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Archive: February, 2009

----- 02.26.2009 --------
Scatter-brained thoughts...
My mind is all over the map these days! It's been a couple weeks since my last post and I don't even know where to start! Since my last post, I've finished going through Stuart Knight's Evolution Group, and then as an added bonus (ie, I couldn't get enough!), I added his "Art of Powerful Conversation" seminar last night. All of it was great and had my mind doing what it's supposed to be doing: thinking and exploring the great possibilites of this gift I've been given called "life". So I'm all over the map thinking of stuff, but I keep coming back to the thought of adventure. And speaking of maps, I just put down a book I have of canoe routes through Temagami. And I've been following those routes on Google Maps, trying to figure out my next solo trip. Yes, that's right... I have another solo trip in mind. I want something bigger and badder then the last. Something to truly test my meddle and help me explore who I am and what I'm capable of.

So if I was deep into figuring out a canoe route, why did I stop to update my site? I have a million in one stories/rants/ideas running through me that I had to put something into "concrete" written form. Oh yes, concrete digital bits of goodness :) One thought to write about is my idea of digital graffiti. A glimpse into the not-so-distant world of augmented reality, thanks to geolocation, collaboration, cellphones, and real-time image processing. The thought is quite simple in my mind, but maybe not so simple to explain. But once explained and you get what I'm talking about, it really is that simple.

So what is digital graffiti?
Simple! Picture this.... you've got your cellphone/smartphone/whatever device and it's got a GPS receiver in it. Assuming it's got a high-res lock on a few satelites, it will know where it is in the 2D plane (imagine a map). And if it's got a good enough lock on enough high-res satelites (WAAS-enabled, and I think it needs 4), it can know it's altitude. Assuming that GPS signals aren't degraded for the sake of military superiority/homeland security, then the device would know it's location within inches. Not only flat on a map, but 3D, using altitude as well.

Given this info, you grab your cellphone, hold a button and listen to the "hissssss....." sound that comes out. The sound of a can of spray paint. With your finger on the trigger, you paint in the air and draw whatever you like. Maybe you're tagging a wall in a country you're travelling to. Or drawing a cabin in the middle of nowhere. It doesn't matter. What you've done is traced a virtual image that exists solely by it's coordinates in the physical space.... virtually.

Now, let's say your friend is walking close to where you were and their cellphone beeps and alerts them that someone from their freind list marked the territory. Excited, the pull out their cellphone and scan the nearby buildings/area with their camera phone. Real-time images of what the camera sees is shown to them on their lcd. As they pan across the view in front of them, your drawing shows up on their phone, in real time. But not just your drawing.... the collaborative drawings of everyone!!! Now in a busy city, this would be totally overwhelming to the phone and would look like graffiti on graffiti on graffiti on graffiti and really nothing would makes sense. With a click or two, a filter is applied and only the drawings of friends show up on their phone, real-time, in an augmented reality. Something that geographically exists in the real world, but doesn't.

Are you with me still? I know I'm geeking out on you, and if you're into that, then cool. If this is puzzling or far-fetched to you, great! Welcome to the future :) If you don't get it and want to know more, write/call me and I'll be happy to elaborate. Have you heard of geo-caching? This is similar... think of tracking down coordinates just to arrive at a spot, pull out your cell and look at the big "Rob was here" written across the trail in front of you. Now in the intermediate versions, before this is all done realtime, maybe the digital graffiti gets added to a static pictures that has some been geotagged with it's location, similar to the way mash-ups work on google maps.

This idea of mine is a few years old, but I don't have it in writing. It is so clear and vivid in my head as to how it works, I just can't imagine a future without it. So why am I sharing the thought with the world? So some of you bright people can use the idea to make it a reality. I don't want to make money from it... I want to see it brought to reality! So if you happen to stumble across this blog post and think it's interesting and want to work on it, please involve me! I've love to assist and elaborate on how I see it working.

OK... that's one of the linging thoughts in my mind that I've loosely and roughly been able to yank out and throw down in the form of text. The other thoughts? They unfortunately gravitate towards the gloomier and doomier outlook I see the world taking on. Have you read Atlast Shrugged? Scary to see this playing out for real!!! In fact, I kept thinking more and more about it that I thought there was no way I could be the only one thinking it, so I dropped it into google news to see if it was mentioned recently. Sure enough, others have seen the commonalities. Here is an article from the Wall St Journal on similarities to Atlas Shrugged. The article is over a month ago, but it's called well! Want somthing more recent? Go to Google News and search for Atlast Shrugged. Seems to me that many of us are taking note of the scary similarities! If you're read the book, you know it's going to get worse before it gets better. And if you haven't read it.... read it! Or listen to it on Audio Book. That was the route I took... a mere 52 hours unabridged!

OK, where am I going with all this? Fear! Yes... lots to be fearful of in today's world! I don't focus on it, but I can't seem to escape it! Who was it that said "May we live in interesting times".... ? Was it confusious? Well these times are interesting! Scary...? Maybe. Definately interesting! There are so many things happening that fascinate me! Unraveling of society in many ways, with technological forces pulling us together to unite in ways never before possible. And the new entity that's around the corner that will weigh in our our culture: The Spiritual Machine! There's a book by Ray Kurzweil, a futurist and hero of mine, called "Age of Spiritual Machines" that is a must read!

OK, slow down Rob! Someone's letting their ADD run a little wild! If I could type faster, it'd be even wilder.... trust me! I haven't even gotten into all the awesome technology I'm playing with at work now that we've gotten our wicked new 3PAR SAN! VMWare + SAN = awesomeness * flexibility!

Well, it's getting late and you've stopped reading already. So... good night all, and if you want a little reading, some blogs I've been enjoying/fearing lately include WHo is John Galt?.com and When Giants Fall (the same author of Financial Armageddon). Happy reading folks.... and don't take it too seriously. Or do take it seriously. Take it however you want.... just try to include it as the other side to the crap being fed to you in the news. Hopefully it will add to your ability to think critically. And this that, I bid you adieu and good night! :)

----- 02.08.2009 --------
One of the things I wanted to do this year is share more of my photos and other work with you. So, to keep the year off to a good start, I decided to share some of my work from my latest photography class on Food & Product. The last 2 weeks were spent on splashes and potato chips. Shooting potato chips is timing consuming and very frustrating! Digging through bags of chips looking for the perfect ones is just the beginning. Then you've got to style them so they look random in the bowl, but aren't. There shouldn't be any big holes, blemishes, or look that the shot is constructed. These shots aren't perfect, but based on other potato chips photos I've found online, I'd say this stack up pretty well! And yes, that was a pun intended :)


As for the splashes, they were a lot of fun to create! The ones with faces in the background were shot on someone else's flash. Instead of doing nothing while others shot, I did what I could to pick up their light on the subject. It can be frustating to time it, but it beats sitting around doing nothing! Anyway, hope you enjoy the photos!

And a quick note on how Rob Girard is doing these days? I'm doing great! Evolution Group on Wednesdays has been awesome! Work's going really well. Things with Kim and I are fabulous. I am one lucky guy and I have a ton to be grateful for!!! Thank you, abundant Universe :)

----- 02.01.2009 --------

This one took a lot of effort, but I got my pics from Costa Rica sorted, processed and uploaded (or atleast they are in the process of uploading while I type). It's late... after 1 and I need to go to bed. I made a commitment to get these pics up this weekend, so that's what I'm doing.

Speaking of this weekend, it was a good one! I had a class (photography) yesterday. This week we focused on shooting splashes. I got some wicked looking pictures! I hope to share them, but one thing at a time! I barely have my Costa Rica pics up yet! Speaking of which, I had 840 photos to go through. I got it down to 152.... but it's such a hard process to elimate them, especially if there are a lot I like! After class, I went into work for a few hours and got some of our first production data onto the SAN. I gave our exchange server a thinly-provisioned iSCSI LUN off our 3PAR InServ E200 SAN. I'm very impressed with the performance! The offline defrag took 2 hours and 4 minutes. Is that long, you ask? The last times I ran it (the most recent was december) it took over 15 hours! A huge improvement :) OK, I'll spare you on the geek speak... for now.

After working, Kim & I went for sushi then watched the movie "Slumdog Millionaire". It was excellent and I recommend it! Today I hit the gym and spent the marjority of the day working in Lightroom, preparing my Costa Rica photos for you. Speaking of which, It think they're about uploaded and I can finally go to bed! Yeah :) Enjoy! And I look forward to any feedback! Keep in mind that these pics have been greatly reduced in quality to bring you faster load times. If you are interested in any originals, just ask. Later!

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