If you missed it this week, the scientific community announced an ironic pair of headlines: Earth will soon be destroyed, yet humans will live forever.
A group of ”22 internationally known” UC Berkeley scientists state that the world is totally screwed, as we approach half our land becoming industrialized: “Scientists uncover evidence of impending tipping point for Earth“
However, not to be outdone, Ray Kurzweil, an inductee into the Inventors Hall of Fame with 18 Doctorates and a Lifetime Achievement Award as an inventor of computer technology, believes that in just a few more generations, we humans won’t be able to tell the difference between our wives and robots, and that we will soon be invincible! “Immortality Possible in Just 30 Years?” (Inc.)
Now I’d hate to take sides on something I’m completely unqualified to even discuss–however, everybody’s doing it–it’s an election year! So let me just say that I prefer the “live forever” point of view.
I like it because it doesn’t require we freeze ourselves and come back to life like Encino Man. Nor does it necessitate that we be the sole survivors of the already-begun zombie apocolypse (similar to Will Smith and his pooch). Also, let’s face it, it’s just more convenient to sit back and allow geniuses invent stuff that fixes our problems. Having another set of geniuses tell us that WE need to fix our own problems is just too emotionally jarring.
And I love technology! You, too, right?
Aren’t you as excited as a 12-yr-old boy at Comic-con when you think of all the cool keep-us-alive technology we’ll get to play with? If you think digital music and Farmville are fun, wait until you don’t even need to think to eat!
Just imagine being able to program your entire upcoming week during halftime of Monday Night Football.
And football! Don’t even get me started on the amazing games and plays we’ll be able to witness when robots replace that old school technology of human beings on the gridiron. Sorry Janikowski, Elam and Dempsey, you can still have that tie for the longest “human” field goal of all time, but that measly 63-yards of yours will be toast when C-3PO’s offspring steps foot on the turf of Galactica Stadium.
And who wouldn’t want to see an automated version of Cirque du Soleil with absolutely no human interaction!? Real human emotions like fear and pride just get in the way, anyway.
So focus on future fun, not past transgressions. Look forward to the gradual elimination of nature and the uprising of programmed automation! It’s easier to deal with–for now. I mean, seriously, who needs a bunch of Debbie Downer scientists interfering with progress toward the elimination of the human process.
About a month ago, PandoDaily received decent coverage from AdAge, which not only touted PandoDaily’s quality investors, but most importantly AdAge emphasized why PandoDaily was unique in the marketplace. Reading more like a press release for PandoDaily, AdAge stated:
So how will PandoDaily stand out in a crowded tech-news landscape? For one, the focus will be exclusively on startups. So don’t expect a ton of coverage of big tech companies such as Google or Microsoft, unless the news directly affects the startup world.
Although this statement was quite noncommittal and passive, it still provided what seemed to be a fair assessment of how PandoDaily truly could separate itself from TechCrunch, Wired, Gizmodo, Engadget, CNET, ZDNet, and your friends’ twitter and Facebook feeds.
But below you will see a recent (just after 4pm CST on February 11th, 2011) image capture of PandoDaily’s home page. The first thing you might notice is the extremely prominent inclusion of little startups like Google and it’s Gmail service, a new and struggling company called Amazon, and another small fish called Oracle.
Sarah, if you’re out there, did you give up already, or is there another explanation?
AdAge, if you’re listening, did you happen to consider delving more into PandoDaily’s real uniqueness?
An experiment failed. What was known as “Joplin MealWatch” was founded in logic, and had even been witnessed as effective. But, what was meant to motivate and inspire, actually turned out to be complex and outright rude.
No matter how easy the WordPress tools made it to capture a quick picture of my food and post it (two clicks on my phone and a few words in the app), I still found myself easily forgetting. A few posts I even had to catch up with later to add unofficial stock photos–or worse yet, no photos at all!
It became intolerably rude when I would have to whip out my phone as we received our food either at a restaurant or at the dinner table, often interrupting conversation and blocking others’ path to the shared food or condiments. Imagine being that guy at a nice family Thanksgiving dinner who infuriates grumpy grandparents and annoys caring wives.
So there you go. Try at your own risk; you’ve been warned. Lesson learned, though: it’s not the tools that matter, it’s the awareness. MealWatch did serve it’s purpose in ensuring my cognizance of the issues I will have living back in Joplin, with less metabolism than I had in high school. And my dedication to the gym, bicycle riding, and yes, more apples and Kashi GoLean instead of Takis and four-course Italian meals from chain restaurants.
Who would’ve thunk Jim Harbaugh, coach of the San Francisco 49ers, and Steve Martin, yeah, that one, would cross paths. Well, today they did. Journalists pressed Jim Harbaugh about days. Practice days. Preparation days. And all the other highly-important days that sports journalists and die hard fans pretend to care about.
And his resulting response couldn’t help but remind Steve Martin fans of perhaps the least romantic love scene in all of Hollywood.
Skip to 2:00 in today’s Jim Harbaugh press conference video.
Today’s victor: Joplin
As some very sad news came out today–and it could not happen in Joplin: an elevator malfunction kills one and injures two more. And the victims worked at one of the most prominent ad agencies in the city, which was housed in that building. I worked at comparative agencies during my agency tenure in Manhattan, and it’s virtually impossible to work on the first floor in NYC.
Every day, you are in an elevator at least six times: down to your apartment lobby; up from your office lobby; back-and-forth in your office building for lunch; repeat. And although today’s accident was a rare, freak accident, imagine being one of those New Yorkers who was in their office building when hearing the news. Imagine being a co-worker of the victims. You will then understand how much of a relief it was hearing this news and NOT being on the 20th floor of an office building just blocks away from the incident. A great sigh of relief came over me as I nestled here in my one story home-office in Joplin.
And just minute later, what did I read? Additional validation, continual confirmation, and damning details proving that New York City is the most expensive place to live in the U.S., including three of the five boroughs in the top five most expensive areas in the country.
Before spending $500 on speech recognition or speech-to-text software, try out Microsoft’s free speech recognition software that comes with almost any PC purchased since 2008. If you can’t find it, try accessing your computer’s “Control Panel,” and then “Speech Recognition.”
Tips when trying it out (many of these come straight from the program itself while using it):
- Train it: Go through the recommended training: takes about 15 minutes
- Articulate: For instance, when I was training the program I started off articulating very well. But then I realized that I might actually be training the program to recognize a much different voice of mine. However, not only does the program recommend we articulate well, but articulating better is actually a great lesson for life. If you’ve been known to mumble a bit, if people often ask you to repeat what you said, or if you simply want to work on your accent or pronunciations for your future broadcasting career, then you can look at improving your articulation as getting two birds with one stone. In fact, the training session itself recommends that you, “consider speaking like a newscaster.”
- Positioning: Whether you use an external or embedded microphone, make sure you properly position the microphone. If you have an external microphone, Microsoft recommends your mouth be as close as an inch from it!
- Avoid “PEBCAK Errors”: Known in many circles as the “Problem Exists Between Chair and Keyboard,” any issue that is your fault, not the programs, is a PEBCAK Error. Improper positioning of you and the hardware, mumbling like an ogre, or having too much background noise are just a few examples. But also, not taking the time to set up the machine properly … these are issues that could easily be avoided.
- Use good technology:If your mic sucks, replace it. If your computer is old, get a new one. If you ask me, proper and timely technology upgrades give the best ROI in business and personal life
- “Correct” your mistakes–literally: There’s dialog for that. Use it. Learn the proper “correction” terminology and use it early and often. The proper dictation is, “Correct (insert word to correct) .” This will prompt a list of words as options to replace the mistaken word. 90% of the time, the correct work will appear.
- “Spell” out the word–literally: If after you use the “Correct ____” command, you still do not see the proper word, simply say “Spell”
- Practice: Once again, use the dictation early and often. It may take a while, but let’s hope it will be well worth it. Over time, the basic commands will become natural to you. At the same time, you will learn the advanced commands that make voice recognition software tremendous.
“And this is my first official sentence using Microsoft’s speech recognition program.”
^The above sentence actually took more than three minutes. I sure hope it gets better with time.
What: Toast with Brummel & Brown yogurt spread, Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran, 1.5 cups of half orange-half prune juice (not as gross as it sounds)
What: My homemade Guacamole. 6 small avocados, 2 whole wheat tortillas, mixed mexican shredded cheese, and tortilla chips. Oh, and 2 cups of Southern Comfort w/ diet ginger ale.
Why: Well, eating at my dad and Jayne’s house is always an interesting experiment. They intentionally leave their kitchen fairly bare. In fact, one staple in their kitchen is steamed brussel sprouts. And since my dad and Jayne claimed to only want a snack, Claudia
recommended I make my guacamole that I brag about so much. And while at the grocery store, we couldn’t help but grab some tortillas for cheese and onion quesadillas.
What: 1 serving of Kashi GoLean Crunch, 1 cup Silk soy milk, 1 cup water, 2000 IU Vitamin D pills