30 March 2009
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Thoughtex Part II

I didn't expect to do a Part II about yesterday's blog, but thousands of millireaders weighed in on this one. 

  • OF COURSE it will have GPS "geotagging."  The Crimebutton(TM) needs that for evidentiary purposes.

  • OF COURSE there are privacy issues involved.  Perhaps the watch will need a third "Pause" button, with a conspicuously blinking light on the glasses to indicate they aren't recording.  But who will believe it?

  • YES, it will work at night.  A tiny infrared LED can flash for each picture.  It won't give much range, but then it is night, so you can't see that far, either.

  • YES, it can take 3D pictures.  Just have two cameras, one on each side of the frame.  I'll leave this to the marketers to decide whether it's valuable.

  • Don't worry about the battery.  Unlike a cellphone, which you might forget to plug in, you will remember to take off your glasses when you go to sleep!  You just have to put them in the right place, a routine easily learned.

  • The eyeglass recorder will interface with the "tray" either inductively or by a very short range radio interface.  It already has a receiver for the watch buttons.  No great sophistication will be required since it will have plenty of time to transfer the data over only a tiny distance.  USB would be another possibility.

  • Once the data is on the Terabyte drive, it can be transferred by USB to any PC for review or, at least in part, by a memory card.

  • An interesting ancillary application:  Since it has stereo microphones, they can be amplified and fed to ear buds.  Instant hearing aid! 

  • Which, of course, can also be used for MP3 playback.  Yes, I know that MP3 shades are already being made.

The Eyeglass Racket

I did not grow up needing eyeglasses, and bought my first pair in my early forties.  I went to a shop in a mall, had an eye exam, and was told to pick a frame.  Being inexperienced in this activity, I assumed that I would point to a frame, pay the extra $10, and go home with the glasses.  I was a fool.  Do you know what eyeglass frames cost?  Hundreds of dollars!  Do you know why?  It's at least possible that the people who figured out how to charge for text messages cut their teeth on eyeglass frames, to mix some facial features.  But there are no bounds to avarice, and it may be that the frame guys came up with their scam independently.  Scam?  'Splain to me how you can buy a pair of non-prescription reading glasses at the drug store for under $5, but have to pay hundreds for a frame to hold prescription lenses?  Fashion?  Customization?  Or greed?

I don't know and I don't really care, although I'm still stunned every time I buy glasses.  The point, however, is this:  The "frames" for the eyeglass recorder with the Crimebutton can almost certainly be mass-produced for less than ordinary eyeglass frames normally cost at the optician.  Think about it this way:  You can "buy" a cellphone for free; sometimes they even pay you!  Of course that's because they're subsidized by the carrier, but there are still cheap cellphones with cameras, and of course they all have microphones and batteries.  The recorder is, in essence, a cellphone without the 'phone.  A big improvement in many ways!  And, of course, cheaper to build by far.

Keeping Our Ever-Growing Molars Out of This Problem

The United States denies involement in warplane attack on Sudan's border. It seems that Sudanese officials said foreign warplanes launched two separate airstrikes last month on Sudan near its border with Egypt.  Of course Israel was suspected, and, equally of course, Israel neither confirmed nor denied responsibility.

The rest of the article doesn't state whether the U.S. was accused of being complicit, but, even so, we have "denied any involement."

The Spelling Bee Law

This story by Mary Blanusa appeared in a local New Jersey paper.  When I say "local" I mean "very local."  It covers the town where I strive and a few surrounding ones.  If you want to read about fire department training exercises, births, and, of course, spelling bee winners, this is the reference.  As you can see, Lauren Sembrano placed second in the NJSFWCJM State Spelling Bee.  This is also the kind of local paper whose readers might actually know what the NJSFWCM actually is.

I don't know either Ms. Blanusa or Ms. Sembrano, but I am here to tell you that the former broke a critical Rule of Journalism.  That is:  Whenever you write about a spelling bee, you are required by law to give the word that the contestant missed, how she spelled it, and how it should be spelled.  Otherwise, what is the point?

Perhaps society is also to blame, but Ms. Blanusa is the one who will suffer, at least by blog, for her failure to comply with this critical dictum.

1990 Corvette ZR1 - FOR SALE

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 "Farmer's Night Out"



I picked this one up in Berlin right after the fall of the Wall.  It's a copy of the famous sign "You are leaving the American Sector" in four languages.  Less well known is the other side of the sign:  When East German soldiers were visiting West Berlin, they were reminded how much trouble they could get in if they carried their weapons.  The quality of this T-shirt is really poor.  I probably bought it in ex-East Berlin.

Berlin Checkpoint Charlie T-Shirt:  You are leaving the American Sector
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