House Of Cards


Radiohead gets my vote.

They are consistently creative – from their 21st century business model (they gave away their last album) to making rock videos without cameras… they’re doing what common sense says cannot be done.

Garrick Schmitt

Radiohead is working to turn data visualization into an art form with its music video, “House of Cards.” Using neither cameras nor lights, the band employed two technologies called Geometric Informatics and Velodyne LIDAR to capture 3D data and transform it into a series of stunning images. Radiohead recently opened up the data to the world, in partnership with Google, to remix.

From Radiohead, without the use of cameras or lights, ‘House of Cards’…

Radiohead – House Of Cards

If you want to mess around with their data and come up with your own video, go HERE to get the data. After you’re done, you can upload your video HERE, at the HouseofCards group.

If I were bizarro Jon would I be noJ…?

Image 3

Singularity U

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend...Image via Wikipedia


Another sign that the singularity is approaching is this little bit of (intentionally) overlooked info from this past weekend. From Nick Carr over at Rough Type:

On Saturday, September 20, 2008, a carefully selected group of the tech world’s best and brightest assembled in a windowless conference room at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley – barely a mile from the Googleplex as the rocket flies – to discuss preparations for our impending post-human future. This was the founding meeting of Singularity University, an academic institution whose mission, as founder Dr. Peter Diamandis told the elite audience, is “to assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies (bio, nano, info, etc); and to apply, focus and guide these to the best benefit of humanity and its environment.”


The day after the meeting, IBM’s Modha wrote a brief post about the event, but his words were quickly erased from his web site – not, however, before they were copied to the MindBroker site. “All in all,” wrote Modha, “a weekend day well spent in company of brilliant and sincere people trying to make a positive impact on the world!”

Modha’s post is one of the few public clues to the existence of Singularity University. (Another person who posted news of Singularity University was, he reports, “immediately contacted by people involved with the SU launch and asked [nicely and as a favor, nothing like cease and desist] to remove the post from the web archive, the reason being that the web sources quoted [not available anymore on the web, but still in Google cache and some blogs] had been posted without authorization and in breach of confidentiality.”) Attendees of the Ames meeting were asked to keep their lips zipped: “The Singularity University founding meeting and the details around the Singularity University are being held confidential until a public announcement is officially made. Please do not discuss or share this information publicly. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.” The last thing you want to do is frighten the humans.

You Can’t Erase The Web

Who would have thought that these guys would want to keep themselves a secret? Even stranger, why would anyone, especially these guys, think that they could hide anything in the current age of insta-blog information retrieval? Case in point: here is the ‘erased’ blog entry mentioned by Nick Carr above, which I found at MindBroker:

Founding Meeting for Singularity University
via Dharmendra S Modha’s Cognitive Computing Blog von dsmodha am 21.09.08

On September 20, 2008, I was invited by Ray Kurzweil (Co-founder, Kurzweil Technologies),
Peter Diamandis (Chairman/CEO X PRIZE Foundation), and Dr. Pete Worden (Director, NASA
Ames Research Center) to attend a discussion on possible creation of Singularity University
at NASA Ames.

The meeting was beautifully organized and run. Ray Kurzweil made an amazing presentation.
I also made a presentation on Cognitive Computing. Larry Page said that he evaluates projects
on a simple binary metric: “whether, if successful, it can change the world?” Bob Richards
said that in any educational endeavor “peole are the product”.

I had a chance to meet and discuss with Larry Page (Founder, Google), Nobelist George Smoot
(Lawrence Berkeley National Lab), Larry Smarr (Founding Director of the California Institute
for Telecommunications and Information Technology at UCSD), Tim Draper (VC, Draper Fisher
Jurvetson), Stephanie Langhoff (Chief Scientist, NASA Ames), Ralph Merkle (Institute for
Molecular Manufacturing), Michael Simpson (President, International Space University), Bob
Richards (Founder & CEO, Odyssey Moon), Moses Znaimer (ideaCity), Ramez Naam (Microsoft),
and many other distinguished people in different spheres of science, technology, business,
art, and media.

All in all, a weekend day well spent in company of brilliant and sincere people trying to
make a positive impact on the world! As an added bonus, I ran into an old high school friend,
Deep Nishar (Director of Wireless Products at Google).

How Many Words Is A Picture Worth Now?

And here is a picture of the folks who were there:

Singularity U small


I am Jon, and I ain’t skeered…

Image 4

Millions of Androids – The G1 Phone

G1The G1, With Google Android


The G1 from T-Mobile is the first available phone that uses Google’s Android operating system. Think of it as the iPhone for the rest of us. The phone itself is made by HTC, a leading maker of smartphones. It is currently only available through T-Mobile, following the Apple model of locking in with a services provider.

Hopefully that will change soon.

Within days of being available for pre-sale, T-Mobile had to triple their original order for the phones, selling more than 1.5 million units. Add in another 1 million pre-orders from T-Mobile retail outlets and the demand grows to more than two and a half million phones already sold.

With some analysts predicting that iPhone sales would top 16 million units in 2008, the 2.5 million pre-orders for the G1 may not sound impressive. But when you consider that the phone is not even being shipped yet, that’s a sign of pretty strong demand for the alternative product.

With the biggest retail shopping days of the year still ahead of us, it’s possible that the G1 could double that number to 5 million units. That would give an estimated yearly sales rate of more than 20 million phones, dwarfing the groundbreaking iPhone.

I am Jon, and yeah, I’ll probably own one of these. I’ll be an Android.

Image 19

10 Quick Facts about the LHC

GENEVA - JUNE 16:  A model of the Large Hadron...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Due to a coolant malfunction, the first collisions in the LHC have been postponed until the spring of 2009.

Spock’s Eyebrow

The human race seems rather fascinated by the LHC today. This morning, the 1st beams focused around the 27km facility were called an unqualified success. Over the next several weeks preparations will be made to produce the 1st collisions, scheduled for October.

Researching for future pieces about the individual experiments planned for the LHC, I’ve come across some interesting, even fascinating details about the whole LHC program. Much of this stuff won’t fit easily into those future articles, so I’m just posting a huge blockquote here as background info. You can read more interesting stuff over at the CERN website. As you’re reading through these, don’t be surprised if you raise your eyebrow and mutter to yourself, “Fascinating…”

“10 Fascinating Facts About The LHC

Fact 1: When the 27-km long circular tunnel was excavated, between Lake
Geneva and the Jura mountain range, the two ends met up to within 1 cm.

Fact 2: Each of the 6400 superconducting filaments of niobium–titanium
in the cable produced for the LHC is about 0.007 mm thick, about 10 times
thinner than a normal human hair. If you added all the filaments together
they would stretch to the Sun and back five times with enough left over for
a few trips to the Moon.

Fact 3: All protons accelerated at CERN are obtained from standard hydro-
gen. Although proton beams at the LHC are very intense, only 2 nanograms
of hydrogen(*) are accelerated each day. Therefore, it would take the LHC
about 1 million years to accelerate 1 gram of hydrogen.

Fact 4: The central part of the LHC will be the world’s largest fridge. At a
temperature colder than deep outer space, it will contain iron, steel and the
all important superconducting coils.

Fact 5: The pressure in the beam pipes of the LHC will be about ten times
lower than on the Moon. This is an ultrahigh vacuum.

Fact 6: Protons at full energy in the LHC will be traveling at 0.999999991
times the speed of light. Each proton will go round the 27 km ring more than
11 000 times a second.

Fact 7: At full energy, each of the two proton beams in the LHC will have a
total energy equivalent to a 400 t train (like the French TGV) traveling at
150 km/h. This is enough energy to melt 500 kg of copper.

Fact 8: The Sun never sets on the ATLAS collaboration. Scientists working on
the experiment come from every continent in the world, except Antarctica.

Fact 9: The CMS magnet system contains about 10 000 t of iron, which is
more iron than in the Eiffel Tower.

Fact 10:The data recorded by each of the big experiments at the LHC will
be enough to ill around 100 000 DVDs every year.

(*)the total mass of protons is calculated at rest”

There’s lots more fascinating stuff to be found over at the CERN website. Some of it I’ll be writing about here @ Wordout over the next month or so, but like it says at the top of this page, it’s best when viewed with your own two eyes.

So use that link up there and head on over to CERN. Their site is great for everyone, regardless of your education, age or location. I’ve been bounding around in there for days now, and I am still finding great little jewels of knowledge and fun.

I am, and ever will be, just Jon.

Want more about the LHC? Check out LHC Live – 1st Beam A Success or CERN LHC Goes Live

LHC Live – 1st Beam A Success

GENEVA - JUNE 16:  A photon source is seen in ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
Beam On

The first beam has successfully been focused around the LHC. The test occured this morning at around 3:30 am Eastern(US) time. Following is the press release from the CERN site:

First beam in the LHC – accelerating science

Geneva, 10 September 2008. The first beam in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN1 was successfully steered around the full 27 kilometres of the world’s most powerful particle accelerator at 10h28 this morning. This historic event marks a key moment in the transition from over two decades of preparation to a new era of scientific discovery.

“It’s a fantastic moment,” said LHC project leader Lyn Evans, “we can now look forward to a new era of understanding about the origins and evolution of the universe.”

Starting up a major new particle accelerator takes much more than flipping a switch. Thousands of individual elements have to work in harmony, timings have to be synchronized to under a billionth of a second, and beams finer than a human hair have to be brought into head-on collision. Today’s success puts a tick next to the first of those steps, and over the next few weeks, as the LHC’s operators gain experience and confidence with the new machine, the machine’s acceleration systems will be brought into play, and the beams will be brought into collision to allow the research programme to begin.

Once colliding beams have been established, there will be a period of measurement and calibration for the LHC’s four major experiments, and new results could start to appear in around a year. Experiments at the LHC will allow physicists to complete a journey that started with Newton’s description of gravity. Gravity acts on mass, but so far science is unable to explain the mechanism that generates mass. Experiments at the LHC will provide the answer. LHC experiments will also try to probe the mysterious dark matter of the universe – visible matter seems to account for just 5% of what must exist, while about a quarter is believed to be dark matter. They will investigate the reason for nature’s preference for matter over antimatter, and they will probe matter as it existed at the very beginning of time.

“The LHC is a discovery machine,” said CERN Director General Robert Aymar, “its research programme has the potential to change our view of the Universe profoundly, continuing a tradition of human curiosity that’s as old as mankind itself.”

Tributes have been coming in from laboratories around the world that have contributed to today’s success.

“The completion of the LHC marks the start of a revolution in particle physics,” said Pier Oddone, Director of the US Fermilab. “We commend CERN and its member countries for creating the foundation for many nations to come together in this magnificent enterprise. We appreciate the support that DOE and NSF have provided throughout the LHC’s construction. We in the US are proud to have contributed to the accelerator and detectors at the LHC, together with thousands of colleagues around the world with whom we share this quest.”

“I congratulate you on the start-up of the Large Hadron Collider,” said Atsuto Suzuki, Director of Japan’s KEK laboratory, “This is a historical moment.”

“It has been a fascinating and rewarding experience for us,” said Vinod C. Sahni, Director of India’s Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, “I extend our best wishes to CERN for a productive run with the LHC machine in the years to come.”

“As some might say: ‘One short trip for a proton, but one giant leap for mankind!’ TRIUMF, and indeed all of Canada, is delighted to bear witness to this amazing feat,” said Nigel S. Lockyer, Director of Canada’s TRIUMF laboratory. “Everyone has been involved but CERN is to be especially congratulated for bringing the world together to embark on such an incredible adventure.”

In a visit to CERN shortly before the LHC’s start-up United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon said: “I am very honored to visit CERN, an invaluable scientific institution and a shining example what international community can achieve through joint efforts and contribution. I convey my deepest admiration to all the scientists and wish them all the success for their research for peaceful development of scientific progress.”

1 CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world’s leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. India, Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.

The earlier piece, published yesterday, about the LHC going live is already proving to be the most popular page ever @ Wordout, exceeding all but one previous post in the 1st 4 hours of the day. Evidently there are many folks out there who, like me, are curious about particle physics…

I am Jon, thinking about riding a wave that never collapses.

Image 1

CERN LHC Goes Live

A simulated event in the CMS detector of the L...Image via Wikipedia
The Standard Model

On Wednesday, the European Organization for Nuclear Research will inject high energy beams of particles into the Large Hadron Collider(LHC). Located underground on the French-Swiss border, the CERN facility is the most advanced particle research laboratory on the planet.

Physicists hope their experiments using the LHC will help them fill in missing pieces of the Standard Model, which currently requires the assumption of certain as-yet unobserved particles and processes. In particular, the long sought-after Higgs Bosun should become apparent (artist’s conception pictured at right). Finding proof for its existence is crucial to the current understanding of our universe. The Standard Model just doesn’t work without it.

Simply put, the Higgs Bosun is required if anything in the universe is to have mass. Without it, nothing would have mass. Without mass, no galaxies, no stars, no planets, no us. It’s easy to see why it’s been called the ‘God Particle’. Without it, or something that takes its place, nothing that does exist could exist. At least, according to our current understanding of the universe.

Should You Worry?

If you google LHC or CERN right now you should have no problem finding numerous blogs and articles predicting end-of-the-world scenarios as the result of the planned experiments. It seems everybody who took a physics class in high school has an opinion on the matter. Many of their fears revolve around the idea that a black hole will be created, which will swallow the earth. Looking around the CERN website, I came across these two quotes. You can click them to read them in their original context:

Whatever the LHC will do, Nature has already done many times over during the lifetime of the Earth and other astronomical bodies. The LSAG report has been reviewed and endorsed by CERN’s Scientific Policy Committee, a group of external scientists that advises CERN’s governing body, its Council.

The LHC safety review has shown that the LHC is perfectly safe,” said Jos Engelen, CERN’s Chief Scientific Officer, “it points out that Nature has already conducted the equivalent of about a hundred thousand LHC experimental programmes on Earth – and the planet still exists.

Though black holes seem to capture most folks’ attention, there are some other side-effects that have been addressed. For instance, the creation of things like cosmic rays, magnetic monopoles, strangelets and vacuum bubbles could prove to be interesting, if they occur. They sure make for some interesting reading, in any case. But the likelihood that any of these things could be a danger to the earth or any regular guy or girl on the street is practically zero.

Watch It Live Online

As can be expected of the most advanced physics lab on the planet, they’re making much use of the internet. Part of that includes the CERN Webcast Service, with 4 channels of video. Check it out for the schedule of live events. I watched a bit of it – it reminded me of NASA TV, which is pretty cool, when you think about it.

NASA deals with the infinite universe around us, and CERN deals with the infinitely small universe that makes us. NASA has opened us up to wonders we never expected but secretly dreamed of. Like the ice on Mars, the volcanos on Io, the galaxies of the earliest universe. CERN’s LHC project may introduce us to fantastic breakthroughs of the same magnitude.

Imagine finding extra dimensions of space, particles of dark matter, or just watching a recreation of the conditions in the universe, less than a second after it was created. These are some of the things more than 1000 scientists are hoping for.

But it most likely won’t happen Wednesday. All these things, the hopeful and the fearful, depend on collisions of the particles. The first collisions are scheduled to occur in October. Wednesday claims its fame by being the first day they will direct a beam around the circumference of the collider. (So even if the world is going to end because of this thing, it won’t happen Wednesday.)

The Experiments

There are six main experiments the LHC is designed to perform. Each of them are international collaborations, bringing together scientists from institutes all over the world. Each experiment focuses on answers to questions about the Higgs bosun, looking for extra dimensions, or why only about 4% of the universe is made of matter, to name a few. (which makes the rest… what?)

Over the next several weeks I’ll publish some pieces getting into more detail with each of these experiments. We’ll see why the collider had to be built mostly underground, why it had to be so large, and why what these guys are doing is so important. So, until then…

I am Jon, and I’m just a little bit hyped.

UPDATE 10 SEP 2008: The LHC Goes Live – 1st Beam A Success. Click the link to read the press release.

Tron Lives!

Greetings Programs!

BricyclesBrian, over at Bricycles has an idea I really like. Well, he actually has 2 ideas I really like. Each of them are ways to combat both global warming and our dependence on oil for energy.

His first idea is simple: Don’t wait for the government or the corporations to come up with a solution. At this point, it looks like there’s no help coming from those two areas. The best ideas may be the ones we come up with ourselves.

His second idea is almost as simple on the surface: Build a one-person transport that can handle most everyday needs, which produces zero emissions, using materials readily available to almost anyone. Now, nobody is suggesting (at this point) that we drive these things across the country, but for around-town driving and short trips, they’re perfect.

There’s one more thing he’s doing that just gets the SciFi kid in me rocking, though. I don’t know if he planned this part, but to me, his design looks like one of the lightbikes from the movie, Tron.
I might be (carbon)dating myself, but Tron gets my vote every time.

I am Jon, and I just gotta tell you, I like these kinds of ideas.

Image 10

OpenID @ Wordout

It’s Your Identity, After All

From now on, you can use your OpenID when registering or commenting here at Wordout. This is something I’ve thought about for a few months, ever since writing the article on what I thought was wrong with OpenID back in January. I was so focused on passwords and the fact there is simply no known way to protect the login process as it is.

I’m still unsure about passwords as a sole security mechanism, but there’s a thought in that old article that just stuck with me:

With OpenID you could generate one really great password and use it everywhere. Up front, it seems like a great idea to reduce the load on your memory while still improving your security.

That concept is valid. If all I have to do is keep up with one password in one location, then I might go through the small effort it takes to create a really strong password. I might actually use upper case and lower case letters, mixed in with numbers and symbols and even different font sets if I could. Having only one thing to manage, I might choose to manage it well.

I headed over to JanRain to find out all I could about OpenID from the source. What I found over there convinced me that not only was OpenID here to stay, it was fast becoming the de facto standard for identity management used on the web. Hover over that yellow SnapShot icon to see the chart of adoption rates. That huge increase is mostly just the last 12 months.

Identity Management Is Becoming Critical

Adoption rates aren’t usually enough to make me jump on board. Hell, I didn’t buy a cd player until after 2000. What was it that made me choose OpenID? Because identity management is becoming critical on the web. OpenID is making progress in that direction and after 3 years still appears to avoid the “password” type problems I worry about so much. I haven’t heard of any serious security breaches with OpenID at the center. I gave it alot of thought, and decided the benefits outweigh the possibility of a breach. So from now on, when you go to the login or registration pages, you’ll have the option of using your OpenID! You can use your OpenID on comments as well.

OpenID @ Wordout

Don’t have one? I wouldn’t be so sure. If you have a Yahoo, Flickr, AOL, SmugMug, Blogger, WordPress or LiveJournal account, you already have an OpenID provided by them. There’s more of them if you click that link. That doesn’t mean you have to use them. If you’d rather make one from scratch, or if you don’t have an OpenID yet, you can look at the top of the page here and use the Register With myOpenID to create an account, or just click the image below. After looking around, that’s who I chose, mainly because of their connection to JanRain.

Register with myOpenID

I am Jon, but you already knew that, didn’t you?

I want to thank ReadWriteWeb for continuing to produce articles like this.


CeBit User Interfaces

Coming Soon To A PC Near You

Have you been wondering what the next generation of user interfaces will be like? The iPhone has already shown us some of it. If you’ve been following Wordout or Google’s Android, you’ve seen some more of it. But what if you applied that same thing to larger screens?

What if you plastered it across an entire wall? Below you’ll see such an exhibition, displayed at the annual Cebit in Europe. The demo here lasts less than a minute.

CeBit Wall Sized User Interface Demo


If you liked that, you might this one too, but I warn you… it’s about 10 minutes long. Still, it’s worth checking out, even for a couple of minutes, before you go on to something else.

Jeff Han of New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences


I am Jon, and I’m ready for some “hands-on” access.

(edit) There’s a story on practically the same subject over at ReadWriteWeb. I particularly liked the “Bump Top” video over there… so here it is.

Bump Top – Your 3D Real Life Desktop

It looks like this is a popular subject. -jon


Touching Things In The Real World

The Challenge of Stuff

Over at the BlueBlog, Fraser asked an interesting question. One which, if I’m not mistaken, goes a bit deeper than the surface “marketing” spin it seemed to receive. Here is what he wrote:

“Here’s what I want: an easy-to-understand term that encompasses all of the items we recognize.

Here’s the challenge: we recognize a broad-range of items – books, music albums, stocks, recipes, people, restaurants, etc – and there isn’t a simple to grasp term that captures everything in the list.

Here are some words that occasionally get used:

* things
* objects
* items

If you’re not familiar with what we do, after hearing that we recognize things you’re left asking “things? what are things?.” ”

The problem, it seems to me, isn’t so much that the words being used are too technical for the average web surfer to understand. The problem is that the concept is somewhat alien.

For those of you not familiar with AdaptiveBlue and BlueOrganizer Indigo: AdaptiveBlue is a small company that provides the BlueOrganizer Indigo add-on for Firefox. BlueOrganizer works with SmartLinks, another AdaptiveBlue product, to provide contextually relevant shortcuts for many terms found within web pages, allowing actions to be taken on the real-world items behind those terms. For instance, if you’re looking at a movie, it knows you’re looking at a movie and will help you to read reviews, purchase, rent or just about anything else you would do with a movie. Indigo also has a very tight integration with services like Twitter and Tumblr, as well as social networking sites such as Facebook.

Returning visitors to Wordout will recognize that I have written several times about AdaptiveBlue and their products. To say the least, I am very impressed by their vision and what they are trying to do. While much of the so-called semantic web is focused right now on providing more information, or “better” ways of sifting and recommending that information, AdaptiveBlue is beginning to actually connect the virtual world we find on our screens to the real world outside our doors.

The New Paradigm

And that, Fraser, is what the problem is. Every schoolchild knows what a “noun” is. We all know what “things”, “objects” and “items” are. But those concepts are viewed differently, depending on the circumstance. We’ve been conditioned by half a century of television to think that the screen is not real. What you guys are doing is applying a new paradigm to the way we use our screens. AdaptiveBlue is trying to take what has been considered primarily a “passive” activity, and apply “action” to it.

That is why I love you guys, your products and your company. The hype on the street is all about the next iteration of the current web and you guys are out building new streets. It’s obvious, to me at least, that our webs will evolve along with us, becoming more tightly integrated into our lives the same way the telephone did.

The voice on my great-grandfather’s 1st phone sounded like a caricature of a voice, and my son’s Pearl has MP3 ringtones. Old Abel Roberts could go months without using the phone. Young Abel Knight works at a help desk fielding phone calls all day. Pa Roberts thought the phone might be a useful toy, but he had no real use for it. His great-great grandson’s phone is an extension of his life.

In many ways, it’s the same with Indigo. Television and then the internet trained us to think in terms of ‘non-reality’ and passive entertainment. We don’t expect that what we do online has any real bearing on our everyday lives. So for most of us it’s still just a distraction, and certainly not an extension of who we are and what we do.

From Communicate to Manipulate

But for the internet to be more than a distraction, more than entertainment, for it to have the impact we want it to have and not just that of CB radio or television, it must become more firmly integrated with the real world. It has to extend us, to physically connect us to our world.

We must be able to use it like we use our telephones. Few of us would dare to go out without our telephones. At any time, we might need to be able to communicate. The web will take that a step further, allowing us, at any time, to manipulate. Indigo is a step in that direction. I wrote before, and I will quote me here:

I don’t think this way about many web applications, but I think Indigo is a major deal. With this release, AdaptiveBlue has slightly changed the playing field. Indigo begins the bridge-building effort that must begin somewhere if any of this so-called Semantic Stuff is ever going to have real value.

I wish I could answer Fraser’s question. I wish I could come up with an easy one or two word way of describing Indigo to someone new to it. But it’s just not that simple. How can you show someone in a couple of words that they need to re-think the way they look at the web? How can you just tell them that now, what they do with a click can make something actually happen for them, right here, right now, in their real world?

I am Jon, and I’m working on that…


Asus and the Micro Laptop

Asus (pronounced: uh-soos) might not be a name you recognize, but it’s probably one you’ll hear more of in the future. Engadget has a story about the new Eee PC with a 9″ screen. This is the big brother to the model they already had with a 7″ screen. Look here for comparison pics of each. For a good bunch of photos of the 7 incher by itself, look here (it may say 9 inch, but I’m pretty certain that’s the 7″ model).

Asus has been around for quite awhile, making, among other things, some of the best motherboards in the business. Chances are good you’ve had one and didn’t know it. The new laptop should be available in mid 2008, hopefully in time for the “back to school” sales, and is rumored to have a retail tag of around $600US.

This image gives you a sense of the sheer size, literally.

Many who know me have heard me extol the coming wave of micro-pc’s, small enough to carry with you in a pocket or purse. Throw a phone into one of these and you’re almost there…

I am Jon, and I would like 3 sevens, please.


Android, 3G, The Web, Quake and More

Okay, Where’s the VGA port?

Below you’ll find a short video showing a genuine implementation of Android, demo’d by Andy Rubin, Director of Mobile Platforms at Google. The video, which I found searching the BBC, is less than 4 minutes and shows off some of the features we can expect in phones to be released later this year. You’ll see broadband web browsing, the game “Quake”, and for the 1st time on any mobile phone, Google’s Streetview. Android looks more like a desktop replacement every time I see it.

Google’s Andy Rubin demonstrates Android features with Darren Waters of the BBC.

I am Jon, and I think an external monitor is a great idea for an Android powered phone. All we really need is a USB port.


Microsoft’s WorldWide Telescope

This is gonna be so cool on a 52inch widescreen monitor.

Available Spring 2008 as a free download is the greatest thing Microsoft has done since the 80s. Below you’ll see the video showing Roy Gould, from the Harvard Center for Astrophysics, introducing Microsoft’s WorldWideTelescope in front of a live audience. The whole thing lasts about 7 minutes. If you don’t have that long, check out just the 1st couple of minutes. That’s all I was going to devote to it to begin with, but I couldn’t help watching all of it (Except the BMW thing at the end… out of my range).

Roy Gould Introduces WorldWideTelescope

From the FAQ at

WorldWide Telescope is an observatory on your desktop, allowing you to see the sky in a way you have never seen before; individual exploration, multi-wavelength views, stars and planets within context to each other, zoom in/out, and a capability for anyone to create and share a tour of the universe.

The Visual Experience Engine delivers seamless panning zooming around the night sky.

WWT delivers seamless integration of science:-relevant information including multi-wavelength, multiple telescope distributed image and data sets, and one-click contextual access to distributed Web information and data sources.

Imagine that. I’ve always wanted to be able to tie in hundreds of telescopes, capable of capturing multiple wavelengths and enhanced with the ability to find cross-referenced information on nearly anything I could find in the sky…

I am Jon, and I am just going to love this.

Thanks to GeeksAreSexy, and Microsoft.


Hack Your Registry For Speed and Stability

Designed for Windows XP computer hardware logoImage via Wikipedia

You Won’t Find That Here, You’ll Find Something Better

There are many ways to make your pc run faster without messing around in the registry. But sadly, there’s an abundance of sites out there that try to lead you to believe that some simple registry editing will make your pc run faster. I’ve adopted the contrary opinion. My love for Microsoft isn’t even close to passion, but if you’re running XP (and most of you are), I believe the registry is generally best left to them. I’ve put together several thoughts on the subject, and I present them below.

General Thoughts

1. Hacks that speed you up and make you more stable don’t exist. Nearly all of the registry hacks I’ve found online either don’t work, or make the system unstable, or Windows already does it better. In some cases they can actually make things worse.

2. I’m not talking about legitimate registry cleaners. If you’ve had your machine for awhile and installed and uninstalled lots of programs like some people have, there are probably lots of entries that are meaningless, and should be removed.

Free Speed “Hacks”

1. If you really want to keep it running fast, the first step is to keep it updated. This includes Windows and all the programs you normally use. Go to their sites and look for updates, or look in the program menus for an Update function.

2. Use a good AntiVirus program and a firewall. For most of us, the built-in XP firewall in SP2 should be sufficient. Any kind of malware will slow you down. System scan at least once a week.

3. Get rid of all the bling. Windows XP features a signature look and feel. Things are so colorful. They slide and fade. Turn that stuff off and use the classic style. Right click on MyComputer and select Properties. Click Advanced and then Performance Settings.Click the button for Best Performance and hit Apply. You’ll be amazed at how much of a performance boost you’ll get out of this one suggestion.

4. Clean temp files, uninstall files and recent documents. You can look here for a great post on how to do that.

5. Disable unused devices. Once again, right click on MyComputer and Properties, except this time select Hardware, and then Device Manager. One quick place to go is your modem, if you have one. Chances are really good you’re on a broadband connection, and aren’t using the modem ever. So right click on it and disable it. Do that for everything you see that you know you aren’t using.

Not So Free, But Worth Considering

1. Upgrade your RAM speed or size. Sometimes pc’s can handle a faster RAM than they were originally shipped with. You might be using PC2700 and you could be using PC3200. They run at speeds of 333Mhz and 400Mhz, respectively. The difference in speeds is noticeable. To see what RAM speeds your machine can handle, look it up at your manufacturer’s website.

2. Install a faster CPU. Again, chances are really good that your machine can handle a faster CPU. If you’re using a Celeron, or a Sempron, you can definitely see some results by upgrading to a Pentium or Athlon, respectively.

3. Go camping without the pc, read a book, listen to some music. Spend some time away from the busy-ness of technology. Watch a bird fly, look for something in the clouds. Take your time. When you come back your pc will seem faster. Sometimes it’s not the machine that has slowed down. It’s us that have sped up.

As an Aside

You’ve no doubt noticed the many SnapShots I’ve used in this post. Even though I have found no end to the uses of SnapShots, the guys over at put together a little contest to see what bloggers would come up with if they had to use the 12 main SnapShots in an article, in list form. Since there were several cash prizes up for grabs, and seeing as how I kinda like SnapShots and the guys over at, and considering that I like stuff like this anyway, I decided to use this piece as my entry.

I am Jon, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

If you like this article, and you want to help me win the contest, go over to the blog at and make a comment there! Contest runs until around April 8th. Thanks.

This article was awarded one of the three prizes in the contest. Thank you!

Thanks much to Adam, who left the comment below, unintentionally alerting me to the broken link in item #4 above. The link now works and takes you to a post about keeping your pc running smooth through easy, regular maintenance, called 5 Things You Can Do to Start Your PC Faster. Thanks again, Adam!


Great Ways Indigo Rocks, Artists & Music

BlueOrganizer Indigo is teh Indishizzle. Word.

aladdinsaneYesterday I showed you how Indigo recognizes names, over 500 of them, actually. Today, I’m looking at links to artists and music. How does Indigo help us with these things? Let’s start with artists. One of my all-time favorites is David Bowie.

That link points to his space on If you click the link it will still take you straight to Indigo will pick up on this and you’ll notice, your BlueMark up there by the address bar will change to a microphone to reflect this. If you hover over the Smartlink icon, you’ll see that Indigo knows that the link represents an artist, and right clicking on the link itself will give you the People Menu at the bottom, just like the People Menu in the last article. Indigo knows that Bowie is a person, as well as an artist.

This time, let’s left click the Smartlink icon and take a look at the Smartlink Menu. Where the right click context menu gives us “People” options, the SmartLink Menu gives us “Artist” options. Even though the link points to, we have our choice of several others, like Rhapsody and iTunes. We can check out other things that are useful, like looking for photos or videos, looking up lyrics and finding tour dates.

Listen To Free Music, Right Now.

All this stuff about Bowie makes me want to hear some. So now I’m looking at this link to the Station To Station album on Rhapsody. You’ll notice if you hover your mouse over the Smartlink icon it shows you that this is a link to an album. Right clicking the link gives you the Music Menu and the Text Menu for contextual shortcuts. Bringing up the Smart Menu gives you alot of choices which make sense for an album. I can look up the lyrics, read reviews, buy the thing from several sources, and, as always, save it on any of my favorite social networks.

I click on through, of course, because I want to listen to the thing. The Station To Station page opens and I click play on the song “Stay”. Just a couple of seconds later I’m jammin’, man. I’m saving that SmartLink. I know I’ll be going back there again. I jump back to Wordout and go to the Bowie space. Looking through the albums I choose “Aladdin Sane” and then I’m listening to the title track for the 1st time in a couple of years. And saving another album. If you’ve never heard that song, go there and listen to it. The piano work is incredible!

See why I like Indigo so much? It saves time, and helps me do what I want to do anyway. I can jump from one place to another, from one object to another, and use them as if they were here in front of me. And I can do all this in an instant. What used to take me several minutes now takes only a few seconds. With Indigo in my Firefox, it just rocks.

Tying The Verticals Together

There’s more to tell about Indigo though. It knows books and movies, restaurants and wines, stocks and so much more. And there’s the cool widgets you can make and use on your blog or your website. There’s the tight integration with other applications like Twitter. I said it before, Indigo is a big deal. All these so-called “verticals” are starting to be tied together. The ties are tenuous, yes, but still, that creates some “horizontals”, and that creates the next web.

If you haven’t downloaded it yet, by all means, go and get it! It doesn’t cost anything. AdaptiveBlue will not misuse your data. In fact, they put you in charge of it. There’s really no reason not to get it. All these semantic features are already there, in the web. You and I are both on the same internet, so why shouldn’t you get the same benefits, and the same functionality, out of it as I do?

Clickback to Wordout to catch more on Indigo. You might want to click the FeedMe icon down below to get the RSS feed, or choose to get Wordout delivered to your inbox. If you have any comments, you can leave them below or click the Contact link above. Got a question on any subject? Click the AskAway! link at the top of the page or send me an email.

I am Jon. Word(out).

Remember, Jon is just a user of SmartLinks and Indigo, and has no financial relationship with AdaptiveBlue.


The Name Is The Game

Indigo Knows My Name

I’ve told you how Indigo recognizes so many different things on the web. One of my favorite things it understands is People. Check this out. We’ll use my name, Jon Knight, as our first example. I’ve never published any books. I’m not a celebrity. I’m just Jon, your host here at Wordout. My only claim to fame, such as it is. Drag your mouse across my name so it’s highlighted.

indigo people
Indigo Recognizes Names Represent A Person

Right away Indigo lets you know that you’ve highlighted a person. Okay, now right click it so the context menu appears. Near the bottom you’ll see Person Menu: “Jon Knight”, and if you hover over that another Smartmenu appears with specific links to me on Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Flickr and MyBlogLog. Or you can do a more general search for any links to me using Google or, or for more links on this site. (Which makes no sense right now but would be a nice feature if you were anywhere else but Wordout right now.)

Go ahead and try some of the links. Click on the LinkedIn link in the menu. You’ll see it takes you to a page listing several Jon Knights, and I am there in the list. If you do a general search using you might see several results on the 1st page that refer to me. This is interesting, only because there is indeed a famous celebrity with the same name.

Indigo Knows Lots Of Names

So lets use somebody else’s name. I’ll pick one at random from my Top Blogs list in the sidebar. BlueBlog, published by AdaptiveBlue, regularly posts helpful tips about BlueOrganizer Indigo and SmartLinks. That’s as good a place as any to find a real person.

Alex Iskold is somewhat more well-known than I am, and his name is less common, so let’s use his name. Drag the mouse across Alex (gently) and light him up. Looking through the Person Menu, you’ll find similar links for Alex. You can check out his Twitter profile, or LinkedIn, or browse his more than 600 photos on Flickr. (There’s a sandcastle on page 6 that is awesome!)

Anyway, you get the idea. With these smart menus that know what you’re looking at, finding relevant information about people you meet on the web is a breeze. And with Indigo in your Firefox AddOn arsenal, you get this everywhere you go on the web. See someone you want to know more about? Light’em up and see what there is to find.

I read alot on the web, and I like to know more about the author sometimes, maybe see some other things she’s written, or suss out his network a bit. I used to go through this routine of copy/paste/search several engines/sift through results. Now, with the Indigo upgrade, I can do all that in a fraction of the time with practically no effort at all. Which means I can do more, and not necessarily sitting in front of this screen.

Indigo Knows More Than Names

Indigo is something I use every day. It’s not just that it knows people. It knows other things, too. I’ll be showing you some more cool stuff about Indigo in some upcoming stories, so be sure to clickback to Wordout, or hit the FeedMe! button to get the RSS feed. There’s a few people who just get Wordout in their Email.

Hmmm, that saves even more time….
I am Jon, and I am going outside while it’s still there to go to.


Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, and The Future (a toonlet)

There’s been a bit of hype lately about high definition content (movies) and which format is best to buy. Wordout’s Bud Coffee has a bit of insight on the subject…

Bud Coffee 2


I am Jon, and I just cannot make myself buy a DVD of any kind any more. And I love that INDIGO background!


BlueOrganizer Indigo – More Than Just Bookmarks


I don’t think this way about many web applications, but I think Indigo is a major deal.
With this release, AdaptiveBlue has slightly changed the playing field. Indigo begins the bridge-building effort that must begin somewhere if any of this so-called Semantic Stuff is ever going to have real value.

First, You Gotta Go Get It. Seriously, I’ll Wait.

I guess you guys have figured out by now that I really like AdaptiveBlue and BlueOrganizer. I want you to know that I have absolutely no relationship with the company or any of the team there other than that I am a very satisfied customer. Satisfied to the point of being a fan, actually.

I think I see where these guys are trying to go, and it’s a place I like. We, the users, the customers, are in control of our data. The focus of the products themselves is on things that we really do want and we really will use. Over the next week or so I will be publishing some hopefully helpful articles about the latest release of the BlueOrganizer addon for Firefox.

You’ll remember back in November I found AdaptiveBlue and their BlueOrganizer and SmartLinks. That’s when you started seeing these little icons appearing beside some of the links and the Badges in the sidebar. Then in December I did a week-long series on AdaptiveBlue and their products. Some of those are still among the most visited pages on this site. You can see them there on the right in a BlueOrganizer widget called “Readers’ Choice Wordout Favorites”.

Last week, AdaptiveBlue released the latest version of the BlueOrganizer plug-in for Firefox, Indigo. If you haven’t installed it yet, go now and get it. There’s a little reading and then you agree and install and restart Firefox and come back here. When Firefox restarts it’ll display a page where you set up your new account with BlueOrganizer. You need to go ahead and do this now, so Indigo will know who you are. You’ll only have to do it once, and from then on Indigo will know you. So go ahead, I’ll wait….

Not Just Another Worthless Toolbar Button.

Okay, good. You’ll notice up near your address bar a new icon called BlueMark. That’s your new Indigo BlueOrganizer. If you’re looking at the Main page of Wordout, the icon will look like a notebook. It changes, depending on the type of page you’re looking at. (The Main page can be gotten to by clicking on “Wordout” up in the top left.) Click on the little arrow and the SmartMenu drops down with links to actions relevant to blogs. You might want to find out other things about the blog’s author, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed, you might want to see how the site ranks through Compete or Alexa. Or you might want to do some other things, which you’ll see there in the menu. These are called “contextual shortcuts”.

Notice that these are things you’d likely want to do when you’re looking at a blog. They’re just there to help you do what you’d probably want to do anyway. If you were looking at a page about a book, for instance, there would be slightly different choices. And if you were looking at a page for an artist or a band or something like that, the choices would be quite different. That’s the cool thing about Indigo. It knows what you’re looking at, and gives you choices based on that knowledge. But that’s not all.

BlueOrganizer watches what you do and over a short time, customizes itself to the way you personally handle things. For instance, you may Always listen to music on Rhapsody. Your SmartMenus will start to reflect that on music sites. Your choices won’t be taken away, they’ll just be easier, because they’ll be based on what you usually do. Same with books or restaurants or blogs or whatever. BlueOrganizer gets smarter, becomes an extension of you.

Assume Control of the Experience

Down at the bottom of your SmartMenu you’ll see 4 options that are always there. The first is “Open My Things”. Clicking that brings up your Bluemarks, similar to the way your bookmarks used to come up. Here you can sort, edit, comment, tag, categorize and otherwise mess with your Bluemarks to your heart’s contentment.

Searching through your Bluemarks is a thing of ease. At the top you choose your categories, and select keywords or tags below. If you want to see all the Science Fiction books you have saved, just type in the tag or keyword. (This is a good reason to tag, huh?) A nice thing about Indigo is that it has some basic common language skills. If you wanted to see all the books by Isaac Asimov in your Bluemarks, you could simply type in “author is Asimov” in the keyword field and only Asimov would show up below. Within your regular page bookmarks, you can search for any word in the Smartlink. And any word can be user edited within the Smartlink editor.

When you hover your mouse over the individual links in the sidebar, little icons appear to let you manipulate the link. One looks like stacked menus, and contains part of the regular Smartmenu. One looks like a trash can, used for delete. The last one looks like a pencil, and it brings up the Smartlink editor.

Indigo Editor
The Indigo Smartlink Editor for Bookmarks.

Each of the options can be edited. You can change categories, ratings, descriptions, comments, even the title of the bookmark. You can decide whether to make it public and share it with the world or keep it to yourself. You can add or delete tags, making it easier to find later. You’ll notice the tabs above that show you can email it or even embed it in your blog or site somewhere.

You can also use most of that stuff to set up widgets, which I’ll go into in more detail in a later article. For anybody with a blog, or a site they maintain of just about any kind, Indigo widgets can add a value you won’t find anywhere else. But it’s not just the widgets that excite me. The more I use Indigo, the more I find new ways to use it.

Indigo is the best version of BlueOrganizer yet, and I am nowhere near finished telling you about it. Be sure to clickback later in the week to find out more. To be sure, I’ve just scratched the surface here today. Meanwhile, keep doing what you’re doing, but the next time you want to bookmark, Bluemark instead.

I am Jon, and right now, Indigo is my favorite color.

Look for Rudyard Kipling’s “A Diversity of Creatures” in the Recommended Reading list in the sidebar!
And yes, I realize I spelled “relevant” wrong… oops. I also changed the category to “Blog”, even though he is probably not currently blogging. But that way I was able to include him in the Recommended Reading widget in the lower sidebar. I love how easily Indigo works….jon

Android – The Gphone At Mobile World Congress

Awhile back I published a piece on the so-called Google phone. You’ll find a link to it over in the Readers’ Choice widget in the sidebar (This, That and the Other Thing). In that post, I mentioned the Android operating system, developed by Google, then pretty much given away to any and every developer in the world. That was November. This month at the Mobile World Congress, Android was the big attraction.

Below you’ll find a couple of videos showing the current state of Android development. While most companies are focusing on designing new hardware to run the new operating system, a Chinese company called e28 has had some success using it on an existing, production model phone. You can see Android at work on a normal handset in the 1st video, which lasts just over 4 minutes.

The second video runs a quite bit shorter, and is more apt to be what we see for sale sometime before Christmas. Don’t worry about the size of the circuit cards, they’ll be shrunk to fit neatly inside a normal, pocket-sized phone once all the testing is finished. The 1st phones we see in the US will probably resemble the iPhone a bit, with a full face touch-screen and more features and web applications than you’d expect.

While I was researching this update, planning to write a great article on it, I came across a rather complete and well-written piece over on It was so good, I decided to just link to it, instead of rewriting what was already so well-done. I highly recommend clicking that link.

And now, the Android videos from the Mobile World Congress:



e28 shows off a working Android system on current hardware.


Showing off the Android web browser.


For more photos and info on Android, check out these links:

I am Jon, and I still want my phone to fix me a sandwich, please.


A Web Of Structure – SmartLink Widgets

Nouns and Verbs

Remember diagramming sentences in high school? I used to love that stuff. The simplest of all structures was the noun-verb structure. That’s all you needed to make meaning out of words. With AdaptiveBlue’s SmartLink widgets, that’s starting to happen to the web.

The AdaptiveBlue vision recognizes that the screens we look at represent things. As gazers and seers of the web, it’s these things we are truly interested in. The fascination of the screen has now long faded, to be replaced by real-world interaction using the web as the medium of our touch. We can, literally, reach out and touch things and cause actions to happen to those things. We can buy a book, rent a movie, order a pizza, to name a few.

SmartLink widgets give us a way to measure those actions. For example, I like blogs. Over in the sidebar, you’ll find a widget labeled “Must Read Blogs”, which is a list of the top 10 most clicked blogs listed in the SmartLinks database. These blogs are things, as real as any book or movie or cd. They represent self-help, photography, tech-help, commentary, astronomy, web-tech, spread across several diverse methods and topics.

Connected through the widget, they become a noun-verb structure. The blogs are the nouns, and their placement on the top ten list indicates the aggregate of previous uses (the fact that somebody else read it). If I assume that the more popular a blog is, the greater the appeal of the content, then I see a sentence that says, in essence, “You must read these blogs.”

Another example is the Readers’ Choice widget. As this list represents the consistently most read pages here, Wordout readers have created that widget themselves. As for me, I trust your judgements.

Personal Web

But that’s not the only way the widgets speak. Further down in the sidebar you’ll see a widget named “Recommended Reading”. These are some blogs I read daily, or as often as they are updated. You’ll see a couple there that are also on the “Must Read” top 10 list, but some that are not. What you can know, in a glance, is that I recommend these guys. Maybe the hover blurb says it’s ranked 500+. If it’s in my list then I personally rank it higher than that. So, depending on how valuable my opinion is to you, you may one day decide to check it out or not.

The widgets can be used to give you a general consensus of what alot of people think about something. The widgets can also give you a more specific idea of what one person, or a relatively smaller group, thinks. Each has its value.

What does it take to make these widgets work on your site? Some special coding knowledge or programming savvy? Nope. You just need to install BlueOrganizer and start making your own widgets, based on what you think is great. The worst you might have to deal with is copying some code from the AdaptiveBlue site and pasting it into your own site. It’s just that easy.

I am Jon, and I’m just a fan, gettin’ the word out, that’s all.