Wednesday, September 29, 2010

MobilePay ... what Paypal wishes it had been?


Just might have the secret sauce to move is into the 21st century. From paper, to plastic, to SmartPhones.

Let's give some context.

Paypal was started up many many moons ago (2000) as a financial services company by Elon Musk ( Paypal allows you to pay through the service without every having to reveal you r payment sources and only using your email address. Paypal recently introduced the ability to "bump" a payment to anyone. This is great for online transactions, but there is no support for 'brick & mortar' stores.

Now we have a solution for 'brick & mortar' stores, that solution is MobilePay. Combining the intermediary of Paypal with GPS, you select the store you plan on paying and make the payment. It's transmitted through to the merchant and to your bank. This process eliminates the need for any additional hardware. This allows existing smartphone hardware to become a digital wallet.

MobilePay has the potential to start new revolution in digital financial transactions. Hopefully merchants will see this as a significant opportunity and advantage over waiting for future hardware.

I want my MobilePay!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Monsters - available on iTunes before theater release for $10.99

Movie delivery keeps getting interesting. "Monsters" ( slated for a limited October release in the US was released to VOD on September 24th.

Short critique on the movie (no spoilers). The movie was great except for the end. The acting was standard faire for a mid-sized budget film. The creatures were very interesting.

The most interesting part of the whole setup is that the movie was available for $10.99 to watch on iTunes before release to theaters. I have always asked why don't they do this. iTunes really did something interesting when they did (1) Bubble which was released at the same time as the movie and when they did (2) Purple Violets which was released only to iTunes. I never saw Bubble but Purple Violets was great. I think producers are looking for more ways to make money off of movies and VOD prerelease to iTunes / Netflix will be the two venues to make this happen. I paid $10.99 for a movie I thought was "OK". Instead of $12 sitting at the theater. Some movies you still need to have the theater experience. Would 1 would pay $12 to go see it in the theater now? Probably not. But if they had done some pre-release movie "clip" thing for Avatar or something like that we definitely would go see the full movie on the big screen. The only ones complaining about this would be the movie theaters themselves. Movie theaters in America are a stable of our culture. They are going to have to reinvent themselves if they really want to stay relevant in the age of "instant everywhere" movies. Granted as I mentioned the theater experience (for 2D movies) can't be beat by even the best home system, some are spending the money to get it pretty close.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

3Don't ... 3D is just not ready for prime time

I know that a lot of folks love 3D. I am just not one of those folks. I've seen several moves with and without 3D (specifically Avatar) and I can certainly say that 3D is just not ready yet. Not that the visual piece is not stunning, it is. The issue stems from the glasses themselves. There is a slight reflection in the bottom of the glasses that is very distracting. During fast motion images become blurred. Lastly, there is a depth of color in 2D that is flat out missing in 3D.

You go to the movies to be engrossed in the experience, to suspend your disbelief. The glasses have a reflection of the screen in the corners that is basically the movie playing in the corner of your eye. It's bad enough that people distract you with flashing cell phones and ipods but to have the entire movie playing in front of you and your periphery is not the way you want to spend two hours.

"Why are you so M* f* blurry" ... I'm not sure what causes this, but while watching Avatar I noticed that when things became very fast paced, you almost could not focus on anything. All of the images on the screen began to blur. Seeing Avatar in 2D, there were no issues with the fast paced action. Might be the way 3D is filmed that just can't handle scenes like that.

Color ... Avatar was an amazingly rich environment with more colors than you can shake a crayola box at. 3D made Avatar seem muted, washed out. In 2D you could see every little floating seed and fleck of burning tree.

It's not just the big screen that is lackluster. 3D televisions leave a lot to be desired also. 3D was big in the 50s and has attempted to make a strong come back. Watching television with extra equipment is not something that most people handle the extra equipment. The technology has to get to a point where you don't need the additional accoutrements.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

iHealth ... What's taking so long?

So back in March of 2009 Johnson and Johnson wowed everyone with the potential for monitoring your diabetes through your iPhone. Skip ahead a year and there is still no hardware from anyone that can do PMH (Personal Mobile Health). Don't get me wrong, I am an Apple evangelist through and through, but I will say that the "Made For iOS" process is cumbersome at best and only if you are a company of a certain size. Not to mention the FDA hurdles and hoops one must jump through.

Some good potentials that could really help things take off

iGlucose Meter

Seems like a solid enough product, can easily stow in a pocket / purse. And already has an app. Where's the social networking aspect?

Polar Hearrate Monitor / Nike+

Is it me or are Nike and Polar missing the boat on this? Heart Rate is the best way to measure calorie burn, yet for some reason, we've yet to see a good product. This product only works with the iPod / iPod Touch.

Withings WiFi Scale
Fantastic ... but where is the social aspect? The integration with other health monitoring tools.

Since Healthcare is such a hot topic, why truly allow people to take their health into their hands and provide more holistic approaches to personal monitoring & diagnostics. It's not just about running. It's about the various exercises that get you to your goal "health" and keep you there.

Maybe one day all this will be seamlessly integrated with those electronic health records we've been promised for the past 3yrs.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Perez Hilton vs. A Tree In Brussels (Twitter Mix)

So if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around does it still make a sound? Well, when it tweets and updates it's Facebook page, you will know.

The boys and girls in Brussels have given a 100 year old tree a voice in the social media age. And this bad boy tweets and has more friends than you on Facebook.

Why write about this? The technology is somewhat pedestrian; however, the implications are far reaching. I now have a institutionalized way of monitoring various situations. What if the ocean floor near the Deep Water Horizon was outfitted with something like this? Not to mention you could set up something similar for home and boom ... you have an instantly updating system (just don't let it get hacked). Either way. I am sure we will see more of these 'Talking" object situations as the sensor packages get smaller and smaller. A dog collar that tweets its location? Fantastic!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Great Gaming Coup ... to come

Recently Apple announced that they would be refreshing their "hobby", the Apple TV, for the third time ( This refresh brings along with it a revamp of what was called "AirTunes". Now called "AirPlay", Apple couches the new technology as being able to push video and audio not only to the Apple TV 3, but to any other product which would have the "AirPlay" technology built in. If some fancy round-about testing is accurate ( then Apple has just scored a significant coup in the gaming world. Suddenly any ATV becomes a $100 conduit for playing Epic Citadel right on your flat screen. With the compass, accelerometer, gyroscope combo in the handset, one suddenly has a "wii" like remote as well. This opens up a whole new level of game-play.

If a television manufacturer is smart, they will build AirPlay directly into their televisions. Not sure if this eliminates the need for an Apple TV at that point, but it could certainly make the gaming terrain much more interesting. Now all we need is a good MMOG for iOS.

Friday, September 17, 2010

In love with Cylons

I have always had a fascination with robots. Not sure if it's the anthropomorphic features we give them or just that some day soon I know I may have one for a boss. I remember the episode of Star Trek TNG where Data and Picard had to legally battle over what it meant to be sentient and to have rights. Check out the video below of HRP-4. This is Caprica level efforts in Japan (why aren't we this far along in the US?)

Everything fails

So I tried to setup BlogPress on my iPad so that I could be Mr. Mobile Blogger if the 23rd Century. Despite the clear warnings from the reviews that it often doesn't work, I figured maybe I would have some magically different iPad that my app wouldn't crash. Well, no magic. The app crashes. You have to love when technology fails in the moment of dire need. The dropped call(s). The blue screen of death. The spinning hour-glass that time forgot. And my favorite. The jumpy-ghosty-pixilated TV screen. We all know the intent is for technology to somehow simplify our every day experiences, but I wonder if you could measure stress level vs the amount of information interruptions people experience a day. Think things might have increased over the last couple of decades?

The Deck Is Stac'd!!

Science, Technology and Culture. This little space in the land of 1's and 0's is MHO (my humble opinion) about how these three topics intersect and feed off of each other. I am not an IT person but I have written a few iOS apps. I am not a PhD, but I do have an engineering background. You could call it "Futurism" or amateur anthropology.

You can also follow me on twitter!

The Deck is Stac'd

Alright people. I have decided to start a blog called "Stac The Deck". STAC stands for Science Technology And Culture. I'm usually reading about how these three things feed off each other. I couldn't develop a web page to save my life, but i have written a few iOS apps. I am not an anthropologist, but I do have an engineering background.

I will share MHO on things i come across in the news or hear on the street. I've been told I have a keen eye for technology, so here we go! Enjoy!

- the deck is stac'd