Letters from the Lunar Outpost

Thought and theory must precede all salutary action; yet action is nobler in itself than either thought or theory.
- Wordsworth, English Poet (1770-1850)

google

One of the great new innovations we’re seeing spring forth from the Internet is global community funding, or the “kickstarting” of projects, where filmmakers, musicians, artists, and designers can post an idea before the world and the world can say back to them, “Hey, that’s sounds great! Here’s some money, now get to it and make it happen!”

In the words of Stephen Heleker, who raised $21,000 for his short film “Smoke”, it’s “the most democratic way art has ever been made.”

Since its launch in 2009, Kickstarter has enabled more than 4.6 million people to pledge over $738 million, funding more than 46,000 creative projects. The site is so ubiquitous to the world of community funding that I’m pretty sure Kickstarter will give the word “kickstarting” new meaning in much the same way Google sprung forth the verb “googling”.

What caught my eye today however, was a project funded outside of kickstarter, using pre-orders at their own website to fund production of a product they’re calling Tile, which will (hopefully) be shipping soon.

Tile has had 49,586 backers who have made preorders totaling $2.6 million. That’s a whole lot of people who want to make this product a reality and get their hands on it.

So what is this Tile thing? It’s a $20 GPS device not much larger than a postage stamp that works along with an iPhone app so you can keep track of all those important things you keep managing to lose.

Lost your keys? If you left them at the beach or at the park, pull up the app on your iPhone and it’ll give you a map to the exact spot where you lost your keys. If, like where most keys are usually lost, you lost your keys inside the house, the Tile has a little speaker that you can trigger from your phone so you can find your keys by sound. The app also has a little “You’re getting warmer” meter on screen so you can find your keys that way as well.

Tile

If you want to help keep your laptop from getting stolen, probably best not to do it like the girl in the photo above, but if you’re willing to open up your laptop and can find room to stick the Tile somewhere inside where a thief is unlikely to see it, you just bought yourself a nice little $20 LoJack for your laptop.

Of course, all of this hinges on you not actually losing your iPhone, but as most iPhone users know, there’s an app for that, too.

Right now, Tile is only being advertised for iPhone, although I’m pretty sure it’ll only be a matter of time until the app gets ported over to Android. Each Tile is said to last for a year before you’ll need to replace it.

It sounds like the perfect little device to help you find that remote or a wandering pet or track down a stolen bicycle, but you know what I think a lot of people are pre-ordering their Tiles for?

Tracking lovers and spouses.

You think your love is being untrue? Just a little suspicious, maybe? Slap one of these things under their car and right from your phone you’ll be able to see whether the car’s really in the company parking lot on nights they tell you they’re “working late”.

Wow. How many people are going to get busted by this thing?

Of course, Tile will be just as useful to parents of sneaky teens with drivers licenses, but I can only imagine when Tile gets released, just how many cheaters are going to be busted with evidence as incontrovertible as this:

Tile Map

No more need for spending big bucks on private detectives and you won’t have to know where the suspected “other” lives and try to stakeout their house, you’ve got your cheater nailed with a simple screenshot.

Just make sure you don’t end up looking like a lunatic if you bust in trying to catch them in the act and it turns out it’s just the ladies sharing a glass of wine or the boys playing poker.

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So a few people on the Internet couldn’t help but notice that after 16 years of existence, Google chose today as the day they would honor Cesar Chavez’ birthday . . .

Cesar Chavez Honored by Google on Easter Sunday

Today also happens to be Easter Sunday, the day that marks the Resurrection of Christ for the Christian faithful around the world, but hey, I don’t know why people are freaking out over Google’s choice of a leftist labor leader over the chosen Savior of two billion people. After all, Google has chosen to ignore Easter for thirteen straight years now. The last time Google recognized Easter was in their third year of existence back in 2000.

So I’m trying to figure out my reply to Google’s ongoing snub of the two billion faithful and I’m remembering how I was told that if you want to be a Christian, you should strive to be Christ-like in everything you do. Whenever you come to a decision point, you should ask yourself, WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? In this case, I asked myself, how would Jesus respond?

Unfortunately, I can’t really imagine what an Internet Jesus would tweet about this, so I decided to do the next best thing and take a positive course of action.

There, fixed it for you, Google!

Google Crown of Thorns

I’m also fixing the default search engine on all the browsers in the house as well.

Happy Easter, all.

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Ah, what a beautiful thing to see a great website so many people depend on willing to stand up and suspend their service in protest against evil . . .

Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge

Interesting to see Google only went halfway with their protest . . .

Tell Congress Please Don't Censor the Web

I was a little disappointed to see Google’s wouldn’t go so far as to suspend their service, but as I thought about it, it’s understandable, really – Wikipedia has the unique advantage that no other site anywhere provides what they provide as far as being a one-stop for any sort of knowledge imaginable, but if you need to do a search and Google has shut itself down in protest, that’s not going to stop you from searching, you just go somewhere else and who knows if once you go elsewhere you might never come back. So I’m willing to cut Google some slack for not completely shutting itself down today.

UPDATE: Excellent explanation of why Google is against the draconian measures of SOPA and PIPA and a cool graphic on just how many of us are with them.

Oh by the way, you remember Chris Dodd, the guy who did more to cause the housing crisis than any other person in America except for maybe Barney Frank? Well this guy is now chairman of the MPAA, and check his quotation here, an instant inductee to the Hall of Fame of Irony and Idiocy:

[Shutting down their services in protest] is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services. It is also an abuse of power . . .

source: MPAA Press Release

This guy! Talking about “abuse of power”? This from a guy who supports Chinese-style totalitarian control of the Internet in America?

So basically, he says it’s irresponsible for a website to shut down IT’S OWN SERVICE if they choose to do so, but he thinks it’s perfectly okay for our Federal Government Overlords to have the power to shut down any website they may see fit? Oh yeah, give the government dictatorial powers and nothing irresponsible could ever happen, you’ll never see major websites targeted for their politics or their owners bullied one way or another under the threat of a possible shutdown and I’m sure you’d never see that kind of power used to stomp little sites out of existence before they get too big for anyone to notice.

He’s upset with Wikipedia because they shut down a service of their own creation???

In Chris Dodd’s world, I bet you not only should the government have the power to shut down any website they see fit to shutting down, but I bet you he’d also give the government power to force a website to stay online at their demand or risk of fines and imprisonment.

Hit the Wikipedia page, type in your zip and call your representatives.

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We’re three days in on the new year, but nothing much of note has really happened so far, so still not too late to unload my psychic powers on the world . . .

Spun Honey’s Predictions for 2012

2012 Football Predictions1. Coming off the 9-6 LSU victory in the regular season, in the LSU – Alabama rematch for the BCS Championship, someone finally manages to score a touchdown. The way those defenses are playing, forget picking a winner, that’s a bold enough prediction right there.

2. Drew Brees manages to outgun Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau Field in the NFC Championship, taking his Saints to the Super Bowl. The Ravens, who had a regular season record of 6-0 against playoff teams, beat both the Bengals and Patriots, but end up losing in the big one. They never need an excuse to party down on Bourbon Street, but it’s Super Bowl number two for the Saints and the people of New Orleans.

3. The day before the vote on the Stop Online Piracy Act, Google, Wikipedia, Twitter and Facebook launch a black page protest, shutting down service and asking their loyal users to tell Congress to get their cotton-pickin’ hands off the Internet. Congressional phone lines are flooded beyond anything the Capitol has ever seen, and in a stunning reversal, SOPA bites the dust.

2012 Video Game Sales4. Hollywood will earn $500 billion less in domestic box-office sales from the previous year, just as they did in 2011, and the movie studios still remain completely in denial, crying about piracy when the real problems Hollywood faces are a dearth of new ideas (nothing but remakes, sequels and comic book adaptations) a public that prefers their own home theater experience to over-priced movie tickets and the fact that video games are drawing more and more people’s disposable income.

5. Video game sales will break records again, hitting $20 billion and doubling Hollywood’s take for the first time ever. While video games are just as easy to pirate as movies, you hear very few calls from the video game industry for the government to have an Internet kill switch.

6. London Olympics are smashing, baby! Security is tight, no terrorist attacks, and the only incident is when a bunch of hooligans get out of hand with the celebrations as Great Britain pulls off the upset Gold Medal in football.

7. The Israelis will not and cannot allow the Mullah Hitlers to have nukes in Iran and the much anticipated airstrike is launched. Thankfully, predictions of oil at $250 a barrel are exaggerated, with oil maxing out at $198 a barrel. Gasoline rises to an earth-loving $8 a gallon, and the Obama administration couldn’t be happier.

 Punxsutawney Phil8. Documents come to light proving what everyone already knew, that Attorney General Eric Holder was guilty of perjury when he denied having knowledge of Operation Fast and Furious. Fortunately for the Obama administration, all the news channels outside of FNC decide the story is not as newsworthy as the reports on Katy Perry’s second divorce and whether Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, so the story is never even mentioned.

9. On a personal note, I’m able to stay on the straight and narrow with no cigarettes and I get back down to my target weight of 200 pounds this year, but it doesn’t matter because . . .

10. December 21, 2012 lands most conveniently on a Friday, and Mayan apocalypse parties are going off all across America. When everyone else wakes up hungover on December 22, they realize there is no Mayan apocalypse, we survived to suffer a fate far worse, because just a month previous, Barack Obama was given another four years.

December 21, 2012

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STOP SOPA

 

What a wicked political system it is when the big money of Hollywood can buy off politicians and get them to support something as wrong-headed as an assault on the very freedom of the Internet.

SOPA gives the U.S. Attorney General the ability to throw an “Internet death switch” on any website just as easy as obtaining a court order. No jury needed, the AG and a judge become a two-person judge, jury and executioner.

Hollywood’s money has bought the most powerful members of the House and Senate and left opponents of SOPA outgunned, but in a beautiful form of fighting fire with fire, we may see some of the most popular sites on the Internet choose what’s being called “the nuclear option”.

When the home pages of Google.com, Amazon.com, Facebook.com, and their Internet allies simultaneously turn black with anti-censorship warnings that ask users to contact politicians about a vote in the U.S. Congress the next day on SOPA, you’ll know they’re finally serious.

Source: CNET’s Declan McCullagh

An unbelievable collection of many of the most popular sites on the Internet stands opposed to SOPA, along with many founders of the web, think tanks, industry associations, academics, experts, entreprenuers and the list goes on and on. Pretty impressive when you look at just how much of the Internet is speaking out against this bill.

Here is a very handy map listing Congresspeople who have come out on record either for or against SOPA, to which you can respond accordingly:

Spatial Situation SOPA Congressional Support Map”

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Currently Listening To:

Team of Rivals
by
Doris Kearns Goodwin