Last night I was lying in bed under 4 blankets because it was so cold in my apartment, I dared not leave their protection. But it was also late and I wanted to turn off my music, which meant I had to venture an arm out of it’s warm sanctuary to grab the remote. Quickly I grabbed the remote, paused iTunes and retreated back to my bundle of warmth. This got me thinking though, why can’t we tell our computers what to do yet?
When thinking about voice recognition my mind immediately goes to Star Trek: The Next Generation and their computer system. You need an Earl Grey, hot? You got it. Where on the Enterprise is Deanna Troy? Holodeck 3, no big deal. The idea is such a simple one but so far it doesn’t feel like it’s approaching the home computer market. These days you can climb into any number of high end cars and give it voice commands to call your wife or give you directions to the nearest Starbucks. The newest iPhone has Voice Control which lets you call people in your contacts or play songs in your iTunes.
So why can’t I give my home computer commands just like these? So if I’m in bed and don’t want to grab the remote, I can ask the computer “Pause iTunes” and BAM, iTunes is paused. Or how about something more complex like asking the computer to Google a recipe for roast duck? Maybe you could ask the computer to set up a video Skype call to your aunt Beth? What about opening that PDF your client sent you with the specs for their upcoming campaign? These are all relatively simple tasks that would take you less than a minute to do but could be done with less effort with voice commands.
Now would something like this be easy to do? Probably not. Is it impossible? By no means at all. This is a technology that we’ve been dreaming of for years that just hasn’t happened yet. Take a moment and think about the iPhone… you carry around a tricorder in your pocket.
Update: I was thinking about it a little more and the way I see voice commands is along the line of having a mouse on a desktop computer. You don’t think twice about your mouse, it is the primary way we all interact with the our operating system (for now). Voice commands should be just as natural, allowing you to control your computer with a whim or a word.
When I think of the folks at Art Lebedev, I think of fancy electronics like the Optimus Maximus Keyboard, big, shiny, futuristic things. Funny enough, they also design cookies. In Russia, they have bus and trolley tickets that have 6 digit numbers on them, and supposedly if the sum of the first three digits equals the sum of the last three digits your ticket is lucky and you should eat it. So taking that idea to the next level they’ve created Lucky Ticket cookies for the Russian Ministry of Transport, all of which are completely edible and all of them are lucky. This such a fun idea, I wish I could get some here in the U.S.
Edwarde Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, one of my favorite bands of 2009, is releasing a 12 part music video series called SALVO! which is like an epic rock opera for our modern day times. So far only the two videos above have been released but this is looking like a huge project. Each video so far has been absolutely beautiful, with lush imagery of deserts and sunsets, telling the story of Edward Sharpe. They’re also pretty damn trippy, which makes them all the more fun
The videos are directed by Benjamin Kutsko and Cory Marrero and I think they did an excellent job. I’m definitely looking forward to more of these, even for th visuals alone which are amazing. It certainly helps that they also wrote one of the best albums of the year to score it with.
Yesterday afternoon I grabbed some pho with my good friends Brooke and Levi before they left on their mega-trip (which you can read about here). They ended up taking me to this place called Pho Cafe in Silverlake, a tiny restaurant tucked into a run down looking strip mall. But to my surprise the inside was absolutely beautiful and minimally beautiful as you can see in the photo above. The entire space was completely white with only tables, chairs and the amazing glass lights suspended over them.
The food itself was really delicious as well. I definitely don’t claim to be any kind of pho expert, but I think I’ve had some legit pho before. When Matt and I went to SF in August we went to this tiny place called Golden Star Vietnamese which was in the heart of Chinatown. I had pretty much the same thing at both places; soup with beef balls and pieces of beef and tripe with noodles and they were both amazing. If you’re in either LA or SF I highly suggest either or both of these.
Just wanted to give some of you a little update. It was brought to my attention that KN Mixcast No.011 had stopped working. I sent a little note to the folks over at Mediafire and they ended up fixing the file for me. How cool is that? Big thanks to Andrea and the people at Mediafire.