Google Glass Needs A Full Audio UI

Google Glass’ UI requires the touchpad today, yet using it becomes painful after only 1-2 minutes! Glass needs a complete voice command UI to avoid “Glass shoulder” syndrome.

Google Glass’ touchpad is OK when a verbal command might be awkward, but an audio UI becomes imperative when your hands are occupied (e.g. covered in dough while cooking, busy carrying things, or just relaxing). The Glass UI relies too heavily on the touchpad and this is, literally, painful. Tom Chi concisely explained why in his talk at “Mind the Product 2012” (, 7m18s):

[Tom describes the first test subjects trying a prototype gesture UI]
“…and about a minute and a half in I started seeing them do something weird, they were going like this [Tom rolls his shoulders and kneads them], and I was like “What’s wrong with you?” and they responded “Well my shoulder sort of hurts.” and we learned from this set of experiments that if your hands are above your heart then the blood drains back and you get exhausted from doing this in about a minute or two and you can’t go more than five. “

That’s why using Glass for more than a minute or two just isn’t practical right now; the touchpad is above your heart, yet much of the UI requires it.

Hopefully future revisions of Glass will make the entire UI available via audio.  A simple test for completeness is covering the display and then using Glass with just your voice and ears (and possibly head movements).


Low Corruption, High Income…

Corruption Perceptions Index, 2012:

How does your country rank in terms of public sector corruption? Find out in Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perception Index.

Income distribution looks the same (this is the World Bank’s map of Gross National Income (GNI) per Capita rated using Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)):

GNI per capita, PPP (current international $), World Bank

GNI per capita, PPP (current international $), World Bank

Data from World Bank

The Olson TZ (Time Zone) Database and Copyright…

They must have misread their stars! Astrolabe, Inc., who sells astrology software, acquired the copyright to “The American Atlas” by Thomas G. Shanks and then naively decided to sue the people who maintain the standard time zone database used in software worldwide. The Daily Parker promptly provided a great write-up in October, 2011 where David asked five questions:

  1. Is data about when time zone rules changed throughout history protected under copyright?
  2. If so, who owns it?
  3. If someone owns it, is the Olson database a derivative work under copyright law?
  4. If the Olson database does, in fact, derive from the work in question, is it a fair use?
  5. Just how stupid are these astrologists, anyway?

It’s useful to recall that government laws control time zone rules throughout the world. In the United States where the suit was filed, laws cannot be copyrighted nor can facts. That means the answer to question 1 is no, because it asks about facts (referred to as data). The actual text of the law(s) controlling time zone rules might have been copyrighted by the government that wrote them, but the facts themselves cannot be copyrighted. Since the answer to question 1 is no, the rest of the questions are rendered moot. Q.E.D.

Genetically Engineered Crops and the Farmers Who Don’t Want Them

Q: What’s the difference between patented plants and other patented things?
A: The plants can make copies of the “patented” invention on their own without help from anyone.
This is a fundamental distinction that the courts have apparently overlooked.  The crucial difference between plants and other inventions is the fact that it doesn’t require any human action to replicate the patented invention. The plant, on its own,  will copy the covered invention as it goes about its natural life. If Monsanto wants to sue someone, sue the plant; after all, it was the life-form that exercised Monsanto’s patent.

The courts should recognize that when a farmer takes no action (the copy of the patented item was made by a plant),  then the farmer is in no way at fault for winding up with a patented item on their land.  Like I said, Monsanto should sue the plant.

Plants propagate; it’s a fundamental requirement for life, and if a plant with patented genes propagates on its own, then there cannot be a finding of patent infringement.  If there is, then the lawyers and judges have lost touch with reality;  go out and garden, then come back and judge again.

If a plant “inventor” really wanted to prevent Mother Nature from going about her business and making copies, then the inventor can engineer sterility into their plants along with whatever other traits they’re trying to enhance.  Otherwise, the plants themselves, without any help from us, will go about their business and replicate across the landscape.

Election 2012 Results for Utah Congressional District 4, Jim Matheson (D) wins by 768 votes over Mia Love (R)

Summary of Official Election Results for Utah Congressional District 4 Election, Jim Matheson (D) v. Mia Love (R)

Jim Matheson (D) remains part of Utah’s congressional delegation after winning by the slimmest of margins in Utah’s new District 4 against Mia Love (R).  Only 768 votes, or 0.31% separated him from Ms. Love.

FiveThirtyEight Blog Correctly Predicts 32 of 33 Senate Races

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog correctly predicted the outcome of the presidential election in all 50 states and correctly called 32 of 33 senate races.  The one missed call in Montana was probably due the changing demographics that Micah Cohen wrote about earlier.

Mobile view fixed for Wikipedia

I suggested this quick javascript fix for Wikipedia’s recent, and highly annoying, tendency to send my iPhone’s web browser to the Desktop version of pages.

jQuery(document).ready( function($) {
   // Put an onClick handler on the Mobile View link to unset the stopMobileRedirects cookie
       document.cookie = "stopMobileRedirect=false; expires=Sun, 01-Jan-2012 00:00:00 GMT; "
                    + "path=/;";

and today TheDJ and added it as a stopgap fix for everyone on Wikipedia!  Thank you!

Palm Prē Musings

(Posting an old article written in 2009 – iOS and then Android have really driven technology a long way!)

I’ve been using my Palm Prē for about a week now and thought I’d list some of the pros and cons while they are still fresh in my mind.  Caveat lector – the Prē was free in my case as an enticement to move to Sprint.  Of course, folks have explained that moving to Sprint was a big cost; but so far, it’s been allright.

The small size (about the same as a folded Razr) and curved surfaces fit the hand extremely well.


  • Sprint’s navigation app with 3D map display and voice announcements is definitely a step up and nearly as good as my dedicated  TomTom gps.   The TomTom doesn’t need an internet connection though.
  • “got root?” is much easier to answer yes to on the Prē; there’s no need to download software from sketchy web sites.
  • Synergy seems quite nice.  I unfortunately realize now how messy some of my address books have become.
  • Over the air backup and remote erase are included; no need for a separate subscription.
  • The screen resolution is great; putting the same number of pixels (480×320) in a smaller space will do this!
  • Multi-tasking and the card interface is really nice.
  • The notification system, as advertised, is much nicer than the iPhone’s traditional modal dialogs.


  • Call handling is quite limited.  I assume this is a Sprint “feature” and not a webOS/Prē limitation, but I’ve yet to dig into it.  Here are some things I’ve run into:
    • Switching between calls is only allowed for incoming calls.  If you add the second call, the phone app only provides conference call setup and will not let you switch between calls.   Nor can you hang up on just one call; your callees can hang up, but your hangup button closes both lines at the same time.
    • Only two calls can be added (three-way max).  Larger conferences require some other solution.
    • The EVDO network only handles one data connection at a time; while on a phone call, the EVDO internet connection is down.
    • Once connected to a phone call, there’s no way to turn off my bluetooth headset without hanging up on the call.