Microsoft’s IllumiRoom prototype aims for immersion

The basic idea of the IllumiRoom setup is that you tap into visual content from a console and have that content affect how a projector displays additional/augmented/related content onto the walls surrounding your TV – you’ve really got to see it to get it:

Interesting, huh? I like the idea, but… it seems a little impractical to have a projector on your coffee table. Also, to really take full advantage games would have to be created which deliberately interact with this system, which is increased developer effort, and how many people will have and use one of these devices? I really do like the idea, but I just don’t see it reaching critical mass right now. If there was a drive for people to move from buying large TVs to projectors in the first place – then maybe it would stand more of a chance of gaining high adoption, but in that case you generally clear the projection surface so it wouldn’t have to compensate for room geometry in the first place. Still, it’s a great idea and some very cool tech!

Mobile phone data usage with Telstra

I hadn’t really been keeping track of my phone’s data usage this month, and then downloaded a bunch of magazines like Edge for example (which is $15 for a printed copy in the AU [which you get 3 months after it went to press], or $4 for a digital version via 12 month subscription you can get on the same day it’s published – digital, plz!) – and then this happened:

Telstra-Data

I was so, so expecting Telstra to call 1GB “1,000,000,000 bytes” like hard drive manufacturers manage to get away with and charge me for going over my limit – but no, 1GB is (rightly) 1024MB – and that, as Robert Frost might say, has made all the difference ;-)

Good job, Telstra – it’s appreciated.

Voice recognition – we’re not quite there yet

Voice recognition is only ever going to get better (check out CMU Sphinx if you want to play with speech rec. for yourself), but at the moment… um, it’s not quite up to scratch:

Okay, so he’s putting in on a bit for the lulz, and if he’d just said “where’s the nearest pub?” he’d probably get a useful answer – but that’s half the battle with speech recognition. At the moment we have to adapt our speech to the software, but in the future I don’t think we’ll have to at all.

At least for the time being, as Penny Arcade put it, it’s all going to be a bit like this:

Penny Arcade Kinect Integration - Jan-2012

Best keep your deer-combs handy.

Real Duff Beer

I had no idea this existed outside of The Simpsons until I came across it the other week whilst out for some Boag’s Premium.

Real Duff Beer
Beer... Now there's a temporary solution.

It wasn’t all that special or anything, just a non-descript German lager, but I still thought it was kinda fun to try, and a little bit surreal :D