Remembering Robin Williams

Originally posted on TED Blog:

Robin Williams hijacks the TED2008 stage before the BBC World Debate. Photo: Andrew Heavens

Robin Williams hijacks the TED2008 stage before the BBC World Debate. Photo: Andrew Heavens

It’s 2008, moments before a BBC broadcast live from the stage at TED. But something’s gone wrong. The house lights are still up, the camera ops are looking at one another, official-looking folks are wandering at the stage apron muttering into headsets, and the panelists are sitting patiently onstage but looking, increasingly, baffled. Minutes go by.

And then a voice rises from the audience, wondering “why at a technology conference everything is running so shittily”! As Kim Zetter wrote: “at least that’s the word I think he used; it was hard to hear the last word through the audience’s laughter.” It was Robin Williams, who’d spent the day watching TED, and who now jumped out of the audience to grab the mic and reel off 10 or 15 minutes — reports vary — of improvised…

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Second Life Cats

One of the most popular pastimes in Second Life is caring for, feeding and breeding virtual animals. Over the years these animals have improved and developed and a whole community of Second Life breeders and traders has emerged.

KittyCatS! ™ are highly interactive cats that can be petted and cuddled. They will follow you and play with you. There are lots of breeds and sizes, including teacup, toy, petite, normal and MegaPuss. There are also special collection cats that will breed one unique baby. It is compelling and addictive and fascinating. http://kittycats.biz.

What is fascinating is the way in which these cats become real. When they are born an imprinting occurs and this sets the scene for reality to step in.

They become attached. They follow you and talk in local chat. They need feeding or they get sick, they sleep a lot. You give them affection, breed them and end up with baby cats. Their lineage is recorded. They develop a personality.

Great fun you should try it!

The SLurl for the shop is :

Visit the Main store: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/ScratchN%20Post%20Too/22/68/22

New Stall at: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Just%20Too%20Adorable/149/170/22

The Book is at : http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IFRFR7G/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_E9xbtb119JPH8

Technology

taskmanager
The above graphic is the new Windows 8 Task Manager showing resources being used.  The increased activity is when I started Second Life.  Of note is the workings of the CPU which runs higher than its base clock speed of 3.4 GHz. This is the turbo facility.

My old computer broke, there was a fault on the RAM sockets and / or a fault on the power supply. It was 5 years old and I deemed it unfixable. It took a month of testing to find this out. I bought a tablet (ASUS) to keep me going while I got a new passport for financial ID purposes this took nearly two months. Then I ordered a new PC which took a week to arrive. It cost about the same as the computer I bought 5 years ago. However it was a third again faster in processor speed 3.4 GHz with a turbo boost to 3.9 GHz compared to 2.44 GHz on my old system. RAM increased from 4 gigs to 32 gigs. I als have a 256 gig SSD (Solid State Drive) and a 3TB hard disk drive. I also bought a new keyboard and mouse. The keyboard is solid, metal with rubber keys, very responsive. The mouse has four buttons and a tilt wheel all of which I haven’t worked out how to use yet. lol.  For more details go to Irish Secure .com

Technology booms.  I have a Windows smart phone  and an android tablet. And all this helps me to interact with the digital world I inhabit. I just installed Cortana on my Windows phone, a digital assistant, an attempt at AI. Does it very well too. Some years back I attempted to train Windows to accept voice commands. I then went on to assist a paraplegic who was 100% physically disabled to use voice. The training was beyond him. Windows phone however is remarkably accurate without training. There are no lengthy paragraphs to read in. However when i say “beta” I get a list of “pizza” restaurants.  Cortana isn’t available in the UK yet I changed the location of the phone to US.  The phone a Nokia Lumia 925 has a great camera. One feature I like very much is the ability to take panoramic shots like the one below:

bridgehouse Click on it to see full screen.

Below is a video of my work station taken with the phone:

 
All in all I am very 2014 and should stay a bit ahead of the crowd for some time to come . Hehehe :)
 

 

 

Tails From The Cat Shop Special Edition

TAILS FROM THE CAT SHOP
COUNTDOWN DEAL (USA Only)
6 to 12 June 2014
Buy for a limited time special discount
Follow this link:

Fantasy meets Reality in Cyberspace, in a world where our online and offline experiences, friendships and even, our identities are excitingly entangled. Avatars are extensions of us, leading lives parallel to our own dull everyday existence. Having a Virtual Life sets you free to dream and some dreams do come true.

Meet the Divine Penny, the Italian-speaking Siamese cat, with the delicate chocolate paws, and find out if Professor Poppett’s poodle recovers from ‘indoor barking syndrome’. Go on an adventure in the alligator infested bayou to hunt for the Golden Kitten and find out why love always wins the day.

3 in 1

Having a hard time

I just spent all my savings on upgrading my computer, primarily so i could be up to date with Second Life. I upgraded to a 64 bit system with 8 gigs of RAM which is probably pretty standard now. Everything works fine EXCEPT SL. The system freezes after a few minutes. So I tried

1. Using recommended graphics drivers as per wiki : no difference. Tried different drivers …no good.
2. Spent hours testing RAM with no difference. Firestorm works with 4 gigs of RAM which makes having 64 bits pointless.
3. Reinstalled Windows and just installed FS, no difference.
4. Posted a jira to FS site no one has answered. This could take months.

Yesterday I spent hours researching, reading forums and posting to them. One thread decided it was my power supply that needed upgrading. Not doing that would mean dismantling the PC. This is very frustrating.

I am able to go into SL providing I have my graphics set to low. I managed to do my shift.

crashdude

I was crashing so much Siani created a body double for me. But this is not funny when it come down to it. My SL experience with low graphics is not good. All I can do is wait for the Jira response. It is very frustrating especially as everything is supposed to be better. Everything else on my computer works fine its just SL.

Not a happy bunny anyone got any ideas?

 

Update: The computer freezes on YouTube now. It must be the ram sockets on the motherboard.  I need a new PC.

Bite The Bullet

Yes I have to give up. I’ve tried everything to make 8 gigs of RAM work on my computer without success. People at Firestorm they have Jira where you can post your problems but I didn’t really get anywhere. I tried everything. I’m running 64 bit windows with 4 gigs of RAM and it works, for now. But I have lost confidence in it. My current system is over 5 years old, so it’s ready for replacement. So I’m going to buy a new PC.

Another Dell

Base is an XPS 8700 i7 – 4770 4th Gen 3.7 GHz, which can be overclocked to 3.9 GHz.

This is the current fastest processor around.

Memory 16GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz – 4 DIMMs can be expanded to 32 gigs

Video Card AMD Radeon HD R9 270 2GB GDDR5 I looked this card up and its pretty good, 2 gigs is good enough memory

(I’m keeping my monitor unless I decide to have two) I have decided to get a 27 inch monitor

Hard Drive 2TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive + Intel SRT 32GB SSD Cache 2 terabytes is good for these days, the solid state Cache speeds things up. I have 3 TB on my USB drives

It has lots of room for expansion. Cost €1,239 inc taxes and shipping

have to wait for new ID so can’t buy until the end of May

Tablet

My computer won’t run Second Life because there is a fault in the motherboard (RAM sockets). I am buying a new computer but don’t know when, it could be a month or it could be three. So I decided to buy a tablet. I chose from three and picked the one with the most powerful spec :

ASUS MeMO Pad HD 7 ME173X …

ASUS MEMOPAD ME173X, MediaTek MT8125 CPU 1.2Ghz Quad-core, 1 Micro USB, 16GB Storage, 7″ HD Display (ME173X-1B018A)

One reason I chose the Asus was because my gf has an Asus laptop. A good name in computing.

It cost €125 and is a nice piece of tech. I bought from Elara in Ireland and got it in 4 days. Here is the first screen:

Screenshot_2014-05-25-06-26-13

The blue upside down triangle on the left is Lumiya, the sl client for tablets. Installation as with all tablet widgets was fast and easy. Once installed you have a settings page with some usual features like changing rendering , draw distance etc. Rendering is a bit slow but not too bad.

Screenshot_2014-05-25-06-46-20You have the option of 3D view like the above. You can also chat as below:

Screenshot_2014-05-25-10-31-10

This is fine but when you want to chat the keyboard takes up a lot of room:

 

Screenshot_2014-05-25-09-20-52

I have decided to get a Bluetooth keyboard..I did and its awesome. Little bigger than the 7 inch with carry case which is a magnetised to hold the keyboard so you can type upside down. It has holes for front and rear cameras. Battery life of 30 hours.The keyboard can be used free of the case. All for £25.

Overall its quite awesome and very usable. With practice it will do the job and I hosted with it for 4 hours. Not bad at all.

 

 

Tails From The Cat Shop

Great new book out from Storm! Must Read! Click on the picture to buy.

Fantasy meets Reality in Cyberspace, in a world where our online and offline experiences, friendships and even, our identities are excitingly entangled. Avatars are extensions of us, leading lives parallel to our own dull everyday existence. There are no limits to our Virtual Lives and we are free to live in any World we choose. Having a Virtual Life sets you free to dream and some dreams do come true.

Storm and Dude are partners. In spite of the fiercely opposing time zones, they meet and fall in love on the dance floor of the Junkyard Blues Club in the Virtual World of Second Life. They begin collecting breedable cats and their Second Life gets very crowded, so together they open Not Another Kitten, a Cat Shop in Cyberspace. Then the Cat Shop meets the University and both Worlds collide with laughter.

Meet the Divine Penny, the Italian-speaking Siamese cat, with the delicate chocolate paws, and find out if Professor Poppett’s poodle recovers from ‘indoor barking syndrome’. Go on an adventure in the alligator infested bayou to hunt for the Golden Kitten and find out why love always wins the day.

tails book

Quite an achievment. Started as a blog and became a book. Well done Storm very proud of you!


Heres the URL again : http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IFRFR7G

Asimov predicts in 1964

When New York City hosted The World’s Fair in 1964, Isaac Asimov, the prolific sci-fi author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, took the opportunity to wonder what the world would look like 50 years hence — assuming the world survived the nuclear threats of the Cold War. Writing in The New York Times, Asimov imagined a world that you might partly recognize today, a world where:

  • “Gadgetry will continue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs. Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare ‘automeals,’ heating water and converting it to coffee; toasting bread; frying, poaching or scrambling eggs, grilling bacon, and so on. Breakfasts will be ‘ordered’ the night before to be ready by a specified hour the next morning.”
  • “Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books. Synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica.”
  • “[M]en will continue to withdraw from nature in order to create an environment that will suit them better. By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use. Ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colors that will change at the touch of a push button.”
  • “Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence.”
  • “The appliances of 2014 will have no electric cords, of course, for they will be powered by long- lived batteries running on radioisotopes.”
  • “[H]ighways … in the more advanced sections of the world will have passed their peak in 2014; there will be increasing emphasis on transportation that makes the least possible contact with the surface. There will be aircraft, of course, but even ground travel will increasingly take to the air a foot or two off the ground.”
  • “[V]ehicles with ‘Robot-brains’ … can be set for particular destinations … that will then proceed there without interference by the slow reflexes of a human driver.”
  • “[W]all screens will have replaced the ordinary set; but transparent cubes will be making their appearance in which three-dimensional viewing will be possible.”
  • “[T]he world population will be 6,500,000,000 and the population of the United States will be 350,000,000.” And later he warns that if the population growth continues unchecked, “All earth will be a single choked Manhattan by A.D. 2450 and society will collapse long before that!” As a result, “There will, therefore, be a worldwide propaganda drive in favor of birth control by rational and humane methods and, by 2014, it will undoubtedly have taken serious effect.” [See our Walt Disney Family Planning cartoon from earlier this week.]
  • “Ordinary agriculture will keep up with great difficulty and there will be ‘farms’ turning to the more efficient micro-organisms. Processed yeast and algae products will be available in a variety of flavors.”
  • “The world of A.D. 2014 will have few routine jobs that cannot be done better by some machine than by any human being. Mankind will therefore have become largely a race of machine tenders. Schools will have to be oriented in this direction…. All the high-school students will be taught the fundamentals of computer technology will become proficient in binary arithmetic and will be trained to perfection in the use of the computer languages that will have developed out of those like the contemporary “Fortran.”
  • “[M]ankind will suffer badly from the disease of boredom, a disease spreading more widely each year and growing in intensity. This will have serious mental, emotional and sociological consequences, and I dare say that psychiatry will be far and away the most important medical specialty in 2014.”
  •  ”[T]he most glorious single word in the vocabulary will have become work!” in our ”a society of enforced leisure.”

Isaac Asimov wasn’t the only person during the 60s who peered into the future in a fairly prescient way. You can find a few more on-the-mark predictions from contemporaries below:

Arthur C. Clarke Predicts the Future in 1964 … And Kind of Nails It

Walter Cronkite Imagines the Home of the 21st Century … Back in 1967

The Internet Imagined in 1969

Marshall McLuhan Announces That The World is a Global Village

Note: This post originally appeared on Open Culture last August. If there was ever a time to show it again, it’s today. So, with your indulgence, we’re giving it an encore performance.

Defining Humanity #edcmooc

Originally posted on e-learning & digital cultures MOOC:

Day 16

Block 2 of the E-learning and Digital Cultures course asks the question: ‘What does it mean to be human within a digital culture, and what does that mean for education?’

Given the brief, I decided not to jump straight into this week’s films as I have done in previous weeks. Instead, I am opening with the core content, a lecture from Professor Steve Fuller from University of Warwick entitled ‘Humanity 2.0: defining humanity’.

fuller

Professor Fuller speaks very engagingly on historical notions of humanity, although I felt that specific definitions are (perhaps intentionally) alluded to rather than spelled out; giving credence to the idea that “genuine humanity is precious and elusive”.

Picking the meat from the bones (a nod to another of this week’s films), I might conclude from Fuller’s lecture that it is the activities of man that cannot be explained by Darwinian theory that make us human…

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The Rise of The Antihero

SOA-logoI was watching ” Sons of Anarchy”  and this line resounded in my head “Why don’t they [ATF - Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms] leave them [Sons of Anarchy] alone so they can just get on with their business of selling guns toghostrider drug lords”. Wow I thought that. The Sons of Anarchy are outlaws and criminals and murderers (though they only kill “baddies”) yet they had so gained my sympathy that I condoned what they did. I did not give out a whoop when they were caught in one of their nefarious schemes; I rather felt sympathy for them.  They murder and run guns, involved with drug running when it suits them all in the name of ” family”.  There attitude towards women is very primitive.I am a biker and have colours in Second Life. Our moral code is as follows: ” Ghost Riders 1% MC Sargent @ Arms
The  Ghost Riders are an 1% MC of brothers and sisters that always have each others back and always looking to have a good time. This MC is founded on the principles of brotherhood, sisterhood, loyalty and respect. This will be upheld at all times.  If you want to join IM me..read above first. (Our President is a woman) So I have some sympathy for bikers. We tend towards being outlaws. We put “family ” first even if it means going outside the law. However running guns to drug lords is outside our purview, lol.

“Sons of Anarchy” is  totally tribal and tribal wars are commonplace. Is it so appealing because we feel disenfranchised from the social welfare in its broadest sense ? We need to belong.  “Family” like in the Sopranos rules. There are many failures in today’s society and “outlaws” provide a solution. Below is an article from Psychology Today that sheds more light. Would you kill and steal and commit other crimes to protect your “family”? Do we yearn to belong to a group that will put our welfare above that of society’s as a whole? Unions used to provide a sense of identity and protection. They seem to have disappeared. We all need a greater family that will help us in times of need and protect us in times of trouble. Unfortunately it seems we can only do this vicariously through TV.

Rise of the Antihero

Why we find Breaking Bad and other antihero-centric TV series compelling

Published on September 29, 2013 by H. Eric Bender, M.D. in Broadcast Thought

Tony Soprano.  Don Draper.  Walter White.  And now: Ray Donovan.  These fictional bad boys have ushered in what some have called the new “golden age” of television.  They’re not villains – at least not entirely.  But they’re definitely not heroes, either.  Breaking the mold of traditional heroism and villainy, they instead embody the unique qualities of the antihero.So, what is an antihero and why are they so compelling?As the 20th century progressed, protagonists—reflecting the increasing complexity of modern life— became increasingly morally ambiguous; the Gilded Age gave us Jay Gatsby, the Great Depression spawned Tom Powers, and Vietnam gave birth to a spectrum of sociopaths, from Michael Corleone to Travis Bickle.  And their moral compasses rarely pointed to Boy Scout—instead of upholding the law and avenging injustice, these characters broke the law and sought revenge.Despite their antisocial behavior, these antiheroes somehow seemed in the right.  What once were characters considered to be societal outliers had now become the blueprint for fictional protagonists.  And so dawned the era of the antihero.But why are we drawn to antiheroes?

It might be because their moral complexity more closely mirrors our own. They’re flawed. They’re still developing, learning, growing.  And sometimes in the end, they trend toward heroism. We root for their redemption and wring our hands when they pay for their mistakes. They surprise us. They disappoint us. And they’re anything but predictable.

While the antiheroes’ incompatibility with societal rules lays the foundation for compelling drama, it’s their unlikely virtue in the face of relatable circumstances that emotionally connects us to them.  Consider the moments that we spent cheering for Tony Soprano.  Typically they involved his efforts to overcome his anxiety—a relatively common condition—and his attempts, at times unprecedented, to protect family, both nuclear and crime.

Similarly, Walter White garnered our sympathy when we initially learned of his cancer, lack of financial stability, and inordinate medical debt. The failures of our society are not unique to Walter White, but are a common, shared experience between the character and his audience.  He feels our pain as he, too, has been pushed too far by a broken health care system that threatens his family’s —let alone his own—survival.

We can possibly overlook Don Draper’s dalliances when we learn of his abusive, traumatic upbringing.  But we really can’t get angry at him when we listen to him explain how the Kodak Carousel will give each and every one of us a chance to smile and walk down memory lane with just the push of a button, recapturing both the simplicity of childhood and the promise of adulthood.

Ray Donovan is no different. He’s a man who has made it out of seedy South Boston to the glitz of Los Angeles. Sure, he does—and continues to do—some terrible things along the way, but we empathize with his struggles to communicate with his children. We understand the difficulty he has in allowing himself to be emotionally vulnerable to his spouse. We want him to remain a secure attachment figure for his traumatized brother and his cognitively impaired boss. And we want him to be strong and successful in the face of his own traumatic past.

Antiheroes liberate us. They reject societal constraints and expectations imposed upon us.  Antiheroes give our grievances a voice. They make us feel like something right is being done, even if it is legally wrong.  Antiheroes do things we’re afraid to do. They are who they are and they do as they want—without apology.

And for 60 minutes each week, we live vicariously through them.  Without apology.