If you’re using the FEZ or USBizi boards like I do, you’ll be interested to see a new SDK went online yesterday. Details can be found at http://tinyclr.com/forum/12/2491 and there are some really great new features included.
If you’ve been following the path of the Microsoft Micro Framework (and maybe talked with us at the ‘08 Austin Maker Faire) then you know that things have moved forward and open sourced a LOT. Well, today we just announced that the beta for .Net Micro Framework 4.1 has opened up on http://connect.microsoft.com. Take a look! Some very cutting edge stuff going on there!
This past week, for me the big news in consumer electronics wasn’t what you probably thought. The big names all were all talking mobility of one fashion or another, but one of the companies that can make a claim to bringing printers into the home is now applying that same talent to 3d Printers. Yep, that’s right HP is now working with Stratasys to bring 3d printing to a much wider array of people. This has huge potential for localsourcing manufacturing and changing how economics work in quite a number of markets.
Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.
— J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1999)
In the spirit of completeness, I wanted to make a few comments about my other session I submitted for SxSWi- “Smart for Who?” This session really came out of looking around my office and working spaces and really noting not only how connected all those “impulse electronics” and “entertainment devices” have become, but how little most people consider what their full capabilities and purposes are. As we’ve seen in the history of PC’s the best capabilities have come with networking and larger connectivity between systems, but that increase has also been paced by an increase in vulnerability and exposure to those connections being done with malice.
So as we connect more and more devices that we use every day not only to each other, but to the internet at large, we need to be aware of what’s going on between those. PVR’s often report back not just what shows you watched, but how many times you rewound that halftime commercial or act. The old days of “tracing a call” have become a Hollywood gimmick – the number is available even before the connection is made, and the call itself can be real time transcribed to text. Your printer is network connected, and most embed unique numbers in ever item printed, your security system knows when you’re home and when you’re gone. And they’re all able to talk with each other.
This session will be about how much control we have over this – how much is black helicopters and how much is actual productivity enhancement and personal customization that I WANT to be done. Do I want my bedside alarm clock to check my schedule and know that it doesn’t have to wake me quite so early tomorrow morning because my first meeting got cancelled overnight? Do I want the world to know I’ve put my house on power save mode because I’m going to be in Chicago for a couple of days? The Yin and Yang of connectivity is that Identity, Privacy, and Security are key – and we’re having to find new ways of making those concepts easy enough that you don’t have to read another 300 page manual just to use your new remote control or VOIP phone!
If this sounds like something you would be interesting in hearing about, either at SxSWi or in the community after SxSW – please “Thumbs Up” my session either above on the link or below!
I’ve had a couple of people ask me (and a couple of people not ask, but given their own spin on the title) and so I thought I’d do a bit more commentary on my “Brain” session submission.
From the site (“Your Brain in the Cloud”), you’ll see the description as:
Workflows, Agents, Bots… Not only is our data going into the Net but our decision making processes as well. What constitutes “Me” and how carefully should we consider how much of that resides outside of my own skull? Who owns or has access to that part of us outside ourselves?
So what does this mean? Well when I first started thinking and talking about this, “Bookworm, Run”, “True Names”, and “A World out of Time” (Peerssa for the state) were some of the works that had already been thinking about what happens when we begin not just using computers, but embedding our own decision making processes into them and then turning over those “mundane” activities to be freed up for more lofty (or just more fun) activities.
Well, as the years went on and many people continued thinking about it, most of the “Serious” work was focused on either higher FPS’s, achieving the holy grail of the Memex, or embedding the decision making processes of Corporations and legal entities into the programs and systems of the machines. But Moore’s Law marches on and what used to be in the reach of only governments and multi-nationals are now the playground of everyday users, and embedding yourself in various systems comes along with that.
What I hope to talk about is how this initiative/push/desire – whatever you want to call it – will affect us. Don’t think you’re part of it? Have you ever run a tweetbot? Set up an email rule? Configured your phone to allow some people and not others at different times of the day? Used a Bot in an online game? These are all ways that people today are putting parts of themselves into the cloud without even realizing it!
So what I hope to do is get us all thinking about what we do outsource of our internal selves, what makes sense to push up and to think about what happens if that repository should be compromised. While we all want the happy part of “True Names” (“My kernel is out there in the System. Every time I’m there, I transfer a little more of myself.") we also need to be aware of Stross and his vision of multiple copies of self aware selves and how the very idea of identity can be challenged by this.
And my final plea – if all this sounds interesting, please “Thumbs up” my session either directly or by the link below.
While I’m looking at my Micro Framework notes, I wanted to push this one out as well. over at CodePlex (http://mftoolkit.codeplex.com) you can find Michael’s toolkit for networking Micro Framework boards. To get your interest, let me just quote directly from the latest release notes:
Oh, did I mention there’s XBee support in there too? OK, I’ll stop typing because you’ve already clicked over and are downloading the toolkit!