The greatest app ever made.

Screenshot 2014-08-01 10.46.28

Oh great gods of Android, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Do you love cats? Do you love anonymously driving a loved one insane? Then I have the app for you. About two years ago uber genius, Kyle Venn, wanted to learn how to create Android apps. With some inspiration from an infamous Reddit trolling and good ‘ol American ingenuity, Venn created Cat Facts. Good things take time.

Cat Facts is simple. Download the app. Choose someone that you want to bedevil from your contacts. Schedule the frequency of said bedeviling and hit go. Done. Cat Facts will do the rest by sending your chosen recipient a random fact about cats at your chosen time interval. GENIUS.

Download it now. And if anyone needs Scott Murphy’s phone number, email me.

(via The Verge)

don’t worry, it’s just mind control.

The studious students at the University of Washington have achieved a wonderfully scary feat – they’ve created a remote mind-control platform that runs over the internet.

On August 12, Rao sat in his lab wearing a cap with electrodes hooked up to an electroencephalography machine, which reads electrical activity in the brain.

Stocco was in his lab across campus wearing a purple swim cap marked with the stimulation site for the transcranial magnetic stimulation coil that was placed directly over his left motor cortex, which controls hand movement.

Using this set-up, Rao played a video game by directing Stocco’s finger to press a button on his keyboard. Wow.

Why I’m curious.

If this doesn’t excite you, you may need to check your pulse. The implications for future medical, emergency response and entertainment applications of this technology are mind boggling.

via Futurity –> http://www.futurity.org/brain-control-another-mans-hand-vulcan-mind-meld/

new wave of DIY electronics

teardown2

For years DIY Electronics aficionados have been getting their hands “dirty” with custom breadboards and Arduino projects. The rise in popularity of DIY electronics gave rise to the extremely popular and lauded Raspberry Pi, an all in one Linux based computer for $35. The barrier to entry for many would-be DIY geeks has been the prerequisite knowledge of C# or Python to give the hardware functionality. All of that changed on Sept. 5th, however, with the release of Tessel, the DIY system completely based in JavaScript. Geeks rejoice!

http://www.dragoninnovation.com/projects/22-tessel

Why I’m curious

Opening the world of DIY electronics to anyone with JavaScript programming skills will undoubtedly make the entire genre explode with new creative ideas. This will move us closer to a future with truly personal tech, for those with the passion to create, as well as, new ways of thinking about the possibilities of personalized technology that will influence traditional manufacturers for the mass consumer.

Pro Tip: No “.” needed for Gmail addresses and other things.

Gmail-New-Update-Featured

A little known but extra interesting/cool feature of Gmail is the you don’t need to put the “.” in the address for the email to be successfully delivered. Try it.

Gmail has also recently started to rollout inbox tabs, much to the chagrin of email markets everywhere.

Why I’m Curious

I’m constantly intrigued how much detail Google puts into it’s products. A quick search of Little Big Details (one of the best websites, ever) will show you the breadth and depth of Google’s commitment to a great User Experience.

The email marketing community is also watching Gmail’s new tabs with nervous anticipation to see how they effect open rates. It will be interesting to see how that plays out and how they adjust tactics.

next level CSS

Spaceship - CodePen

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) have been in the developer’s toolkit since 1996, but recent expansions of their animation capabilities are shaping up to be very interesting.

Aleksandrs Cudars just shared a great example of the edges of animation possible in CSS.

Check out the animation and the code here –> http://codepen.io/achudars/pen/sbDdm

Why I’m curious

One of the greatest things about internet technology is that it provides a platform for endless creativity and pushing boundaries of technologies way past their intended purpose. Advancements like these open new ways to engage users across all platforms.

the conflicted nature of internet ink

Marc Anthony sings God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch at Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in New York

Sometimes the internet shows us the worst of ourselves. New York born singer Marc Anthony’s singing of “God Bless America” elicited a flurry of tweets by extremely misguided souls, who took it upon themselves to question why Anthony was singing the song because he “wasn’t American.”

Social media trolling ensued.

The most egregious of these tweets were collected on the Tumblr site Public Shaming.

Why I’m curious

When I first read about this story, I was enraged by the ignorance and intolerance of some of our fellow human-beings. I felt like they deserved to be shamed online for their racist views.

Then I thought back to Eric Schmidt’s New Digital Age and wondered, how long will this strike against these people’s character live? Are these hateful comments truly written in indelible digital ink? Like any crime, do the people posting these despicable things deserve our contempt if we have no way of knowing if their views and actions have changed?

Know when you’re noticed.

dress-gaze

Fashion designer Ying Goa has melded fashion and technology to an innovative end. Utilizing eye tracking cameras, Goa designed a dress that illuminates when someones eyes are captured looking at the dress.

Check out a video of the design here.

Why I’m curious

The ubiquity of wearable technology continues to grow. The limits are truly up to the imagine of the most creative around us. This is a fascinating thing.

(via Good –> http://www.good.is/posts/gaze-activated-dress-lights-up-when-someone-looks-at-it)

I can see my phone from here!

mbox

Start-ups MapBox and Gnip have teamed up to create a novel visualization using MapBox’s custom mapping technology and Gnip’s social media API technology.

The visualization shows Twitter usage separated by smartphone OS. The results are both visually stunning and informative.

Why I’m curious

I’m a bit of an infographic nerd and sites like this and OpenSignal are powerful tools not only for digital marketers, like ourselves, but also illustrate the power of open, crowdsourced data platforms.

death of a fanboy

Fake_Windows_8_Start

It is no secret that Apple has held fast to the hearts and minds of technology aficionados for years. Commonly known as Fanboys, this group, of which your writer was a die hard member, readily drank down whatever Apple served with gusto. But a sea change seems to be happening, that gives this Fanboy some pause …

Stagnant launches, Android’s marketshare dominance of the smartphone OS market and a pervading sense that Apple has lost its edge have made room in the minds of consumers. Microsoft is also pushing an impressive game with phones, tablets and PCs that make Apple users wonder, what am I missing?

Why I’m curious

Watch a user on a touchscreen Windows 8 machine and it sorta looks like magic. Can this new tablet-meets-PC interface take hold? Microsoft has ingeniously inserted areas for advertisers in many of their popular apps that represent a high-impact, 100% SoV and premium feeling experience for brands. Is it time for Fanboys to give Microsoft another look? Only Tim Cook’s WWDC agenda knows for sure.

a little fun: test your Motion Quotient

The smarty pants researchers at the University of Rochester have developed a novel video-based technique that they say can determine the range of the viewer’s IQ. Watch the video to take the test!

Why I’m curious

There is some debate on how effective this test actually is at determining IQ but it is a bit of fun and it’s great the researchers have shared the testing video so everyone can take the test.

(via Futurity –> http://www.futurity.org/science-technology/this-quick-visual-test-predicts-iq/)

News Analysis : Digiday hates banners ads

first-banner-adcredit-hotwired

the first banner ad ever.

Digiday hates banner ads (and you probably do, too.) Over the past 2 months they’ve determined that the humble banner is the …

worst,
http://www.digiday.com/publishers/banners-are-the-worst-advertising/

alarming,
http://www.digiday.com/publishers/5-unalarming-stats-about-banner-ads/

flawed,
http://www.digiday.com/publishers/time-to-overhaul-banner/

stifling,
http://www.digiday.com/publishers/ads-stifle-responsive-design-adoption/

irrelevant,
http://www.digiday.com/publishers/the-irrelevance-of-banner-ads/

creator-disappointing,
http://www.digiday.com/publishers/banner-ads-creators-dismayed-by-its-current-state/

abomination ever wrought by man. Even though they use them to fund their site.

To sum up Digiday’s ire for the banner, columnist Bob Hoffman writes:

“The piece starts by giving us some statistics about online display advertising. First, that it will generate $15 billion in revenue this year. Second, that it will grow by 18 percent. Third that Facebook’s revenue grew 80 percent last year, mainly from display. I’m afraid this is not evidence of the effectiveness of banner advertising. It is evidence of the cluelessness of advertisers.”

Why I’m curious

Yes, banners are widely seen as the lowest form of life on the advertising food chain, but it seems that all of the criticism is coupled with very little in the way of alternatives. Short of throwing our lot in with the “VIDEO!” crowd, what are the viable options on the table and how, as digital strategists, do we test, adopt and sell through new options to our clients?

I guess this is a amazing.

Using the neural algorithm, SOINN, researchers at the Institute of Technology in Tokyo have created a self-learning system that uses online image search to learn real world objects presented to it via a webcam.

Why I’m curious

Further into the future, our daily lives will change as our computers become more intelligent and can anticipate our needs in yet unforeseen ways.

Closer to today, I wonder how technologies like this are, or could be, used to detect patterns for medical, security and, of course, marketing purposes.

(via io9 –> http://io9.com/new-ai-uses-the-internet-to-identify-unfamiliar-things-496504999)

printed parts.

06earreplacement

Bio-printing, the freakier side of 3D printing, is beginning to emerge into the mainstream – to mixed reactions. Bone replacement implants and cosmetic prosthetics printed from the patients own cells are widely lauded for their life restoring qualities, while printing meat substitutes and organs are met with skepticism and horror.

Why I’m curious

There is an interesting emotional dichotomy between the technology we will put on our bodies for functional or cosmetic reasons as opposed to technology we will put in our bodies.

Would you feel secure and comfortable with a bio-printed bladder, kidney or heart? Would you eat a bio-printed meat sandwich?

(via Adafruit)

Smartphones in space.

phonesat

On Sunday, three small satellites where sent into orbit. The launch of a satellite is hardly newsworthy anymore, but these satellites are different. Each of them are an experimental new breed of Nanosatellites whose sole onboard computer is an off-the-shelf consumer grade Android smartphone.

NASA is currently testing the feasibility of expanding the Nanosatellite program to usher in a new wave of cheap, easy to program satellites for government, corporate and even personal uses.

You can track the satellites and see the information sent back to earth here.

Why I’m curious

The typical smartphone has vastly more computing power than the computers that were aboard the Apollo 11 moon missions, so the leap of sending them into space for dedicated missions seems perfectly logical.

The extra interesting aspect of this story is NASA’s strong outreach to amateur engineers and hobbyists. Users of shortwave radios can track each satellite’s path on the PhoneSat website (http://www.phonesat.org/) and when a satellite is in range they can turn their radio gear to download the data transmissions. Users then send these data packets to NASA where they combine all of the packets into full data streams and images, which they publish on the PhoneSat website.

ever cry in space?

Aboard the ISS, astronaut Chris Hadfield, reminds us that emotional times in space require a hanky. Due to the zero gravity conditions, tears don’t fall. Watch the video; it is both awe inspiring and uncomfortable at the same time.

Why I’m curious

This isn’t a digital experience, per se, however, it is a reminder that the simplest things can change completely given a new environment, which I find inspiring for what we do everyday.

where’s my Knowledge Navigator?

 

While reading an interview with Alan Key, one of the fathers of the modern GUI, I found a video produced by Apple for a future product called the Knowledge Navigator.

The video shows a product with a touch interface much like and iPad but the primary input device is discussion with the Navigators AI persona, who takes and makes phone calls, sends messages and pulls and compiles data through anticipation and voice commands.

Why I’m curious

Ever since Star Trek, people have been enamored with the idea of talking to their computers. Search products like Siri and Google Voice Search are attempting to be the first mass products in this space with various degrees of success. Is the development and adoption of technologies like the Knowledge Navigator just a matter or time, or, like the clunky Star Trek communicator, will our future solution be much more advanced?

chrome maze. mind. blown.

What do you get when you mix Google Chrome on your desktop and smartphone, a website at random and some WebGL wizardry? A truly innovative digital experience.

The Google Chrome team has created Chrome Maze, a 3D browser-based game that uses your smartphone as a controller. The User pairs their phone with their desktop and then picks a website. The program then creates a track out of the chosen website that the User must navigate with a 3D metal ball.

Why I’m curious

It’s always great to discover new user experiences and the developer in me is extremely interested in how they stitched these technologies together. On the strategic level, I can’t wait to use this technology for a Verizon device launch. I’m looking at you DROID.

printing to the moon

Last week at SXSW, design collaboration start-up, Sunglass, announced the DIY Rocket Challenge. The challenge is to design a 3D Printed rocket engine capable of taking a payload up to 20Kg into Low Earth Orbit.

All designs will be open sourced and made public. The winner of the $5,000 prize will be announced on July 1, 2013

Why I’m curious

3D printed rockets? This is so cool. As the boundaries of 3D printing are pushed by projects like these, this is a trend that is just getting started. It also raises some interesting governance issues; what are the legal and public safety ramifications of freely available rocket technology?

via Make Magazine

Wearable on the Rise.

the-borg

Mobile technology changed everything – how we communicate, eat, sleep, exercise, relax, ignore our fellow human beings, etc, etc. Yet, on the horizon is a new category of technology that is poised to change everything again – Wearable.

Google Glass, Nike’s Fuel Band and Apple’s rumored iWatch are high profile products that are slowly changing the public’s perception of wearable computers from

nerd

to

model

Why I’m curious

As we put more and more gadgets on and in our bodies, when do we start to become too dependent on technology? On the flip side, as marketers, what types of new behaviors can we anticipate and start to build into our long term strategies?

A Puzzle made of Glass

we know!

Google Glass was finally announced to the world. Yes, I’m sure we’ve all heard by now … What’s more interesting are the things Google is doing more quietly.

In addition to launching Google Glass, Google is working on various fronts to break down the main barrier to Glass – the geek factor. On the product design front, Google has reportedly started talks with the designer eyewear company, Warby Parker. More interestingly, they are also starting to seed a backlash against the smartphone.

Sergey Brin, in a recent TED talk, said it was “emasculating” to be seen using a smartphone. Interesting and surprising, given that Google is vying for smartphone dominance with Android, the Nexus line and purchase of Motorola.

Why I’m curious

In Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart, the future is a place where iPhones are passé and the details of your life are freely available for all to see. I think this future is close, very close – especially after reading an article by Mark Hurst, (thanks, Lachlan) that details Glass’ feature of being able to record images, video and audio anytime, without notice. Creepy, right? Wait until the geek factor is gone and Glass is in a contact lens.

Smartphones have already changed the way we interact in social setting in both positive and negative ways. How will Glass-like technology effect human behaviors, interactions and concept of privacy?