If Facebook hopes to remain a relevant player in the digital world, it better figure out how to improve its online experience for smart phones and tablets. It takes so damn long to open and update that it is often useless if one wants to do a quick check of their messages.
Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
Posted in art, civics, Communications, consumerism, Economics, Entertainment, pollution, product design, Technology, Television, tagged advertising, broadcasting, entertainment, programming, television, TV, visual pollution on July 22, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
I detest infomercials and cannot think of any less imaginative way to run a television station than to air mindless infomercials. Here in Greater Lansing they seem to be the programming du jour when stations have nothing better to do or are too lazy to be imaginative. Long gone are the golden days of television where local entertainment programming greeted you in the morning, filled the lunch hour, and welcomed you home in the evening.
I understand there is little cost and lots of profit built into broadcasting infomercials, but they seem to be yet another example of the dumbing down and wasting away of society in general and entertainment in particular. If signs personify visual pollution, then these “shows” and I use that word loosely, are simply mind pollution of the airwaves.
Why not create original programming, play reruns, show cartoons, or how about educational programming? My bet is more than one station manager has claimed infomercials to be education – for numbed minds, perhaps.
Someday, somewhere, some enterprising person is gonna fill the vast void of dumbness with something unique and fun. When they do, they are going to do very, very well. Let’s all hope our minds can still function at that point.
Posted in civics, civility, Communications, consumerism, Economics, Economy, Entertainment, general, history, humanity, Land use, politics, Privatization, product design, Technology, Television, Trade, Travel, tagged BCS, business cards, Europe, Facebook, history, maps, news on June 26, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
- The Euro – good idea, but not everyone came to the party with the same idea in mind.
- Gasoline only cars – there will still be a plethora of gasoline only cars left over, but within a decade all new cars will be flex-fuel, hybrid electric, diesel, or electric.
- Paper business cards – instead we will have some type of RFID business cards that can be read by cell phones.
- Paper maps – as a map collector this one makes me sad, but I sure am holding on to the ones I have.
- Printed lodging directories
- Mail boxes – to save money, the post office will require everyone to maintain a post office box instead.
- Super-sized cola drinks – what New York City starts will be followed as obesity costs rise.
- Training wheels – as studies start to show they may hinder learning to ride more than they help, off they will go.
- Three-car or more garages – long overdue as starter castles start reflecting reality. Perhaps a separate bicycle door instead?
- Facebook – keep changing things arbitrarily without telling people ahead of time and it will soon go the way of myspace and digg. Hope you didn’t buy the stock.
- The BCS – this cannot come soon enough. Bring on playoffs.
Posted in art, Books, Cars, Communications, consumerism, Economics, Economy, Entertainment, Food, history, humanity, Land use, movies, Music, pictures, politics, product design, reading, Technology, tagged arts, entertainment, history, marketing, music, products, TV on June 24, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Here’s my initial list of things that will largely disappear in the next decade. Sure, you can still find buggy whips in certain places, but they don’t permeate the market like they did 100 years ago.
- Wristwatches – who needs them when everyone carries a cell phone?
- Alarm clocks – ditto
- Video rental stores – Can you say, “bye-bye Blockbuster?”
- Film – remember Fotomat’s? Forget largely any kind of film for photography and the equipment that goes with it.
- CDs – the music and data storage disks, not the investment option. Not sure if I am thrilled about his one. Seems like every time I get all my crap transferred onto a new storage medium it goes out of date. Everything’s going digital or to the cloud, wherever the heck that is?
- Chain bookstores – personally, I am sad about this one. Love wandering through a good bookstore. Used and niche bookstores will remain, but the chains are being replaced by electronic options.
- College bookstores – same reason, but I won’t miss the price ripoffs, especially on returns.
- Daily newspapers - neighborhood-oriented and specialty ones may remain, as well as national publications like the New York Times, but most small to mid-sized cities will have none.
- SUVs – the sooner the better for these gas hogs.
- Schedule planners and non-photographic calendars – who needs them in our electronic world?
- Dial-up internet – sorry AOL hanger’s on, time to join the 21st century.
- Phone books – despite how many they pile up at your doorstep.
- Land lines for homes. Haven’t had one for a year myself. Still may be necessary for work.
- Keys – with electronic door locks, keys may all but disappear for many uses. This prediction will not be true for Florida where they have many lovely keys dotting its coastline. : )
- Key chains – ditto.
Radiohead hit the stage at 8:30 pm and proceeded to put on a terrific and inspired 2.5 hour performance in all regards except for one – the lack of playing some of their most famous and popular tunes.
While I enjoyed the show and thought Radiohead’s on-stage performance was great, I was left wanting to hear “Creep,” “My Iron Lung,” “High and Dry,” and “Fake Plastic Trees.” That is one of the inherent risks with attending a long-term supergroup’s concert. You want to hear the recognizable hits and the band wants to play their new and favorite stuff too.
Don’t get me wrong, there were some classics included on the playlist such as “There There” (my personal favorite) and “Karma Police,” but of the 25 song set, the majority were either songs from more recent releases or a few newly written compositions.
Aside from the playlist, the entire band was in top-notch performance mode last night and Thom Yorke is simply an incredible stage presence. In addition, the light and video show during the concert was the best I have seen aside from U2′s 360 Tour.
If you have an opportunity to see Radiohead, definitely make the effort, but especially if you are a die-hard fan and are familiar with the band’s entire discography.
Posted in Cars, Cities, Climate Change, consumerism, deregulation, Economics, Economy, Environment, government, health, humanity, Land use, politics, pollution, Renewable Energy, Science, sports, Technology, tagged estimates, forecasts, future, history, predictions on June 6, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
The U.S. single family housing market will remain stagnant, not only because of the 2008 crisis, but as the baby boom generation ages there will be less demand for single family homes for the next 20 years.
Exurbs and distant suburbs will wither due to increased fuel costs and desire for shorter commutes.
Demand for scooters will soar in the USA for at least five more years.
Educational attainment will fall drastically in the USA by 2020 largely due to cuts in public school funding.
At least one of the big three hamburger chains will fail by 2020.
Independently owned department stores will gradually return to the retail landscape as consumers grow weary of “retail sameness.”
Despite attempts to derail funding, both AMTRAK and high speed rail will flourish.
If one could combine the terrific first half of Dark Shadows with the terrific second half of MIB 3, you would have one special film. Once MIB 3 goes back into the past (to 1969), it becomes a superb science fiction/action film. Up until that point, it is a bit of a yawner. Same jokes as MIB and MIB 2.
Enter Josh Brolin who absolutely tears it up and kick’s serious ass playing a young Agent K . He has Tommy Lee Jones voice and mannerisms down perfectly. It is almost eerie.
Will Smith is good too, especially paired with Brolin. I also really liked the character Griffin, played by Michael Stuhlbarg.
MIB 3 gets better and better as the movie rolls along. The climax and conclusion will no doubt touch your heart. I just wish they could have enlivened the first 30 minutes.
Posted in Alternative transportation, Biking, Cars, Climate Change, consumerism, Economics, Environment, EVs and hybrids, government, Passenger rail, politics, pollution, product design, Technology, Transportation, tagged alternative transportation, cars, cycling, Mass transit, non-motorized transportation, passenger rail, SUVs on May 3, 2012 | 7 Comments »
I am still amazed at the number of people who continue buying gas hogging SUV’s like Navigators and Tahoes. There are very few, if any, justifiable instances where these vehicles are practical, especially for family use.
To me, those who continue to purchase new ones are more than selfish, they are unpatriotic. Therefore, I think these gas hogs should pay through the snout for buying such vehicles and the money be used to help build a more eco-friendly infrastructure for passenger rail, mass transit and non-motorized transportation such as bicycles.
My proposal would be to levy a $100 surcharge on the purchase of any new fuel-inefficient SUV or car and $50 on the purchase of used ones. The money generated would remain in each state to use in conjunction with other funding sources for non-highway infrastructure projects that enhance passenger rail, mass transit, and non-motorized transportation options.
So, what do you think of this idea? Please don’t give me any libertarian BS propaganda. The moronic actions of selfish persons certainly do adversely impact the lives of selfless persons.
Posted in civics, civility, Economics, Education, general, health, Health care, humanity, product design, schools, Science, Technology, Television, tagged crime, hacking, health, news, PBS NewsHour, Technology, wireless on April 27, 2012 | 3 Comments »
After I arrived home last night from moving my son out of his dorm room, I was listening to a later broadcast of PBS NewsHour before going to bed. There was a disquieting feature story last night about boutique bioterror that I just had to write a post about.
In the story, it was indicated that as more and more items become wireless, the chance of them being hacked or affected by a virus at some point increases. The scary example cited was pacemakers. Apparently, newer versions receive wireless input and updates on nearly a daily basis. If a hacker was to break into one of these links and begin adjusting the signals, one can only imagine the potential for a tragedy, whether it was intended or not.
Think this is a silly notion? Well, think again my friends. Recently, someone actually had the audacity to hack into the Epilepsy Foundation’s website and create a strobing effect on the webpage. The result could have been catastrophic for those suffering from epilepsy as strobing lights can cause seizures. Even sadder was the reason suspected for doing such a dastardly thing -for the jollies. That’s right, simply for laughs. I don’t know about you, but I find that to be immature, sick, and rather twisted.
Torture people from afar by impacting their health??? Is that what this world is coming to? Why is it that some people with such obvious and marketable talent, choose to use it in such unproductive ways? I wish I knew the answer to that question. To think what great things might be accomplished – cure cancer, solve the energy crisis, bring vision to the blind, save an endangered species. The whole thing only makes me want to shake my head in dismay at the sheer waste of it all.
Posted in Alternative energy, Climate Change, Economics, Environment, Land use, Nature, politics, pollution, Renewable Energy, Technology, tagged climate change, energy, politics, renewable energy on April 12, 2012 | 1 Comment »
Congratulations to the United States for retaking the top spot in clean energy investment from China in 2011. Below is a chart showing the top 10 countries in terms of clean energy investments in 2011.
|(SOURCE: BLOOMBERG NEW ENERGY FINANCE; FEBRUARY 2012)|
|Rank||Nation||Investment in 2011 ($bn)||Investment in 2010 ($bn)|
|5||Rest of EU-27||11.1||15.2|