In addition to periodic think-pieces here at Shepherd’s Pi, I also contribute a monthly online column over at SIGNAL Magazine on topics relating to intelligence. This month I keyed off a recent discussion I had onstage at the 2015 AFCEA Spring Intelligence Symposium with Elon Musk, particularly a colloquy we had on implications of the emerging cleavage (post-Edward Snowden) between Silicon Valley technology companies and their erstwhile innovation partners, U.S. intelligence agencies.
Question: Why did Elon Musk just change his Twitter profile photo? I notice he’s now seeming to evoke James Bond or Dr. Evil:
I’m not certain, but I think I know the answer why. Read on… Continue reading
WIRED Magazine’s online site ran a great long profile of Microsoft Research late yesterday, with interviews and project features: “How Microsoft Researchers Might Invent a Holodeck.”
I have written about or mentioned all of the individual projects or technologies on my blog before, but the writing at WIRED is so much better than my own – and the photographs so cool – that I thought I should post a link to the story. Continue reading
Filed under: innovation, Microsoft, R&D, Technology | Tagged: collaboration, holodeck, innovation, Kinect, Microsoft Research, MSR, NUI, PARC, R&D, research, tech, Technology, Xerox | Leave a comment »
Who says Apple and Microsoft can’t work together? They certainly do, at least when it involves the ingenuity of their users, the more inventive of whom use technologies from both companies (and others).
Here’s a neat example, “a just-for-fun experiment from the guys at Laan Labs” where they whip up a neat Augmented Reality recipe: take one iPad, one Kinect, and stir:
Some technical detail from the Brothers Laan, the engineers who did the work:
We used the String Augmented Reality SDK to display real-time 3d video+audio recorded from the Kinect. Libfreenect from http://openkinect.org/ project was used for recording the data coming from the Kinect. A textured mesh was created from the calibrated depth+rgb data for each frame and played back in real-time. A simple depth cutoff allowed us isolate the person in the video from the walls and other objects. Using the String SDK, we projected it back onto a printed image marker in the real world.” – source, Laan Labs blog.
There are several quiet projects underway around the DC Beltway to make use of the SDK, testing non-commercial but government-relevant deployments – more detail and examples at the appropriate time. We will eventually release a commercial SDK with even more functionality and higher-level programming controls, which will directly benefit government early adopters.
In the meantime, I may report on some of the new advances being made by our research group on Computational User Experiences, who “apply expertise in machine learning, visualization, mobile computing, sensors and devices, and quantitative and qualitative evaluation techniques to improve the state of the art in physiological computing, healthcare, home technologies, computer-assisted creativity, and entertainment.” That’s a rich agenda, and the group is in the very forefront of defining how Natural User Interaction (NUI) will enhance our personal and professional lives….
Filed under: Government, innovation, Microsoft, R&D, Society, Technology | Tagged: 3D, Apple, AR, augmented reality, augmentedreality, Government, hack, innovation, iPad, Kinect, kinecthack, Microsoft, sdk, starwars, tech, Technology, virtual reality, virtualreality, VR | 2 Comments »
On April 16 I will be speaking at the Mobile Citizen Summit in Washington DC (registration still open), which brings together “practitioners across the government, nonprofit, advocacy, and political spaces—the kinds of people who develop the strategy and the tools to reach, engage, educate, and enable citizens across the country and around the world.”
But I’m going to be talking about “mobile” in a different way than others still use the term, i.e. they focus on a handheld device, while I will be focusing on the mobile citizen. As I have said before I don’t believe our future involves experiencing “augmented reality” by always holding up little 3-inch plastic screens in front of our faces. Natural user interfaces and immersive computing offer much more to how we access computational resources – and how technology will help us interact with one another. Here’s an example, in a story from the past week.
Filed under: innovation, Microsoft, R&D, Society, Technology | Tagged: 3D, AR, augmented reality, cellphone, citizens, CNET, Evan Suma, Government, human, innovation, IT, Kinect, mCitizen, Microsoft, Microsoft Research, MIT, MIT Media Lab, mobile, Mobile Citizen Summit, MSR, people, politics, privacy, research, tech, Technology, USC, video, videoconferencing | 20 Comments »
I was home last night playing with the new Kinect, integrating it with Twitter, Facebook, and Zune. Particularly because of the last service, I was glad that I got the Xbox 360 model with the 250-gigabyte (gb) hard disk drive. It holds a lot more music, or photos, and of course primarily games and game data.
So we wind up with goofy scenes like my wife zooming along yesterday in Kinect Adventures’ River Rush – not only my photo (right) but in-game photos taken by the Kinect Sensor, sitting there below the TV monitor.
Later as I was waving my hands at the TV screen, swiping magically through the air to sweep through Zune’s albums and songs as if pawing through a shelf of actual LP’s, I absent-mindedly started totting up the data-storage capacity of devices and drives in my household. Here’s a rough accounting:
- One Zune music-player, 120gb;
- 2 old iPods 30gb + 80gb;
- an iPad 3G at 16gb;
- one HP netbook 160gb;
- an aging iMac G5 with 160gb;
- three Windows laptops of 60gb, 150gb, and 250gb;
- a DirecTV DVR with a 360gb disk;
- a single Seagate 750gb external HDD;
- a few 1gb, 2gb, and a single 32gb SD cards for cameras;
- a handful of 2gb, 4gb, and one 16gb USB flash drives;
- and most recently a 250gb Xbox 360, for Kinect.
All told, I’d estimate that my household data storage capacity totals 2.5 terabytes. A terabyte, you’ll recall, is 1012 bytes, or 1,000,000,000,000 (1 trillion) bytes, or alternately a thousand gigabytes.
Filed under: innovation, Microsoft, Society, Technology | Tagged: Amazon, Azure, compsci, computer, computer science, computers, Dan Reed, data, DirecTV, DVR, Facebook, future, games, gaming, Government, HP, immersive, innovation, iPad, iPod, Kindle, Kinect, Microsoft, Microsoft Research, MSR, Seagate, Silicon Valley, Society, storage, tech, Technology, Twitter, USB, Windows, Xbox, Xbox360, XCG, Zune | 9 Comments »
Today, August 5, has a number of interesting anniversaries in the world of technology and government. In 1858 the first transatlantic telegraph cable was completed, allowing President James Buchanan and Queen Victoria to share congratulatory messages the following week. (Unfortunately within a month the cable had broken down for good.) The first quasar (“quasi-stellar astronomical radio object”) was discovered on Aug. 5, 1962. And exactly one year later the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed on August 5, 1963, between the U.S., U.S.S.R., and Great Britain.
But one important date I’d like to commemorate was a bit different: eighty-seven years ago today, on August 5, 1923, my father was born, in Greensboro, North Carolina. Happy Birthday, Dad!
There’s a shorthand way of telling my father’s life-history which fits with the theme of technological advance: he graduated from college (his beloved N.C. State) as an early recipient of a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering; he worked for decades for a growing company interested in adopting new technologies to drive its business; and he capped his career as Corporate Vice President for Research and Development at a Fortune 300 company.
But that misses the fun he had along the way, and the close-up view he had of innovation. He was an early adopter, even before college. (I like to think I get that from him.) So I thought I’d illustrate a couple of vignettes I’ve heard over the years of his interaction with computers along the way, simply to portray the thrust of radical change that has paced along during the course of one man’s life.
Filed under: Government, innovation, R&D, Society, Technology | Tagged: B17, birthday, Blue Bell, bomber, computer, computers, enterprise, IBM, innovation, Jake Shepherd, nerd, nerds, quasar, R&D, Society, tech, Technology, USAF, wrangler, WWII | 1 Comment »