2009.12.27

Wearable Displays

23.45.31 - Mark

Over 10 years ago I got a bit hooked on the idea of wearable computers. One handed keyboard+mouse devices, lightweight CPUs that work for hours, maybe with the speech recognition software, and a display that "floats" in front of the eye. Being in high school at the time I managed to scrounge together some pieces, with mixed degrees of success. I was given some semi-dead mac laptops and got some of them to work. Bought one of those one handed keyboards but never got it to work with my assorted Apple hardware, and even got a couple wearable displays.

While I gave up / sold / repurposed a lot of that stuff, the displays are about the closest I got to success. It was older gadgets, but I adapted it to take better, less expensive batteries, and when I got a second display I carefully took it apart and tried to convert it to a more discrete monocular version based on a few of the hacks I found online. While I managed to kludge together a "working" model, it was loosely assembled on a chopped up pair of sunglasses, a few pieces from an old erector set, scraps of plexiglass, and a zip tie or two. It showed me the amazing effect of monocular displays, but made me look like a massive idiot.

However with technology getting smaller, and these micro-displays getting less expensive and somewhat more common I'm playing around with the idea of getting one to hack. When I started taking another look at the commercially available ones, I found A Monocular Myvu hack. These Myvus, along with many of the other modern wearable displays, are geared for videos from iPods and other portable video players, and easily found for $100 or so. Not great resolutions for a computer, but could be a nice tool for some of my camera work or getting videos off my iPod.

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2008.01.28

LEGO

15.10.44 - Mark

Today's odd bit of trivial is that LEGO Bricks turned 50 years old today. While I'm not a full fledged adult fan of legos, I had countless small lego kits (and a couple of big kits) as a kid, and while I would keep a model around for a while they inevitably got recycled into the big box of legos for use in other creations. Of course, that was the fun of LEGOs. Even into high school I would spend hours each week digging though my lego box and building models - then of course playing with those creations. I still have the big box, but it rarely gets used anymore. The first set I can remember having was the Super Nova II which would have been around 1991 - and it still has some of my favorite pieces, and I remember driving my parents crazy over the Deep Freeze Defender. I used to look at the weekend circulars before my parents even woke up to see if any stores had legos on sale and tried to figure out how much the set would cost with taxes, and if I could afford it with how ever many weeks allowances I had saved up. I think my parents eventually gave up and called it close enough so I would stop obsessing over the set, then I spent hours building it in the living room with my brothers. It was a fun set (and like all the other sets was eventually recycled into the box). The last sets I clearly remember getting for me would have been a rock raiders set or maybe a Town Space Port set around 1999, so I've got nearly 10 years of lego sets.

Since it's the 50th birthday I dug out the old box, and I've got tons of specialty pieces. I sort of wish I had more regular brick pieces to do more brick models and buildings with, but legos are still amazingly fun to play with.

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2006.10.02

A little bit of Nostalgia

10.58.08 - Mark

Breakfast this morning was a bowl of cereal and a couple sodas. A lot like the snacks I'd assemble during the commercials between Saturday morning cartoons, or right after finishing my paper route - trying to catch a couple cartoons before school.

Except the servings are larger and the smart, funny, multidimensional cartoons that cater to kids and adults just aren't made anymore.

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