Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

The mobile web

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

I just attended a luncheon regarding the rising opportunities in the online mobile phone markets and it was pretty interesting.  I found out the the average youth user in China sends an average of 100 text messages a day.  That’s just sending!  Considering I’d never sent a text message in my life prior to coming to Hong Kong, that just seems inconceivable to me.

However, the focus of the presentation was about the youth market and how it’s affecting and shaping the mobile web.  Basically the premise is that the kids today are deciding and driving the technology and services available on mobile devices and us old folks will just get whatever they decide on.  Lucky us.  The 2 second attention span generation has come to power.

Supposedly, 50 Cent and young Japanese girls have something in common.  They are doing something called Lifecasting.  They basically wear their phones around their necks and let it record constantly throughout their day and it auto transmits these images or video to an online accessible site.  Personally, I’m not sure how I would feel about this but I guess it would keep Fiddy from doing illegal activities since he’d be broadcasting whatever he’s doing to the world.  The japanese girls will probably get flooded with dirty old men though.  But maybe that’s what they’re going for.

It sounds like more and more content on mobile devices will be branded as well.  Just like you can’t have a college bowl game without some companies name and logo plastered all over it.  Just like you can’t play certain video games without seeing billboards in the games advertising everything from soft drinks to cars.  Now your mobile content will also be branded.  Considering the size of the screens, I hope that you can still see what you were looking for with all those logos.

Of course since this meeting I’ve been thinking about the possibilities of making this site and A Little Scary more mobile friendly.  I found this WordPress Mobile Plugin that looks like it makes your site mobile phone compatible and thought I might give it a try.  If anyone out there has any opinions on the matter, please leave them in the comments.

Happy Birthday Buddha

Monday, May 12th, 2008

It’s Monday and I’m sitting at home still un-showered and working on comics.  Today is a public holiday here in Hong Kong.  It’s Buddha’s birthday!  Who am I to argue?  Sadly though, public holidays are a double-edged sword.  Sure you get the day off, but unless you feel like pushing through crowds of people everywhere you go, you pretty much just sit at home all day. Like I’m doing.

We say Iron Man on Saturday afternoon and it was awesome.  I’m a bit of a fanboy when it comes to comic book to movie adaptations and I know many of them aren’t that great.  Iron Man definitely lived up to the hype in my opinion though.

After the movie, Muse and I split up and went with our friends to different places.  Me and my friend went to Sham Shui Po to go to the computer and game malls to look for a Sony PSP for me.  I thought about getting a second hand system but decided it was too much risk for too little discount.  So I went for a new one.  Unfortunately all the cool colors of the new ‘slim’ PSP are all twice the price (or more) of the standard black, white or pastel colors.  So I found a shop that still sold the ‘fat’ versions.  They had a few of the limited Japanese releases so I went for one of those.  Just to make Colin jealous if nothing else.

My blue PSP

Oh yeah, that is a metallic blue Sony PSP.  Only released in Japan but everything ends up in Hong Kong eventually.  Sometimes I love shopping here in Hong Kong.

Inside a mouse’s balls

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Yesterday, I got a bit distracted from my work.  I had a standard Dell USB optical mouse that I liberated from a users desk because it was so nasty and sticky that I refused to use it.  I gave them a new one.  But of course that left me with the nasty sticky mouse which also had smooth spots worn into the two mouse buttons.

I also had an even older Dell USB ball mouse that worked just fine but no one wants old style mice with balls.  It had a nice clean black top half and was the exact same size and shape as the optical version.  At least on the outside. So I thought I’d clean off the funk from the bottom of the optical mouse and put the nice black top from the ball mouse on that.  In theory it’s very simple.  In reality it’s really freaking hard.

Even though the outsides of the two mice were physically shaped the same, the insides were different.  There were plastic support posts and wiring in different locations in each mouse.  I used a straight blade to shave down plastic edges and cut off supports.  I had to rearrange some wiring and eventually use a little brute force to get the new hybrid mouse to close up.  I was only partially successful the first try as the right mouse button wouldn’t press.  The second try after a bunch more cutting was a complete success.  It’s a pretty sharp looking mouse now with it’s flat black top and it’s smoky opaque bottom.

Then of course, I have to completely disassemble the remaining parts.  Which of course starts with removing the old mouse ball.  It made me realize that optical mice were probably the best thing to ever happen because mouse balls were stolen constantly.  I have no idea why or what people did with all those stolen balls but every store you went in with a PC on display, you’d try and move the mouse and immediately find that the ball was gone.  Even attempts at gluing the ball in rarely had the desired effect.  Optical mice changed all that of course and those damn ball thieves were thwarted once and for all.  You know who you are.

Mouse ball

A new thought occured to me once I got the mouse ball.  Why is it so heavy?  I never thought about before when mouse balls were the only choice, but now that I hadn’t handled a mouse ball for so long, I was intrigued by it’s weight.  I bounced it against my wood-like desk and it popped like a metal sound.  So I decided to see for myself.  I grabbed the straight blade and started slicing it around it’s circumference.  I thought it might be metal inside but once that razor sharp blade starting grinding against something that set my teeth on edge I knew it was.

Mouse ball insides

So there’s a metal ball bearing hidden inside there.  That also explains why old mice feel so much more substantial than new optical mice and also why some high end gaming manufacturers have started putting weights in their new mice.  It makes a big difference.

Perhaps you’ve never wondered about this and certainly don’t care now that the age of eunuch mice has taken over, but now you know.  And knowing is half the battle.  Considering that quote is from G.I. Joe, I can only assume that the other half the battle is the guns, explosives, killing, wounding, etc.  They never really said.

OK Invent this

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

So here are a few ideas I’ve had for inventions that I can’t figure out.  I figure that since someone is always beating me to the punch, I might as well share the things that don’t exist that I can’t figure out myself.  If you do figure one or more of these out and become rich, could you at least acknowledge me for the ideas?  That’d be nice.

  • Air Conditioned Pillow
    I know that I’m not the only one in the world that likes their bed pillow the most for those first ten seconds after laying on it while it’s still nice and cool.  Then it warms up to your body temperature and depending on where you live may start sticking to you.  I would pay good money for a pillow that stayed cool all night long.
  • Digital Currency Converter
    I typed a lot on this entry and got pretty detailed.  Then I decided that maybe this one was possible after all.  So I’m not posting it just yet.  I just need help from someone who really knows electronics….
  • Pollution Eater
    After living in a pretty polluted city like Hong Kong for a while you start wondering two things: ‘How can this be cleaned up?’ and ‘If I fall in the harbor will my flesh melt?’  So I started thinking about all the new advances in nanotechnology and biotechnology and I’m wondering when we will be able to make a little nano/bio critter that can not only clean up pollutants but breed to make more of itself but also have a short life-cycle.
    The trick would be to introduxe said organism/machine into a polluted body of water.  It would basically ‘eat’ pollution and use that food to create two duplicates of itself and then die.  The ‘offspring’ would then go off and do the same thing and continue the cycle and exponentially increasing their numbers in an outward radius leaving pollution free water in their wake.  That’s also the reason they need a very short life-span so that once an area is clean, the nanos stop eating and thus stop breeding and die.  Sure there would be the equivalent of an extra thin layer of silt at the bottom of the body of water as a result, but at least it would be clean water again.
    This is doable, but I am in the wrong field for this sort of thing.  An airborne version for air pollution should also be possible but the logistics and locomotion are much more difficult.

OK actually that’s all I can remember at the moment.  Of course there are other things like self-powering electro-magnetic propulsion and anti-gravity and invisibility but I was trying to be somewhat realistic.

If you were going to try and invent something, what would it be?

Apple iStick?

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

Interested in a small iPod Touch the size of a tube of lipstick?

iStick

There’s a design for one right now with a cube shape where all four sides are touch screens. Take a look at more pictures here from the article over at Yanko Design. I’m not sure about those funky, assumably Bluetooth, earpieces… but that’s not important. Apple has never been known to package decent earphones with their mp3 players.

I have no idea if this is in the pipeline for Apple or not, but it is an interesting concept. Given the familiar Mac / iPhone interface and the unusual size and shape,I’m sure that if Apple were to build it, the masses would buy it. No matter what.