More on Health Supplements

I did some research this weekend looking into “alpha-lipoic acid” and exacty what it is.  It was interesting to search Google and then start reading through the links.

One of the first links that I found linked to the Berkeley Wellness Letter web site.  This article had some interesting information that brought up another key supplement – carnitine.

One of the best-known proponents of ALA is Dr. Bruce Ames, professor of
molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley. He has
helped develop and study an ALA supplement called Juvenon, which has been
patented by UC Berkeley. Juvenon, in addition, contains another promising
compound, acetyl-L-carnitine, which is also involved in energy production in the
mitochondria. Ames and his colleagues have found that high doses of these
compounds, in combination, enable elderly rats to function like younger ones. Of
course, the same results may not occur in humans. Human studies are just getting

This led me to search more on this combination of supplements, and I found this article:  Four powerhouse nutrients
It’s a facinating article that explains what is now known about the
various compounds that interact within cells to produce energy.

So in my search for a source of alpha-lipoic acid, I could not find it
at Costco … yet.  I was, however able to find it at GNC … in both plain alpha-lipoic acid, and also coupled with carnitine.

Time to head over to GNC …

Modern Health Supplements

I have a group of friends that I know through John Smart
and his
Acceleration Studies Foundation
.  Many of them are into “life extension” and real modern
health research.  My wife and I recently went to a weekend retreat
in Big Sur California with a large group and hung out talking tech and
planning this year.

One of the topics that came up was Ray Kurzweil‘s new book Fantastic Voyage
.  As quoted from the web site:

Immortality is within our grasp . . .In Fantastic Voyage, high-tech
visionary Ray Kurzweil teams up with life-extension expert Terry Grossman, M.D.,
to consider the awesome benefits to human health and longevity promised by the
leading edge of medical science–and what you can do today to take full
advantage of these startling advances. Citing extensive research findings that
sound as radical as the most speculative science fiction, Kurzweil and Grossman
offer a program designed to slow aging and disease processes to such a degree
that you should be in good health and good spirits when the more extreme
life-extending and life-enhancing technologies–now in development–become
available. This bridge to the future will enable those who dare to make the
journey from this century to the next . . . and beyond.

There is a lot of interesting research going on in the world, and this
book begins to outline some theories about how we can assist our bodies
in their operation, and how to stay healthy while new sciences discover
new ways to allow us to live longer.

During some of the discussions, there was a consistant agreement that
three daily supplements are showing great signs of keeping you healthy
and full of energy.

  • Enteric Coated Fish Oil (Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
  • Co-enzyme Q10 (coQ10)
  • Alpha-lipoic Acid

I recently read a great article in NewScientist “11 steps to a better brain” which mentioned the Fish Oil again:

Brains are around 60 per cent fat, so if trans-fats clog up the system, what
should you eat to keep it well oiled? Evidence is mounting in favour of omega-3
fatty acids, in particular docosahexaenoic acid or DHA. In other words, your
granny was right: fish is the best brain food. Not only will it feed and
lubricate a developing brain, DHA also seems to help stave off dementia. Studies
published last year reveal that older mice from a strain genetically altered to
develop Alzheimer’s had 70 per cent less of the amyloid plaques associated with
the disease when fed on a high-DHA diet.

Ok … sold.  I found this supplement as capsuls on the Costco website.  Added to the shopping list.

The next thing that I went looking for was coQ10 and so I searched Google for coQ10.  While reading through a bunch of these links, I then found some comments about coQ10 and statin drugs
These are the class of drugs that include Lipitor and Zocor, and are
used to lowering cholesterol levels in the blood.  For over a year
now I have been taking Zocor, and so this peaked my interest.  Not
only is coQ10 something of value to the average person, it appears that
coQ10 has some extra value to statin drug users.  (Whoa … a drug
user!)  I read “Side Effects of Lipitor, Zocor, and Other Statin Drugs“, and also “CoQ10“. 
Ok … again I’m sold.  I also found this one on teh Costco web
site.  Added this one to the shopping list and ran over to buy

As of yesterday I’m adding these two to my diet, and now I’m going to
investigate the third … time to read up about “Alpha-lipoic acid” …
interesting stuff …

Busy with projects …

I noticed that I am *WAY* behind in my blog reading, and posting. I’ve
been having a blast and just too busy with life in general … it just
hasn’t been a priority. Besides spending time with the family, I’ve
been working on:

  • My full time job at “Agilix Labs”. We are well into our partnership with Blackboard, and are deep into the development of our next generation of the product. GoBinder
    is going to end up being a very fun project. With our next gen
    product, it will become a fully open and dynamic platform for education
    and work. Our SDK will open up GoBinder to allow for the addition
    of custom pages and capabilities. I can’t wait for the next
    builds to come together.
  • Cell Phone Services – I’m working on two projects in this space
    that are coming together nicely. And they both interelate and
    have the ability to support each other. One is related to social
    networking, and then other is a information service … I’m n ot going
    to say much more for now … but we now have operational web sites.
  • Zombie Tracking – I have a prototype of my system for tracking
    and reproting on suspected zombie machines on the Internet. I now
    have 10 of my hosts reporting in to my central collection system and
    basic reporting working. The information that I am gathering is
    interesting already, and I’m not even done yet. I have a lot more
    to do here … but I want to complete the cell phone services first.
  • Wireless Hot Spots – I’m still working on the NoCat open source
    project, and have recently begun the process of integrating my changes
    into the core release. I’m also working with Schuyler at NoCat to
    get the NoCatSplash project completed with full captive and passive

So … with all of this going on … it’s easy to fall behind in
reading and posting. I’ve actually enjoyed getting back into
coding and have been writing a good bit of Perl and PHP again … doing
some REST web services … and playing on the Internet in
general. Fun stuff.

May CTO Roundtable

This morning was the  May CTO Breakfast
coordinated by Phil Windley.  There was a good group of people,
and the usual varied topics.  I came in a little late and so I
missed the beginning conversations, however we quickly moved into

We spent a good bit of time talking about computer languages … from COBOL to APL,
C to Java to C#.  I linked to APL since we spent some time on APL,
and talking about what the core values were of this language.  I
suggested that computer languages have evolved to meeting the demands
of individuals who want to describe or communicate an abstract concept
into a form that a computer can use and process.  There is a huge
human side to computer languages … the computer language of choice
seems to be related to the ability of the individual to express their
ideas – the abstract thought, concept, or process – in that
language.  In addition, it was brought up that there could be a
better language that is more effective or efficient for that individual
… however they might not have ever taken the time to learn that

Another point that was brought up was how corporations and developers
often develop in the languages they know … even though it might be
far more cost effective to develop the solution in a different
language.  One thing that is changing all of this is the
translation of software source code into intermediate langauges that
are executed by various run-time engines.

The subject of differences in global cultures – from here in the USA,
to Europe and China – also came up, and the motiviation of younger
generations in these other countries.  We ended up talking about
how “guilt and humiliation” can often be good motivators, and are
present in other cultures.  In addition, we talked about the
various role models that are present here in our country.

Finally, the topic of schools and education came up.  It was
interesting to hear the various points of view about our education
systems in the country, and how it is the parents involvement that
directly relates to the behavior and participation of the student.

Overall … as usual … a very interesting set of discussions. 
Of course afterwards I spent some time chatting with Phil about some of
our ideas, and some of the projects that I am working on.  I’m
about to announce a demonstration of one of them … and there is one
that I might be able to work with Phil on.  We’ll see …

The next wave of Robots

When I was growing up, I remember seeing the Heathkit HERO Robots
… kit robots that you could buy from the premiere electronic kit
company.  They were too cool, and of course made me and friends
think about owning our own R2D2 robot.

Yesterday, I found out about the RoboBusiness Conference & Exposition
that was held this week in Cambridge, MA.  I am really impressed
at the conference, and the speakers, and I am sorry that I was unable
to attend.  I would have really liked to hear about the progress
that has been made in the areas of robotics and telepresense.  It
is really this second topic – telepresence – that really interests
me.  This is where robots are being used to extend the “senses” of
a human operator.  In military applications, these robots can
enter a building or cave and allow the human operator to look around
without being in danger.  In personal applications you could
remotely interact with one of your grandparents, and look around their
house for them and to keep an eye on them.

If you visit the website you will see a lot of companies working in
this space … and some very innovative solutions.  One of the
interesting robots is White Box Robotics and their new Model 914 PC-BOT … the next generation of hobbyist/experimental robots.  Is is available for purchase now, or at least to reserve one, and it is priced very aggressively.

There are many other examples, and again I really am impressed by the
list of speakers.  I’ll have to talk Doug Kaye into getting the
conference proceedings on ITConversations!

Learning more about the brain

I am constantly amazed at the progress we are making with knowledge of
the brain.  I am so glad that there are ways that we can continue
to experiment and learn.  This article
was amazing to me … that we are actually learning about the effects
of various drugs, and finding ways to alter and effect the neural
wiring of the brain.  The brain-damaged firefighter – Donald Herbert – has now started to interact with his family nearly 10 years after an accident left him in a coma.

It is amazing what we have been able to do … and what might be coming
in the future … as we continue to more fully develop our knowledge
about the human brain.

Music Plasma

Clint Carlos showed me a Music Plasma tonight. It’s a very graphical version of the older FireFly Networks that was bought by Microsoft.
Music Plasma is a very cool site that allows you to enter the name of a
band, and it will show you a very cool graphical display of other bands
related to the band you searched for. The relationship is a
“people who like this band, also like these other bands” … and the
size of the bands graphic is the size of their following.

It’s a very cool way to find new music and to think about data
relationships. I have more that I wanted to say about this,
however I have to run …

Head Mounted Displays

I haven’t really been tracking the Wearable Computer market as much
lately.  It’s not that I don’t want to … it’s just that the
high-tech crash really crushed a lot of the innovators and stopped the
progress cold.

One area that was getting so close to delivering was in Head Mounted
Displays (HMDs).  I recently found that some vendors are again
stepping into this space.  I’m not sure that I saw Icuiti before, however I have to admit that I am pleased to see their progress!

Check out the monocular HMD, and binocular HMD … these are pretty good, and the price is not too high.  I might have to pick one up to check them out …