Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.
Friday, November 30, 2007
So, if you're a Provo resident of recent years, you may remember a little website/business/startup called "lymabean". Do you remember what they did? 'Cause I don't. Really, I remember seeing them around, but it was always just...this...BEAN. So no, I didn't know what they DID. But I now know what they DO.
Lymabean has forged into the social networking world, a-la facebook or myspace. There are differences, of course. Lymabean aims to be the end all of online networking. It is a social hub, but also a marketplace with classifieds for sales, job listings, or housing contracts, a chatspace with filesharing and media capability, a local business directory with discounts and reviews, local events calenders, and regular feeds to...well, whatever you want. That seems to be the hallmark of lymabean. From what I can tell...everything, is fully customizable. Their full site isn't available to the general public yet, but I...uhh...I know a guy. Anyway...
Last summer I had started to put together a website that I hoped would be a great place for people to go to plan their weekend. It would have a calender, discounts, a place for people to talk. It would have looked something like this.
Sound familiar? Yup, it's exactly what I was describing Lymabean as. I eventually gave up on the idea of my site. Among other things, I didn't have any investment capital to make it happen. Lucky for you and me, it looks like something like lymabean may fill that void.
Lymabean is more of an intense web 2.0 experience than a website. The interface is more interactive, with more options. The Flex platform feels more like your own desktop than most browser-based applications.
From what I can tell, lymabean will be relaunching this winter at the University of Arizona. If you want it here, well, I think you'll just have to petition those bean-heads to get on it! Until then, let me offer this gift of consolation: You can get a free, BYU bean T. Right now. Right here.
Anybody who knows me knows how much I like a T's, and I gotta tell ya, it's a good fit, this shirt. They have custom designs for various schools, BYU among them, so you have to think that BYU is on their list of soon-to-be-launched venues.
So...why are you still here? Go Get your FREE SHIRT!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
P.S. The subscription links are for you iTunes kids out there.
night. I told him how remarkable I thought it was that a person lives in
relative autonomy from adolescents to adulthood, and then, when they
find that someone, they essentially commit to spend all the time they
can, every day, for the rest of their life with this person.
There was more to the dream, lots more, but as soon as I woke, it was
all burned away in the morning, as though my eyes were the door to the
darkroom of my mind. Opening them exposes all the delicate dream film to
the harsh, amnesia inducing light.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Cleaning off my phone memory. Here are some of the ol' pictures from that extra gig I did a while ago. Me, my friend Johnny, an acapella group that appearantly Johnny P. was a big fan of, and the Omniture Cofounder giving a big tribute to the Man of the Hour.
Thanksgiving was wonderful. I didn't even do much. I just spent time with my family, did a little shopping, and enjoyed the Arizona warmth. And Barro's Pizza. And read a lot of Fast Company. It was wonderful.
I slept most of the drive home, but was awake enough to get this priceless shot in Southern Utah.
walked with direction and purpose into the living room, and opened the
toy chest. There is nothing special about this specific sequence, but
HOW he did it...he did it the same way I would wake and check my email,
the same way my dad would wake and check the stock market. It was like
watching a carpenter at dawn enter his shop to start another long day of
work. He is four years old.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
up. Anyway, Adrien says to Rocky, "You want a roommate?" and my Nephew
says, "Never. I don't ever want a girl roommate." I don't think it's
ever occurred to him that he'll get married some day. He is four years
old. Funny kid. He loves Rocky, he told me so.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
while, but refused to move out, and I was like, "What is you PROBLEM!
YOU'VE WON, you don't HAVE to live with a bunch of guys anymore!" I
thought it very strange that he didn't want to leave.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
This isn't quite two years ago. Shortly after I got my knock off Love Sac, we discovered that it was versatile furniture, good for more than just sitting on.
NOTE: Don't Try This! We almost killed some poor girl when we launched her across our living room, clean over our couch. The paramedic didn't believe us at first about how it happened. Serious, it's pretty dangerous, we don't play anymore.
This us Justin. He is a designer.
This was Justin a few weeks ago. I call it, "Robot Reunion".
This is from when I "worked" at the BYU Laundry.
Sometimes I would try to entertain my nieces and nephews with my cameraphone. It didn't always work, but occasionally it was a smash hit.
This is my freak trick. I don't know why there is no sound.
Not that it relates, but I remember seeing this video when I was in elementary school. I can see now why it didn't have staying power, but I still think the song is great.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I rode one of these. And as much as they weren't the planet changing innovation that they were heralded as, they are...pretty darn fun.
Whenever I've been in Spanish Fork driving down main, I've always noticed an inconspicuous Segway shop on the right headed South out of town. What is that even doing there? I tell ya, there are some strange establishments in Spanish, from Dirty Joe Punsters for adult "novelties" (in the middle of Mormonville) to the life size weighted baby doll shop, Makin' Babies. Ya, weird, I know.
But anyway there is this Segway store, and today I was driving a friend to work, and thought, "You know, I'm not really doing anything right now, and I'm halfway there. I'll just go check it out and see if they do rentals or tours."
They were very obliging, and said the could do either rentals or tours, at a very reasonable rate. I told them I thought it would be a lot of fun for a Home Evening group or a group date. They asked if I wanted to try one on the spot. Yes. Yes I would.
I got a half hour tutorial from a guy named Garry, first on the showroom floor, then to the lot. It was a blast, and I will definitely be doing it again.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I'd only ever heard about it from friends, and was under the impression it would be a black comedy. Black it was, though lacking in comedy. Very dark. An excellent performance, no doubt, but not exactly what I had expected.
If you're not familiar with the story, a film adaptation will be released near Christmas featuring the winning combo of Tim Burton (whom I've mentioned before) and Johnny Depp (whom I have also mentioned before). If you're looking for a point of reference, see Sleepy Hollow. Same period, same actor and director, same excess of blood.
To be honest, I probably won't be seeing it. The stage play was enough gore for me.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Notable: right before going to bed, I had been reading this guy's website, the site for the NYC Resistors, and an interview with Rodney Brooks. Also, wishing I could make one of these, listening to Crystal Castles (Air War and Magic Spells are my favorite), and then fell asleep wearing this shirt.
I am sure there are better ways to spend my time. I need to change that.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
that my wife was housing her disfigured and ferrell brother in the
Also, there was some element of this dream that was like playong Half
Life, because there was a cluster of explosive barrels, and I tried to
throw a barrell at it to detonate them, but I missed, and was then
trying to figure out how to load from a previously saved point.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Also, my Mom was running for President, and I was torn, because I wanted to support her, but didn't feel like she had the experience necessary, and that she was further fracturing an already splintered presidential race.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
You all know I like robots.
I had a thought a few years ago, and really this isn't any kind of original thought. Really, at best, it is a variation on an old idea.
My thought was and is that it's only a matter of time before some corporation has big success marketing a toy robot to the masses, and I'm not exactly talking AIBOs for the Japanese geek crowd. Nor do I mean a simple jittery toy like Tickle-Me Elmo. I mean a real deal genuine thinking perceiving reacting robot as a common thing in the American home, as common as a G.I. Joe. Think about it.
Something so novel as an anthropomorphic robot would probably be too
to really market as a utilitarian thing. It isn't function that will make this successful, not at first. What a moderately complex, moderately reliable, and moderately priced machine could be is a toy of sorts. And the packaging and marketing are key.
Say you have something that is just a barebones robot. Say something like the Sony QRIO. It was a very advanced research platform, but could easily be turned into a viable product. What would drive sales is if it was something you could add too, something you could get more novelty out of well after the initial purchase. And the way to do that is robot costumes.
Well, call them what you want, suits, costumes, skins, whatever. But here is how it would work. Sell a base unit, and then sell suits to transform your robot into any number of other recognizable personalities. The consumer isn't buying a robot, no, they are buying a walking talking Yoda. Or lawn gnome. Or Gremlin. Alf, Care Bears, Gizmo, Chucky, Ewoks, Jawas, Mini-me, Astro-Boy, Pinochio, 7 Dwarves, Mickie Mouse, Mario Brothers, Garfield, Fraggles, Muppets, the list goes on. I'm giving examples more form my generation, but think if your kid saw a walking talking Dora the Explorer, they'd FREAK OUT!
The concept isn't new, but the scale is.
You could market these to not just kids, but with the suits in place, pretty much any demographic. It's just a matter of finding the right little suit to entertain. They would obviously also come with some kind of software download or disc that would similarly alter the personality, so that your walking, talking Elmo doesn't walk and talk the same as Winnie the Pooh.
It has the same revenue structure as a gaming console, sell the console, and the consumer has to keep buying the latest and greatest games to get what they want out of the base unit. It could keep the lonely company. It could feed the pets. It could be the pet. It could be an educational platform. It's been shown that young kids respond well to this kind of thing ( but old people don't).
I've already stated that it's just a matter of time (I think). The closest example that I can see today of this kind of thing is from Hansen Robotics. If they would just have to modify their Zeno robot. I'm tellin' you, this is where things are headed. You'll buy your kids one of these in not-too-many years.
I would love love love love love to see this. Here. Locally. I'd try out to be in it, and I'm not even a thespian.
I actually haven't seen that movie in years, but it somehow has a special place in my heart, despite, I'm sure, low production value, acting, plot, writing, and pretty much every other aspect of filmmaking I've grown to appreciate. I loved this movie before I knew any of those things. And I still do.
I don't know what sparked my recent interest in cameras. I just bought some on eBay. Old ones. Some guy in New York was selling, and I'm sure they were just something he found in his the closet of his recently deceased or institutionalized grandpa, and didn't know what to do with.
Five old cameras with little to no description, no guarantees that any of them function. No minimum bid. I took a chance and put down $20 to get them. I figure if even one of them works, it was worth it.
Well, they work, all of them. But to get them working will take more than the $20 I put down for them. What I mean is, three are old Super 8s, the kind you'd see in old silent, too fast home videos from the 60's. The cartridges are still available from Kodak, but can be pretty pricey. Lucky for me there is a student discount, and you can take them to Walmart for development. A 50 ft. cartridges will produce just over 2½ minutes of footage at 24 fps. My camera's will do 18 fps, I don't know yet if they'll do 24. They didn't come with documentation. One of them is a Standard 8mm film camera, meaning it does reels instead of cartridges. Those are harder to come by, I haven't nailed down a place to get a reel yet. But I want to, because its really cool. You wind it up, then hold down a button to roll the film. And one of them is a still camera, basically an aperture and a box. Similar to the Holga or Diana I wanted to get. Difference is, this only takes 127 film, where the Holga or Diana would take 120. 127 isn't made by any major film manufacturers anymore, but there are a couple labs left in the world that make it. I've already ordered a roll, I'll post the results here.
I'm pretty excited about the Super 8s. I can get the film easy, I can get it developed for cheap, and I can digitize it for nothing. I found a program that will create an AVI file from Super 8 scans, all you need is a flatbed scanner, which I have access to.
So, expect film. I'll post them here whenever I can get something done.
A small but prestigious and established private school in Michigan, Cranbrook Kingswood, was established in 1922 by George Booth, a publisher and philanthropist. Booth himself coined the school's motto, "Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve".
[See the last paragraph of Grace Fry's Cranbrook Biography]
So how did it make it's way to BYU and acclaim amongst the Mormon educated?
According to a Spring 1997 article in BYU Magazine by Daniel K. Judd, a faculty member named Stewart L. Grow suggested it to Ernest L. Wilkinson [See Refernce 1 from the article].
Grow was a political science professor, and had years of experience in public service. Though I have yet to prove it, there is little doubt in my mind that he was acquinted with George Romney, Michigan state public servant, businessman, Latter-day Saint, and father to now presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. Both Grow and Romney were actively involved in various government boards and committees during World War II, both of them focused on production during wartime. It's not unthinkable that Romney, who sent his children, including Mitt, to Cranbrook for schooling, may have mentioned the Kingsbrook slogan in passing to Grow, maybe even failing to cite his source for such inspiring words.
Many institutions have used the phrase since. To my knowledge, BYU is the most well known example.
Sadly, I'm not the first one to make this observation.
I've been looking for a long time for a phone that would meet my vision of what a cell phone should be. There are lots of contenders, and some are pretty impressive. For a while I thought this might be the winner. But none measure up to the Platonic Ideal.
But there is this phone. It's the closest I've found. Shortly after Google's announcement of the Android mobile OS, the rumor mill was abuzz as to what the gPhone would be (even though Google repeatedly told the press that there wouldn't be any one gPhone). So far as a single leader in the Android world, my pick so far is this amazing piece of hardware. It does almost everything, and with those hardware specs backed by an open platform Google OS, come on, how could this NOT be the best? It'll do everything the iPhone does and more. It has a full tangible keyboard, if you're serious about actually writing anything more than phone numbers, as well as the full touch screen. It'll do YouTube videos, has genuine GPS, has a 3.1 Mp camera, and some specs say it has a secondary camera. I don't even know what you use that for, maybe something like this. Regardless, I want it, and don't be surprised if I get it when it comes on the American market.
Transforming a 2D Image into 3D
I can't help but feel like there are applications for this that are just waiting for the technique to become commercially available. Real estate tours. Video games. Anything where you want to create a virtual environment based on an actual one. If I could take a handful of pictures of my house and post them here in a way that would let people "walk through" and take a look, I'd do it for SURE, not because it needs to happen, but just because it's so cool. I actually have tried it before, just a different technique.
I tried to download the research software they used to produce these results, but couldn't figure it out. Sorry.
3D morphable model face animation
Same as before, I have to think this would just be a lot of fun to play with. It is surprisingly accurate in replicating a given face, at least European Caucasian faces. I'm sure my face would work perfectly. I'm about as Anglo European as a person can be. Blond hair, blue eyes, heck, so far as aesthetics go, I'm the Aryan poster-child.
But I digress. There is similar technology that is being capitalized upon. In fact, there used to be a trial download for this program, but I guess they've generated enough buzz that the trial was no longer necessary for them, and is no longer available. Sorry.
There are other toys you can try.
Amazing. And easy. You can try it, here.
See an example of what I got.
One of these things is not like the other.
Just think of all the great uses for this one!
Closed Eyes No More
Microsoft came up with this extremely practical solution for an extremely common problem. I know a girl who blinks in EVERY SINGE PICTURE you ever take of her. This should be a staple for anybody taking group shots on any kind of consistent basis. Or, you could just play the odds.
Tourists? Please...We're local.
If you're ever interested in getting a picture of only the people you want in a shot of a crowded space, there are solutions. Easy and free ones. You'll just have to take a bunch of pictures.
Speaking of taking a bunch of pictures, you know you've done the thing where you take ten pictures to get a panorama of some lovely vista, with the intention of stitching them together later on. But do you really know how to do that? I don't, not manually, aside from literally cutting and pasting them. My answer is Autostitch. It's free. It's easy. It works. And you really can get some stunning results. I haven't yet, all I've done are these silly pictures of my roommates. Of course, the next step is the VR version.
Thought this was soo cool when I first saw it. I don't know of any "practical application", per se, but I know there is. There always is.
And you CAN give this one a try.
Not Amazing, but fun. Try it.
Monday, November 05, 2007
At least I hope I can.
Here, let's watch it together.
If I'm understanding correctly, this isn't something that would have been out of my price range, either.
More to come, stay tuned.
scary as it sounds. It's a new kind of flu shot, and I'm almost positive
I got the placebo. I think with an actual flu shot, you still have SOME
kind of reaction, pain, upset stomach, aching, Something. Maybe not, I
don't know, but that's what I've heard. I had no reaction at all. I
hardly felt it when they stuck the needle in, really wasn't sure if they
had done it yet or not till they told me they were done. But real shot
or placebo, it doesn't matter, they give me $250 at the end of it. All I
need to do is come in and show them I'm still healthy. Today is my one
Thursday, November 01, 2007
girl loved my getup. Said she totally dug my Miami Vice look. Perfect.
Exactly what I was going for, %100 Don Johnson. Thanked me for actually
dressing up. I guess a couple people only did the 80's look about
halfway, and she sent them home. And If I'm in with the casting people,
Nintendo, listened to 80's music, and ate dinner. I would do all of
those things for free. I DO all those things for free. Except eat, that
usually costs me. Not this time, though.
So Cheers to Johnny P. YOU'RE THE BEST! You made more people rich than
you know. You guys just covered half my rent!
co-founder, I don't remember his name, is giving a big speech. I'm just
hangin' out, eating candy, with my friend Johnny, and the girl in charge
of casting, Brenda. This is a party. It is a good one. Lots of food,
Nintendo Wiis everywhere that I'm supposed to play, and tons of people.
When the heads of Omniture came in, we all got out on the red carpet and
cheered like they were rock stars. And I'm getting paid for this.
What's ironic is I'm missing my weekly bowling league to be here and
play Wii bowling.
to be true.
So the second extra gig I got was for this thing at Thanksgiving Point.
I was told to come dressed as an 80's Paparrazzi, with a little help
from my friends (thanks, Emily), and a search through the old wardrobe,
I came up with the following:
-a blazer with pushed up sleeves
-white jeans, peg leg style (rolled up twice)
-bright neon blue t-shirt, tucked in, no belt
-fake earing (sorry, Dad)
-Huge, rockstar hair.
So ya. Here I am, and guess what? It's not even a television, film, or
commercial gig. It's a party. "Johnny P" is retiring from Omniture. They
are the top Web analytics company in the world. I have to assume "Johnny
P." Is John Pestana, one of the cofounders. He is a BYU graduate, comes
and lectures to the intro business classes every year. He is wildly
wealthy, 35 years old, and is now retiring from the empire he built. He
was in discussions with ISM to be on our board of directors.
It's his party, and our role is to make him feel like a star. When he
shows up, we're supposed to stand next to the red carpet and snap
pictures. And after that...we're supposed to party. I've talked to some
of the other extras, they said this is one of the best playing gigs
they've done. My friend Johnny is here, and here are a couple pictures