Archive February 2008
It isn’t always easy to communicate with a computer. Two Fraunhofer Institutes will be presenting new possibilities of man-machine interaction at CeBIT in Hanover (Germany) on March 4 through 9. They will demonstrate how computers can be operated simply by gesturing or pointing a finger.
Full article: http://www.physorg.com/news123512518.html
Morris Miselowski’s comments:
This follows hot on the heels from Bill Gates statement a few weeks ago that the keyboard and mouse are as doomed as a 3 1/2 inch floppy disk. The future of computing is one ubiquitous entity that can be accessed from a multitude of places, including home, office, car, PDA’s, fridges and toasters all of whom we will effortlessly interact with and each of which is able to retrieve our personalised data and requirements act on it and then remotely store it ready for our next use on any other device wherever that device may be.
Adobe Blurs Line Between PC and Web
Adobe will release AIR, a software development system that will power potentially tens of thousands of applications that merge the Internet and the PC, as well as blur the distinctions between PCs and new computing devices like…
Morris Miselowski’s thoughts
This is one of those quiet incremental technological changes that sneaks up on us and revolutionises the future. I’ve spoken at length about cloud computing, and the amazing opportunities it offers us to blur the boundaries of “ours” and “theirs” and to work anywhere on documents and files using third party software we don’t own – think Hotmail, Google Mail and E Bay for widely accepted cloud computing software.
The blur between PC’s, on line and devices is going to get greater over the next decade to the point where it doesn’t matter what the device is, what the software is or what you are working on, you will be able to access, retrieve, change, share and use it from wherever you are on a multitude of devices, some obvious like PC’s and mobile PDA’s and others more discreet “built in” devices using voice or touch screen activation.
(AP) Virgin Atlantic carried out the world’s first flight of a commercial aircraft powered with biofuel on Sunday in an effort to show it can produce less carbon dioxide than normal jet fuels.
full article http://www.physorg.com/news123077967.html
Morris Miselowski’s thoughts:
Over the next decade we will see many attempts at using biofuel’s, some will succeed and others will go back to the “drawing board’ the problem here is not the at alternate fuels don’t exist or can’t be made, the problem here is that there is no real commercial demand for it (yet).
Unfortunately I think oil prices have to get much higher and we all need to feel far more uncomfortable about using existing fuels before the real work will start on solving our future energy needs.
Machines will achieve human-level artificial intelligence by 2029, a leading US inventor has predicted.
Humanity is on the brink of advances that will see tiny robots implanted in people’s brains to make them more intelligent, said Ray Kurzweil. The engineer believes machines and humans will eventually merge through devices implanted in the body to boost intelligence and health.
“It’s really part of our civilisation,” Mr Kurzweil explained.
“But that’s not going to be an alien invasion of intelligent machines to displace us.”
Machines were already doing hundreds of things humans used to do, at human levels of intelligence or better, in many different areas, he said.
Full story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7248875.stm
The Genome project has given us a true understanding of our biological molecular structure, this with the knowledge that within 10 – 15 years we will have a similar comprehensive knowledge of our brain’s workings added to the belief that around the year 2020 computers will be processing at the speed of the human brain, makes many of these supposed fanciful ideas not all that fanciful, or supposed.
A recent study culminating in Norton Online Living Report offers an interesting insight in to the digital lifestyle habits of adults and children around the world and focuses on how people worldwide are conducting personal interactions and connecting emotionally online.
One of the interesting findings from the worldwide study is that parents’ perception of what their children are doing online does not reflect the reality of what their children are doing. For example, in the U.S. parents believe that 6% of their children have been approached online by a stranger, yet 16% of children in the U.S. report they have been approached by a stranger online.
Another interesting point is that about half of adults, and slightly fewer children, have made friends online – and, of those, many (about 60 to 80%) have translated these online friendships to their offline world.
Here is a snapshot of findings from the Norton Online Living Report:
Norton Online Living Report, Vol. 1, Key Findings
Country Profile – Australia, UK and U.S.
Moderate Activity/Moderate Security
Across the board, Australia, the UK and the U.S. follow the global standard for Internet behaviour, with relatively few exceptions. In a few unusual, discrete cases such as the UK spending less time following news online and the U.S. expressing greater comfort with sharing credit card information, these three countries are the norm and have a very similar pattern of behaviour and attitudes.
Among online users in Australia, the UK, and the U.S.:
- The vast majority are highly likely to communicate by email.
- About 1 in 5 work on their personal blog at least sometimes.
- Most use the Internet for entertainment, including playing games, following sports, getting reviews and advice, and doing school work at least sometimes.
- About 8 in 10 bank online; many fewer manage investments – sometimes or more often.
- A majority feel uncomfortable providing personal information, but most have still shared basic information with strangers, such as email and name, though fewer have shared more sensitive information such as their credit card number.
- Most have installed security software on their computers and run virus scans for protection, but far fewer take other steps such as using complex passwords or surfing only trusted sites.
- Most are concerned about the online environment being safe for kids, but slightly less than half of parents have actually set parental controls.
• Many online adults spend at least one hour per month sending text messages from their mobile phones
• 41% of U.S. online adults (constantly, frequently or sometimes) and 46% of U.S. online kids use the Internet to download or watch movies
o A whopping 97% of Chinese online adults and 96% of Chinese online kids do the same
• Nearly half of online adults in the U.S. have made friends online, of those users, approximately 60-80% have translated these online friendship to their offline world
• About half of online adults in the U.S. prefer their online friendships the same amount or more than their offline friendships
• As many as 4 in 10 (10-44% varying by country) online adults around the world feel confident socialising with strangers online
• As many as 88% of online children in China have made friends online; nearly three-quarters (74%) of online children in Brazil report the same
• Online gaming is enormously popular, with nearly three-quarters (74%) of online adults in the U.S. and more than 9 in 10 (96%) online children in the U.S. playing games
o Nearly all adults and children online in China (95% and 99%, respectively) play online games
• China and Brazil lead the countries surveyed in downloading music
o 97% of adults and 98% of children in China download music
o 88% of adults and 89% of children in Brazil download music
• About two-thirds (66%) of online adults, and 7 in 10 (70%) online children in the U.S. visit video sharing web sites
• Most online adults spend at least one hour per month both reading news from online sites/blogs
• More than 9 in 10 online children in the U.S. (94%), Germany (93%), France (93%) and China (93%) research via the internet
• Almost all online users report shopping online at least sometimes
o Global users have a high degree of confidence making purchases online
• Nearly half of users in China feel confident sharing personal information; only 5% of online users in Japan feel confident sharing personal information
• Personal finance falls behind commerce as a standard internet activity, but the majority of global online users have handled some of their most basic financial transactions online
o About 4 in 5 online adults bank or pay bills online at least sometimes
o China has the highest number of users who bank or pay bills online with nearly 9 in 10 (87%), the U.S. has nearly 8 in 10 (79%) users
• The majority of online adults (85%) and children (52%) have been a victim of some level of cyber attack (from minor spam emails to major hack attempts) and express concern about online safety
• More than 8 in 10 online adults are not confident using the internet without security software
• More than a third (34%) of users in the U.S. have shared credit card information—the highest number globally—while just a little more than 1 in 10 (13%) users in Brazil divulge this information
• The majority of adult users worldwide have installed security software but few go beyond basic steps, such as changing passwords frequently and surfing only on trusted sites
• More than a third of adults in all countries visit adult or pornographic web sites, with more than half in Brazil and China doing so
• While the majority of parents recognise online threats to their children, most underestimate the prevalence of these threats and far fewer are taking actionable steps, such as setting parental controls
• Many parents and children talk openly about what children are doing online, which perhaps results in their overconfidence that their children are being protected online
• Most parents believe the internet is not as safe for children as for adults and most children believe the internet is not as safe for themselves as for adults
• The U.S. and Australia have the highest number of parents who believe the internet is not as safe for children as it is for adults
• Parents underestimate how often their children are approached by strangers online and encounter cyber pranks, with the U.S., UK and France having the highest number of unaware parents
o U.S. parents believe that 6% of their children have been approached online by a stranger, yet 16% of children in the U.S. report they have been approached by a stranger online
The Norton Online Living Report survey was conducted online in eight countries (U.S., UK, Australia, Germany, France, Brazil, China, and Japan) by Harris Interactive on behalf of Symantec between 12 November and 17 December 2007 among 4,687 adults 18 years of age and older and 2,717 children aged 8 to 17 years old who spend one or more hours online each month and can be found at http://www.symantec.com/norton/theme2.jsp?themeid=nolr.
This report is fascinating and offers a statistical framework for what was a previously anecdotal only topic.
What is most fascinating is how entrenched technology and on line activities have become in our lives and the growing reliance we have on-line for living our off-line lives.
Nanotechnology researchers are developing the perfect complement to the power tie: a “power shirt” able to generate electricity to power small electronic devices for soldiers in the field, hikers and others whose physical motion could be harnessed and converted to electrical energy.
full story @ http://www.physorg.com/news122129780.html”
This technology may be the DNA of future small personal appliance power supplies and its not so much whether this will ever work and become mainstream it’s the notion that we are looking for alternate ways to fuel our carry around devices.
There’s been a lot of buzz around utilitarian uses for clothing.
Power generation is one, but there’s also clothing that monitors your vital health signs, clothing with built in GPS and clothing that cools or heats your body based on constant biometric readings.
Many clothing designers are already experimenting with form and function, working with new age clothing materials to construct functional and fashionable clothing.
From Morris’s blog at InsideRetailer: http://www.insideretailing.com.au/articles-page.aspx?articleType=CategoryView&categoryId=53
There’s so much fully-sick stuff on the web that it can be overwhelming, so here’s the first of my lists of some of the great, useful and sometimes unusual sites and tools that are out there:
Google Docs – http://docs.google.com
This is part of a growing trend towards free or low cost on line software – also known as Cloud Computing.
Google Docs offers a suite of free business tools that include word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software.
These resemble the Microsoft Office products many people use with the added advantage of being available to you on line anywhere, can be used simultaneously by a number of people and has most of the functions that the majority of users need – there’s a great introductory video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRqUE6IHTEA
Skype – www.skype.com
Skype allows you to make phone calls and video calls from your computer to any other computer or phone in the world. If the person you are speaking with is also on Skype then calls are free, if they’re not calls are very cheap.
Skype is one of many VOIP (Voice of Internet Protocol) providers that offer you inexpensive phone and video calls, using been able to get unlimited local, interstate, international and mobile calls for a fixed fee of under $20.00 per month.
Check out Skype’s other offerings like video conferencing and skype in numbers (local phone numbers in other Australian states or countries).
Blogger – www.blogger.com
One of many sites that make blogging easy and free – another great one is wordpress (www.wordpress.com ). Blogging is a growing communication force that allows you to easily write, speak or video record your thoughts and publish and share them with an on line audience of your friends, colleagues, staff, customers and fans. Why not use a blog to keep your customers up to date with what you offer, show them how to use your products, get customers feedback on your products or prototypes or just have a chat with them and let them know what your up to (my blog is at http://youreyeonthefuture.wordpress.com ). Blogs are also starting to be used as low cost easily updatable personalised websites.
Elance – www.elance.com
If you’ve ever wanted to find an expert, or someone to take on a specialist task or project, but haven’t known where to find them, then start the search with Elance.
I use it to find designers, programmers, PR, word-processing and a host of other consultants and services.
It’s simple to use – enter in your requirements, providers from around the world respond to your brief with their expertise and pricing, choose one of them and you’re off and running.
Living to 100 – http://calculator.livingto100.com
A fun life expectancy calculator that after answering a series of questions will guestimate how long you will live till and importantly if you don’t like the age it comes up with and it’ll give you some hints on how to add on a few more years.
Breath Easy – www.bfe.org
Work stressing you out? Relax and breathe deeply – if you’ve forgotten how to breathe properly then download EZ-Air to your desktop and follow its instructions.
Please let me know your useful and fun websites or on line tools– send links to Morris@MorrisYourEyeOnTheFuture.com and I’ll share them around.
Scientists in Finland have replaced a 65-year-old patient’s upper jaw with a bone transplant grown inside his abdomen after being cultivated from stem cells isolated from his own fatty tissue. Researchers said the breakthrough opens up new ways to treat severe tissue damage and makes the prospect of custom-made living spares parts for humans. Full story @ http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/02/02/2152899.htm
I love these stories as they confirm our increasing competence in growing our own body spare parts. What industries and professions will emerge from this? Who will have access to these technologies and how far will this technology “grow”?
Morris Miselowski and Todd Johnson of radio station 6PR discuss on line media, downloading free music and much more in this weeks radio spot.