Today at the whiteboard I am thinking about drywall. You know, the common building material used for interior walls. To be honest I am actually focused on the empty space behind the drywall that is completely void of use.
"When I talk to friends in the ubiquitous computing research arena I usually hear the same expectations: When we see breakthroughs in power efficiency, computation efficiency, & micrometer circuit size reduction we will be able to make our ubiquitous computing goals a reality."
I agree that we are in the Zack Morris cell phone era of electronics in regards to power, computation efficiency, & size. However, I get the nagging feeling that we are not using the current state-of-the-art effectively. I do not believe we need dust size circuits with indefinite parasitic power designs to take some interesting steps forward.
So today I am inventing Imperceptible Computing. The intent is simple: Develop technologies that are constrained by imperceptible computing and interfaces. Imperceptible Computing technologies will perform functions while hiding the circuits and interfaces necessary to generate the result.
Today users have learned dozens of interfaces as engineers/designers depend on the user to understand the technology. In my view, in regards to interfaces, it is time for the technology to understand the user. Interaction will be limited by the circuit's ability to sense the user's normal behavior. Special focus is needed to make more effective use of the spaces suitable for technology and how users interact with the space instead of the technology.
I often joke that the most expensive unintelligent possession I have purchased is my house. My house is unaware of itself, its occupants, nor its environment. Not only does my house have few sensing capabilities, it is also unable to take any decisive action. The house is the perfect test environment for Imperceptible Computing. Users interact with the house in predictable ways (re: walk in the front door) and there are large amounts of unused space just waiting to hide our circuits.
Today at the whiteboard I am thinking about drywall. To be honest I am actually focused on the empty space behind the drywall that is completely void of use.
The WAS (Worked All States) Award in ham radio is available to all amateurs worldwide who confirm having contacted each of the 50 states of the United States of America. I thought this might also be an interesting milestone for those of us who put up websites.
The picture above is a national summary of roteno.com readers as of 04APR09. So if you know any geeks in the states I have not "contacted" (white) let them know to check out roteno.com!
After a great launch on March 15 2009 I was eager to track the Shuttle (STS-119) and its progress towards the ISS. To my delight I found out this morning that I had the ephemeris for the tool bag lost on STS-126, ISS, & STS-119 . So here it is, my Monday funny.
I'm not really into discussing innovation in an abstract sense. However, Mayer does a great job doing this by focusing on her experiences at Google. Her discussion at Stanford resonated with me. Perhaps it will for you too.
I have not been to the Whiteboard in a while so today I carved out some time to let my thoughts wander to see if I could find a creative thought or two. An hour and a nice IPA later, all I could whip up was to open up a second IPA.
A documentary on flies was the only thing on that didn't have the word "Reality" attached to the title so the tuner stopped there. I was amazed at how flies have developed highly specialized biological system for the purpose of flight. If you have ever tried to swat a fly on a summer day you will agree that their flight control systems are very effective. Of course, performance in this case can thank specialization.
As computers evolve I wonder if we can take a lesson from the flies. Could some applications at the highest layers of the OSI model benefit from specialization? For example, could a browser browser implementation configure specialized hardware that increased performance by a couple orders of magnitude because of its dedicated hardware. Do we have a list of SW applications that could benefit from dedicated hardware? Could we develop a standard to place an FPGA on every motherboard that that would allow applications the capability to reconfigure the FPGA specifically for its purposes?
Something to think about as I go back to my documentary on flies.
Chris Sullivan's (N0DOS) talk on "What is Ham Radio?" I could not agree more. Great presentation!
The video is a screencast of me testing out my amateur radio station that can be used & controlled via the internet.My radio is an IC7000 for HF, VHF, & UHF. It is installed at my office on the top floor. I usually operate remoe from my deck with a laptop & a Logitech ClearChat Pro headet/mic.
It works great! My contacts can not tell I'm operating remote.
If you are also thinking about operating remote, let me know.
Home Theater PC (HTPC)
I have always been interested in having a computer in the living room connected to the Television. Unfortunately, I never liked the idea of having a typical ATX computer case in the living room. Last year I got a great deal on a D5 Media Center Enclosure that I could use to hide a computer in my living room. Today there is a lot of Internet content that can be consumed very comfortably on a television from over 10 feet away. A few of my favorites are Youtube, podcasts, Ustream, and Pandora. There are also many applications that I prefer using in a living room setting like Picasa, Orbitron, and Livescribe just to mention a few. Below are some pictures and a Bill of Materials (BOM) of the HTPC in case you want to build your own.
D5 Media Center Enclosure - Front
D5 Media Center Enclosure - Open
My HTPC with power supply, Western Digital 250GB HD, DG33TL MB,
Intel Core2 Duo , 2GB DDR2 800 RAM, ATI Radeon™ HD 4670
The complete HTPC in the media center
D5 Media Center Enclosure = $50
mATX 350W PS = $20
Western Digital 250GB HD = $60
2GB DDR2 800 RAM = $23
DG33TL MB = $90
Intel Core2 Duo = $110
ATI Radeon™ HD 4670 w/ HDMI = $99
Total = $452
You might notice that I did not bother with a keyboard or mouse. That is because I use TightVNC Server on the HTPC and the TightVNC Viewer on my laptop. Using my laptop I am able to control the HTPC using the keyboard and trackpad.