geek speak

Mirror, mirror. An extraordinary pervasive AI computing UX vision. – The New York Times, Nieman Journalism Lab

Every once in a while something extraordinary comes along in gadgets. If you’ve got a little pervasive AI computing vision, the possibilites are endless!

Lets say Herbert, your mairror, (ai mirror duh?!), is installed on all your mirrors (bedroom, bathroom, entrance lounge) and displays (tv, lcd, phone, watch, kitchen).

It syncs with your calender, to do list, your news of interest, monitors your health, delivers media status updates from your closest friends and family, reads out important sms/emails/media notes, orders groceries, cleaning services, finds/delivers hints/tips/updates on your hobbies/wishlist, and encourages you to find time for those things you always wanted to learn but never find time to (even reads to you, teaches you interactively), and monitors your progress and gives you feedback. Whatever you want, nothing else. 

Yes, there are many possible risks, fine details that need to be tweaked here, but I’m overlooking that for now and looking at just these few scenarios I thought up of in a minute. The potentials of a truly invisible interface here is amazing and there are a blahzillion enhancement paths for every field of science, living and business. 

This is the start of true pervasive computing, where you’re listening to the radio in your car, like the artist/song, trigger some kind of action word/button, and Herbert finds and books you their next concert, or signs up for email newsletters for itself to one day tell/show you in the future while you’re brushing your teeth. Heck, even the annoying radio guy can be muted and Herbert can fill you in on whats important to you. Maybe even keep in touch with Pedro, your brothers mairror and arrange a call when you’re both free.  

Read on to see how far this prototype has come to date: Mirror, mirror: The New York Times wants to serve you info as you’re brushing your teeth » Nieman Journalism Lab.

How to setup/install the WordPress ‘Press This’ bookmarklet on the iPhone and iPad

WordPress.com doesn’t give you simple instructions on how to install the Press This bookmark on to the iPhone and iPad safari bookmark bar. I found this cool little tool that helps you install all the different bookmarklets available on the internet straight from your idevice. Thanks to Yusuke Kawasaki! http://kawanet.blogspot.com/2010/08/bookmarklet-viewer-bookmarklet-for.html

Install his bookmarklet, then visit the Tools page on your wordpress admin dashboard, to easily install the Press This bookmarklet using the same method. Let me know if you need any help!

Using a MP3 as your iPhone Ringtone

These instructions are for converting any mp3 audio file into an iPhone compatible ringtone online, and uploading it onto your iPhone. You’ll need your online computer and your iPhone + usb cable.

  1. Find the MP3 file you’d like to set as your ringtone and place it somewhere like your desktop.
  2. Go to www.makeownringtone.com and click on the ‘Upload’ button.
  3. In the pop up window, navigate to the MP3 file on your computer, select ok and wait till the upload is complete.
  4. Stay in Easy Mode, and select M4R in the ‘File Format’ dropdown.
  5. Click in the gray audio sample area, and select the start/stop points in the song you’d like to set as your ringtone.
  6. You can click on the ‘Selected’ button to hear what you’ve selected.
  7. When you’re satisfied, click on ‘MAKE A RINGTONE’ button at the bottom.
  8. Right click on the download link, and click on Save as or Save link as.
  9. Edit the filename, and save it to your music folder.
  10. Connect your iphone, open itunes, and drag the new file into your iphone ringtones folder. (If you don’t see a ringtones folder in itunes, go to Edit -> Preferences -> and select Ringtones in ‘Show’ -> ok)
  11. Disconnect your iphone, when you go to settings, sounds, you’ll see the new ringtone as an option on top.

Hope that’s helpful and accurate. If you need any screenshots or help, get in touch with me. Good luck and enjoy!

Convert videos to iPod formats

iPodME is a small portable easy to use windows program that I use to convert a range of video formats, to iPod and iTunes friendly formats quickly.

Read the Lifehacker review, or visit the iPodME site to download.

“Copy Music from Your iPod/iPhone to Your Computer for Free”

This is a great little windows tool I found on Lifehacker to copy music from my iPod to my computer, so I could easily copy it onto my iPhone. You can also use it to export song lists of all your music, or playlists too.

Download Yamipod.

Recommended Programs for PCs

I’m going to start off with some of the software I use which didn’t come with Vista and couldn’t live without, and get into details later. They’re mostly free and have lots of customizable options.

Entertainment

  • VLC - Free media player that supports lots of file formats.
  • DivX - Free media player supports some popular formats.
  • AndreaMosaic – Create your own photo mosaics for free.

Tools

  • WinRAR – Powerful compression (zipping) software.
  • TeamViewer - Free remote access to your desktop, desktop sharing and remote support.
  • Google Pack – Google photos screensaver, toolbar, chrome, spyware doctor and lots more.
  • Free Download Manager – Came across this as one of the award winners on Web User and love it. Install the lite version then pause, resume and control your download speeds. It even integrates into your browser right click context menus.

Security

  • AdAware Free – Great, free and popular anti-spyware.
  • Sandboxie – Great little program, once you figure out how to use it, you can use those dodgy virus/spyware files without worrying about them wreaking havoc on your pc, it essentially creates a sandbox where nothing gets saved onto your computer.
  • Spyware Doctor – Great alternative anti-spyware to adaware, can get it from Google pack too.
  • Norton Internet Security 2009 – Not free, but I used the free trials of Kaspersky, Trend, McAfee 2009 – and found Norton to be the most intuitive, unobtrusive and surprisingly fast this year. However, don’t buy direct from Symantec/Norton. Have a look at PC stores and Amazon first, they usually have better deals.

Internet Browsers
You may just stick to Internet Explorer that came with your computer, but you’ll be missing out on great features that enhance your web browsing experience. Various browsers support different features, and not all sites work properly on Internet Explorer.
Make sure you have the newest Internet Explorer installed, and its worth it to take 5 minutes to download and install these other browsers. I use four of them, they don’t take much memory if they’re installed and not being used.

  • Internet Explorer 8 – Newest version has lots of additional and customizable features. Its more secure, faster, has accelerators and useful options in the blank new tabs.
  • Google Chrome – Probably my favourite browser, because it seems to be the fastest, simple to use, and rarely crashes. Although it doesnt have all the features the other browsers have, but for most browsing its great.
  • Opera - This browser probably has the most options. I love the notes feature, highlight anything on a page, right click and copy to note, and it shows up in the notes tabs of the browser. You can also have it read web pages to you. Lots of great features too, refer the site for more information about them.
  • Firefox - Mozillas web browser. Its the most popular browser after internet explorer. Although I rarely use it, sometimes if you get errors on pages with IE, some videos won’t play for example, try them on Firefox and you’ll be surprised!
  • Others – theres lots of other browsers around, if you google internet browsers you’ll come across various others too – Safari from Apple for example.

Thats basically it – other than proprietary productivity programs… Check the above out when you have a chance, you’ll may be pleasantly surprised.

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