Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Power of the Logo - Judging the Book by the Cover

I read with great interest and hope the story of how teens are moving away from overpriced clothing with large logos -

It seems that during the recent recession, teens began moving away from the high-priced logo clothing of the 3 A's - Abercrombie, American Eagle and AeroPostale'.  They moved to cheaper brands with small or no logos.  Now that the recession is receding, this trend is still persisting.  

This is a big change from a few years ago when I was at a The North Face store (not of my own volition) and overheard this conversation:
Mom: Look at this sweater, it is reasonably priced.
Daughter: I really like the color and design.
Mom: Why don't you try it on?
Daughter: Oh, it does not have a North Face logo! Lets look for something else.
The peer pressure and desire to conform is so strong among teens that it is hard to believe that this antilogo trend is anything but a transient or a superficial phenomenon.  Even reasonably savvy adults are driven by these forces when they purchase items like smartphones, laptops and cars. 

Very early on, we are told not to judge the book by the cover.  But we continue to believe that others will judge us by our covers, the logos we adorn ourselves with.  We create our "Pseudo" identities on social media. We assume we can buy respect or admiration of our peers by purchasing a status symbol not realizing that all we generate is jealousy or diminished respect for our decision-making skills or superficiality.  It clearly will not buy us happiness unless the product is something you really need and you would buy even if it did not have a logo.

Will we ever get to the point that people would stop and think about these words of  Thích Nhất Hạnh, "To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Robots are coming! The Robots are coming!

This is a video making waves on YouTube - it was published earlier today and already has >400,000 views.

The video caught my attention for multiple reasons

  • It is a beautifully created mashup - I did a workshop on creating video mashups (with +Ali Reza Jalali+Anne Marie Cunningham and +Natalie Lafferty)  using publicly available resources but this is awesome in its quality.  Our slideshare of the workshop is available here.
  • I have been working on the IBM Watson - Cleveland Clinic collaborative project, helping Watson learn medicine.  The goal is to improve the quality of care we provide to our patients.  I wonder if some day we will look back and wonder about the future we might have helped create.  This very funny video interview with Stephen Hawking does leave one with a vaguee sense of unease.

    • But most of all, even if this future is somewhat far away, are we preparing our students for this?  What will be the role of humans and how can we create learning environments that will help our students adapt to this?  Where will the integration of artificial intelligence, natural language processing, robotics, the Internet of Things leave the humans?

    Friday, August 8, 2014

    Google Glass Experience: Part 1 - Connectivity

    Technology is headed in the direction of integrating

    • Wearable devices
    • Augmented reality
    • Artificial intelligence
    • Natural language processing and
    • Connected devices - Internet
    Google Glass is an example of how some of these technologies can come together.
    I recently got Google Glass and will be chronicling my experiences with it.  This series (hopefully) of posts will cover my specific situations and again hopefully the solutions for the problems I face.

    Connecting Glass to the Web at Work

    While Glass can take pictures or record videos without Internet connectivity, it becomes more useful when connected.  

    My Situation:

    1. Phone: iPhone 5 running iOS 7.1.2 (this is a work phone - does not reflect my choice)
    2. WiFi at work 
      1. Public Wifi with ToS (Requires to go to a website to accept terms of service to get access)
      2. Enterprise WiFi - WPA2 - enterprise

    Glass can get connected in 2 ways

    1. Via Bluetooth tethering with a smartphone or tablet which has Internet connectivity via
      1. Cellular data plan OR
      2. WiFi
    2. Direct connection from Glass to WiFi.  Glass cannot connect to WiFi that is
      1. Public but requires Terms of service acceptance on a website
      2. WPA2- enterprise

    So in my case option # 2 (Direct connection to WiFi at work) is out.

    For option # 1, let us consider the 2 most popular OS's

    1. Android - works seamlessly - just pair the device to Glass via Bluetooth and all your troubles are over!  It will use either the phone/tablet's cellular data plan or use data from the WiFi that the phone/tablet is connected to.
    2. iOS - while it is easy to pair Glass with the iPhone, it WILL NOT connect even to the WiFi signal unless the "Personal Hotspot" feature is turned on.  The problem is that this requires an additional monthly charge even though you might just be using the phone to connect to WiFi. which is either free or you have paid for.
    Need to set up Personal Hotspot on iOS
    So in short there is not way to use Google Glass at work without paying an additional monthly fee it seems.
    Ideally Apple needs to enable the Hotspot feature automatically when the phone is connected to WiFi and need us to pay or take additional steps (e.g. use shared data plans) only if we use cellular data.  

    My Solution (s):

    1. Use an old Android device 
      • Pair this device to Glass; Connect the Andorid device the Public WiFi at work and thus connect Glass to the Public WiFi.  The problem is the need to carry an additional device and keep it charged
    2. Use a MiFi - again same problems (additional device, charging).
    3. There is another potential solution that I have not tried yet.

    Another issue is setting up WiFi on Glass

    If you have an Android device, that you pair with Glass, the MyGlass App on the device will work seamlessly in setting up the WiFi on Glass.
    You can also use the MyGlass app on iPhone or visit to set up the WiFi.  This requires scanning a QR code using Glass.  When I tried to set up Glass to connect to a MiFi using this method it did not work (both with iPhone and browser) but it worked first time with an old Android tablet.

    MyGlass Dashboard 

    Example of QR code to set up WiFi

    Glass at least at this stage is difficult to connect to the Internet if you have the same WiFi situation as I do and do not have an Android device.