December 2015

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Thu 12/31/15 2:03pm # | tweet this

2016 Tech?

So is there anything I'm interested in watching for 2016 or 2017?

Mostly I guess it'll be interesting to see if prices continue to fall on a lot of existing technologies, spurring additional, if not really enthusiastic, adoption.

A cheap Google Cardboard system with it's own built-in screen that doesn't use your phone would be nice to see.

Cheaper Smartwatches. While there are already pretty affordable $150 options. Getting the price to $60 or less would probably bring in a lot more casual users. More users would mean more developers focusing their time on the devices. I'd really like to see the return of cameras to the smartwatch too.

Windows tablets have already gotten dirt cheap, but getting a little more ram and slightly faster processors in the low end will help their usefulness. As a designer, I'm also interested in the continued addition of good drawing stylus capabilities in lower end tablets and phones too.

I'd love to see a truly decentralized competitor to Facebook gain some traction. Is any group really working toward this as an opensource goal though? Or have all the developers that can do something like this been subsumed into the "Venture Capital/Startup" proprietary system for profit model?

It'd be nice to see cable get desperate enough to win back cord-cutters that they lower their prices for a base package of major networks. I won't hold my breath though as they seem pretty happy to follow in the footsteps of, and march to their deaths in the way of the old landline telephone companies as their business model.

I'd love to see some real innovation in the VR space, but since that tech area is locked up inside of Facebook and Microsoft for the next half generation, I'm not expecting anything beyond novelty use any time soon.

Really there isn't a lot of tech solutions that feel unrepresented now. I think we'll need to wait until the pendulum swings from the current corporate driven consumer innovation to a more open standards driven grass roots innovation. I think a lot of what we have now is a product of the more open standards of the mid 90s and early 2000s. The last decade has mostly been about buttoning up, and locking back up, the groundwork that was layed between 1995 and 2005.

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Thu 12/31/15 1:25pm # | tweet this

2015 Tech

Walt Mossberg has a year end column titled: The next big thing didn't show up this year: Seven tech trends from 2015

It's fairly similar to posts I've done for the last year and a half or so.

Mossberg writes that "The smartphone seems mature". And I've agreed with that for the past couple years.

He's more bullish on Microsoft than I am. Microsoft is huge still, but only of interest for it's size and range, not so much for anything new they are moving forward.

Mossberg basically says that the smartwatch, and Apple Watch in particular, isn't living up to it's hype and is just a niche now. He seems slightly optimistic, or at least wants to keep his Apple connections happy by saying, that it still might become huge given enough time.

"Internet of Things remains a mess". I'd sortof of agree, but I think the basics like the Nest Thermostat, and Hue Lightbulbs and outlets from WeMo etc., actually work pretty well and even as someone that is very interested in this space, there aren't that many more devices that I feel need to be connected to the internet.

So it's not so much a problem with the internet of things not working, it's that there's not a very large group of things needed. Those 3 brands/devices, above, work pretty well now, even for the casual consumer. The electronics community may want your toaster and toothbrush online too, but I'm not sure there is much benefit for the consumer for connectivity in those devices.

Mossberg then moves into "seeds of the future" being sown. He identify's those seeds as:

Virtual and Augmented reality.

Contactless payments.

Driverless Cars.

Civilian Drones.

The 4 tech areas above are interesting, and I see why he included them but in my opinion we're 10 years out for 2 of them being relevent, and the other 2 aren't relevant now and will never be.

Virtual and Augmented reality. This kind of tech takes a decade to make an impact. So if anything was going to happen in 5 years, you would have already seen some attempts started 5 years ago already. VR and AR are neat ideas but they are just that so far. They won't be better than phones or consoles for general gaming. And noone is working on any useful productivity paradigms at the moment either. Google Glass was sortof neat, and is the sortof failed precursor you'd expect to the coming real deal, but it turns out that everything that was interesting about Glass works better on a watch.

Google Cardboard is interesting too, but even with a price at effectively zero, there's little innovation happening in basements or garages around it. Even with Google now giving away the cardboard itself, it's a novelty people try once and then don't have reason to try again.

Driverless Cars. Interesting idea. Hard to implement unless you go 100% driverless for everyone. And I just don't see people giving up the steering wheel in the US anytime in the remainder of my lifetime. Might be some nice freeway uses for this for long haul trucking and the like. And for the Auto companies I'm sure they are excited for the the concept of no longer selling you the car, no longer leasing you the car, but instead running Uber-like services to pick you up and drop you off, thereby being part of every car trip and taking a cut of every place you ride as a transaction. But that doesn't solve a people problem, that's a business desire to hold ownership of capital (the car) and more completely lease/rent and profit from access to it. Great idea if you are a corp. But not if you're a user that just needs to drive to the grocery store.

Contactless payments. This is a non technology, there is zero convenience for the consumer in using a phone instead of a credit card. This is just big corps trying to go where the "money" literally is. But there is no people problem being solved with this idea. And it doesn't make things simpler, it introduces more complexity.

Last but not least, Civilian Drones? Why? How much video do you need to take of the roof of your house? These are neat because they allow us to shoot pictures and video in a way that was inconvenient before, but it's hard to see these being much more than a niche hobbyist use for most consumers. Even the drone word is a misnomer, most of these things are just quadcopters. Calling them the same name as a military Predator Drone, doesn't really put them on par with such.

Yeah it's probably useful for some farmers to fly over their fields. But no Amazon packages are flying to your house this way anytime in the next 20 years, no matter how convincing the corporate PR videos are. Robotic devices flying into trees, birds or power-lines is more the reality than your next iPhone flying itself to your house.

One thing not mentioned on Mossberg's list that was hot a couple years ago: 3D printing. And it's understandable why it's not on the list. The 3D print space for consumers has all but collapsed over the last year. With the big companies pretty much having bought up the smaller upstarts and then shut them down to continue on their merry way focusing on business customers. Not that I blame them. The problem with 3D printing from my point of view: It's a niche hobbyist thing for the home user (read: small market) and it's sort of a once and done purchase (read: one time printer purchase, with no reoccurring revenue for the manufacturer). Sure filament is a reoccurring consumable that people with 3D printers need to buy, but there's no reason why you have to buy it from the printer manufacturer, and most people don't. A few manufacturers tried to build proprietary filament cartridges, but like Kuerig's proprietary coffee pods, that approach hasn't been looked upon favorably by consumers. 3D printing is still interesting for a lot of home uses, but without a reoccurring revenue stream associated with it, it has few large corporate champions in the consumer space, and probably won't for some time.

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Sun 12/27/15 3:52pm # | tweet this

This is the actual White House Press Secretary in the White House giving a real briefing, flanked by Storm Troopers.

The Force is Strong with this movie's marketing.

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Sun 12/27/15 3:43pm # | tweet this

Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation

Painted a custom casted Wolverine head I bought off eBay and added it to the Walgreen's exclusive Yellow Daredevil figure.

Hooray for a slightly thin Demolition Man. (D-man)

Early Life

Dennis Dunphy was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. As a young man, he idolized superheroes. A successful college football player, he hoped to be recruited as a professional, but despite trying out for a number of teams, he was chosen by none. When he was approached by an agent of the Power Broker and offered the chance to undergo a process to increase his physical strength to superhuman levels, hoping this would increase his chances of being a professional football player. He agreed, and had his strength boosted, but with his new-found power, he could not safely compete against regular athletes.

Demolition Man

Dennis Dunphy (Earth-616)
Demolition Man
The Power Broker offered him a place in the new Unlimited Class Wrestling Federation (UCWF), where he could use his augmented strength against other similarly augmented wrestlers. He fought with the Thing (Ben Grimm), among others, and called himself "Demolition Dunphy."

More bio

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Thu 12/17/15 10:09am # | tweet this

Google Cardboard

Google offered a new free version of their Google Cardboard box that brings basic VR to your Smartphone.

I posted about Cardboard last year. I am very impressed with this new box though.

Better lenses, better button concept that does away with the awkward magnet. Just all around better implementation.

It's still mostly a novelty. But it's getting to be a cooler novelty.

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Thu 12/17/15 10:02am # | tweet this


Noone needs more recommendations. This is not to say that I personally do not want recommendations of movies, tv shows, books, comics or you name it from my friends. Of course I do.

It's just that noone needs more recommendations. If there is one thing that incredible time filler known as the internet is good at, it's good at saying: "People who liked this, also liked this."

Like any single thing on the internet and it will recommend more things that you will also likely like than you'll ever have time for.

So it's not recommendations people need. It's time. It's not another movie to watch; what's really needed is: "here's when you can watch this movie, because you don't have to do this other thing now." Those are the things that are needed. Things that give us more time back. Not things we have to work overtime for, to buy, to give us time back from working overtime to afford the time saving thing. But real elimination of things that eat up our time.

And even those things aren't enough. Even with all the time in the world, there still aren't more than 24 hours in a day. There's still a wall everyone hits when they want to binge on anything.

The best minds of our generation are working on continually refining the results to: "People who liked this, also liked this." When they should be working on: instead of 50 hours a week, how about 25? Instead of driving a car across state, how about kick your feet up, true affordable high speed rail. Instead of a 2 hour commute back and forth each day, how about ways to work at home.

Recommendations, seem covered.

People who liked this post may also like these.

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Mon 12/07/15 10:03am # | tweet this

Fugetoid and Mondo Gecko

Two recent figures from the current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon line.

First up Fugetoid. Fugetoid was an indy comic back in the day in his own right, and then he was folded into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle continuity and has appeared in several tv eps over the years. I haven't seen his most current appearance yet though since we are several eps behind on the DVR.

Mondo Gecko. I've been avoiding getting too deep into the secondary characters in this line, but Mondo has a great design and his current series voice is by the same actor as the original Michelangelo, so why not. While this line isn't known for articulation, Gecko can both stand on and hold his board, so that works out well.

Cute figures, and as always with this line, you can't complain about how cheap (half the price of Legends) they are.

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