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Almanac

almanac

Isolated Designs has been working with publishing an almanac since 2008. We understand that we have fostered a unique relationship with our readers that literally stands the test of time. The Isolated Designs Almanac is an abridged version of what happened in the past year. We don’t aim to predict the future, but the Almanac is to serve as a guide in the unpredictable, succeeding year. So sit back and take a read into our secondary offering of the world’s major trends, events and people that help shaped our daily lives. -Isolated Designs, Milwaukee, December 2010

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With any year, there are times of great progress as well as sluggish growth. This year’s Isolated Designs’ Almanac is a look at what has been working for the past few years, but realized in 2012. It’s been a year when there was not much innovation when compared to the previous, but much work readying for 2013. Let’s just say that we are living in interesting times that keep getting better in review.

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With the cost of mobile phones, dropping dramatically, then there is the $12 Gonkai Phone. Can be purchased at the Mingtong Digital Mall- unlocked, contract free, con promotions, charger, cable, silicon sleeve with a $2 profit made on each sale. The whole thing is snappable to bring down cost further. Interesting price for a phone that does the job.

Just as the Galapagos Islands is a unique biological ecosystem evolved in the absence of continental species, gongkai is a unique innovation ecosystem evolved with little western influence, thanks to political, language, and cultural isolation.

Of course, just as the Galapagos was seeded by hardy species that found their way to the islands, gongkai was also seeded by hardy ideas that came from the west. These ideas fell on the fertile minds of the Pearl River delta, took root, and are evolving. Significantly, gongkai isn’t a totally lawless free-for-all. It’s a network of ideas, spread peer-to-peer, with certain rules to enforce sharing and to prevent leeching. It’s very different from Western IP concepts, but I’m trying to have an open mind about it.

The business of Phish is live music. The rise and fall and rise of Phish, how did a jam band make hundreds of millions of dollars in concert sales and be humble in a slow growth movement? One fan at a time and working with other acts in venues small and big with the slogan, “Our Intent is All for Your Delight.” They also did it without the music industry. Phish biographer Parke Puterbaugh comments:

This all worked to Phish’s advantage, as they weren’t swamped by success but experienced a slow, steady climb, during which they nurtured their craft in an environment where they gained a following one fan at a time. They gradually cultivated a varied audience of college students and hipsters from Burlington and environs.

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When will the drop fall? Using a black tar so brittle at certain temperatures, that such an instance would happen every 10 or so years. A question asked by John Mainstone, a confusing particle of long-term science that had been mulling around for decades. The real answer lies not in the reasoning behind the challenge but in the continuation of the struggle to know further into other problems.

But Mainstone says that the experiment’s value lies not in its science, but in its historical and cultural impact: it has inspired sculptors, poets and writers to muse about the passage of time and the pace of modern life. It also provides a link to scientific history, and a sense of constancy. “It’s going about its business while the world is going through all sorts of turmoil,” Mainstone says. And with a great deal of pitch left in the funnel, it has the potential to serenely ignore that turmoil for another 150 years or so. Luckily, 78-year-old Mainstone has already convinced a younger colleague to watch over the experiment after he is gone.

But science is broken. And academia is to follow. But there are people out trying to change this. Microryza is gathering those interested to shift what harm has been done and get people back to flourishing an academic situation.

‘Had I not left the path of grad school to pursue a startup, these people would have been the ones I would’ve looked up to. On so many occasions, I’ll meet some brilliant mind working at a startup or in administration, and will want to blurt out, “Of all the people in the world, you, YOU deserve to be a professor teaching and doing research. And it’s such a god damn shame that you can’t be.”’

What do you want to be when you grow up? If you want to live for ever, this would be a good opportunity for you to start your business, because its known that there is little interest in this field. Austin G. Walters:

Interestingly enough that’s the part that I find insane, that no one is willing to put forth the effort to do it the way it should be done, by putting forth the same amount of effort it took to get to the moon. Clearly it’s possible (a few years ago I read a study where they doubled the life expectancy of mice through changing one enzyme). I also assume that it would gain you a Nobel Prize and/or bring in billions of dollars, and yet the efforts I can find all seem half cocked. Yet, no company has ever gone out with the sole purpose of increasing the life expectancy of the average Joe as its sole purpose and managed to gain enough traction.

The Benjamin Franklin Effect. Be careful with your brain, because it can’t handle the truth!

So, here’s what we learned: if you do nice things for someone, you will end up liking them more. Likewise, if someone does something nice for you, they will like you more.

Why?

Because your brain doesn’t like it when your actions don’t match the beliefs you have about yourself. If you believe that you don’t like someone, but then you help them, your brain gets confused. To ease the confusion, it changes what you believe – you start to think you like them after all.

It works for other actions, too. If you spend every day working hard for a boss you hate, eventually your brain will get fed up with the inconsistency and start changing your beliefs. Soon, you’ll find you don’t think your boss is so bad after all.

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Is there a future in virtual currency? With the economic reach of a really small country, Bitcoin is measuring with about 2,500 transaction per hour that go into a big ledger thing. That’s about as actual as the monetary structure gets, after that all that is left is a computer and yourself. For a primer of this currency, there is The Big Book of Bitcoin.

The Bitcoin economy is growing fast. You can payatrestaurants, buy food, ingredients, electronics, travel, accommodation, clothes, services, drugs, porn, blogs, all major currencies, and a growing list of things. However it still remains too technical, and niche for most. The value of the bitcoins in circulation today (March 2013) is around $500m, a minuscule amount for any bank or country. This, however highlights the potential growth for the value of the currency. If 10m bitcoins end up facilitating half of paypal’s transactions (~$80bn/yr) each bitcoin would be worth ~$6,000. (It’s a very crude estimate, of course, but it gives an order of magnitude). fortunately there are not only bitcoin cents, but also mili-bitcoins, down to a satoshi: 0.00000001 bitcoins. So in that scenario, a bread baguette would simply cost 0.15mBTC (0.15 mili bitcoins or 150 micro bitcoins).

There is the mass of people that think you should only be doing one thing when working at a startup. Could it be that this is a myth? Some Zentrepreneurs have come up with what they believe is solution to this common issue of focus. Vishen Lakhiani:

They had always felt that they were doing something wrong for focusing on multiple things at once. But what I found even more interesting is that many of these entrepreneurs commented that the people who told them early on to focus, never really became as successful as they are today. I’ve observed the same thing. The people who joked that I had A.D.D, was unfocused, etc never ended up doing as much as I did.

The future is weird. Get used to it. When did people begin to think they were in tomorrow’s world?

‘These days, the devices strewn around my parents’ apartment are augmented-reality glasses and headsets. The dinner table talk has been about waypoints and layers and standards for content. Mom’s latest projects include turning a city’s publicly available data into an app that lets people see the transit system or sewer pipes projected over the reality before them. She’s been talking to hang-gliders and hot-air-balloonists about whether they would like to see the wind unfurling across the sky ahead. And years before Google Glass was even on the horizon, my mom had me try out a pair of glasses that were to provide an immersive movie theatre experience. (The earbuds mounted on the frames, I regret to say, had not been designed with young women in mind.)’

Can a company make it on its own? Beholden to another competitor, in hardware or software, makes it almost impossible to do everything yourself. Relationships are the critical aspect of what separates the market leaders from the losers. Hyper Critical:

Even among just these three companies, there are more than enough dependencies to go around. Google depends on other companies to make and sell the vast majority of the products that run its mobile OS. Samsung depends on Google to make and support the most important software component of its flagship mobile devices.

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The waves of life shift on a continuum and the more things change, the more they stay the same. 2011 was a year to remember as new introductions of potential appeared and the thoughts of many came to fruition. So are things. If there was any lesson learned to take to heart, it was that the shear magnitude of the smallest thoughts can evoke awakenings across any given spectrum. What exactly does this all mean and what type of relationship exists from afar amongst the reason of humanity and the fantastic nature of space and time? In the 2011 edition of the French Press Almanac, we will explore these facets and ask questions that will accelerate our progressions into unbending the being at large and small.

You’ve walked through a door and you find yourself forgetting the practicality of understanding the event boundary; you’ve compartmentalized your thoughts and they are difficult to find again. Good luck trying to navigate your average mall. If there is something that is worth noting, it is that the maze is what allows for mental expansion. Not giving in is easy when all you have to deal with is walls, and no locks. So here’s to consistency from KurzweilAI:

Another experiment was designed to test whether doorways actually served as event boundaries or if one’s ability to remember is linked to the environment in which a decision — in this case, the selection of an object — was created. Previous research has shown that environmental factors affect memory and that information learned in one environment is retrieved better when the retrieval occurs in the same context.

It can become known that the real meaning of life is that there is a greater purpose out there for each one, some find, some search, others get lost and have no idea into the trajectory that dictates a source of movement. Without movement, the most fascinating aspect of this past year has to be the notion that for those led astray in the motion, inside and outside the bounds of reality, there is hope in the propagation of a greater “global mind.” A sister of the hive mind; however we define these concepts is too late for the rise of functioning macro organisms that provoke the gods and kneel to the common beggar. Sure, jumps and even leap frogging will eventually come back to engage the historical rhetoric of days past. Newspapers with headlines that seem all too familiar have gradually aggregated to a point where there is only space for the new. The Australian Singularity Summit covered these guest abstracts with an ethical standard that can only be met by the following year’s conference.

Steve Omohundro, PhD, President of Self-aware Sytems, SIAI Advisor:

We discover that the human yearnings for compassion and cooperation arise from deep universal sources and show the connection to recent evolutionary models of the entire universe. Some people are beginning to see their own life purpose as linked up with these larger evolutionary trends and we discuss ways to use this perspective to make choices in our lives.

Are you really ready for processing power that is 20x faster than your current arrangement? Apple, the Harley Davidson of PCs, seems to think so and in order to protect themselves in computational hardware, they are going to probably only compete with a few other companies that also license the same super chips (A6 type processors by Imagination Technologies) for the age of connected Internet products and mega-apps. Will their new space ship take off?

Imagination Technologies makes it clear that their new architecture:

Enables Imagination’s partners to deliver amazing user experiences in devices from innovative ‘natural’ user interfaces to ultra-realistic gaming, as well as enabling new applications never before thought of from advanced content creation and image processing to sophisticated augmented reality and environment-aware solutions.

Open education has taken form at Princeton and Stanford and is currently being most recently applied to MIT with an advancement in their current OpenCourseWare platform. What a fantastic opportunity to reallocate resources that are shelved from the people that need that access most- individuals with the lack of financials, but the mental capacity to thrive at the highest levels of academia. While it can become easy to dismiss the thoroughness of the self-learning pace, with the right accreditation incentives, the will of learners could contribute much more to the ecosystem then ever believed. What makes American thought resonate as the special place for sharpening skills and what makes the to be gifted available, is what the offering of the finest institutions openness a refreshing statement on the powers of freemium innovation so interesting.

MIT Provost L. Rafael Reif:

Students worldwide are increasingly supplementing their classroom education with a variety of online tools. Many members of the MIT faculty have been experimenting with integrating online tools into the campus education. We will facilitate those efforts, many of which will lead to novel learning technologies that offer the best possible online educational experience to non-residential learners. Both parts of this new initiative are extremely important to the future of high-quality, affordable, accessible education.

Some of the best advice and worst advice out there for the thinkers that dominate the blogosphere; stick to a couple of ideas and implement the winners. Scott Williams explains that there is only room for one or two real ideas in the mist of choice. However, while this may seem to be the most effective way of narrowing down a monetization strategy, is this really the way that it’s best to be represented by a singular gesture? If you work at it, the winners will manifest as they see fit when the time is right. Why force the iteration process to represent what seems right at the time and what fits in the puzzle down the line? With all of the lean startup mantra out there, there needs to be a definitive response to the methods that just work for the people that write them and the methods that actually change the game.

The future of IT is ripe for disruption. Cloud computing and data will be the two forces that will true in the next decade. It’s no surprise that we are still on scratching the surface into what lies ahead. A new family of understanding into as how risk management and decision making in relation to the overwhelming amount of information that scientists are beginning to sift through will impact “growing” enterprise will be where the majority of innovation occurs in this sector. But what is especially interesting is the move to mobile and the transition from the office to the beach. Gartner:

Smartphones and tablets represent more than 90 percent of the new net growth in device adoption for the coming four years, and increasing application platform capability across all classes of mobile phones is spurring a new frontier of innovation, particularly where mobile capabilities can be integrated with location, presence and social information to enhance the usefulness. Innovation is moving to the edge for mobile devices; whereas, in 2011, Gartner estimates that app development projects targeting PCs to be on par with mobile development. Future adoption will triple from 4Q10 to 1Q14, and will result in the vast majority of client-side applications being mobile only or mobile first for these devices.

And there are tradeoffs for the unlimited mind. How far can you go with the addition of nootropics? Thomas Hills believes that in order to focus, the enhancement of the brain can actually have the opposite effect to those already prone to fast and effective results:

If you have a specific task that requires more memory or more speed or more accuracy or whatever, then you could potentially take an enhancer that increases your capacity for that task, but it would be wrong to think that this is going to improve your abilities all across the board.

The New Yorker brings light to the land of darkness. Africa is in the middle of an economic boom, sovereign change, peaceful protest, international affirmation of excellence, mobile transcendence, maker faire of astounding wares that bare the weight of the impoverished continent, the addition of civil rights, progression from war and the push to fight corruption. Let’s be optimistic that the lemons from lemonade axiom holds and there is a significant slate of expansion in the sustainable arena.

It can be easy to think that by setting goals that you will fulfill your goals. But the reality is that things move at such a fast rate now days that the only variable that you can control break down to your daily habits. After that the rest flows with the element of attraction. So here’s to having the best year possible! Zenhabits:

Get up early. When the world wakes up, distractions abound. If you are going to focus on creating a new life for yourself, you’ll need to find the time. The best way to do this is to work while others are sleeping. At first, I didn’t like waking up before the sun, but eventually my body adjusted and I began looking forward to the solitude.
Over-commit. The adage “under-promise and over-deliver” is a farce. It only propagates the status quo. Real difference-makers push boundaries. They test, prod, and poke until something gives. You can do this, too, by saying “yes” to more things than you’re comfortable with. Learn to stretch yourself. You might be surprised by what you’re actually capable of. Your confidence will grow, too.

Talk to strangers. Relationships are what make the world go round. This is true for your career, personal well-being, and inner life. When you meet new people, you make connections that can lead to all kinds of future breakthroughs. Even when it’s uncomfortable, reach out and introduce yourself to new people. The worst they can say is “no.” Fortunately, many won’t.

Practice generosity. Give away your time, money, services, and ideas. When you do this, you will get a lot more than you give. People will learn to trust you, and if you really help them, they will tell others about you. This will build your reputation, and you will have more friends than you know what to do with. And as the saying goes, what goes around really does come around.

A cure for cancer in the cards…..from a high school student? Enough with the questions, let’s get some answers from Angela Zhang on how this would actually work:

Angela’s idea was to mix cancer medicine in a polymer that would attach to nanoparticles — nanoparticles that would then attach to cancer cells and show up on an MRI. so doctors could see exactly where the tumors are. Then she thought shat if you aimed an infrared light at the tumors to melt the polymer and release the medicine, thus killing the cancer cells while leaving healthy cells completely unharmed.

And then there is sequencing your genome at a cost to doctors at under $1000. But please make sure your product is robust if you want to see the returns on investment. If there is one thing missing from the array of problems that exist today, it is manufacturing. With the right mix of solid engineering and the desire to satisfy the thirst of the desert ridden consumer, the rest is easy. Ion Torrent:

Ion Torrent’s semiconductor-based approach for sequencing DNA is unique. Currently, optics-based sequencers, primarily from Illumina, a San Diego-based company, dominate the human genomics field. But, while the optics-based sequencers are generally considered more accurate, these machines cost upwards of $500,000, putting them out of reach for most clinicians. Meanwhile, at Ion Torrent’s price, “you can imagine one in every doctor’s office,” says Richard Gibbs, director of Baylor College of Medicine’s human genome sequencing center in Houston, which will be among the first research centers to receive a Proton sequencer.

The 30 something entrepreneur is just around the corner, so here’s what to remember by Micah Rosenbloom:

1) 30 somethings start to feel and think about their “legacy.” Perhaps intertwined in this is, unfortunately, a heightened sense of ego. Many serial entrepreneurs like myself focus on making their next venture bigger and more meaningful than the previous. It’s hard not to look at recent successes and IPOs and ask oneself “why not me?” Still, I try to not only think about building large businesses but ones that solve problems with real impact on society, with teams and products that I’ll always be proud of.

2) The demands on time increase with age. When I started Handshake.com in 1998  the line between work and my social life was fuzzy at best. We were largely a group of recent Cornell grads who moved our all-nighters from Uris Library (sometimes!) to all-nighters building a web business.  My girlfriend (now wife) worked for free and we often wouldn’t get home until 2 or 3 in the morning. Nowadays, with 2 kids and ambitions like non-profit work, involvement in my kid’s school and a desire to stay active, the juggle of time is increasingly complex. Even one’s mortality starts to creep in the brain.

3) For the first time, many have said to me, “the next years are your prime working years.” The unstated motive is that one should focus on earning enough for retirement, kid’s education and a place in Florida. By your mid-30s many peers have now been financially successful so even if you’ve done well, you’re likely not alone. In many cases, others seem to be working less hard and taking less risk. You can’t help but ask yourself “Am I the fool?” There are clearly easier, less stressful ways to make money, despite that they are far less fulfilling.

Introduction

Wouldn’t it be great if you could see into the future? You know you look down at your environment 20 years from now as an old man- where will you live, what will you be studying? Often times jobs dictate this movement, but with the cloud we can now discover new ways to work across disciplines and sectors, while living remotely. The developer’s dream. But there are only so many sail boats off the coast on the windiest days, who is mining on their laptop while bearing 50 mph gusts? It was you, I swore. For I looked past the lighthouse and there was only one boat out there with your mast and sail. This is what we call moving away from the brand, in the past year we saw custom soups, Ecuadorian coups, plugin cars and apps. This is 2010.

It’s a rush hour out there. People are racing to get to the next destination, sometimes at all costs. If we look at a visualization of a Formula 1 race by Miha Feuš, we can see how the abstract changes occur at the fastest rate on a closed course. This second attribute is definitly important- the most dramatic changes in the Singapore Grand Prix of 2010 occured within the first 1/15 of the race, with some shifting in placements within the pack of the racers in the middle and then only a couple of lead increases towards the finale. It’s worth mentioning that the 1st and 2nd poled drivers went on to maintain their status for the duration of the competition.

Jay-Z’s new book Decoded marketing campaign rivals anything that has come before- augmented product placement is now part of the publishing process. Things begin to become more clear as why he is leaving excerpts in hamburger wrappers from Miami to London, Jay-Z explains:

“I’m just describing a scene, but the crux of the story is the message. Almost like a movie. Setting: South of France. This is what’s happening. This guy from out the projects who didn’t graduate from high school is now living this sort of life. And this is how he got here.”

But going back (I know we’ve come so far, why would we want to go back, already?), how can we engage in the year 2010 from afar, as an independent consultant? For starters I think there a few pieces of advice that are actually relevant to dispose of as things start to move a bit faster. Time management is huge as you never know when you are going to get your next project or contract. There is a constant battle between maximizing effectiveness on a present work, while optimizing the uncertain future, once again for those openings that just seem right. If we combine the process of giving out and getting information as a kind of role-play, you know you should be an independent consultant when people start asking to pay you for your services- this means that your network and “reputation” are at a maturation point where you can support the complexities of attracting new clientele.

It’s like when you discover a new idea and you are willing to grow old with it and not tell a soul…but then you realize if you don’t tell anybody there is little chance that it is actually true. Scott Adams of Dilbert fame weighs in on the value of ideas, enter execution:

Movies are good or bad because of execution, not concept. Even outside of the movie realm, ideas generally have no economic value whatsoever, except in rare cases such as when a patent is issued. And even in those cases it’s the patent law that creates the value, not the ideas.

The self-appointed movie critics went on to point out that Office Space was already a movie, so there was no room left in the universe for a Dilbert movie. That’s a bit like saying there’s no point in creating a romantic comedy because someone already did that one. It’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what a movie is.

I’ve long been fascinated by the common human illusion that ideas can be sorted into good and bad, when all experience shows this not to be the case. We could play the game all day long where I describe a simply terrible idea and then tell you about the people who got rich implementing it just right. Let’s try a few…

Isn’t this what journalists and venture capitalists do? Pick out the best ideas and then try to sell them to consumers? I might be getting ahead of myself but it seems there is a certain mass-parade of idea haters- innovation people, surrender already!

To the dream (of 2010). Or at least a crossover dream that plants you the developer anywhere in the world. When you are in this position, able to travel frictionlessly from one metropolis to the next, you will need an internet connection. Why deal with lack-luster unstable feeds when you can you have a dedicated office space at  2.5 megabytes in a secure location? With the help of Tynan, an international lifestyle mediator, you can do this for $4.18 a month. Simply sign up for a year’s service of TripIt, an itinerary compactor for $49 a year and you receive free access to a company called Regus’ 1100 worldwide locations. Take the leap and jump into the lifestyle are the best words of motivation that I’ve seen, sure you can plan for ever and make sure everything is in place, but it takes buying a one way ticket with a laptop as the very important, first step.

Some of the drawbacks of being a consultant? You never know if the work that you put in was actually looked at or implemented, it is difficult to evaluate why you are actually doing what you are doing with no feedback and the sense of responsibility that one has when traversing the divides of establishing and maintaining a career can be lost. Gerald M. Weinberg has outlined 7 principles that a questioning consultant should refer to when in doubt:

1. I will not work for an organization whose goals are not consonant with my beliefs.

2. I will not work on projects whose goals I do not understand, or cannot agree with.

3. Before becoming part of a project, I must first obtain agreement on what percentage of my time I can (and must) spend on continuing professional development, and what resources will be provided me for that purpose.

4. I will not work under measurement schemes that pit one person’s performance against another’s. Rather, I will co-operate totally to help others in the project achieve their full potential, as I expect them to help me do.

5. I will not accept work without understanding what is to be done, and why. Nor will I pass work to others without their similar understanding.

6. All my work will always be open and available for critical comments (circumscribed, as appropriate, by security considerations). Furthermore, I will always stand ready to review the work of others in exchange for them returning the service to me.

7. As long as the above conditions are met, I will devote myself in the utmost to achieving the goals of my client and their project.

Arrow’s impossibility theorem in times of uncertainty has shown us that the world has known about the abundance of paradoxes that float around for a long time. Why do people make preferential decisions that seem absurd when they are forced to make a choice? Knowing that there has to come a time to bite the bullet, it’s time that we yes continue to move away from the brand.

Tim Ferriss who has single handedly reworked his gene pool by authoring the sensational 4 Hour Work Week, asserts that there should be little effort thrown at creating, maintaining, propping, and exploiting one’s personal brand. There needs to be a product or service that gets the personal attention, not one’s facebook page. Does social networking advance some public speakers and promotionalists? Sure. But can it transform a bad product into a shiny, sought after good? Certainly not. This may seem a tad bit backwards for somebody like Ferriss who is a serial brand developer and a singular force in information management to make such a statement, however it is the right move.

There is room for ego in a start-up—it’s necessary, I think—but there is no room for a megalomaniac.

Take a company like Evernote (full disclosure: Ferriss advises Evernote), whose CEO is Phil Libin. Libin isn’t out building a personal brand at the expense of his company. He has said that every available dollar they have goes into product design instead of public relations and marketing. In a digital world, a better product ends up equalling PR and marketing, but not vice versa.  This is, first and foremost, the attitude more founders should have.

This is also has been the year of creepy. There seems to be no escape from the behemoths that rule the airwaves. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google tops the list in terms of things that he’s said recently that are borderline scary. We don’t like to fear monger our readership but one should at least note that these things are happening and they are happening fast. Eric Schmidt:

Addressed criticisms of Google’s stance on privacy by saying, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” Claimed people want Google to “tell them what they should be doing next.” Said of Google, “We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.” Said this: “One day we had a conversation where we figured we could just try to predict the stock market. And then we decided it was illegal. So we stopped doing that.” Suggested name changes to protect adults from the Web’s record of their youthful indiscretions. Said this: “What we’re really doing is building an augmented version of humanity, building computers to help humans do the things they don’t do well better.”

So who can help, if we cannot help ourselves? Google as it seems is trying to maneuver and manipulate the land of the paradoxical – yet to be branded into a type of Droid machine that serves a greater “good.” With this said, respect the architect! Woz and Jobs might come from different planets, but they still have had great business cards. Back to basics folks.

The data explosion, that’s what the pundits keep talking about. But how can we live in a world where Yahoo decides that hosting Geocities is no longer logical and that they would be purging of its historical existence. Geocities?

What we were facing, you see, was the wholesale destruction of the still-rare combination of words digital heritage, the erasing and silencing of hundreds of thousands of voices, voices that representing the dawn of what one might call “regular people” joining the World Wide Web. A unique moment in human history, preserved for many years and spontaneously combusting due to a few marks in a ledger, the decision of who-knows for who-knows-what.

Fear not, Jason Scott over at ASCII, part of the Archiveteam! have archived 1 TB of a mostly pre-acquisition era. 1 TB of internet nostalgia!

Also happening, energy security. Bob Cringely who was on a “startup tour” reflects on printable solar cells. Two competing companies come to mind, Solarmer and Konarka Power Plastic, one who wishes to license its still cooking technology to smaller companies and the other who currently manufactures these flexible solar sheets. What better way to revitalize the disenfranchised publishing industry then to convert those dusty printers into solar production plants?

Konarka builds its plastic solar cells in a 250,000 square foot former Polaroid photographic film plant in New Bedford, MA. With total control of its own production Konarka is already selling product where Solarmer is not. Unlike Konarka’s Big Factory strategy, Solarmer says it intends to license its technology to commercial printers. The difference between printing Parademagazine for your Sunday paper or printing hundreds of thousands of plastic solar cells per day is the addition of an extra drying stage at the output end of the web printer.

That’s why Solarmer quietly works-away, relentlessly pushing its technology to produce a little more power for a lot less cost. Once the specs are where the company wants them to be, their process will be released to a magazine publishing industry that has been slowly dying, killed by a combination of economic recession and Internet publishing. Hundreds of web printers originally costing tens of millions each will be repurposed for inexpensive energy production at that target $0.50 per watt — not just grid-parity but a quarter the cost of power from coal.

There seems to be a riding tenor of dissent when it comes to intellectual property. When the boiling point will be, nobody knows. But in a staggering economy with tough, if not non-existent incentives to entrepreneurs, IP is at the heart of what needs to change, some argue freedom of information and open-source, others for copyright imperialism. Andrew Katz:

So, if there is much more patent encumbrance in the US than in Europe, one outcome might be that in Europe we have access to technology which is unavailable in the US. When the Nexus one was announced, there was outcry from the US over rumours that the US version would not have multi-touch (for patent reasons) whereas the Euro version would.  (The functionality was later made available as part of a firmware update).

So maybe there’s a real danger that the patent system might create a patent ghetto in which the US fails to get the shiny toys the rest of the world does.

From a US perspective, this might look unfair. To play devil’s advocate, it would claim that its patent system stimulates innovation, which is then hijacked by European companies without payment.

And now for a short story. French Press was recently at a conference on the 4th of July and a group of seasoned cohorts rushed into the elevator that we had just opened, immediately one of them remarked, “You could call it a faux pas!” This pretty much sums up the unconvinced that lie in the middle, there is little room for this type of activity in 2011, but as the year played out the nature of the personal mistake continued on its exponential path of misdirection of perfection. There is no room for politics here. As the choir sang, and the happy uprooted generations crossed the road into a neighborhood park, a major silence awoke from the winds of the east and began to fill up quadrants of society. Did this really just happen a player asks. We returned to the point of inquiry and we got the same answer, except this time we were wrong. I know this is when the echelon layers and the superlative layers collide, but we have to make sure that were on the same page here. It might take a year to prepare the readership for the eventual review of the previous year. Or maybe we’ll just jump right into a calendar format to appease those that are actually moving at the speed of light, not those that just reflect it (ahem).

Steampunk, hipsters ugly cousin is one of those subcultures that has spawned out of ye’ old goth world. Charlie Stross:

It’s not that I actively dislike steampunk, and indeed I have fond memories of the likes of K. W. Jeter’s “Infernal Devices”, Tim Powers’ “The Anubis Gates”, the works of James Blaylock, and other features of the 1980s steampunk scene. I don’t have that much to say against the aesthetic and costumery other than, gosh, that must be rather hot and hard to perambulate in. (I will confess to being a big fan of Phil and Kaja Foglio’s Girl Genius.) It’s just that there’s too damn much of it about right now, and furthermore, it’s in danger of vanishing up its own arse due to second artist effect. (The first artist sees a landscape and paints what they see; the second artist sees the first artist’s work and paints that, instead of a real landscape.)