CES 2015

Once again, off to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It starts in less than a week, so the list of celebrity appearances has come out. Not too impressed, I must say.  I’d have to give it a 4/10.  Honestly, if Ryan Seacrest doesn’t get a job or disappear off the face of the earth soon, I’ll puke.  Of interest is that the “Shark Tank” producers will be there recruiting entrepreneurs for upcoming episodes.

I’m proud to have been a judge for the Innovation and Technology design awards again this year – 3rd time.  Check out the winners here.


Live video streaming from the ISS

NASA has launched a joint experiment with students to provide live video and tracking data from the International Space Station.  Dubbed HDEV – High Definition Earth Viewing, the HDEV experiment places 4 cameras on the exterior of the ISS.  High school students helped design some of the cameras’ components, through the High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program, and student teams operate the experiment.

Along with the video stream, you can also view a realtime ISS position tracker and Google map of the station’s location.  View the video page here.


Give me a break – Nomophobia!

Most people these days are so hooked to their cell phones that they are hardly seen without one, and many don’t even have a landline. But at what point does incessant phone use and the resulting fear of being out of touch become a real phobia? Two psychologists argue that “nomophobia” (an abbreviation for “no-mobile-phone phobia”) should be added to the DSM-V manual of psychiatric disease.

The authors do caution that it is important to distinguish between pathological and normal behaviors — which is probably good, because according to a 2010 UK study, “53% of mobile phone users in Britain tend to be anxious when they ‘lose their mobile phone, run out of battery or credit, or have no network coverage.’”  Not only that, but “58% of men and 47% of women suffer from the phobia, and an additional 9% feel stressed when their mobile phones are off”. . It’s 10 PM – do you know where your phone is?

The Internet of Things

Today computers—and, therefore, the Internet—are almost wholly dependent on human beings for information. Nearly all of the roughly 50 petabytes (a petabyte is 1,024 terabytes) of data available on the Internet were first captured and created by human beings—by typing, pressing a record button, taking a digital picture, or scanning a bar code. Conventional diagrams of the Internet … leave out the most numerous and important routers of all – people. The problem is, people have limited time, attention and accuracy—all of which means they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world. And that’s a big deal. We’re physical, and so is our environment … You can’t eat bits, burn them to stay warm or put them in your gas tank. Ideas and information are important, but things matter much more. Yet today’s information technology is so dependent on data originated by people that our computers know more about ideas than things. If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things—using data they gathered without any help from us—we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best. The Internet of Things has the potential to change the world, just as the Internet did. Maybe even more so.