Humans, Version 3.0 – Mark Changizi via SEEDMAGAZINE.COM — Changizi says near-term human adaptation won’t be based on genetic manipulation or mutation, but is more likely to be based on neuronal recycling, where we repurpose brain centers to something that they aren’t innately set up to do. This is how we cooked up written language, mathematics, and music: by extending our innate capabilities by the creation of artifacts that mimic natural phenomena that our minds know how to manipulate.
Flingo Gets $7 Million for a Second-Screen Bet – Peter Kafka via AllThingsD — August Capital invested $7M in Flingo, a ‘second screen’ social play. The ‘second screen’ refers to the use of a computer or mobile device while watching TV, usually for social interaction. Kafka thinks there is still room for specialized players: Facebook and Twitter don’t have a monopoly here. I agree.
In the Developing World, Solar Is Cheaper than Fossil Fuels – Kevin Bullis via Technology Review — In another example of how technology can leapfrog in developing countries, solar power is being adopted in a bottom-up grassroots way in Africa and other regions where people don’t have access to the electric grid, and solar is competing with lamps running on kerosene. Companies like Eight19 make low-cost lighting systems, where customers pay a low initial purchase fee and a weekly payment, usually by a scratch card from a local vendor that provides them a code, enabling electricity for a week. Once the customer has covered the cost of the unit — in 18 months or so — they can trade up for a larger one.
Urbanflow Aims To Turn Cities Into Playgrounds For Interactive Infographics – John Paulus via Co.Design — A compelling concept video for an ‘operating system for cities’, comprising public kiosks, devices, and web apps called Urbanflow, produced by Urbanscale. Makes a pretty compelling vision of how the public spaces of cities — through kiosks and interactive surfaces — could coordinate information flow making cities more accessible and better instrumented.
Microsoft’s Productivity Future Vision – John Gruber via Daring Fireball — John Gruber saw a Microsoft future vision video (which I think has some cool ideas about device interactions) but it infuriated him:
This video encapsulates everything wrong with Microsoft. Their coolest products are imaginary futuristic bullshit. Guess what, we’ve all seen Minority Report already. Imagine if they instead spent the effort that went into this movie on making something, you know, real, that you could actually go out and buy and use today.
The moral is that you need to have more than cool ideas. If you are a monster like Microsoft, you need to back up your hype with real product.