Teach the value of Data!

Self Managed Storage is the only way to go. If it needs to be in the classroom curriculum, so be it.

As the owner of a Data Recovery Company for 20 years, I can honestly say that the only data that you can guarantee, is the data you have in your hands.

As a photographer for 40 years, I store more than a hundred terabytes of images – perhaps I will give Getty Images a run for their money one day!

I have different drive colors for each of my basic image types: PEOPLE , PLACES, THINGS

Because I travel frequently, I further split my PLACES drives by continent, then by country, then by state. Each STATE drive is then split into folders of city, then by actual location. Every file that is saved, is prefaced with that information. Consequently, every file has a single place to live – e.g.

PLACES/N-AMERICA/USA/NC/High-Point/Oak Hollow Dam/ RAW/’Oak-Hollow-Dam-2012-0199.CR2′ (20Mb)
PLACES/N-AMERICA/USA/NC/High-Point/Oak Hollow Dam/ TIF//’Oak-Hollow-Dam-2012-0199A.TIF’ (70Mb)
PLACES/N-AMERICA/USA/NC/High-Point/Oak Hollow Dam/ PSD//’Oak-Hollow-Dam-2012-0199A.PSD’ (70 Mb)
PLACES/N-AMERICA/USA/NC/High-Point/Oak Hollow Dam/ JPG//’Oak-Hollow-Dam-2012-0199As.JPG’ ( 300 Kb)

Every image I take is stored as a Raw/PSD/Tif/Jpg and with the ‘chosen ones’ at multiple resolutions and sharpnesses to satisfy different sites’ requirements.

Each of those drives remain offline until required.
Then of course, each of those drives is duplicated, and then duplicated AGAIN.
The final copy is moved off site and lives inside a safe (at a friends house)
A database of every file is kept on my Computer along with the latest downloads from my camera. Each week, every Image File is moved off my computer, into the Offline storage system and the database is updated.

Individual folders are returned to my Computer Drive (online) for editing and then returned to their respective drives when finished with. They maintain the folder structure while they are online.

This makes management easy – even though it may sound complex – once the structure is in place – EVERYTHING has a correct place.
Under THINGS, the structure is more arbitrary, but still organized.
Under THINGS / FAUNA there are folders for DOGS CATS BIRDS INSECTS etc… and then by Breed, Name or Owner.
EVENTS COMMERCIAL FLORA BACKGROUNDS ARCHITECTURE all have their own drives, and are treated similarly to the PLACES example above.

I currently use 20 x Seagate 2.5″, Go-Flex USB 3.0, 1.5Tb drives as my primary storage, and 2 sets of 12 x Seagate Backup Plus 4 Tb Drives as my Backup.

I have tried many other ways of storing data, and this appears to be the best way so far.
I recommend that everyone learns the right way to store data as part of their ‘license to drive a computer’.

Data should be Online, Nearline, Offline AND Offsite or you really don’t care about having access to your files!

…. Now, off to see where I can get a deal on some more 2.5″ Go-flex drives!

What my children taught me…

For those that would like to copy and paste the words, not the picture…. or edit them for their own use….
Love is giving. It is never demanding.
Love is not about enabling bad behavior, it is constant, regardless of the behavior.
Love is about disabling bad choices, not as punishment, simply as what is good for the other person.
Love is unconditional. It never has a hook – “I could love you if…”
Love is genuinely wanting the other person to feel good, regardless of the cost to self, and sometimes at the cost to the other person.
Love is showing that you have learned from the other person, that what they have done for you has been valid, worthwhile.
Love is doing the tough stuff, because the means justifies the end. It’s not about the easy stuff, just because it’s fun, or will score more Like Points.
Love doesn’t care about geographical proximity – it is borderless.
Love cannot see dividing lines – in Politics, Religion, or any individual’s personal choices.
Love is never Control. It never seeks to dominate, win, or get its own way.
The question to ask is: How can I best be a friend? – Not, how can I be a Best Friend?
A child is born with an open door to Love, because parents open the door. The child can choose to demand that Love (which is selfish and therefore unloving) or to give Love, which is selfless and therefore Loving.
A parent is ill equipped to work this out, because they are blinded by love.
A child goes through stages of development that allow them to question where they are on a growth chart.
1/ Unconscious Incompetent – describes the newborn’s reliance on a parent for everything. Car – don’t know what it is, what it does, and don’t even realize I don’t know
2/ Conscious Incompetent – describes the child’s realization that they need guidance for decisions. Car – Realize that’s a mom and dad thing and that I can’t do it
3/ Conscious Competent – describes the learned behavior that is not yet automatic Car – Learning to drive is tricky – so much to remember
4/ Unconscious Competent – describes the automatic behavior of an adult. Car – Get in the car and go – brain is on automatic
The job of a parent is to open a gate between 2/ and 3/ above. To facilitate the growth moving from the knowledge of the parent to the knowledge of the child.
What the child chooses to do with that knowledge, what topics remain in 3/ or move to 4/ has to be the decision of the child, never the parent.
The parent is responsible for offering choices, not for the child choosing.
Many children get stuck in a development stage and need a shove to get them ‘restarted’. If they realize this themselves, they are already in stage 3/ and are totally responsible for getting themselves ‘unstuck’.
If they don’t realize this, then a parental Intervention may be required to move them from stage 2/ to stage 3/.
Love is not about taking away a single ounce of the other person’s responsibility, restricting a child from growing to the next stage, rewarding them for a natural growth path or enabling them with regard to their poor choices.

Web standards change for images

In the old days of CRT Monitors, all images were displayed at 72 dots per inch (dpi /pixels per inch /ppi). With the advent of  Flat Panel monitors the resolution moved to 96 ppi. But with the new screens being manufactured, a new standard is emerging for screens that are capable of displaying 300 ppi.

This has huge implications for photographers.

Online galleries will display smaller and smaller images as people get larger and larger screens. The images will not be a ratio of the screen size, they simply will get smaller, much smaller.

Back to photographers…  I know some photographers that edit their images at 900 x 600 x 96 ppi because they have no intention of printing them and images load and save faster at that size. On a new screen, these will display at approximately matchbox size. Even on the currently most popular 1366 x 768 x 120 ppi screens, these images are no longer powerful – they are almost thumbnails. Of course you can use Browser Zoom and get Fuzzy lumps of images…. hmmmm

Everyone is moving to HR screens, 3D, and beyond. Our TVs are already at 1920 x 1024 x 120  ppi and the huge change is just about to start.

I urge all photographers to edit their images at full size and save them as PSD or TIFF (or any other lossless format). They can then resize down to the (next) new standard which appears to be 1920 x 1200 x 264 ppi on its way to 2,800 x 1,800 x 300 ppi.  (The iPad has already reached 2048 x 1336 x 264 ppi as of 2012)

What can be done?

Some websites are able to store multiple size images and display the right one to fill the gallery space. Most are not that helpful, more will be when they wake up.

In the meantime – start editing Huge and resize to the current standard, being prepared to resize and upload again next year – and again the year after.






What did we learn in school today?

When modern education was structured, children were working in mines, timber logging and being dragged into the industrial revolution as factory workers. The curriculum was based on churning out people with basic literacy and sometimes numeracy skills so that they would be prepared for the work that lay ahead of them.

By creating a group of pre-workers with a defined set of skills, little thought was given to the needs of the individual, but instead the needs of the employer. Until that time, education was based on the the family and then, in later years, by an apprenticeship to a master.

A child learns to speak a language in their first year, adequately by the second year and fluently by their third year, from a starting point of zero. Basic literacy is always a product of primary socialization (the home) and shows that the principle of osmosis is highly effective.

But we then take the child away from the Osmotic System to the Rote system when we take them into school.

Their prior knowledge and values are discounted and the new set is supplanted, laboriously. Books and pencils come out, and everyone is tested to a single grade in a competitive process to ascertain their ‘pecking order’ so that they can enter university or the workplace with a set of grades that only prove how ‘similar to’ or ‘different from’ their peers, they are. Their true value has never been sought, just their position on an abstract ladder of achievements.

We have now ceased to live in the Industrial Revolution and yet we are training our children to be factory fodder still. The Industrial Revolution has moved – many say to China, along with our jobs, yet we are training our children to be prepared to go into the factories that no longer exist.

Typically, those teenagers that do not study well in the competitive system, or are better equipped at manual skills than abstract ones, quit school and enter an apprenticeship/traineeship. Any employer will tell you that the first year of an apprenticeship is about getting rid of the schoolboy attitudes and re-teaching the apprentice to be a ‘social employee’. Notably, the skill set that is learned during the apprenticeship is based on the skill set of the employer, that is, back to Osmosis as the teacher and steadily away from the competitive ‘book learning’.

Certainly, there are units of formal education that are undertaken and most of these are about Statutory Requirements. A Welder’s Ticket, a Workplace safety ticket, a Responsible Service of Alcohol ticket etc… that are in addition to the actual skill set required to perform the task. These are skills required to comply with Government Regulation, Insurance Acceptance that reflect more current legislation than their employers were taught. But it is true to say, that many highly skilled workers never pick up a book after they finish their apprenticeship.

The finest guitarists, practice, the greatest cabinet makers, make cabinets and these are people that solve new problems each day from their experience, and teach their apprentices better ways for future generations. Perhaps in this day, where the lucky country has to give way to the smart country, where the factories are crumbling into disrepair, where underemployment is rife, even though we are more educated than ever, perhaps now there is a reason to re-evaluate the value of Osmotic Vs Rote learning all over again.

Both the Steiner/Waldorf and Montessori School systems look at these values quite critically, but still from that early standpoint that says, at the end of the day, 90% of the students will work in a factory. The Steiner school was originated to service the needs of the Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Co in Stuttgart Germany in 1907. The Montessori system started in 1911 and had a more altruistic beginning, hoping to follow the natural stages of development that children progress through. Unfortunately, state based educationists are protecting their jobs against massive government bombardment. Each teacher is expected to be an administrator, a counselor and remain politically correct at lower and lower effective wages. So the teachers are not being valued for what they do either.

Has our current education system outlived its useful life?

Can we assist the youth of tomorrow more, by changing the manner that they are educated, evaluated and exposed to the community. Have we thought of the changing workplace, the current work from home concepts and that facts are so readily available, and reference material so pervasive that we can find a new starting point to achieve more realistic outcomes for future generations???

The ‘Me!’ Nude Project

The ‘Me!’ Nude Project

Who may participate?
The ‘Me! Project’ is currently open to all women over 18, regardless of body type, weight, etc… To that end, it is necessary to submit a personal participation request. Requests from couples will be considered. A male only project is scheduled for 2013.This project is being run internationally and there are currently examples of this work at the Nu Project – seen here. As you can see, this is about reality, not glamour.
Where do you shoot?
Our current series is set in participant homes. We are Port Macquarie, NSW based, but we often do shoots when we travel. If you are not based on the Mid North Coast, but you’d like to sign up, please send us a message on the contact form and we will be in touch if we are heading to your city.
Am I expected to be nude for the photographic session?
Yes, that is the point. The freedom that comes with nudity is essential. This is not about sexy, glamour or the perfect figure, this is about the acceptance of the reality of humanity.
What if I am concerned about being seen online?
There are 2 answers to that. Either, don’t participate, or decide to have an ‘Anonymous Me!’shoot. With an ‘Anonymous Me!’ shoot, your face will always be obscured.
Do you pay me / Do I have to pay you?
Participation in the project is free, but for your time you’ll receive approximately 10 retouched, finished images for your own personal use. We ask that if you use the images online, you accompany each with a photo credit and link to this ‘Me! Project’ website.
How long does a shoot take?
Usually around an hour if we’re in the studio and approximately 2 hours if we’re on location.
How long does it take to get my images?
Processing times vary depending on how busy we are with other work. We will contact you by email when your images are ready in general the answer is within one week.
What are you going to do with the images?
They will be part of eRomantica website and this blog. We’re also hoping to publish them in a book. We are negotiating with other international sites to bring these various projects together to celebrate the freedom and humanity of the nude.
If I don’t want you to use my images online / in print?
This project is all about the willingness of the subjects to share their stories in a public way. We understand that it’s not right for everybody, so if you’re interested in a private shoot or a couples shoot that doesn’t get published to the ‘Me! Project’, those begin at $250 and can include a print credit. Please contact us if you want more information.
What’s the next step if I want in?
Please fill out the confidential participation form and you’ll be contacted about your upcoming shoot.

The Kill – The Digital Caveman

Caveman stands behind a rock, rough hewn spear in hand, waiting, watching for the wildebeest to pass, ever scanning to find the leader, then the one with a limp, the one that can be brought down with a single thrust of the spear.

Cavewoman sits, surrounded by cave, by cave-kids and cave-art, waiting for a hunk of wildebeest to be thrown to her.

Caveman does what caveman does, he brings home the goriest hunk of meat for his family. All is well in cave-land.

Caveman survives by watching, scanning the horizon, looking for prey… and pouncing. He learned from the saber toothed tiger – his education is complete.

Cavewoman survives by huddling in the cave, preparing hunks of wildebeest and when signaled that it is OK by Caveman, she may venture out of the cave, gathering fruit from close to where cave-kids are sleeping – if the weather is good, she may even take them out on her forages.


Let’s roll forward a little and introduce wheels, made roads, electricity, and (wouldn’t ya’ know it?) Digital Photography. (I will speak in photographic terms, and use masculine for photographer and feminine for model, because that is my larger experience).

Photographer sits behind a computer screen, looking at the wannabes and newbs that have just hit the latest modeling site. He cannot help but scan for the most likely mate, and the weakest link. It’s in his nature. He scans them all, thousands of them, and shoots off a few tags and emails to those that are most likely to succumb to his spear. After some time enticing the model to play the next part of the ritual out – emails, phone calls and then… the model appears at the photographer’s studio.

Photographer stands behind a tripod, eyeing the background in his studio, waiting, watching for the wannabe model to finish prepping makeup and clothes. She comes out of the dressing room. She is dressed to kill, alluring lips, flowing hair, and just enough clothing to spark the photographer’s imagination. She knows her role, it has been taught to her by society for a thousand years.

The posing starts, the camera clicks, the strobe fires, the first images are carved in rock for eternity to be enthralled. The rhythmic click of the camera, the racing flash of those strobes promotes wildebeest blindness. The speed of the flash picks up as the model dances more and more dervishly to keep pace. Her heart pounds. She sees glimpses of herself in the mirror of the lens, she may even see glimpses of herself on the back of the camera, she strives to do better – the photographer encourages her. The mating ritual has commenced.

The photographer peers through the keyhole of his camera voyeuristically, encouraging the model to play out her role as exhibitionist. The model, blinded by the light and the strobes, enters a world of her own, playing out a private dance. She has been here before, in front of her mirror, posing privately for the world, showing up her girlfriends, creating a mass of followers that will drive her a long a red carpet of adulation toward the covers of magazines that she has never even seen. She is a force to be reckoned with that struts with confidence through the castles of Europe and has paparazzi clicking wherever she goes. She is admired, desired, loved and wanted by all but her closest friends that she has conquered. She brings them along for the ride in the backseat of her fantasy, more so that those old friends can ‘see her now’, now that she has made it. Her mind clicks back to the photographer’s direction…. just a little higher, a little lower. The hem rises, the cleavage blossoms, the clicks continue. Every time they slow down, she just has to swish so that the fabric gapes, or the light splinters through her diaphanous clothing. She has them all under control, exactly where she wants them… which is exactly where they want her.

She spins in bliss, he watches skin, she dips to offer thanks to her subjects, his lens gropes her breast. She is driven by the incessant clicking of camera, but to her it sounds like the cheering crowd. Her ego is being nurtured by her mere presence, but the subtle clicking only occurs when the skin flicks – subliminally she is sexualized more and more – her game was elegance, but his game was pandering, and she never, ever realizes. The drug of adoration seems more powerful if she bends this way, sways that way, shows more leg, breathes a little harder, faster and deeper. She is living the fantasy, but perhaps she is moving inexorably from her fantasy to his. He has done nothing. He was merely the mirror in her private chamber, sometimes the next door neighbour seeing glimpses through the bedroom window, but he didn’t force her to do anything. He simply allowed her the ‘right’ to follow her calling. He enabled the passion to flow, by speeding the metronome, by creating the environment, by needing her to be her impulsive self.

The images are sometimes secondary to the model. She has had her moment of fulfillment by just being able to express, explode, dance for an audience that continues clapping, cheering her on.

The strobe lights used at dances are designed to increase in speed, and the human heart rate tries to match that speed, creating a bio-feedback of movement and energy that is amazingly effective. The lighting gurus learned that from the world of photography.

In a photographic studio, the incessant flashing of strobes, lifts the subjects response for two reasons. The pulse of the subject attempts to match that speed, so we see models flicking from one pose to another, until it becomes a staccato dance. This is self perpetuating because of the second reason – the bio-feedback that occurs. Each time the strobe fires, the model realizes that the pose/look was good and looks for the next ‘stroke’ to say ‘good girl’.

Of course not all photographers use strobe lighting, but the rhythmic click of the camera can provide the same bio-feedback that gradually hypnotizes the subject into this dance.

With the advent of Digital Photography, the ability to view shots as they are produced can reinforce that bio-feedback also. The stage is set for some powerful reactions.

We now have the traditional ‘sexual partners’ preened and looking their best, in a tribal dance of exhibitionist and voyeur, with clicks like beating drums and flashes of strobes, beckoning for more and better, more and better, hypnotically. Sexual tension pervades, naturally.

The wonderful power of sexual tension that often invades a photo shoot with a member of the preferred sex, can drive the artistic experience, heighten the senses and promote powerful art. The concept of sexual tension is well known and well used by all manner of artists to bring out more emotion and create that ‘suspension of disbelief’ that is required for the viewer to be enthralled with the final work. Writers use it, Hollywood is bursting with it and painters have used it for centuries. Now photographers have a wonderful set of tools to drive that sexual tension to the point of…. release. Photographers can manipulate this power to transform the model to potential partner – and for the model, it can seem like a natural progression of a relationship. No-one has ever asked her to perform at her best, been praised for it, and enticed to move more and more to this pinnacle of art. But art some times takes a back seat, as the humanity unfolds. The moment that sexual tension becomes sexual fulfillment, the rules have changed. The art goes out the door to make room for the libido.

In a perfect world, art starts flowing, images abound, all is well. Even in that perfect world, models can create an attachment to their photographer that is similar to the way a patient/client can attach themselves to a therapist. This can occur even when the motives are pure, and more especially when the libido is left unsatisfied. The tease is perfect, the model is coaxed to her most passionate and remains hovering at that point without ever feeling that her guard has been compromised. She is still the person in charge. The images (and more) abound.


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Multinary beats Binary

In 1988, while philosophizing with a fellow programmer, I digressed to the point of insanity with a spark of a concept that was to change my life. I had read papers on Quantum Mechanics and was musing over the incapacity of the brain to see that an object could be in multiple states, simultaneously. The cat is dead, alive or absent or…. but I couldn’t ‘swallow’ that the cat could be both dead and alive at the same time. I was a scientist, but obviously I was having a hard time making the jump to being a Quantum Physicist.
The computer world has, for many years, stabilised on an 8 bit hardware addressing system that has been beautifully expressed in Hexadecimal as 00 through to FF. This encompasses all of the values from 0 to 256 within 2 digits and is still present (and required), even on our wonderful 64 bit operating systems. The Hexadecimal numbering system (base 16) addresses values as : 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F.
This is shown in our ‘extended keyboard values’ and is the basis of virtually all computer code ever written. In other words, everything that can be typed at the keyboard has a value of 1 – 256. Compilers and interpreters mash these words in remarkable ways to create the ‘executable’ files that run on our computers. Of course, the computer’s processor, while remarkable, is still based on a set of binary gates. Binary gates are simply On or Off switches (Open or Closed Circuits) that direct electrical current through a maze to arrive at different positions to create different effects.
Data that is stored on computers is always stored in binary format. It is sent to the hard disk or whatever as a stream of binary data, although we normally view it in ‘words’ which are bunches of binaries, grouped in 8 bit format and represented as Hexadecimal chunks. Binary data is extremely difficult for humans to read, but is the only way for computers to read…. so far.
I was relating this to electronic data which is stored magnetically as either a North South ‘ I ’ or and East West ‘ – ‘ that created a series of ‘compass points from the molecules on the substrate of the disk. So ‘ – – – – – – ‘ was a bunch of zeroes and ‘ I I I I I ‘ was a bunch of ones. That was easy to visualize, as I had seen a compass often enough to understand the process. A hard disk is simply millions of compass needles, each one pointing to either NS or EW.
There were times when the data was corrupted and upon examination of the actual magnetic fields, it could be ascertained that some of the Compass Points were not always perpendicular, simply, some were pointed to NE or NW etc… ‘ I / –\ ‘. This is what is generally known as ‘noise’ and previously, computer programs were asked to skip the offending areas and jump to the pure NS or EW data.
My programming skills were called onto to throw ‘What If’ formulae at the data stream, making an irrational decision that if the data was at NE, we would ‘pretend’ that it was at NS, and if it was NW we would pretend that it was representing EW. Oddly, real answers started popping out, followed by junk. By creating a series of these What If statements within the program, however, known data that was intentionally corrupted could always be recovered. We were not changing a single byte of data, just reading it through a slightly warped magnifying glass. This work culminated in a series of patents that revolutionized the data recovery industry and brought our ‘Recovery Rate’ from the best in the Industry at 74% to greater than 99.9% (as reported by our clients). We had won.
Which started me thinking.
What if we didn’t have to store data in a binary mode? If computers can only read ‘on or off’, can they be asked to do that in parallel process or in ways that emulate more than On or Off? If these are the X and Y values that plot the data point, what about more values.
I came up with the concept of storing data with a ‘Z’ value also.
Consider this: A ‘NewDVD’ type of product stores data based not only on the NS and EW system, but also on the colour of that burned dash or stroke. There can be multiple colours, (we have defined millions under the 8 bit system,) so now we can store the letter ‘ A ‘ as being not only present, but also with attributes such as ‘Font’ ‘Bold’ ‘Size’ etc…. and 64 million other characteristics.
Practically, all NewDVDs need to have a CRC or reference check done to calibrate the colours for the ‘NewDVD’ reader as it opens that disk…. then data could be read X-Y first, followed by Z. This means that the primary functions of a program could be running, while the Z data is still loading, or the raw text of a web page loaded before the ‘decorations’ follow.
The neat thing is that much more data can be stored more efficiently, although the cost of the reader and writer would be higher. In 1988 this was a pipe dream – today, it is a probability.
A standard DVD could hold approximately 50 terabytes of information, based on a simple 64 colour system. Future generations could hold much more data based on the colour depth (Z factor) and provide a commercial upgrade route.)
This process was the subject of my 5th Patent Application, the only one that failed. The term that I used to describe the multiple depths of data as being ‘Multinary’ – had been coined by someone else.
I gave up the fight and moved onto to other moving targets. I was wrong to do so.
Some day soon, the technology of reading and writing binary bits with a Z depth will become practical. Blu-Ray DVD uses a laser to calibrate itself against the known starting dataset on the disc. The jump to calibration of 64 colours, 16 million colours or 64 million colours is simply based on time. There would still only be 256 characters to your keyboard, but effectively each character could be assigned any of 64 million colour attributes.
The programming opportunities are endless when we consider that a ‘Colour Compiler’ could reduce a program like PhotoShop or Word to a megabyte in size and that could include all the language variations etc…
Bring it on!

The Trip

Previously: A New Day

The car’s external sensors glow a warm green as the Heads Up Display shows the path behind. In reality, there’s no reason to look, as the car knows the best way out of the driveway and will find it’s way to work via the most efficient route, today. As the vehicle leaves the driveway, the garage door closes, the house locks tight and the external house cameras come alive.

I touch the ‘Work’ icon on my ‘Faves’ list on the dashboard and the rest is automatic.

An advertisement appears on the outside of my vehicle as the OLED screen comes to life. That will earn me extra fuel credits, so that I can swap out fuel cells more frequently.

I use this time to converse with family via the ViewBar. As vehicles are so automated, I can talk on the video phone while driving and even flip the ViewBar up to see the other party on the Heads Up Display.

The trip to work involves a number of sets of traffic lights, a tollway and a short distance from the off ramp to the office. The heads up display shows an icon to let us know we have crossed a traffic monitor point. These points are set at intersections and read the sensors built into the car. Yes, Big Brother has arrived, they know who is driving, what alcohol level I have and whether my car is registered and has insurance paid up. We rarely see vehicles that are automatically disabled any more, but of course there is the odd person that speeds but their cars are automatically disabled after ten seconds.  The fleeing criminals can’t get past the system either. Apart from the fact that police have all got remote ignition disabling devices, the roads themselves will simply stop illegal usage.

Few cars run on petroleum based products now, changeover hydrogen cells are readily available to boost the range of the electric powered cars. The taxes on petroleum products has made both the cars and the fuel quite out of the question for most people.

As steering, braking, acceleration and parking have all been taken over by the onboard computers, the driver rarely has to intervene unless asked to by the car.  Voice controls normally work fine, but there is still a brake pedal and steering wheel that can override the computer. Acceleration has been taken away from the driver completely. Based on the old Cruise Control concept of ‘Resume’, the car accelerates at the optimal speed and maintains a safe distance between other traffic, courtesy of the cameras and proximity sensors.

As the car takes the on ramp to the Tollway, another tiny icon shows on the heads up display, a charge has appeared and will continue to increase as I travel.

Imperceptibly, the suspension hardens slightly and the tyre pressure is increased to provide a faster and more fuel efficient ride.

The charges for these cars are different today than they were. All cars are priced on a standardized rate. There is no upfront fee for the vehicle, insurance or registration, or even drivers licence. A simple ID check solves all of that. You are required to keep a vehicle for a minimum of 2 years, but you must change over after 5 years. There are no maintenance charges like Servicing, Tyres or Batteries. These items are all built in to the ‘per kilometer fee’ for the particular vehicle you have chosen and the funds are deducted directly from your designated account per day.

Simply put, the more you drive the vehicle, the more it costs, but if you don’t drive often, you will pay almost nothing to own a car. Any parking, toll or traffic fines are simply charged to that account and your ‘Points’ are able to be increased or decreased, depending on your driving quality. As your driving quality increases, your licence automatically extends to allow you to park in better positions and to receive priority in vehicle servicing. All repairs are taken care of free , because all vehicles are driven according to manufacturers specifications and government requirements. All driving costs are known by the manufacturers upfront.

Vehicle manufacturing costs are much lower, because lighter weight materials are being used as the heavy engines of yesterday don’t have to be hauled around. Small electric motors with solar boosters and fuels cells do the job adequately and, as all vehicles are computer equipped and aware of each other, there simply isn’t the need for the extraordinary protective capsules that were present in the last generation of gasoline powered cars.

We slip quietly from the tollway via the off ramp, another icon shows the toll paid as the suspension resets itself for the minor road we are taking. The car pulls into my designated car space and shows a reminder of those things that are in the car that I need to take into my workplace.

As the door pops open, the vehicle begins its security shutdown procedure and sits quietly absorbing solar rays while I’m at work.

Next : At work

A New Day

Nothing in this story is about tomorrow – everything is available today.
A New Day:
I awake to my glasses playing Hall of the Mountain King followed by a weather report while they sit in the charger on the bedside table – Good, I know what to wear. Hauling myself off to the shower, I step inside and the shower starts at my preferred body temperature, at my preferred pressure. No wasted water or time in adjusting flow. The shower screen displays the headline news. I tap on a few of the more relevant stories and listen to the latest reports. As always, my preferred Live Cams show a few of the major intersections that I’ll be travelling on and give me a readout on traffic jams, and travel times.
Enough of that shower, but as I get out, the image reverses so that I see the screens as I dry off. Back in my room, I start to get dressed and as I select my pants, a selection of my shirts show in the mirror – I select the pre-dress feature and see myself dressed in a variety of tops that are suitable for the day’s weather conditions. Selection made, I get that shirt from the wardrobe, and immediately see the reminder for the correct belt, shoes and other accessories back on the mirror-screen. An icon of my ViewBar flashes on screen and a familiar ‘Pling’ sound is heard from the charging dock on the bedside table.
Great, the coffee is ready as always, sitting in my temperature controlled mug.
Another Pling is heard in my ear from the ViewBar – the overlay screen shows that it’s Charlie – I take the call and see that he’s nearly ready for me to pick him up – ‘Hi Charlie – be there in 5”.
As it’s going to be a sunny day, I know all the windows will switch to full solar feedback mode as I walk out the door – that’ll keep the temperature lower inside and all those rays working for me – nice to make $500 every month from the electricity company at last!
As I go out to the garage and approach the driver’s door of my car, I hear a gentle klunk as the nudge bar charger retracts, the garage door opens and the driver’s door pops open. I drop my coffee cup into the heated cup-holder.
My ProximAccess Chip synchs with BioMetrics and allows full access to the vehicle’s functions. My ViewBar shows the image from the reversing cameras. Now that Solid State Disks are so inexpensive, my vehicle is programmed to keep the last month’s Digital Video Files from all six external cameras as well as the TeleMetrics from the vehicle in case of an insurance claim.
The car clicks and then purrs gently as it rolls quietly from the garage.
NEXT: The Trip

The Trouble with DVDs

All the things that were wrong with VHS are pretty much the same faults in DVD and Blu-Ray.
These are my proposals for Gen Next DVDs and their tuners. Profile 2.0 (standard that includes Picture in Picture etc.. starts to address some of these issues, but falls way short. BD-Profile 3.0 is for Audio Only, and addresses more of the sound issues, but of course, none of the image issues.
1/   The music and background should be on a separate sound track to the dialogue – so simple, because they were recorded that way, then mixed according to one person’s idea of balance. It could be possible to Mute Music, Mute SFX and Mute Voices separately. Missed that dialog? … Replay with the SFX turned way down or off.
2/   DVDs should have those crazy little barcodes on them, the New ones called QR-Codes.
You point your phone at the barcode and up pops the web page with the full IMDB or Wiki on the movie – so simple to do. Settles so many arguments.
We need a Phone App also that will keep a note of all DVDs watched, and the date we saw them, via either barcode. If they would only update that barcode to the new QR-Code!!! Next time we click on the barcode with our phone:
“Watched <Feb 3rd 2012>”
‘Watched today? Y/N
‘Go to Wiki?’ Y/N?
‘Go to IMDB?’ Y/N?
“Add to Wish List” Y/N
“Email this movie code?” Y/N
Of course this barcode needs to be on the outside of the DVD box so we can perform these actions at the Video store, the retail store or from our friends collection. It also needs to appear on the Main Menu & Credits – hell – it could even be an Onscreen Display (OSD) Pop-up by using a defined Remote Control button on the player.
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