February 24, 2004

User Interface Pens

P-ISM is a great new way of using computers, from a new NEC line of gadgets with innovative user interfaces dubbed Resonantware. P-ISM revolves around 5 devices shaped as pens: CPU, cell phone, display, keyboard, camera. All "pens" can be stored in a battery charger. When in use, they all maintain a wireless networking connection.

Cell Phone Pen ear-piece also doubles as a media player ear-piece. The point of the pen is used as a pressure sensitive pointing device or a stylus for handwriting text.

Virtual Keyboard Pen projects an image of a keyboard onto any flat surface, such as a desk top (similar to Audiopad). The user taps onto the surface while a 3D camera detects when fingers touch "buttons". This technology by Canesta actually uses hardware chips to measure the distance from the camera to the surrounding objects, creating the 3D relief map. This makes load on the software much easier. The distance is determined by measuring the time it takes a light pulse to reflect (like radar), or by measuring number of photons that return.

Display again projects the image onto a flat surface (e.g. wall).

This is indeed a great new concept, with the largest obstacle being limited battery life. The company that manages to create a battery with 100 times the current power density, will make a huge fortune on devices such as these.

Posted by laza at 09:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bush Lovers

Some people love the president [Matt Margolis Blog I Love Bush]. A reality check is needed when someone loves a president - any president - after a string of presidential affairs throughout the history. To blindly trust a politician is not prudent. Matt was delighted by the latest president's speech. I am a bit more reserved:

Here, Bush clarifies what happened with our economy for the Democrats...

So, the economy was so bad during Clinton administration, and so fabulous during Bush. The fact that I lost my job last year is just a coincidence. And the fact that the official unemployment rate does not take into account people whose unemployment has lapsed, is also a coincidence

Bush: We delivered historic tax relief...
Yes, Bush spent about $100 Billion on the war in Iraq, which comes out to about $300 per U.S. citizen. A family of 4 paid about $1,200 for the war, and received a $600 tax refund check. Will someone do the math, please?
We had to confront corporate crimes ...

I am impressed by Bush administration arresting the Enron crew. I am a bit less impressed by Chaney's Halliburton sticking it to our soldiers by overcharging gas.

We?ve captured or killed many of the key leaders of the al Qaeda network

Indeed. With a small exception of flying all members of Bin Laden family who were in the U.S. out of the country on Sept 12, 2001, WHEN ALL THE FLIGHTS AROUND THE WORLD WERE BANNED.

So we increased the defense budget to give our men and women the tools and training they need to win the war on terror.

Yes, the defense budget was increased so that military contractors can stuff their pockets. "Our men and women" soldiers collect charity through the Armed Forces Relief Trust

the Democrats have lots to bitch about, but have offered no ideas or solutions of their own

Yes, they have, but the American public really likes wars. After September 11, 2001, nobody cared which country/terrorist attacked us - almost everybody wanted to go to a war. "Pick a war, any war." I don't see Democrats winning presidential elections with such a pro-war sentiment in the U.S. Bush put a ban on photos of soldiers' caskets on TV; Democrats should fight the ban if they want to reverse the widespread pro-war sentiment.

Bush: the Taliban are no longer in power...

... but the poppy narcotics production as at all-time high, Afghanistan is unstable with daily gunfights, the rights of women are as bad as during the Taliban, and Muslim fundamentalists still wield strong power in the country.

Bush: [Sadam] used chemical weapons against thousands of Iraqis and Iranians.

Yes, the chemicals bought from the U.S. and used with a tacit approval from the U.S. administration.

Attacking the liberal myth we went to war alone in Iraq

Only the U.S. and U.K. went to war. The help from Bulgaria and Philippines is symbolic, and it took some arm twisting to get it. Even these countries that agreed to help would NOT have their names initially published (out of shame, or fear of the domestic public opinion?)!

Posted by laza at 12:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 19, 2004


There is nothing wrong with outsourcing. Especially outsourcing to Canada. It is too bad that everything has to be dumbed down for an average voter and that Kerry had to stop outsourcing to Canada phonecalls for his presidential campaign 2004.

Outsourcing does have a bad side, though. As Bruce Barttlet said "Nations get rich by concentrating on doing the things they do best". But Americans barely do anything better today: software and stock market analysis are done in India, clothing in China, semiconductors in Japan, electronics in Taiwan, cars in Corea. By outsourcing our key fields of expertise, we lost the edge of knowing "things we do best" as foreigners learned the business and cut out the middle-man who outsourced the work to them (Cringely).

As of today, the only areas of American supremacy are:
1. military invasion to snatch foreign resources,
2. banking to extort money through mortgages, loans, and credit cards.

The work is outsourced to places that do not have guaranteed minimal vages, health insurance, where girls are fired when they get pregnant, where child labor is employed. There would be really no reason to outsource if we removed all our worker's protections. And it would bring us back some work ethics if most children had to work starting at age 9. I am joking, but you get the point.

Outsourcing to Canada, the country with better worker protections than the US, is a perfect example of sound outsourcing.

Note: this entry is prompted by Matt Margolis Blog Does Kerry Even Know What He's Talking About Anymore?

Posted by laza at 03:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 18, 2004

Soldier's Salary

It is a disgrace that Citizen Smash has to say: "... at a time when many enlisted men and women were struggling to provide the basics for their families." Pentagon spends billions of dollars on $1,000 hammers, on failed anti-ballistic programs; they lose track of millions of dollars of funding; they subsidize Halliburton... But they cannot give a decent salary to soldiers who have to ask for charity. There is no excuse for Pentagon not to double the salaries of soldiers on the ground without any noticeable effect on the budget.

Posted by laza at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)

Ski New Hempshire - on the cheap

We headed for a three-day trip to New Hampshire during the President's Day weekend [See photos HERE]. We decided to keep this trip cheap, paying no more than $35 for a daily ski pass.

See photos HERE

We skied Loon, Cranmore, and Cannon.

Loon is a large mountain, very well groomed - actually too well for my taste. There are no double-diamonds and few moguls. Trails are not as hard and diverse as at Stowe (where we usually go) so they seem shorter.

Skiing on a smaller mountains, such as Cranmore, is nice for working on technique. The trails are just as long as I can ski without stopping to rest - resting can be left for the lift.

Saturday was very warm in the morning, and Sunday was one of the coldest days in the season, well below zero F. So we decided to ski only half-day at a mountain with a gondola. Cannon Mountain has a roomy cable-car on one side of the mountain. Waiting time was about 5min, which was less than waiting for gondola on Loon. The skiing experience was unique: on one hand, the views were spectacular, and the frozen packed powder was perfect for downhill skiing. On the other hand, we skied extrememly cautiously because falling into snow at sub-zero temperatures can be very painful. My friend Mladen tried to ski without goggles after they fogged up. In less then a minute, his eyelids and eyelashes stuck frozen to one another.

Posted by laza at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2004

Education vs. Prosperity

Although it seems counter-intuitive, education has no direct relation to prosperity of a nation. I ran across Pelle and his article EconoTrix: The pitfalls of Philanthropy through the discussion about Cuban Education. This tied nicely into what Philip Greenspun said: "[in spite of] an excellent public education system ... Cubans are dirt poor."

Leftists raise the argument about the excellent Cuban education vs. poor U.S. education because, here in the U.S, education = prosperity. Schools here are very expensive, so mostly wealthy can afford good colleges, and mostly those who graduate from good colleges become rich and successful.

However, if the whole population is well educated, such as in former Soviet Union, ex-Yugoslavia, and Cuba, the country as a whole need not be prosperous. Educated or not, the elite of a state will try to keep the rest of the population (educated or not) in submission. It all comes down to Pelle's 1st law:

"The survival of anyone regardless of education and idealism, comes ahead of the greater good."

Posted by laza at 06:10 PM | Comments (2)

February 04, 2004

Tieing Shoe Laces

This is absolutely incredible! All my life, I have been tieing my shoe laces wrong!

Ian Fieggen has a web site dedicated to tieing shoe laces: http://www.fieggen.com/shoelace/. It lists six ways to tie a knot (including ), eleven useful ways to lace shoes.

Ian also explains about Slipping Shoelace Knots (secure and unsecure knots). In short, "the difference in stability is due to the forces of friction on adjacent contact points within the finished knot." There is a probability of 50% to 50% to tie a secure or unsecure knot, and I have been tieing the unsecure one throughout my life. It's nice to know what a dummy I am.

This is easily one of the best sites on the Internet, just after HowStuffWorks.com.

Posted by laza at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2004

Gun Ownership in the Political Power Equation

I am half-convinced that civilian firearms [...] matter in the political power equation as Eric Raymond [bio] put it. Eric holds that civilian firearms prevent government from terrorizing the population.

However, numerous examples around the world (Colombia, Rwanda, KKK in the U.S., ex-Yugoslavia) show that governments and colonial rulers use armed (often civilian) minority to control a disarmed majority. There is a fear that Charlton-Heston-white gun owners could be used by an ultra-conservative government to control blacks, hispanics, immigrants, liberals. In such a scenario, the gun owners would have no incentive to fight against government since they would have extra priviledges, except for some moral qualms which are easily rooted out by watching Fox channel. Yet they would like to terrorize other groups who are evil-baby-killers, criminals, foreigners, and such.

With the number of firearms in the U.S., the whole discussion is moot, since there is no way to do away with the guns. We fight the war on terrorism, the war on drugs (the war on terrorism on drugs :-), and the last thing we need is yet another war that stimulates much more terrorism/drugs/guns.

Posted by laza at 12:32 PM | Comments (2)