The Future is Sick [Weekly Head Voices #36]

Post summary: Conference, VXLabs, SIP, boots, backyard philosophy on you the consumer, dramatic reading. Read on for more!

Just before the weekend I spent two days at the Dutch Bio-Medical Engineering Conference in Egmond aan Zee, in a ginormous seaside hotel. Probably because I attempted to keep up with the young ones during their nightly escapades, I’m currently dealing quite badly with a serious cold, which is why this is the first sick blog post of 2011.  Besides all those germs, I also brought you this photo of said seaside right after sunset:

Sunset on the Egmond aan Zee beach. Gorgeous, innit? There’s even a dude walking on the beach so that you can wax all pensive.

Sunset on the Egmond aan Zee beach. Gorgeous, innit? There’s even a dude walking on the beach so that you can wax all pensive.

The conference was an energetic and motivating affair, at which yours truly even got to chair a session, during which I tried, in spite of not getting to bed all that early the night before, to Keep Things Extremely Punctual As Well As Mildly Entertaining. I succeeded in the former, you’ll have to ask the audience about the latter.

The absolute highlight, for me at least, was the capstone on Friday by Professor Richard Satava, a surgeon with an amazing vision of the future. Bordering on science fiction but for a large part backed by his own and other groups’ research, his superbly delivered presentation touched on surgical operating rooms completely staffed by robots (some elements remotely controlled by a surgeon), cell engineering, surgery robots that heal troops at the scene of the crime (hehe), genetic engineering, cloning and a healthy dash of trans-humanism. By the end the whole room was collectively straining at the leash to go and genetically upgrade anything and anyone they could find. With a room full of BME researchers, that’s more dangerous than it sounds. :)

Other note-worthy items of the past two weeks can be summarised in the following neat bullet list:

  • I’ve started a new blog, called VXLabs, for matters that are too nerdy even for this blog. If you’re interested, you can start by reading the HTC Desire Z (my lovely new smartphone) review I’ve recently gotten around to writing. If you’re nerdy enough, you might consider subscribing VXLabs as well!
  • There are far cheaper ways than Skype to call telephones around the world. With SIP software, such as SIPDroid on Android, you can use cheap SIP servers that even offer free calls to many destinations. See this page for a list of just the betamax (German VOIP company) providers and the free countries that they support.
  • I was approached by a company producing Ugg-like boots to review their boots, get a free pair in the process, and get a good deal for my readers. This is probably because I went on about those BEAUTIFUL Timberland boots in one of my previous posts. Although I was flattered that the gentleman in question thought my widely-read (haha) opinion would be good for his brand and he called this a fashion blog (!!), I declined, stating that my readership probably is more into Timberlands than Uggs. That’s true, readership? Right?!
  • Micro Backyard Philosophy: After one of those late nights refreshing my Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader and GMail for the Nth time, I got to thinking about how the internet sometimes turns us into 100% consumers, leaving no room for creativity. It’s insidious, because we believe that the internet will give us exactly what we crave if we just know how to search for it, and that it should do so with that next press on the refresh button, when in fact this is hardly ever the case, especially when that which you crave is in fact to create. Remember this the next time it’s getting late and you think Just One More Refresh. Don’t push that button. Sit back and think about what you really want to do.

That’s it boys and girls, thank you very much for reading this far! You go and have yourselves a fabulous and especially creative week. If you get lonely waiting for the next edition of the Weekly Head Voices, marvel at this dramatic reading of a bad user game review, creativity at its finest: