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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Who's The Boss? Zabosu is "The Boss"

Repost  from  Future Culture:  

ZABOSU  is  Japanese  Katakana   for    "The Boss" ,   coined  by  its proponents drumbeating  with  menacing heft  to    kickstart  the launch  of  having  "remote-controlled humans"  via  4G technology.  That  was  more than thirty days ago when  all the media hype and  the whole shebang  of  press statements abound ,   with much ado  about  this   so-called  Zabosu Project        which  launched an  Internet-based   worldwide  campaign  crowdsourcing funds   for   some  $100,000  at least  --  but apparently  went  pfffffft.     

Technoprogressive  enthusiasts and  kibitzers  are wondering  about  the  silence  after all the  bubbly media hype  for  Zabosu  via   its    Kickstarter campaign for the project,  "a mobile marketplace for remote-controlled humans"   --    and  the  buzz seemed to have mellowed recently   as  enthusiasts  look  for clues if it is going boom or bust.  

This may be the second  time  that  Karl Lautman,  CEO  and creator of the  Zabosu  project will be shelving the idea due to lack of funding:   after grinning and bearing it through all the avalanche of  flak from all directions.  From the Kickstarter website, the  project ,after its  July 19 deadline,  had a  very poor finish :   only a total of  31 backers and some  $2985 pledges for funding,  which finally made the project succumb to shelving.

When it was cancelled the first time early this year,  Lautman said that  (the organizers) " had a choice between participating and trying to leverage sufficient PR from it to support our Kickstarter, or passing on it in order to devote an appropriate amount of time to a formal PR campaign ...  When it became obvious that the pitch-off would not offer sufficient leverage, Zabosu cancelled its Kickstarter to  regroup around a proper PR campaign." 

Everbody is now  mum  about the project apparently  shelved for the meantime:  Lautman ,   Kickstarter ( which  helped  promote  Lautman's idea  now   has no promotions at the moment),   and even  the  few backers who may have initially pledged  their  "interest" about the proJect.

Earlier,  the Zabosu proponents were all perky, bubbly and  bright-eyed with  what could be a "breakthrough"  ( many disagree with this)  from the doldrums of the  TaskRabbit    low-tech idea  of having another person do your task for you: whether it be
buying a present for a loved one,    attending a conference at the other part of the world,
 or doing   some  supermarket buying chores. 

“The inspiration for Zabosu came from, a web show in 2007 that followed Justin Kan as he roamed San Francisco with a backpack full of cellular data modems livestreaming audio and video of his life, pretty much 24/7,” says  Lautman.   “At that time, I thought how much more interesting it would be if viewers could talk back to Justin and tell him what to do, but the technology just wasn’t there yet.   When I finally saw 4G cellular networks on the horizon, which are capable of the requisite 1 Mbps upload speed, I began development of Zabosu in earnest.”

Terminator Cute

Truth is ,   there are  no  "remote-controlled humans"  per se  in this project,  no androids,  no cyborgs,  no computer-to-brain interface  "dictating"  the subordinate on what to do,  no  Stepford Wife  fembots,   no telepresence avatars.   The said phrase  could possibly  be Lautman's idea to  spice up the hype for some  "controversial flavor",  catching the attention  of the  tech  intelligentsia  community.

Simplified:  It's   more like  Skype-to-Skype  between  boss  (the so-called  "zab")  and  the subordinate  (the so-called "zuk")  ,  and  the  "zab"  giving directions  from the office/home,  while the "zuk"  is  out on field doing the task  for the "boss"   ---  all these  with a tweak customized for the Zabosu project.  

The Zabosu  marketing blitz transcended  what was thought of  as a  creepy idea on having  "remote-controlled  humans":   what with its  come-hither allure  for  the  easy-to-impress  EveryMan .  Hear this:

"Hi, Kickstarter! Zabosu’s developed an incredible, almost magical service that lets one person actually take control of another person, anywhere in the world there’s a 4G cellular signal. It’s not quite as crazy as it sounds. The person being controlled, who we call an “Actor,” starts our app and sticks their phone in a pocket (or on a lanyard) with the camera facing out to stream live audio and video of their surroundings."
"The person controlling them, who we call a “Director,” connects to the stream with a web browser to see and hear everything going on around the Actor, from the Actor’s point of view. The Director also speaks to the Actor using the computer’s microphone and the Actor’s earpiece. Because the Director is paying the Actor, the Actor does what the Director tells them to do. The intention, in most applications, is to make the Actor a human extension, or projection, of the Director into whatever environment the Actor happens to be in."

Zabosu Actor PageZabosu Actor PageZabosu Actor Page

Zabosu App
Zabosu  App 

Kickstarter further writes: 

"Some of the things we imagine Zabosu being used for are sightseeing, running errands, shopping, virtual assistants, gaming, buying a home, remote tradeshow attendance, and technical assistance. There are also situations where you might want to control multiple Actors simultaneously. Let’s say you’re looking for a new office and there are four candidate spaces. You could hire four Actors and send one to each space, even at the same time, to evaluate all the candidates in less time than it would take you to visit even one. Maybe you’re not looking for an office, though. Maybe it’s a wedding venue. Or, a resort for the holidays. You could even assemble an army of Actors and make a bid for world domination (you'd fail, horribly, but you definitely could try)."

"These are just our ideas, though, and one of the reasons we're using Kickstarter is to find out how others might use Zabosu. In the survey that goes out at the end of the campaign, we’ll be asking you what your plans are for it, so we can better target it for people's intended uses."


"The Zabosu web site will let Directors find and schedule Actors based on relevant characteristics like location, availability and skills. The site also archives the videos, so Directors, Actors and others (we call them “Viewers”) can watch them later."

"It’ll also let Actors (who are independent contractors and not employed by Zabosu) create pages for themselves describing where they’re based, what they’re willing to do as an Actor, what they've specifically done for Directors, and so on."

"ZabosuConnect, the phone app used by the Actor (only Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean” and later at launch) shows them where they are, where they’re supposed to be, what they’re supposed to be doing, and other handy stuff."

"So, what does this have to do with Kickstarter? Well, we’re super excited about enabling fun, valuable and unprecedented human interactions, but just because we think this stuff’s cool doesn't mean enough other people will to make it a viable business. That’s whereyou come in. If we hit our funding goal, we’ll know we’re on to  something awesome  and will keep working at it. The hardest and riskiest parts are already done (the app is fully functioning at this point). What’s left is all stuff the team has done many times before, so we believe we’ll be able to launch by the end of the year."
c a1pgl80b0 Outstanding Android & Cyborg Digital Inspiration

Karl Lautman,  the main man at the helm of this project,   more  popular with his background as  a sculptor-visual  artist  whose works  have received  some recognition,   could be  just gathering his  seond wind,  or  probably  "third wind"  the next time he dishes out  his ideas  for the  public  to ogle on.

His ideas may be bizarre  or  out-of-this-world, and  he  may say that he is entitled to these  conundrums of   eclectic trends of thought and sudden outbursts  of  unorthodox perspectives.   But  he  remains unperturbed  and  may be hurling  out  more  unconventional  ideas for the  public  --  and the  subsequent  superlatives   coming from all   fronts as usual,   may be  an ordinary  occurrence  for Lautman.  

Lautman writes his statement:

"The power and ubiquity of technology has bred complacency among those who use it regularly (i.e. virtually everyone in the developed world). While most would agree that we should not place too much faith in machines, in reality we can't help taking for granted that the light will go on when we flip the switch, the car will start when we turn the key, the plane won't fall from the sky, .... Yet the capacity of machines to misbehave is endless.  In fact, it's their nature."

Karl Lautman 

"I'm fascinated by this tension between what we want, and expect, a machine to do, and what the machine "wants" to do. I call it "machine tension," or just "McTension." I explore McTension in my work by making things that behave unexpectedly, though not strictly randomly. While the behavior may be easier to infer for some of my machines than for others, they all tend to have an unpredictable (or, at least, difficult-to-predict) element to them."

"Whether it's calculating prime numbers on electromechanical counters, causing falling dominoes to stand themselves up again, or generating organized sequences of clicks on a relay (but at random intervals), the effect is simultaneously familiar and surprising.  Pseudo-randomness isn't difficult to achieve, but also isn't very interesting, so I strive to make my work entertaining, sometimes even whimsical, rather than impenetrable."

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunset Running and Me On This Weekend of Mid-July

TODAY CAN BE JUST ONE OF THOSE ORDINARY WEEKENDS  which pass us by, and  you look back on the date and you say to  yourself, "What  did I do on that day ?"   "What happened with me  on that day "?  

And doesn't it always happen that  we always look forward to weekends,  and when that weekend happens,  you find out that it's just a "Bleah!"  day?

Well,  I'm glad this weekend  is  very much different.  Well,  not really different,  I  would say it is "disguised"  as  just another  ordinary day:   I did the laundry,  did some groceries,  went to Church ( well, now that's extra-ordinary )   , everything at a much more slow-down relaxed pace ,   and  your mind  slides through its slowed Alpha state --- more  relaxed,  more  receptive,  and open to  "signals"  and "clues".     

One of my realizations  this weekend is,  yes,  like what Aunty Acid   

has made me realize ,  you should not "wait for a ship at the airport".  It's like yearning for a dream,  or  possibly an  "impossible dream"  to happen, and today  I have made the realization  that reality bites hard.  Big slap on the face,  falling flat  on your  face.

Keep it real,  Lei, just call a spade a spade,   and  stay focused on reality, not on  far-fetched dreams and  rose-colored  clouds  which appeared like heaven but wasn't.

Truth realizations,  like face-smacking slaps  should really hit you hard in the face, and also slam  rock hard on your  intellect and your ego --  to make sure it drives home the point.  It should hurt so  good that  you get your eyeballs rolling like  crazy. The hell it should.    I am bookmarking this Day of Realization.   This is my Transition Time,  slow-down time in between my runs,  and I come across important realizations :)   

To be totally honest,  it has  been  weeks when  I have slackened from my so-called  "sunset running",  and I'm more of a Pinay Sunset Blogger  than a Pinay Sunset Runner.   Simply  because when  I'm writing,  well,  I'm not running (Hahahha) .

My  running shoes  are  "injured"  ,  now suffering from cracked soles  and seemingly  agape mouths,   and  I am  making sure that I have a lot of materials for this blog  -- reading materials  --   before I hit the road again this week.  And so I'm writing this weekend instead of running.

So while my running feet are on hiatus,  it's my fingers doing the walking through the keyboard. Let your fingers do the walking,  Sweethearts.

For the past few months and first half of this year, I've been running through sundowns and sunsets day after day and night  after night,   sometimes running through the wee hours of midnight and early morning  at the very plush Bonifacio High Street   of    Bonifacio Global City  with  the voice  of Rihanna  singing  Rude Boy to my ears,  keeping me  company.

Yes, I would run like crazy :  like it's the only good thing happening in my life that time,  like it's the only thing where I feel no one has any right to meddle with -- they can meddle with my work performance,  with the way I dress ,  with all my  apparent "boo-boos"  in life,  --  but  not with my running.  I have owned it and called it  as  my  World,  where you can watch me but not with judgment this time.    Just stand back and  don't come near,  not in this World of mine. 

I  would  run  through the streets,   passing by  midnight construction workers who are working on the high-rise buildings round the clock  --  and there are hundreds of them working  in the booming business  district of that mini-city  --    and these guys  shouting "Takbo!!  (Run!" ) at me,  so  I would dutifully   acquiesce  to  that heckling jest.  

"Surely, your wish is my command,"  I  would  whisper to myself,  running  faster than ever,   unmindful of the  stares and  looks  of  what seem  like call center employees,  smoking their hearts and lungs away,  and  wondering  what  a crazy  woman like me    -- running  at midnight ---  am doing  ,   crazily running away through the sunset,   not caring  a bit about the time.  

And  sometime  later during my  run,   I would also stop and begin  thinking to myself:  "What am I doing out here?"  

More interestingly ,  I would come across the guys -- the Smelly Runners!   Hark, it's them again!! They  would  come to the park like a  mini-platoon, catching the attention  of  people  warming the benches,   and   they would flex their biceps  and   unclothe themselves out of those sweatshirts and leaving their  black undershirts on,   unveiling their tattoos.   

The Smelly Runners, they're here!  Yes, they would surely  run past me at the park,  perspiration splishing and splashing,  sometimes  their wet yucky arms brushing past my arms and I would  wince at the  smell of the handsome and hunky yet smelly runners.  

They would look good, but they won't smell good.  Don't bet on it.   And at this time when I'm not running,  I  remember  those Handsome Smelly Runners!  

That was a blast:  running through the   Track 30th   Park of  BGC  like there's no tomorrow,  and  of course, after my run,  will be hitting the shower to go to work at  JPMorgan Chase,    and that routine  was almost a  daily occurrence  each week.  
I would reach the office  clad in my sports outfit and   rubber-shoes,  fresh-faced
and glowing  from my exhausting physical activity ,  standing quietly side by side 
at the elevator with  perfumed  office employees of the building  with their  neatly-pressed 
corporate garb and stilletto heels and  pencil-cut  mini-skirts.     

You guessed it:  of course I would get the stares,   I ,  the fitness buff woman past her prime clad in  
sports attire but  trying hard to be the expert in my  long-lost-and-now-found running sport,  reminiscent
of   '70s icon  Olivia Newton John with  leg warmers  screaming her heart out with "Let's Get Physical"  
with its double entendre innuendoes.    And,  I , the eternal  actress of the decade,  would shrug it off 
like it's the most natural thing,   going to the office in  sports attire  and ready to hit the shower, and
acting as naturally as possible.    

And if I get the  extra-extended stare, they get the  La Kalina Stare  :  right back at you. Yes. 
"Anything else that I can help you with, my dear?"  

I would  count this as a blessing:   me , with  my two good and strong legs,   running through Track 30th   with some  16 rounds around the park's block ,  
running  along  a battalion of  runners ---  beginners and longtime runners alike  
--   and  majority  possibly  younger than me.   Clutching a stopwatch on my hand 
while jogging last week,  my personal best for  the 500-meter-run around the park
is considerably a slow  3 minutes and 47 seconds,   but I believe that could be
much better compared to other "returning beginners" to the sport.

Well,  it  is a  blessing because not  everyone has the love for running,   which I have and which I enjoy ;  and  
because  not everyone has two good and strong legs , which I also have and
which help me do what I want to do .   

Further, not everyone has the ability and stamina to run,  which I have.  
Now that's something else, too.

In my  deeper love for the sport,  plus my research on parathletes  --  athletes
with disabilities as having only one leg ,or one arm,  or  some other disability --
I have learned to count my blessings ,  also learned to appreciate what I have and 
not  sulk over what I do not have.   For the things which I do not have,  
I know God  has a  plan  for  me: possibly a  much  better  life awaiting me  round 
the corner,  perhaps? 

It's a mystery,  but what I have is  only   excitement and positivity  to smell that wonderful
mystery  --  which  could only  be something good or something great.  

Early this year I went back to this sport,  which was supposed to be a teenage 
passing summer fling,  but  just like your  other Firsts,  sometimes it goes back
to you.   And it lingers.   And it stays.    

I  was once writing about it that  I am taking up the sport , possibly because I
needed to run and step up and  pick up my pace in the later years of my life,
or possibly  because I needed to hurry  and catch up with  what I have missed
in life  --  either because I may be at such a slow pace,  or was zooming too
fast that I may have missed on it.  Either it passed me by,  or  I passed it by.

And looking back,  then looking forward,  I  see both sides now.  Yes,   whatever happened is wonderful,  whatever is happening is wonderful, and whatever  will happen will be wonderful.  That is  a saying straight from  my former sisters  at  the  Brahma Kumaris      I was a  yogi  for 5 years  doing meditations and remunerative reflections,  and am blessed with  spiritual insights such as these. Another blessing!

I  may have made a lot of mistakes in the past, and may have been doing some recent mistakes,  but it's a good thing that I  am now  wise to see them as they are,  labeling them as "mistakes"  --  meaning  I have now the ability of self-awareness in  discerning  something as a "mistake"  which should not be repeated,  and  moving on from there.  

Famous female runner  Joan Benoit Samuelson    said it best:   "Love yourself, for who and what you are; protect your dream and develop your talent to the fullest extent."  

I sure would take it from here, learning  to love myself more,  learning  to love life more,  and learning to appreciate the people around me more.  And if I  have a hard time  appreciating   the people around me,  then possibly I just needed to  try to have a better understanding of them and of life in general : understanding  life,  understanding people,  and understanding myself  better to  see  all sides  and  tread through life  in  peaceful content and  all-around state of just being  happy and just being.   Just be.  

Life is Good. No matter what.  Just have a  clear understanding of all sides and all angles.  

 And you better believe it.   :)   


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Google Glass' RaceYourself App: Run with "Zombies" !

FOR  ALL  YE  GOOGLE GLASS NEWS  FANS AND   FOLLOWERS,   you may have already heard the news  about   the latest  killer app   that has been hitting the  tech blog headlines:    all about  Google Glass'  RaceYourself app  for running and fitness enthusiasts.    

Interestingly,  more and more  are  giving their thumbs up and elite nods , especially from  technology evangelists  ,  future tech vigilantes,  and techno-progressive  analysts and enthusiasts alike. This early,   it has garnered the first of its future awards,  recently  proclaimed as the  Best Design App in Fitness Nutrition and Diet Category by the UK Mobile and App Design Awards in London held just this June 2014

And who wouldn't take a second look at this  beauty:    what with its adrenaline-pumping  tech effects such as  simulations of  flesh-eating zombies  running after you and make you run for your life,  or  the challenging one-two punches   via  your very own avatar  with your own personal running best time --   urging you to  , as the app says,  Race Yourself. 


YouTube  Screengrab

And there's more:  RaceYourself takes you to  riveting and surreal heights in augmented reality fashion. 

While on your run,  you go through a myriad of scenes,  such as  running but also   "flying"  as the app takes you through a skydiving experience, showing a sea of other "skydivers"  with you,   and later  takes you to a virtual marathon of identically-clad runners in purple shirts,  later  bringing you to a  skiing scenario  with all the snowy mountain slopes with your  other "fellow skiers".   

And next thing you know,  you later find yourself on the road running for your life  with a huge rolling boulder  seemingly  following you at each turn and out to get ya!   As you run faster and faster,  you find yourself on a  beach,  and  as you continue your workout,   you're suddenly  in the middle of a  virtual bike race with cyclists via  a surreal Tour De France. 

Just when you think you have had enough,     you  later  come across   a platoon of zombies hungry to eat your brains out --  making  you scamper away through all these hoopla of uberly  cool excitement and fun.

That's  a total of  thirty  game modes in the said app,  and this defines the future of fitness and exercise  as being far from the gloom and doom of boredom.

But experts say that all these are far from kidstuff. 

Company co-founder Alex Foster  said in a recent press release:    “Imagine racing against your own personal best, chasing a friend you want to beat or even escaping a 400-tonne cargo train traveling at your target marathon pace," company co-founder    "By blending reality with virtual reality, we can make workouts a lot more interesting and motivating."

“As well as making exercise more interesting, we wanted to incorporate the addictive and social elements from gaming. That’s why we reward users with unlockable games for completing workouts, "  he says.

Foster adds:   "Exercise is incredibly good for you. Gaming is incredibly addictive and enjoyable. Our goal is make exercise incredibly addictive and enjoyable through augmented reality exercise experiences on, primarily, Google Glass.     “We are offering similar promises; more motivation, tracking, competition… but visually and live, that is, the user knows if they are beating or falling behind their personal best or target pace the whole way through the run.”

Meantime,  the  app's  Beta version,  now  open for applications  but limited to American citizens who are over 18,    will  be more accessible to  a wider audience  later this year ,  according to the app developers.   

YouTube  Screengrab

YouTube  Screengrab

YouTube  Screengrab

YouTube  Screengrab

With the Glass'  voice recognition technology ,  wearers  of the smarrt  eyewear  can  just   whisper   "O.K., Glass"  to activate  it,   and  can give you an array of  choices on what to do while  on your run:  "Take a picture",   "Record a video",   "Give me directions  to the  nearest  fastfood"  ---  and  Glass would dutifully  do its job for you.  

RaceYouself's  Chief Operating Officer  Richard Goodrum said in a statement that  the growing RaceYourself fans,  this  early,  would enjoy  more upcoming features  to further enhance the  app ,  taking it to  the next level via another game mode,  which is the race track. 

"Taking  RaceYourself  to the racetrack  is definitely something we have been thinking about and we have already started talking to a company regarding Google Glass integration with helmets.  To put a car avatar on the track that drives ahead of you,  much like in the game Gran Turismo,  would actually be more accurate than a running man avatar."

"We could even adapt the chasing aspect of RaceYourself  to beat your previous lap around the track,  you can be driving away from a monster truck or Godzilla. "

"When it comes to the safety aspect of it,  some do not realize that the Google Glass display  is  slightly  off to the top right of your vision,  meaning that you can easily obtain a clear view of the road ahead without serious distraction." 

2236060 orig 730x408 Flee from zombies and giant boulders with the Race Yourself fitness app for Google Glass
YouTube  Screengrab

YouTube  Screengrab

Goodrum further says that the  app's  newest version,   available later this year, would  also be "revolutionizing the racetrack experience"  for  track day enthusiasts and professional racing drivers  as they  see a visual representation of their lap to  beat.

"With the release of the RaceYourself app aligned with the Google Glass' recent launch,  we will be looking to pursue the car aspect of the app  later in the year. "

Meantime,  amidst all the media razzmatazz ,   recent news  reported banning  of Google Glass in  UK cinemas,   with  theatre operators alarmed about the device's recording function which  wearers can use inconspicuously to  record the films being shown for the public.

Google Glass has just arrived in the UK  last June 23,  but this early,  while early Glass Explorer beta testers  have been pouring to check out the smart eyewear,   controversy is blocking its marketing strategies these early.

Photo from Google Glass'  RaceYourself site

Photo from Google Glass'  RaceYourself site

London's  The  Independent reported the growing concern  among theater owners regarding the idea and possibility of  the device wearers easily recording pirated copies of their  films being shown in their theatres. Cinema Exhibitors Association  CEO    Phil Clapp told the paper  that   "recording in cinemas is the source of more than  90 per cent of all illegally copied fils in their release form.  Customers will be requested not to wear these into cinema auditoriums,  whether the film is playing or not."  

As  UK filmgoers  enter the cinemas,   they will be greeted by this sign: 

"“As a courtesy to your fellow audience members, and to prevent film theft, we ask that customers do not enter any cinema auditorium using any 'wearable technology' capable of recording images. Any customer found wearing such technology will be asked to remove it and may be asked to leave the cinema.”

The  UK  stages a first by  getting  the frontseat of initial  global sale of the Glass  outside the US, with  units  priced at   1,000 British Pounds, equivalent to  about   US$1703.  However,   the ban  stays  ---   covering  some  750 cinemas within  the UK,  which includes England,  Scotland,  Wales and  Northern Ireland.  

Related to the  most recent controversy,  Google issued  its  statement:

"We encourage any cinemas concerned about Glass to treat the device as they treat similar devices like mobile phones: simply ask wearers to turn it off before the film starts. Broadly speaking, we also think it's best to have direct and first-hand experience with Glass before creating policies around it. The fact that Glass is worn above the eyes and the screen lights up whenever it’s activated makes it a fairly lousy device for recording things secretly.”