresence Segway


Mmm yes, well that’s going to catch on, isn’t it. It’s a way for you to “be” at the office when you’re actually sitting on the sofa drinking beer in your underpants. This could actually be done with existing parts – a segway that’s controlled with an iPhone – although an iPad screen would be a better size… but then Apple deigned not to provide them with cameras – so when they do, with the next release, all the fanboys will have to go out and buy them again.

While I think 3rd-personism is inevitable (and fantastic), it ain’t going to be for trundling around your office in a segway. I can’t believe that someone’s actually made a product out of this. If Lawnmower Man taught us anything it’s that you don’t need to be physically embodied when you can live in the network. The driver for 3rd-Personism is entertainment.

4) Google Wave Relaunch?

The original launch caused a huge splash… and everyone including me said it was going to be a game-changer. It wasn’t. I signed up to the beta… played with it once or twice… then shelved it. Then someone invited me to a discussion using it – on a subject I’m quite interested in… to be honest, I think it killed the conversation. We would have been better using email.

Too itty bitty. Too fiddly. We don’t want more features, we want less.

5) VP8

Google on the other hand may be transforming in subtler ways… by opening up its WebM codec for video. It will be natively supported in Opera, Firefox and Chrome (which are the only browsers I use) and offers a non patent-enmired alternative to H.264 – which HTML5 has had a tanglesome and not entirely happy relationship with – on account of it being closed. Youtube videos will all be encoded (retrogressively) in WebM and there are a whole host of hardware supporters. It also gets around the Apple anti-flash video problem.

So who’da thunk it? It might just be that Internet Explorer is finally killed not by a competing browser, but by cellphones.

Trouble is, as a web dev, I know that clients will want “cross-browser-compatibility” – so as not to inconvenience the still fairly huge number if IE users. Personally I couldn’t give a toss – I’m more than happy to build web apps that IE users can’t see. Forget about making music and concentrate on creating a generation gap. That’s my motto.

6) Artificial Life Created


Holy crap, the finally did it. This is bigger news than the moon landing. This is the wildest wild card that humans have invented since fire. This is a major part of why there is a science-fiction singularity – past which it’s difficult to make linear projections.

7) Quantum Teleportation over 10 Miles

Would be even more impressive if it wasn’t measured in imperial units. What is this? The steam age? Are we Victorians? No. We’re Elizabethans.

8 ) HP Builds Cow Powered data-centres

There’s this sign at the side of the main road up from Wellington: “Pony Poo” it says. It’s for sale. When I lived on Niue we kids (or was it the neighbours kids?) were sent out to collect cow-dung for the garden. The trouble with shit… is that it smells, and looks like shit. If it didn’t then it would probably be worth a lot more than it is. Like Whale vomit. I’m mainly talking about low-food-chain-shit here. Higher food chain is problematic because toxins accumulate.

Still, they used to make gunpowder out of piss didn’t they?

Anyway – the obvious byproduct of using cow byproducts to power a data centre, is the technology to do it. This technology is probably (once it’s done) worth a hell of a lot more than the energy it produces.

9) Little flying butterfly thing

I expect the reason why it’s show in slow-motion is because it flew for about 2 seconds before crashing and exploding, killing the ant-pilots.