Category Archives: Culture

Experience Google Tango at the Detroit Institute of Arts

Google announced today a partnership with the Detroit Institute of Arts to showcase it’s Project Tango augmented reality technology. Visitors to the DIA will be able to use a Lenovo Phab 2 Pro phone to experience enhanced installations throughout the museum.

Great move by Google. This provides a unique and valuable introduction to augmented reality and Tango.

Source: Explore museums in a new way with Tango

10 Year Anniversary of the iPhone

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the release of the iPhone, and expect this story to get a ton of play leading up to the release of the iPhone 8. CNET starts it off with a great article about how the iPhone changed everything.

I still remember the feeling of awe from using the iPhone 3G. The user interface was truly magical and the dawn of apps on the touchscreen was exciting. It was a game changer and it was obvious, even then, the world was in for a major shift.

Expect a lot of articles making fun of those who dismissed the iPhone too.  While the ridicule is well-placed, the original price of the iPhone was ludicrous, it only had 2G speeds, and no app store. It was the 3G model that signaled the real future of smartphones.

Silicon Valley’s Poor

Martha Mendosa on the widening gap between Silicon Valley’s haves and have-nots:

“This is the most ridiculous place ever,” said Kristina Erbenich, 38, clambering onto her bike, a heavy pack on her back. The former chef said she spent $14,000 on hotel rooms before her savings ran out. “If everyone around here is so rich, why can’t they do something to help?”

United Way Silicon Valley CEO Carole Leigh Hutton wonders the same thing.

“How is it that in an area so very rich, we have so many people so very poor? Why can’t we break that cycle? With all the brain power in the Silicon Valley, we should be able to solve these problems. But what we need is the collective will.”

Full Story

Larry Lessig on the death of Aaron Swartz

A brutal, raw, emotional post from Larry Lessig on the suicide of Aaron Swartz:

 A kid genius. A soul, a conscience, the source of a question I have asked myself a million times: What would Aaron think? That person is gone today, driven to the edge by what a decent society would only call bullying. I get wrong. But I also get proportionality. And if you don’t get both, you don’t deserve to have the power of the United States government behind you.

For remember, we live in a world where the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House — and where even those brought to “justice” never even have to admit any wrongdoing, let alone be labeled “felons.” 

In that world, the question this government needs to answer is why it was so necessary that Aaron Swartz be labeled a “felon.” For in the 18 months of negotiations, that was what he was not willing to accept, and so that was the reason he was facing a million dollar trial in April — his wealth bled dry, yet unable to appeal openly to us for the financial help he needed to fund his defense, at least without risking the ire of a district court judge.  And so as wrong and misguided and fucking sad as this is, I get how the prospect of this fight, defenseless, made it make sense to this brilliant but troubled boy to end it.

Fifty years in jail, charges our government. Somehow, we need to get beyond the “I’m right so I’m right to nuke you” ethics that dominates our time. That begins with one word: Shame.

Read the full post here.

Things of Value

 

This past weekend my family was up in northern Michigan at the family lake house, a place we have been going to for years. One of the great things about the lake house is this collection of old appliances from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s: toasters, blenders, mixers, radios and more. Inevitability when ever we are up, there is a conversation which always laments how things are not manufactured with quality anymore and everything seems so disposable.


The lake house is a five bedroom cottage owned by my wife’s grandmother. I should say ‘was owned’ as grandma past away over winter and the estate has been passed on to grandma’s five children. Part of our ‘responsibility in the process of the estate changing hands is to clean and organize the storage barn, separating thing to be donated from things that are trash.


As we started shifting through this huge pole barn of furniture, clothes, and assorted things collected over grandma’s ninety years of life, I began to realize the things she valued the most would have no worth to others: old letterhead, bridge name tags, maps of Sanibel Island; and the things that others would value–furniture, clothes, plates–in the end had no value to her.


So maybe it is ok that “we don’t make things like we used to.” Maybe the things that technology allow us to pass on…our digital memories … make up for the fact that toasters are bland and vanilla and will only last five years or so.