Transparent Computing

In What Is It About Immersive 3D?, I claim that being immersed in among the application components allows and encourages us to mix and match among bits and pieces of different applications. That is, we’re getting rid of the idea of having separate “applications” on a computer.

I forgot to mention the other aspect of immersive 3d: that we want to get rid of the computer. Well, actually, that we want to make using each application object feel like a real world object, not a computer thingie. The direct manipulation feel makes it easier to work with stuff, and the lack of indirect abstractions and symbols makes it easier to understand.

A few examples below the fold.

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Sunday profundities

I went to a wedding last Saturday. The bride (a native of North Carolina) and the groom (a long-time resident of Massachusetts) met in an online discussion group. I had met & had become friends with the groom through a different online group. Before and after the wedding, Dear Wife Betty and I stayed at the home of another friend, whom I also had met through an online discussion group. And at the wedding reception were other friends that I knew from Kuro5hin (or the K5 spinoff site HuSi). As a technoskeptic with strong technoparanoidish tendencies I find it odd that so many of my best friends are people that I met online, and I also note with raised eyebrow that the bride and groom, who were married in an ultra-traditional High Spook Episcopalian mass, are both introverted people. One is a fifty year old astrophysicist and the other is a thirty year old (former) instructor of English. It’s hard to imagine they would have found each other had it not been for teh Intarweb.

Some other time I will write about the notion of community as it relates to “online community.” I used to think that this subject was played out enough that there was little new to say about it. I’ve changed my mind about that, so Stay Tuned, as Harold says.

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Jesus Speaks

This could give rise to an an interesting copyright challenge.

From some junk mail I got from the company that makes the technology: “Brian Morrissey of Adweek, wrote it better than we ever could: ‘Any institution around for thousands of years must know a thing or two about product promotion. That’s why churches are a great place to find new marketing tactics. Heck, the Pope is podcasting. Now a Palm Harbor, Fla. -based minister has produced what we’re guessing is the first interactive rich media representation of Jesus’…

”Since the dawn of the third millennium corporations have been using our VHost™ technology to deploy famous people including everyone from Elvis and Stephen King to Einstein and Woody Harrelson.”

Intellectual Property Is Not An Enforceable “Right”

Internal problems in Brie. Some nasty, some trivial, all annoying. We’ll work ’em out, but time to think of something else for a while. How about huge cultural paradigm shifts?

Clearly, something’s going on in the area of intellectual property. The old models are not serving. Everybody’s got something to say. (Here and there are some current MIT community examples.) On the one hand, Apple tries to sue companies for using a Windows-Icons-Menus-Pointer (WIMP) look-and-feel that they themselves didn’t invent, and they won’t let me rip the songs I legally bought from them. On the other hand, they want to use the name “Apple” despite clearly being in competition with Apple Records in the music business, and they produce a variety of devices in the new-cultural rip-mix-and-burn chain. Are they schizo, or is it just opportunistic business? I think it’s another data point towards the conclusion that we’re waiting for Thomas Kuhn (in a broad sense) to point the new way.

How can we understand intellectual property rights in a digital age? I propose that we try to get at what we really mean in terms of some established axioms.

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Quick Updates

A quick update. Regretably, I have been too busy since coming back to type up my notes from the last day of the Media Reform Conference. I will say that Bill Moyers gave an amazing speech about the current attempt by the Bush administration to co-opt public television. Hopefully, I’ll have time to write up my take on the conflict around the Corporation for Public Broadcasting later. For other updates, see below . . .

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The new limit of DRM lunacy: requiring fingerprints for DVDs

Wired has this story about researchers at UCLA coming up with what has to be the most assinine form of DRM yet: a DVD that will be encoded so it will only play for the person who specifically bought it. This is accomplished through some handwaving mumbo-jumbo involving that recent poster child of privacy invasion: the RFID chip.

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Self-replicating robots are here

This story from the BBC explains how researchers at Cornell have created a very simple robot that can assemble a duplicate of itself.

Now, it’s not the time to panic (yet). The robot can only really
assemble a duplicate of itself if it has the correct parts. In this
case, each robot is made up of three cubes, each of which contain
motors, a processor, and programming. Aside from making more of
themselves out of these building blocks, the robots really can’t do
much else.

What Is It About Immersive 3D?

When something new comes along, we tend to describe what it is. If it’s something important, it takes a while to figure out why it’s important – what it is that is really different. The description of what something is tends to be somewhat dry and technical and it misses the point. For example, a telegraph is an encoder and a decoder in an electric circuit. But couriers and semaphores involve coders and decoders, and other stuff has had electric circuits. What was important about the telegraph was that it provided instantaneous long-distance communication. This is also what was important about its successors like the telephone and radio, even though the descriptions of what each is are quite different than that of the telegraph. It’s not as simple as describing what a new invention does for people. Quite often we don’t know how it will be used.

Since I first heard about Croquet, I’ve been trying to figure out what is really important about the immersive 3D that everyone first notices about it. I think I now have an idea. It turns out that the “immersive” part is key.

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