Posted by Tattletech on Jun 13, 2011 in Vision
, What makes good news
Sometimes those with altruistic spirit need a bit of a nudge. ‘Twas ever thus, but recently the Internet has emerged as a powerful tool for nudging. With each success (the micro-lending site Kiva comes to mind), a blueprint is emerging on how best to provide assistance to those who wish to do well unto others.
The building and maintenance of community is strongly tied to our inclination towards kindness, and the Internet is certainly up to the task of community building. It’s probably fair to suggest that the Internet is currently obsessed with it.
Here is an idea heavy on idealism, that might have seemed a long shot five years ago, but whose time may have come: ComesAround.
ComesAround is a rescue tool that turns ordinary people into everyday heroes with the help of a smart phone app. It is a crowd sourced security solution banking on one’s willingness to reach out and help.
Basically, ComesAround takes the way people look out for each other in the ideal small community, refines it, adopts it to all communities and takes it online in smart phones. It then adds this community to traditional emergency response channels in an effort to get help to those who need it more quickly than any one channel on its own can manage.
ComesAround is a profile-based service used to alarm the official emergency center instead of calling them. It holds the user’s relevant health data and current position to be accessed instantly, and while contacting the emergency center (and through it, police, fire and health rescue workers), the app simultaneously send a help request to the 15 nearest civilian ComesAround users. These users can come and help if the official rescuers ambulance/police/firefighters are delayed. This way, civilians who are in a position to be of more immediate aid can come to rescue before professional rescuers.
ComesAround also pairs users healthcare data with instructions for civilian helpers. When helpers arrive emergency staff will guide them—the helper can film with his/her smartphone, which transmits to the emergency center, and receive instructions relevant to the user’s health situation generated from users profile. E.g. If a user suffers from a bad heart, civilian helpers will receive simple instructions in heart massage that might keep the user alive until professional rescuers appears on the scene.
ComesAround is not yet on the market, but it is an interesting idea and step forward in leveraging community for the greater good.
Posted by Tattletech on Jan 31, 2011 in Things We've Learned This Week
Yea, this week, we made our week end on January 31 just cause we wanted to. Tough week, tough week. Most of the things we learned surprised us and then again, not really. Between armchair politics of retweeters on Egypt, Android dethroning Symbian and ZenRobotics taking on demolition waste, we don’t know where to start, except here.
1. Free will scuttles in the swamp of fear.
2. Folks like to tweet about current affairs even when they know little about it.
3. Americans really don’t know where Egypt is. (via @jimmus).
4. Google launching a Holocaust Archive makes me have indigestion.
5. Not saying anything, says something (and loudly).
6. You can never have enough handbags or pocketbooks, as us Southerners call them.
7. Outside of the tech industry, most consumers don’t know what a connected TV is.
8. Cable is NOT dead no matter how many emerging tech pubs tell you it is.
9. Sometimes start ups outgrow the publications that got them where they are today.
10. Futility reigns. See Mobile World Congress 2011.
11. Opening a can of whoop ass does make you feel better.
12. Finland produces some great minds and the best example of true innovation in clean tech, eHealth and ICT – see Mendor, ZenRobotics, DealDash, Hermopharma, FeedBackCatalog, Multitouch.
We were on the ground in Barcelona at the Eurocan European Venture Contest – essentially the final of all finals for the best start ups in Europe (including a handout of 30,000 euros in cold hard cash) in ICT, Life Sciences and Clean Tech. This isn’t a popularity contest or for the faint of heart like some of the other more pop culture VC/Tech contests out there. This was about a year-long slog through regional contests with tough judges and a bunch of hoops to jump through. Our guess is that you won’t see most of these final 25 start ups (many with revenue already) in the other pop tech scene cause they are busy making money, bootstrapping and well just can’t be bothered with yet another 20-something booze fest with the trendies. We digress.. again.. so more on that later…(Our favorites: TaxiPal, Defendec, (both from Estonia BTW) and Denmark’s Lithium Balance)
But what we actually learned will indeed change the face of venture in the Nordics forever. A new 150m Euro fund is being raised out of Finland and is backed by three heavyweights, and I mean heavy, tipping the scales. We do know that it is expected to launch in Q2 2011 and it is comprised of three men – Telco pioneers and a Finnish investment, fixer, numbers man direct from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
Yuuup. You heard that right. So what does that mean for the regions government backed incubator programs and seed round VC firms? Nothing. But what does that mean for the Nordics sad shape of affairs with A round and up VC firms? A lot – the region has seen a handful of firms whither away, no new funds are being raised, several are shut down and the current “names” haven’t had an exit or IPO in ages. So this group of Finnish cowboys are taking matters into their own hands and putting Finland squarely on the map where it belongs. I’m told by one of the three founders that the fund is going to be for extreme innovation with long term strategic commercial appeal in Clean Tech, ICT and Life Sciences. – JLH
Just a spent nutty, yet lovely days in Sitges, Spain with Josh Mortensen, the hip-hop non executive board member of GlibHippo, a new kind of ad network that pimps out and optimizes ad campaigns with…wait for it… human intelligence. And in these two days of required mingling with goofsticks and chitchat, Josh was dispensing all sorts of insight from irony of intelligent advertising to plausible deniability. So we asked the former Foot, Cone & Belding advertising executive to talk to us about his thoughts on the Tweeter and here is what he gave us. (this is a re-run from the HippoFiles). You can also follow him on the Tweeter @razzmuzzen.
Josh Mortensen: It’s only a matter of time before an innocent Twitter mistake is harnessed for evil.
Twitter is lousy with fakery and pranks, but also rife with satire. The @fakeMichaelbay, @BPGlobalPR, Cala Boca Galvao spring to mind. Comedy, comedic justice and, well comedic justice.
In August, Washington Post sportswriter Mike Wise sent out a fake tweet about the Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. The tweet was made-up. Wise wanted to see if he could get the media to run with the story without verifying it. And guess what – The ruse was successful. The Miami Herald, The Baltimore Sun and the NBC sports blog ProFootballTalk ran with the story. They reported a ‘tweet’ as news.
Wise was vilified.
But what made this prank fail was its lack of plausible deniability. It was way too overt. A more skilled practitioner, with more malign intentions, would have used an unintentional Twitter-feature with exquisite dis-information potential. The DM FAIL.
The twitter direct message feature is notoriously sketchy. Even founder Evan Williams apparently has trouble with it. It’s gone now but a site called DMfail used to track it. Plenty of embarrassment has been documented.
It’s inherent dangers established, DM is perfect cover for perpetrating deniable rumor generation. It would be way better than, say, getting a story placed without sources because it looks like a mistake and does not need to be explicit.
No information is more delicious than the private inadvertently made public. And no microcosm of our accelerated culture is a better echo chamber than twitter.
The right person, crafting the correct ‘error’ could create a veritable tsunami of twiddle. Imagine something like:
‘DM @sergeybrinn Hey. Sourced where Z-berg is getting chips for the phones he isn’t making. Call me.’
It’s prank potential is awesome. It’s potential as a powerful tool in the dirty tricks bag of stock manipulators, unscrupulous PR hacks and lobbyists is more awesomer.
First one to spot a deliberate Twitter DM FAIL gets a Euro.
Posted by Tattletech on Jul 30, 2010 in natural interface
, New things
I have been thinking a lot about natural interfaces – they must be In short, how are natural interaction revolutionizing Consumer Electronics and how is technology now adapting to the user, its master? Took a look at Primesense, a tech company out of Israel and here is what I found:
- Today people are faced with a greater number of devices to connect to networks, a large number of which are mobile personal devices. The challenge for designers and developers is how to create user interfaces that are able to adapt to the interaction resources of the device while making it simple and intuitive for the user. Users want to be able to pick up their device and use it without a tutorial. Natural Interaction is allowing consumer electronic devices – TV, gaming, cars, GPS, mobile –to adapt to the user instead of making the user adapt to the device.
- Natural interfaces will create a bridge between machines and humans to allow users to interact with technology in a natural and humanistic way. Advances in portability and instant availability have taken the mobile phone to the next level, but interaction on the mobile device has not had a chance to evolve as quickly as the applications that users want. PrimeSense sees for the future the entire ecosystem of devices, including mobile, co-existing with humans in a way that makes life easier by bringing together all the elements of the human sensory experience – voice, sight, touch, biometrics, movements and gestures.
I wish the guys at I love Charts (@ilovecharts) had a chart on this, but I am sure if they did, we would see a decline in our manners and increase in emotion since the internet, and all its little pilot fish, became mainstream.
By example, it’s truly amazing that a CEO of a gillion dollar company like Apple takes time to read your email, let alone respond to it. Steve is a pretty press friendly CEO too, so what pushed him over the edge, let alone what pushed the drunken ValleyWag guy to even start the argument in the first place? What is it that has pushed us over the edge to become an emotional lot of argumentative, belligerent, bad mannered bunch of communicators? I don’t know, but I’m Just Saying. A few cases in point below:
- Steve Jobs & Ryan Tate’s email exchange… but honestly, I’m up til 2:30 am some nights, so why not Steve? (oh and BTW, if you don’t like the products, don’t keep buying them)
- Stephen Fry’s response to malevolent comments on his blog
- A Chicago landlord sues over a Tweet made by his ex-tenant who criticized state of apartment
- Well respected and renowned thinker Umair Haque being lambasted by attendees who didn’t like the way he interviewed Evan William at South by Southwest
- Japanese girl killing a friend over an internet spat
- A petty dissing contest on Twitter between Bow Wow and Chris Brown (author says it makes you yearn for the days when rappers would just shoot each other)
Can we take it one step further into the sexes? I don’t know but according to the Scientific American, men are more belligerent than women, although woman can be just as aggressive as men. But there is a new project underway by Sep Kamvar and Jonathan Harris (BTW both of these men are absolutely on that smart is sexy list) which has started combing the internet to look for and measure emotion in a project called “We Feel Fine“.
We Feel Fine scours the blogosphere every few minutes and scans for the words “I feel” or “I am feeling.” The crawler looks for feelings of people who broadcast and renders into a dynamic, real time color map by age, topic, location, gender, etc. When you click on any one of the moving dots, it explodes to reveal the feeling sentence behind it somewhere in the blogosphere.
I think that perhaps Steve Jobs said it best when he retorted to his drunken belligerent, insolent, disrespectful emailer with this: “BTW, what have you done that is so great? Do you create anything, or just criticize others work and belittle their motivations”
Hey Ryan Tate, go start your own company and go easy on the booze. – JLH
Twitter can be great, just great. It can also be a pain in the ass to keep up with. But sometimes it brings a lot of joy to our lives when we meet people we normally would never get to meet because this big blue marble we live on is pretty big. It brings us closer to people who share the same values that we have and we find ourselves drawn to the philosophy they subscribe to. We find their tweets to be informational, inspirational, positive and downright savvy. This happened when we met Ola Forsstrom through his insight on being a sportsmen turned entrepreneur. We look forward to seeing what he is working on. We anticipate his insight on health, sports and using technology to facilitate better healthcare. So we give you Mr. Ola Forsstrom, CEO, Ludesi. You can follow him on Twitter here and become happy like we did.
Tattletech: I see you recently Tweeted the Marine Core Fitness challenge, what is your best on that and how often do you do that?
Ola Forsstrom: Ha ha! There are several different physical tests for Marines, but the one you refer to is probably the sequence of pull-ups, crunches and a 3-mile run. You do the exercises one after the other, in the order mentioned. The maximum score is 100 points and that requires that you do 20 pull-ups, 100 crunches and run three miles in 18 minutes. I can do that, so yes, my score would be 100. I work out regularly, but I don’t take this particular test very often. After a while it’s not that challenging anymore.
TT: As a former professional athlete turned entrepreneur, what made you decide to go into bio tech rather than the fun-loving Web track?
OO: A mere coincidence – I had a friend who was working in this field and we set out to solve certain problems he was facing in his research. At the time I was on rehab from a knee injury, so I had some time over. Before I knew it we had won a business plan competition and I decided on a career shift.
TT: Morten Lund in Denmark is also former professional handball player turned entrepreneur, why do you think guys like you are driven to entrepreneurship?
OO: No idea. Guess there are also lots of handball players who never go into entrepreneurship, so the correlation is in fact probably quite weak. But in regards to who starts companies… I think there are certain traits displayed by the few who “do” compared to the many who “talk”. One of those traits is confidence, another is willingness to create your own reality. A third is taking responsibility, for one’s life, and for the outcomes one is generating. I am convinced professional competitive sports have been of much greater benefit to me than any other education. It’s all about the beliefs, attitudes and inner dialogue you have when dealing with the realities of running a startup.
TT: Why is handball so popular in Scandanavia, are you weekend warrior?
OO: I guess we have tradition here… Sweden was dominating world handball in the 90s. But now countries like France, Spain, or Germany have taken over a bit more. I’m not following it very much unfortunately. And no, I’m not a weekend warrior… I believe an active lifestyle is a key component in my life and not a side-kick.
TT: Your current company is Ludesi develops 2D gel image analysis solutions for proteomics. Now, proteomics is the large-scale study of proteins – so what sort of protein analysis does the RedFin product accomplish?
OO: The REDFIN system allows proteomics researchers to perform analysis of images from two-dimensional gel electrophoresis in a very easy way. The system has won a price as Emerging Technology of the Year on the global proteomics market, and it is the best way to work with this particular type of analysis. Our customers work with the most varying things. Some study cancer, some study environmental effects in salmon. Some work on developing better crops and plants for the future. Others study brain trauma in soldiers. Yet others develop better yoghurts… So, protein analysis technologies are used across a very wide spectrum of disciplines.
TT: Biotechnology and genetic engineering - those seem to be the types of scientists around the world that are using Ludesi’s analysis solutions, how will your product further their research and facilitate future discoveries?
OO: Primarily by increasing the reliability and depth of the results. We have developed a metric for quality control of this type of data that can be used to vastly improve the reliability of the results. And at the end of the day, that’s what pushes science forward: results.
TT: You were in the Top 20 list of Web Entrepreneurs in Sweden this year, why do you think you made that list?
OO: I can only guess. We have penetrated a very competitive high-tech, niche market in biotech/bioinformatics that, traditionally, has been dominated by global multi-billion dollar companies. We have presented a new type of technology and a new business model that has now started to change this market. I guess that is quite impressive for a small Swedish startup. Maybe that’s why.
TT: As the population in the western world ages and the median age rises, what role does proteomics play in making their lives better or longer?
OO: So far proteomics hasn’t played such a significant role in this, but it has great potential to do so. Very simplistically you could say that you can get a snapshot of a person’s health state by looking at his/her protein content. Whilst a person’s genes are static over the lifetime, the proteins constantly change depending on stimuli. So it is in theory possible to monitor a person’s state of health quite accurately by looking at proteins, long before that person has developed any classical symptoms of disease. At the same time, this is a great tool for behavioral changes, as any lifestyle changes will be reflected in the protein composition in the body. So all in all, certain types of proteomics could come to play a major role in prevention and keeping people healthy. One thing is for sure, the paradigm of treating people when they get ill will have to change to a paradigm that says “keeping people healthy”. We can’t afford the alternative. The only beneficiaries of having a population that is chronically ill are the pharmaceutical companies whose ideal customer is a chronically ill young person. But for the rest of us, it makes more sense to keep people healthy.
TT: So we really like @maydbs, we saw you at a concert with her on Twitter – what’s she really like in person?
OO: Maisa is a tremendously energetic and outgoing person, just as positive and driven in person as she comes across over Twitter or other social media! She knows a lot of people everywhere and has always something going on. She’s just fun to be around. Last night she had a private little war with some wasps at an outdoor restaurant here in Malmo, it was quite entertaining! And I know she will kick my ass big time for saying this!
Thanks to a last minute Saturday night Tweetup at De Kale here in Amsterdam, I had the good fortune of meeting Ward Geene. Lots of Generation Y’ers out there, but Ward channels a mindset outside of his demographic. We believe he is one to watch for his views on people’s relationships to the current media environment and his ability to articulate a vision about the world we live in and our own personal relationship with it.
Tattletech: Masters student in New Media & Digital Culture, champion air guitarist, gaming journalist – sounds like a 21st century renaissance man but some would say that is quite an eclectic mix of projects to undertake that are seemingly unrelated. What do you think all those things have in common?
Ward Geene: It’s the power to let go. While playing air guitar it’s all about embodying disembodied sound and creating an illusion with nothing except your own body. You have no place to hide on stage, you just have to show yourself and let go, feel the music flow through your veins. Even though I live quite rationally, I learned to trust my intuition and follow my heart and dreams. I always got the chance to figure out my own path in life without someone telling me what to do or what to become.
This has brought me to all different kinds of places. Some of those are my study, air guitar and game journalism, others are yet to be found. On this path of life I hope to choose my friendships wisely and sometimes there are people that take me along with them like Monique de Haas from Dondersteen Media. She gives me the opportunity to learn and travel faster, but is also willing to listen to my suggestions so that I have a say in which direction we are to go. In the conservative media world and financial crisis we live in today it’s hard to find people that give you a chance especially when you are young. So how I end up in all these places and different ways of life? It’s about meeting interesting people, letting go of your own conventions and join the story of their lives for a while. Only when you let go, you are able the see the beauty and value in everything around you.
TT: When we met you told me that gaming is all about the “now” and not the past or the present, can you elaborate on that?
WG: Believing in the now of games started almost a year ago when I challenged the Ludic identity theory of my video games professor Joost Reassens and his colleague Jos de Mul on a logic basis. His course was about implementing his theory about a ludic identity that was being positioned opposite to the narrative identity of Paul Ricoeur. I refused, because their logic did not stand. Narrative identity is about defining who you are by telling stories about what you did. It’s focused on the past. Ludic identity must be focused on de future then, De Mul suggested, because it focuses on the future possibilities. The focus is on what you try to achieve.
I said no to that theory. Playing games or being an actor in a theatrical play is about the now. Because the situation is always different, especially when you believe in the Rhizome theory of Deleuze and Guattari’s. Because of the experience you gain while playing the game it can only exist in the now. There is no game when you don’t decide to play and put your controller down. There is no theatre when the actors decide not to play their part. It’s not about the script or about what can originate from it. It’s all about what happens WHEN the decision is made to let something originate. Games present themselves to you.
TT: You have to make thesis for your Masters and you are making one around secrets called I like my Secrets – your theory was that today it’s all about openness, no walled gardens, but you have a different view on this. Tell us.
WG: When I just joined Dondersteen Media and was still working as an intern (now I am fortunate enough to be employed) I got the opportunity to hear another great media visionary Gerd Leonhard talk about not being a walled garden as a media company. Companies should gain the trust of their consumers. Reach out towards them. Open themselves up to the public and become love brands.
At Dondersteen Media, where i work now, has also recently worked on a project to open up the walled garden principle at the Dutch Public Broadcasters. Instead of putting all the audio and video material in a closed container, a strategy was designed for creating tools, so that the public was able to grab, post, share and leave comments on the material of the Pubcasters, anywhere they wanted to post this material. The goal was to generate (postponed) shared viewing experiences on all different environments people themselves choose to share material.
But the whole openness debate started me wondering about the meaning of trust? Telling someone to trust me or reaching out is meaningless when you are being either completely open or closed. For example, say we could all communicate like angels and knew everything about each other everywhere every time. You would think there would be no more confusion. But what about my secrets? When everything and everyone opens up there is no place to hide, not even a magical world we could create. Everything would be defined and we would never be able to suggest and spark someone’s imagination. So it’s not about being open so much. It’s about being able to choose who you share your secrets with and being able to regulate the information you posses. This enables you to keep close friends and letting people feel special. Being ‘open’ and sharing without relevance has been given a name long ago: spam. I don’t want to be in a walled garden and make it impossible to make friends and neither do I want to be completely open and make it impossible to built trust among friends. That’s why I like my secrets.
TT: On Dondersteen Media there is talk about computational AI. Do you see the kind of ultra modern world popularized by science fiction, or do you see a more sober wise human stewardship of AI which leads to happier, more productive lives for all of us.
WG: Like my mentor Monique de Haas, I believe that relevance is key. AI or ubiquitous computing should add value to our lives. But there is more to it than meets the eye. The idea of ubiquitous computing and the idea of designing technologies that are integrated seamlessly into our daily lives deprives us from choosing what we want. What happens when everything is seamlessly integrated in your daily activities? You will only mention when the system fails to meet the expectations. Want you want already happens. Instead of the choice we make to turn something on, we will only be busy with turning things off. Instead of choosing what we want, we only choose what we DON’T want. People are already ‘de-googling’ themselves. Web 2.0 turn all options to make sharing as optimal as possible. We are already turning off more and more in our lives. So it’s not that I think the future will be AI controlled, but it’s up to media designers to recognize this development. That’s why Dondersteen focuses on User Centered (UX) design. To make media relevant and to let people choose what they want instead of constantly correcting ubiquitous systems.
TT: Why do people’s media experiences need to be shaped? Have we become so immersed in the online world that we need to be spoon fed?
WG: As we see it, it is not the media that need to shape people! It is people shaping media through their stories and experiences. The driving force to connect, get involved and move through media-environments lies in the power of the stories themselves and how they are able to touch upon our lives. We don’t think it relevant to try and feed a person with something that has no (added) value to them. At the same time, to accomplish cohesion in any multi-facetted media environment their needs to be some form of agreed upon rules of that media-environment and what you can do within.
Of course the more people are able to shape that environment to their own needs the better. But people also love to have a little guidance, it takes a lot of time and effort to continuously reshape every aspect of a media-environment you get into, often misbalancing with the pleasure you get from being there and actually doing the things you really want to do. Taking out too much of the hassle and being able to shape the experience to your needs: that actually IS the art of people shaping media experiences.
TT: So, we were talking about nuts when we met, on a serious note, which nut is the king of all nuts?
WG: That must be the coconut. The first reason is the fact that the coconut is the one nut girls can use to make a bikini top. Secondly I can drink my beverages from it. And last but not least you can make awesome horse riding sounds with them like Monthy Python did in The Holy Grail. Yep, it’s definitely the coconut.