The Coolest Thing Since… The Last Ultrasound

Wow!

Technology is amazing.

I know Ultrasounds aren’t really all that new but they can show you some really cool stuff! Seriously, this is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

Our little baby is gonna be an acrobat or something, she sure is active and flexible!  You can almost make out her face if you watch closely.

I just wish the offices would catch up with their technology.  We’re forced to record the Ultrasounds on VHS.  Seriously… VHS.  We even bought a 4 pack of them (smallest available) from Target for the first one and it was like $8!  All we do with them is convert them from VHS->DVD for archival storage and then rip the DVD->Computer for your enjoyment and our viewing purposes (we’re all digital).

Everything is Amazing and Nobody is Happy

A Video Clip from Louis CK on how amazing everything is around us, and how everyone has an instant expectation that they deserve it.  This is why it bothers me when people complain about their 3G coverage, or a slow Internet connection or any number of ways in which some new technology could be better.

Shut up and be appreciative for once.  We live in Amazing, Interesting Times with technology that’s improving faster than we can even learn about it.

It's Good to be Back

Guitar Hero IIIWell, Guitar Hero 3 is finally here! When I sold my PS2 and Guitar Hero last year I was almost on the verge of depression (not literally continue reading). I had grown addicted to the game very quickly and couldn’t believe Sony didn’t support it for the PS3! I suffered withdrawal for the first few weeks but eventually learned to deal with it, with the expectation of playing the PS3 version as soon as it arrived.

Now that I have it I’m only half excited. The game is still excellent and extremely fun, however the new controller leaves a lot to be desired. As soon as I opened the box I knew it wasn’t going to be as good as I had hoped. Rather than making use of the built in Bluetooth wireless technology for some reason they opted for some proprietary wireless crap (probably fast RF or something). This means a little USB dongle that needs to be plugged in to the PS3. Not that big of a deal right? WRONG!

Not only does it use a proprietary wireless technology but just getting the guitar and the PS3 to talk is a nightmare! After fiddling with the sync button on the dongle and the PS button on the guitar for the better half of 10 minutes I consulted the manual. I found nothing of any use. I then checked the packaging that contained the stickers and there it is, the setup guide. Ok so what do I have to do? This is the only way (that I’ve found so far) to get the Guitar and the PS3 to talk.

  1. The PS3 must be off.
  2. Turn the PS3 on using the button on the System (NOT on one of the controllers)
  3. Press the PS button on the guitar
  4. Press the sync button on the dongle
  5. Press the PS button on the guitar
  6. BINGO

How retarded is that? First of all you’re not using proven (available) technology. Second of all the user experience is terrible! I have to turn my PS3 OFF to switch to Guitar Hero? WHAT? I understand the requirement of the guitar becoming Player 1 but guess what? You can already reassign controller numbers with 2 button presses from literally anywhere within the menu system or any game.

It’s like they’re not even trying anymore.

Another very minor annoyance is the strum doesn’t click in both directions anymore. If you want the tactile feedback you need to strum in one direction and then the other. Strumming in the same direction twice leads to no feedback the second time.

Beyond that the game itself is solid. Great music, Graphics are awesome. I love the new online play modes as well as some of the new between set animations and the other general feel of the game. I just hate the damn controller. It’s all very silly if you ask me. How hard is it to embed a six-axis control system into a plastic guitar? Some guy already did it by himself so he could play guitar hero 1 and 2.

That being said its good to be back, even if I do end up returning it for the Wii version.

Clearwire

Cleawire LogoWhile in BestBuy returning a game today, I noticed a new Kiosk for Clearwire. It claimed to offer cheap wireless Broadband access. I was intrigued so I grabbed a pamphlet. After further review their broadband access isn’t that great.

  • ClearValue (standard tier)
    • 768Kbps down
    • 256Kbps up
    • $29.99/month
  • ClearPremium (premium tier)
    • 1.5Mbps down
    • 256Kbps up
    • $36.99/month

While their speeds arn’t that great they’re still a big step up from dial up. The idea is interesting and I knew that companies were begining to offer it in other cities but I wasn’t aware Rochester was on the map yet.

Don’t fret, Rochester is on the map!

Clearwire Rochester Coverage

One concern I have however is that it appears to be using a proprietary wireless protocol rather than the existing 802.11b/g protocols. What this means is people are forced into utilizing their provided modems rather than being free to roam the coverage area with their mobile devices. Too bad, If the speed was a little faster, I’d completely be willing to switch if I could connect using my existing wireless devices.

GENI can't be pushed back in the bottle

Friday some friends from work and I went to RIT‘s first Dean’s Lecture Series talk of the year by Peter Freeman. This talk, about GENI (Global Environment for Network Innovation), was informative but a lot less interesting than I imagined. I thought there would be discussion about their thoughts for the next internet and where we might be going. Instead we were inundated with boring generic statements of how GENI will be a testing bed for experiments dealing with the next internet. All of this is available at their website but to summarize, GENI’s primary objectives are:

  • To develop and evaluate ideas for future network design
  • To encourage related research

Some things that struck me during the talk:

  1. The importance of a comprehensive coordinated effort in order to avoid the same defects existing in today’s solution was one of their key points. In almost in the same breath they mentioned the different approaches by Japan, The European Union and The United States.
  2. Their basic architecture included devices named super routers. If these are like today’s routers they’re already building some very blatant similarities into what’s supposed to be a test bed for a new architecture. One of the things they mentioned was changing the TCP/IP stack. Routers are level 3 devices and as such currently utilize the TCP/IP stack. If these new devices are different than today’s routers they should have a different name.
  3. It seemed to me they were concentrating purely on the hardware networking part of things. Isn’t our hardware pretty solid? Can’t we already have 5×1028 addresses for each of the estimated 6.5 billion people alive today with IPv6 (wikipedia)? Can’t we already handle that bandwidth with the existing broadband technology? I would think the bigger concern is archaic protocols such as FTP and HTTP and their underlying stacks like TCP/IP, which have been hacked together over the years. DZone recently posted an article about why FTP Must Die and its definitely worth a read.
  4. If the hardware is redefined but the software and protocols are not, won’t we just end up with one giant hack which fits all of today’s technology into tomorrows architecture? This just seems like adding an extra layer to me.

GENI has a good idea with their general principle. We do need to be looking to the future, some of our current internet practices simply wont be able to hold up when

Every Light switch has an IP address.

However; they’re going down the wrong path and it seems like they’re creating too much (hardware) infrastructure to really inspire the creation of a new and unique solution.