This time around, we do a bit of a debrief about Cathi Bond’s book launch.
Nora Young talks about an upcoming episode of Nora’s show Spark, on the future of work, and wonders what are the jobs that humans – for sure – can do, that A.I. programs can’t down the road. She mentions this New Scientist article on A.I. taking on some functions traditionally performed by judges. You can find some of Spark’s past coverage on this issue here and here. So, what do you think? Based on how A.I. is progressing, what would you advise young people to go into as a career?
Cathi’s obsession with nests, cocoons, and tree-houses continues. This time it’s a model rainforest in Cornwall that includes a very cool tree-house where you can stay over amongst the trees! (Via Gizmag)
Nora’s obsession with data continues as well. This time, it’s a neat project launched by Intel’s R&D wing and some TED fellows: We The Data is a platform for thinking up democratic approaches to data use (via Technology Review) Along the way, Nora refers to research at MIT, and practical uses of feature phone data.
Big news! Cathi Bond’s fabulous novel, Night Town, is coming out! It’s a wild ride that tells the story of Maddy, a teenager from small town Ontario who finds herself in the exciting, but seedy and scary, mean streets of Toronto. You can find out more about the book at Cathi’s author page, here. Cathi’s official book launch is May 13th at the Imperial Pub from 6:00-8:00 pm. Please come and say hi if you’re in the Toronto area! More importantly, buy the book here or here.
Further to the future of publishing, Cathi and Nora talk about APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur. That’s Guy Kawasaki’s take on the future of publishing, where a self-publishing author also takes on the role of entrepreneur. It’s part of a write-up on self-publishing over at PSFK.
And where do you like to have coffee in the morning? How about a public toilet? Attendant is a new coffee house in London created from a refurbished Victorian public lavatory. Nice porcelain! Check out the pictures over at Inhabitat
Hey trendspotters! This time around, Nora talks about the Mantis, a kind of exoskeleton designed for workers who to heavy lifting (via Core77). It’s a good example of the normalization of cyborg technology.
Cathi shows us another ‘out there’ technology that’s steadily becoming part of everyday life: drones. Frankendrone offers modular, customizable drones that move across the surface of a body of water (via Gizmag).
This time, our gal Cathi Bond mentions the Underarmour wearable band for runners that tracks your stats and your ‘willpower’ (via PSFK). Does wearing tracking devices like this improve your performance, or keep you motivated? We’d love to hear about it.
Nora refers to this cool visualization at the Smithsonian Magazine blog. Researcher Albert-Laszlo Barabasi found that any two pages on the web are connected by no more than 19 clicks. Quite cool to look at the hyper-connector ‘hubs’ in the visualization.
On this edition of The Sniffer, Nora Young talks about all the buzz around Nest, the design-y, smart thermostat. On one hand, it’s a great example of how smart design can get people to buy into energy efficiency. On the other, given that it’s actually way more energy efficient just to live in an apartment or a small condo, there’s something about the idea of furnishing your fancy house with a sustainability tool that seems a wee bit ‘greenwashing’ – what do you think? I have to admit, it is pretty cool! Interesting profile of the Nest guys and what the future may hold at Technology Review.
Meanwhile, Cathi Bond flags this neat Kickstarter campaign to provide software that teachers can use to teach mindfulness meditation techniques to students. What do you think of it? Nora loves the idea of teaching mindfulness, but the particular use of ‘mindfulness messages’ as part of it seems a bit Stuart Smalley-esque.
This time on the podcast, Nora Young talks about the Pebble smart watch. We used the Pebble as a topical ‘hook’ to a recent piece on watches on Spark, and that got me thinking about what makes this great looking little watch so appealing. It reminded Cathi Bond of the Little Printer, a smart, digital solution that looks analog, that looks friendly. Nora mentions all the self-tracking tools and health monitors that were at CES recently (see, for example, Technology Review’s coverage here).
Cathi Bond talks about the RP-VITA which is a remote presence robot that can wander health care facility halls, checking in on patients, thus allowing doctors who are far away to see patients virtually (via Medgadget). It can even allow the remote physician to consult with other doctors. Interestingly, it’s from the iRobot people, who brought you the Roomba.
And, Nora has a quick hit: Swisshotel has a handy dandy ‘single serving’ website that notes handy tips for travellers to different cultures: stuff like tipping, gestures, and dos and don’ts (via Lifehacker). Nora thinks lots more businesses will do this sort of thing for branding purposes – useful info connected to your product’s brand that can live as an app. Have you seen any good examples of this?
On this trendwatching podcast, Cathi Bond and Nora Young are back from a midwinter break with some wacky stories that nonetheless point to bigger trends. Cathi has two examples of tech for babies. There’s the Bubble Baby futuristic, self-cleaning crib, which Cathi and Nora would both like for themselves (via Gizmag), and the slightly more dubious sounding iPotty (via Gizmag).
Nora looks at The Polaroid Cacher, a very cool art project which is built off a vintage polaroid camera (via Prosthetic Knowledge). Essentially, it recreates the experience of taking instamatic snapshots, but in this case, it captures your digital, on-screen interactions. It’s part of a trend we’ve looked at before on The Sniffer, and on Nora’s show, Spark, of combining the digital and the mechanical or analog. Why do we love this stuff so much?
Finally, Cathi saw this Samsung easel TV which came out of this year’s CES (via Paste Magazine). She points to it as part of a flood of new TV designs. What would it take you to invest in a new TV?
This time, trendwatchers, a look at trends in shopping. Cathi Bond and Nora Young riff on some of PSFK’s fascinating retail trends. Get a look at their whole report here. Nora refers to Daniel Pink’s new book along the way, which will be featured in an upcoming episode of her show Spark. What do you think of the trend towards ‘social commerce‘ and towards consumers being rewarded for exposing their social media contacts to recommendations and ads?
Nora and Cathi also talk about the news that Pantone’s colour for 2013 is Emerald. What does it mean? Anything?
From both of us, have a wonderful holiday, and thanks so much for listening to The Sniffer. More in 2013. Woo hoo!
This time, trendspotters, Cathi Bond talks about one of the more surprising trends she’s seen: cocoons. See them here, here, and here. (Via Gizmag). Any theories as to why cocoons, why now? Is it the search for security in difficult times, or something else?
Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about CustomMade, a service that brings craftspeople and buyers together in a marketplace for customized manufacture (via Core77)Nora also tells the story of Bemz, a site that makes new covers of just about all the chairs and sofas IKEA has made. With all this disintermediated customization going on, are major retailers going to need to be a lot more flexible?
UPDATE: Bemz apparently delivers internationally, not just in North America.
OK trendwatchers, this time, Nora Young talks about how her experience watching the U.S. presidential election results has made her think about the disruptive state of TV right now. Who is a broadcaster now, anyway, when you can watch live TV coverage on Apple TV and original content on Netflix? Has your TV watching behaviour changed? If you’re changing the way you watch, does that leave you more open to ‘switching’? Also: Google announces voice search. And in other news, are you watching Breaking Bad?? Is it as addictive for you as it is for Cathi and me?