The 23rd Century Has Arrived Early

| Particle Debris

This week’s edition will be short. last week’s Particle Debris was delayed because I was working on the John Sculley interview. This week, most of the action was concerned with Apple’s textbook publishing announcements. I’ll have more to say about that as time goes on. However, my first reaction is that the whole affair is just the beginning of a new era. Those who will be successful, as always, will be those who are excited, adventurous and full of imagination. Using old ideas to complain about how it all can’t work is just foggy thinking.

We’ve heard it all before. “It can’t work. It’s too expensive. People won’t adopt it. The change is too dramatic.” And then it just happens and we wonder what all the fuss was about.

For example if learning is in Apple’s DNA, according to Phil Schiller, will that lead Apple to personal, learning robots someday? See below.

The next article will make your day. There’s been a lot of discussion of the merger of OS X and iOS, the “gorilla arm” effect, that is, how reaching out to touch a display doesn’t make sense and all that. So how about turning the whole desk into your touch sensitive surface and combine that with a vertical display for an unobstructed view? “Mac|Life Rethinks Apple: iDesk.

iDeskUsed with permission from the artist, Adam Benton.

It’s right out of Star Trek. Oh, wait! Star Trek never envisioned that! But Terra Nova on FOX kinda did. iDesk, above, is better.

Terra Nova

Medical lab computer, FOX’s Terra Nova TV series

If you didn’t see my tweet on this, here’s another Hitler spoof. I love these. This time, Hitler weighs in on SOPA.

Along the lines of advanced learning, I’ve often thought that one future for personal robots is assisted learning. What if our kids had robot companions to teach them, even protect them from bullies. Will the iRobot company in Bedford, MA make them someday? WIll it be Apple? Will we ever learn how to make robots that are safe for kids? What are the possibilities? Check out this research. There’s a PDF you can download on the home page.

The whole idea of robots working with kids is fraught with difficulties. Will they be insidiously used to sell kids on certain ideas? Who will dictate the curriculum? Will they obey Asimov’s Three Laws? How could things go wrong? There’s much more than I can get into here, but the above research is worth exploring.

If the iDesk doesn’t send your mind ablaze and the idea of personal learning from robots doesn’t get you wired up, then I guess we’ll just have to settle for an Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). A name you know, Jason Perlow, has suggested that: “Why Ice Cream Sandwich won’t be able to save Android tablets.”

Here are some salient quotes: “ICS has done absolutely nothing to make Android less geeky or more user friendly. That alone is worth consideration.” And this one: “Say what you want about Apple’s walled garden and locked-down OS — they got the ergonomics of tablets right, and Google has it all wrong.” I can hardly add anything to that.

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John, you would be better off to not include what you think is a “funny” Hitler spoof. Are you people ever going to understand that you are torturing and belittling generations of Germans who were born after this idiot killed himself? Your blogs are otherwise excellent most of the time. But these kind of “jokes” are plain tasteless and unnecessary. Think about it.


Good point tampaappleman.

My grandfather was in WWII and went to do his duty. The same for the German youth of the time. My great grandfather was in WWI and that one was incomplete so spawned WWII.

Looking at US and British history of colonisation there were horrific human injuries by them and others too that should not be forgotten or forgiven. Most nations and their peoples have to live with their shames and we can see still today the horrors our species commits against its own and other peoples.

Nevertheless, your thoughts have validity, but history has to be remembered and thinking people are going to understand that times and people do change just as they understand that it is all too easy to step into barbarism.


Are you people ever going to understand that you are torturing and belittling generations of Germans who were born after this idiot killed himself?

Your point is well-taken, tampaappleman, although it is not clear by whom you intend ‘you people’. Hitler was a blight to all mankind, not just Germans but Jews, French, Brits, Russians, Poles, Austrians and every nation and people who either fought or were the victims of the war to stop him.

That said, spoofing Hitler has been going on for decades, and has exploded since the internet’s advent. One simply has to look at the sheer number of Hitler spoofs on YouTube, and the number of views each receives, to appreciate their popularity.

And for good reason. Humour is good for the human psyche, and shared humour a means of human bonding. We will never reach a point where we will think what this monster did was funny - we are not laughing at Hitler; but that we can hold him up as an object of ridicule is an indicator that he no longer possesses the power to terrorise or deprive us of our joy and the freedom of the human spirit. In that sense, the parody is a good and healthy expression of our resilience and capacity to heal. We revel in our triumph over the tyrant.

Not only Hitler, we’ve been doing this with a panoply of dead and deposed despots and dictators who once wielded the power of death over millions (Chinese bloggers have been merciless with Mao, and you should hear some of the Iranian jokes and spoofs on Khomeini).

Besides, some of the funniest Hitler parodies that I have seen have been done by Germans. I, for one, think it good for people to get beyond their fears and move on; and I will be laughing alongside them as they do.



I meant to mention that I have never seen Terra Nova, but now I’m at least curious. The iDesk concept is intriguing, although I wonder whether 2D surfaces or immersive 3D projection is the future. A number of futurists have predicted nano tech will enable us to convert any surface to a screen.

The Ice Cream Sandwich piece is a good read.


?“Are you people ever going to understand that you are torturing and belittling generations of Germans who were born after this idiot killed himself?”

That has to be the stupidest thing I’ve read in a very long time. Torturing them? Hilarious. Hitler existed. Deal with it.

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