You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Tech’ category.

i posted previously on augmented reality being used in gaming.  here’s an example of it being used in advertising.  very cool, via techcrunch.

on a side note, i’ve noticed a lot of people are landing here after searching for some variation of orange-faced guidos and monkeys peeing.  you are odd.


i know half of you are probably thinking of that one rap song you used to dance to in front of your mirror, but you have the reference wrong.  i’m talking about safety here.  information safety.

backing up your information is pretty much like insurance.  it’s relatively cheap and a bit of a hassle.  if you skip it, chances are you will one day regret it, and from that day forward you will pursue it religiously to save yourself from repeating the pain.

we had an imac that lasted just over a year before the motherboard fried.  only at the time, we didn’t know it was the motherboard.  kai was about 8 months old, and i had backed up (pictures only) almost 6 months prior to the crash.  in a state of panic, i tried to salvage the thousands of photos and other documents sitting on my (potentially crashed) hard drive.  fortunately for us, the hard drive was untouched and everything migrated over.  the first thing i did was make sure we had a backup drive set up with regularly scheduled backups to avoid stuff like that happening.

if you have a mac, time machine works great.  it automatically backs up snapshots of your system on regulary intervals that stretch back in time until your drive fills up.  at any time you can go back to a previous backup state and restore files to the older condition.  the nicest part is that you don’t have to think about it – everything is automatic.

if you don’t have a mac, what are your options?  buy a mac, of course.

no really, maybe you still like xp and your pc experience (hey, you get google chrome and i don’t), and you want a simple backup solution.  try backblaze.  it offers unlimited online backup for $5 a month.  everything is secure, you get it for 50 years, high-speed transfer, etc., etc.  check it out.  it’s worth the cost, when you factor in how much you would pay for an external drive, and then think about how you can do it remotely, it will not be stored in the same place as your pc, and so on.  makes sense.

the last few days have been super busy.  i have a load of pics to publish and some other tidbits floating around my head to share – all coming soon.

for now i’ll leave you with kevin rose’s prediction for the new itunes visualization to be announced at apple’s event tomorrow.  regardless of whether this is incorporated, someone should figure out how to make this run to my music.

update: upgraded to itunes 8.  the visualizer is awesome.

i attended part of barcamp hong kong 2008 today and learned about a lot of cool new stuff.  among the things catching my eye was a demonstration of an open source app called levelhead, created by julian oliver of australia as a spatial memory game.  i’m not sure whether this would more accurately be considered art or a game, but there is no question that it is cool.  it’s actually been around for about a year so i may be late to the party.

it is setup by using cubes with barcode-like designs imprinted on each side.  these are viewed with a webcam and the app decodes the bar code into a game screen.  each cube represents a room in which a small figure resides.  by tilting, flipping, and moving the cube, the figure will walk in the direction you choose.  the object is to pass through appropriate doorways in a given amount of time.  that’s probably a pretty crappy explanation, so check it out in the video below.

levelHead v1.0, 3 cube speed-run (spoiler!) from Julian Oliver on Vimeo.

is this an overzealous title by a google fan?  perhaps, but there is no doubt that google’s release of its new browser, chrome, is destined to shake things up.  this comic book released by the chrome team illustrates some of the features chrome incorporates to change the web browsing (and embedded web app) experience.  over at techcrunch, mike arrington has a few entries up with further details.  one thought that caught my eye was the potential for use on mobile devices, combined with google’s web apps and gears.

keep on the lookout for when the site comes up.

a lurker is like a wallflower.  it’s a person who reads, but does not contribute.  does not post.  does not comment.  does not reply.  this, for some, is one of the virtues of the internet.  the ability to anonymously digest information without anyone knowing (except maybe big brother).

[this is one of the reasons why i struggle with blogging.  how do i know who is really reading all of this information?  how much do i want to share online – more or less than i share offline?  if you really think about it, there is an opposing level of anonymity in my personal information generation.  although much of what i post may be personal to me, does it really affect me if someone in moldova or madagascar or mexico or myanmar is reading it?]

rejoice because posterous is here.  why does this affect you?  maybe you are a lurker.  you enjoy reading but can’t really find the time to post.  maybe you post, but can’t find the time to manipulate your blog so that it looks the way you want it.  maybe you have time for manipulation, but only get around to posting once a month (or less – you know who you are!).  maybe you can’t be bothered with all of this crazy technology since email took years to master.

enter posterous.  hands down, this is the most frictionless blogging technology out there today.  you start by emailing a message to  the subject becomes your post title, and the text becomes the content of your post.  a new blog is created instantly for you – no signup necessary.  each succeeding post can be created the same way.  want pics?  attach them to your email and watch as they are instantly laid out in a great looking image gallery.  music?  your mp3 files appear in an easy-to-use embedded player.  include a youtube url and a player is automatically embedded.  think about it – you can use your blackberry to create posts without web access.  users in the us (to be expanded internationally) can sms a post via short code.

and in a bid to help you aggregate any existing services you use, you can also tweak the settings to have your posts auto-copied to blogger, wordpress, twitter, flickr, etc.

here’s a great sample post for you to look at starring michael phelps.  head over to posterous.  take it for a spin.  tell your lurker friends.  and let me know what you think.

yes, halo can make you smarter.  retweeting-to-blog boston globe article courtesy of guy kawasaki:

Buy your kids Halo if you want them to be surgeons:

relevant excerpts below.

Researchers gathering in Boston for the American Psychological Association convention detailed studies suggesting video games can be powerful learning tools – from increasing the problem-solving potential of younger students to improving the suturing skills of laparoscopic surgeons.

One study even looked at whether playing “World of Warcraft,” the world’s biggest multiplayer online game, can improve scientific thinking.

The conclusion? Certain types of video games can have benefits beyond the virtual thrills of blowing up demons or shooting aliens.

In one study of 33 laparoscopic surgeons, researchers found that those who played video games were 27 percent faster at advanced surgical procedures and made 37 percent fewer errors than those who didn’t. Advanced video game skills were also a good way to predict suturing capabilities.

A second study looking at 303 laparoscopic surgeons found that those who played video games requiring spatial skills and hand dexterity performed better at those skills when tested later compared with surgeons who didn’t play videos.

“The single best predictor of their skills is how much they had played video games in the past and how much they played now. Those were better predictors of surgical skills than years of training and number of surgeries performed,” Gentile said. “So the first question you might ask your surgeon is how many of these [surgeries] have you done and the second question is, ‘Are you a gamer?’ ”

Some video games even appear to sharpen scientific thinking skills. Researchers looked at 2,000 discussion posts about “World of Warcraft” to see what the players were talking about. The study found the game encouraged scientific thinking, like using systems and models for understanding situations, and using math and testing to investigate a problem.


in the process of taking control of my online identity, i was inspired by kevin rose to create my own manga face.  imho these look much better than the simpsons ones.  create yours at face your manga and post in the comments.  [c’mon, you know that photo of you on facebook is getting tired…]

it's me.  right?

it's me. right?

this is one for all of inbox clean-freaks out there.  in another life, i used microsoft outlook at work and received upwards of 200 emails per day.  a fair number of those required my personal attention, and about half of that smaller number required immediate, urgent attention.  scattered in between were other levels of importance.  it was an issue for me at first to figure out what to do with this avalanche of emails.  as time went on, i developed a filing system, implemented filters, and created an elaborate color-coded flagging system (sometimes with due dates) that helped me to track and address most of my emails in order of importance.  at some point i took this to the extreme, and cleaned out my inbox in a couple of epically mind-numbing organizational sessions.  this meant that my “clean” inbox now contained only the latest emails of stuff on my plate for any given day.

contrast that with my personal gmail account.  i like the gmail format for reading emails, with conversations grouped by subject in a cascading format.  [as a side note, for some reason when i look at this gmail tabbed conversation layout it reminds me of my first programming days in hypercard in the 6th grade.]  because i don’t have all of the folders, and because i never want to “inbox deep clean” again, and because i can utilize google’s super search through my inbox, i don’t really archive my emails.  almost all of the emails that land in my inbox stay there.  if there is something important, i star it.  this was slightly confusing at first because i couldn’t remember whether a star was something i had to do, something that needed printing, something interesting, etc.  a few months ago i turned on google labs and enabled superstars which now allows me to use multiple symbols for marking my messages.  this helps.

psychologically though, there is nothing like seeing unread messages in my inbox.  i used to love checking the mailbox when i was a kid to see if anything in there was for me.  unfortunately technology has enabled me to port this addiction into my adulthood, and i struggle with compulsive email checking.  [so if you’re wondering how to catch my attention – there you go.]

back to the title of the post.  let’s say you like to look at new, unread email first.  you get an email today, but don’t want to look at it/deal with it/read it/digest it now.  instead you want to look at it later this evening.  or tomorrow.  or on sunday.  enter hit me later, a service that will resend you your email at the time you specify.  you want to read it tomorrow?  forward your email to  want it to hit your inbox in an hour?  forward to (you can input from 1 to 1000 hours later.)  you can also use a day of the week – will get it to you the following monday.  it’s easy to use, secure, and best of all, no registration.  try it!  and thank me later.

i recently crowd-sourced an answer on where i should be looking to discover new music.  the majority of answers pointed back to pandora, a great product that serves up custom playlists matched to your listening preferences.  unfortunately, if you live outside of the united states (which we do), pointing your browser to pandora’s site gives you the following message:

This is quite annoying for those of us who still want to enjoy the fabulous algorithms that help us discover that next beat.  So here is a helpful workaround for those of you afflicted with the same problem, courtesy of  happy listening.


"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it."

~ Steve Jobs

follow me

Recent Comments

my stats

free website hit counter