Monthly Archives: December 2015

Reality Editor – Seeing IoT

This video is doing the rounds, Wired also reported on it. It is the latest instalment in a project from MIT. It uses augmented reality to show you the connections between your connected devices so that you can do things to those connections in the physical World. It is called the reality editor. I has been an ongoing project, see the second video for the one from a couple of years ago.
UPDATE Jan 2016 – They seem to have removed this new video from Youtube. I am currently looking for the right version.

This is very interesting on a number of fronts. Firstly the use of augmented reality to do something that you interact with, not just see adverts etc.
Secondly, it is applicable to the next generation blended reality headsets like magic leap and hololens.
Thirdly, it’s another piece of real technology that makes my sci-fi novel even more grounded in reality. The sort of interface that is used here is the sort that Roisin uses in Reconfigure, except she can move real things in space and combine materials, not just wiring and plumbing as the current technology shows.
It seems strange to write ‘just’ when referring to something so leading edge. It is that odd balance between the joy of some cool technology getting into peoples hands and everyone getting the point rather than nay saying, versus the ‘enjoy this I made it up.’ approach that I am currently taking with the science fiction.
It all is towards the same technology evangelist goal of helping people come to terms with all this change and to embrace and expand upon it.
Here is the original video from 2013 of the fluid interface concept of the Reality Editor.

Just think what you could do with this, and how far you could take it.
Soon(ish) Reconfigure will be a historical document 🙂 I am glad I put some suspense and drama in it too no just tech 🙂

More STEMnet talks – With added IoT

Tomorrow I am heading to predlet 1.0 secondary school to talk to the year eight class (including predict 1.0) about programming, tech and interesting stuff like Internet of Things and what it is relevant to them. I am putting most of the same, but updated things in there to garner interest. The extra labelling of IoT to make things more relevant doesn’t alter the vector the the future I discuss is heading towards.
It is also a talk about how my career, or whatever this is called has flowed alongside new developments and of course I do also mention the book. It is relevant in several ways. The subject matter and being able to share and explain how a programmer’s mind or a gamer’s mind works is the obvious one. The ongoing story keeping up with and accelerating past the current technology, yet keeping it just possible is pretty much where I live as a technical evangelist. You have to know how things work, you have to be able to build things in order to help push things forward. Also the feedback loop of 3d printing creating objects that become inputs for IoT is still an incredible one to consider and share.
I also found that it became a relevant IoT(ish) example.
The book started as an idea, which became a digital product. Designed, published and sold from anywhere in the World. However, it became a physical object too. I was not planning that originally. The printed object takes up space and has a presence. A pile of them become things, not internet of things but things generated from the internet. They and the intangible ebook generate digital sales figures. Data that tuned for just me and my sales becomes the intelligence I act upon for the follow up book, for digital adverts etc. It also is part of the global sales figures, the charts the overall big picture from the big data on what is being read and sold. Products always have had this of course, but the figures are now instant. The ebook is able to be borrowed in a digital library and I get figures of how many pages have been read. The printed book can’t do that, yet. However, it could with the right devices as part of it. That would be useful for me, have people read it, where are they stopping, thinking time, heart rate for excitement, stress for complexity etc. The ebook is part way there, the physical is as far away as ever from that. The question then becomes, if we related that use case to something else would it be desirable and make sense to push the instrumentation further in the product.
Another gadget I may take with me is the Emotiv headset to show them. Oh! Look! it measures brain engagement, relaxation, stress etc. for the current activity. If it just knew which book, film, game I was reading, watching, playing then it could quite happily correlate and send this brain wave data to Amazon, on to the individual author, regardless of ebook or physical version. It could then also aggregate that all up into the big data picture.
Measuring engagement with emotiv and physical book
I generated a word cloud of the first chapter to. Everyone knows what a word cloud is now I think, but it can be a relevant example of making sense or trying to make sense of massive amounts of data.
Word Cloud - Chapter 1 Reconfigure
The instrumentation loop is here, the parts of it may not flow totally without friction but we can experiment with what might work, prototype then maybe build the proper versions.
I am also going to go a bit fractal thinking on them. Reminding them everything in computing is just adding up two numbers. The half adder circuit of an Xor and an And gate is the basis of it all. The number of times you it add up is what the computer leverages. From that spawns great complexity, and also great simplicity.
Then it’s Minecraft and python demo. Virtual world, code mixed maybe with a hololens video on the end, of Minecraft of course.

How to describe free in pictures

This past weekend my experiment into a free promotion of the book certainly did something. The increase in downloads was huge. A month of promoting, sharing, persuading and asking people to please take a look had built quite a base of awareness. It may have even caused some fatigue. I was feeling a little odd only talking about the book. However, needs must.
using the Amazon free promotion for four days, but on the substrate of this previous sharing and shouting about it I believe made a difference. People who were holding off, or just not got around to it now had a deadline, and something free.
There are no strings with just downloading something, even non-readers could offer some support without engaging in any payment. I do not think it is the sum of money, which is small. Payment is a barrier to entry at any price and also to an unknown, even if you know them, author.
This is what free looked like. There is no scale, deliberately so.
The launch was the first spike, followed by a constant drip feed of activity. The free period was immense in relation to the rest. Hence the scale is un important.
Amazon tracks all sorts of things in Free and paid and this, and the fantastic support spreading the message form everyone led to some great stats.

A UK Number 1 download in its genre and Number 14 in UK general science fiction.
It has reached the US top 100, as high as 52 in general science fiction, and also number 2 in its sci-fi genre on Amazon

My author rank also hit 399 in the UK, which is pretty amazing. It was in the top 4,000 books overall in the free chart in the US.

All this is with 4 five star reviews (thank you so much for those) posted. Many of the other books have hundreds of reviews. Now I am hoping the free copies maybe get read and definitely get enjoyed by lots of people. If that turned into reviews and stars it would generate another spike in paid sales I am sure. If not, well, it’s still a No.1 book and the follow up, which is taking longer because of marketing this one, will be able to be branded with the success of the promotion.
The paperback book is print on demand so it can’t be discounted in the same way. Though it would make a lovely christmas present for someone 😉
Thank you all for the ongoing support. This has been a blast so far.