deep thoughts by a whale

Vegas with Night Lights
Alien Landing in Vegas

The Book:

It is important to note that suddenly, and against all probability, a Sperm Whale had been called into existence, several miles above the surface of an alien planet and since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity.

This is what it thought, as it fell:

The Whale:

Ahhh! Woooh! What’s happening? Who am I? Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life? What do I mean by who am I?

Okay okay, calm down calm down get a grip now. Ooh, this is an interesting sensation. What is it? Its a sort of tingling in my… well I suppose I better start finding names for things. Let’s call it a… tail! Yeah! Tail! And hey, what’s this roaring sound, whooshing past what I’m suddenly gonna call my head? Wind! Is that a good name? It’ll do.

Yeah, this is really exciting. I’m dizzy with anticipation! Or is it the wind? There’s an awful lot of that now isn’t it? And what’s this thing coming toward me very fast? So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like ‘Ow’, ‘Ownge’, ‘Round’, ‘Ground’! That’s it! Ground! Ha!

I wonder if it’ll be friends with me? Hello Ground!

[dies]

Proverbs 11:24-25

One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.

A generous person will prosper;  whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

  • proverbs-11:24-25

Or to put it another way, via Dune-Micheli PattenA parable by an Unknown Author:

There once was a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon.

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors.

“How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.

“Why sir,” said the farmer, “didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”

He is very much aware of the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbor’s corn also improves.

So it is with our lives. Those who choose to live in peace must help their neighbors to live in peace. Those who choose to live well must help others to live well, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others to find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.

The lesson for each of us is this: if we are to grow good corn, we must help our neighbors grow good corn.

How do you know _____? I’m not always sure…. it just happens

Every year at SXSW I feel a little older. It doesn’t help that right before SXSW 2015, where it was my privilege to be a speaker for the third time at the Interactive festival, that twitter sent me a notice congratulating me on being on twitter for 8 years.

8 years on twitter. At least I don’t post photos of every piece of sushi I eat. Although I almost posted a photo of the biscuits-and-gravy I ate this morning. (Shut it – it’s called “carb’ing up” for tennis tomorrow.) Anyway it’s all a blur although I know I can blame Erica O’Grady for getting me on twitter for sure.

But the iphone. It was 2007. Kool Aid? Check. And well….. In Adam Tow’s photo I’m the guy with the brown shirt and arm raised on the left hand side at the back. Yup that’s me. I haven’t always had a beard.

When I heard about iphone dev camp, by rss feed of course, I was on an airplane. My first iphone was purchased by proxy by a great friend named Imelda who was willing to get me one on the first day given I was flying someplace else on the day they were released. We registered on a wiki because what could go wrong, right?

iphone dev camp 1 wiki 2007
iphone dev camp 1 wiki 2007

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 7.20.15 PM

In the end there I was at iphone dev camp 1 when apple didn’t even have an SDK yet. But I was there in San Francisco in 2007. Right after Adam took his photo I had to run around and take my own photo to post to my flickr set from iphone dev camp 2007.

When I got back to Houston I had a bunch of new friends and wound up presenting at Netsquared Houston on the iphone and the good the bad and the ugly. I’ve left the iphone, come back, left again, came back again and right now I really enjoy the camera on my iphone 6. In 2007 this was my presentation on the iphone at netsquared.

At SXSW this year I saw a lot of these folks, but not enough. It’s a marathon and not a race. Now I’m more excited about hexacopters, remote work environments, how best to give people meaningful work, create a great product, and keep our clients not just happy but evangelists. A lot has changed.

There are too many names to even begin to give credit to for these adventures and the fact that they have resulted in tangible benefits that went right back to our employees in profit sharing and training and benefits over the last 17 years since I started the company in 1997. Yet “I” didn’t start the company, I jumped off the cliff and my family and friends were like “well look what the hell he did now? Guess we gotta help him till he comes around.” And they did.

Here’s to the crazy ones.

Then. And now. Here is a humble thank you to those who keep us alive, pick us up when we fall, put up with us working three days straight without sleep when we get in the zone. And still love us.

Here’s to the ones who love and care for the crazy ones, because we are nothing without you. And I say that with the utmost humility. I am no Steve Jobs. I am not Rosa Parks. I’m a person who is terrified yet at the same time resolutely certain of the outcome.

“Remembering you are going to die, is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You re already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs

“Stay hungry. Stay Foolish.”

Thank you. And thank you Steve for the inspiration….

In closing…. “Tendenci – we just want to change the world. What’s so hard about that?

#peace

can data curation duties be traded?

From the post paraphrased:

…proper formatting and exposure of the nanopublications contained in diverse sources … allow these resources to be recognized for the important scientific contributions they actually are.

In full:

The brooding question: can data curation duties be traded?

Only a minority of nanopublications in databases and datasets will ever make it into a narrative as an explicit textual assertion. Even if they do, they will be very difficult to recover retrospectively, for reasons related to access and the failings of mining technology, in confronting ambiguity and sentence construction. We estimated that describing the supplementary data of Giardine et al.2 would require roughly 4 million words, with the result being a corpus hardly readable by machines.

On the other hand, a single LOVD website (http://www.dmd.nl/) consistently enjoyed more than 50 citations annually over the past three years. It is therefore reasonable to assume that proper formatting and exposure of the nanopublications contained in diverse sources such as locus-specific databases could allow these resources to be recognized for the important scientific contributions they actually are. Appropriate standards for proper measurement of these citable items seem to be the only remaining obstacle. So, let us agree to evolve these and to communicate more effectively.

the long now

“When I was a child, people used to talk about what would happen by the year 02000. For the next thirty years they kept talking about what would happen by the year 02000, and now no one mentions a future date at all. The future has been shrinking by one year per year for my entire life. I think it is time for us to start a long-term project that gets people thinking past the mental barrier of an ever-shortening future. I would like to propose a large (think Stonehenge) mechanical clock, powered by seasonal temperature changes. It ticks once a year, bongs once a century, and the cuckoo comes out every millennium.”

-  Daniel Hillis via The Long Now

i just want to be your friend

“I just want to be your friend.” – Blinky

Blinkyâ„¢ from Ruairi Robinson on Vimeo.

Soon every home will have a robot helper.

Don’t worry.

It’s perfectly safe.

Written, Directed & Edited by Ruairi Robinson

Starring Max Records from “Where The Wild Things Are”.

Cinematography by Macgregor

Music by Ólafur Arnalds courtesy of Erased Tapes

Funded by Bord Scannán na hÉireann / Irish film Board

gorgon – photosynth for video in real time

I read about our new Gorgon all seeing eye drone and wondered if there was a commercially available tool to do the same thing for mobile phones. First a bit more on the Gorgon drone from PopSci:

Two MQ-9 Reapers retrofitted with the new $15 million wide-area aerial surveillance sensors, or WAAS, will fly test missions later this year, and the Air Force plans to have ten such planes in battle by next spring, in rotation on a 24/7 patrol. “It’s an incredible force enhancer,” said Colonel Eric Mathewson, Director of the service’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force at the Pentagon. Sierra Nevada Corporation, makers of the WAAS, chose the name, a spooky reference to the cursed sisters from Greek mythology—Medusa being the Beyoncé of the trio—whose gaze turned men to stone.

Perhaps a better description from this Washington Post Article on the Gorgon drone:

This winter, the Air Force is set to deploy to Afghanistan what it says is a revolutionary airborne surveillance system called Gorgon Stare, which will be able to transmit live video images of physical movement across an entire town.

The system, made up of nine video cameras mounted on a remotely piloted aircraft, can transmit live images to soldiers on the ground or to analysts tracking enemy movements. It can send up to 65 different images to different users; by contrast, Air Force drones today shoot video from a single camera over a “soda straw” area the size of a building or two.

It turns out Microsoft is doing something similar as was seen at TechCrunch TechFest last year. In this video called Qik Meets Photosynth they are combining different low res video streams into a much larger stream that is color corrected and aspect correct. Pretty darn cool. The video is below:

If we all streamed video from dash cams in our cars, we could have a real time traffic map of major roads combined. Things that make me go hmmmmm….

Trends for 2007 and Beyond

The few days I have been asking people "what major trends do you see?" The responses have been some good and some bad. They include the list below. The list is from listening and the links are from after-the-fact googling of the concepts. And this is in no way scientific. Here is the beginning of the list:

  1. The importance of self expression. Advertising and technology that encourages self expression will succeed. So it isn’t user-generated-content. Rather it is helping people express themselves. Myspace is a good example of this. (this was from the IABC luncheon today)
  2. The decline in classified advertising revenue for newspapers. First craigs list and now khou offering free ads. The tv station won’t matter long term, but craig’s list is the real deal.
  3. The spoiled youth will hit reality. When? How? We don’t know.
  4. Games and gaming. Kids love video games. Will they ever readjust to earning a living? Unknown.
  5. Newspapers standardizing on the new format like the Chronicle did a long time ago. And like the WSJ did in January.
  6. Citizen Journalist Corruption. And Citizen Journalist Entrepreneurship.
  7. Second life and virtual worlds. This one is saturated, but it must be on the list. Still, I am already getting sick of hearing about it.

And two on politics:

  1. Everyone loves Obama. Republicans too. This will be interesting (and volatile).
  2. Health care. Hillary Clinton, a democrat, proposed changes and got pilloried. Meanwhile Schwarzenegger, a republican, proposes state funded health care? I’m confused.

There are certainly more. I’ll add those as I recall and review notes.