Weekly Head Voices #122: Thanks Pythagoras.

Pink sunset, as they do here in my backyard.

Welcome back everyone!

During a brilliant breakfast chat with friends who are visiting from afar, friend S (now 16.67% name-dropped) admitted that the WHV, strange unfocused mishmash of thoughts that it is, contributed positively to his information diet.

In spite of this admission adding to my already considerable posting anxiety, I am enormously grateful for the encouragement. I often worry about this mishmash, as I also aspire to enter the fabled halls of A-list bloggers one day.

Perhaps I should just embrace the mishmash. Again.

In this edition of the mishmash, I extremely sparsely review the weeks from Monday May 8 to Sunday June 11.

During our weekly extra math, science and philosophy lessons, GOU#1 (now 11 years old) and I arrived through serendipity at the topic of Pythagoras. Her mind almost visibly expanded when she discovered the relationship between the 9, 16 and 25 square adjacent squares I drew for her on the 3-4-5 example triangle. Her eyes went wide when I explained that this works for any right-angled triangle.

She was soon happily squaring, adding (long-form on paper of course) and square-rooting away on geometry problems.

Seeing your own child discover the beauty that is math is brilliant.

After complaining about subpar android security and dismal android performance on this blog, I finally decided to bite the bullet and acquired a second-hand iPhone 6S 64GB on May 10, 2017. The phone is in mint condition, and the price was excellent.

So far, the performance is substantially better than any of my previous Androids. In fact, so far I’ve never had to wait for anything on this phone, which was my main issue with the Androids. (Google Maps anyone?!) Besides that, when Apple pushes a software update, all phones immediately get that update, without interference from any third parties, including carriers.

(A word to the wise: There is no official way to transfer your complete WhatsApp message history from Android to iPhone, which was a huge disappointment. There are unofficial, closed-sourced, solutions that require one to connect one’s Android phone in USB debugging mode to the PC. That risk is a bit too great for me.)

After a period of rest, the Visible Orbit website, including the high-resolution microscopic slice data and viewer, is online again! It was quite satisfying getting all of the backed-up data back on the interwebs again.

Since the previous WHV (well actually mainly during the last week), I’ve published five posts on my nerd blog:

Three of those five posts have to do with cryptocurrency, which is to a certain extent a reflection of my free-time mental cycles at the moment. Looking at how technology such as Ethereum and its Smart Contracts (a Smart Contract blog post is currently forming in the back of my head…) seem to be breaking through, I can’t help but be reminded of stories such as those by Charlie Stross in Accelerando (at least the first bits).

Do we find ourselves at the start of something truly significant, or is this just an extremely elegant and high-tech dead-end?

What a time to be alive!

P.S. Here, have another outdoorsy photo on the house!

I tricked GOU#1 and GOU#2 to join me on a sneakily long mountain walk. They did a sterling job.

Nerd-alert: Ubuntu Linux 12.04 on my NVIDIA Optimus Samsung NP300V3A laptop

When I acquired my pre-ultrabook-era but still pretty Samsung NP300V3A laptop some nine months ago, I lamented that I’d probably never be able to put Linux on there due to the NVIDIA Optimus graphics switching thingamagoo.

Well, yesterday I ate my hat.

If you have nerdy tendencies, head on over to VXLabs, my nerd blog, to read all about it.

Great Success! [weekly head voices #48]

Seven years ago, a wise man gave the following advice on this blog:

There are two rules to success in life:

Rule 1: Don’t tell people everything you know.

At that stage, twitter did not exist yet (the first tweet would only be made on March 21, 2006), so the clearly visionary post author had the habit of writing short, tweet-like blog posts. Because times have changed (my posts are slightly longer than 140 characters these days), but the advice is still sound, I’m repeating it here.

Also on the topic of success, he most significant event of the past week must be Clinical Graphics, represented by its CEO Dr. Peter Krekel, winning the prestigious Philips Innovation Award (PHIA) 2011. See below for a video of the announcement, the real action starts at 3:50 (you can even hear me shouting):

It was absolutely awesome being there to witness this grand event. Clinical Graphics won this for the largest part due to its innovative product, but the company was also evaluated, by a jury consisting of Extremely Experienced and Probably Very Rich Entrepreneurs and High-Powered Managers, based on its full business plan and potential. I am of course also fantastically proud of my good friend Dr. Krekel, having coincidentally had the privilege to act as his academic advisor throughout his master’s and his Ph.D., and now as scientific advisor to Clinical Graphics. Watch this company, do buy their stuff or get the people you know to buy more of their stuff!

By the way, I got to take a 20 minute ride on the AquaLiner (I WAS ON A BOAT!) from the Willemskade in Rotterdam (where I took the photo below) through the Rotterdam harbour (it’s frikking awesome) to the RDM campus where the PHIA finals were held:

Erasmus Bridge and surroundings taken before boarding the AquaLiner to the PHIA 2011 finals at the RDM campus.

In other less momentous news, I’ve actually written three blog posts today:

  1. This one.
  2. A post on my ultra-nerd blog VxLabs dealing with a number of annoyances and their work-arounds in the latest Ubuntu release, version 11.04, aka The Natty Narwhal (eeuw).

So that’s it for now kids! Let’s focus on GREAT SUCCESS this week, ok? Whilst you’re pondering how to get started doing this, you could do worse than watching this video of a dude lip-syncing the 50 worst video game voices, in quite entertaining and hence probably successful, fashion:

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.

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: