122 posts categorized "ThoughtStorms"

July 03, 2014

@Google Trend: Programming Languages vs @WordPress

Google Trends is a fascinaing way to look at what people are searching for. You can analyze multiple search terms by locale or worldwide. I wondered whether software is becoming a commodity and whether programming langauges are still in favour. What I found surprised me. It appears that most languages even the most popular ones like PHP are on the decline. While platforms like Wordpress are on a steep increase. Will we build solutions online from software stacks like Wordpress? Or is this a momentary blip?



And of course WordPress is eating Joomla's and Drupal's lunch. Several years ago (ca 2012) when Joomla 3.0 came out, instead of increasing, Joomla started declining rapidly in interest, while Drupal seems relatively stable. This is dominance and clearly shows Wordpress taking away mindshare and interest from the other 2 leading open source CMS systems.

May 04, 2013

Google Glass Must Have a Line of Symmetry

We are used to symmetry - 2 hands, 2 feet, 2 eyes, 1 nose with 2 nostrils. This is how we are designed. Google Glass decides to take an asymmetrical approach and that may be the biggest reason why people won't go ahead and plunk down ever a few hundreds bucks for this desigh.

The reason is simple: If you wear glasses you wear them usually in a design with both lenses with the same material.

image from www.headofrothchild.comUnless you want to be funny, wear a costume, go to a masquerade!

image from img.costumecraze.comGoogle Glass has more one one side than the other, so while not quite as whacky as the pair of glasses above, it still looks strange.

image from readwrite.com
Even this, although bulky would look better. A nice top border and you're getting there, although still not quite there. Why not hire Luxottica to help you out, Google?

Google glass symmetrical


March 03, 2013

Pictures from the life of a software developer

Have you ever found yourself feeling like this?

When a friend of mine asks me to fix his website built with Joomla

image from www.topito.com

There are hundreds of these funny GIFs here and here which are understandbable by software developers, although maybe if you google the context enough, the average person will find funny as well. 

December 28, 2012

Hugh Herr - Bionic Man and Nerd Determinism H/T @doctorow

Cory Doctorow was in my ears telling me about something I had felt before but never put into so many words. He was the final guest on Jesse Brown's Search Engine podcast, and I listened carefully as he described his idea of nerd determinism and nerd fatalism.

Don't worry I will get to Hugh Herr soon enough. But first, a reflection on something many geeks and nerds feel in the deep marrow of their bones - technology routes around dumb laws, corrupt politics, rampant corruption. The Internet was built to survive a nuclear war. Packets on the Internet route around router breaks, cable cuts and restrictive policies. Technology, if used properly, disinfects and sheds sunlight on problematic business models, governance models. It makes life better, in general.

So what is "Nerd Determinism" and how does it compare with "Nerd Fatalism"? Cory wrote about this interesting conflict in the way technologists (aka nerds) think about policy and in general their world view.

Techs either think "technology can make us better" or "people become corrupt and will use technology for mostly evil, not good". Nerd Determinism speaks to optimism and Nerd Fatalism falls back to pessimism.

So quoting Cory:

In "nerd determinism," technologists dismiss dangerous and stupid political, legal and regulatory proposals on the grounds that they are technologically infeasible. ... For example, US and EU police agencies demand that network carriers include back-doors for criminal investigations, and geeks snort derisively and say that none of that will work on smart people who use good cryptography in their email and web sessions.


Nerd fatalists hold that the geeky way of doing things – the famed "rough consensus and running code" – have an ideological purity that can't be matched by the old-time notions of deliberation, constitutionalism, and politics. These things are inherently corrupt and corrupting. If you move to Whitehall [England] to defend technology, in a few years, you will be indistinguishable from any other Whitehall wonk, just another corrupted suit who sells out his ideals for realpolitik.

So what does that have to do with Hugh Herr?  Mr. Herr is an associate professor in MIT's Program in Media Arts and Sciences and in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. He is also a double amputee from the knee down. He is a true pioneer in technology helping (disabled) people. He and his team at at MIT are designing bionic legs like these:

image from www.crismanphoto.com

These aren't just any prosthetics. They simulate calf muscles with computers. He can control them with a smartphone. And they allow him to play tennis again.

But what happens when politicans and lawyers make them illegal or restrict their use? Or when parents programs their kid's mechatronic limbs so that he or she can't jaywalk with these wonders of science? Or when Paralympians create the next version of Olympics in 2050 and athletes start cutting off their limbs to compete and win? Don't laugh, Herr's research associates half jokingly wanted to ampuate their legs to become competitive with Herr at mountain climbing (!)

Watch Mr Herr at this year's Google Zeitgeist describe the state of his biomechatronic art and his view that in 20 years, the Paralympians will be the premier Olympians, aided by technology. Our road there will likely be very rocky and complex. Witness the controversy around Oscar Pistroius running in the recent Olympics. There will most definitely be winners and losers. And there will be athletes who cut off limbs to be better, as ironic as that may be. Will our children have to deal with the laws and the implications of such technology? Will there be classes for technologically aided children separate from "full human" kids?

But this progress will inevitably happen, I am sure.

Mr Herr said it best when he said: "I'm no longer disabled, with bionics."

ps. Here he is on Flickr with another double-amputee-cum-moviestar-actress Aimee Mullins:

image from farm8.staticflickr.com

August 28, 2012

Dan Pink's new book is called "To Sell is Human" (video)

It's all about the science of selling. Dan has posted a video online to explain his latest work. The password for the video is "newbook". I hope you take a look and pre-order on Amazon (also on Amazon.ca for Candians), BN.com, or IndieBound. We'll do a review once we have it in hand.

UPDATE: Nov 14 2012 - Dan Pink has released the book video online on his website. Very very excited to read it!


Randomness and Bell Curves Drive our Lives - John Mighton

Incredible talk by the super-smart John Mighton on how the bell curve drives just about everything in the world. And how we used to be concerned about "deterministic" values in the previous centuries, and now we are much more concerned and interested in "edge cases" and the "abnormal". Steve Jobs said "Think Different" -- indeed. Mighton raises a number of key issues about teacher expectations, assessment, and students' ability to learn. 

This idea is driving password hacking today as well. Listen at 35:00 or so of this podcast called Security Now.


August 07, 2012

Run your own science experiment - in space - powered by #Arduino

Yeah, in space. These folks have raised over $100,000 on kickstarter to enable people all over the world to run their own science experiements, in space. They will launch an Arduino powered set of sensors on a satellite payload. Then they will collect experiments to be run "open source" style in space. No need for NASA, after all.


July 18, 2012

Synology Hacking - Run a DNS Server from your NAS

If you have a Synology NAS you may have realized you can install all sorts of open source software on the box by ssh'ing in and using ipkg to install just about anything. I am thinking of installing bind to run my own DNS server. Working to get rid of my dependence on any hosting provider (good bye 1and1!). I feel the Synology NAS can do a better job with lots more control and capability.

In any case this website has over 30 hacks on making your Synology do some amazing things. As if the "apps" capability is not enough, here is more!

UPDATE: There is now a commynity of Synology hackers online with their own repository called SynoCommunity. And this fellow has made several very interesting products run on Synology.

June 25, 2012

Blader Runner Turns 30 on June 25 2012. We are 7 years away from its potential future.

Blade Runner, Ridley Scott's vision of the future turns 30 this year. This vision of the future was released on June 25th 1982 and continues to live on, I believe, as the closest portrayal of our world's future. There are so many fascinating conclusions that this film makes: technological, political, physical, psychological. And the predictions in the film are even more bang on -- it's as if Scott had a crystal ball to look into the future and filmed us an infomercial of a potential world,  warning us to "Be careful of what you want. You may just get it."

Enjoy this short "documentary" on Scott's vision filmed in 1982. This adds yet another layer to a must-see film. See Blade Runner every year as we approach 2019, to remind you that the decisions we make every day lead to our eventuality.


And this never before published letter from Philip K. Dick, the author of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", the short story on which Blade Runner is based:

image from www.philipkdick.com
And for some Google/Nexus humour:

DECKARD: What’s this?

BRYANT: Nexus 6. Runs Ice Cream Sandwich. Incept date 2012. Flagship model. Optimum self-sufficiency. Probably the leader.

[new phone appears rotating on screen]

BRYANT: Galaxy S. Talk about ‘Beauty and the Beast’ — she’s both.

[new phone appears rotating on screen]

BRYANT: LG Genesis. Your basic pleasure model. They were designed to copy the iPhone in every way except for their applications. The designers reckoned that, after a few years, they might develop their own smartphone ecosystem. You know, cases, boom boxes, charging docks… so they built in a failsafe device.

DECKARD: Which is what?

BRYANT: Four hour talk time.


June 15, 2012

Tim Cook, Apple CEO fascinates at All Things D

Enjoy, fascinating discussion esp at 22:00 on US manufacturing.