Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, June 07, 2021

Not long ago, when I was wrapping up a bitch session over current portable-electronics battery shortcomings, I offered up this wild speculation:

Even crazier talk: I think it’s time consumer electronics manufacturers really address the paltry power sources they provide. I realize it’s no easy trick to improve upon battery technology. But it’s time to start thinking outside the box. Maybe a way to draw electricity from the air, ala Tesla coils? It’d be good as a supplement, at least. And it’s not like the manufacturers are beholden to battery providers or power companies.

Wireless Power Transfer, a pet project by MIT physics professor Marin Soljacic that’s now showing signs of practical application, isn’t quite the solution I wanted. You still need to put your device in a recharge station and then rely on the battery to last for however long it will.

But it’s in the same neighborhood:

The key is to get the recharging device and the gadget that needs power to resonate at the same frequency - allowing them to efficiently exchange energy.

It’s similar to how an opera star can break a wine glass that happens to resonate at the same frequency as her voice. In fact, the concept is so basic in physics that inventor Nikola Tesla sought a century ago to build a huge tower on Long Island that would wirelessly beam power along with communications.

The truly new step, which is what was described in the paper in Science, was that the MIT team carried the concept out. The scientists were able to light up a 60-watt bulb that had “no physical connection” with the power-generating appliance.

So far, it’s only about 40-45 percent efficient — meaning a lot of energy gets wasted in the process. Maybe some of that spillover can get pulled in by mobile devices, ala my original idea? I’m keeping hope alive!

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 06/07/2021 11:53:12 PM
Category: Tech, Science | Permalink | Feedback (1)

All of a sudden, I feel a kinship with Fortune Magazine Senior Writer Adam Lashinsky.

Why? Because he recognizes a fundamental flaw in Google’s (and others’) way of doing business:

I’m emphasizing this for the simple reason that Apple requires you to OPT IN to its function to share your music with others. Most other companies — including that company that does no evil, Google — probably would go ahead and enable the software to share unless you OPTED OUT. That’s the deal Google asks book publishers to follow, for example. If they don’t want their copyrighted titles indexed on Google they need to say so. Similarly, YouTube (owned by The Goog) asks content producers to inform them if their property shows up on YouTube in an unauthorized way…

Asking users to opt out of services you want them to use is at best arrogant and at worst evil. Opting IN is the respectful way to do business on the Web. Am I wrong?

If you ask me, he’s not wrong. But then, I addressed this very same issue before:

Once again, Google’s approach to content use is take first, solicit reaction later. It’s a classic technocratic attitude: If it’s there for the taking, it ought to be taken, and permissions be damned.

It’s a curious way to build up a business. If eBay routinely put up items for auction of its own volition, without asking the owners of said items if they wished to have them auctioned off… Sort of the same dynamic here. Long-term, it’s a handicap when doing business.

I also see parallels with Wikipedia’s recent fallout over a publicized false biography, in that the operating principle puts the onus on the victim to participate and correct the situation — a patently unfair system.

It’s pretty straightforward to me. But at the time, I mused about whether or not placing content on the Web constitutes permission to copy/repurpose it:

I guess this calls into question the nature of content on the Web in general. Should stuff online be assumed to be free for the taking, simply because of the medium from which it’s accessible? Is that implied rule to being on the Web? How does the commercialization of the Internet change this?

That last part — commercialization of the Web — is the heart of it. The Internet was invented for the purposes of open accessibility and sharing of all the information placed on it, for mainly non-commercial purposes. But its evolution into today’s ecommerce medium changes that, even if the capabilities haven’t. Plus, content producers don’t have full control over how their wares get onto the Web: If someone buys a DVD, rips the movie off it, and uploads it online, that bypasses any opt-in/opt-out process.

What it boils down to: A great deal of what’s considered standard business practice with online media is, in fact, not exactly legal. Sheer volume and lack of controls makes any other option unrealistic — but that doesn’t make any of it right.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 06/07/2021 11:12:09 PM
Category: Internet, Media, Business | Permalink | Feedback

cluckHere’s another of the first pictures I took with the MWW Group’s Nikon D80 camera.

Heavily cropped version, for friendlier layout purposes (and to focus on the egg-laying action!). For a wider shot, Flickr over here.

Aside from the way the colors just seemed to come together here, on the corner of 22nd Street and 1st Avenue, those three green dollar-signed eggs that the chicken is depositing behind her clinched the shot for me.

It’s not obvious from this angle, but Lucky Chicken is, in fact, a Chinese restaurant. I don’t know if they have eggs on the menu, or if so, how lucky they are.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 06/07/2021 08:30:52 AM
Category: New Yorkin', Photography | Permalink | Feedback