Archive for the 'Why can’t I' Category

Travel yet to be

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

Base of 3333 steps in Misato, JapanPlanning a trip to an unknown location requires a lot of work. While sites often exist with helpful information, there is no single source which has everything. This is one area where community sites such as WikiTravel can help to fill in the gaps For now outside of major cities, the details are often insufficient. If such sites were as popular as Facebook, then more information than you could possibly want would be available on just about everywhere and in just about any language of interest. However, this level of information overload is far away.

Are you being watched? Or just being paranoid?

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Traffic CamerasIf I were paranoid I would think I was being watched… Oh, wait, I probably am being watched. The number of surveillance cameras around seem to multiply faster than weeds. Today I was driving down the freeway and every few kilometers a traffic camera would appear. Sometimes the camera covered all lanes, other times just the fast lane, sometimes easy to spot, other times hard to see. Some are fixed in place, others are remote controlled. These cameras are not just hanging around the roads; they are at the banks, public buildings, stores, and just about everywhere we go. They are a bit more subtle than the paparazzi, but watching none the less.

The Future of Paper

Monday, February 11th, 2008

Various uses for paperEnder’s Game introduces computerized desks where students look up information, organize their homework, and yet still have to print their assignments. Leap Frog has a second generation “pen computer” which uses special FLY paper as a digital tablet. The pen computer from Livescribe even adds sound recording and playback. Digital napkins are being proposed for engineering doodling. Printer paper is getting the “ink” embedded into it instead of in cartridges with Zink. E-Ink is the catchphrase for use in low power digital displays. With so many paper and ink variants coming out, what is it we really want?

Airport Security

Friday, February 8th, 2008

DC30 nose sectionAirport security is one area of our lives that hasn’t improved over time. It used to be that you could walk to the gate to say goodbye to friends and family, but not any more. In a post 9/11 world, fear and paranoia have made travel much less convenient. For international travel the countries involved need to cross-check passengers to make sure they are not security risks. In some airports shoes have to be removed and x-rayed. Coats need to be x-rayed. Computers removed from the bag for separate scanning. Even mp3 players are being banned. Our bags are swiped for explosive residue. Our drinking bottles are confiscated or scanned for explosives as well. Restrictions on the weight of lithium-ion in batteries which can be brought on board recently appeared. How much gel and cream one can have. How these items need to be carried. More and more of our flight experience is being regulated.

Wearable computers

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

Primitve Wearable ComputerThe ability to record every moment of your life is attractive. With the shrinking of video cameras, ever growing memory capacity, and increasing capabilities of portable lightweight computers we are approaching the point where this is possible. For a memory jogger the highest resolution, and highest sound quality shouldn’t be necessary. However, the ability to capture everything seen and heard would be a minimum. Increasing field of view and range of hearing would be a beneficial augmentation. Combining these capabilities with ear phones and viewer would allow for quick playback. Missed conversations, reviewing items read, seen, or heard would be easy to review. “What did you say your name was?”, would be a phrase of the past. The location is also a must capture to put the recordings into context.

Self-setting Clocks

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Self-setting clockThere is confidence in knowing your wall clock is self-setting and self-correcting. Pull it out of the box, and within a few minutes the time sets itself. That is if the clock can receive the 60kHz signal broadcast by WWVB from Ft. Collins, Colorado. However, the signal only is reliable in the continental United States, and not all the time even there. If you take your clock with you to another country, the time updates are not received and the clock begins to drift.