bkdelong: (Default)
I had just graduated from college at UMass Amherst and was feeling full-of-myself, arrogant, naive and had no hesitation in reaching out to anyone regardless of their social stature.

So, of course, not having been well-read in Sci-Fi by any means I authored the following email to Douglas Adams:
>From: "B.K. DeLong" <bkdelong@naw.org>
>To: askdna@tdv.com
>Subject: Electronic Books
>Date: Fri, Jun 26, 1998, 22:42
>

>Hi Douglas,
>
>I just read an article about two companies producing book-size computers
>that would allow users to download full books off the Internet and read
>them almost like a normal book. Sound familiar?
>
>http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,23614,00.html
>
>I believe YOU invented the first electronic book if not in reality but in
>your book "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" in 1989. Have you
>attempted to make anything similar to the guide? I'd love to hear your
>thoughts on this matter for an article I'm doing on electronic books.
>
>Thanks and please be in touch.
>--
>B.K. DeLong                


I'm pretty sure Mr. Adams was by far not the first to dream up the idea of the electronic book but I was aware of his passion for bringing them to reality.

To my shock and surprise, I received a response a day later:

Received: from ([192.168.0.10]) [158.152.16.102] by post.mail.demon.net with
 esmtp (Exim 1.82 #2) id 0ypxOw-0006ad-00; Sat, 27 Jun 1998 16:00:30 +0000
Date: Sat, 27 Jun 1998 17:00:26 +0100
From: Douglas Adams <askdna@tdv.com>
Subject: Re: Electronic Books
To: "B.K. DeLong" <bkdelong@naw.org>
Cc: Robbie Stamp CEO TDV <robbie@tdv.com>, richardc@tdv.com, richardh@tdv.com

I have some ideas about how electronic books are going to develop. In
general terms they are bound to follow the pattern we've seen over and over
again in the computer industry - people will say they're about to arrive in
a big way and they won't happen, then people will say they're about to
arrive in a big way again and again they won't happen, then people will say
they're about to arrive in a big way again and again they won't, then
they'll suddenly arrive in a big way and catch everybody by surprise.
My company, The Digital Village is looking for the right hardware partner to
create an actual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, since the time is almost
upon us that it can actually happen...

Best,

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Douglas Adams      |     The Digital Village     |    http://www.tdv.com
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          STARSHIP TITANIC
                   <http://www.starshiptitanic.com>
                    <http://www.starlightlines.com>
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alas, the launch of the Kindle was six years after his time. I think that would have been the "big way" he might have been talking about.
bkdelong: (mad-science)
Ladies and gentlemen,

Mercury has gone Retrograde

Communications will be chaotic

Transportation will be nightmarish

Technology will be well, I guess what it always is.

Take that for what it is and make sure extra care and time is put into all 3.

Love to you all!
bkdelong: (techno deity)
OK, OK, I'll admit. They're frustrating. There are a small handful of you who politely requested to opt out. So I've created a Custom Friend Group called "notwitter" and setup LoudTwitter to post via email - that allows me to include "header" settings to LiveJournal which will post only to the filter....leaving the opt-outs, well, out.

Found the key to this in a LiveJournal post.

If you still want opting out, feel free to comment. I will do my utmost to post real content more often.

Just....don't all rush to turn me off. Patience is appreciated.

I've also been flumoxed by the fact that LJ only allows 35+ Custom Friend Groups so I need to sit down, go through my old friends-locked (flocked) posts and see what subject categories they will fit in.

So, alas, no ability to fully categorize everyone similar to my FaceBook or YouTube groups putting a wrench in my idea of video blogging everything and then posting based on content and privacy needs.
bkdelong: (Default)

Though I oft begrudge pulling my slothic body away from my Net Addiction to walk the dog, (gods forbid that I get fresh air or do something that contributes to the household for a change), it's an exercise that provides me with enough stimuli to keep my normally racing brain busy allowing me to brain storm. Similar to the massive amounts of multitasking I do on the computer except it involves walking, feeling the air, smelling the smells, listening to a cacaphony of noise etc instead of flitting between virtual Windows.

Before I get to my BrainStream of the evening, I wanted to note something my brother Nate, ([livejournal.com profile] necr03), was thinking about. Until he truly starts posting to his own LiveJournal, I want to store his ideas somewhere. He was discussing design of future vehicles. Not sure if he was referring to automobiles, airplanes or spacecraft as it was a few days ago. But he was pondering a day when transmitters and microprocessors were so small and inexpensive, a vehicle could be absolutely covered with them and instead of absorbing or tricking radar, simply retransmit the signal right through itself. and back to the sender once it had bounced back to them.

Taking that a step further, I could see hundreds of microcameras being mounted on a vehicle while at the same time, the external body of the vehicle is one giant computer monitor. The image on the other side of the vehicle is displayed on the opposite side of said vehicle as if it were not there. Difficult to do with tire and the undercarriage though perhaps a bit easier to handle the windows and windshield.

Anyway, back to my idea. I had my little light bulb earlier today while walking the dog. But while completing the final jaunt for the night, I started thinking about holography and the Star Wars scene where R2D2 projects a 3D image of Princess Leia giving a message. I still think holography of that sort is a ways off. We have seen people display similar images on a screen of moving fog but unless scientists get much better control over light in a space, (I don't know- perhaps projecting dust or some sort of matter in the shape of the holograph and the light around it helps make the 3D effect or something), it'll be a long time before we see truly realistic, interactive holograms. Damn - and I wanted to play a magic user and cast Major Image and other Illusory spells.

However with all my ramblings on Augmented Reality, I think that technology is the median between normal-space and holography. As HMDs and wearable HUDs get more and more simple, non-intrusive and inexpensive, using wearable computers combined with these devices along with mounted location-aware hardware one could completely create the fact of an interactive, quite realistic hologram.

I was thinking how much of a PITA hand-mounted keyboards or even dealing with voice/subvocal recognition to navigate a GUI would be. Then I remembered all the research I did into current efforts of "gesture recognition" - that is, detecting hand/body movement and causing a GUI to react as a result. So on a screen in front of you, you would see a series of windows. Hold up our hands and make a grabing movement. The "hand" cursor on the screen would close on the window and allow you to move it where you wish. Hold up a single finger and point in the general direction of the scroll bar, crook your finger and make a scrolling motion - voila, you're moving down the screen.

My idea would become a part of my previously mentioned wearable computing environment - a multi-beam laser scanner mounted on the HMD, (along with the GPS device), that would cascade several hundred to a tousand beams of light parallel to the front of your body. Your hands would then become the input device and you can either bring up a keyboard to type on or simply use your hands to navigate windows combined with your voice as input....or even alternate GUI navigation features. Activating the device would take a voice command or button somewhere on your wearable but once activated, it immediately calibrates and allows you full control.

Examples of gesture recognition navigation of a GUI environment can be seen in the movie "Minority Report" as well as the television show "Earth: Final Conflict" where the technology was used to pilot the Taelon shuttles.

bkdelong: (Default)

Dammit, dammit, dammit. I need to get better at writing down what's in my head.

When I go out to walk the dogs, am driving somewhere, trying to get off to sleep, I'm usually inside my head brainstorming. I'm pretty good with mind visualization and I swear I could live in there. It's be better than TV if I could connect it to my.....what is it.....visual and aural cortex?

Anyway, in the past year on one of my walks, I spent a lot of time looking at the stars. It was definitely late spring or summer and quite nice out. I was looking up and trying to identify constellations and stars with little success. Being a Scifi geek and always pondering the stars, space and other "star systems" and being a technologist, futurist and pseudo-transhumanist, I'm always thinking of ways to make life easier. The spiritual side of me is constantly fascinated by coorespondences in more Earth and astrological-based religiousness.

So I started dreaming.

Read more... )

Ah, the future. One can hardly wait.

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bkdelong

February 2011

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