Jan. 4th, 2008

heron61: (Look to the future)
This week, Lumus, the company who has been working on see-through display glasses now has some they are preparing to market. Here's a series of photos showing more attractive versions of the device as well as some potential uses and Here's the company's PDF press release.

Combine these things with a high-end smartphone with wireless internet access, GPS, and perhaps a camera, and you have something that can do full-on augmented reality. I'm betting that AR cosplay and similar nifty wonders will start showing up within 3 or 4 years, with perhaps the first AR LARPs a year or two later. I first imagined AR single's bars, where customers can signal interest in each other and display information about themselves via AR, when I wrote the tech section for the RPG Blue Planet, back in Blue Planet back in 1997. Now, I'm expecting the first such places to be open within 5 or 6 years. This is how the future arrives and SF become reality...

In any case, I'm expecting these things to be exceedingly expensive and rather cludgy, especially since little software has been written to take advantage of this new display media. However, I'm also guessing that in approximately 2 years, there will be ones that will be affordable (not cheap, but not exceedingly expensive) with acceptably good software. I'm looking forward to having that. For 2008, I'm looking forward to getting a new PDA/UMPC/media player with wireless internet and hopefully GPS, a good camera, and possibly a phone.
heron61: (Default)
I'm very much in favor of gender-neutral pronouns and degendering speech and writing. However, with the exception of the singular use of they (which has both historical and academic support, and which I managed to convince a company to use for my latest RPG project), all of the options are both ugly and unlikely. Sie and hir are confusing, zie and zir suffer from the vast disadvantage that "z" is simply not an appropriate letter or sound for a common word to use. Also, all of these options are deliberate creations, and that's rarely how language changes (with the occasional exception of words like Ms). However, we now have the spontaneous emergence of a gender netural singular pronoun by high school and middle school students. Of course, the word is "yo" and so older people are already commenting on it sounding "crass and disrespectful", which can clearly be translated as both "I'm not used to people speaking like that" and "kids these days have no respect for language", both of which are ultimately foolish and useless concerns and do nothing to stop the adoption of new words. From my PoV, once a word enters common discourse it sounds familiar. I'm especially excited that young people these days see the need for such words. Perhaps we are on the edge of sexism entering the realm of prejudices like anti-semitism (at least in the US) that are only popular among far fringe cranks.
heron61: (Default)
Last night, [livejournal.com profile] teaotter and I went to see the new Wes Anderson film, The Darjeeling Limited.

I've also seen Anderson's Rushmore and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, both of which featured Bill Murray being the veritable archetype of the sad clown, which is a roll he has become truly exceptional at.

The Darjeeling Limited is a different sort of film. It features three very different brothers going to India on a spiritual journey. Combine that with the use of vivid primary colors in the backgrounds and all manner of careful nuances and what you have is a very good modern rendition of a Beatles film. It doesn't feel like a film from the 1960s or 70s, it's clearly a modern film, but it vividly and unmistakably feels like a Beatles film. Also, the music used in the film is simultaneously excellent and very well chosen, and to his very great credit, Anderson did not try to cheapen the resemblance by using any Beatles music in the film, which is a small touch that I greatly appreciated.

Also, even more than Anderson's other films, a deeply humane comedy of the sort that I'm inclined to enjoy. Like the other two of Anderson's films that I've seen, it's something that wouldn't normally be my sort of film, but it was remarkably well made and I enjoyed it even more than Rushmore or The Life Aquatic.

This film is also another data point in my (at this point fairly tentative) supposition that the US is (at very long last) headed into an actual 1960s revival, with a much needed questioning of values and a (hopeful) return to the nation being somewhat more humane and thoughtful.

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