2009-12-27

Gestural computing: use your hands without touching

Gestural computing could be the answer to adopting multi-touch for desktop computers, where it hasn’t caught on as much as on cell phones. Gestural computing records hand movements in front of your computer. Thus, you don’t have to touch (and smudge) your screen and 3D gestures become possible. Not having to touch means that you don’t have to get as close, which is a good fit for current desktop setups where the monitor stands apart from the keyboard (=your hands). When typing a lot, you can just lift your hand briefly, perform a gesture, and then continue typing. In full gesture mode, you’ll probably look a bit like Tom Cruise in Minority Report (minus the gloves). As mentioned in the article, touchless operation is a big plus in public spaces where hygiene really matters (just think about all the people touching an ATM screen).

2009-12-20

Hated “The Phantom Menace"? Then this video review is for you.

Quoting “The Watcher”:
Finally, I watched this 70-minute critique of "Star Wars" prequel "The Phantom Menace" last night with increasing fascination and delight. It's hilarious, spot-on, perceptive, devastatingly accurate and more than a little surreal. Hey, don't take my word for it -- "Lost" executive producer Damon Lindelof said you should "watch it ALL" and actor/writer Simon Pegg said that it was "amazing." Agreed.
The humor does not always work for me, but it is still fun and makes some very good points.

2009-12-10

Furniture for easier relocation

Having recently moved, I’m astonished how painful the process is, even though I don’t have a lot of stuff. There are a few cool ideas out there:
  • Casulo: A design that allows one to fold complete furniture for a small apartment into a compact, relatively small, box. No tools are needed and it is supposed to take about 10 minutes.
  • Furniture made of lightweight building boards: Only the outer hull of these boards is made of timber-derived materials, the inside consists of cardboard. This reduces material consumption by 40%. The reduction in weight is increasingly sought after, because customs have begun to charge by weight and wood is being used for heating and thus becoming more expensive. Lastly, light furniture is now easier to sell, because younger high-tech influenced generations don’t equate “heavy” with “quality”, any more. [Source in German] In fact, a study found out that 76% of Germans don’t think that lighter furniture has less quality. But, only 16.6% would buy furniture made partially out of cardboard. Well, I guess, you would have to see such furniture, in order to make a realistic decision. “Cardboard furniture” might conjure up the wrong image. [Source in German]
  • Gube Instant Furniture: Uses building blocks (mainly cubes) to assemble various kinds of furniture configurations. No tools are needed.
Additionally, the increasing popularity and real-world suitability of e-book readers should help with moving. Sometimes I have the feeling that the total weight of my books equals the total weight of the rest of everything I own. Already digitalization has helped me with trimming down: My iMac has replaced my hifi system, my TV, my VCR and my DVD player. And I now could get rid of all of my CDs, should the need arise. (But I’ll be waiting for a file system that corrects errors, until I do that; btrfs is a promising and free candidate.)
Have you heard of other ways of owning less or lighter stuff? Let me know...