One of the things we saw in a demo was this amazing table top in the kitchen where you could drop groceries and have recipes displayed automatically - using the "material" on hand. you could interact with the table top touching or simply placing objects on it.
Today Microsoft has announced Microsoft Surface. It is an evolution of that table top I saw a few years back, with much more functionality.
The idea is to have every day objects that we can interact with, and interact with each other. At a high level, Surface uses cameras to sense objects, hand gestures and touch. This user input is then processed and the result is displayed on the surface using rear projection.
Surface computing, which Microsoft has been working on for a number of years, features four key attributes:
• Direct interaction. Users can actually “grab” digital information with their hands, interacting with content by touch and gesture, without the use of a mouse or keyboard.
• Multi-touch. Surface computing recognizes many points of contact simultaneously, not just from one finger like a typical touch-screen, but up to dozens of items at once.
• Multi-user. The horizontal form factor makes it easy for several people to gather around surface computers together, providing a collaborative, face-to-face computing experience.
• Object recognition. Users can place physical objects on the surface to trigger different types of digital responses, including the transfer of digital content.
Whatever you are doing now, make some time to watch the videos on the Microsoft Surface website. There's a video review on On10 as well.
Today I met a few people who are working to bring the SuperHappyDevHouse series of events to Wellington:
SuperHappyDevHouse has become the Bay Area's premier monthly hackathon event that combines serious and not-so-serious productivity with a fun and exciting party atmosphere. Come to the DevHouse to have fun and get things done!
We're about rapid development, ad-hoc collaboration, and cross pollination. Whether you're a l33t hax0r, hardcore coder, or passionate designer, if you enjoy software and technology development, SuperHappyDevHouse was made for you.
DevHouse is not a marketing event. It's a non-exclusive event intended for passionate and creative technical people that want to have some fun, learn new things, and meet new people. In this way, we're trying to resurrect the spirit of the Homebrew Computer Club. We also draw inspiration from the demoscene as one of the only intentional getting-things-done computer events in the world.
Sounds fun? It sure does. If all goes well, the first meeting in Wellington will happen early July 2007, and other events will follow. We are currently seeking to arrange corporate sponsorship, venue, etc.
If you or your company wants to sponsor (venue, drinks, Internet access) please contact me and I will put you in touch with the folks organising the whole thing.
A SuperHappyDevHouse NZ wiki will be up soon. The first meeting will be an invitation only event, so we can gauge interest and arrange some of the infrastructure.
Very cool, thanks guys!
When the pale blue "Linux car," also known as car #77 from Chastain Motorsports, was the first car to crash in the 91st Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, we can imagine hordes of geeks wishing it had been a "Vista car" instead. Imagine the "blue screen of death" jokes that could have resulted!
The Linux car, as you probably know already, was the result of a campaign called Tux 500, jump-started by two enthusiasts named Bob Moore and Ken Starks. They solicited donations from fellow Linux fans in a "community powered Linux marketing program" to make the open-source operating system a household name by putting its logo on a race car. Unfortunately, it's likely going to be remembered as "the car that placed last."
I really wish the team a better result next time.
I need to purchase a second unit, since my first one is already up to the 100 CDs/DVDs limit.
The problem is that this update only runs on Windows XP, so if you are like myself and don't have a Windows XP machine anymore your option is to take the vodem to a Vodafone store and ask them to do the update there.
Lucky someone at Huawei leaked a vodem driver update that runs on Windows Vista. I have just finished installing it now, and it's in much better shape than before - the official Vodafone update didn't do much, but the update through Windows Vista worked really well...
Enters the Sony Special Screw (if they take link is down, you can see the screenshot below):
Yes, this is $38.40 for a single screw. Note this is the distribution price. And I am glad the store is certified "hacker safe". Can you imagine how much the screw would cost if hackers had their way with it?
Add the services provider margin on this, and you end up with a EUR 61.31 (US$ 82.50) Sony Special Screw:
That's right: US$82.50 for a single screw used in a Sony 13cm speaker. How is this for making huge money and literally screwing the customer?
You can find the original image and discussion here. Found this through Consumerist.
Yes, microprocessor based mainframes. This is what is all about now. The old CMOS-based technology has been out of production for years, if you don't know. Unisys has been using Intel-based mainframes, or "enterprise servers" for a generation.
Those mainframes, are still alive and kicking, with both Unisys and IBM competing in the market for large processing - and many companies are still running on them.
As an example, Telecom New Zealand's current voice mail platform runs on a resilient, four-mainframe, fully failover capable system from Unisys (I am aware this system is being replaced in 2007 though).
To have an idea of numbers, I've contacted Telecom New Zealand and asked how many voice mail calls are processed by this platform (for other intelligent features run on this installation) and I was told that about 5.5 million calls to Telecom mobiles go through to the voice mail daily. This is for mobile phones only, not counting the fixed line voice mail which is processed in the same platform.
So what a modern mainframe looks like? Just check the picture of this new Unisys Dorado 400 Clearpath series:
Pretty much like any other rack, right? Now compare it with an old Burroughs B5900 about 30 years old), including (from left to right) line printer, tape unit, CPU, consoles, removable disc units:
The natural step is for companies to provide mobile services - and this is what Google is doing with its Google Calendar. If you are using Google Calendar simply point your mobile browser to www.google.com/calendar (or www.google.com/calendar/m if your device doesn't redirect automatically) and it will show something like this now:
Google has already "mobilised" its web-based e-mail service and now it's the time for the calendar to follow.
According to the press release, until now, The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) has compiled The Charts each week on the basis of physical music sales and radio play.
Next week’s Chart will be the first to reflect legal digital music downloads with digital sales being counted from Monday May 21.
Why is this important? Because we will have visibility of total music sales. When associations come out saying "CD sales have been impacted by piracy", we will be able to see also how much of CD sales have been impaced by legal soft sales.
This article on NZ Herald says:
Campbell Smith, who is also the Recording Industry Association chief executive, told Parliament's commerce select committee yesterday that the decline in CD sales had led many musicians to abandon the industry as a full-time career.
[Sony BMG managing director Micheal Bradshaw ] said CD sales in New Zealand dropped 35 per cent in the past two years, offset slightly by growth in the legal digital market.
Well, let's see if "legal" music downloads can also be blamed for declining CD sales.
RIANZ President Adam Holt says there was a sharp increase in the sales of digital tracks and singles over the past 12 months, therefore "Changes in the album chart will be less obvious as the physical album is the dominant format in New Zealand.”
Who are the market players in New Zealand? Now that Coketunes is out, we have Amplifier, RipIt and digiRAMA, and according to the RIANZ a strong music presence on the Telecom and Vodafone mobile platforms, plys the recent launch of iTunes New Zealand store.
Want to know if this can impact the numbers? According to the RIANZ more than 40,000 tracks are downloaded each week, while digital album sales are still in their infancy.
The only problem is that there will be no separate charts for physical and soft sales. This will make it harder for people to use it as an argument against the "piracy is killing the CD" cause...