The regular meeting of the PC Club of Costa Rica will be held this Saturday, July 17th, at the Pan American School in Belen at 9am. Come early for chatter with friends and coffee and doughnuts.
Item 1. Do you still want a PDA? Some of us do. Why doesn’t my mom just go out and by an iPhone, an iPod touch, a Droid, or some other smartphone? Why does she even need a PDA?Would would anyone even need a PDA? Sigh. This is a generational question. I can prove it using data from the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control. Seriously.
Item 2. Oh God! Brain implants. The idea of an electronic device implanted in the brain tends to evoke spooky scenarios a la "Total Recall." But if a team of international scientists has its way, brain implants will one day be viewed as a viable and commonplace therapy for conditions like Parkinson's disease, depression, and even age-related loss of brain elasticity.
Item 3. Shall we charge for Linux? Linux is easy to learn, highly capable of fulfilling a typical computer user's needs, and 100 percent free. So why is it that Linux still has such a
minuscule share of the overall desktop market? Maybe its gratis nature has been keeping it down. It seems that when consumers don't know enough about a product, they judge it by its cost -- and "free," at least on a subconscious level, translates to "not as good."
Item 3. Have you ever wondered if piracy causes financial failure? "Anyone familiar with the piracy debate knows about the claims from organizations like the RIAA that piracy causes billions of dollars in damages and costs thousands of jobs. Other studies have concluded differently, ranging from finding practically no damages to a newer study that cites 'up to 20%' as a more accurate number (PDF). I figure there's got to be an easier way to do this, so here's my question: Does anyone know of any creative works that were provably a financial failure due to piracy? The emphasis on 'provably' is important, as some form of evidence is necessary. Accurately and precisely quantifying damages from p2p is impossibly hard, of course, but answering questions like this may lead us to a clearer picture of just how harmful file sharing really is. I would think that if piracy does cause some amount of substantial harm, we would see that fact reflected in our creative works, but I've never heard of a work that tanked because people shared it online."
Item 4. A debate of what it means for software to be free. The phrase Information wants to be free was never meant to be the rallying cry it turned into. It was first uttered by Stewart Brand at a hacker conference in 1984, and it came with a significant disclaimer: that information also wants to be expensive, because it can be so important (see “Information Wants to Be Paid For,” in this issue). With the long tail of Brand’s dictum chopped off, the phrase Information wants to be free—dissected, debated, reconstituted as a global democratic rallying cry against monsters of the political, business, and media elites--became perhaps the most powerful meme of the past quarter century; so powerful, in fact, that multi-billion dollar corporations destroyed their own businesses at its altar.
Item 5. A neat use of robots in Spain (video). I have to admit that I have never heard of Santander’s Group City in Madrid before, but it is certainly one of the most advanced places that I have ever seen. Apparently this is the location of one of the largest banks in the world, and is employed by about 5,500 people. You can imagine that is easy to get lost in this massive place, which is why the robots were called in. Yes, that is what these red round robots are. They are “Interactive Guest Assistants” with a screen in front of them to ask the visitor where they want to go. They will then take you to the conference room or wherever you wish to be going. Do not let the perspective in this photo fool you, these robots are only a little higher than the average person’s knee.
Item 6. He’s here; big brother. Raytheon will lead the first phase of a National Security Agency program to detect cyber attacks on the nation's infrastructure. Called Perfect Citizen, the multimillion-dollar NSA program will reportedly install sensors in legacy computer networks. Despite reported cyber attacks, the NSA's effort has reportedly already been called Big Brother.
Item 7. Get your good times. Come to the meeting next Saturday. I hope to see you there.