wikiCalc … and interesting example

I downloaded wikiCalc
today and began to play with it.  It reminds a lot of Radio Userland

wikiCalc is an application that installs on your desktop and then uses
a browser for the UI.  It appears to be using AJAX for a lot of
the interaction, and has an interesting publishing architecture.

I really like to see more and more applications like this.  I
believe that they represent an interesting intersection of client and
server … leveraging the power of the desktop, while allowing for
remote access.  I simply point my browser at a “server” – running
on my local machine, or a remote machine – and I am presented with a
flexible UI that contains rich AJAX functionality.

I like it!

Great series of Global Thinkers

I found this post from Thomas Barnett early, but only recently began to
download and listen to the podcasts … amazing stuff!  This is a
great series about global politics, etc.

A video of my Blueprint for Action brief.

This is the one I delivered in early November in DC to the seminar
series put on by Johns Hopkins and the Office of Force Transformation.

It is found here: You can watch it in chunks or download the entire brief as a file.

You can also access a PDF compilation of the slides. Pretty cool package!

[Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog]

Manipulating biology

I have recently been at a few events where I mentioned reading the
article about the rat brains being used to fly a F-22 jet
simulator. Here is the article – Why this brain flies on rat cunning – and the reference below is where I first found it. Yes … I find this really cool … amazing work.

Why this brain flies on rat cunning.
A “brain” grown from 25,000 neural cells extracted from a single rat
embryo has been taught to fly an F-22 jet simulator by scientists at
the University of Florida.

They hope their research into neural computation will help develop sophisticated h… [ Accelerating Intelligence News]

Google? Privacy? Yeah … sure …

Since the beginning of Google, I have always been reluctant to allow
cookies from their site. I’ve also been reluctant to heavily use
many of their other services. Part of this has been my
understanding of their overall architecture, and knowing that they
could choose to store a whole lot of information about me. Is
this just paranoia? No … it is because of my understanding of
the inevitable. I fully understand and accept that I’m just
delaying the inevitable … and so it’s just my little game with the
giant Google.

So what am I talking about? It’s the fact that computers are
getting to be so pervasive, and their ability to gather information
about us, and create profiles, exceeds our own abilities to distinguish
our own behaviors. We all have certain predictable behaviors,
many of which we are aware of. We also all have behaviors that we
are not aware of … that
become predictable to others who gather enough information about
us. Computer systems are able to gather large amounts of
information, and mine that information for patterns that we are not
even aware of.

I often use the simple example of grocery stores and their “discount”
or “members” cards. Yeah … just sign up, allow the grocery
store to gather information about everything that you have ever bought,
and they’ll give you a little discount. C’mon … what could it
hurt? Honestly, I’m not sure how it could hurt … but I have
thought through the amazing amount of behavioral data that they could
gather from you. The potential for them to then prey upon your
undistinguished behaviors and reactions grows quickly. They know
what day you buy what. They know what aisle and shelf it was on
when you bought it. They know the color of the packaging when you
bought it. They know the messages printed on the packaging when
you bought. They know the weather, the time of day, and the phase
of the moon. Your grocery store knows much more about your buying
patterns that you would ever think of.

And Google? Uh huh … they know your on-line behaviors. Big time. According to this article FAQ: When Google is not your friend
they have been recording everything that they can. Of course they
have been … storage is cheap, and only getting cheaper. They
know every search you have done, and when you did it, and what Google
Ads that you might have clicked on from the results. So
what? Yeah … I’m not immediately sure of the impact on my life,
however it is interesting to think about what Google can start to know
about you, and who you are, by all of this data. When are you
on-line. When do you search for what. What kinds of Google
Ads attract your attention. Where do you search from. To me
… this is pretty amazing. When you begin to think about mining
this huge volume of data it seems to me that some interesting patterns
have to emerge. Google can begin to know a lot about you, your
interests and undistinguished behaviors. Google … knows who you
really are. Google … knows your true identity.

Oh yeah … you use Gmail? Google Groups? Google
News? Google Alerts? Google Maps? Holy cow … they
have a whole lot on you! 🙂

What is so funny to me is when people are all up in arms about the
“government” and what “they” can find out about you. The article
above really touches on an ironic twist. The government can find
out all about you … as soon as they get it from Google. You
see, you have been giving your privacy away to Google and don’t
complain a bit. How could a company with a motto: Do no evil!
do anything wrong with all of this information they are gathering about
you? Well, I guess that we’ll see. It’s all inevitable … if it
isn’t Google … it’ll end up being yet another company. The
pervasiveness of the Internet, computers, cameras, sensors, and all
things technological is merely the solidifying of the next
substrate. The technologic substrate is forming all around us. The singularity is coming … and Google is just an example of the evidence.

Apple – moving to Intel, and Tablet PCs?

I caught this article about Apple Patents for Tablet Mac designs today on Engadget.  I figured that this is a no-brainer … Apple *has*
to catch up at some point.  Now get me right … I’m not talking
about catching up outside the context of the Tablet PC.  It’s that
they really had to catch up and produce a Tablet PC/Mac.  I didn’t even know there was a previous Apple Tablet Patent also.

As I have been researching more and more on the Tablet PC, I have to say that it is a much more natural interface in many cases.  I have found that I like the convertable
designs far better … where I can switch from using it in laptop
configuration, to using it in a slate configuration.  The HP that
I am using is designed this way.

As for the value of a Tablet, the most impressive aspect to me is when
I have allow my son, nieces and nephews to play with it.  For
them, it is an absolutely intuitive experience.

The one real advantage that I see about Apple jumping into the fray is
that it will truly begin to validate the Tablet PC concepts and
market.  Apple will also begin to push the designs, features, and
ergonomics of the Tablet.  The one thing that has really kept me
from fully adopting only a Tablet PC is the limitations in the devices
when compared to a regular laptop.

I like seeing Apple jump into the fray.  2006 is shaping up to be
a very interesting year for computer platforms.  Hardware is
really making leaps and bounds …

Use cell phones … live longer …

A the CTO Breakfast the other day I was talking about breif paper that
I wrote at Novell positing that “If you evolve to have a cell phone you
will live longer than those without a cell phone.”  It was sort of
a spoof of a paper, however my overall theory is that those who use
technology can gain from it.

I just got this today in an eWeek mail blast … again showing these
same benefits … cell phones extending the life of medical
patients.  Ok, slight variation … “If your doctor evolves to use
a cell phone …”

1. News: More Cell Phone Use, Less Medical Error, Study Shows

The use of
cell phones by medical personnel lowered the
overall error rate, due to
adequate communication; because
of changes in technology, there’s less risk
of interference
with hospital equipment.