Monthly Archive for May, 2005

Sony’s data tiles mix physical and virtual worlds

Check out the 33MB video clip on how the data tiles work. I don’t know if I can explain the coolness of this technology in words, you are going to really have to see it yourself.

The tiles will interactively display information like weather maps, time, photos, live video or any other information they’re configured to display. That’s nothing new.

BUT…the tiles can interact with each other. For example, you put a time machine tile next to a weather map, and you can display weather maps corresponding to the time displayed in the time machine tile. You change the time, and the weather map will change accordingly. They have some more complex examples of the interactions in the video. You can then move the time machine tile next to another type of tile and the same tile will now interact with that other data tile switching its time.

Apparently they’ve also created a tile that acts as a proxy for a real computer. The video shows up an example where the user is manipulating an image on one tile and then drags-and-drops the modified image into the “computer tile”. The video cuts into a view where you see the same image being transferred into a real computer. Drag-and-drop from virtual to physical world.

-TPP – coooooooooooool!

Everything you’ve wanted to know about Finland

Two Washington Post journalists are traveling in Finland for three weeks and writing a blog about their travels.

The first article posted before their actual trip has an excellent introduction to Finland and Finns. The article has some background information on Finland and a somewhat interesting email interview with a noted Finnish philosopher, Mr. Pekka Himanen.

While Mr. Himanen is, understandably, overstating the importance of “the three pillars” of modern Finland (Nokia, Linux and HIM), his answers are interesting and on point, mostly. They certainly are more interesting and accurate than some of the writings I’ve read about Finland, especially in travel guides.

-TPP – yes, our president is a red-headed, middle aged housewoman

Star Wars Episode III

I really, really wanted to like this movie. I really did.

I honestly don’t know who this movie was made for. It was more violent than pretty much any of the preceding movies making it unsuitable for kids. The plot, storytelling and dialogue was so bad it wasn’t suitable for adults. So maybe the only people who will enjoy it are adults who’ve left their mental development at the preschool level.

Every scene with Padme and Anakin was just bad, in a way a film student’s first “great” movie is bad. But this movie wasn’t made by a first year film student, but supposedly a genius filmmaker worth billions. Every scene with Anakin and Chancellor Palpatine were bad in exactly the same way. Every scene with Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi that didn’t include fighting was also bad for the same reasons.

The dialogue in all those scenes was simple, even child-like, the plot/character development transparent and minimal and it just plain old didn’t work.

Some of the fight scenes were kinda cool, but then I’ve been spoiled by so many excellent and truly great action and kung-fu movies lately (Sin City, Kill Bill, etc.) that the action scenes in SW III didn’t quite make it either.

For me the only great moment of the movie was the Birth of Darth Vader. The scene where Anakin gets Darth Vader getup on him and Darth Vader breathes his first signature breath was truly remarkable. Very Frankensteinian. Nicely done Lucas! That was the only time in the movie where I had any kind of emotional reaction to what was happening on the screen. I expect more from movies I see.


Back into the Future

The Donald revealed his plans for rebuilding the World Trade Center site this morning with his usual theatrics.

He’s been trumpeting in the media the Freedom Tower designs are eggheaded and have no place in New York City or anywhere in the world for that matter. His new plan is, of course, much better.

His innovative and bold plans would erect two towers in pretty much the same place, the same height, the same width and at the same depth than the World Trade Center towers used to be before 9/11. Wow! Great! Let’s Do It!

One wonders if The Donald’s financial condition is much worse than he lets us believe and he’s resorted to recycling other people’s architectural plans from the 1960s [1].


1. The original World Trade Center was designed in the 1960s. Construction began at August 5th, 1966.

Local poker games shut down in Connecticut

The Connecticut State Attorney General’s office has been on the warpath to shut down local poker games held at restaurants and bars.

While those games are technically illegal they’ve been allowed to go on for years provided that the business owner is not taking a piece of the pot.

So why the crackdown now? Is the increased popularity of poker games finally reached some sort of a moral fault line and the legislators are feeling like they are obliged to stop all this immorality corrupting fine upstanding citizens of Connecticut?

Nope. It’s all about money.

It turns out the Mohegan Tribe, which operates the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, has been pretty upset about “illegal” gambling and any efforts to legalize local poker games. They’re, in fact, so upset they’ve threatened the Connecticut State that they’ll stop paying the state’s share of the casino’s revenues, worth roughly $400M annually, should the state ever legalize poker playing in the state.

No poker in the state of Connecticut, unless it’s in one of the native american run casinos, it seems.