Blu-ray vs. HD DVD? Does it matter?

Posted February 4th, 2008 by Stephen Davis
Categories: If only

Image of Blu-ray diskImage of HD DVD diskDoes the Blu-ray vs. HD DVD format battle going on right now really matter? If we think about things from the media center point of view, then probably not. Instead of the physical medium, why not just purchase and download the movies online. But, if we think about the media for data backups, it might be interesting.

Digital Media Center

Posted February 3rd, 2008 by Stephen Davis
Categories: Almost there

Stack of DVD moviesTerabyte network storage systems are appearing for the home. With so much storage an integrated media center makes a lot of sense. Why have a pile of DVDs and CDs stacked up someplace when they can be migrated to the media center. I don’t know how many times I have opened a DVD case to find either the wrong movie or no movie inside. This results in a search for the actual movie. If everything were contained in the media center keeping track of individual movies would be easy.

Drifting Towards the Singularity

Posted February 2nd, 2008 by Stephen Davis
Categories: Almost there

The tag-line on this blog is ‘drifting towards the Singularity’. This post is intended to give a flavor of what the Singularity might mean by providing pointers for further reading. But, it also will help to expand on the aim of this blog.


The Singularity refers to a time where the rate of change of technology is so great that the way we will interact with the world will be so much different than today. This concept was originally proposed by Vernor Vinge in an article titled, ‘The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era’. The title polarizes one potential outcome of the singularity. Ray Kurzweil in ‘The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology’ goes into greater detail and highlights ongoing trends in technology: genetics, robotics and nanotechnology. Based on their estimations the Singularity should occur sometime between 2030 and 2045. Almost right around the corner, but not a certainty.

Toilet Tech

Posted February 1st, 2008 by Stephen Davis
Categories: Almost there

Modern toiletA frequent sound on entering a hotel room in Japan is that of the toilet rebooting. This can be a bit disconcerting since one wonders why noisy printer-like sounds are coming from the bathroom. But it does bring to light the question of what does a modern toilet require?

The plain old toilet which requires no electrical outlet is a dying breed. In the winter one can not live without a warm toilet seat. And a quick wash and dry after completing your business with the built in bidet is a must for many around the world. The temperature of the water and seat need to be independently adjustable. In public restrooms the toilet should create masking sounds to avoid embarrassment and wash itself between users.

Digital Book

Posted January 31st, 2008 by Stephen Davis
Categories: If only

Digital BooksAmazon recently released the Kindle digital book reader. It looks to have many good features, but for international travelers the biggest drawback is Sprint’s national high-speed (EVDO) data network. While in the US this isn’t a draw back, but once outside its ability to wirelessly obtain books. This can be worked around by connecting to a computer, but triggers the inconvenience factor. For now a WiFi connection or Bluetooth connection makes more sense. This way when traveling or at home one can obtain new content.

Self-setting Clocks

Posted January 30th, 2008 by Stephen Davis
Categories: If only, Why can't I

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.

Digital Grocery Shopping

Posted January 29th, 2008 by Stephen Davis
Categories: If only

LCD Price TagOur local grocery store uses digital price tags on the shelves for all products. These tags update wirelessly whenever the prices change. They even start blinking when the product is on sale. This reduces the likelihood that the price I pay at the register will differ from what is displayed on the shelf. Labeling systems like this are great for the store, but only slightly help us as consumers.

Digital Wallet

Posted January 28th, 2008 by Stephen Davis
Categories: If only

Overstuffed WalletToday my wallet is too thick, but does it need to be? I have cash, receipts, pictures, business cards, credit cards, ATM cards, insurance cards, store loyalty cards, and more stashed in there. I would love just to have a single card and a few photos, or even better everything in my cell phone. This expectation is not a stretch considering that this service is already mostly available in Japan via O-saifu Keitai (Mobile Wallet).

Today’s Digital Menagerie

Posted January 27th, 2008 by Stephen Davis
Categories: If only

Today’s camera is a bit more convenient now that it has gone digital, but it definitely has not taken full advantage of its digital potential. Ideally after taking a picture it would be possible to transfer the picture to a cell phone to send to those who posed for it. Makes it a convenient time to make sure all the addresses are available, and prevents one from having an excuse for forgetting to send the picture out.