Saturday, 20 February 2010
Are we building surrogates?

Having recently watched the film Surrogates staring Bruce Willis, based in a futuristic world where everyone stays at home and plugs themselves into a device that enables them to control a robotic clone (albeit better looking and flawless) representation of themselves. It really got me thinking on how people do more or less the same thing with social games such as Second Life and how far away we could possibly be from this happening in reality. Having one for everyday use in everything you do would be a bit creepy but having one as a representation of yourself in meetings in distant offices would be pretty cool. Especially if you were an engineer who was needed, say at a plant to fix something you could do it quickly using a surrogate.  So reading Scott's blog posting on Building an Embodied Social Proxy or Crazy Webcam Remote Cart Thing got me thinking, it probably won't be too long until we are using something similar in our offices. It will probably start with video conferencing and then move onto devices that can be controlled by a computer sitting on a robotic cart (laptop). Imagine Microsoft releasing software for this type of application and you had USB devices that were built to compliment it. Maybe they would be MS Social Proxy Certified devices? An MS Social Proxy Cart that carried a laptop that was plugged into it and could control its motors, robotic arms the list goes on... It could start off simple and then progress from there?

Googling a bit more I discovered doctors in some hospitals were already making use of such technology. Controlling six foot tall robots remotely with large plasma screens on the front to display their faces as they visited patients on wards in hospital. It seems as though this could possibly be the start of a new industry? Lets just hope it doesn't stop us from interacting with real people personally as it did in the film Surrogates.

posted on Saturday, 20 February 2010 12:11:11 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]

 Friday, 12 February 2010
Google Buzz, Yahoo Buzz, Windows Buzz….

Google Buzz yet another release by the search engine giant in an attempt to get a piece of the large social network and micro blogging platform pie Facebook and Twitter have carved up among themselves. What surprises me about Google Buzz is that Microsoft and Yahoo have implemented such functionality in their own offerings Hotmail and Yahoo Mail some time ago. Although as always Microsoft's marketing department seems far better with its software and OS offerings than anything to do with its email and social networking platforms. Yahoo on the other hand appears more interested in getting people to change their home page to Yahoo (we have all seen the TV ads) but they haven't really given us a reason why (or I have missed the reason). I have tried out Yahoo's offerings and can't quite understand why its better. They have added some nifty little gadgets such as the search pad and they have integrated their own form of "Buzz" (and they will probably cringe when I use that word), in the way of allowing people to see your updated status and enabling you to hook in YouTube, Twitter, Picasa, StumbleUpon (to mention a few) into your status updates.

I suppose Microsoft and Yahoo's approach to the whole subject has been well if we can't beat them we may as well come up with a way to compliment or to work with the flow. In this way Microsoft and Yahoo knew people wanted to keep using these networks and nothing they could offer would sway them from using them, so decided to make all these things easily accessible from their own platforms. "Hey guys you can access all your social networking from one site!"

I think Google have thought of much the same theme however Google has been a lot more vocal about it or maybe its just that we pay a lot more attention when Google says something than if Microsoft or Yahoo says something these days? Google unlike the others has given it a name, Microsoft now a days when they give something a name seem to confuse customers even more. First it was MSN, then Live, then live search became Bing and then there was something called Windows Live services and what happened to hotmail oh is that Windows Live Mail now? Google are very good at keeping what they offer clear and to the point. Googles' web pages are clean and you're not too confused on where to go. Yahoo and Microsoft's Live/hotmail/MSN (what ever they call it now). Is very much hidden away or not that easy to find on their busy and very advertising focused websites. I remember thinking a while back I would like to try out Microsoft's new search they kept on talking about it but I couldn't figure out what site to go to to find it. I eventually found it under www.live.com, however Microsoft rebranded it yet again and now are asking people who visit their home page to change it to www.bing.com. Maybe Microsoft would be more successful with their offerings which are pretty good if they were more consistent and didn't keep on changing their minds on what they were going to call themselves. Few people realise that they can access Microsoft's online version of Office (albeit in Beta) from their accounts as you can with Google Docs.

posted on Friday, 12 February 2010 14:48:17 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0]