“When did apps become like porn?” The delightfully crazy lady ask.
The tired traveler stared back at her with a look of befuddlement.
She laughed, “Ok, that wasn’t clear… I mean, there’s like a porn for everything you can imagine… And the things you can’t. When did apps become like that?”
So that was an except of my interaction with a stranger on the shuttle from the San Francisco Airport to my hotel back in September (I wrote most of this weeks ago and then forgot to finish it). I had just arrived in Palo Alto for the Quantified Self Conference. Back to the crazy lady’s question sans third person…
After she asked the question I pondered it seriously for a moment, came up with my answer, and the asked myself, “does she really want me to answer her?” The expression on her face scream that she was dead serious.
“When did apps become like porn? I’m not really sure of the exact day and time; it’s been a couple of years. But… I’m pretty sure that both porn and apps became so widespread for the same reasons:
- Low cost technology
- Low barrier to entry production
- Free tutorials
Pretty much anyone can afford a computer, mobile, and a camera. The software to produce code and edit film ranges from dirt cheap to free, and there are free tutorials all over to learn how to do it… Also, tripods. They helped too.”
To cap it all off, this conversation was set to a cultish radio preacher ranting about the impending end-times… Which is in part the fault of ubiquitous porn. It was an interesting ride, made all the more surreal by days of sleep deprivation.
- a renewed love of technology and geekery?
- a fun time?
Well my friend, then you must come to World Maker Faire New York.
If you think that Americans don’t make things anymore…
Then you must come to World Maker Faire New York.
If you think you’ve seen all that technology has to offer us, or that the people who commercially implement technology are unscrupulous…
Then my friend, you must come to World Maker Faire New York.
Maker Faires happen all over the country, and they feature the work of DIYers. Everything from robotics to 3D printing, homemade prosthetics for amputees, knitted items, baked goods, greeting cards, a giant fire-breathing metal dragons made from truck parts, the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir (I hope they come back)… and all manner of other crazy, useful, useless, and incredible things.
Bring your kids, wallet, and child-like sense of awe.
Not sold yet?
I’ll be there at the FUBAR Labs table displaying some stuff that I’ve been working on in my spare time.
World Maker Faire New York
New York Hall of Science, Queens, NY
Saturday, September. 29, 2012 – 10am – 7pm
Sunday, September 30, 2012 – 10am – 6pm
Here’s a fun fact for you.
Did you know that in 1998, all
coaster CD production went towards manufacturing AOL coasters CDs for weeks?
“When we launched AOL 4.0 in 1998, AOL used ALL of the world-wide CD production for several weeks. Think of that. Not a single music CD or Microsoft CD was produced during those weeks.” -Reggie Fairchild, Product Manager for AOL 4.0 (Quora)
I’ve been helping my parents clean out their basement, and found my some of the install CDs that I used as coasters in college. I hope I can find more of them as we keep cleaning. They make me smile.
A few weeks ago Google announced Project Glass, or Google Glasses.
A number of people I’ve spoken to are quick to mock these as another bluetooth headset. While I agree that walking around with a bluetooth headset hanging on your ear and no one on the phone is a generally stupid idea, I think that computerized glasses are something much bigger and far more important.
Humans Conforming to Machines
The typewriter was invented in 1868, and we have been conforming to its shape ever since. Our technology does incredible thing, but it still breaks our bodies. Our devices inflict all manner of pain on our backs’, necks’ and wrists’. Tablets and mobiles aren’t an improvement in this regard. They still make us crane our necks’, and strain our wrists’. This is because we must contort our bodies to work with the shape of our technology. It’s a massive design flaw and the only people who benefit are orthopedists, physical therapists, and ergonomics professionals (who make a staggering amount of money for assembling chairs and installing wrist wrests for large corporations).
Computers as Glasses
If Google Glasses are light enough, they will represent the first powerful consumer computer that conforms to human physiology, and this excites me as both a technologist and as a vertebrate.
The combination of a camera, microphone, accelerometer, GPS and small heads up display in an always-on computer could do unbelievable things (which may one day be another post).
Making These Things Magical
The trick will be giving users a ton of control over what notifications will be sent to the user’s glasses. If your eyes are pinging every time you receive an email, tweet, Facebook update, or text message you might go insane. Limiting the active functionality is how you make computerized glasses empower users instead of distracting them. Having geographically activated modes could be cool. What I mean is that the device automatically shifts it’s configuration based on where you are, and possibly who is around you.
They work differently if you’re:
- At work
- At home (and alone)
- At home (with people around)
- Walking in a place you’ve been before
- Walking in a place you’ve never been
- At a museum
- In a store
The opportunities are endless, especially if the devies can recognize who you’re with.
On a personal note, I will be quite peeved if Google neglects us prescription glasses-wearers.
These can’t come fast enough for me. Bring on the future!
Who’s Making Hybrids?
Microsoft’s Windows 8 will serve as both a tablet and laptop operating system. This will allow PC makers the opportunity to produce laptop/ tablet hybrids.
Apple CEO Tim Cook likened it to merging a refrigerator and a toaster. Cook stated, “Anything can be forced to converge but the problem is the products are about tradeoffs,” and “You begin to make trade-offs to the point where what you have left at the end of the day doesn’t please anyone.” He then claimed that Apple will not produce an iPad/ MacBook hybrid.
It’s worth noting that Steve Jobs claimed that Apple would not produce a video playing iPod, a year-and-a-half before video enabled iPods hit the market.
Are Hybrids Inherently Bad?
I don’t think that hybrids are an inherently bad idea. If Windows 8 doesn’t suck, and Microsoft and their manufacturing partners produce products that are both lightweight and comfortable to use, then it could work.
What does worry me is an iOS/ OS X convergence. Should Apple dumb OS X down to the lowest common denominator and force users to acquire all software via the Mac App Store, that would be catastrophic. Apple gets away with exercising a lot more control over their users than Microsoft does. That’s ok (I guess) for phones and tablets. However it’s horrible for general purpose computing.
Should Apple do this, they will lose me as a customer.
I’m genuinely confused.
Mark Zuckerberg dropped a billion dollars on Instagram, and has a small army of top development talent at his disposal. Why the hell can’t Facebook put out a good mobile application on any platform? Their apps are clunky and painfully slow.
I thought that maybe their database wasn’t playing well with mobile, but then I downloaded the Fast Facebook Beta, and it’s quick, does what I want it to, and it even looks nice. Zuckerberg should buy up Team2Soft.
What really gets me is that Facebook has had years to build these apps and they still suck.
Can anyone explain why? I can’t.