S3E5: This is Your brain and the future

Your Brain and the FutureSo what if you could play a video game with your mind? In the news this past week Elon Musk’s Neuralnet announced they had installed brain implants into the brain of a macaque monkey. They then taught him how to play Pong using a joystick by giving him banana smoothies via a straw while he was playing as a reward. They used the neural links to capture what his brain saw as his hands moved. Then they took the joystick away and he continued to play using only his mind via the neural links. This is Season 3 Episode5 and Today we are going to talk about technology and the future and visit some other tech news along the way. 

Welcome to the One-Off Tech Podcast. I am your host Roy Richardson and each week we talk about tech topics and how they affect you. So sit back, listen and open your mind. 

I have always dreamed of a world like science fiction predicts we will live in. Flying cars, computers the size of phones (oh wait we already have those). The flying cars aren’t here yet but we have phones in our pocket that are more powerful than the 486 CPU computers that launched the Space Shuttle. 

So what if we could use our computer with only our minds? The cool part is using a computer with our minds. I don’t have to type anymore. I can think “words” to the screen. We aren’t there yet but the time will come. On the flip side, I don’t know about you but my mind doesn’t’ have the filter my mouth has most of the time when I think thoughts and I am smart enough to keep them in my head and not say them out loud. Admittedly my filter isn’t as good as some others and I will say things that really should have been kept inside. But the next leap is someone puts the neural links into our brains or maybe they don’t even have to be implanted and every thought we have escapes. In the meantime, it is fun to watch a monkey play Pong.

Chapter 2

I am almost social. You can find me on Twitter, Instagram and now Clubhouse as @aroyrichardson. So the question maybe if you are late to the party, what is Clubhouse? Clubhouse is an audio only, invite only, iPhone only social network. Folks who think they are authorities on something or who like to hear themselves talk (that would probably be me) to there and start “rooms” and become the moderators of the room. They decide who comes on stage. The stage is the area of the app where you are allowed to unmute to talk. You see, when you visit a room you come in muted unless you are invited to the virtual stage. And then proper Clubhouse etiquette is you stay muted until a moderator says it is okay for folks to unmute and talk. You ride the mute while in the room, kind of the way I do Zoom meetings. But Clubhouse is really cool and there is a lot of open dialog going on there. So far I haven’t seen a lot of troublemakers there but there are a lot of folks bragging about themselves and trying to sell you stuff.  There are a lot of folks offering free and often helpful advice on faith and life and money, real estate and so on. In some ways it reminds me of a cross between a podcast and a call in radio talk show. Want to find out what Clubhouse is about? The first two folks who reach out to me via DM on Twitter or Instagram, I will send you an invite. You do have to have an iPhone as they have not released an Android app yet and they don’t seem to be in a hurry. Look me up @aroyrichardson on those platforms. And did I mention it is invite only? Yes, you see it makes it seem exclusive so everyone wants in. And the funny thing is, everyone is getting ready to copy Clubhouse. Expect to see versions of Clubhouse on Twitter, Facebook and even LinkedIn. It will get strange before it gets stranger.

Chapter 3 maybe

So do you reuse passwords to different websites? Are you using two factor authentication? Are you using crappy passwords? Stop. The days of passwords are numbered. With FaceID, Microsoft Hello, TouchID, and the finger scanner on many phones eventually we will do away with passwords. Why? Because 1)too easy to forget. Every have a day when the password you type in every day suddenly escapes your brain. You have muscle memory. Your fingers just type it. You don’t even think about it. It is just a habit. Recently LastPass a password manager suddenly decided they no longer liked their users having a free tier. This was they hook’em till they buy it scheme for a long time and it worked but obviously they didn’t feel they were making enough money. So the Internet is scrambling for alternatives. I have used Keepass, which is open source and is available for free on nearly all platforms except iOS. So when I was forced to go iPhone, I was challenged by what will I use as a password manager for the hundreds of passwords I need to keep up with. So I had gone with 1Password. I don’t make any money from recommending them but I do recommend trying a free trial of 1Password. I wound up with the family plan as my wife decided she would be lost if I should parish and she needed access to all of the accounts I use on my family’s behalf. I decided she was right so with the Family plan she can access the same passwords I use. Now I just wish she was as paranoid as I am but perhaps that is a good thing too. 

That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the show. I want to apologize for the mishaps on audio for a couple of weeks. Mistakes were made and I decided content was more important than audio quality. I think I was proven wrong and for that I am sorry. 

Chapter 4

Finally this week I want to end on a very serious topic. A fifth grade STEMS class at Tucker Middle School in Georgia are finalists in a Samsung challenge to “Solve for Tomorrow”. They have created a silent alarm that goes into airline bathrooms that would allow girls who are victims of human trafficking to alert the crew of the plane they are in danger. It also releases an adhesive that allows them to be tracked as they get off the plane. The shocking thing I read in this article was that over 300 women a month in Georgia are victims of human trafficking. First I applaud these students for creating something so useful. But I am saddened that this is a need. I had no idea. 

Thank you so much for listening. This was Season 3 Episode 5 of the One-Off Technology Podcast. Look for me on Twitter, Instagram, and Clubhouse. The show notes can be found at oneofftechpodcast.com which will redirect you to my blog faithandtech.com which needs some love. Have a great week.

S3E2: What is a Non Fungible Token?

TheOne-OffTechPodcastS3E2

What are Non-Fungible Tokens? 

What is Fungible? Fungible is a term that means something that is replaceable. Exchangeable Originally used as a finance term. 

Investopedia says: 

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/fungibles.asp

Fungible means interchangeable. Fungible goods are…

  • Fungible goods are items that are interchangeable because they are identical to each other for practical purposes.
  • Fungibility is the ability of a good or asset to be readily interchanged for another of like kind.
  • Like goods and assets that are not interchangeable, such as owned cars and houses, are non-fungible.
  • Money is a prime example of something fungible, where a $1 bill is easily convertible into four quarters or ten dimes, etc.

So Non meaning No and Fungible meaning changeable you have Non Fungible and now we add Non Fungible Tokens to our vocabulary. 

What is a Non Fungible Token or NFT? It is how you can make digital things one of a kind. If I have a picture of my kids as a png file on my desktop, I can copy the file hundreds of times, share the same image with different file names on Facebook and other social media and I can send it via email to my mom. All of these are copies of the same file. But how do we know which is the original?

The Mona Lisa exists in the Louvre in Paris France. We assume it is the original and yet we all know the Mona Lisa. There are pictures of her everywhere. But the rest are all copies and not the original. Say I want to be able to confirm to the world the original digital image I took with my cell phone of my kids is the original then how would I prove this? 

This is where Cryptocurrency comes in. A long time ago okay, 2012 if that is a long time ago, a group of folks used the unique transaction code nature of buying cryptocurrency. A group created Colored Coins. These represented the smallest unit of Bitcoin called a “Satoshi” Listen to Episode 1 if you want more in depth on Bitcoin. So basically it represents a bitcoin. But things didn’t’ take off from there and there were flaws. So next up came “Counterparty” around 2014. They used the concepts that were Bitcoin 2.0 and used Bitcoin to create collectables that were represented by an amount of bitcoin and it allowed folks to be able to buy and sell digital assets. Because it was certified against a bitcoin transaction id, these collectables couldn’t be counterfeited. So now I could take this image file of my kids and tie it to bitcoin and then sell the bitcoin aka the digital collectable. In 2017 Cryptopunks create digital collectables based on the Ethereum blockchain. Ethereum is another cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin. They created 10,000 of these Crypto characters and they were quickly snapped up. So then because the Internet loves cats in that same year CryptoKitties were created. These looked like cards and were intended to be part of a game. The drawings remind me of The Oatmeal’s Exploding Kittens animation. These sold well for a while but rarely for crazy sums but it proved out the concept of NFT. This same concept was used to sell Digital parcels of land in a VR game Decentraland. 

Time passes, things happen and we arrive in 2021 after a long period of time trapped in our house where the Internet became strange again because we were trapped and needed a creative outlet like say a podcast.

Anyway, so suddenly the world is crazier and folks are selling virtual NBA trading cards and short clips of video moments in Basketball for crazy money. A certified copy of the Nyan Cat gif is sold for $531,000 worth of Ethereum. Sure, everyone has a copy of Nyan Cat but now this is certified as one of a kind, non fungible and Ethereum gives it the token portion of this puzzle. And yet none of this is physical, it is all ones and zeros. Beeple, a digital artist who creates a picture a day, takes all of his works up to that date and creates a single image and someone buys it for $69 million at Christie’s Auction House. So now NFT makes the news. 

Money always makes things bubble up for a bit and such big money has everyone selling anything as an NFT in order to make money. In fact, I think I will create an NFT for the last episode of the second season of this podcast and sell it. I will tell you about that adventure in a different episode. 

So you want to be a Non fungible Token Star… https://www.kapwing.com/resources/how-to-create-and-sell-nft-crypto-art/

More on NFTs

https://www.npr.org/2021/03/05/974089381/whats-an-nft-and-why-are-people-paying-millions-to-buy-them

And now, Chapter 2

Have you ever wondered what Google knows aboSome Of What Google Knowsut you? I mean really who are you, how old are you, are you a male or female, what are you into, what websites do you visit frequently. See Google has a way of tracking you in all the places you go and so Ads that you see are tailored to you. So if you go to the website adsettings.Google.com you can look and see what Google knows about you now you’ll have to have a Gmail account of course and you’ll have to be logged in in order to get this page once you go there gets interesting.

https://adssettings.google.com/authenticated

What do you log into this page you’re going to find out that Google knows an awful lot about you you will see approximately how old is thinks you are you will see if it thinks you’re male or female you will see website that you visited before that is is decided that you have an interest in for example mine says I’m into hip-hop rock and roll Jazz and Blues mostly he also says that I am 

Go out find out what Google knows about you. You can turn some things off for a bit and supposedly you won’t see ads about that stuff for a while. We are all digital souls on the Internet. I have joked I sold my digital soul to Google in 2004. That was the year Gmail started and I was lucky enough to get an invite. Back in the early days you had to be invited. Over time Google has given me trinkets and tokens of their affection for me. I received a free Chromebook one. Cool story for another episode and I helped beta test a lot of different Google products over the years. In exchange they sent me things, a Google Mouse (sadly it died). Google Minis, a t-shirt that I think I outgrew or expanded beyond? Google is collecting your data via tracking cookies and the ads you on purposely or accidentally click on. Facebook is too so Google hasn’t cornered this market. But we are building our digital personas and it is out there for folks to find. Who are you online?

Chapter 3

Are you sharing your Netflix password? Netflix is experimenting with two factor authentication. Not to necessarily make your logins more secure, though that is a perk, but to perhaps slowly prevent password sharing. Recently password warnings popped up on several across the Internet. So it appears Netflix is testing our appetite for cracking down on password sharing. My oldest son spent some time in Argentina as a work-study in college. Many months after his return I looked at Netflix settings as it said I was out of sessions and discovered that somewhere in Argentina someone was still using my Netflix account. That explains why Netflix kept suggesting I watch Spanish language programs. I am embarrassed to admit having taken Spanish in college I still am not able to understand Spanish. I should have done my homework. 

Netflix strikes back and scares password sharers with a future of two factor?

https://www.wired.com/story/netflix-password-sharing-crackdown/

That’s it this week in Podcast land for the One-Off Tech Podcast. I really appreciate you listening and downloading the podcast. If you want to reach out to me, I am on Twitter as @aroyrichardson. I had several reach out to me and I was very touched that you did. It means some of you missed the podcast. That really touched my heart and I am very thankful for you.

Have a great week.

Bonus Thoughts:

Complex passwords means never having to say, crap, they hacked my site.

https://www.dailyinfographic.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/table3_FBSharedImage.jpg

A few of my favorite things Password remembering edition

https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/1password-review/

How to do screenshots on Mac

https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/take-a-screenshot-or-screen-recording-mh26782/mac

Microsoft offers to test your PowerPoint presentation skills with you.

https://www.theverge.com/2021/3/17/22336914/microsoft-ai-powerpoint-presenter-coach-available-desktop-mobile

How a year in isolation made the Internet weird again again https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/12/tech/internet-boredom-pandemic/index.html

Listen on Google Podcasts
Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Stitcher