Imagine if no one could lie anymore

Imagine if no one could lie anymore.

It’s an idea that could change the world. At least it could make for a good novel. Or a screenplay. If any of my writer friends sell this idea, all I ask is story credit and an invitation to the premier. If asked, I would do a cameo as myself, but I digress.

What I would like to see in my lifetime, between the advances in artificial intelligence and big data analytics, and stuff that has not been invented yet, is someone who invents a real-life bullshit detector.

It could be written by some Nigerian whiz-kid programmer, who grows up in a village learning to code on one of those One Laptop Per Child PCs. Then while studying at Stanford (sorry MIT), gets a pile of investment from a rich uncle who really is a prince, and unleashes it on Facebook Premium in 2033.

The software would be able to differ between sincerity (white lies, compliments, actors, storybooks, 3 year olds who poop their pants, etc.) and bald-faced chicanery, true deceitful intent. It would link up with the sub-orbital optical plasma database encircling Earth, and instantly recognize human lying patterns of all kinds, in any context, in any language, spoken or printed.

There is an endless supply of data. Everyone does it. It’s been going on since the dawn of language. No one would be able to hide from it. People would be called out as the liars they are, all over the world, instantly and irrevocably. Point your smart corneal sensor at anyone on the street, and see their ranking.

Lawyers, leaders, criminals, politicians, CEOs, police, teachers, soldiers, spouses, junkies, anyone who aims to cheat. It would go beyond truthiness, just truth.

What a different place this would be.

Lytro Snapping Fool

I have been playing with -and explaining- my Lytro camera for a week now. I spend more time on the explaining, which is getting repetitive. Better to just focus on shooting. Even though I don’t focus, but there I go explaining again.

My compositions are getting better. Lytro calls them Living Pictures. Getting the hang of doing Lytro-friendly shots means having something in the foreground (for now, anyway). One of my better shots is this one at the water fountain. My personal favorite is this one with the chain link fence, I got lucky with the child framed inside the links.

I have my public Lytro page up and running, I have been sharing them on my Facebook page, (very well received so far) and I have a couple tweets in the bag.

I will be taking a Lytro Photowalk at the Maker Faire, where I’ll get to hang out with their Director of Photography, Eric Cheng.

I have not found anyone selling accessories. I looked for any kind of case, I am paranoid of dropping it, and I am bound to lose the spiffy magnetic lens cap (um, heard of a tether, guys?). Maybe I’ll just fab my own case. I am going to the MakerFaire, after all. I’ll find some new nano-leatherette ultrathin toughskin material. I am handy with tools, I have built cars. At the very least, I am going to get it laser etched with the Epilog over at the TechShop exhibit. Nothing says geek like a gadget tatt.

My Lytro Camera… is Here!

The anticipation has been building all day. My last bit of obsessive refreshing of the package tracking screen is over. It was ‘on the truck for delivery’ in the wee hours of the morning. However, I know that my house is the last frickin’ stop on this route. My packages arrive after 6pm all the time. Even later during busy times. Continue reading My Lytro Camera… is Here!

My Lytro Camera: Ship It Ship It Ship It…

My Lytro camera is a wonder of modern technology. It allows you to refocus pictures after you take them, just by clicking. That is very cool. Try it out here:

Package tracking is also a wonder of modern technology. I can watch the object of my gadget-lust as it leaves the warehouse, on its way to the distribution center, and on its way to me. That is very cool. And very disturbing. It drives me nuts with anticipation. I keep hitting refresh, hoping something will change, but it doesn’t change fast enough. Continue reading My Lytro Camera: Ship It Ship It Ship It…

My Lytro Camera

I have seen a lot of cool tech through the years, and for a long time gadgets had me firmly in their grip. I had the first iPod, and before that the Rio MP3 player. I had a first and second generation iPhone, too. I am a standard-issue Silicon Valley propeller head. Heck, I even repaired my iPhone and made a video about it, I was that into them. (not anymore, though, I’m over it, have a Windows Phone now). Continue reading My Lytro Camera

What If The Internet Was Gone?

Where Would We Find Cat Pictures?

The major TV news outlets do not cover the raging debate about SOPA and PIPA legislation currently being debated in Congress. Perhaps because the major news outlets are owned by media companies in favor of the laws, or perhaps because Internet stories are just too techy and boring. These laws (one for the House and one for the Senate, yay!) purport to protect copyright holders, but they are terribly bad for business and innovation on the Internet.

As Congress debates protecting something or other from someone or other on the intertubes, they seem all too happy to be downloading tons of illegally pirated content all the while (Even porn? why, yes!). When tech leaders are firing with both barrels at how bad this legislation is for business, and when almost 10% of active Senator’s campaign costs were paid by lobbyists for these bills, it prompts some tech companies to consider dramatic action.

Time Magazine openly wonders if Google, Facebook and Twitter were to go offline, on purpose, to protest these laws. You might think, ‘So What?’. But judging by the howls of protest just when Facebook moves a link around, if it were to intentionally go dark it would get some attention. And if Google were to do the same, the outcry would not just be from disgruntled friends missing out on stories of last night’s party antics, or cute cat pictures, or recipes, the roar would be from Fortune 500 companies, and from literally millions of people and businesses who make a living on the internet. Whether directly from advertising, or from the online commerce that is driven by Google Search, the humble looking site is a multi-billion dollar economic juggernaut.

If you think that is not likely, think again. Popular social news site is planning to do just that. On January 18th, Reddit will shutter their site on purpose, and in its place they will be posting information about this legislation, to spur its users to action. You may not know about this site (it is not as mainstream as, but it has a very vocal audience. The political theater around this legislation may be routine for Washington, but legions of Internet geeks are awakening as sleeping tigers.

Cat picture

Nerd-Fest Goes to Washington to Explain Internet

A coterie of geeks (with a lawyer and venture capitalist thrown in for good measure) is off to explain a few technical details to our feckless leaders. A hearing is finally called to find out just how crappy the Twin Terrors of Tech Laws (SOPA and ProtectIP) will be for those who are not Hollywood lobbyists. Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of popular social network Reddit (owned by Condé Nast… the irony) will hopefully speak slowly and use friendly words for our less tech-savvy elected officials, and explain that these laws are full of colossall, unswerving dumbassedness of the first order. On a positive note, at least Congress is finally interviewing people from the Internet industry. I guess it has nothing to do with the scathing outrage across the Internet finally bubbling up through the special-interest money.

Read more about Alexis Ohanian going to Washington.

Laptop with padlock

(image courtesy of

Hackers Planning Their Own Internet Satellite Network

Undeniably Awesome

With a cool-factor that goes to 11, a group of German hackers have an ambitious plan to create an uncensored, powered-by-the-people satellite network for internet access. According to this article in Popular Science, testing is planned for sometime this year on a few ground stations. The big question is, will it look like a Star Destroyer or Death Star?

Satellite image

(image courtesy of

Who stole my tunes? …iPhone Lint!

Anyone who has followed my iPhone exploits knows that I have become a repair guy in my spare time. I have dried out water damage, replaced my LCD (check out my trés popular YouTube video), heck I have even repaired my daughter’s Nintendo DS.

The next chapter in my iPhone saga was headset problems. I was not being heard on calls. I tested the phone without the headset and it worked fine. So I replaced the headset. Then this week my car stereo cable hookup went funky. Hearing Ain’t That a Shame with guitar only and no vocals is fine for karaoke, but I was concerned. I had thought it was the headset, but if my stereo cable was now having issues, then it was probably the phone. I hoped it was not, but now I was certain I would be hitting Amazon for more iPhone parts and opening the thing up once again.

Today I was playing High School Musical for my daughter for the 8 millionth time, and the sound was funky again. So I jiggled the plug in the receptacle and was able to get the sound working. I began to wonder, was the receptacle loose from over use? Was it a curse for playing too much HSM 3? I did the jiggling and twisting, but it would slip as soon as the phone moved. As I pressed down firmly to seat the thing, the sound worked. Let off, and it did not. I was able to reproduce this every time I tried.

Using my heightened powers of iPhone Repair Man reasoning, I looked closely at the jack (note: not a safe thing to do while driving). It did not seem to be all the way in. The sound worked when I pushed it down, but when I let off it would not. Could something be stuck in there? I do a lot of laundry, and I clean the lint screen in the dryer. I find lint in my pocket all the time – where I keep my phone. Was pocket lint stuck in there?

I got my shop lite and a looked down into the receptacle. Hard to tell, but it looked like something soft and fuzzy. A few seconds later with a needle, and voila – not one, but two little fur balls way down inside of it. I looked back inside and I saw the shiny bottom once again. Now all is well with Cheap Trick and, unfortunately, High School Musical 3.

Low tech problem, low tech solution.
Low tech problem, low tech solution.