Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I haven't posted on the Family blog in a long time, but thought it would be good to put this up there. Enjoy.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I'm majoring in Broadcast Journalism. Soon, I'll have a college degree in the subject. And you know what? You can learn most of what you need to know in just a few minutes. Honest. Here, I'll show you.

Just look here.

is a cable network/online venture that uses fully 1/3 user generated content. That means people (like me) make and send in short news or other interest stories. Then Current sends them a check if they like it and want to air it. Why am I not doing this every weekend? A five minute video? Come on, I do that for fun all the time.

I already have some footage that I think will be great, can't imagine they'd turn it down. I'll get back to you, let you know if it turns out. If they like it. If they air it. If they pay me for it.

Game Face

This is a fantastic idea, and it's easy enough to do at home. Set up a little camera, hit record, and start the game.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Right along with Zero Lag is this new sensor that promises HD Video recording capability on your cell. Also twice the low light performance of existing sensors. That low-light jazz kills me. Looking forward to the improvement.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Geek Out

Don't know how I missed this.

The Nerdiest Gamer award I got? That was for naming the top three games I geek-out for. My number one geek-out game was Half-Life. I was addicted to the first one in high school, and Half-Life 2 made my jaw actually drop and made me literally jump and yell. In fear, no less. I wasn't even playing, I was watching Landon. It's so cinematic, it got my like a good movie would, and you know how much I love a good movie. For a while when I was playing The Episodes and Portal from The Orange Box, I started to see the game everywhere. Reminded me of when I played too much Game Boy as a kid. I would turn it off and I could still hear Dr. Mario music playing.

Turns out Half-Life just had a birthday. Happy Tenth, Half-Life. I think I may just sit down and get to know you again for a minimal investment.

Zero Lag

I love my G1. Really I do. I guess I haven't written a full review of it yet, so maybe you don't know that. I really like it.

But it's not perfect. There is always room for improvement.

I like having a camera on me at all times. I just love recording things, be that pictures or video or audio. The camera is lacking on the G1. It's tremendously slow, and almost inoperable in low light.

Luckily things are getting better.

Watch this video. Don't worry that you don't understand most of what he is saying, just understand that this is a cameraphone that works just as fast if not faster than a normal point and shoot.

I want that.


I mentioned what a talented family I have? Well, we're also well connected.

Apparently my sister is ol' friends with Stephenie Meyer. Who knew?

But I'll be honest. Though I'll probably see Twilight, I'm more excited for Star Trek.

Caught myself the other day stopping in D.I. and watching Star Trek IV on VHS. You haven't seen it? Well, that needs to change. Regardless of your Trekkiness or lack of it, it's a good movie for everybody. Honest.

Also, Watchmen looks to be awesome. Zack Snyder knows the tricks to use.

I read the graphic novel (self-elevating speak for "comic book") this summer. Read the whole thing in three days. I would come home from work, pick it up, start reading, and not be able to stop till I went to bed. I've never been a big comic book fan, but maybe that's because I knew that if I let myself go down that path, I'd get in way too deep.

Don't think the quality of illustration is trying to make up for any lack of content. The novel is actual good literature. It made Time Magazine's top 100 Novels of All Time. Not graphic novels, not comic books. Top Novels of All Time.

The author, Alan Moore, is a certified looney. I've read interviews and watched a strange independent documentary about him. Really a bizarre individual. But a great writer.

Speaking of writers and mentioning my talented family earlier, I'm not exactly sure how I failed to mention (or link to) my brother Stephen. He is a Renaissance Man. He wrote a novel last year and is submitting it around to be published. I'm hoping to take a sci-fi writing class with him next semester taught by Brandon Sanderson.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In No Particular Order

My family is tremendously talented. I'm glad to see that my entrepreneurial penchant isn't a complete anomaly.

I like having creative friends.

I want one of these, and a decent camera to match it. A Nikon, preferably.

I'm excited for the new Star Trek movie, and I'm not even in to Star Trek. It just looks like a ton of fun, and J.J. Abrams knows how to entertain.

I love lists, and should start making one like this.

Man of Swagger

Jason's newest (very funny) ad's for Old Spice.

My Swagger can be seen here, here, here, and here. Enjoy, I sure did.

I am the Nerdiest Guy you Know

I am. I've won the title. I'm certifiably nerdy. I can prove it.

What, the frequent posts about robots and zombies weren't enough to convince you? My affinity for antiquated gadgets? Or bleeding edge technology?Or my super-geek hacker-phone? No? Well, friend, if that wasn't enough, I can prove beyond any doubt that I Am The Nerdiest Guy You Know.

Yesterday I went to dinner with some friends. One of them recently learned how much I geek out over robots, so she has taken to calling me "Robot Boy" (R.B. for short). We were quoting an hysterical film, and somebody mentioned how funny they thought it was when one of the characters rolled across screen on his Heelys. I mean, who wears Heelys right?

HINT: The Nerdiest Guy You Know owns a pair.

Then this morning, I received this email.

Hey, this is Devin from CrunchGear. I'm happy to say you've won the Penny Arcade limited boxed edition! And, of course, the second episode, though I'm trying to figure out how best to get that to you. I can ship the boxed first episode, of course, but give me a day to figure out the best way to get you episode two, since it's online only at the moment. Congrats!
Devin Coldewey
Associate Editor
What could he be talking about? Well, this right here. I entered a contest to win, get this, a video game based on a web-comic about video games. No joke. The Contest is called Nerdiest gamer wins a nerdy game. And I won.

I'm glad I won something, but I'm honestly not sure if I should be.

UPDATE 19 Nov.: Lest there were any doubt left in you...

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Well, I don't know that they picked the most appealing name, but the device is mind-blowing. If you've ever seen Minority Report, then you'll at least get the idea. If you haven't seen it, I can lend it to you.

The technology consultant on the film, John Underkoffler, was careful to make the devices believable by keeping them feasible. And if feasible, then why not actually build them? It's taken several years, but Underkoffler, a genuine prodigy out of MIT, seems to have built the gesture controlled computer in full. He's dubbed it "g-Speak".

g-speak overview 1828121108 from john underkoffler on Vimeo.

It's not hard to imagine the scenario of a film editor walking into a darkened editing bay with a projector or two hanging from the ceiling. He rolls up his sleeves, cracks open a Red Bull, and throws his hands up as if to conduct a symphony. The raw footage files show up on the wall, and the order from seeming chaos begins. Arms wildly moving, hands flaring and closing, pointing then grabbing, the finished timeline comes together with previously impossible speed.

I wonder what it would be like to mix this technology with what Johnny Lee came up with, mentioned in a previous post.

Before it's all said and done in this life, I want to be involved with a few things. Bleeding edge interface and experiential technology is probably one of those things.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Serious Play

This may be a bit fragmented. Forgive me.

Play is important. Also, "failure" is important.
Students should be allowed, even prompted, to try things that probably won't work. If you're so afraid to fail, you'll never try anything except what's easy and/or has been done before.

Don't think I'm suggesting this at the expense of work. I understand work, I know it's value. I think most people do. Value becomes apparent when environments aren't artificially constructed. Work shouldn't be so severely divided from play. In an ideal situation, they aren't always that different.

And, as mentioned above, kids (and adults) should be encouraged to play constructively, in an open-ended fashion. They should be given toys without an absolute clear procedure. They'll figure out what to do with their toys, don't worry. You could give them toys like some of the ones these guys have.

These two aren't the most amazing orators, but they've got some good stuff to show.

You should check out the Art Center Design Conference "Serious Play". Worth a bit of your time.

And now, something completely different.

I was excited yesterday to constructively use one of the applications on my phone. I was at D.I., and they played a song I really like, had heard before, but didn't know the artist or song. The lyrics were indecipherable, except for "la la la". That's not really going to help in a Google search. So I pulled out the G1, and fired up Shazam.

Shazam listens to a song for about ten or fifteen seconds, analyzes it, compares it against a database, and tells you the song, album, artist, and gives you the option to watch the video on or download from Amazon. It was fantastic, technology making my life better. Couple that with Compare Everywhere and mobile access to things like eBay, craigslist, or KSL Classifieds, and I'm a smarter, better informed consumer.

P.S. The song was "La la la" by The Bird and the Bee. To listen, click here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Passive Income

I don't want to be a wage slave. In my career, I don't ever want to ask for a raise, like I'm getting permission to stay out late. I'm an adult, I shouldn't have to ask permission. If I succumb to that setup, then the institution has gotten me. They've fully domesticated me into a numbed servant.

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that an entrepreneurial career is the only way I can work and be really satisfied.

Hourly wages don't make any sense to me at all. In my current job, I am incentivised to work slowly and inefficiently, when in fact, my employer(s) would be better served by a quick turnaround on projects. They should be paying me reverse-hourly wages. I should start with a certain pay, and have deductions made progressively as my delivery time lags. That way, I'm paid well if I focus and complete projects on time, and my employer gets the product faster.

I want to get paid, not for my time, but for the value I deliver. I only have so much time. I have infinite value.

I want to set up multiple streams of passive income. An example is something I did this summer. I spent an afternoon drawing this picture of Barack Obama. I did it at the beginning of the summer, and had meant to do it much earlier than that. But I drew it and uploaded to a site that sells your designs on tees and gives you a commission. All you have to do is design and upload.

Want one? Click Here.

I've made over $70 in that time, from $3 commissions. I did that in one afternoon. I should make a habit of this.

And this is with NO promotion on my part. I've already shown that I can do guerrilla promotions successfully. If I'd pushed this at all, I think revenue could have been, would have been (will be?) multiplied many times over.

This isn't event the tip of the iceberg. There are a thousand different opportunities for passive income, little money machines waiting to be built, seeds to be planted. I think I'll start planting.

NOTE: That shirt is more a sign of my entrepreneurial penchant than my political leanings.

PG Times

I clicked on this editorial in the NY Times thinking it might be an article about Prop 8, an ever interesting subject. I thought the article might discuss the discrimination the LDS Church has faced for it's participation with an interfaith group to preserve what constitutes a marriage and family.

Not so. The article was about the city of Pleasant Grove, UT discriminating against a religious group I'd never heard of. Bad move, PG. Could've gotten your way if you'd played those cards a little differently, but not now. The Supreme Court has you now.

Also, there was an interesting article in The Economist about The Mormon work ethic.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hardware. Software. Eyeware.

To anybody viewing this through facebook, you'll need to go to the original post to see the videos.

I've been saying for years that electronics will migrate from the desktop, to the laptop, to the pocket, to the glasses, to the body. Sorry, I'm jumping ahead, let me explain.

Technological progress seems pretty fast today, right? If it seems faster than when you were a kid, that's because it is. The rate of progress is increasing; progress is accelerating. The classic example of this is Moore's Law.

Moore's Law states that the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. But there are other examples of technological acceleration. Flash memory declines in price by %40 annually, which is why four years ago, I was excited to get a 64KB flash drive, and next year I'll likely be able to buy a 64GB drive for not all that much more. That's a thousand times the capacity, folks. If you want to see some numbers and trends that will really blow your mind, check out what Ray Kurtzweil said at TED. To call him a genuine genius prodigy is an understatement. He was smarter as a teenager than I may ever be as an adult.

So we see devices getting smaller and cheaper at a consistent, predictable rate. We see devices converging, so that your phone isn't just a phone anymore, it's a camera, multimedia player, and web-enabled device.

What am I getting at? Remember what I first said, all too eagerly. Electronics (if it's easier, think "my computer") will get smaller, migrating from the desktop, to the laptop, to the pocket, to the glasses, to the body.

NOTE: Really I've skipped steps, glossing over the mainframe computer that took up a whole building, and other predecessors.

We've already seen the first two steps (desktop to laptop), we're in the midst of the third (see my recent posts on the T-Mobile G1), and soon it will move from the pocket to the glasses.

The primary form of data input for humans is visual. If we were more like dogs, maybe we'd communicate with smell. But we're not, we're visual creatures. Our devices will move from the pocket (essentially a storage area) to the front of the eye, where a device needs to be anyway for it to be usable.

If this isn't making much sense, watch this video. It may help.

Now imagine the following scenario.

Twenty years down the line, you've just got your new EyeWare© brand specs. On campus, you run into somebody you haven't seen since freshman year. "What was her name" you think, "I had such a crush on her!" Luckily, you have your Visual ID program turned on. The EyeWare, ostensibly a plain pair of glasses (indistinguishable if you'd like), kick in. The cameras on either side of the lenses find the subject. The retinal scanners sense that you are looking at her. She is identified against a ID database of students who voluntary submitted their facial and vocal ID. Think "student directory" born of the 21st century. Her name appears just under her head in your field of vision. This has all happened within a single second. Before anyone has time to pause, you say "Hey, Jane! Haven't seen you since we took stats together!"

That, to be honest is the simplest scenario. There are literally countless applications for information overlay on your vision, not to mention the audio that would also come with it. This could all fall under the heading of augmented reality, a nascent field of interface and display study. I've mentioned it before. If you want to ride the wave of the next big thing, this probably isn't it. It's more like the next, next, next big thing. But it will be big, as big as any consumer device can be. They'll be as common as cell phones and iPods today. It's going to make our early attempts at headwear convergence seem silly. Who am I kidding? Those already look ridiculous. There are a few noble successes, though. Johnny Lee did a simple, elegant, awesome hack on the Nintendo Wii. The world could use a few more minds like Johnny. They had him over at TED, too.

Next step? To the body. Images projected directly onto your retina, or further, wired into the brain. And if you can send images, then why not any and every sensation? Maybe science could even invent a few new ones.

Sound uncomfortable? Ya, I'm right there with you. As much as I love robotics (you know I do) I'm not sure I'm willing to go all out and become one.

Get ready, folks. The future is about to get right up in your face.

NOTE: My phone has one of (if not the first) widely available augmented reality program around, Wikitude. Check it out.

Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton died. I didn't even know he was sick.
I liked his books. Hope the afterlife is greater for him than anything even he could have imagined.

Monday, November 03, 2008

California Prop 8, Arizona Prop 102

Last week, Robert P. George from Princeton University came to speak at the BYU University Forum. He elucidated the issue of legally recognizing homosexual marriage better than any speaker I've ever heard anywhere ever. Every American, and really, every person concerned with civil liberty, religion, and/or society should hear what he had to say.