Category Archives: Ideas

Richard Feynman – No Ordinary Genius

This was and is a great documentary. The entire thing is now available on YouTube and its great to see. I have this on DVD but I’m delighted that a wider audience will get to see this. Feynman wasn’t just a genius, he was a “character” who played bongo drums, talked about the interaction of art and science, and solved the mystery of why the Shuttle Challenger went down by dipping a piece of O ring in ice water.

[via Kottke.org]

How I fell in love with a fish

Chef Dan Barber squares off with a dilemma facing many chefs today: how to keep fish on the menu. With impeccable research and deadpan humor, he chronicles his pursuit of a sustainable fish he could love, and the foodie’s honeymoon he’s enjoyed since discovering an outrageously delicious fish raised using a revolutionary farming method in Spain.

I love this, beautifully presented and reasoned.

[via Malia Vatikiotis-Bateson]

The Fear Index

Fictional Thriller Tackles Dangers of High-Frequency Trading

This is an excellent Paul Solman NewsHour piece on both high frequency (algorithmic/machine) trading on Wall Street and the author Robert Harris’ new book The Fear Index. Fascinating and scary and you know a movie is going to be made or is in the process of being made. Robert Harris wrote the book The Ghost Writer which was made into an excellent movie directed by Roman Polanski.

By the way, if you’ve not seen the movie Margin Call I recommend it highly.

Chimping: A Short Documentary Film About Photojournalists

Chimping from D Perez on Vimeo.

A 2007 documentary about the dying art of professional photojournalism. Note that problems for professionals are much worse now in 2012 because of the explosion of social media, iPhone photography and many other factors.

I realize the pressure is on news organizations to save money but I’d choose a staff photojournalist any day over free images culled from online sources.

[via PetaPixel]

Bret Victor: Inventing on Principle

Bret Victor – Inventing on Principle from CUSEC on Vimeo.

Bret’s talk takes a while (53 minutes) but man is it worth it. Don’t be put off by the code (if you don’t code), it’s less about code, more about tight interactivity leading to more creativity as a guiding principle. When you couple excellent coding skills with a creative person who enjoys sharing many things are possible and this video is a demonstration of that.

Seymour Papert, various folks at the IBM Watson Research Lab, Bill Atkinson, Alan Kay, Larry Tesler, and others at Xerox PARC, and many other people have been working in this area but I have to say, Bret’s talk is the best I’ve heard (and I’ve heard many). He uses Tesler’s invention of modeless text editing as an example, among others.

Bret’s web site: Bret Victor

[via Kottke.org]

OMG! Exporting American Slang to China

Hari Sreenivasan hosted a great segment on Friday’s PBS NewsHour: OMG! Exporting American Slang to China.

Watch the segment video at the bottom of the page (the second video).

Jessica Beinecke writes, hosts, and produces OMG! Meiyu (oh my god! American English) and as you can see, has over 6000 subscribers and over 600,000 video views in her YouTube channel. Go Jessica!

The SCAR Project

The SCAR Project

Photographer David Jay is both an incredible portrait photographer and sensitive to the intimate psychological and physical details of breast cancer surgery. This is one of the most incredible collections of photographs I’ve seen on any subject. These images need to be seen printed as they’re large: exhibition schedule.

Check out the documentary: Baring It All.

The SCAR Project is a series of large-scale portraits of young breast cancer survivors shot by fashion photographer David Jay. Primarily an awareness raising campaign, The SCAR Project puts a raw, unflinching face on early onset breast cancer while paying tribute to the courage and spirit of so many brave young women.

Dedicated to the more than 10,000 women under the age of 40 who will be diagnosed this year alone, The SCAR Project is an exercise in awareness, hope, reflection and healing. The mission is three-fold: raise public consciousness of early-onset breast cancer, raise funds for breast cancer research/outreach programs and help young survivors see their scars, faces, figures and experiences through a new, honest and ultimately empowering lens.

[via Boing Boing]

Marco Arment on the Instapaper business model and more

Marco Arment on Planet Money

This is a great interview. The Planet Money guys are brilliant and Marco gets right in sync with their style.

Marco made and sells one of my all time favorite utilities: Instapaper. In a nutshell, if I start reading an article on my computer and want to finish it or read it on my iPad, I hit a button on my browser “read later” and the article is sent up to Instapaper, a cloud-based service that acts as my breadcrumbs in the clouds. Later, when I’m using my iPad (still connected to wifi) I click the Instapaper app and update its cache of saved stuff. The article appears and I can read it there.

What many don’t realize is that Instapaper caches the articles on the iPad and/or iPhone and so, I can read them there when I’m not connected, like when I’m on a plane. So, before my regular trips to LA I routinely load up my Instapaper account with things I want to read on the plane, then update the iPad’s Instapaper cache memory and I’m set.

Instapaper has many iBook-like reading tools including typographic control and more.

I’m hoping to use Instapaper to help my mother read The New Yorker as its app is totally worthless for anyone who can’t read small type.

Speculation on future AppleTV

Guy English: How I’d Build an Apple Television Set

The piece of Guy’s essay that appeals to me most is this:

So if you’re in an Apple based household the odds are good that your new Apple TV will be able to talk to one of your other devices and get the required network info from it. I’d bet heavily that this capability makes its way into AirPort devices and Macs. “Want to let this device on your network?”, is exactly the level of simplicity that Apple tends to aim for.

Setting up and using an AirPort network is much simpler than any of the other wifi routers I’ve played with over the years and my guess is that Apple is going to continue to make it simpler to add new devices to the network, including the AppleTV. It’s easy now and it will be even easier which is part of the puzzle of making a living room appliance that’s easy to use and integrate with other devices you already own.

I’m not entirely convinced that Apple will get into the flat panel TV business but I’m convinced that they’ll expand the capabilities of the current AppleTV, turning a Sony or Samsung flat panel TV set into a dumb HD screen, which is fine by me, I hate the menus on my Sony Bravia.

[via Steve Splonskowski]

Talk to the wrist

Apple’s Work on Wearable Computer Concepts Includes Wrist-Wrapping iPod with Siri

Imagine an iPod Nano wristwatch that’s also a bluetooth-connected communicator. Makes perfect sense, the question isn’t if Apple will make this, more like when.

Not sure I want to have even a short phone conversation talking to my wrist but for some things I think it might work out quite well. Bring up a todo list, a shopping list, a music list (on the phone, not the iPod), and more with voice using Siri.

Amazing comment thread at MacRumors, a few are asking why one needs a wristwatch, assuming that if one has an iPhone one can always get the time from it. Man, am I old. Not only do I wear a wristwatch, I wear an analog wristwatch (and it’s not an iPod with an analog screen on it).

Libraries adapt to a changing world

Libraries Make Room For High-Tech ‘Hackerspaces’

“We see the library as not being in the book business, but being in the learning business and the exploration business and the expand-your-mind business,” he says. “We feel this is really in that spirit, that we provide a resource to the community that individuals would not be able to have access to on their own.”

This is the spirit of a community computer user’s group, I love it.

Memo Touch

Introducing Memo Touch, a tablet designed for elders with short-term memory loss

While the implementation may not be the best, this is a killer good idea and it allows family members to log into the account and set up reminders.

Of course, someone might write an app like this for iOS and then one could have all the benefits of an iPad plus a custom reminder system.

The problem with any idea like this is it has to be made fully accessible to people who can’t see, hear, or use the tablet’s UI well.

I think this is a job for my friend David Niemeijer at AssistiveWare.