- Interview of yours truly on the official Gmail blog.
- Comic (with 8 pages) for the launch of a Google product.
- (to be continued)
I wonder what that tells us about the importance of money in our modern society.
A while ago I was looking into virtual presence with small robots. The only two serious options I found were Rovio and Spykee, two robots equipped with webcams that one can control/move through a web interface, and that have a microphone and speakers to talk to people. The good points is that they’re pretty cheap now. But they have very big shortcomings:
- Rovio can’t get away from its base more than a few meters, or you need to buy extra beacons (come on, do you guys know about this thing called WiFi?).
- Spykee comes in so many pieces in its box that you probably need half a day to assemble it. Which I guess makes sense if the primary users are kids who want a toy, as the robot’s look seem to suggest.
- Rovio’s webcam can look at the floor, even lower, or the ceiling (three discrete positions).
With all the hype about working from home or from remote places it seems like there’s a growing market for this in companies; how come we don’t see more of those little gizmos? I wonder if I missed an obvious choice. But if your company makes one of these that I can seriously use as my “virtual presence” and it costs under $300-400, I’m in. Bonus points for an open application programming interface so that anyone can create clever plugins for it.
Just serve three times less than you would usually serve, put it in the middle of a large plate and draw a circle around it with thickened balsamic vinegar.
Some articles report that in Israel, people who have already subscribed to be voluntary organ donors can get priority over others should they need an organ themselves.
It struck me how obvious this solution is in its simplicity and fairness.
Of course there needs to be a secure way to know that the donors were volunteers before getting sick themselves, and I would still think we should consider how urgent and serious the cases are, but all else being equal, giving priority to volunteer donors makes a lot of sense.
When can we see this implemented in other countries? I’m pretty sure it would raise the number of organ donors pretty significantly and save more lives in the long term.
Many of us like to get our news stream delivered to us every minute of every hour of every day: RSS feeds, Twitter or Buzz messages, Facebook statuses, emails from mailing lists, etc. That’s just the way we like to stay up to date with the world around us.
The amount of information we get each day from such sources grows little by little as more “content” gets produced, more bloggers appear, more friends get an account on Twitter, etc. More information is better: “let’s subscribe to this as well, just in case”.
Personally I’m starting to feel that staying “up to date with the world” really takes more time than I’d like, and that it’s getting less and less different from some kind of drug addiction, except too much information won’t directly hurt my physical health (note the use of the word “physical”). More information and less knowledge: at the end of the day, after getting my daily fix of RSS content, most of the time I’m not any smarter. Quite the contrary.
What if I stopped taking the time to read/like/comment on all those Facebook statuses from my friends and, instead, took the time to have more real discussions over a dinner, or a drink, with all these friends that I’m following more and more, but actually seeing less than I used to?
What if you didn’t really need to know that your one-time classmate had a bad hangover this morning, that version 2.37.9 of some software you were once interested in just came out, or that some new picture of a super-cute yawning cat just got into your daily news stream’s tubes?
You know what, there’s no way you’ll ever be able to catch up with every single meaningful thing that happens every day; that’s just too much information. What if, instead of spending all this time reading “important” updates, you considered reading more books, doing more “offline” creation yourself, hanging out with real people, spending more time with you family, reading only genuinely insightful articles and blogs (in which case, stop reading this very blog at once)?
I’m starting an information cure right now. Unsubscribe from RSS feeds that deliver information that I wouldn’t *really* be sorry to miss. Stop checking on Facebook statuses and go read a book, play or compose some music. Un-”follow” people I don’t *really* care about, and instead drop them an email about having dinner over the next few weeks. 10 minutes per day reading this particular feed, that’s 60 hours per year. Is this content valuable enough to me that I’d rather not do anything else in those 60 hours?
I feel like the web allowed us to boost our ears’ range from a few meters to thousands of kilometers, and we spend hours per day listening to everything in that range, just because we can, and our instinct tells us we really shouldn’t miss any word of it, just in case. Artificially limiting that listening power may look like burying one’s head into the sand and becoming close-minded; I believe however that the re-gained time can be used to stay sane, creative and human.
I hadn’t had a chance to try Amazon’s DRM-free MP3 service since they opened it to French IPs so I bought an album yesterday.
All smooth, except that if for any reason the download of one or several file fails (bad connection at some point), you can’t download it again, it just says failed, please contact customer service (which I had to do, but to their credit they were very speedy). You also can’t download the same files again in the future if you happen to have lost them. Why not, Amazon? If I wanted to illegally copy them to other people I could do it without re-downloading them, and without loss of quality, you know that, right? That’s part of this whole d-i-g-i-t-a-l thing. And what are those .amz-blah.tmp files I’m getting as well? Can’t people just refrain from putting their random crap everywhere (and they’re obviously not used for keeping track of unsuccessful downloads)?
Welcome to trust land.