Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Invention that will Change the World


Hey guys! What's up? So sorry I couldn't post an entry last Monday, sort of miss it, no excuses though. The thing is, I wasn't home all day (like you wanted to know that) and didn't have a chance to update my writing. Funny thing though, I was in an interview and you may know how it is, there're always certain questions that can't be missed.

The classics are always present: Why would you like to join us? How do you see yourself within the next 5 to 10 years? You may have an answer already prepared (most people have one), chances are you say something that has been heard quite a lot. Just a few times there are some questions that really keep you thinking and challenge you in order to find the best answer. As you properly guessed, I was given one of these questions, as a matter of fact the one embedded in the title of this entry.

But let me narrow the question a bit, since it refers to a relatively new invention, seen on any media (TV, internet, magazine and so on). Since the interview theme was engineering I immediately began to scan in my mind any 'modern' and 'eye-candy' sort of answer. I didn't want to provide a cliché nor something completely ridiculous. Also I didn't want to say something the people asking will know beforehand, so I took my time. To be honest I thought about one or two good (but sort of boring) answers, so I tried to come up with a better one.


All of the sudden I start talking about what was the 'background' of my actual response, in other words I was explaining why I picked the invention in question. So I began by referring this book called 'Physics of the Impossible' by Michio Kaku. This is a pretty good book, since it explains in mortals language how science is well beyond science fiction. All the things you thought as a kid were possible only by watching movies or reading comics today are most of all true. Rockets to the moon (and beyond!), electric cars, communication systems, and many others are today's reality. So if you ask me is not crazy to attempt to find the new inventions in this type of sources.

So I listed a bunch of inventions I recall reading from this book, not mentioning specifically one, but more of expressing my liking for this book... I thought I was off the hook. Politely I was told to name specifically one from my list... there is when I really started to think harder, not because I wasn't able to pick one, but because all the inventions I talked about were not a today's reality... inisibility cloaks, internet contact lenses, medical measurements on the fly, the list went on and on. What to do? Well, better pick one.

And fair to say, I did choose an option, and now that I think of it, it actually didn't go wrong at all. What would you say if you had been in my shoes? Is there an invention that has changed your life or everybody's life for that matter? Leave all you comments down below and hopefully you can come up with something really nice! I leave you all with the start of the World Cup... wait! The opening game is about to begin!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

If You'd Unfriend and Unfollow the World

And so I was reading the other day how social networks are being so popular to us, to the point when we no longer need to face someone to tell them how good friends they are. It's a no brainer, I know, but if you think about just for a bit you'll agree we are still learning from it all. From kids to adults we all use these services and all seems to be in harmony (for the time being).

Five years ago we didn't use these websites, either because we didn't know about them or some were still using diapers. Now we can spot their full potential, not only keeping in touch with people we hardly see, but also to keep in touch with people we see all the time, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Then we had the chance to upload our own pics. Long are the times where you had to take a bunch of snapshots, then you needed to go to reveal the film and come back later to get your pics and then going to some friend's house to share them and to see half of them were out of focus. And now all is done without standing from your seat.

Then it came something even better: videos. Not only we were given the chance to upload photos and share them with the world (or with anyone who would like to watch) but also our videos could be seen online. Now all this could be done in one website and in one account. The rest is pretty much history… we keep track of birthdays, invitations, friends we didn't know we had (literally!) and all in a seamless experience our parents would do anything to had it when they were our age… or even younger.

And if you noticed, I've just sticked to one website: Facebook. The other one worth talking is Twitter… whoever thinks it's just a toy they don't know its potential, because it is a toy, and then some more. Again, it all started as a way to keep track of friends activities, what they do in a regular (or important day), but then we were taught it could be done so much more. Advertisements, news, networking, trend topics and the list doesn't stop there.

People a bit more conservative think of it as a threat to privacy, a world with less secrets, and they're right in their own way. Though many are capable of turning on a gadget or a computer, not many are capable of handing such a responsibilities with themselves. I'm not saying there should be a school to learn how to use Facebook or Twitter (would be funny though) since that knowledge is called responsibility and common sense, and we gotta learn it daily in life.

The more registered friends you have or people you follow are mere numbers if you never see them in the real life, treat a friend as such, both online and offline. All this amazing services are changing the way mankind lives, to the point where some people pay more attention to Facebook's relationship status than the real status of a couple. 

And it's funny to think about the word unfriend (it's 2009 word of the year by the Oxford American Dictionary), even they can create words and make them real. As a final thought, for many people (not all, of course) if you lack of social networking is like you're off the radar, you simply don't exist in this virtual world. Everything has grown so much that it seems if you don't take part in these sort of networks is like you'd unfriend and unfollow the world with just one click.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Infected with a Virus?

Don't you just hate it? Let's say, you just turn one your computer, you wait long enough to load up all apps and before you know it there's something wrong in your life. Computer seems so slow, can't access your beloved files, your computer gently asks you to restart itself… and your cursing shows in no better timing. You don't say it, you can't read it but you know exactly what's wrong… in a word? A virus.

Not that is happening to me right now, but for whatever reason I just remembered how it feels when you have something tremendously important to do/read/write in the computer, something that can take just 2 min of your life on a good day, but it may take all morning when your computer is infected. We have fought these guys before, and luckily I feel today is sort of less frequent to encounter them in out daily life.

Since we know how to stop them (more or less) now the thing is, for some people to find different applications of computer virus in other grounds. And, needed to say, these viruses not only show up in computers, but as you may be aware, it's also visible in phones, chips, videogames consoles and practically all sort of software electronics, now that can be huge!

But a new application for computer viruses may be a bit 'out there', someplace you may overlooked and never thought it was possible… what if I tell you your body can house a computer virus? I know you would hardly believe me, so if you fancy know what's going on you're in for a treat. The place? University of Reading in the UK… the man responsible? Dr. Mark Gasson… the crime? He contaminated a chip with malware and he inserted it in his hand.

The results? Well, we didn't get sick, let's say he just shared the sickness all around. He was able to pass the virus along different devices just by standing close to them, computers, devices and the likes. What's so ingenious about it? Well, if you ask me I'd say the fact that your computer can be infected wirelessly (not using wifi) is sort of frightening, and not only computers… have a smart phone? Just by standing next to the wrong guy you'll be needing a new one. And I don't want to be mean, but what about people with pacemakers or earring implants? Now this is dangerous ground.

Not all is bad, since instead of seeding viruses we can also seed good stuff as well to improve the very same devices we could potentially harm. They actually came up with a name for all this new trend, if you wanna sound fancy the name is digital implants. Sounds cool, just hope it's actually a good thing.

What can we say of such things? Imagine how this things can be sort of normal a 50 years down the road? If you could improve one of your senses which one would it be? Have fun thinking about it, if you like leave a comment and hopefully we'll read each other later one this week! Take care!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Google Street View

What's new guys? Right now I'm just chilling a bit after spending over 8 hours in a bus, kinda tiring, the movies were alright, but there's always a certain point where you get all tired up of looking at the screen and for whatever reason, you spend way more time looking at the road outside… trees, rocks, clouds, whatever you can find and you immerse in your own thoughts, to the extreme where you may not remember a thing you saw, since all looked so familiar. Maybe an iPod might be our best friend in such experiences.

Anyway, I had a meeting in this building, which I never saw before, and in certain city I never visited, but believe it or not I knew exactly where to go, what to do, where to eat and finally visited one or two tourist spots around… but how did I do it? I knew exactly how the building looks like, needed no further directions to get a meal or to snap a couple of good shots. A new best friend helped me out… Google Street View.

Probably you've heard about this free service provided by Google, if not, let me break it down for you: Street View is a service seamlessly embedded to Google Maps, and what this service does is to provide you with fully detailed pictures of the surrounding as if you were driving on the street. Whatever public place you can see from you car in real life, you can see it from your computer… pretty cool huh?

Just go to google maps, grab that yellow fella from the zoom scale in the upper left and drag him to the exact spot you want. I showed this to my dad and he, for the lack of a better word, sort of freaked out. He understood right there the full potential (both good and bad) of the Street View. No need to say all the kindness this service brings to our lives… need to go to a friend's house you hardly remember the address to? No problem, just follow the streets and as soon you recognize certain details, you'll see the porch and the door in no time. What about the other way (sort of my case)? I just had an address, just type it down and you're there… is that easy? Yes, it is.

And, like you've heard before, is like taking a tour without standing from your seat. Wanna visit other countries? No problem, you can ride the streets of Spain, England, France, Canada and many others just dragging and clicking on your mouse. Downsides? Well, from my point of view what this does is simply making public knowledge, well, more public. I mean, if you have directions or an address (which are public) you can view now with no effort the real place (again, which is public). People who mean harm to us might take advantage of this tool, but is just like -for example- a hammer, which it's also a public tool (you can go and get one from the store) and you can either build a house or hurt someone… decision is up to you. Same with Street View.

Regardless is a fantastic tool you can access from you computer and you should definitely give it a try (if you haven't already). What's your favorite place on Earth? You can watch it as if you were right there! Leave all your comments right below and you can also attach the links to the places you like the most there… keep enjoying your week and see you next Monday!