Stuff I Say

You Want Me to Ditch Real, Physical Reality?

Posted in Apple, Gadgetry, software by 51future on June 19, 2008

So I was thinking about e-books today. Amazon came out with Kindle recently, that I guess is sort of a success

But I was thinking about why I value real books and other real, physical media over their digital counterparts. Now, I know as well as anyone why I like CDs and that’s because I, as a consumer, understand that 20 years from now I’ll be able to find a way to play and/or rip my CDs but may not be able to connect to the server to download the keys to the music I own. That’s why I like CDs. They’re a pain to lug around, but the having the art is nice and ultimately, it’s a real, physical product. I can hold it in my hands and show it to my friends and generally interact with it. I feel the same way about books. A shelf full of books is an achievement, whereas a list of books you’ve read in a text file on your hard drive is a waste of time.

On the other hand, I do love Bookpedia, mostly because it’s a way for me to see what books I own, where they are, and what I want to read in the future, no matter where I am in the world.

Which leads me to my next point.

I think the true selling point of going completely digital is what you gain in… well, nomadisticity. I mean, I talked about this bag once already and now that I’ve used it for a month or two every single day I’m pretty sure that if I could somehow take everything I own… Or everything I need, anyway (What I need to stay sane and the minimum amount of equipment for survival is quite different, I’m talking about the former here!) and fit it into that bag, I’d feel as though I could do crazy stuff. You know, like save up my money and fly somewhere one way without any idea what to do next. Stuff like that.

That’s where an e-reader comes in. I’d ditch physical reality for a touch screen device about the size of a medium-sized paperback that has a nice glass screen, like the iPhone, upon which there are pages displayed that you can turn and interact with as though they were real, physical pages. I’d want library functionality– that is, the ability to say, browse my library of books that I own and/or buy or download new books, all on that same device. No DRM. DRM ruins things. The device would have to be rugged– coffee proof. I spill things on my books all the time. Water resistant, too. Make it thin and light. Give it extra features. Hell, can I get a rugged Macbook Air tablet PC? That would make my day.

Why Has Twitter Been Overlooked By the Evil Eye of AT&T?

Posted in Apple, Gadgetry, internet, software by 51future on June 13, 2008

Twitterific won best iPhone Social Networking App at the 2008 Apple Design Awards and I’m really, well… confused.

How is posting something to Twitter any different from sending an SMS message. Apple has explicitly forbid VOIP applications, or at least seems to. We know for sure that they won’t allow VOIP on carrier(s)’ data networks, but a few different companies seem to be skirting the edge and allowing users to sneak VOIP calls through Safari or over WiFi.

Now, from a business perspective, I understand why AT&T doesn’t want any of this vile, vile software on their gorgeous little baby. They’ve set a price for data access ($30 for unlimited data) and otherwise sell minutes, a somewhat outdated analog business model that should have been eliminated around the time that VOIP started to emerge in the marketplace. AT&T tells us that for $30, we can have unlimited bandwidth on their network with which to make VOIP calls, and yet, they also explicitly prohibit us from using that bandwidth for one special type of data: VOIP data.

I understand all this, but my question is, how is a Twitter application any different.

Aren’t SMS texts one of the most lucrative services they’ve got their dirty little fingers in? Do they think the FCC would crack down on them if they started restricting these sorts of Apps? Or are they worried about the way it might fill in the gaps in the bigger picture?

If anyone needs any convincing argument as to whether we need net neutrality, I say they need only look at our phone companies. Everyone could have unlimited calling for $30 a month, if only that data was as neutral as any other.

Men Are Enriched by Scantily Clad Women and Other Breaking News

Posted in Uncategorized by 51future on June 11, 2008

Scientists research “The Bikini Effect” and discover that unfulfilled sexual arousal makes men more creative, impulsive

It wasn’t that the men were simply distracted by their sexual arousal, which caused them to choose more impulsively. On the contrary, they exhibited improved cognition and creativity after exposure to sexy stimuli.

The brain may not be as well-oiled as we thought

One of the key lessons of tip-of-the-tongue research is that the human brain is a cluttered place. Our knowledge is filed away in a somewhat slapdash fashion, so that names are stored separately from faces and the sound of a word and the meaning of a word are kept in distinct locations. Sometimes when we forget something, the memory is not so much lost as misplaced.

I really should have studied neuroscience rather than Japanese. I still probably could have gotten by without having to go through economics hell.

Planetfall

Posted in internet, writing by 51future on June 9, 2008

Planetfall

Planetfall is an interesting little sci-fi piece done in flash about a crew of people in crisis. The portraits especially are well done, although I was somewhat confused by the ending because I couldn’t easily visualize the ship’s layout in my mind. I mean, I wasn’t confused. Inherently, I understood it. I saw it coming, even. But it wasn’t as satisfying as it could have been because I couldn’t grasp the logistics of it.

Worth a look though.

Looks Like I’ll Be Switching Carriers in July

Posted in Apple, Gadgetry, Japan by 51future on June 7, 2008

Softbank announces “iPhone”

I can finally ditch this stupid DoCoMo phone and finally get an iPhone. We live in exciting times.

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Some Cool Android Thing

Posted in Gadgetry, Google, software by 51future on June 2, 2008

So amidst a lot of news about Clinton’s mad obsession with the nomination an interesting look at one coming application on Google’s mobile platform Android has emerged: Scan.

The concept is a simple one: point your phone camera at a barcode to scan it and then you’re presented with various useful information.

Scan’s features are:

* Automatic barcode recognition using onboard phone camera using ZXing library
* Shows CD, DVD, or book cover along with detailed reviews from Amazon.com
* Searches over a dozen stores, both online and brick+mortar
o Highlights brick+mortar stores that are nearby, with option to call the store or get directions
o Links to online storefronts to buy online from the phone
* Tracklisting for CDs, along with option to play sample tracks right on phone
* For books, searches local libraries to see if they have a copy

I have no doubt that once the Apple iPhone App store is running on real, live 3G iPhones* we’ll have a version of this called iScan or something similar for sale, but it looks like the Android Developer Challenge is bearing fruit.

(I mention the iPhone because I think it is a great device and I eagerly await the release of the 3G iPhone here in Japan. Android as a platform is ultimately competing against other phones, not other platforms.)