Friday, December 11, 2009

Want Everyone To See Your Credit Card Transactions?

As the Internet matures, slowly but surely everything we do in the real world is going social. But there’s a limit to how much information we can explicitly share on all the various services. A new service, Blippy, launching today in private beta, has an interesting way to take something you do everyday, buy things with your credit card, and automatically push those transactions online for others to see and interact with.

I am having trouble seeing what the positive would be, from the individual's viewpoint.

Posted via web from Wunderphul

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Traveling home

I-5 northbound - stop and go because of the holiday traffic... :-(

I did not plan this very well. No, I did not.

Tom (mobile)

Posted via email from Wunderphul

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More dumb things, tragic - and perhaps hope...

Continuing the texting and driving theme... (LINK)

The NY Times and CBS news has conducted a poll and it seems that there are really high percentages of people agreeing about no texting while driving. Penalties, penalties, penalties...

And then there is a story about how Britain has become very agressive in the punishment area obviously hoping to curtail the behavior (heavier than "click-it or ticket" and more along the lines of "use a gun, go to jail" -> "text while driving, go to jail")

But actually, I think this technology has promise to help solve the problem in another way

While I have worked with and around face recognition software before, this particular application of similar technology would (I would think) allow a driving pattern to developed and stored within the system, because the system has to eventually recognize what the driver is looking at. According to Toshiba, it can be used to alert the driver to inattentive driving (or to operate car navigation system by combining the eye direction and manually-operated switches). The former alerting mechanism, I think, would allow this driving pattern, implicitly, to be differentiated from the texting "looking" pattern. Become inattentive, because of the texting, the system would "alert the driver". Let's hope the alerts don't lead to an aftermarket of methods of disconnection.

What do you think? obviously, more work to be done (they would need to eliminate the computational requirements that force a PC into the car, or simply wait for more horsepower) and, according to their statement in the article, they have no plans to commercialize this yet.

Still - here is something that might be worthwhile, something better than relying on GPS and/or accelerometers tied to the texting function.

Posted via email from Wunderphul

Monday, September 28, 2009

Driving, texting, and otherwise doing dumb things

I had someone almost sideswipe me over the weekend while I was out and about. It made me think about the following items I had recently seen on the "tubes" a NYTimes video article on drivers distracted by the technology a film made by a police department in the city of Gwent in the U.K. A fictional, but all too real, crash caused by a Welsh teen's texting while driving.

Why is it that we "consumers" think it's our god given right to do what we want, without regard to our own and other's safety? Perhaps the same could have been said for motorcycle helmet laws in the U.S. until finally most states adopted them solely to cut down on the expense of medical care for those critically injured in this fashion.

The same thing for smoking, in that you can't in many places any more, principally because of the direct medical costs associated with the behavior.

Perhaps this will be the angle that will ultimately be taken in order to force us to behave like sensible people. California (where I live) does have talking on the phone (without a hands free headset) and texting laws designed to prevent this. Mostly, I fear, these laws are ignored. I say this because I've seen a fair amount of tickets being written, but the practice continues, in spite of the tickets. Other places have similar laws and I suspect are also being ignored as much as out here in the west. -- Since there is a direct relationship between the behavior and the ultimate consequences, e.g. the crash, the medical care, the lawsuits - it's only a matter of time before there will be a stronger set of talking/texting laws -- a mandatory "helmet" law for our cell phones?

That would be scary for many of us, now, wouldn't it?

Posted via email from Wunderphul

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Additional Moon Landing Trivia

Back in July, I posted about the upcoming moon landing anniversary.

Well, the 40th for this historic event has come and gone, but I did run across some additional information courtesy of the ABC Science show, from Australia. They were rebroadcasting an interview with the astronauts at the 20th anniversary of the moon landing, and what was really funny was the interchange between John Getter, KHOU in Houston and Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

Buzz Aldrin had answered the reporter's question on what's different between 1969 and 1989 with some kind of bland stuff like in the 60's we were ripe for commitment, that now so much more technology was available, that we could do a lot, things are changing Alvin Toffler style, but it was expensive. He left off and I certainly had the impression that the commitment in the 80's was somewhat lacking but he did say that he had hope that things would continue on (from the original missions).

Michael Collins must have been the straightman for the Space Program, because he replied: "President Kennedy said that we were going to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth, that was his goal. President Bush (George H Bush), whom I consider to be a president as dynamic as Kennedy, I think, in today's climate would have to say, 'I think we ought to dedicate ourselves to the goal of perhaps considering appointing a commission, after due deliberation with the Congress of investigating the feasibility of certain long-range goals for the space program, perhaps even including a mission to Mars.'

I laughed myself silly... Maybe he had lots of time in the Command Module to think up this stuff.

Posted via email from Wunderphul

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What's wrong with Medicine?

Sometimes, it just rains...
Wife has been coughing alot lately, me too for that matter... She has
phone appt with doctor today, great idea, btw, keeping costs down...
probably some kind of bronchial infection, it's been going around...
I help out by going to the pharmacy to pick up some meds he's ordered
for her... There are 3 packages and 3 months worth of prescriptions!
About $125 - oh my.
Certainly, if the condition persists that long, I would think we might
be trying other things by then. We have cheaper mail-order refill
perscription options by then as well.
I am going to consider this a "click the wrong box" sort of problem,
but it illustrates the importance of patient responsibility and taking
care of your own self.
I know too many lemmings who just unquestioningly do what the doctor
says. Speak up people, ask questions.

Posted via email from Wunderphul

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Free Read! - Personal Effects: Dark Art - Chapters 1 thru 4

Download now or preview on posterous
PEDA-Chap1-4.pdf (1766 KB)

Something for you to read, see if this book is something for you.
I have my own copy, am reading it now, but just in case you'd like to see what all the fuss is about...

Posted via email from Wunderphul

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Moon landing trivia

We are coming up on the 40th anniversary of the 1st Apollo moon landing (July 20) in which Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first men to touch down, kick some dirt around, bring back some things and generally kick off a whole generation of geeks (like me!).

Actually, we were already gearing up for things, from the famous President Kennedy speech, to (and I think more importantly) the support the teachers got in school for science and especially space related things. Everyone was interested in space exploration. There were books, cartoons, lots of stuff to keep this budding generation of geeks ready to go. Some of these early 3-4th grade readers I still have, having rescued them from my closet at my family home in Minnesota.

Of course, I was late in the generation. The engineers that were at NASA and other places like Lockheed and Boeing were earlier (older?) in the generation. But for all of us, it sheparded in a time of excitement and of hope.

I remember Walter Cronkite (who now is suffering from cerebrovascular disease and is not expected to recuperate) and his distinctive reporting style on the CBS broadcasting network as the launch, flight, landings and returns of the Apollo missions were carried out. I would sit up late into the night during those missions to watch and listen to everything the television (black and white, btw) could give me about each of those men that went on those journeys into space. I remember creating a table of all of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions, who was on them, who actually flew, who did space walks, and how long, how many orbits, and for the Apollo's, what the objectives or landing sites on the moon were.

I even own an old style phonograph record of the audio highlights of this first Armstrong/Aldrin landing (Apollo 11) and I distinctly remember that the first reported words on the moon where not that "one small step" sentence, but something more pertinent to the mission. That bit of trivia I'll leave to the readers to ascertain, or if you cannot find it out, then drop me a note and I will help you out.

For other interested trivia (thanks to George Hrab- check out his #121 podcast episode) there were 10 other things, for example: The Apollo 11 flag was purchased from a Sears store local to the Manned Flight Center. At the time, Annin & Company was Sears supplier of nylon flags. From what I've read, it seems impossible to confirm this for sure at this time. In an interview in 1992 with NASA Chief of Technical Services, it's indicated that the flag may have been purchased through a government supply catalog, which also may have been locally procured. Nonetheless, an interesting sidelight to Sears history, which I wrote about over in my technology blog. Have a look.

There are probably more than 10 things, a lot of history is probably lost in the course of life and the moving forward part of life. Maybe there will be a lot less lost because of the "internet age" -- don't you think?

Posted via email from The Wunderphul posterous site

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Personal Effects: Dark Art

Back in the first part of the year, I posted that Sigler and Hutchins are really good authors giving the old school publishing industry a run with an alternate business model.

JC Hutchins' latest book, Personal Effects: Dark Art, is out, at bookstores and online, I've ordered my copy, and a prequel is playing in the feed at JC's site, and at Podiobooks. The book is a supernatural thriller, great storytelling, and will keep you up at night, either reading, or scared to go to sleep. The book is also different, in that you get some "personal effects" like ID cards and photos and if you call the phone numbers with some of the items, you get the character's voicemail; google the characters and institutions, you will find real websites to further shore up the storytelling infrastructure, like the hospital website or the main character's myspace page.

Personal Effects creator is Jordan Weisman, of the Alternate Reality Game storytelling genre. Think The Dark Knight, Year Zero, and I Love Bees.

Maybe you won't be a simple passive reader, you might become active in the story, because you can find out things that the characters themselves don't know... or do they?

Posted via email from Thomas's posterous

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Great Post by Phil Plait, the Bad Astronomer

Today, Phil revealed this great story at (link, he was reading about it at SFGate) about quantum entanglement

A homeless man is on trial in San Mateo County on charges that he smacked a fellow transient in the face with a skateboard as the victim was engaged in a conversation about quantum physics, authorities said today.

wow, I am thinking, two homeless men

he goes on to say, that the article said that two other people witnessed the attack and observes that

Oh, too bad! There goes the defense; the observers collapsed the wave function. Otherwise, he could’ve pleaded guilty and not guilty.

Hee Hee - I laughed myself silly

Posted via email from Thomas's posterous

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Coming up to the last episode of Contagious, by Scott Sigler.

The latest podcast episode was posted Sunday, only one left. You can get the feed and listen to all of the episodes where Scott reads them for free at

If you like horror with a science bent, you're gonna love these.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Time, Sigler, Hutchins

Gotta love these guys. Their heart (and tons of time) has gone into their work and the marketing "buzz" is starting to pay off.

Give them a listen at (Infected, Contagious, 7thSon book 1)or at the author's websites. I just finished Sigler's Nocturnal and it was great!