Digital Badges

I’ve been fascinated by the idea of wearable digital badges that could be programmed with messages. There are some affordable packages like the MessageTag or Mtag. The question (before I buy one) is … just what would I program it to display?

A related, but more sophisticated, product is nTAG which is essentially a small screen others can read off your chest. It has RFID and infrared so nTAGs can communicate with each other (“Hi, I like vanilla ice cream too!”) or with a central server. The nTAG web site is coy about privacy and costs. I think they rent you the service and don’t sell the technology, which is a pity, as it would be interesting to imagine some playful uses. For a story about nTAG, see Breaking the Ice 2.0.

QR Codes

James, a graduate of our Multimedia program who is working in Japan came by for a visit and showed me his cell phone and the cool things it can do. Besides controlling things like a Karioke player with the IR port and being an MP3 player, it can scan QR Codes which are two-dimensional barcodes. The barcodes are showing up all over – in magazines to provide a coupon or a URL, on business cards so that you can scan in a person’s contact information, and on screens. The scanning software lets you scan multiple 2D barcodes and then can merge the data into one file so you can suck up little programs for your phone. Above all it seems quite robust – both the QR Code system and, for that matter, the regular OCR with the camera that lets you scan English text.
If you want to try it, this QR Code Generator lets you generate the barcodes. The code above is my contact information encoded for the Vodafone scanner. For more on QR Code see QR Code features or According to their site, there is no licensing fee to use QR Codes, which may explain why it is taking off.
Continue reading QR Codes

The Unemployed Philosophers Guild

Talk about great presents! For my birthday I got “The Great Philosophers Finger Puppets” from the Unemployed Philosophers Guild.

The Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild began in 1992 when two students of philosophy found their inner creativity in the midst of a dwindling academic job market. As it turned out, fulfilling gift giving needs proved to be almost as satisfying as probing eternal questions. Though we still contemplate justice and truth, it is our wish to fulfill the gift giving needs of the funny & sophisticated everywhere! (About us)

It’s good to know that philosophy and gift giving go together. Coming soon – my Philosopher-Finger-Puppet Theatre!

Konfabulator Moves to Windows

According to Slashdot, Arlo Rose is porting Konfabulator to Windows. The Konfabulator site now goes to a strange “notebook” essay on “Ten Days In The Wild” which pretends to have discovered two types of creatures in the wild (Macs and PCs.) To see what Konfabultator in Windows would look like see image here.
This came to me from Chris. See also a previous grockwel: Research Notes: Konfabulator blog entry.