January 2010 Posts

Wake Mate – Human Augmentation, the future?

Well after a little deliberation I decided to go for it and take a leap and pre-order a “WakeMate“. Mainly as an experiment but partially to fuel the geeky gadget lover inside of me, but I do think this sort of thing is a natural extension to our techno-obsessed lifestyle.

Im a big fan of Science-Fiction, and my favourite author is Peter F. Hamilton. In the vast majority of his books he portrays a future where humans and technology merge, generally just an extension of the shrinking of personal gadget devices (think iPhone) down to microscopic scales which can then be embedded in the body (nano-robotics). These personal devices then allow the user to interface with the internet directly, without screens or input devices. This I think is a logical direction of our shrinking hardware and smarter software.

Glimpses of this future have already been seen with basic data-visual augmentation apps such as Layar for the iPhone. In addition to the ‘net-interface’ capability of the technologies described by Peter F. the micro-devices are capable of reading biometric data from the body directly and also capable of modifying and augmenting the bodies own capabilities.

So back to the point of this post. I think that Wake Mate is a tentative step in the direction towards the “personal doctor” and “human augmentation”. What it does is monitor your sleeping pattern through a wrist-band you put on when you go to bed. As you sleep it records your cycles and if you set it to, it can wake you when it considers is the best time, so you always wake up feeling refreshed.

Thats the concept anyways. I have no idea if it will work, but as a techno-gadget-geek im willing to give it a shot for $50 😉

P.S. I would like to point out that Wake Mate isnt the first to make such an app. Zeo Sleep Coach has been around for a while selling a product, it however, is 5 times more expensive than Wake Mate and doesnt interface with the iPhone.

Rename Dropbox Root Folder Windows

Following on today’s handy tips that I have commonly had to employ when dealing with fresh PC installs, I present PyDropboxPath.

As Dropbox doesnt let you rename the root folder your files are stored in on windows (Defaulted to “My Dropbox”) there are occasions when you want to choose a different name. In particular when you are running Bootcamp on a Macbook Pro with a drive shared between Windows and OSX.

Luckily some clever Python developer on the Dropbox Forums came up with a little tool that lets you rename said folder.

Again im just copy / pasting the install instructions directly from the forum (replacing the download link for the file):

Dowload: PyDropboxPath_082

Tested on Ubuntu Jaunty, Windows XP Pro and Windows7 x64 RC. Others tested on OSX and told me it was OK too 🙂

Feedback welcome.

IF IN DOUBT, DO NOT USE and ask here first.

If it breaks up somewhere, please post here.

The old terminal 0.7.1 version is in a subdirectory, only use it if you do not have wxpython and your system paths have no non-ascii characters.

The windows (EXE) terminal version needs msvcr71.dll, and the EXE GUI version needs msvcp71.dll – It’s on the download list if you don’t have it.
If the GUI version generates a error log file telling
EOFError: EOF when reading a line
then you probably are missing the msvcp71.dll.

WARNING: If you change the dropbox folder name to a root of a drive (Like, from “C:My Dropbox” to “D:”) or you will miss key features like sync icon overlays and right-click context menu items – good ones like “share this folder” and “copy public link”. If you are okay with this, everything else works fine.

Note: I initially named the script ‘DropboxPath’ but there is one .NET app that does the same thing in the wiki with that name. From now on, the name is ‘pyDropboxPath’.

Apple Aluminium Keyboard Windows 7

Just got my new computer at work. First thing I did was chuck out the stock keyboard and replace with my favourite mac aluminium keyboard.

As usual when trying to get Apple hardware to play nice with Microsoft there is a little friction. In this case the keyboard doesn’t come with any mapping drivers resulting in the fact that some of the keys are messed up and in wrong locations. So we get to the point of this post. As I have had to do this several times now I thought I would post my solution so I dont spend ages searching each time.

The solution is to use the Apple Pro Keyboard Layout from parkernet.com.

For convenience I have taken the details on how to use the file directly from the stite: http://parkernet.com/applepro/

Download

Download the installation package Apple_Pro_KBD_v2 (250K)

System requirements

Windows XP or Windows Vista, 32-bit or 64-bit versions. Maybe Windows 7 RC but not tested. Apple Pro Keyboard or new aluminium Apple Keyboard. Untested with wireless keyboards but it should work okay.

Installation

After unZipping the Apple_Pro_KBD_v2.zip file, open the Apple Pro KBD v2 directory and run the Setup.exe installation file.

The installer will run and automatically install the keyboard layout .dll file into the correct location for your operating system.

To remove the keyboard layout simply run the installer again.

Configuration

Use the Windows XP Regional and Language Options control panel to select the new keyboard layout. Full details are included in the read me text file included in the ZIP download.

For those of you who want a step-by-step guide with pictures that you can print out, click here.

Sorry there’s no Vista step by step, but I have skillfully avoided Vista since it’s release.

Keystrokes

All keys now operate as per the legends printed upon them.

Shift-2 = @

Ctrl-Alt-2 = €

Shift-3 = £

Ctrl-Alt-3 = #