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Showing posts from January, 2011

I heart The Guardian

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My dad got me into the habit of reading The Guardian newspaper as he subscribed when I was a child (though he's since moved to the Times). I've stopped reading it at lunchtimes these days so I've started listening to their podcasts. The Guardian is a bit like Sun used to be, before they were taken over by Oracle, in that they look at the way the internet is going and then start giving stuff away. They've released APIs for their content so people can do things like today's Guardian. Whilst all this free stuff is great (e.g. Spotify) my worry is that people might go out of business because they haven't figure out a way of getting it to pay and then you stop getting the service. I think it's a while before we see how things pan out in the newpaper and music businesses, but it's interesting to watch it unfold.

Photo from iamthestig2.

New year's resolution

1280 by 1024 (end of geek joke)

A bit late I know, but more useful if I tell you of progress too.

I've really only had two.
1. Spend more time on Facebook. After slaving all day at a PC anything else PC related is a bit too much like work. However Facebook is handy for keeping in touch. I've cut down on some people I wasn't really that close to. So now I've got 139 of my closest buddies left. Not really, but maybe if I spend a bit more time on Facebook then they all can be close buddies. I'm not the only to cut down.

2. Make twitter not just seem like work. Looking at twitter during the Christmas holidays reminded me too much of work. I probably ought to do more with twitter lists at some point to sort out work-related people from the rest. Sometime. This year. Maybe.

Not quite neural implants

My blog piece of neural implants was fiction of course. However last night I saw a Horizon programme which had a couple of things that came close.

The first was a series of things (with a name I've forgotten) that are built into a helicopter pilot's harness that vibrate when he goes too high, or gets close to the ground. There's one near the belly button that shows you which direction you are moving. It's designed for situations like landing on sand where you have no visibility. They showed a pilot landing a simulator successfully with his eyes closed.

The second one was a belt with 8 vibrating pads around it. It was hooked up to a compass so that the pad nearest North vibrated continuously.

So whilst not quite being a heads-up display as my previous post predicted, it seems there's plenty of spare bandwidth with the sense to touch to get useful information into the brain.

Neural implants - a gadget from the future

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A gadget magazine from the future fell through a wormhole in time and it made very interesting reading. Here's an article from it about neural implants:

Neural implants are the latest essential gadget, but how do they work? Although they aren't the sort of thing you can get a demo of, we talked to a few of the early adopters to find out how they got on with them. The basic setup comes in two parts. The first is an implant which goes under the skull behind the ear in the motor section of the brain. The second goes on the optic nerve as it comes out of the back of the eye.

When you're first given them you don't notice any difference, apart from the after effects of the operation itself. This is the "discovery phase", when you're trying to find out which physical movements trigger the neurons that the motor implant has been attached to. The way you know you've found out is that you get a bright flash in your vision as the optic implant triggers. One per…