Monthly Archives: July 2010

Gadgets and innovation, value in joking around

Back in the 80’s many of us pre teens got into metal detecting, it along with skateboards, CB radio and arcade video games were all gadget powered exciting and interesting ways to explore the world. The home computer revolution was in on that wave too.
The metal detecting was an interesting form of gambling or hi-tech fishing. Hours of fruitless wandering, but with a gadget held in hand to sweep the ground. Wearing headphones and listening to static and analogue electronic beeps. We mixed and matched between attempts to treasure hunt (responsibly in fields with permission) and sweeping the beach for left coins. It often led to looking at old maps and trying to figure out where to go.
We were working with commercially available technology, but it was really just adapted from the way metal detecting had always been done. That was of course a military application. The purpose of the metal detector disc on the end of a long handle allowing the user to sweep the ground in front of them was clearly to protect the user from the metal they are looking for, namely mines.
I was reminded of the metal detecting craze and the 80’s kit we used by reading this months Stuff magazine ( it and T3 being a great repository of gadget goodness) with the mention of these treasure seeker sandals.
Treasure Seeker Sandals
It turns out these have been around for a little while (a year of so). Basically you wear the meta detector. Now there may be some usability issues here, but as most social metal detecting does not need to protect you from the thing you are searching for it makes sense to do something like this. It challenges the “this is the way we have always done it”.
Even before these became a product though the idea was muted on the patent busting Half Bakery where people share a half baked idea just to get discussion going. I say patent busting as if you are about to try and write up a patent and something has already been published that is close to that idea in the public domain then you have to work a bit harder to describe why its not this piece of prior art.
It has always seemed important to me to explore those things that seem funny or ludicrous initially, as at those extremes, far from the way we currently to things there is always some middle ground to break.
Using the things we already have and combining them opens up interesting opportunities. So its worth just joking about something, standing back from it and having a non serious discussion. It’s not frivolous, its essential to pushing things forward.
If stuck for inspiration just a random click through Half Bakery might get you going too.

Ground control to mAYCh3rT0m – Nasa Moonbase online edugame

This week has seen the release of the free to play NASA Moonbase alpha game by virtual heroes.
It fits nicely into that area of education and a specific event or scene that has to dealt with providing education and online teamwork rather than being a free roam NASA virtual world. i.e. there is a task to get on and do right away.

It is a large client download, again as the assets are not constantly changing so as with most game clients they reside locally.
It places you in a situation of having to repair certain resources in a certain time. Chain reaction failures leading to mission failure if not done right.
It also poses the qualities of slowing you down precisely because you are in a space suit. You can hop along and try and jump to places but there is no rapid click fixing.
The is where the online teamwork fits in. Decisions to commit to fix a remote part has significant implications on being able to get back in time.
There are all sorts of tools, like remote control robots that come into play too.
It is a pity is a windows only client but thats the way it is.
I am going to experiment and see how the predlets take to it. The elder one will probably be ok with the task, the younger happy to bounce around.
With a bit of luck this sort of thing will get used in UK schools too as it offers the ability for LAN play rather than having to deal with the vagaries and perceived risks of other people on the internet.
It is always good to see interesting educational and entertainment projects emerge.
I would be interested to see if any team building activities occur in corporate circles using this, as it is not a fragfest but a slower teamwork task that many of the older non gamers of my generation can relate to having watched the space race and the moon landings.

APB out on epredator

Well not exactly. I have dived into the MMORPG world of APB today.
APB first tshirts
It seems pretty good, it is an MMO so for those who have note played one before it may be a bit odd. However its got some great features and customisation options to create a look. A tune composer to create victory tunes. I have done a few tutorial missions and hung around in the social areas.
I also lost my first gun battle (to be expected I guess).
Still I was representing with Feeding Edge logo tshirt v1.0 more later.
****Update I gave the jacket a go too 🙂 It worked, real designers are going to do some fun things with this, just like the Forza racing cars community.
APB jacket