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Tabled Discussion: Could New Table PC from Lenovo Bring Families Back Together?

7 Jan

The mantra from many marketers is the world is more connected now than ever before. In theory, sure people can now find out what is going on around the world and communicate with those people more than ever before. The idea of being isolated from current events, no matter how trivial is something one has to work to do instead of it being the default action in life.

However this “connected” world we live in now comes at a cost. People are not near as engaged with each other on a personal level than previously. Could technology actually help in bringing people back together in real life? Lenovo thinks it just might have an answer.

The company is set to release the IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC. Lenovo is calling it the “interpersonal computer”, a twist on the personal computer label many people are familiar with. The idea of the device harkens back to when a Microsoft Surface device was previewed as a big table and not the recent tablet. The idea and concept was intriguing at the time, and still is to an extent today.

Think of this Table PC as an massive upgrade to the old coffee table. Now instead of boardgames being taken down, setup, played and put away (a somewhat time consuming and arguably annoying process), they can be installed and run on the table. According to the AP article [1], the Table PC is said to be “big enough to fit four people around it, and the screen can respond to ten fingers touching it at the same time.”  Monopoly anyone? No. How about Pictionary instead? The possibilities are pretty much endless.

And with the ability to upgrade the software, even more functionality is possible. So what is limited to ten fingers today could be 20 by the end of the year, or sooner. Now think of using a device like this in an educational setting. The idea of dissecting animals just got an upgrade. Multiple students could be a one table and take turns doing the process multiple times in varying ways. How about looking at the stars but up-close and personal as a group? Again, the possibilities are pretty much endless.

Having some realistic idea of what one could do with device at home and else where currently should temper the grand ideas of its potential use. As most people do with any first generation device. Another possibility is it being a “second screen” to a media program being viewed on a TV.

The cost of the Table PC isn’t as “cheap” as a tablet. This summer when Lenovo says the table will go on sale, the retail cost will be $1699. If successful (which is anyones guess what defines success for a device like this) it is not out of the range of possibility for furniture manufacturers (big-box to mom-and-pop) to beign creating table shells which fit devices such as this. I’m generally not a first generation device purchaser but if I had an extra $1700 lying around, I could see giving this device a try.

Some specs on the device [2]:

  • Up to 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor
  • Up to Windows 8 Pro
  • 27″ backlit full HD (1920×1080) multi-touch display; 16:9 widescreen
  • Up to 2 hours battery life
  • Up to 1TB HDD
  • Up to 8GB DDR3

 

See it “in action” here:

 

References –

  1. Lenovo to release giant 27-inch ‘coffee table PC’ – AP
  2. IdeaCentre Horizon Product Page – Lenovo
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Any Port in a Storm: Petition Regarding Piers Morgan Deportation Pointless

27 Dec

It still amazes me what is considered “news” these days. Long gone are the days when really important stories or issues were the main topics reported. Now we have faux and manufactured news like the Piers Morgan deportation White House petition [1] and counter petition, on a third party website[2]. This is what passes for news to people these days? Sadly yes.

How does the process work? The frequently asked questions page[3] outlines the following general process:

There are two critical thresholds for We the People. First, a minimum number of signatures is necessary for the petition to be publicly listed on We the People and searchable. Second, a minimum number of signatures is necessary in a given amount of time in order for the petition to be reviewed by the White House, distributed to the appropriate policy officials within the Administration and receive an official response. This response will be posted and linked to the petition on WhiteHouse.gov, as well as emailed to all of the petition signers. Petitions that do not cross this threshold in the given time frame will be removed from the site.

The first minimum requirement to be posted on the website is 150. The second minimum requirement to get a response from the White House is 25,000. While the numbers sound reasonable for a petition to get some type of response, in this digital age of easy access, they are far to easily attained, even within the current time frame set by the White House.

These White House petitions got a spotlight in the news just a short time ago this year after the re-election of Barack Obama. A petition to allow Texas to secede [4] was created which lead to other states getting similar type petitions. So far the Texas petition has racked up a total of 122,954 “signatures” but no response from the White House. It is the second most popular petition with the Piers Morgan deportation petition just behind it. The most popular, with 264,102 signatures, is a petition with the request to “Legally recognize Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group.”

The large number of “signatures” isn’t very impressive since it takes very little effort to create a couple of junk accounts which allow anyone to either create or respond to these petitions. For example, a person can go to gmail.com, outlook.com, yahoo.com etc… and create a disposable email account. Once the email account is setup, the person can go to the White House petition website and create an account there using the new disposable email address. The site asks for a first and last name but no one is stopping people from using fake names like Mike Hunt, Seamore Buts, IP Frealy, etc. Once the new petition account has been setup it’s time to go either “sign” a petition or create a new one. If a person chooses to sign a petition, the response shows up in the petition page details with the first name, last initial and “signature” number. If a zip code was provided (not required and could be real or made up), the city and state will be displayed as well.

This clearly shows the fallacy of internet based petitions. It’s too easy for anyone to create a fake “person” to either create or “sign” a petition. All this does is water down the real power behind a well done, physical petition. To create a petition there are certain requirements one is supposed to meet before being able to create an account. Again, looking at the frequently asked questions page they are:

Anyone 13 or older can create or sign an online petition seeking a federal government action on a range of issues. Then it’s up to the petition creator and signers to build support for the petition by gathering more signatures.

In other words, these petitions aren’t limited to the adult, voting population, which would make the most sense. Anyone who has just entered puberty can create any nonsensical petition in hopes enough “signatures” will be made to get a response from the White House or just make a few clicks and “sign” a petition to support it. They might even get their 15 minutes of fame if it goes viral and the media outlets think it will get them some ratings. This process cannot be taken seriously by anyone with a rational mind. And anyone who is foolish enough to report any petition on this website as news needs to be fired because they have no clue how to be a real journalist.

People in the United States have the right to freedom of speech, within the confines of the current laws. It is a right which is cherished and protected, almost to a fault. Petitions are one way in which the people use this right to express their grievances with the government. At one time it was viable way for the people to get the attention politicians and news organizations on specific issues. Today, the petition has lost much of its power due to the dilution of how easy it is to create and get “signatures” as well. The people now have different avenues to voice their concerns, though they may not have quite the punch the petition once did.

References –

  1. Piers Petition
  2. Counter Petition
  3. White House Petition FAQs
  4. Texas Petition

Keep Calm and Legislate: CALM Act Begins

13 Dec

It has taken a few years but the CALM () Act will begin to be enforcable today. The idea behind the law is to limit the louder volume of TV commercials from the TV show which they air around. As an avid TV viewer I can appreciate this bit of peace and calm. Parents with younger children who go to bed before they do will likely also welcome the news.

However, as I began to enjoy the idea of a more peaceful viewing experience thanks to this new law, my mind began to think back a few decades ago. I could have sworn this technology was tried on the open market before. After doing some searches on the web, I found out I wasn’t just making the idea up in my head.

The technology my mind was recalling was from 1992 and promoted by Magnavox. It was known at the time as SmartSound. Below is a link the commercial at the time illustrating the technology.

Magnavox SmartSound Commercial

I never owned a TV with this technology but if I had, and it worked as advertised, I don’t know if I would have ever thrown it out. The website eHow gives this brief summary of how SmartSound worked:

Smart Sound, introduced by Magnavox in 1992 on its television sets, is designed to reduce sudden extreme changes in volume, namely the sound of TV commercials relative to the sound of the TV shows they follow. Magnavox refers to Smart Sound as “automatic volume control” to describe the feature’s ability to monitor the sound level of TV shows and limit how much louder the subsequent commercials will play.

So why didn’t more companies pick up and run with this? That is a question we might never know. But what is interesting is it wasn’t then, it hasn’t resurfaced almost 20 years later as a feature in TV’s and now we have a federal law requiring TV stations to do the same thing the free market rejected. With the way media consuption is headed, to a more on demand, pay to view (either per viewing or subscription) it will be interesting to see how long this law will be needed after all.

Source –
Magnavox SmartSound – eHow

Finders Peepers: Google New Default XXX Image Blocking Draws Fire

13 Dec

Don’t be evil. That was Google’s motto for years. How people inside and outside of Google have interpreted it is very different. Those differing views are again colliding as Google changes how it shows image results for “adult” images.

Google has started to do something different when someone makes an “adult” image search request. Going forward Google is making users get more specific when searching for pornography using its search engine. And let’s face it, finding porn on the internet isn’t exactly hard to do.

Microsoft is not, at this point, altering it’s Bing search engine to do more enhanced filtering of generic pornographic search queries. We will see if Yahoo follows Bing’s or Google’s lead. There is also the alternative search.xxx for anyone’s pornography finding needs.

Google has released a statement regarding the change. A spokes person from Google has stated the following:

We are not censoring any adult content, and want to show users exactly what they are looking for — but we aim not to show sexually-explicit results unless a user is specifically searching for them. We use algorithms to select the most relevant results for a given query. If you’re looking for adult content, you can find it without having to change the default setting — you just may need to be more explicit in your query if your search terms are potentially ambiguous. The image search settings now work the same way as in web search.

I think people are really missing what Google is really doing here. Let’s get to the real meat of this statement. Google says it uses “algorithms to select the most relevant results for a given query.” In other words, when someone preforms a search Google is programmed to give the best results on what someone has requested. The more general the search request, the harder it is to get what the person requested. So another request is made to narrow down what the person is trying to find.

Now Google is requiring people looking for porn to think about what they are looking for and use words or phrases to narrow down their search to something more specific. This is a win for Google in multiple ways. The first, on a purely technical level, is the reduced load on their systems for performing the searches. Instead of a very broad search first search, it is more specific and should give a better chance of returning the desired results. Less work by the systems means less cost for Google for their “free” search service. Win number one.

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Thank You to Our Blog and Twitter Followers

10 Dec

Clearly Wrong has been going for just over a month now. With no use of any third party content creation, blogging articles or follower generators people are reading and enjoying the information posted here. For those who have elected to follow Clearly Wrong on the blog and/or on Twitter we want to give a sincere thank you. Our goal is to continually bring informative and entertaining perspectives and information with traditional, non-modern journalistic integrity.

If there is a topic you would like to see Clearly Wrong cover or investigate, please drop us a line at tips@clearlywrong.com. We’re working on some new endeavors in 2013 and look forward to everyone joining us on the ride!

Numbers Game: New Report Puts Andriod Ahead of iOS in US.

4 Dec

Another day, another round of statistics from someone looking to fan the flames of the mobile OS war. According to a report by comScore [1]:

“The study surveyed more than 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers and found Samsung to be the top handset manufacturer overall with 26.3 percent market share. Google Android continued to lead among smartphone platforms, accounting for 53.6 percent of smartphone subscribers, while Apple secured 34.3 percent.”

What makes this report interesting regarding mobile OSes is these statistics include the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 (which is available for the iPhone 4 and 4s as well). Not surprisingly RIM and Microsoft saw declines in usage. At this point the mobile OS field is still a two horse race.

For all the touting of apps on smartphones, the overwhelming majority of people use their phones for a different reason. Almost 76% of smartphone and non-smartphone users cite sending texts to another smart phone as their main function. This feature is also available on most “feature phones” which cost considerably less in terms of the actual phone and service plans. This could explain the large percentage of the feature. Second on the list of used phone features was apps followed by (in order of usage) using the browser, accessing social network sites or blogs, playing games and  listening to music.

Samsung at 26.3% edged out Apple at 17.8%  in OEM usage for smartphone and non-smartphone users. With the vast array of phones made by Samsung, Apple coming in second is very respectable. It would be interesting to see the statistics of Samsung smartphones vs. Apple smartphones only. But the waters would get muddied by the fact some parts of the iPhone are made by Samsung. So would Samsung get a percentage of those iPhones? All depends on how one decides to slice up the survey number pie. LG, Motorola and HTC rounded out the top five in that order. Most of which have smartphones based on the Android OS.

Over all then numbers clearly indicate mobile is not only here to stay, but growing every day. It continues to feed the addiction people have for being “connected” [2] with no end in sight.

Reference –

  1. comScore Reports October 2012 U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share – comScore
  2. Hung Up: Addiction to Mobile Phones Ruining People’s Relationships

Hung Up: Addiction to Mobile Phones Ruining People’s Relationships

3 Dec

This news comes as no surprise to many people. Constantly having to check for new messages is an addiction and can ruin relationships. Did someone see Captain Obvious fly by?

More and more people are on their phone on a constant basis. Whether they are at home or at work, their phone has become another apendage of their body. We all should have seen this coming though. For years people have been telling each other, “I feel naked without my phone,” if they left it somewhere and could not immediately get a hold of it. From the article in the Telegraph[1]:

“Nomophobia is the term created by British researchers in 2008 to identify people who experience anxiety when they have no access to mobile technology.”

These little pieces of technology have made slaves of people and feed the narcissism of people in nations world wide. One only has to look away from their own phone to the people around them. They will see the eyes of almost everyone fixated with the 3 1/2″ plus screen in their hands.

The need to feed their addiction of being “connected” is coming at a cost of creating real relationships. Its no wonder people are choosing to take vacations where there is no cellular service. The idea of unplugging is being embraced by adults but not as much by the younger generations.

Children today are growing up in a world where there has always been an Internet and everyone has always been “connected”. They can communicate instantly with someone across the globe as easily as they could with someone across the table. However, they and most other people are not looking away from their mobile devices enough to know someone is sitting across the table or right next to them.

Interestingly enough, one of the “hit” shows today is about what would happen if suddenly all the power in the world went out. Revolution takes a journey to possible future without the conveniences of electricity and the hyper-connected society we are currently involved. On one had society needs electricity for things like medicine and food. On the other, unplugging from technology isn’t such a bad thing.

As noted in article on Mark Cuban’s thought on Facebook [2]:

“Baratunde Thurston, recounted an event following hurricane Sandy. He was in New York and a woman stopped him and told him to listen. She noted it was the sound of people actually talking to each other instead of being on their phones.”

Approval addiction is on a whole new level when people have feelings similar to “the “phantom limb” syndrome suffered by amputees.” It’s time people start letting go of their digital masters and reclaim their lives.

Source –

  1. Mobile phone addiction ruining relationships – Telegraph
  2. Mark Cuban Gives His Insight on Facebook