Programmable Matter Is Definately On The Edge

Wireless Power!

New technologies shown last week by Intel in New York City at Intel’s Innovation Showcase, may provide the foundation that can radically effect the future of movies and television. The show demonstrated technologies that you may think you’d only see in movies with Intel claiming that of the futuristic technologies may be made within another five to 20 years.

One technology demonstrated was automatic video editing. Software can control your computer to scan through a recording of a sporting event and pull out only the highlights you want.

One of the most interesting concepts at the show was “programmable matter” which is actually objects that shape shift. The objects are actually tiny little computers that can actually talk to each other and create little networks and create shapes. Developers feel that down the road, people may scrap their TV’s and watch events like the Super Bowl as if it was a quickly-moving.sculpture in the living room.

In addition to the video posted below check out New York’s TV 1 report , including its potential for TV and Film, on all of the other amazing technology at the show


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Intel Announces World’s First Embedded Balanced Antenna for Digital TV on Your Laptop

Intels Embedded DTV Antenna Concept

Intel's Embedded DTV Antenna Concept

Intel researchers announced that they have developed the world’s first embedded balanced antenna for digital TV. According to the annoucment, which provided minimal information, this patent-pending “Intel innovation” will allow on-the-go users to watch digital television on their laptop without the need for an external antenna. The announcement notes that the elimination of the external antenna reduces the number of items to purchase, carry and keep track of.

There are no other details.


Robots Are Developing Faster Than We Think They Are!

During the Industry Insights webcast at Intel’s IDF conference this week Rodney Brooks, from MIT demonstrated how robots can be programmed to respond to human gestures and can mimic emotional responses. His presentation was full of big ideas, visionary thinking and demonstrations that show us how robotics are advancing in the area of interacting with humans by interpreting facial gestures and vocal tones.  Video below;

Computing’s Next Major Leap… Human Interface.

Justin Rattner, Intel’s CTO predicts physical computers will eventually disappear! –What I like my Apple II. ;)– He feels that they will embed themselves into walls, cars and homes over the next 40 years. He thinks the next major leap will be in the human interface with technology. Video below;

Intel’s 2nd Generation Classmate PC (CMPC) Announced

Intel has announced its 2nd Generation Classmate PC (CMPC). These PC’s termed termed “Netbooks” are competitive models to the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) computers. Compared to Intel’s first Classmate PC they have enhanced features such as longer battery life, are more rugged, water resistant keyboards and provide good shock absorption. They are being made available in mature markets as well as emerging markets.

Intel’s Vision Of The Next Generation Of Visual Computing – Model Based

The reason these video’s are surfacing on my blog is because the Intel Developers Forum is on this week in Shanghai, China. With the forum comes some insight into the direction Intel is taking with its various procesor lines. One area that Intel is pushing is the next generation of Visual Computing that is possible with its multicore processors. The video (below) titled “Makin’ Chips Work for You” provides an overview and insight into the kinds of real time Visual Computing possible when the worlds of video and metadata are combined in a multi-processor computer environment. They call it “Model-Based Computing”.

Check out the the real time cloth simulation, real time digital water, real time motion tracking with standard camera’s and a real time video editing application where the editing is accomplished automatically in this video…..

Video – How INTEL’s ATOM Processor Is Powering The Next Generation Of Mobile Devices

Last Friday Intel’s Uday Keshavdas assisted in a video as he was packing up for his trip to Shanghai for the Intel Developer Forum. The video provides insight into the new mobile devices that the Intel ATOM is powering. The video (below) shows new devices, a silicon wafer that has 2500 ATOMS on it and he opens up a mobile Internet device to show where the Intel Atom processor fits.

Random Thoughts on Second Life, a Brain Mouse, Powerful Laptops and HDMI Soundcards

Once again I’m slightly changing how I post to this blog. I’m going to break the stories up into different postings so the material can be found by search engines and links.

Second Life

Researchers at Rensselaer’s Cognitive Science Department are trying to find ways to create lifelike synthetic characters, which act just like humans and would make it difficult for players to determine whether they are dealing with a real or simulated person. Currently they believe they are on the path to inventing a Second Life virtual character that has the reasoning abilities of a 4-year old.

GoFlex317 HD Laptop

Video editors have to check out the the quad-core laptop shown at the HD Expo in Beverly Hills this week. Made by 1 Beyond, the GoFlex317 HD uses a desktop Intel Q6600 quad-core processor to provide desktop-like performance. The 12 pound GoFlex317 HD is certified with Adobe Creative Suite 3, Avid Xpress Pro with MoJo, Grass Valley/Canopus Edius.

ASUS Shows HDMI Equipped Sound Cards

HDMI on a sound card does not seem useful without the video going along with it. This week ASUS showed HDMI equipped sound cards but the announcement was short on the exact details.

Brainwave Computer Interface

Interfaces are starting to appear that allow users to control their computer using their brainwaves. Emotiv Systems Inc.’s NEUROHEADSET appears to have been the first out of the box but this week OCZ showed a ‘brain mouse’ that they described as Neural Impulse Actuator for multi-core PCs.

Digital Filmmakers Are On “Cusp of a Whole New Industry”, Printer Ink Profits, 3D Printing, Blu-ray, MIX08, Windows On ASUS Eee, and Dell in Tough(book)

Intel Believes Digital Filmmakers Are On “Cusp of a Whole New Industry” – Don MacDonald speaking on a panel at the Cinequest Film Festival indicated that he believes digital filmmakers are on “Cusp of a Whole New Industry”. In the video available at, MacDonald outlines historical data relating to the birth of the Radio and Television mediums, the penetration rate of the technology and how the Inernet may have reached the point where Digital Filmmakers have a distribution medium that Intel beleives will be a whole new industry.

Making 3D Printing Mainstream

Here is a strange one. In hopes of jump-starting the 3-D printing revolution, OpenMoko, a maker of open source mobile devices, is offering its phone case CAD files to anyone who wants them. The CAD files have been made available under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 license. The hope is that by making use of those files, individuals having access to 3D printers will be able to create their own flesh for their phones.

Dell Introduces Competition For Panasonic Toughbook

It was great to learn that Dell has introduced a Latitude XFR D630 laptop. We’ve used the Panasonic Tougbooks in our Virtual Audio Lab at Ryerson and purchased the Toughbooks because we actually hand out the laptops for field recording purposes and we’ve found them to be excellent. Event though the Toughbook versions we purchased are considered semi-rugged, after two years of operation we’ve yet to have one go in for service despite constant use by student.

Like the Toughbook, Dell’s has a 1394 connector which makes it ideal for streming video from the field. The D630 laptop is designed for reliable performance and it meets the strict military standard, MIL-STD 810F, for extreme temperatures, shock/drop, moisture, altitude and more. In looking up the information for this blog I came across It has a number of other rugged components including printers and PDA”s.

ASUS Officially Launches Eee PC with Microsoft Windows Operating System

The ASUS Eee PC has made quite an impression since it was launched a few months ago. Originally launched with Linux Asus has announced it now works with the Windows Operating system. In addition ASUS is building upon the product with its ASUS’ 9-inch Eee PC ( and that was announced at Cebit 2008 a couple of days ago. These new technologies will bring about a brand new concept for Internet access with 1G of memory, larger storage of up to 12GB.

Between the ASUS Eee PC’s and the One Laptop Per Child computer, there currently is a revolution in smaller lighter computers and I’m not referring to Apple’s MacBook Air. HP might be moving into the arena with an HP Compaq 2133 UMPC Laptop that Gizmotto describes as “a laptop looks like the Asus Eee PC’s cooler cousin.” ( The GeCube Genie small form-factor low-cost system has 10.2” screen ( Elonex is launching a £99 student laptop in the UK, while the MSI Wind, a subnotebook very much in the style of the Eee.

Steve Ballmer and Guy Kawasaki Keynote at MIX08

After mentioning in my last blogpost that I don’t get how Steve Balmer of Microsoft always seems to be the last person to come to the party, I watched his keynote address at MIX08. It’s not really a keynote per-say it’s more like an interview and in watching it I thought his sense of humour was great. In my opinion he didn’t address the Vista rollout even all that well adn wouldn’t talk about the Seattle Supersonics but he did mention “Monkey Boy”. ( And for those who don’t think that a conference can’t survive by putting its content on-line for free, think again. Balmer mentions how conferences have changed during his keynote and you;ll find all MIX08 sessions –actually 07 and 06 as well– online at

While on the subject of Microsoft this article tilted “Your Windows XP computer is more safe if you don’t set any password at all.” provides some food for thought. . Rumours spread this weekend that Google and Microsoft are bidding for

Blu-ray/Optical Media Watch

Well since I started a rant on Blue-ray a few posts ago it appears Cinram is eying growth in the Blu-ray market after the demise of the HD DVD format. This announcement almost coincided with another couple of announcement including Canada’s Future Shop offering and HD DVD deal where they will give current HD-DVD owners a chance to trade in their unit for an upgrade to a dual HD DVD / Blu-ray player (, while Amazon cuts the price of Blu-ray titles to $14.95 (

TB Optical Disk Recording

In other optical media items I came across TeraDisk. It’s a one TB optical disk that employs 200 layer recording to achieve the density.

Printer Ink Profits

When I was a kid growing up in downtown Toronto in the mid-1960’s a company called Duncan marketed Yo-Yo’s and Spin Tops to children. These toys were marketed primarily by other kids (14ish) who would show up after school and run competitions using the toys in front of the stores that sold the toys as the kids walked home from school. These were the days long before video games and even television had caused the cocooning effect that we see today. It was also still an era where most schoolchildren walked to and from school instead of being driven which seems to be the norm today. Often these tournements would result in an occasional spin top or Yo-Yo given away, usually to children who did not own one of the toys.

It was in those early days that I learned one of the tricks of marketing and it remains to this day. Those old spin-tops required strings and tips that would quickly wear out and even with a free toy one would quickly become a consumer of Duncan’s products. While HP is not the only company who engages in this market philosophy it’s almost bizzare to realize that HP derived 42 percent of its $2.63 billion total operating profit in the latest quarter from printer ink. It did this despite commanding approx. 20 percent of the worldwide PC market –Dell has 15 percent–.

While there are some great reports on the Internet about the cost of HP ink, (HP Ink Costs More Than Human Blood, Booze – ), (HP finds formula to turn ink to gold – , (Ever Wonder Why Ink Costs So Much? what I cant figure out is why I can’t seem to make my HP printer drivers remain set in “draft print” 0r mono mode. Up until a few years ago I was able to set any HP printers I owned to draft b&w mode at the printer driver level. That way anyone who printed a document from anywhere on the network the default printer setting would be set to black ink only and in “draft” mode that would save on ink. Today, all printers come with colour and black ink cartidges and I have yet to figure out how to set the printer setting permanently to black only so the printer won’t come back with an errror message that it’s out of colour ink. I have an HP 920c printer and if anyone knows the secret to the printers setting(s) please leave me a comment. I’d sure appreciate it.

Random Thoughts

TV Sets In Third Graders Bedrooms One study of third graders put the number of TV sets in their bedroom at 70 percent.

Help In Finding Meteorites

University of Western Ontario Astronomers are asking Parry Sound residents to help find meteorites.


LucidTouch overcomes ‘fat fingers on the touch screen’ problem.

Orchestrating More Online Profits

A panel of experts at the Canadian Music Week (most American from what I could tell by the article) concluded that file-sharers should get ready to payfor online music, television and movies. I ask with tariff’s on Optical Media in Canada, that’s supposed to artists, money collected by BDU’s to support Canadian media production, and the fact that I have to pay for a basic cable service that covers channels I don’t want and can get for free, how many more way’s are we going to be expected to pay for media in Canada? The silence from the “experts” is deafening.

Over The Air HDTV, Internet and Children, Working On The Subway, Microsoft and HP.

More People Discovering Free Over The Air HDTV

I’m reading more stories everyday about people discovering the quality of free “Over The Air” HDTV.  The Globe ran this story over the weekend of Eryn Smit of Chatham, who hooked up his TV antenna and was so pleased with the results he canceled his cable service. Likewise the Media Awareness Network on their blog ( ran an entry called  “Air For Sale”. Their blog pointed to this story ( in New York City where Dale Hazelton hooked up a new antenna to his TV and had an experience similar to Eryn Smit of Chatham.

Perhaps what’s been lost after years of over the air analogue television delivery, is that if you get the digital channel, it’s going to be pristine. Digital works that way! ATSC was designed specifically for fixed rooftop antenna’s. And when the a TV channel is received via the antenna it comes without compression distortions that may be added by satellite or cable companies who try to squeeze down the channels signal so they can offer more stations as subscription channels.

From my point of view, I don’t understand how so many people believe that they must subscribe to a cable or satellite service for HDTV. It’s even worse when they pay a monthly premium to get the HDTV channels that they can get for free . To my way of thinking it’s borderline criminal when the company that they purchase it from, compresses the image to the point where they are adding image distortion on high action scenes. I believe most people purchase services from these companies because they believe that they are getting the best images possible for their HDTV television sets… With 52″ LCD sets now hitting mainstream prices, I think the practice of image compression distortion will become a lot more apparent and some of the companies supplying the signals will have to adjust their practices.  

How Dangerous Is the Internet for Children

I read with great interest David Pouge’s the NY Times article How Dangerous Is the Internet for Children. ( I thought it was one of the better articles written on the subject as most of them I’ve read are somewhat alarmist or written from the point of view that the Internet is inherently bad. He notes in his article that despite his editors insistence that the article must have something sensational, Pouge notes that “I could not find a single example of a preteen getting abducted and murdered by an Internet predator.”

The article goes on to talk about all of the things children can do on the net that is considered harmful and the article speculates that at times the parents reactions an actions are potentially more damaging to children than the materials that they come across on-line. The article points to a PBS Frontline documentary on the subject that’s available online to watch. It’s interesting that Pouge and the Frontline Documentary point to Cyber Bullying as the number one issue that parents should be worried about relating to their children. It just so happens that Cyber Bullying is being highlighted on CTV this week as part of their news coverage.

My Soapbox – Working On The Subway

I readily admit there are not a lot of reasons to love the subway in Toronto if you have to take it to work every day. Fortunately I’m in a position where I don’t have to take it regularly during peak rush hours so for me it beats driving. One are in which I thing the TTC sadly lacks is cellular and wireless service while riding the train. If you ever have to take the train across the city mid-day it’s crazy how many times during a trip that a train might stop waiting for drivers to come and go from breaks. I’ve experienced as many as three of these five minute intervals on my 22 minute ride into the city which adds 15 minutes to my trip time. It’s actually very annoying.

However my trip would be a lot more productive if they would add cellular service in the tunnels. That travel time would be good for me to catch up on my telephone calls and get some e-mail done. I often wonder if the lack of cellular service is one of the many factors that keep people in their cars as they travel about the city. Of course in the case of the TTC they have a long way to go to modernize. The fact that you have to line up and use cash in most instances to purchase tickets is just so outdated. Even the parking meters in Toronto have gone to credit cards…. It does appear that a train line that serves Boston has caught on to this.

What interesting things can one do with cellular service on the subway?

My Gads is something that might be useful. Its a simple way to ping all of that information that one never seems to be able to remember. Collections of information can be built collaboratively. Watch the video at TeleFlip will automatically forward e-mail from people you specify, as SMS messages to your cell phone.

Once can also retrieve one’s PC’s files using your phone and a service such as WebEx PCNow. It allows you to view and access files residing on your Windows-based PC or Mac via a mobile Web browser such as those on Treos, BlackBerry devices, and iPhones.

You can track expenses on the go with Intuit’s new Quicken Online that can be accessed from any mobile Web browser. A service called provides time-tracking tools, that are accessible on any computer via a Web browser. You can define projects, tasks, charge hourly rates, generate reports and export them to Excel. So there is a lot I could be doing, if only we had a service on the subway in Toronto. In the meantime I’ll have to keep using the JiWire Wi-Fi finder at

More On Microsoft E-mails And This Time Its Relates To HP has picked up on the story that I noted in my last blog posting relating to lowering Vista’s standards to accommodate Intel. In their story they indicate that the Microsoft e-mail documents that were opened in Seattle show “Microsoft ‘botched’ dealings with Intel, HP”. Apparently there was and is a lot of consumer confusion around “Vista Capable” and “Premium Ready”. Only “Premium Ready” computers contained the Intel 945 chip that could fully operate Vista’s features, such as Aero graphics. The article is not clear on how HP was affected by this but apparently their are some e-mail comments on record that suggest their was a problem of some sort relating to HP. The article can be found at I don’t know if its connected but I understand that Microsoft has dropped the pricing on VISTA.

More soon….