Sixth Sense Technology from MIT

Sixth Sense DeviceIn February, a woman by the name of Pattie Maes demonstrated a new “sixth sense” technology at the TED conference.  It essentially brings to life the scenes we see in Minority Report where Tom Cruise is flinging visual data around with his hands, searching for suspected murderers.  She and her team, spearheaded by Pranav Mistry, have been developing this new technology for a while now but have finally demo’d it for the public to see.  At the core of this tech. exists a lanyard type device that has a digital camera, mini-projector, mirror, cell phone and colored marker caps to wear on your fingers.  It sounds a bit wacky, I know, but you have to see this thing in action.  It is one of the neatest things I have ever seen.

At the moment, all of the hardware can be purchased off the shelf and costs no more than $350 to create a fully-functioning device for this purpose.  Considering everything that this contraption does, that is a very, very nice price tag.  In the coming years as this technology is developed further I imagine that costs will only decrease further.

Airline Ticket InformationOne of my favorite features so far is the ability for the device to recognize that you are holding a book and almost instantly show you the average rating it received on Amazon.com, let you view user comments, etc.  Similarly it will also recognize products that you are holding, such as a roll of toilet paper at the grocery store.  It will then check the product based on your preferences and give you a red, yellow or green light indicating whether or not it would be a desirable product for you to buy.  It will also recognize if you are holding an airline ticket and check online for delays, displaying on the top of the ticket the current estimated setback.

It will be years before any of this sees true real-world application, but I’m glad somebody continues to work on projects such as this as it is most definitely going to be a big part of our future.  The sooner we start polishing technology the better it will work for us in the years to come.

[ click here to view the video demonstation on TED.com ]

Major Overhaul!

Hello there everyone.  For the very few people out there who regularly check this web site, you’ll probably have noticed a drastic change to the web site.  Well, here’s the story…

This web site, from its original publish date until March 11th, 2009 used a back-end written entirely by me in PHP, using a flat-file storage system for data.  I had fun over the years adding an RSS feed generator and all the other little gadgets and underlying things that made the site tick.  I never could satisfy my own desire to make the site’s back-end absolutely fantastic though.  I always felt it lacked something, such as a comment system (which I was too lazy to add) or could use major tweaking, etc. in various places.  Well, I don’t really have the time anymore to work on and maintain the back-end so I’ve decided to make the move to WordPress.

I’ve transferred alot of the data from the old site over to the new one, but there still may be some kinks to work out.  If you are browsing around and find something out of place or looking goofy, PLEASE let me know!  I would appreciate it very much.  I am also, as always, very open to feedback or opinions on the new site.  I want my readers to enjoy it and get as much out of it as they can.  If you have an idea or suggestion that would make the site work better for you please speak up and tell me.

Now, enjoy the new site… :)

Recent Achievements Update

I’ve updated the recent achievements image script to have another option. You can now choose the width of the image by adding width=<# of pixels> to the URL.

Like so:

[img]http://www.yourfirefly.com/wow/achievements.php?image&character=Slippir&realm=Mug'thol&region=us&faction=alliance&width=440[/img]

the above code produces the following…

Recent Achievements

Hiyas. I recently added a little section to the top of the site listing Slippir’s recent achievements in WoW. I was bored and needed something to work on so I whipped up that little guy. I also added support to have it generate a signature image for use on message-boards and whatnot. Below you’ll find an example of the code to put in your signature on a message board that supports BBCode.

[img]http://www.yourfirefly.com/wow/achievements.php?image&character=Slippir&realm=Mug'thol&region=us&faction=alliance[/img]

To see what the above code makes: click here.

Of course, fill it in with your own info:

character = your character’s name
realm = your realm
region = us or eu
faction = alliance or horde

WoW Patch 3.0.8

Patch 3.0.8 is live! LOTS of changes, mostly good ones. I think my favorite change with this patch is this one…

Tapping: All player spells which cause a creature to become aggressive to you will now also immediately cause the creature to be tapped.

There was another change made that many Druids have been jokingly asking for since it was taken away in beta…

Polearms: Now trainable by Druids. Woot! :)

Click here for patch notes

XBox 360 + WRT54GS + DD-WRT = Uber

So, I caved and bought an Xbox 360 tonight. I’ve been wanting one for a while, but I also wanted a media center PC and couldn’t decide on which to get. When I finally realized that a 360 can essentially be turned into a very powerful media center PC, I was sold. The only thing that it can’t do, which isn’t really a big deal, is play Blu-ray movies. If I so desire, I can buy the HDDVD player for it, but that probably won’t happen anytime soon.

Before I bought the Xbox I had sort of a small project planned out on how to get it hooked up to my home network. Running a cable from the router to the unit was completely out of the question, so I started researching wireless options. It turns out that Microsoft actually makes a nifty little wireless adapter specifically for the 360 units… too bad they’re $90-100, and tend to fail most of the time. I was quite disappointed to learn this until I ran across an article (thanks Google!) describing how to put the DD-WRT firmware on a wireless router and use it as a bridge for your wireless home network. It seemed pretty simple, so I decided that is what I’d try.

I headed to Wal-Mart first because I had a few gift cards from Christmas that I could use for an HDMI cable and the router. They just so happened to have a v7 model of the Linksys WRT54GS router for $40, not bad at all considering you can turn it into a bridged access point for up to five devices. The HDMI cable was $30 for 6 feet, gold plated of course. Lastly I went to Gamestop to get the unit itself. I bought the $299 Pro bundle which came with LEGO Indiana Jones and Kung Fu Panda (meh… but hey, they were free).

Once I returned home I unpacked the 360 and got it physically set up, then went to work on the router. After installing DD-WRT I followed the nifty guide and set the router up as a wireless client bridge, tested it out, and everything was looking good. I put the router in place, connected the Xbox, and I was in business.

Right now I’m getting XBMC and Rhapsody set up for UPnP so I can watch movies and listen to music on the nice big HDTV; I’m definitely glad I went for the 360 instead of a media center PC.