Filed under: Amazon, Art, Augmented Reality, Brave New World, Connections, Google, movies, Predictions, Science, Science Fiction, tech, Writing stuff | Tags: Alexei Oreskovic, Amazon, art, augmented reality, blogging, Communion of Dreams, Google, jim downey, Matt Weinberger, predictions, Science Fiction, Soli, technology, writing
From the beginning of Chapter 6:
There was just one other person in the room, standing at the side of the holo platform, hands dancing over a control board only he could see.
* * *
Jon looked to the dance Ng’s hands played in the air. “About ready?”
Ng said nothing, but just his fingers tapped a command in the air. Instantly, there appeared an image above the holo projector. It was the artifact, pretty much exactly as Jon remembered it from the first meeting a week ago.
There are many such passages in Communion of Dreams, just part of the augmented reality technology which exists at the time of the book. The basic explanation is that the user is wearing contact lenses which allow one to see a virtual reality overlay on the real world, and then within that overlay you can manipulate virtual objects/controls thanks to hand-tracking. When I wrote the book I figured that such technology would be available eventually …
… and here it is, even sooner than I expected:
* * *
The company’s lab for advanced projects showed off new technology on Friday that lets users move their fingers in the air to control objects in the virtual world.
It’s called Project Soli, and it uses radar waves to detect precise finger movements or finger “micromotions.”
The result is something that looks like it’s from a science-fiction movie such as Minority Report or Her, in which characters manipulated virtual objects by gracefully moving their hands or fingers in the air.
Filed under: Book Conservation | Tags: 1885, art, blogging, book conservation, hope, jim downey, Legacy Bookbindery, Marshall Missouri, paper, washing
As part of this project I wrote about last week, I have a number of letters which needed to be cleaned. So after testing them for water-stability (of the ink), I sandwiched the individual sheets in an open weave polyester fabric and immersed them in distilled water to literally wash them. Here’s the “before” pic:
And here’s 30 minutes later, after some mild massaging and shifting around the stacks to get good water flow over them:
Notice how much crud has already been released from the sheets after just that short period of time, as can be seen from the color of the water.
I’ll massage the sheets some more in the morning, then change the water and repeat the process for another day or so. If the water is looking OK 24 hours after that, I’ll take out the supported sheets and let them dry. If it is still dark, then I’ll repeat the process again (and again after that, if necessary … distilled water is cheap). The goal is to remove as much of the crud as possible in this gentle way — remember, paper is born in water, and doesn’t mind getting wet again, so long as you do it correctly.
Just thought I’d share that.
Filed under: Art, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Brave New World, Connections, Expert systems, General Musings, Humor, Marketing, movies, NYT, Predictions, Publishing, Science, Science Fiction, Society, tech | Tags: art, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, blogging, Communion of Dreams, Drea Cooper, DVD, Emma Cott, Expert, Grindr, humor, jim downey, Matt McMullen, New York Times, predictions, Robotica, robotics, science, Science Fiction, Seth, sex, technology, Tinder, Topless Robot, VHS, video, Zackary Canepari
Via Topless Robot, this article/video from the New York Times:
Matt McMullen has proved that some people are willing to spend thousands on sex dolls.
* * *
Mr. McMullen’s new project, which he is calling Realbotix, is an attempt to animate the doll. He has assembled a small team that includes engineers who have worked for Hanson Robotics, a robotics lab that produces shockingly lifelike humanoid robots.
Mr. McMullen is first focusing on developing convincing artificial intelligence, and a robotic head that can blink and open and close its mouth. He’s also working to integrate other emerging technologies, like a mobile app that acts like a virtual assistant and companion, and virtual reality headsets that can be used separately or in tandem with the physical doll.
It’s accepted wisdom that many new technologies come into their own and are quickly disseminated through the public when a way can be found to use them for sex and/or the depictions of same. Printing. VHS tapes. DVDs. The internet. Smartphone Apps like Tinder or Grindr.
So why not artificial intelligence?
Which isn’t the way I saw the technology for an expert system/assistant like Seth developing, but hey, I suppose whatever works …
Filed under: Art, Book Conservation, General Musings, Survival | Tags: 1885, art, blogging, book conservation, hope, jim downey, Legacy Bookbindery, Marshall Missouri
One of the lessons I’ve drawn from my years of book conservation experience is that what may initially look to be a hopeless case can sometimes surprise you. Take a look at this 1880s dance card for the Marshall Missouri ‘Christmas Hop’. Here it is this afternoon when I took it out of the stack of items a client had brought in:
Looks pretty bad, eh? Actually, it looks a LOT better there than it did in person, thanks to the automatic filters/functions on my phone camera. In person, that light grey was the color of charcoal, and almost no color or words were clear to the human eye. That’s because it was covered in charcoal — it had spent approximately 100 years hidden behind the chimney in a house. The charcoal was more than 1mm thick over most of the card, and had to be physically scraped away before I got to the surface cleaning. Here it is after I spent some time cleaning it:
Not perfect, but a distinct improvement. Not everything can be fixed. Not every problem can be solved. And even when you can improve things, you’re seldom going to be able to make it perfect.
But that’s OK. That’s life. You do what you can. And almost nothing is completely hopeless — at least, not as hopeless as it might seem at first.
Filed under: Art, Connections, Ray Bradbury, Science Fiction, Writing stuff, YouTube | Tags: art, blogging, jim downey, Jonathan Crow, Open Culture, Ray Bradbury, Science Fiction, video, writing, www youtube
Another gem of a video from Open Culture:
The whole thing (about 4 minutes of actual interview, done as an impromptu chat in the back of a car about 40 years ago) is worth enjoying, but this bit in particular will resonate for anyone who writes:
If you can’t resist, if the typewriter is like candy to you, you train yourself for a lifetime. Every single day of your life, some wild new thing to be done. You write to please yourself. You write for the joy of writing. Then your public reads you and it begins to gather around your selling a potato peeler in an alley, you know. The enthusiasm, the joy itself draws me.
The joy, and the sublime struggle to understand. Like all art.
Filed under: Art, Book Conservation, Connections, tech, YouTube | Tags: art, Ayun Halliday, blogging, book conservation, bookbinding, Japan, Japanese, jim downey, Open Culture, video, www youtube
Via Open Culture, here’s an interesting 10 minute video about my Japanese counterpart, doing a nice job on refurbishing a small dictionary. It’s entirely in Japanese, but that doesn’t matter too much — the images are all pretty self-explanatory.
If you want a glimpse into the processes involved in my work, this is a good one.
But it’s interesting to note the differences in his approach from my own. Most of it involves fairly arcane techniques which I’m not going to go into. And there may be reasons given in the narration which explain some of his choices, so I’m just going to make a couple of observations and leave it at that.
One, I was surprised at just how much he trimmed the edges of the book. Particularly on the fore-edge, you can see where the trimming has cut off part of the index icons. That’s a lot more aggressive than I usually am when I have to resort to trimming.
And two, the cover material seems to be an artificial or “bonded” leather, though that’s not entirely easy to determine from the video. While that would have been the original cover material, I would advise the client to go with something which would hold up much better over time, or the book will soon be back in the same condition that it was at the start of the video.
Again, there may be good reasons to make those choices, explained in the narration. So this isn’t intended as a criticism, just an observation.
And I like his little pink iron. It’s too cute. So how could I possibly criticize him? :)