Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘technology

Missing the Wave

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Aloha.

If you’re here in the U.S., I hope you enjoyed the not-nearly-long-enough long holiday weekend.

I was just surfing through the headlines playing tech news catchup, and a story from Martin Bryant with TNW (The Next Web) caught my attention.

He reminded us that today was the 10th anniversary of Google Wave’s unveiling. The what, ye ask? Exactly.

At the time, it was a big deal, a first and real-time collaboration tool. Bryant suggests that Wave’s legacy lives on in Google Docs, but that the “blind, dumb enthusiasm we had back then” for technology does not.

Bryant continues, “It’s healthy to have a critical attitude to the technology that plays a much bigger part in our daily lives than it did 10 years ago, but I can’t help but feel we’ve lost a healthy level of enthusiasm for embracing new things, too. All too often, new technology is greeted with questions about how it might make the world worse, rather than better.”

I’m not sure what rock Bryant’s been holed up under, but I think I lost my somewhat naive optimism for tech long ago, reverting instead to a more grounded realization that any human-built technology has the potential for both good and bad (see nuclear power and weapons).

I think this past decade we’ve seen far more stories of the bad outweighing the good because of the outliers (Facebook and privacy, Stuxnet and other CIA/NSA tools released into the wild, mass surveillance vis a via Snowden revelations, the endless hacking incidents and data breaches).

But sometimes you have to step back and remind yourself of the good parts. Of the fact that you can work with people all over the planet without always having to get on a plane. That you can keep up, and in touch, with a lot more of your friends (even if it’s virtual…better than not keeping in touch, right [well, in most cases].

We were bound to get down on IP technology at some point because it was inevitable. The network effect kicked into gear, as did the bad behaviors. Are we really so shocked that people took a new technology and did bad shit with it?!

So you want to feel good about what’s coming down the pike in terms of new tech? Don’t believe the hyperbole without first giving it a test drive, and then decide for yourself.

Because there’s plenty to be both amped and excited about: AI, AR, VR, quantum, the list goes on.

But not unlike the first 25 years of commercial IP, a lot of stuff could also go very, very wrong.

Be prepared for both endpoints.

But also don’t ever give up the sense of wonderment, the sense that you’re living through a mesmerizing shift in human history. Because you are.

Louis CK reminded us of this sense of wonderment a few years ago when he would talk about people complaining about the tribulations of air travel.

“ ‘It was the worst day of my life. First of all, we didn’t board for twenty minutes, and then we get on the plane and they made us sit there on the runway.’ Oh really, what happened next? Did you fly through air incredibly, like a bird? Did you partake in the miracle of human flight you non-contributing zero?! You’re flying! It’s amazing! Everybody on every plane should just constantly be going: ‘Oh my God! Wow!’ You’re flying! You’re sitting in a chair, in the sky!’ “

Exactly.

Written by turbotodd

May 28, 2019 at 10:08 am

Posted in 2019

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Golf’s New Gamification

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Anybody watch that little ol’ college basketball game last night between Louisville and Michigan? 

Whoa.  Talk about saving the best for last.  “The end of the road,” indeed.

Hats off to Louisville to reaching and staying number one, especially after the first half of the final, when I thought Michigan might be running away with the show!

Now that the Final Four is over, I can give my undivided attention to my favorite sport, the game of golf.

For the longest time, golf has been a sport that has exalted in its traditions and basked in its conservatism, technological and otherwise. 

But in order to keep the sport vibrant, everyone from golfing bodies to entrepreneurs are finding new ways of introducing, bolstering, and sharing information about the sport.

Yesterday in Augusta, chairman Billy Payne inaugurated a new “Drive, Chip and Putt Championship” for youngsters ages 7-15, which will hold its first finals at Augusta National just prior to next year’s Masters.

And though we’ve seen remarkable technology evolution with regards to playing equipment on the golf course, I think we’re just getting going in terms of using data and analytics to help the amateur golfer.

I’ve been using a product called “GolfshotGPS” for some time now to help me conduct some basic analysis of my golf game, but let’s face it, having to do data entry on the golf course takes time away from playing and enjoying the scenery.

Enter “GAME GOLF,” an outfit that originated in Galway, Ireland and who are working to bring more sophisticated analytics more easily to the game of golf, and doing so in a way where we mere amateurs will be able to “compete with the likes of PGA veterans like Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood (two pros who have done early prototype development of GAME GOLF’s technology.)

The idea is simple: Using GAME GOLF’s small wireless hub and a set of golf club “tags,” one for each club in a golfer’s bag, GAME will analyze all the critical elements of one’s golf game.  Think of it as having RFID tags on every one of your golf clubs.

GAME records every club used, every swing made, every yard covered in each round, WITHOUT pausing play to enter info into your Android device.

Then, GAME calculates key statistics: Scoring, number of putts, greens in regulation, driving accuracy, and so forth.  

But GAME doesn’t just give YOU, the golfer, data.  Golf is at its essence a competitive sport you play against yourself and others, so GAME will also share your performance with friends on social networks, and also help connect you with other golfers on GAME’s network.

I can tell you from having analyzed my own game with the limited data I’ve had access to, I’ve been able to improve my game (although improving my “mechanics” was where I saw my biggest improvement). 

Golf is an iterative game when it comes to improving, but the smallest of tweeks can have relatively big payoffs (Steve Stricker’s recent putting advice for Tiger Woods, by way of example).

If you know you’re 3 putting 60% of the holes you play…well, I hate to tell you, but you probably ought to head out right now and spend some significant time on the putting green.

But it’s the “fantasy” aspect of GAME that serves up the most intrigue for me. What if Tiger and Brent and Bubba and others also started using GAME during their Tour events, and now suddenly I and my fantasy golf friends could start competing directly with the pros in “virtual” matches.

First, yes, me and my amateur friends, we’d lose, and big time.

But, with the proper handicap adjustments, suddenly we find ourselves on the first tee at Augusta the first Thursday of April with Tiger and Phil, shaking in our boots and hoping we don’t kill someone in the fairway with our first drive.

You can learn more about GAME GOLF in the video below.  There’s currently a crowdsourcing fundraiser that has been extended to April 15th.

It’s too early to tell if this will be a golf GAME changer or not, but I think with golf, more information is always better than less.

GAME GOLF seems to provide just enough new information (without hassle in acquiring it) that has the potential to make me a better golfer, and to make the game that much more fun. 

Who can argue with that?

Written by turbotodd

April 9, 2013 at 9:09 am

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