Ryerson DMZ - Context-Aware Computing

Hossein Rahnama demos for Nora some of the context-aware computing applications he is working on at the Ryerson DMZ. His company is called Flybits and his research includes software that helps people find their way through public spaces based on who they are and where they are. 
Hossein is the Associate Director of the Digital Media Zone (DMZ) at Ryerson University. It’s a space where students and alumni come to research and develop ideas for the digital marketplace.

(Source: youtube.com)


The international movement for the end of cash

Sweden is moving towards a cashless society, so may be much of the developing world, courtesy of the ubiquitious cellphone
When David Wolman took his year-long vacation from carrying cash, he didn’t find too many obstacles. He couldn’t pay street performers or his babysitter without cash, and he found it hard to shop at farmers’ markets."I never got a shoeshine", he says. Looking back, he realizes it might have been a bigger challenge to get through a year spending nothing but cash.
Though not in India. When he went there, Wolman was forced to come back to currency. To leave his hotel and hire a rickshaw or find a translator, he needed actual filthy rupees.
And so do India’s poor. For them, there are fewer options to join the digital economy because the service provider for that economy has traditionally been the bank and Indian banks aren’t that interested in providing services to the very poor.
But digital access is racing across the developing world and it is not via the banks. It’s the telecom companies and the ubiquity of the cellphone that’s changing the face of commerce.
Today there are about a billion people around the world who own cellphones but have no bank account, and these new consumers in developing countries are flocking to the digital economy.
In Kenya, it’s brought huge change. More than half the adults in Kenya use their phones to transfer cash.
Indeed, the practice has evolved to such an extent that the central bank has reported a drop in the use of currency.
Cybercrime
Still, there is pushback to the digital economy.The biggest concerns, though, centre around privacy, crime, identity theft and wealth security — and not all of them have obvious solutions.
Some experts put the profits of cybercrime in the trillions, surpassing even the global drug trade.
If the economy takes more of our personal lives online, more regulation would undoubtedly be the result.
"This is a crucial question," says Wolman. "We need regulation and we need regulators with tools to enforce those regulations.
"The way I try to address this is through understanding and respecting the difference between anonymity and privacy.
"Paper money is really the currency of crime: drugs, prostitution and the big kahuna of tax evasion. That’s another cost of crime and of course we the taxpayers have to make up the difference there."

The international movement for the end of cash

Sweden is moving towards a cashless society, so may be much of the developing world, courtesy of the ubiquitious cellphone

When David Wolman took his year-long vacation from carrying cash, he didn’t find too many obstacles. He couldn’t pay street performers or his babysitter without cash, and he found it hard to shop at farmers’ markets."I never got a shoeshine", he says. Looking back, he realizes it might have been a bigger challenge to get through a year spending nothing but cash.

Though not in India. When he went there, Wolman was forced to come back to currency. To leave his hotel and hire a rickshaw or find a translator, he needed actual filthy rupees.

And so do India’s poor. For them, there are fewer options to join the digital economy because the service provider for that economy has traditionally been the bank and Indian banks aren’t that interested in providing services to the very poor.

But digital access is racing across the developing world and it is not via the banks. It’s the telecom companies and the ubiquity of the cellphone that’s changing the face of commerce.

Today there are about a billion people around the world who own cellphones but have no bank account, and these new consumers in developing countries are flocking to the digital economy.

In Kenya, it’s brought huge change. More than half the adults in Kenya use their phones to transfer cash.

Indeed, the practice has evolved to such an extent that the central bank has reported a drop in the use of currency.

Cybercrime

Still, there is pushback to the digital economy.The biggest concerns, though, centre around privacy, crime, identity theft and wealth security — and not all of them have obvious solutions.

Some experts put the profits of cybercrime in the trillions, surpassing even the global drug trade.

If the economy takes more of our personal lives online, more regulation would undoubtedly be the result.

"This is a crucial question," says Wolman. "We need regulation and we need regulators with tools to enforce those regulations.

"The way I try to address this is through understanding and respecting the difference between anonymity and privacy.

"Paper money is really the currency of crime: drugs, prostitution and the big kahuna of tax evasion. That’s another cost of crime and of course we the taxpayers have to make up the difference there."

Naming Phones Is Like Naming Babies
REBECCA GREENFIELD11:53 AM ET

When naming one’s child there are two ways to go: The risky character-building route, or the safe, but possibly lame, classic name path. The same goes for phones. We came to this realization while looking at the funny Internet thing of the moment, Intercom’s “Is it a Condom, or Is it an Android?,” which pokes fun at phone names. Desire? Touch? Intensity? A lot of phones share names with condoms. And, just as many phones have ridiculous monikers, we also get phones with boring names, like the iPhone series. Like naming babies, both tactics can backfire. Classic names on bad phones come off as lame. And, while a good phone can overcome its challenging name, a bad phone ends up sounding like a condom. 
We’ve seen both success and failure from brands that have taken the standard route. Take the iPhone. Apple has stuck with that same basic formulation, slapping a new number (and sometimes letter) on each upgrade. When Apple didn’t deliver the iPhone 5, as the techies had expected, some tech bloggers at first grumbled that barely modifying the old name meant the product was a not-new enough phone. But they warmed to it in no time — about one week — because the iPhone 4S proved itself and managed to overcome its lame branding. “The question isn’t what’s in a name — it’s what’s in a phone. And the answer is: A lot of amazing technology. And some of it feels like magic,” wrote The New York Times' David Pogue in his review of the phone a week after its release. 
Not all phones can overcome lame names, however. Take the Nokia series, which like Apple has stuck to a boring pattern, using letter plus number combos for its phones. As of late, they have switched things up a bit, to “keep up with the times,” now using just numbers. It started this hipper direction with the Nokia 500. And, like the Ann’s of the world, it’s a forgettable name for a forgettable phone. 
The other way to go has proven just as precarious for the gadget makers. Like Blue Ivy, who could have been given any name by her superstar parents, Jay-Z and Beyoncé and still be the princess of the world, a quality phone—from the right maker—can pull off a silly name. So, HTC, who has taken the character-building name strategy, can name its phones things like the HTC Sensation, even with its obvious sensual overtones. But, not all Android phones have that luxury. Ridiculous Android names for so-so phones have elicited mockery via this Android phone name generator, which gives us silly fake (but could be real) products like the LG Vigor Vibrant. 

Naming Phones Is Like Naming Babies

When naming one’s child there are two ways to go: The risky character-building route, or the safe, but possibly lame, classic name path. The same goes for phones. We came to this realization while looking at the funny Internet thing of the moment, Intercom’s “Is it a Condom, or Is it an Android?,” which pokes fun at phone names. Desire? Touch? Intensity? A lot of phones share names with condoms. And, just as many phones have ridiculous monikers, we also get phones with boring names, like the iPhone series. Like naming babies, both tactics can backfire. Classic names on bad phones come off as lame. And, while a good phone can overcome its challenging name, a bad phone ends up sounding like a condom. 

We’ve seen both success and failure from brands that have taken the standard route. Take the iPhone. Apple has stuck with that same basic formulation, slapping a new number (and sometimes letter) on each upgrade. When Apple didn’t deliver the iPhone 5, as the techies had expected, some tech bloggers at first grumbled that barely modifying the old name meant the product was a not-new enough phone. But they warmed to it in no time — about one week — because the iPhone 4S proved itself and managed to overcome its lame branding. “The question isn’t what’s in a name — it’s what’s in a phone. And the answer is: A lot of amazing technology. And some of it feels like magic,” wrote The New York Times' David Pogue in his review of the phone a week after its release. 

Not all phones can overcome lame names, however. Take the Nokia series, which like Apple has stuck to a boring pattern, using letter plus number combos for its phones. As of late, they have switched things up a bit, to “keep up with the times,” now using just numbers. It started this hipper direction with the Nokia 500. And, like the Ann’s of the world, it’s a forgettable name for a forgettable phone. 

The other way to go has proven just as precarious for the gadget makers. Like Blue Ivy, who could have been given any name by her superstar parents, Jay-Z and Beyoncé and still be the princess of the world, a quality phone—from the right maker—can pull off a silly name. So, HTC, who has taken the character-building name strategy, can name its phones things like the HTC Sensation, even with its obvious sensual overtones. But, not all Android phones have that luxury. Ridiculous Android names for so-so phones have elicited mockery via this Android phone name generator, which gives us silly fake (but could be real) products like the LG Vigor Vibrant. 

Virtual projection lets you share your phone’s screen

Want to show that must-see video to your friends, but don’t want to crowd around a tiny screen? Or perhaps you have an important document on your handset to share during a large meeting. You could try a phone with a built-in projector, but wouldn’t it be easier to use your regular device? Now you can, thanks to “virtual projection”, a system for sharing your screen on to any nearby display.

It works like this: when you hold your phone up to the screen of a computer running the virtual projection software, the phone’s camera constantly captures and compares images from the screen to work out its location. This information is passed back to the computer via Wi-Fi to place the virtual projection in the right place on the screen.

Moving the phone will rotate and distort the image just like a regular optical projector, but it is also possible to turn this off, giving you a stable image even if you move and allowing you to put the phone down. Multiple users can also place images on the same screen, allowing them to work together.

A concept video for the Nokia Morph, a highly advanced mobile device that incorporates many of the themes of this blog.

The rolltop concept is more a carry-able computer rather than a wearable, offering a flexible laptop that one can roll up like a sleeping bag.  Yet, to a certain extent, the flexibility of the machine and other attributes promote a goading notion of ambient  personal computing for the subject.

Sony debuts a prototype for a flexible, full colour OLED screen. (via alihuab)

(Source: youtube.com)