Bridging Meaningful Connections Within the Internet of Things

Bridging Meaningful Connections Within The Internet Of Things

When we are constantly broadcasting information about ourselves to the world around us, can it expand the ways our opportunities for interactions?

Any kid coming out of grade school is familiar with the five senses. Touch, taste, hearing, sight, and smell are our primary tools for gathering information about and making sense of the world around us. But more than ever, perceiving our immediate surroundings and beyond is done with technological assistance.

In just a few decades, the Internet has allowed a global community to grow, share and react, comment and collaborate. In the years ahead, more Internet-connected things, many of them other things located continents away, will be joining people as they carry on their own conversations.

As of this year, Cisco Systems estimates that 100 ‘things’ are being connected to the Internet each second. By 2020 it’ll be more like 250. That’s 21.6 million every day.

The data generated and shared by these things may be useful to you — after all their world is your world. This growing network of interconnected devices will be the foundation of a new dynamic in collaborative insight. These objects will give you access to a new type of collective sensory perception, like a “Shared Awareness” that we could further drill down into at the individual level.

In this brave new device ecosystem that better connects us to our physical environment and each other, wearable and mobile devices are automatically capturing and broadcasting contextually relevant information at key moments to enable a seamless flow of communication between people. These systems are continually monitoring individual data like location and activity level to deliver a pre-programmed set of notifications to a trusted peer group, activating a network around timely support and care.

In a recent study by the Pew Research Center, Joe Touch, director at the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute, described future scenarios that could become commonplace.

“The Internet will shift from the place we find cat videos to a background capability that will be a seamless part of how we live our everyday lives,” he said in the report. “We won’t think about ‘going online’ or ‘looking on the Internet’ for something—we’ll just be online, and just look.”

Over the past few years we’ve seen the rise of mobile apps like Highlight that sync with your various social media profiles and the GPS hardware in your phone to notify you when somebody you might get along with is nearby.

Services like these can be helpful to professionals looking to network, recruiters searching for potential employees (and vice versa), or for anybody who wants to connect with new people. They can help someone make friends in a new town, or get introduced to students at a new school.

The evolution of a tool like Highlight is seen in a device like Wizz.

Created by Lunar design, Wizz is a rock-shaped pendant that will vibrate based on cues from social media, as well as content on apps we use like our queues on Netflix or iTunes playlists. The gentle haptic feedback is meant to mimic the “butterflies-in-your-stomach” feeling that happens when a crush catches your eye. Think of it as a way to break the ice without breaking out the cheesy pick-up lines.

Another example of the marriage between connected sensors and haptic devices is The Alert Shirt, designed by wearable technology company We:eX (Wearable Experiments).

This sports jersey lets fans experience first-hand what their favorite athletes are feeling in real-time. The jolt of nerves as they steal home, that impact as they take that game winning kick, or the crush of a hockey stick as they get slammed against the boards. It might be best to stick with low-impact sports on that one.

When people are more connected in this way on a global scale, imagine what that will mean for us closer to home.

 

>>READ MORE at IQ.Intel>>

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Googled Me A Date With Luis Guzman

Luis Guzman, famous actor and all around #Boricua Badass, has always occupied a familiar place in my social periphery. He’s from the same town back on the island as my dad, and also I’m pretty sure he and my folks used to kick it all ’70s style in the Lower East Side. Here, look:

“A Band Called Loisaida” – courtesy of Pupa Santiago’s Official Website. My dad, Edgard Rivera, is that awesome dude up front, and Luis Guzman is allegedly stage left with his back to us and his belly out. Neat.

So like a week ago Mr. Guzman tweets:

Which links to this Instagram of himself standing super tough in front of some random door:

Who wants to hang?

A post shared by Luis Guzman (@loueyfromthehood) on

Then…

…he posted a challenge on Facebook—

Going... Gone!

—but nobody could name the spot.

So, obv, he eggs them on—

—and man were they trying—

—but still nothing even a week later…

…so I was all, like, “It is on, sir.”

God as my witness, I will smite a challenge, friends. I will smite a challenge. So that’s what I did. Smited that shit right down, and it was all thanks to the actually awesome Global Super Brain, commonly referred to as Google. #Swoon.

At first I astral’d down around street view for a while, but, honestly?

BOOOOOOORRRRIIIIIINNNNNGG

Screw that. That way sucked and was way boring and not at all fruitful. Then, with a quick salting of the brainclouds, I switched to image search and picked two of the graffiti artists who had tagged the door:

imgsrch

Which kicked me this shot:

photo.stolen from edgar allan flow 3.0's Flickr
photo.stolen from edgar allan flow 3.0’s Flickr

Not much, but that’s definitely the door, right? That’s the door. Plus, now I had a street number and a wider angle. All it took from there was a tedious trial and error blitz of copy/pasting “nyc 344 ” and then opening likely addresses in Street View…

abc123

…until I finally pulled 7’s:

Soon...

The jackpot is just two doors down from The Wren. That 344 is 344 Bowery! Look!

Yreka!

Some of you might’ve known where this was right off the bat. I did not. Bowery’s just not my scene, dudes. Also the point here, the “So what?” of this: I could’ve done this from absolutely anywhere that had a connection to our just overwhelmingly #AwesomeInternet. Anyone could’ve.

True, it helps that I live in New York and have a general feel for what sort of architecture is more likely to be found in which hoods, but, for real, it just makes it more convenient for my new dude, Luis Guzman. What if somebody in Yakutsk had tracked tracked him down?

It’s a fact that by the immutable laws of an Internetworked Cosmos, not going to Yakutsk to buy…frozen fish loaves(?)…with these fur-garbed folk would have been tantamount to celebrity suicide. Not to mention if the person was, like, dying of cancer or something! Mr. Guzman would have been unflappably bound by the sacred chains of international stardom to grant three wishes!

So that’s what’s up with that! Yay, Internet! Yay, me! Stay tuned and I’ll post pictures of the undoubtedly awesome time I’ll have hanging out with the only Luis Guzman who matters: Luis Guzman.

Magazine Sex: For The Paris Review [VIDEO]

Shot this ad for The Paris Review. Kind of awesome.

Thanks to Noah Wunsch and friends for inviting me to be a part of it. Lots of fun.

Who’s Brent Spiner? Oh: The Problem With Getting Stuck On Data.

 

Way back in 1890, a couple of dudes who no one particularly remembers published a paper declaring “to be let alone” a basic human right. They titled it, self-evidently enough, The Right to Privacy.

The claim had been prompted by the shock of “recent inventions and business methods” that had turned the goddamn world upside down. These were, obviously, the instantaneous photograph and the contemporary newspaper enterprise, and these “mechanical devices” were going to prove “that ‘what is whispered in the closet shall be proclaimed from the house-tops.’” Since then the population of the United States has grown from around 70M to a low estimate of 295M, and the flood of technology has left us with nowhere but the roof-tops to stand, and so, friends, here we are.

Privacy doesn’t exist. Not really, you know? As Blake Shaw of Foursquare recently told an indignant audience at a Columbia University-sponsored panel, “privacy is a modern invention.” Our concept of individual space is closely tied to things like population growth, religious freedom, personal wealth, and Western individualism.  Think about the living conditions of ancient humans. Houses (if they existed at all) were tiny and cramped and whole families lived together in one central room.

But when Western Civilization scooched over the Atlantic and suddenly there was all this open space, and all this potential for getting paid, and the idea of the Self-Made Man emerged, it created a whole, pun intended, New World. Suddenly humans could spread out and be alone and all it took was some good ol’  American Know-How. Even then, though, it was still only the wealthy who practiced privacy as we understand it. Most people were still poor and cramped and out in the open. But the seed had been planted, and pretty soon the Right to Privacy was as engrained in the common sentiment as were other wacky concepts like the Freedom of Speech and Religion and the Right to Bear Arms that most other humans alive in the middle of the 19th century—and still many today—would have balked at as well.

Fast forward a hundred years or so, and The United Nations seems to think that, at least in some ways, #BigData can solve some of the more cumbersome issues that arise from this whole, fucking, Life thing we’ve been trying on. Following that huge shitstorm in 2008, the UN started Global Pulse, an initiative which aims to turn all the massive amounts of information we’re generaiting into a safe-guard system for the planet.

See, the idea is that there’s a lot of shit going on that, historically, doesn’t get noticed till it becomes, well, history, right? That’s because it takes a fairly long time to get perspective on all the personal accounts and financial records and government intelligence reports and 50-year climate indices and all that super boring stuff that nerds love to analyze and argue about and publish and prove and debunk and, then, who the fuck cares? Nerds! They love that shit. To avoid a mouthful, they came up with a fancy scientific way to say it all: latent assemblage of quantifiable variables (not an actual term) that is: ‘data’. This shit is nothing new—obviously, granted—but it needs to be said.

What has changed is the amount of time it takes to put it all together and analyze. That’s good. That means that the UN can know which regions of which country are about to need food since people there keep Tweeting stuff like “Fuck I’m hungry! #LifeSucks,”, or if there’s about to be an outbreak of some potential pandemic since, like, a bunch of people all searched WebMD for the same symptoms. All good things, right? The downside, of course, is that since it doesn’t take a whole generation or three to clock the world’s ups and downs, all the people involved are still alive. Unlike the traditional approach to historical research (i.e. “Let’s find out why all those people had super shitty lives back then”), the new #BigData model hopes to be preventative, predictive. So we call this: Real-Time Data Gathering. A.K.A.: The constant surveillance of living human beings.

To many of these humans—often using logic when contemplating the potentialities inherent here—this sounds uncool. Global crisis prevention be damned; that’s some Big Brother type of shit to a degree that George Orwell couldn’t possibly have imagined. But, anyway, here we are.

Of course there are potentially huge violations that would be possible in a society that keeps tabs on all its citizens. Certainly. Like, if shit were to get hairy there’d be zero chance for clandestine rebellion. Plus, if data and trend analysis were used in law enforcement one could totally imagine some Minority Report sort of deal which could determine if somebody’s recent behaviors implied a high-probability of #FutureCrime.

But then, say the sensors in Grandma’s phone detected a hip-shattering shift in her movements on a rainy day, followed by a prolonged horizontal tendency. The thing could not only send out an emergency call detailing the probability that Nana had slipped off a slick curb on her way home from Luby’s, but also put out a blanket S.O.S. in case any qualified First Responders happened to be enjoying the chicken fried steak buffet right then.

It’s not all big and grand noble stuff, of course. Data is the 2012 summer jam  because it’s sort of like the Holy Grail for companies that dig making money. The fact is that the more companies know about us, the more products they can make that are guaranteed to sell. Successful products usually fill some kind of need—as debatable as the origin of that need is— in our lives. Whether it’s knowing if that can of delicious Coors Golden Banquet is cold without needing to touch it, or having an unbelievably powerful portable computer/GPS/gaming console/personal assistant/infinite encyclopedia/camera in our damn pockets that we can also use to tap into invisible waves of magic and initiate omniglobal vocal interfacing with homies, the need is fulfilled.

Genome from Yahoo! from The Nation on Vimeo.

Yes. Many of these products are cutesy iterations at best. Some are less than worthless, but—as I’ve said before—we are brand new at this, guys. In order for technology to progress—at least in our current system—it needs to be monetized. Companies are trying to figure that out. What we might do, though, is vocalize our boundaries and make sure that our data is being used in our best interests. It can be.

Like, a few years ago I was dating this one babe who went to Cali for New Year’s. I, obviously, stayed in New York during one of the more wintery winters in recent memory. Snowmaggedon aside, it wasn’t all that bad. Except, this: Before said babe ditched for the Golden State Advantage she sent me a textvitation to join something called Google Latitude, a social geolocation app that would cause me endless fits of angst and misery over the following two weeks spent effectively snow-bound in my shitty Bed-Stuy pad.

I suppose the whole idea is that, like, say you and your bros are all super tight together and hang all the time and so figure that if y’all always know when a homie encroaches—like some sort of social Spidey-Sense—well, bonus! Hang time anytime. Or if you’re an overbearing loving parent and your kid is a delinquent free-spirit, you can keep GPS tabs on them to make sure they hate you till you die don’t skip class and ultimately thank you for the TLC when they’re old enough to appreciate your hardshiphow totally nuts you are.

The fact that social apps are so prevalent now is no fluke. People, generally, want to feel like they belong—to something—whether it be the cool-kids club in high school or the even cooler “we’re notthe cool kids” club, also in high school, but then later behind the counters of bars and MacBook screens.

Even if we spend the majority of our time alone, social media gives us the metrics for self-satisfaction, and as these e-clubs have flooded the app stores, a wave of spin-offs have crested. Services likeHighlight  and Sonar scrape little bits from all of our various data-holes and aim to connect us with potential homies.  With Highlight you get a notification every time another Highlighter with mutual friends or common interests is in some determined vicinity. Of course, with the lax way that most people employ the Add Friend and Like buttons, it’s really a crap-shoot on how common or mutual these things are. Mostly I’ve been notified because some rando nearby also Liked Battlestar Galactica,Ted Talks, or you. And with the 647 acquaintances on my FB, the likelihood of us connecting over mutuals for reals is slim, bro. But as we heard at WWDC, Apple’s upcoming iOS 6 will have a Find My Friends feature—and Facebook is dropping the Find Friends Nearby tool—that could prove more right on with direct access to our contacts (For example. I just found out that a dude who I grew up with in Austin now also lives in Brooklyn, we share 62 friends and I had no idea he was here). Though these may stir up some awkward moments when our mutual friend is related to the Melanie GirlAtBar or Daisy OkCupid family trees in our Contacts.

Then there’s the recently debuted Coordinate service from good old Google which aims to kill the Pizza Boy Porn Genre by enabling employers to keep constant tabs on their remote workforce:

“Did you order the sausage?”

“I did call for a five letter word that starts with a P, but I was ho—“

“Seriously, lady, if I’m here for more than two minutes my electro-collar sends out 200 volts right under my head.”

“But you’re not wearing a collar.”

“Oh, yes I am…”

Yo! So some of this sends off all kinds of alarm bells, given its ability to incite relentlessly wack breaches of our personal bubbles—see: Girls Around Me , an app which was to stalkers-slash-date-rapists what Keystone Light is to frat-boys-slash-date-rapists—but we’re new to this game. Kids growing up today won’t remember getting their Facebook because their parents have been using it as a scrapbook since they were born. Also, those same parents will likely have been using digital leashes like FBI Child ID, Footprints, and Glympse since the brats were old enough to need a phone of their own (you know: five). They’ll be so used to the idea of broadcasting their lives that, by the time they’re old enough to have real friends, sharing those permissions could become the new friendship bracelet. We’d call it #BroCasting.

Eventually, when everyone is on the map in real-time, turning off your signal could be tantamount to cruising a big white van with curtained windows around your local school zone. Which brings me to what I’m gonna call The Black Box Effect of Radical Transparency. Just like it sounds, there would be a record for every moment. The Internet would become the world’s most big-mouthed tattle tale. No more unsolved hit and runs, cheating on your spouse would be a real pain in the ass, and Peeping Toms would find that the peeper had become the peeped. Now, while would-be offenders could just leave their phones at home, that’s assuming that these technologies stay in our phones. With the trends in wearable tech and sensor everything, the chances of GPS trackers migrating to our skivvies are high indeed. Unless yon John Wayne Gacy plans on prowling in the buff, he totes won’t be getting around to those home improvements any time soon.

We just live in opaque boxes, and most of our private time is spent sleeping. But if someone were interested in learning everything there is to know about you, it would be wildly easy. Not only in a freaky CIA sort of sense, but with the integration of Social across Internet media, we increasingly put that shit out there for free. On Hulu a box asks you “What are you thinking?” even as another box on your Facebook Timeline populates with what are you watching. On Spotify we get what are you listening to, and with Instagram we go even further to what are you seeing. But does anybody really care about what most of us do with our time? There will always be people watchers, but eventually, as we get more used to the freaky union of our cyber and meat spaces, nobody will care about the constant feed of updates on what people are watching, listening to, or doing just right then. Does anybody really pay attention to that stuff anyway?

Like some geezer being all stumped by that wacky enigma, the personal computer, the next generations will leave us all looking just as confounded and obsolete. When we were kids the common wisdom was, like, why don’t y’all kids respect your elders more since they’ve got all this wisdom and shit and we were, like, “OMG, mom! If grandpa wants to share his stories he should start a LiveJournal like the rest of us. Duh!”

Now, before you get on my case here, I’m no Elderist bigot. My point is that it’s no longer the technology itself that will leave us in the dust long before we bite it. From now on it’ll be the different ways people choose to use existing technology. We won’t be going to community colleges to learn what those kids mean by “right-click”. More like we’d be going to group seminars on being more comfortable with data-nudity. Since, like, how Emily Nussbaum so eloquently put it in this New York Mag feature:

“Kids today. They have no sense of shame. They have no sense of privacy. They are show-offs, fame whores, pornographic little loons who post their diaries, their phone numbers, their stupid poetry—for God’s sake, their dirty photos!—online. They have virtual friends instead of real ones. They talk in illiterate instant messages. They are interested only in attention—and yet they have zero attention span, flitting like hummingbirds from one virtual stage to another.”

But, hey, que viva the future, right? Bet on those wacky assholes of the future broadcasting their geolocation from every Taco Bell in the world. Because that’s what’s up with the future. We can call itRadical Transparency for now, and then likely some portmanteau like RadTran, but eventually they’ll just call it Life. Much like we call this ‘Life’ even though it’s an Orwellian nightmare scenario, Code Red, that our parents spent their lives fighting hopelessly against.

Let’s Build The Damn Enterprise!

At least one dude thinks we could. Some total random known only as BTE-Dan has put together a surprisingly large website detailing (really really detailing) what it would take to Build The Enterprise over the course of 20 years.

As BTE-Dan sees it, all the main technologies we’d need to construct a real life starship are pretty much at hand. Of course it would take scaling them up a bit. Like, way up. Like, to space. But, hey, even if we couldn’t figure out how to build huge ion propulsion engines or a 1.5 gigawatt nuclear reactor or a spinning disk with a diameter taller than the Burj Khalifa—ahem. Tallest building in the world—at least we put our minds to figuring out those limitations.

Aside from being the coolest franchise in television history Star Trek helped to inspire generations of engineers, scientists, inventors, and very cool bloggers to create the world we know today. There are a ton of gadgets that we use now that are as cool, if not cooler, than the stuff Kirk was using in the Original Series. Plus the things we have are often a lot more sensical and useful. See? Not to mention that we’re, like, two hundred years ahead of schedule on this stuff. Bam! Take that, ultra-skeptical 1960′s television writers. We win.

In the FAQ on his website, BTE-Dan, had this to say about it:

“If we want to define the greatness of our civilization mostly based on how we make transfer payments to each other through social programs, well, that sure doesn’t seem too inspiring. We need some other things to get jazzed up by as a civilization – something with a much bigger sweep – something to fire our imaginations. And we need something to inspire more young people to want to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics – the STEM subjects. We need a worthy successor to the Apollo space program – and the Enterprise program can be just that.”

The proposed budget for building this #ActualStarship is $1 trillion, but BTE-Dan figures we can stretch that out at some $50 billion per year. If we can spend $50 billion on wacky stuff like Homeland Security why not just throw in another 50 on building an amazingly radical spaceship? I’m down if you’re down. If we all lived like Luniz and just throw five bucks each on it, that’s already $1.5 billion. If we agree to five a week we’re already in (what I think smart money people mean when they say:) a windfall!

What’s up? Do you think we could build it? Is the idea just a huge crazy waste of brain time? Wouldn’t it be super awesome to have a U.S.S. Enterprise flying around out there? Either way. Check out the site. Obviously my thoughts are, in the words of BTE Dan: “This is super cool.”

Follow me on Twitter @44carib

[Article written for and published by NYPress.com]

2.0Pac: The Rise of #PlugLife

On April 15, 2012, the Internet saw a brutal spike in net-wide OMG usage. Meanwhile, @katyperry explored a nascent dualism with the tweet:

WTF? Before we get into the fact that @katyperry saw Tupac Shakur—a man who died long before @ was a nominal prefix—I need to get this off my chest: No. That’s not what you say, @katyperry. No. If you cried, you cried. If you didn’t, whatever. Nobody will think less of you. In fact, what she saw at #coachella was a 2D pseudo-hologram of the often questionably late rapper. Certainly, I’m sure I’d cry as well if I saw Tupac these days. Cry and scream. Even run/crap. But why the fuck would @katyperry cry about a Tupac hologram, right guys?

Anyway It was pretty great. Besides the eerie slidewalk issue, the Hologram Tupac was surprisingly realistic. That is, assuming that you hadn’t expected to see Tupac at all ever again, and are not prone to dumbass comments on Internet Forums, like, “lol. Its so obviously CGI it’s not funny. It only fools people because the stage is darkly lit”. Actually, tim from yayhooray.net, I wouldn’t say It is fooling anybody. Instead they’re surprised because they weren’t expecting to see dead people on stage. Unsurprisingly, many people are not super stoked about this. It seems that Tupac’s projected Coachella cameo, originally conceived of by Dr Dre as a really good idea, strikes some living humans as wildly inappropriate. But, like, why?

It really shouldn’t be that weird. We listen to his music, watch his videos, and, as technology advances, why wouldn’t we see a late great stage performance? It may be no weirder than buying one of the dude’s seven post-alive albums. I mean, tech-wise, it’s about as weird as attending a laser light show to get the Led out or jam down with Floyd at your local planetarium. Many an eye were not batted when Celine Dion had her little concert with the King, or when 2.0ld Blue Eye$ and Alicia Keys hooked up for Simon Cowell’s musical pervertatum. Imagine for a moment that you and your fellow MILFS are at a Bublè concert, when—BAM—there’s fucking Frank Sinatra on the stage for a Half Dead Duet. Or, say, Justin Timberlake had a dance off with a young MJ from the Off the Wall years. Now, excusing our hypothetical JT for a serious lack of tact regarding the Whoa! Too Soon, Bro! clause of fucking forever, these Spectrecles would seem flat out cheesy at best, or, at their most transparent (yes I did), they would seem like just what they are: #FutureHype.

If we did get a holographic tour—which, really, would just be a series of projections under the pretense of intracontinental movement—along with a digital appropriation of his voice (but whose words come through the Bose?), then should we brace ourselves for 2.0PAC’s 2.0riginal material? Then again, is it so different from Gorillaz? Or seeing footage of John F. Kennedy noting to the world that Tom Hanks needs to drain his dick? Also, not to upset you, but Cirque du Soleil will soon be executing—ahem. Pardon me—enacting a not-live Michael Jackson set in Las Vegas. So much for Too Soon. I wonder who I should talk to about securing the rights for a new Whitney Houston reality show, Fall 2012. I’d call it: Not Living With Whitney. It’d be a fucking riot.

So, #ExistentialBummers aside, we may just be a step behind in our acceptance of a presumably acceptable musical medium. Of course, Japan is practically right there. Hatsune Miku is something called a Vocaloid. Her voice is a collection of samples taken of voice actress Saki Fujita, and put together by Yamaha for their synthesizer software. Basically, anybody who buys the software is able then to create their own original Hatsune Miku songs. As many as they want, evidenced by the supposedly 100,000 songs under this babe’s, like, cyber-belt or whatever. Miku tours with sold out sets. In 2010 she released an album that sold 23,000 copies in the first week, securing her a special spot in history as the first ever Vocaloid to top the charts. “She” is a musical phenomenon. To the effect that her existence is a powerful driver in the development of 3D display FutureTek. Obviously, whoever manages to put the most lifelike Hatsume Miku up on a stage will no doubt be gifted a fucking minting press by the Japanese Ministry of Finance. But unlike Tupac Shakur, Hatsune Miku (“whom”, it should be noted, is, in some instances, to holograms what Tupixle Shaklick-here-to-win-free-iPad3 is to smoke and mirrors. That is to say: represents an actual execution of), was never a living human being. The Japanese sensation is, from start to finish, an incredibly successful work of mass-fiction.

The issue here may be that Tupac wasn’t just a celebrity like any other. He was more than the 3 x platinum 24 year old we all remember. More than the dead dude who pulled in fifteen million dollars in 2008. Tupac was nearly the embodiment of the modern Thug Persona that we’ve built up over the last thirty years. The raw dog, shoot first, hair trigger, fuckhead image that sends palpable waves of discomfort through passengers during the first three stops on the L into Brooklyn. But it wasn’t that empty animal unpredictability that keeps this dude alive. It’s the other part. That inner shit we might label the #TruPac. An intellectual with a nigh obsessive revolutionary bent. By the time he died, this dude had effectively riled the dangerous classes. The poor who felt misrepresented, at best, if not downright abused, by the state. This, during a time when #GangFright was such that we used to get stopped and questioned if more than one of our set had the same color shirt on.

Where this whole wacky thing may get a bit sticky is when we have a dead rapper giving shout outs to people and places he never knew and never was, respectively. Or when we watch Snoop’s attempts to act cool on stage with his dead homie, looking exactly the way he did twelve years ago. More than anything it raises questions as to fair use of a man’s image. Like in the Loyal to the Game album wherefrom Eminem caught a little flack when he digitally rearranged Makaveli’s previously unreleased material to have Pac say shit he never said, and adjusted his waveforms to better match the new beats. 2Pacworld.co.uk, for example, claims to have been “in disbelieve” [sic] when they “found that Eminem used his position to edit/change Tupac’s lyrics”.

Many folks may be tempted to call Scandalouz on this kind of vocal infringement, but we see this shit all the time, right? Sampling is a cornerstone of rap, and studio producers will often disassemble a musician’s session by means of beat slicing and the finished product is more machine than man by the time it gets to our shitty Apple earbuds. Then, I suppose, if a line is not drawn, and we reduce a human voice to the level of a sequencer drum kit, then how long till we begin introducing Lil So’n’So on the PAC, right alongside MC Slim GnZ and DJ h1p 5tar? And, yo, speaking of dead dudes rock and rolling over in their graves: Hitoshi Ueki, Japanese famous guy, is set to be the first dead celebrity to be given the old Dixie Flatline treatment. The Yamaha Vocaloid team recently announced their semi-successful appropriation of the deceased vocalist’s vocal chords.

But, come on, the mu$ic indu$try would never do something so base as to create a 2Pacaloid all for the sake of a little cash, right? That’d be more inappropriate than a Vic Morrow Pez dispenser. #GoogleIt.

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[Author Edit of Article Written for and Published by @TheClusterMag]

#TechEd 2012: Uncle Sam Wants You…to Learn Stuff!

Actual Clip-Art

If you use computers, smart phones, the Internet, or chipped-out credit cards, you need to learn how to protect yourself. That’s what’s up. These days, a good briefing on modern technology is more than just a good idea; #TechEd is our civic duty. #TechEd is the new learning not to play with fire. As we wade further into the deep end of this e-pool, with every e-footstep comes the mounting risk of fatal e-electrocution. True.

With all these devices and, everyday, more of our lives being defined in code ,we will inevitably find ourselves at the mercy of the electronic equivalent of bag snatchers. E-Bags, if you will. These aren’t master hackers, or whatever. These aren’t your c0mrades (RIP), your Zero Cools, or even your Dexter Douglases. These are just random jerks with a computer and just enough reason to figure it out. Even so, cyber crimes like identity theft cost United States households, like, $13.3 billion in 2010.

But what can ya do, you know? Seems like, truth be told, not much, bro. If these criminals are able to fell The Department of Justice website, and snake files out of places like Stratfor, then what chance do we have? Somini Sengupta over at that other New York paper, Yesterday’s News…I mean, The Times, mused recently on how the bright side of this #HackAttack super-trend sounds “the alarm about the unguarded state of corporate computer systems.” Fair enough, but I hear another alarm. It’s coming from our bedside tables, it’s telling us that we need to get up, shoot a 5-Hour Energy, and get to work. Big companies and government agencies aren’t the only ones who need to learn a little about The System.

I’m not saying that we should all go out and become computer scientists, or evenDIY robot hobbyists, though if you did manage to scrape together something excellent, @Kickstarter might just make you a mint. Either way, if you’re going to live in the Age of the Nerds, you may want to don a pocket protector just so they know whose side you’re on. “When in ROM…” as they say, “…read-only.”

There are a number of resources out on the Internet to get you up to snuff. Startups like Treehouse and Codecademy look to make your learning fun. If you’ve got a touch of the artist in you, Processing is a language aimed at satisfying the need for instant gratification by serving as a sort of code sketchpad. Moving through the many tutorials, users harness the power of the Processing language to create arts. Actually cool!

While Treehouse costs a good scrap, 25 monthly bucks for the intro package, they do boast a huge number of instructional videos, and helpful texts. I can’t think of anywhere else you’d get such a great deal from obviously knowledgeable people…oh, wait…I did once hear that some two-bit school was offering full introductory courses to Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, and Robotics online and totally for free. What school was that? That’s right: damn Stanford University. Through the Stanford Engineering Everywhere program, you can get a world class education from the comfort of your own tax deductible home/office (that’s what web developers call their studio apartments, btw), all it’ll cost you is time.

Speaking of—and, trust me, I know the market value on seconds these days—the good folks at Lifehacker recently mentioned how just thirty minutes a day can make all the difference when you’re learning something new. I’m not talking about those 30 minute pay courses, either. Really. Just sit down for 30 minutes a day and practice.

Remember, fellow Netizens: ask not what your computer can do to you, ask your computer to do anything you want it to.

Follow @44carib on @Twitter just because!

 

[Author Edit of Article Written For and Published by NYPress.com]