Technology

I’m a sucker when it comes to technology. Can’t help it. Ever since I was child, I’d be curious about things, and would get immense delight in finding a way to solve problems.

My view: Technology is just a way to solve problems. Not theory, but practice.

Technology is everywhere around us. I’ve taken but a few topics of interest to me. My posts will cover more on these – check out the blog page as well.

Software: I love software – building it, playing with it, and making it do useful (or plain old fun) things. I am not an expert by any means, yet love to roll up my sleeves and try out different technologies. I used to be a hard core C / C++ guy far too many years ago. Then Visual Basic caught my attention – it let me focus on the core problem vs. tangential things (like garbage collection). I didn’t think much of Java for a while, but now I hold much respect for it, and have grown to appreciate its vast ecosystem.

As systems become more complex with many more tiers, and have to deal with complex issues such as global scalability with local compliance, an open network subject to global hackers, I’ve grown to further appreciate the open source community and their tremendous contribution to tackling tough problems.

Hardware: This stuff is really hard to design and manufacture. The irony is we expect it to be a commodity. I’m not quite sure how we got here as a society. Much as I love cloud computing, at some level, I just feel for those that design and build this “commodity”. It is anything but. I can’t say enough about how much I respect folks that have helped create fantastic hardware all around us. I, for one, could not build a circuit to save my life (though I have been known to blow circuits that worked just fine till I messed with them). Now you know why I have even more respect.

Robotics: This really brings together so many disciplines – physics, engineering, computer science, instrumentation, electronics, and so on. At school, we learned all those subjects broken out into their elements. Robotics integrates it all. Take a look at these quad rotors – pretty amazing stuff. To the extent possible, I’d love to introduce my kids to robotics early. Perhaps they may end up appreciating it and learn a bit from it?

Cars: I love fast cars. Correction – I love cars that accelerate fast. I didn’t know that until I test drove the Tesla Model S. You get pressed into the back of your seat the moment you press the accelerator – and, I kid you not – you experience child-like delight when the car pulls it off. You just don’t expect a sedan of that size and weight doing that.

That experience has spoiled me for any other car. We happen to drive a Lexus ES 350, which is a nice ride and goes from 0-60 in about 7 seconds. Yet, the difference between 5 seconds (Model S) and 7 seconds (ES 350) is like eons. I never thought 2 seconds will make much difference. They do. (And now Model S has a version that does 0-60 in 3.2 seconds. That is crazy fast. McLaren F1 fast.)

So, my dream vacation involves renting supercars and lapping a professional track. Yes, renting, not owning. First off, they’re too expensive to buy and operate. Second, you’ll never get to enjoy them on the streets – what’s the point of a Ferrari F12 if you can only drive it at street speeds? Which brings me back to the Model S. Street legal, smooth, fast. Love it.

Manufacturing – 3D printing: Today’s manufacturing model is something like this: labor is expensive, quality is hard to maintain, so you build huge honking machines and set them up in huge factories to build decent quality products that are cheaper per unit. These factories are crazily expensive [citation needed], so you need to engage in mass manufacturing and selling to recoup costs and make money.

3D printing changes the game completely. Suddenly, you can decentralize manufacturing and get batch sizes as small as just one unit. All this with high quality! Imagine custom eye glasses – the perfect frame for your measurements, or custom shoes that fit you perfectly. Need a bottle that’s just the shape and volume you want? Sure, just print it. And imagine getting it all at regular prices.

Yes, 3D printing is set to change the world in a big way. A lot of creative energy will soon make its way, and make this more accessible, affordable, ubiquitous, and just fun to use. I’d love to be part of this long-term shift. Don’t know how yet. If you know of a great 3D printing start-up that’s looking for an investor, let me know.

More tech

As I started writing this, I realize far too many things fascinate me. (Perhaps something’s wrong with me? Nah. I just love this stuff.) In any case, here’s some more things I hope to write about soon: Sports technology, RFID, flight, space, medicine, building / construction, nano technology, transportation technology (think fast rail), and energy.

Let me know what rocks your boat!

Cheers.

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