The robots are coming

Absolutely fascinating to see how far Boston Dynamics has taken the independent, untethered robot. The agility, speed and accuracy are incredible. Watch how the ‘bot balances when it picks up a package — its “head” is used to counterbalance the weight of the box. Looks alive, and smart. Yikes!

Checking out Dropbox Paper

Dropbox Paper

Dropbox has sent us all a Valentine. If you have the app installed, you probably got an email or two from them about their new collaboration product, Dropbox Paper.

So, either Paper is a “low-end disruptor” that will transform the way people collaborate online, or maybe it’ll be a hammer searching for a nail, and nobody will really use it. If it can make things easier or better for non-traditional, distributed teams like our own, or for those of us with clients in many cities, that would be a welcome addition to our arsenal of tools.

Scott Rosenberg says, “At its launch state it looks like a simplified browser-based document editor with comments — as if Microsoft Office or Google Docs got reincarnated as the love-child of Medium and Slack. “

But it looks like there’s great potential here. In his article about it on Backchannel, Rosenberg concludes:

“[One] thing…stood out for me: Although the half-dozen managers and execs I spoke to there were all straining a bit to bring the elusive vision of the new Dropbox into sharper relief, they presented a remarkably united front and consistent picture…The secret? Kavitha Radhakrishnan, Paper’s product manager, told me that Dropbox used eight Paper documents, total, to plan the whole product launch. In the middle of the last-lap scramble before the event, everyone was noticeably — as promised! — in sync.”

Can’t wait to test it out on a real-world project. What do you think about Paper and online collaboration?

When just one company controls what we see and hear

Seth Godin has written such a clear take on the issue of net neutrality that I was just gonna paste the whole thing here so you wouldn’t have to click to read it all. But that probably violates his copyright and affects traffic on his site. And if there’s one site I want to make sure stays healthy, it’s this guy’s.

So read, then click. Sometimes a middleman (like me) isn’t so terrible…..

The time to think about middlemen is before there’s only one

I grew up near a mall that had 42 shoe stores. If a store didn’t carry what you wanted, it wasn’t a big deal to walk 22 feet to a store that did.

The core issue of net neutrality isn’t whether or not a big corporation ought to have the freedom to maximize profit by choosing what to feature. No, the key issue is: what happens when users are unable to choose a different middleman?

(Read more. You know you want to.)

Quadcopters + Cirque = Creativity

“No CGI used or needed” says the title at the end of this beautiful little video. It’s more Cirque du Soleil magic. There’s probably no company on earth that concentrates so much technical expertise, expression, agility, art and music into one physical space. The company embodies creativity. It’s embedded deeply into their DNA. So it’s always a pleasure when they break new ground and we get to see it happening.

Cirque du Soleil, ETH Zurich, and Verity Studios have partnered to develop a short film featuring 10 quadcopters in a flying dance performance. The collaboration resulted in a unique, interactive choreography where humans and drones move in sync. Precise computer control allows for a large performance and movement vocabulary of the quadcopters and opens the door to many more applications in the future.

Scrapheap Symphony from Brother

I think the ending is just a little anti-climactic, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, so to speak. Take a look.

iMac design evolution

iMac evolution

Just a quick visual geek post. What a beautiful set of objects. I think it’s so Interesting to see the “uplift” of the back of the 1998 and 2000 models — never noticed that before, but the 2000 one is much less dumpy in profile.

I also think that the 2002 model with its hemispherical base and adjustable screen is an amazing design. What a brilliant concept.

Every one of these has transformed the industry.

A trillion frames a second

You’ve seen photos of a bullet passing through an apple, right?  Light itself is a million times faster. But now Ramesh Raskar and MIT Media Lab have invented a way to capture photons at a trillion frames a second. Want to see how it’s done? Check out this video.

Where’s Google heading Now and why should we care?

Ed Dale is an Australian internet marketing expert, a prolific emailer and blogger, and a predictor of the direction of All Things Web. He’s just posted an insightful article called:

A Pig Just Flew By And He’s Belting Out “Hollywood Nights” 

If you want to understand why SEO based on links is about to go the way of the dodo, why Siri is Apple’s ace in the hole for far more than just selling phones, and why Google+ is not a social network,  you’ll want to read Ed’s post.  To quote Mr. Dale himself:

I’m declaring something a Game Changer.

It will shock you.

Grab a coffee and read this now.

Seriously, read it now.

Steve Jobs introduces the Macintosh in 1984

What a moment to have captured on video. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this was the single defining event that established our new world of technology. Suddenly the power to create and disseminate one’s creation was in the hands of everyone. Onscreen design and desktop publishing became reality, and enabled our entire business. All the basic ideas that have become Facebook, YouTube, WordPress (not to mention Windows, Word and PowerPoint)  were already right there — inside this little beige box.

Time-lapse space shuttle video

Some things have to go in my blog because they are just so cool. This time-lapse video of the space shuttle Discovery is one of ’em. I love how beat-up looking it is. George Lucas must be proud.