A good few years ago I started to experiment with body tracking and how it could be used to add another element to my martial art training in Choi Kwang Do. The aim being that if you capture 3D data points of a movement you can recreate that move digitally from any angle and at any speed. Video may be simpler and more immediate but you need multiple cameras, matrix bullet time style, to see moves from every angle. Using the old Microsoft Kinect controller then the newer version 2 (2012 and 2014 even longer ago than I thought 🙂 ). A digital capture with human biomechanical context applied to it could also be scaled up or down to compare different body types and sizes too. A digital mirror could help overlay the optimum moves over the live performed moves and so on. The possibilities are quite vast. What was not quite working though was dealing with the speed of movement using camera technology at the time. Also the kinect rig for people lacked some points such as shoulders, and could get confused by body rotation too. It was a good bit of kit but was more for front facing. Two kinexts would solve some of that but it started to get complex.
The interesting news that just appeared from another martial art is in this video from World Taekwando using body sensors attached to students to control virtual characters for distanced sparring.
Using sensors from startup Refract they federation has officially created this technology showing a great deal of technical know how. It looks as if the sensors are measuring the knee and elbow joints for position and relative position to power the avatar. I am not sure how precise it is as a teaching aid but I would love to try it out and see how it works with my martial art.
It’s World CKD day and founder Grand Master Chois birthday so here are the bulk of a 8 years worth of articles about our family journey in the art up to now to celebrate. Not including all the flickr photos, tweets and facebook posts! http://www.feedingedge.co.uk/blog/category/ckd/ In this I use science and tech to help measure techniques, evangelise and show a passion to teach the art. Many long term friendships formed. Positive health changes. A real, we can do it together, family experience. Helped our kids with the house move and change of schools. It also helped me resolve a lot of things when I finally found the art. Even more importantly has been seeing the evolution of students confidence and abilities in all elements of life. Watching this growth is wonderful. The art and all the volunteers and students acts as a substrate or scaffold to achieve this. Just as we each strive for to improve, aiming at perfection we know we always will have more to learn, more to improve. The journey is never ending. The art itself, by its collective nature will also strive to be better, but it will also make mistakes, hopefully address them, learn from them, and correct as a whole, just as each student does in their own journey. Enjoy your journey everyone. Pil Seung!.
Its March 29th 2019 and I am really happy to have hit my initial weight target after my 800 Kcal/per day plus loads of exercise especially my Choi Kwang Do training. My use of Nutracheck on my iPhone to track everything, my Nokia/Withings Wifi connected scales tracking weight and body composition, my Hykso punch trackers keeping my punch power tracking and my Apple Watch keeping the rest of the activity recorded and my heart rates all logged. In addition I have been eating many of the same things I have always eaten and having little impact on the cooking I need to do for the family. All there to get me to 94.8Kg down from 120Kg at Christmas.
Now I switch to 5:2 – 2700Kcal 5 days a week and 600KCal on two other days, plus the constant exercise. Another interesting experiment in the journey.
I have been really interested in seeing and feeling my speed and power increase in my Choi training and the image below shows the increase in contact speed in general over the last few weeks. I had stepped up training before my 2nd Dan Black belt a while back but this is even more significant as my mass is decreasing and Force = Mass * Acceleration. The indicative impact speeds have gone up due to more to the speed than to the application of weight. Here the total across both my hard pressing PACE drills (2min,1min, 30sec, 15 sec) and my general training and experiments in tweaking technique sees the total average impact speed over the year rising. So it’s gone from 9.5Mph to just over 11Mph. The leap Jan to Feb was higher too.
The individual sessions here below on days right to left and timed top to bottom as the full on impact drill (with kicks too that are not tracked) show a general overall increase balancing number of punches and speed. The last bottom right session dropped a little but that is something to work on next time. The last 15 seconds are at max heart rate when already worn out from the previous sessions. It was still 25 punches (plus some kicks) making contact in 15 seconds.
Having all this tech is awesome 🙂 Lots of IoT measurements to tweak. Now with a new Apple Watch (series 4) I bought to celebrate I will get even more accurate data too on the rest of the moderate exercise and impact on heart rate etc.
Looking forward to a bit more food during the day on 5:2, it seems an awful lot to eat now!
This week sees the 30th year of Choi Kwang Do as a martial art. Many from the art are travelling to Atlanta for the celebrations. we were not in a position to go with this the last week of school and work commitments, but I think we managed to celebrate in our own way.
A few sunday’s ago predlet 2.0 and I stepped onto the floor of the dojang in Farnborough to face our biggest challenge yet in Choi Kwang Do. Together we went through the grading for our EE Dan (2nd Degree) Black Belts. We shared the floor with other students heading for their 1st Dan. It was an amazing and gruelling experience with 2.5 hours of full on effort. Also Predlet 1.0 took her tag grading for 1st Dan blue tag afterwards, which is about another year or so until she will be doing her 2nd Dan. She may well be doing that at the same time as Jan does her 1st Dan too, another family double grading. To do 2nd Dan you have to also effectively do 1st Dan again, then add another layer to that. These gradings are as much a test of mental strength as they are of physical conditioning. Remaining focussed but remembering what to do and to be as flowing as possible whilst still delivering aggressive energy is a challenge. I know during the course of my patterns my mind lots its way for one set, and in speed drills I transposed two of the kicks in the wrong order. The experience from the 1st Dan of something similar helped a great deal as that is the time to reset, acknowledge it and get on with it. There is to much to do to be annoyed or worried about mistakes. An extra problem this time ardour was the humidity. It was pushing 30C outside the hall and Doboks are heavy fabric that soak up a lot of sweat. During our spinning kicks though I kept having to move around a bit as a slippery puddle was forming under my feet and falling over risks not only losing focus but injury towards the start. For most of the grading we were shuffled around in the line up to avoid predlet 2.0 and I being next door to one another which can be a distraction. However for the 2nd Dan elements it was just us. He is so fast at his patterns that it can throw me as I he is 1 or 2 ahead but we had practiced that so I learned to try and ignore him and focus on mine. This is tricky when you are combining being a proud or concerned dad, an instructor and a fellow student doing their own thing all in one. You also have the amazing panel of very experienced chief instructors and Masters watching your every move and family and friends behind you also watching. Unlike being on stage or TV though this does not feel like a performance, it is important to try and suppress the performance elements, so I find a different me and try and work internally, but being human its hard not to look up and wonder what anyone is thinking, am I doing it right? am I letting my teacher down. These fleeting moments can interrupt the flow that one is trying to achieve whilst also managing heart rate and breathing to give maximum effort but not take everything from the tank for the rest of the grading. We all managed to achieve our goals though.
I had spent a good few months focussing on conditioning, PACE training and doing full sets of curriculum in order to be ready. On the Monday before the grading I had tried to do almost a full grading of techniques, patterns and speed drills plus some heavy work on the bag and BoB but with a few more breaks and lots of water just to rehearse enough. My in class preparation from Master Scrimshaw and with my fellow students set the foundations for being able to do this. It is certainly not something you just turn up to and hope you can do it. After my various teeth extractions at the start of the year my energy levels had dropped and a few months ago in class at Basingstoke CKD I couldn’t do even just the kicks in order at a good pace without a water break. That was my Rocky steps moment, each training session I explored how much of that I could do until that full set on the Monday.
These are incredible experiences and I am really appreciative of the instructors and masters who give up their time to run these gradings on a Sunday. The feedback and advice before and after is always very useful and the ecouragment partnering for some of the energy sapping drills really helps too. I am really please for predlet 2.0 too. At 10 he has achieved not 1 but 2 black belts and is enjoying the next stage of the journey too. He was worn out for the week after this (as we both were) which given how energetic he normally is indicated the effort he put in too.
These belts represent a milestone in a journey, they are called degree’s because they are the result of many years of study and practice. They are as much about mental strength as physical and whilst the belt is an external indicator it is the feeling and sense of achievement that is inside that counts. It is also a reminder of how much there is yet to learn, each belt brings new challenges, chapters in a book, and the black belts are like a whole new book in a series. I remember my first grading and at white belt, thinking how can I get through this it is hard. 1st to 2nd Dan is the same feeling. Yet each technique that is learned works on the base of those very first techniques and the attitude to them. They are all equally as important, and learning new things makes the previous new things seem familiar. Familiarity doesn’t become complacency though, ever time you think “I’ve got this” a new twist, distraction or realization makes itself known.
As we say in Choi, Pil Seung! and a very happy 30th anniversary to everyone.
I was probably not expecting this blog to end up as a gym bore, but as this is tech and IoT related but blends with Choi Kwang Do I think it can be excused. Number are all relative, regardless of the units or apparent speeds and counts they need to have previous states to compare them to in order to make sense. (Something we see all the time in IoT analytics 🙂 )
I have had a few sessions of the 2min, 1min, 30 sec punches to see how the punch count and power is affected, plus to track if I am getting anywhere with the training. I have also mixed and matched going for power with just sheer punch count, both variant of a PACE drill for hi intensity bursts. I am not neglecting the kicks or other techniques, but theses are what I can record.
Over a few session I tried 3x1min30 rounds with the aim to get the punch count consistent and fast across each. Around the 3rd go at this I managed to get over 200 strikes per round and the same 8mph avg velocity across them.
The recording of what was a straight or a power shot is a little distorted as I am not using boxing strikes so may be confusing the kit. It does show favouring the right 366 strikes to 246. Even when I thought I was using both side equally, so that is a handy insight. It is probably the really fast combinations have an extra start and stop on the right so I can work on that. Thats 136 strikes per minute, which is wonderfully surprising to be able to achieve. I will revise that as a bench mark in elements of the training, to see if power increases over time.
The other metric was to start to do PACE rounds with decreasing amounts of time
In this one (above) the First round at the bottom is 2mins steady heavy but controlled strikes, 91 at avg 16.7 mph (Twice the velocity of impact of the flat out drills). Each session then seeks to up the pace but reduce the time. This worked out quote well as the velocity only dropped from 16.7 to 11.5 but it still meant a punch rate of 172 per second on the 15 second flat out round.
After this I went back to flowing pattern drills and gave my body a rest from impacts, but just out of interest when I was the most relaxed I tried pure concentrated power. By this time there is not energy to think about hitting hard, only relaxed efficient movement, which is what the aim is to produce.
The following was 16 strikes going up from punches to reverse knifehand.
The punches came out at 19mph but the reverse knife hand hit 45 mph. Whether these numbers are right I am not sure, but previously a standard punch was registering at 10mph when I was not so worn out, and a reverse knifehand was 24mph.
To be scientific, I isolated these again. So this is right at the end of a training session. Both right and left rear hand rear inward punches (with a stance change) followed by right and left hand rear reverse knifehand. Just 4 strikes, and sure enough it registered in a similar.
2 punches at 22 and two reverse knife hands one at 54mph and one at 47mph.
What this shows is that the principles of our training in being as relaxed as possible to generate as much power as possible, whilst they often feel at odds with one another, are in fact true. Fluidity of motion comes with years and years of practice, but wearing yourself out a little beforehand helps you practice technique in the right way.
It is nice to also just get away from the numbers and get into the patterns and the mindset too, focussing on targets can be distracting so its good to mix and match.
My hand mountable punch trackers from Hykso arrived last week. I can’t quite remember when and where I pre-ordered them but I have been looking forward to trying them out. They are designed for boxers and so geared around punching but I figured that they would be able to respond to our Choi Kwang Do techniques, which include punching of course.
The two sensors, one lights up red one lights up blue need to be strapped to the back of the hand just behind the wrist. I bought some hand wraps but they are a lot of faffing around and I found that my gel hand protectors with the larger wrist wrap hold the sensors nicely. The only problem is that I like to wear my fitbit for hear rate data, and that sits just behind the wrist too. So i placed the left one a bit closer up along the hand.
Pairing on IoS was straight forward, wakes them up with a tap and then assign to a hand.
I tested them just after a class so I was warmed up but in my own dojang. I dived right into a 2 minute PACE drill punching Bob and the bag, to realise I had actually set a 2 minute until we start recording delay. Some techie I am !
So after being even more warmed up I tried again, this with another 2 minute mix of punches, palms and knife hands. It certainly counted all the punches, something that is very hard to do at speed. That in itself is a useful extra training aid especially in the punch for 2 mins, count then, now punch for 1 min and try and get more than 50% of the last count, repeat for 30 seconds and a 15 second blast.
It can be distracting to get lost in numbers, but equally it provides relative indications. The app generates these images for social media, but internally shows a lot more detail, a speed, counter and “effort” monitor breaks down punches and power punches, which I think are anything not an inwards punch in Choi.
What I did notice in the graphs were my “intensity” score dropped mid session but thats when the speed rocketed up. As we often point out in training the more relaxed you are the more velocity you can punch with. A counter intuitive but effective way to focus on effort without effort.
Next I tried just the deceptively powerful reverse known hand for a few seconds. This number may be because it is confused as the hand angle on contact compared to a round punch but to go from 8mph average to 27mph strikes is very telling.
I have seen this on other equipment watching a 3rd dan get triple what most of use could register on an instrumented shield with a reverse knife hand. So for pure contact it is very effective. I suspect elbows, one of my favourite to drive a shield holder back would be along those lines but they are unlikely to register as an impact on the accelerometers in the device. I am not complaining as these are boxers tool not martial arts tools.
If the data is tracking movement and streaming it it would be really interesting to be able to profile moves such as a block and still count them. That would need an open Api or some data export but I look forward to giving it a go.
It fits with the other work I had done exploring using the Kinect
Once I get these darn wisdom teeth all extracted and sorted I can get back to proper training heading to EE Dan (2nd) and these will definitely be a tool in my conditioning arsenal. Lookout Bob!
This week is, for our martial art, Choi Kwang Do, starting to be known as World CKD week. Primarily that is because March 2nd is the anniversary of Grandmaster Choi founding the art, originally in 1987. The week is being themed with the tag line Science meets Martial Arts. This is one of the main reasons Choi Kwang Do works for me. In class we learn, practice and teach things based on the reason they work.
I have written about our family’s martial art of choice many times and my exploration of technology in the art and how I arrived at the art via technology and serendipity too. There is also the more formal article in my writing portfolio about Virtual athletes
All this has led to Choi Kwang Do being a huge part of our family life and we have made so many good friends through it. There is a bond we all feel in the positive spirit of the art. It was shown this weekend as we celebrated with Master Scrimshaw the 5th Anniversary of BasingstokeCKD Our dohjang was full on Saturday with fellow students from Basingstoke, but also some good friends, old and new from other schools. We had black belt tag grading, colour belt grading, an incredible set of routines to go through in class and then a great social event with food and cakes. It was incredibly uplifting, and an ideal lead into World CKD week too!
To celebrate this World CKD week I have made Cont3xt free to download. It has an awful lot in it, pivotal to the story inspired by Choi Kwang Do as an art and a state of mind. It fits with the Science (Fiction) meets Martial Arts tagline for the week. Whilst I am doing this to encourage my fellow practitioners to see ways we can introduce Choi Kwang Do in many different ways, and as a way of saying thank you to them all there will of course be other people able to download and experience the books for free. All my author bio’s mention Choi Kwang Do.
We pledge Humility and Integrity, amongst other things, in the art. So promotion of one’s own work like this could feel a little uncomfortable. However I really want to share how CKD inspired elements fit into a science fiction techno thriller in a very positive way. It was the just getting on with it unbreakable spirit that we learn, that even got me to write these two books.
As Cont3xt is the follow up book I have also made Reconfigure free for the week too. The martial arts arrives in Cont3xt but not in the way you might think to start off with, in Reconfigure (book 1) Roisin has no such skills, but the book is there for free too for completeness.
I hope a few people get a chance to take a look, maybe even pop a few stars of reviews on Amazon. I would also love for someone to have read the Cont3xt, who doesn’t do CKD yet, and to look up the art , find their nearest school and start to train. It’s a long shot, but every person in the World is a potential student to join us, have some fun and learn something really useful about themselves.
Choi Kwang Do is practical self defence, but we aim to never need to use it, and we also don’t fight and hurt our fellow students via competition and sparring. I believe the quote is “It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.”
So there we have it, the books are available free on Amazon, to be used in whatever way works for whom so ever needs it. Cont3xt and Reconfigure here.
Pil Seung! (Certain victory)
Wow. It is seven years since I started Feeding Edge Ltd. That is quite a long while isn’t it? The past year has been a more difficult one with less work in the pipeline for most of it. It has meant I have had to take stock and look to do other things, whilst the World catches up. It does seem strange given the dawn of the new wave of Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality that I have not managed to find the right people to engage my expertise and background in both regular technology and virtual worlds. In part that was because I was focussing on one major contract, when that dried up suddenly there was no where to go. It is starting from zero again to build up and sell who I am and what I do.
My other startup work has always been ticking along under the covers, as we try and work the system to find the right person with the right vision to fund what we have in mind. It is a big a glorious project, but it all takes time. Lots of no, yes but and even a few lets do it, followed by oh hang can’t now other stuff has come up.
On the summer holiday, I had a good long think about whether to give this all up and try and find a regular position back in corporate life, I was hit with a flash of inspiration for the science fiction concept. It was so obvious that I just had to give it a go. That is not to say I would not accept a well paid job with slightly more structure to help pay my way. However, the books flowed out of me. It was an incredibly exciting end to the year. Learning how to write and structure Reconfigure, how to package and build the ebook and the print version. How to release and then try and promote it. I have learned so much doing it that helps me personally, helps my business and also will help in any consulting work I do in the future. I realised too that the products of both Reconfigure and Cont3xt are like a CV for me. They represent a state of the virtual world, virtual reality, augmented reality and Internet of Things industry, combined with the coding and use of game tech that comes directly from my experiences, extrapolated for the purpose of story telling.
Write what you know, and that appears to be the future, in this case the near future.
This year I have also been continuing my journey in Choi Kwang Do. This time with a black suit on as a head instructor. It has led me to give talks to schools on science and why it is important, with a backdrop of Choi Kwang Do as a hook for them. I am constantly trying to evolve as a teacher and a student. Once again the reflective nature of the art was woven into the second book Cont3xt. I did not brand any of the martial arts action in the book as Choi Kwang Do as that may mis-represent the art and I don’t want to do that, but it did influence the start of the story with its more reflective elements, later on a degree of poetic licence kicked in, but the feelings of performing the moves is very real.
I have continued my pursuit of the unusual throughout the year. The books as a product provide, rather like the Feeding Edge logo has in the past, a vehicle to explore ideas.
I still really like my Forza 6 book branded Lambo, demonstrating the concept of digital in world product placement.
If you have read the books, and if not why not? they are only 99p, you will know that Roisin like Marmite. Why not ? I like Marmite, again write what you know. It became a vehicle and an ongoing thread in the stories, and even a bit of a calling card. It is a real world brand, so that can be tricky, but I think I use it in a positive way, as well as showing that not everyone is a fan. So the it is just another real world hook to make the science fiction elements believable. So I was really pleased when i saw that Marmite had a print your own label customisation. It is print on demand Marmite, just as my books are print on demand. It uses the web and the internet to accept the order and the then there is physical delivery. I know its a bit meta but thats the same pattern Roisin uses, just the physical movement of things is a little more quirky 🙂
I have another two jars on the way. One for Reconfigure and one for Roisin herself.
I am sure she will change her own twitter icon from the regular jar to one of these later as @axelweight Yes she does have a Twitter account, she had to otherwise she would not have been able to accidentally Tweet “ls -l” and get introduced to the World changing device @RayKonfigure would she?
All this interweaving of tech and experience, in this case related to the books, is what I do and have always done. I hope my ideas are inspirational to some, and one day obvious to others. I will keep trying to do the right thing, be positive and share as much as possible.
I am available to talk through any opportunities you have, anytime. epredator at feedingedge.co.uk or @epredator
Finally, last but not least, I have to say a huge thank you to my wife Jan @elemming She has the pressure of the corporate role, one that she enjoys but still it is the pressure. She is the major breadwinner. You can imagine how many 99p books you have to sell make any money to pay anything. She puts up with the downs whilst we at for the ups. Those ups will re-emerge, this year has shown that too me. No matter how bleak it looks, something happens to offer hope. I have some new projects in the pipeline, mostly speculative, but with all these crazy ideas buzzing around something will pop one day.
As we say in Choi Kwang Do – Pil Seung! which means certain victory. Happy lucky 7th birthday Feeding Edge 🙂
All the technology and projects I have worked on in my career take what we currently have at the moment and create or push something further. Development projects of any kind will enhance or replace existing systems or create brand new ones. A regular systems update will tweak and fix older code and operations and make them fresher and new. This happens even in legacy systems. In both studying and living some of the history of our current wave of technology, powered by the presence of the Internet, I find it interesting to reflect of certain technology trajectories. Not least to try and find a way to help and grow this industries, and with a bit of luck actually get paid to do that. I find that things finding out about other things is fascinating. With Predlet 2.0 birthday party we took them all Karting. There was a spare seat going so I joined in. The Karts are all instrumented enough that the lap times are automatically grabbed as you pass the line. Just that one piece of data for each Kart is then formulated and aggregated. Not just with your group, but with the “ProSkill” ongoing tracking of your performance. The track knows who I am now I have registered. So if I turn up and rice again it will show me more metrics and information about my performance, just from that single tag crossing the end of lap sensor. Yes that IoT in action, and we have had that for a while.
The area of Web services is an interesting one to look at. Back in 1997, whilst working on very early website for a car manufacturer, we had a process to get to some data about skiing conditions. It required a regular CRON job to be scheduled and perform a secure FTP to grab the current text file containing all the ski resorts snowfall, so that we could parse it and push it into a form that could be viewed on the Web. i.e. it had a nice set of graphics around it. That is nearly 20 years ago, and it was a pioneering application. It was not really a service or an API to talk to. It used the available automation we had, but it started as a manual process. Pulling the file and running a few scripts to try and parse the comma delimited data. The data, of course, came from both human observation and sensors. It was collated into one place for us to use. It was a real World set of measurements, pulled together and then adjusted and presented in a different form over the Internet via the Web. I think we can legitimately call that an Internet of Things (IoT) application?
We had a lot of fancy and interesting projects then, well before their time, but that are templates for what we do today. Hence I am heavily influenced by those, and having absorbed what may seem new today, a few years ago, I like to look to the next steps.
Increasingly I have had to get the Unity applications to talk to the rest of the Web. They need to integrate with existing services, or with databases and API’s that I create. User logons, question data sets, training logs etc. In many ways it is the same as back in 1997. The pattern is the same, yet we have a lot more technology to help us as programmers. We have self defining data sets now. XML used to be the one everyone raved about. Basically web like take around data to start and stop a particular data element. It was always a little to heavy on payload though. When I interacted with the XML dat from the tennis ball locations for Wimbledon the XML was too big for Second Life to cope with at the time. The data had to be mashed down a little, removing the long descriptions of each field. Now we have JSON a much tighter description of data. It is all pretty much the same of course. An implied comma delimited file, such as the ski resort weather worked really well, if the export didn’t corrupt it. XML version would be able to be tightly controlled and parsed in a more formal language style way, JSON is between the two. In JSON the data is just name:value, as opposed to XML value. It is the sort of data format that I used to end up creating anyway, before we had the formality off this as a standard.
Unity3d copes well with JSON natively now. It used to need a few extra bits of code, but as I found out recently it is very easy to parse a web based API using code and extra those pieces of information and adjust the contents of the 3d Environment accordingly. By easy, I mean easy if you are a techie. I am sure I could help most people get to the point of understanding how to do this. I appreciate too that having done this sort of thing for years there is a different definition of easy.
It is this grounding in real World pulling info data and manipulating it, from the Internet and serving it to the Web that seems to be a constant pattern. It is the pattern of IoT and of Big Data.
As part of the ongoing promotion of the science fiction books I have written I created a version of the view Roisin has of the World in the first novel Reconfigure. In that she discovers and API that can transcribed and described the World around her.
This video shows a simulation of the FMM v1.0 (Roisin’s application) working as it would for her. A live WebGL version that just lets you move the camera around to get a feel for it is here.
WebGL is a new target that Unity3d can publish too. Unity used to be really good because it had a web plugin that let us deploy applications, rich 3d ones, to any web browser not just build for PC, mac and tablets. Every application I have done over the past 7 years has generally had the web plugin version at its core to make life easier for the users. Plugins are dying and no longer supported on many browsers. Instead the browser has functions to draw things, move things about on screen etc. So Unity3d now generates the same thing as the plugin, which was common code, but creates a mini version for each application that is published. It is still very early days for WebGl, but it is interesting to be using it for this purpose as a test and for some other API interactions with sensors across the Web.
In the story, the interaction Roisin starts as a basic command line ( but over Twitter DM), almost like the skiing FTP of 1997. She interrogates the API and figures out the syntax, which she then builds a user interface for. Using Unity3d of course. The API only provides names and positions of objects, hence the cube view of the World. Roisin is able to move virtual objects and the API then, using some Quantum theory, is able to move the real World objects. In the follow up, this basic interface gets massively enhanced, with more IoT style ways of interacting with the data, such as with MQTT for messaging instead of Twitter DM’s as in the first book. All real World stuff, except the moving things around. All evolved through long experience in the industry to explain it in relatively simple terms and then let the adventure fly.
I hope you can see the lineage of the technology in the books. I think the story and the twists and turns are the key though. The base tech makes it real enough to start to accept the storyline on top. When I wrote the tech parts, and built the storyboard they were the easy bits. How to weave some intrigue danger and peril in was something else. From what I have been told, and what I feel, this has worked. I would love to know what more people think about it though. It may work as a teaching aid for how the internet works, what IoT is etc for any age group, from schools to boardroom? The history and the feelings of awe and anger at the technology are something we all feel at some point with some element of out lives too.
Whilst I am on real World though. One of the biggest constants in Roisin’s life is the like it or love it taste of Marmite. It has become, through the course of the stories, almost a muse like character. When writing you have to be careful with real life brands. I believe I have used the ones I have in these books as proper grounding with the real World. I try to be positive about everyone else products, brands and efforts.
In Cont3xt I also added in some martial arts, from my own personal experience again, but adjusted a little her and there. The initial use of it in Cont3xt is not what you might think when you hear martial art. I am a practitioner of Choi Kwang Do, though I do not specially call any of the arts used in the book by that name as there are times it is used aggressively, not purely for defence. The element of self improvement is in there, but with a twist.
Without the background in technology over the years and the seeing it evolve and without my own personal gradual journey in Choi Kwang Do, I would not have had the base material to draw upon, to evolve the story on top of.
I hope you get a chance to read them, it’s just a quick download. Please let me know what you think, if you have not already. Thank you 🙂
I like to explore how things, usually tech related, end up feeling. The human experience is a central one that often gets ignored in any apparent automation or solving of a problem with tech. Products that we all get to use on a regular basis, or trends we buy into are obviously engineered into the user experiences and adverts and branding appeal to a sense of belonging too. Memory though, and how ‘into’ something you can be at any point in time is fascinating.
Many of us have had a few weeks away from training in Choi Kwang Do, classes are starting again this week. Four years ago, this month, predlet 2.0 and I knew nothing about it
Constant practice, and constant learning maintain the philosophy, the physical flexibility and the combinations of movements in our brains and bodies. We are all aiming for it to be something we don’t have to remember, just something we do. The form and shapes are built to remember though. They have start and end points that match, making it suitable chunk for memory to deal with. It knows where it is going. Different belts layer upon the foundation, but the circular nature of memory and practice continues until it starts to become automatic. Though we all know we can always improve and there is always more to learn. It is still in there, ready for instant recall. I know I draw a blank sometimes in practice, when the subconscious and conscious get all mixed up with one another. The importance he is structure and pattern, and where it then goes awry with other types of activity.
Today I was back into my role as a writer/author/publisher/publicist for the first time for a few weeks. The holidays I had pretty much shutdown mentally on the subject. I was still very much following tech, seeing what was going on in the World, but my own self made World was on hold. Maybe there was the odd tweet or response to a reader, but in general I wanted to experiment with walking away from it for a few weeks.
My return needed a kickstart, that has been one that for the next few hours (until about 9am UK Wednesday 6th Jan 2016) of having Reconfigure available for free download. The Uk version is here US version is here
I had to do this to patch back in the feelings of urgency I had for people to read this story. It was still selling over christmas, even copies on xmas day which is humbling. It is still being read on the free library that Amazon runs to Kindle Unlimited. I needed to feel, and be abel to share what was going on and be back in the moment with it though. Obviously I hope I get more readers and reviews too.
This was also to cause a cascade kick start to editing the book I finished just before the holiday. To then start re-reading and editing Cont3xt, the follow up.
Now this is where it got a bit weird. As I started to read it again, I felt like I was returning home, filled with the buzz of the first book. I also though had not spent as much time going over the words as I had with the first one. So in many ways I had just written it and then forgot it.
In forgetting it, I was actually able to enchant and surprise myself at things I had created. I started to think if I had actually written the words. Obviously I did, but in such a state of Flow my conscious mind had not really taken it all in. It must have been there a little. Having read the first 1/3 of the book I remember the story board I did. However, my characters have said and done things that almost seem autonomous. That is a bizarre feeling.
Or at least is was until I related it to code. All my fellow techies out there will have felt the same. Even with code comments, returning to an intricate piece of code after a time away from it, maybe witting something else completely different, there is a sense of ‘did I write that?’ It can be dread at how bad it is, or elation at how clever or elegant it is. Code of course is built from some design or architecture, though that may be a mental model lost into the depths of the brain on the individual who did it. Code is an expression of that, but equally its an abstraction. You can exercise the code and read the code, plus look at the comments. So there are multiple ways to patch it back into your brain.
With a book its a bit different. You have to fund the emotions you felt, the tricks you were playing, with twists and turns, pretty much through the text itself. The storyboard certainly helps, but it seems a good test of the story if you can surprise yourself.
I had seen some writing help suggestions to metaphorically put the book in a drawer and leave it, before going back to it. It is an approach I think I can recommend. Whilst it has been a bit strange, I have gone back to something I like. That could of course go horribly wrong the other way or I am just delusional. Still I don’t have time for that sort of imposter syndrome problem that we all get.