Monday, October 31, 2011

Stop it MS Research

Alright a slightly long video and then some discussion on this vision for the future.

Things that are being worked on that could be workable, some day in real time. One example is the real time translating glasses. They would link to something (say your smartphone) that had computing power, but this is something that is being worked on (interestingly by a Microsoft competitor). I do think that this could be a viable, and useful product in the future.

 Awesome and bittersweet, but kinda makes me sad. In her hotel room the lady picks up a dual screen device that looked too much like the God Damn murdered in its sleep most awesome product concept that Microsoft has had in a very long time and should fucking make it The Courier.

 Really hard, like really, really hard: smart objects interacting (the taxi cab passenger window for example). This is actually got sub-parts to make it work so: Proximity based real-time networking? It wasn't made apparent, but how did that smart object (taxicab window) know about her meeting? Have you ever tried to sync your phone to a bluetooth device? It is never that easy. Somehow that communication had to be brokered, and someone or something had to make the decision that it was an acceptable risk to pair her information hub (smartphone) to an object in a public space. The Smart object had to be smart enough to speak the language of the phone (woman in the video is native English and the country she is in is not, but also now how to look at her datebook and appointments (which had to have the address of her meeting entered correctly) then determine the physical location of the taxicab and use some locator device to know that that building was in view of the passenger to show them this information. The amount of backend intelligence to make that (near pointless) little infographic on a taxicab window blew my mind. Mapping services are somewhere between ok and shitty most of the time, standards for communicating datebook info are "loose" shall we say (hey vcard and vcalender) gps and triangulation are spotty in cities (spotty is being somewhat generous as far as I'm concerned) and orientation let alone identifying a building on the outside of the car that is a great distance away, God Damn. Cool, but very hard.

 Next up the visiting worker that collaborates with that other man. He walked in took out a tablet and throws information to another device. Again real-time proximity networking. Have you ever tried to get on someone else's wireless network? It sucks, some people have made QR codes for quick connecting to networks on smartphones (the security implications of this make me want to cry and again I chuckle that it is Google's android that has a working prototype of a quick connect technology). I made some assumptions so bear with me, but the colleague with the tablet is from out of town, and this is the first time he has been to this office. From that assumption set I think that he had to bet onto the local Wireless network, assuming they work for the same company (a possibility) two locations are very, very unlikely to have the same wireless password, let alone ssid, and security setup. But assume that the security setup was following best practices, you can get onto the wifi and get to the internet, but to work with other devices that are on the wired network you have to use a VPN to get to those devices (security isolation of WIFI is common in large companies). All of the details of how they connected aside what he actually did is mind boggling. He took information from an open document on his device (assume the connection details where worked out) and pasted into an open document on a different computer! Holy batshit, not real-time editing the same document from two locations, he pasted across applications across computers! God I hope no one works on a product to make it do this, the insecurity of this model scares the living daylights out of me!!!  Similar types of interactions are made in the home where the daughter takes info from her tablet and moves it to the counter. I'm willing to assume that some setup and implicit trust brokering could be pre-configured for those devices. I can tolerate that this type of interaction could not only happen, but someday will. In the future, in your house. At work, your IT department would have a stroke reading the speck sheet.


  1. Nice post and interesting read.

  2. I already saw that video but it's incredible what can we expect in the medium term, that translator-glasses would be a perfect example of a real application of new siri voice software

  3. It's stuff like this that makes me excited about the future, but then again you never know what may come of it.