The Sony Wig Nut

The Sony Wig Nut

Sony has so missed the mobile technology revolution.

In desperation, Sony has filed a patent for the SmartWig.

How incredibly useful (uh, not)?

Your faux hairdo can dial your hairdresser and make your next appointment for you.

It can locate via GPS the nearest salon.

And the SmartWig can even take selfies while you admire yourself in the mirror.

While Sony is goofing around again, and hasn’t had a hit since the to die for Sony televisions of yore (and let’s not forget the Walkman from 1980s), Google is moving out with bravado on Glass.

Google is getting display space for Glass in eyeglass retailers, and working with opticians to make prescription lens eye-Glass.

Let’s just say one company gets wearable technology and the other is hiding under wigs in The Technology Hall of Shame.

Then again, one customer may be interested in talking with Sony—the CIA for undercover operations.

Maybe a Smart Groucho Marx mustache that automatically shakes out the soup after you eat would be a cool new product, as well–go for it Sony!

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Annetta)

They Aren’t Smartwatches…they Are Dumbwatches

They Aren't Smartwatches...they Are Dumbwatches

The Wall Street Journal asks “Is it Time for Smartwatches?”

With the arrival of the first generation of smartwatches–Samsung Galaxy Gear, Pebble, and Sony Smartwatch–we have hit the rock bottom in innovate and design thinking.

These watches look cheap–flimsy plastic or ultra-thin aluminum or even stainless doesn’t cut it as a fashion statement when larger and substantial is in.

The screens are too small to be user-centric–let along there being any room for a physical or soft keyboard.

You can’t really read on it and you can’t type on it (any significant form of email, texting)–except by voice command. Ah, let me talk into my wrist, no!

Also, for videos or gaming, the small rectangular screens aren’t of any useful function–how much of Madonna’s new wild getup can you see or how far can you fling that angry bird on your wrist?

Downloading music on the Gear, uh, also no.

Taking photos with a 1.9 megapixel camera on the Galaxy Gear at a time when the 8 megapixels on the iPhone is running way short is good for maybe a James Bond, but not anyone else.

Plus for smartwatches like the Gear, you still need to pair it with a companion smartphone for it to work, so you now have added expense (between about $150 for the Pebble and $299 for the Gear smartwatch) with no significant added benefit.

For the Gear, you also have a separate charger because the watch only has a battery life of about a day, while for the Pebble and Sony Smartwatch 2, you have between half a week to a week.

And believe it or not, the Galaxy Gear is not compatible with their own Galaxy S4 smartphone–oh, so very smart.

My 16-year old daughter said, “If they had this 10 years ago maybe, but now, who needs it!”

No, Google Glass has it right–concept yes, fashion still to be worked out–and the smartwatches for now, have it wrong, wrong, wrong.

If you buy it, you’ve bought yourself a very dumb watch.

Maybe the iWatch can save the day? 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Nathan Chantrell)

The War Over Wearables

The War Over Wearables

Google Glass or its wearable technology alternatives from Apple and others is going to be huge.

This is one time that I disagree with many of the pundits interviewed by the Wall Street Journal (30 May 2013) that say that the future of wearable technology is still “out of focus.”

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, who is presumably playing catch-up with Google Glass says that Glass will be “difficult” to succeed with as a mainstream product.

Similarly, another unnamed technology executive said “wearing Google Glass looked a bit silly and borderline obnoxious.”

I don’t know about you, but I read a lot of fear and jealousy by these companies rather than disdain or contempt.

On the pother hand, Mary Meeker, the famous venture capitalist specializing in computers and the Internet, gets it right when she says that wearable computers would be the star of the “third cycle” of the web, and that the world has already entered the phase of “wearables, driveables, flyables, and scannables”

The first two, Glass and driverless cars is where Google has its first mover advantage, and flyable drones and scannable 3-D printing are already having huge impacts in the War on Terror and industrial design and manufacturing.

When wearable technologies are combined with embedded chips, we are going to have a whole new augmented reality experience.

Apparently many interviewed by the Journal saw a “very large gulf between the current [wearable] technology and mass adoption,” but Meeker who knows the Internet is one step ahead here seeing the potential of the emerging technology, rather than the short-sightedness of those without Glass. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Ars Electronica)

Kurzweil, Right and Wrong

Kurzweil, Right and Wrong

Ray Kurzweil the famous futurist is an amazing person, but like everyone he has his good and bad days.

When it comes to the Singularity–Kurzweil had a very good day.

With the accelerating speed of technology change, the advent of super intelligence and superhuman powers is already here (and continuing to advance) with:

Smartphones all-in-one devices give us the power of the old mainframe along with the communication capabilities to inform and share by phone, text, photo, video, and everything social media.

Google Glass is bringing us wearable IT and augmented reality right in front of our very eyes.

Exoskeletons and bioengineering is giving us superhuman strength and ability to lift more, run faster and further, see and hear better, and more.

Embedded chips right into our brains are going to give us “access to all the world’s information” at the tip of our neural synapses whenever we need it (Wall Street Journal).

In a sense, we are headed toward the melding of man and machine, as opposed to theme of the Terminator movie vision of man versus machine–where man is feared to lose in a big way.

In man melded with machine–we will have augmentations in body and brain–and will have strength, endurance, and intelligence beyond our wildest dreams.

However, Kurzweil has a bad day is when it comes to his prediction of our immortality.

Indeed, Kurzweil himself, according to the Journal “takes more than 150 pills and supplements a day” believing that we can “outrun our own deaths.”

Kurzweil mistakenly believes that the speed of medical evolution will soon be “adding a year of life expectancy every year,” so if only we can live until then, we can “Live long enough to live forever.”

But, just as our super intelligence will not make us omniscient, and our superhuman powers will not make us omnipotent or omnipresent, our super advances in medicine will not make us, as we are, immortal.

Actually, I cannot even imagine why Kurzweil would want to live forever given his fear-inspiring Singularity, where advances in machine and artificial intelligence outpaces man’s own evolutionary journey.

Kurzweil should knock off some of the pills and get back to humankind’s learning and growth and stop his false professing that humans will become like G-d, instead of like a better humans. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Willy Wonka Wears Google Glass TOO

Willy Wonka Wears Google Glass TOO

I can only say that my fascination with Google continues to grow daily.

Years ago, I used to joke, “What is this G-O-O-G-L-E?”

But now, I know and marvel at how Google is information!

And every type of information from news and facts to shopping and entertainment:

Research is Google.
eCommerce is Google.
Entertainment is Google.

Google this…Google that.

Archive, index, search, discover, access…learn, grow.

Google has quite literally ushered in a new age of enlightenment, no really!

The focus is on information…Google’s mission statement is:

“Organize the world’s information and make it universally acceptable and useful.”

If you believe that knowledge and learning is one of the core underpinnings for personal growth and global development then you can appreciate how Google has been instrumental in unleashing the information age we are living in.

Of course, information can be used for good and for evil–we still have free choice.

But hopefully, by building not only our knowledge, but also understanding of risks, consequences, each other, and our purpose in life–we can use information to do more good than harm (not that we don’t make mistakes, but they should be part of our learning as opposed to coming from malevolent intentions).

Google is used for almost 2/3 of all searches.

Google has over 5 million eBooks and 18 million tunes.

Google’s YouTube has over 4 billion hours of video watched a month.

Google’s Blogger is the largest blogging site with over 46 million unique visitors in a month.

But what raises Google as the information provider par excellence is not just that they provide easy to use search and access to information, but that they make it available anytime, anywhere.

Google Android powers 2/3 of global smartphones.

Google Glass has a likely market potential for wearable IT and augmented reality of $11B by 2018.

Google’s Driverless Car will help “every person [traveling] could gain lost hours back for working, reading, talking, or searching the Internet.

Google Fiber is bringing connection speeds 100x faster than traditional networking to Kansas City, Provo, and Austin.

Google is looking by 2020 to bring access to the 60% of the world that is not yet online.

Dr. Astro Teller who oversees Google[x] lab and “moonshot factory” says, “we are serious as a heart attack about making the world a better place,” and he compares themselves to Willy Wonka’s magical chocolate factory. (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

I like chocolate and information–and yes, both make the world a better place. 😉

(Source Photo: here by (a)artwork)

Action Video Extravaganza

Action Video Extravaganza

This is an awesome action video–5 minutes and totally worth it.

It feels like being inside a single player shooting game.

I first saw this video on Facebook posted by a colleague as a interesting advertisement for Go Pro wearable helmet cameras, often used for capturing extreme sports activities.

Now we are going from helmet cams to Google glasses.

With the new Google Glass coming out this year for $1,500–that mimics most smartphone functions including taking pictures and videos just by a simple verbal command such as “Okay Glass, record a video” or “Okay Glass, take a picture,”– things are going to get a lot dicier.

While this type of James Bond action doesn’t happen everyday for most of us, if we can capture every day events like these –it will be both awesome from a recall, sharing, entertainment, study and scientific perspectives and scary from a privacy one.

If Google Glass really works as it’s envisioned, it is going to revolutionize how we interact with the world and each other–get ready augmented reality, here we come. 😉

Innovation Infertility

The 7 Skinny Cows

Many of you may have probably the seen the movie, “Children of Men,”–it is themed around a time in the future when women are infertile (because of pathology, pollution, drugs, or whatever) and the world is in chaos–for what is life without children to carry on?

Fortunately, in the movie, after 18 years, one woman does get pregnant and bears a child and there is hope in the scientific community for a resurgence of humankind.

Unfortunately, we are now in a similar period of technology, where big innovation of yesterday has come grinding to a miserable saunter.

When the biggest news leaking out of superstar innovator, Apple is the potential for an iWatch–uh, not exactly earth shattering, we know we are in innovator’s hell!

And vendors from Apple to Samsung and Sony trying to come out with some sort of voice activated television–again, who doesn’t hate the TV clicker, but really this is not going to revolutionize our entertainment center days.

With hundreds of thousands of apps available for everything from social networking, eCommerce, gaming, and more, it seems like there are more copycat apps then anything else coming out these days–where’s the real wow factor?

Microsoft can’t find it’s way in a mobile world, the mighty Intel has been supplanted by ARM with mobile chips, Marissa Mayer is trying to figure out how to remake the jump for joy, Yahoo, relevant again, as are the Vanderhook brothers and Justin Timberlake trying to do for MySpace.

With the overemphasis on the form factor making bigger and smaller sizes and shapes for computing devices, we seesaw between iPod Classics and Nanos and between iPads and Minis. But where are the great functional enhancements? Yeah, ask Siri.

Similarly in computing architecture, we have latched unto cloud computing as the next great savior of IT-mankind, ignoring the repackaging again of the mainframe into a cool new computing model again, and relegating the prior go-to architecture of distributed computing as the evil twin. Sure, we can save some bucks until the pendulum swings back toward more decentralization and agility again.

In social computing, with Facebook what can you say–it’s got a billion users, but virtually not a single one would pay a dime to use it. If not for marketers scooping up our personal information online and advertisers annoying us with their flashing and protruding pop-ups, we continue to trade privacy for connectedness, until we lose too much of ourselves to identity thieves and snooping sources, and we fall back clamoring for more protection.

In security, we are getting clobbered by cyber intrusions, cyber espionage, and cyber attacks–everyday! We can’t seem to figure out the rules of cyberspace or how to protect ourselves in it. We can’t even find enough qualified people to fight the cyber fight.

I was surprised that even magazine, Fast Company, which prides itself on finding the next great innovation out there, states this month (April 2013), “Growing uncertainty in tech is creating chaos for startups, consumers, and investors…nobody has a non-obvious new social business model that can scale.”

As in the movie, Children of Men, we are suffering from an infertility of innovation–whether from burnout, a focus on short-term profit instead of long-term R&D investments, declining scores in STEM, or a lack of leadership–we are waiting for the next pregnancy so we can have hope again, but are disappointed that so many are false positives or overhyped prophets.

One of the things, I am most excited about is Google Glass and their concept of augmented reality, but the glasses are geeky and will need to be package in a lot more eloquent solution to really be practical in our futures.

The next great thing will come–life is a great cycle–but as in the Bible with 7 fat cows and 7 skinny cows, leading to the great famine in Egypt, we are now seeing lots of skinny cows walking around and it is darn scary. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)