Posts Tagged "cool technology"

Technology: Size Matters (Here’s Why)

Dear Kid,

It’s a weird thing with technology. Size matters.

From the deep scientific study I’ve conducted, it seems that when a new technology is introduced it is medium sized. Then bells, whistles, frills, lights, buttons, and sequins are added (just kidding about the sequins) and the size grows. Bigger is better. Bigger means more horsepower, more features, and more testosterone needed to carry the device. Think boom boxes in the late 1900s. If your boom box was big enough to require its own zip code, it was big enough to generate sound waves that loosened building foundations throughout the country. That was good.

It may have been a plot by the Builders and Foundation Reinforcement Committee of America. It certainly wasn’t a musical improvement.

It seems that once technology reaches a certain size, it begins to shrink. Smaller is cooler. Smaller is more compact and petite. Smaller costs more so it must be better.

Then – because Newton said so – for every action there is an equal and opposite technological trend. So technology gets bigger again. Think TVs and cell phones.  This cycle is known as the apple-coaster even though it pre-dates The Steves. DearKidLoveMom.comThen – because Newton said so – for every action there is an equal and opposite technological trend. So technology gets bigger again. Think TVs and cell phones.

This cycle is known as the apple-coaster even though it pre-dates The Steves.

Speaker technology is busy riding the ‘coaster. Once upon a time, personal speakers the size of mountains were envied. Over the years, they’ve shrunk even as sound quality has improved.

Now it’s not only getting smaller, it has a voice.

You’ve probably heard of Amazon Echo. I hadn’t, but I’m not a trendy college student. Echo is a small, artificial intelligence speaker. With an artificially intelligent voice named Alexa.

Because not everyone in the universe has an Echo, Amazon is introducing a smaller (and by “smaller” they mean cheaper) version. The new one is slightly less slick than the original version, but you still get Alexa (just an Alexa who doesn’t listen as much as the original).

I’m waiting for an even smaller (and by “smaller” I mean cheaper) version. I figure I’ll be about ready for it when it’s the size of a fingernail. Of course, at that size I’ll lose it. So maybe not.

Love, Mom

Don’t forget to share You’ll feel better.

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You Won’t Believe What This Car Does

Dear Kid,

We are all going to have to go back to driving school.

To be clear, there are a lot of people on the road right now who probably should go back to driving school (looking at you, red pickup driver who thinks turn signals are just for decoration).

There is a new car in the universe (thank you universe). A new kind of car.

It’s name is EOscc2 (not as marketable as R2D2, but I’m sure they’ll work on that) and it’s billed as an ultra flexible micro-car for mega-cities.

And as long as you don’t need to take anything bigger than a lunchbox with you, it is perfect.

It’s wheels go every whichaway which means parking is a breeze.

No more three-point turn, this baby just spins around.

With a bunch of robotics and sensors it will help you park (and one day do the driving, parking, and coffee making for you).

And—get this—it changes shape.

Yep. This car goes from 2.5 meters down to 1.5 meters.

I can’t even stand myself that is so cool.

The cars also hook up into a little train which might be interesting for people all going the same way, but I’m not sure I see that part catching on in the US.

No clue when, as, or if it will come to market, but I love how these folks are thinking. You can Car that changes shape.

Love, Mom

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New Year’s Resolutions and Technology

Erma Bombeck Resolutions DearKidLoveMom.comDear Kid,

We’re winding down winter vacation and warming up to a balmy 38 degrees today. According to the weather forecasters (3% accuracy rating), we will warm up long enough for half the ice to melt off my car (conveniently, the backup camera will not be one of the spots that melts), then we’ll have rain. And snow. Probably a heat wave and dust storms following that.

Booker has joined the New Year’s Resolution Trend and asked begged insisted that we play fetch after our morning walk and before breakfast. Because he isn’t really a fetching sort of dog (he’s very good at the chase-it-down part and often replaces the bring-it-back part with chew-on-it-for-a-while), I’ve learned to rotate toys. Bring back the squeaky skunk and I’ll throw the limbless orange bear. Bring back the orange bear and I’ll throw the squeaky donut. Bring back the donut and I’ll throw the piece of cloth that used to be a dragon. All interspersed with the occasional tug-of-kill-it. As in, we each hold on to the toy and Booker shakes his head to kill it. I find that hilarious. Happy to report we have no live toys at the moment.

Usually, when we play before breakfast it is for a few minutes before his tummy calls an official time out for food. Today, in true New Year’s Resolution fashion, we kept playing and playing. I finally had to use the Power of Mom to end the game and move the morning along.

As I type, he is sleeping off the excessive bout of exercise.

In other news, I am having a problem with technology. Not really news. But this isn’t about getting the electric kettle to work or some other Truly Difficult Programming Problem. The problem is I like the really cool stuff when it is brand new, impossible to get, and crazy expensive. Like the new e-ink clocks. Don’t bother making a note to buy it for me once the price drops. By then I’ll have moved on to my latest techno-crush and have no interest. It’s a pattern I keep repeating. Frustrating to be sure, but unintentionally very good for my wallet as I never buy anything. By the time I can afford to purchase (fill in cool techno gizmo here), I’m either just plain not interested or it’s been replace by Gen2 Cool Techno Gizmo and I decide to wait for the next one.

Which means I am still writing with clay and a stylus. In the snow. Going uphill. For miles.

Love, Mom

Haven’t LIKED DearKidLoveMom on Facebook? There’s no time like now!


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Snoopy on Vine, Lethal Autonomous Robots, Coke Splits Cans, and More

Dear Kid,

There is a lot of important news in the world. Since you are a Busy Person, I have accumulated some of this importance so that you won’t have missed anything.

As Mashable points out, Snoopy is now on Vine.  Until now, I have completely ignored Vine. But if Snoopy is there, well, I’ll be investigating big time. Once I know more, I’ll report back. Probably.

Coca-Cola has a can that splits in half for easy sharing. Apparently it’s a concept can rather than something they are going to launch world-wide. It’s a cool marketing idea (although it seems to me that a 6-pack of cans makes more sense if you really want to share with friends).

There is now a big debate about Lethal Autonomous Robots (LARs) which are programmed to kill without human supervision. If someone can figure out how to modify the technology so that the robots keep our house bug-free, I’m all for it!

Fan TV has launched a new-fangled way to watch tv. Apparently it is “a game-changing new way of navigating options on your TV.” Whether the game is changed or not, it looks dang cool and I love the idea of options to cable.

See how much you miss when you sleep late? <grin>

Share a Coke Zero and a smile, don’t play with LARs, and please call Grandpa to say Happy Birthday.

Love, Mom


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Science, Real Life Invisibility Cloaks, and Soccer Games

invisibility-cloak-how-stuff-worksDear Kid,

At today’s soccer game, the need to invent invisible referees once again became apparent. Somehow I always (yes, always) manage to sit at the exact spot where the line judge will choose to plant his or her feet. Yesterday one of the line judges was about the diameter of a pencil, but more typically I sit behind someone who has a significant behind to sit behind.

I was talking (shocker, I know) to a dad from the other team about the need for this invention. First he laughed and said, “You have too much time on your hands, don’t you?” Being a polite sort of person, I did not spit in surprise at the very notion of too much time. I was about to respond with something witty, when he said, “You know, we really do have the technology to make that happen.”


Invisible people?

I was so stunned I said nothing. (Make a note. It does happen occasionally.)

He went on to explain that in his opinion there were two options. One: do away with sideline judges by using chips in the ball and cameras from different angles and such (eh) or Two: use some super cool technology to more or less make the line judge invisible. I opted for Box Number 2 rather than whatever was behind the curtain.

He went on to explain that there is a fair amount of scientific research aimed at rendering things invisible. Some things are invisible only to microwaves (not sure why you’d want to be visible to the human eye but invisible to microwaves, but I’m sure there is a good reason). And there is technology that works as long as you’re small enough to live in a Petri dish (I have yet to meet a referee, no matter how fit, that would live happily in a Petri dish).

There is also technology that is basically a tee-shirt where the front acts like a camera and the back acts like a projection screen so someone behind the tee-shirt sees whatever the front of the tee-shirt sees. Voila! Floating head, invisible torso, legs running around trying to catch up. Useful and hilarious.

I went to the website How Stuff Works which has fab-o info on real life invisibility cloaks. Pages of good stuff. Which I plan to go back and read sometime when I’m not quite so tired. Like 2035. The point is, not only is there real science about this, there are real world applications that make pursuing the science a pretty nifty idea. Well, not for me, since I’m pretty sure I’d set the research back a decade or so. But for someone who has a clue about this sort of thing.

Real world applications they talk about including making the bottom of a cockpit clear so pilots can see the ground when they are landing. And making a surgeons hands invisible so they can see everything when they are operating (I think that would take some getting used to).

Before you ask, I double checked and there was no mention anywhere of using this technology to make referees invisible. Sometimes science is very short-sighted if you ask me. I’m sure they will think of it—it will just take a little longer.

Now all we have to do is figure out the science of getting folding chairs to make coffee at the game and I’ll be all set.

Get your highly visible self to bed at a reasonable hour, kiddo.

Love, Mom

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