Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Remote controlling a computer via robotics.

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

How to control a device with a screen and one or more input devices (like a keyboard and mouse) remotely? There are solutions that connect the device directly (Remote Desktop software like VNC), but it could also be done physically.

This might be of interest to spy agencies like the CIA or FBI – but also for companies with old equipment (like machine controllers, for example, those found on CNC’s and the first versions of modern robots).

Imagine the RemCoRo with a camera and ~100 tentacles (with a labeled actuator at the end) that one could bend with a bit of force to hover above the key of a keyboard or a button to be pressed or a touch-sensitive screen. You could position the RemCoRo close to the device you want to control (and fix it in place with clamps or suction nobs). If one would have the RemCoRo controller software installed on a computer and log into a RemCoRo (via a WiFi or GSM connection), you could see what the RemCoRo camera sees and use the keyboard of your computer to have the tentacles press the buttons of the device the RemCoRo is set up to control.

The RemCoRo could also have USB plugs: one to mimic as a normal keyboard (sending the remote pressed keyboard key to the virtual keyboard in the RemCoRo that would send it to the device to be controlled) and another USB plug to do the same for a mouse. This would make the RemCoRo easier to test and more versatile.

I wonder if this is patentable. I also wonder if there would be customers for this. Let me know your ideas in the comments, thanks.


Monday, May 1st, 2017

Blessed are those who join their loved ones.
Blessed are those who live on in our memory.
Let us share our tears and pain,
Let us remember, let us live,
Let us celebrate his life, his passion.

Male or female? How many categories for “people” will we need?

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Gender is not a fact about persons that we must take as fixed and essential (and then build our social institutions around that fact). Gender, for humans, is socially constructed; an externally imposed hierarchy: male or female. The human personality is a spectrum – and allows us to more or less conform to the gender norms associated with our gender, or not.

But, we do not need gender. We would be better off without it. Gender as a hierarchy with two positions operates to naturalize and perpetuate the subordination of female people to male people, and constrains the development of individuals of both sexes. And reconceiving of gender as an identity spectrum represents no improvement!

The solution is to not categorize it at all.

How the FBI could Unlock the Apple iPhone without the Encryption Key

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

Here’s my recipe for unlocking the iPhone 5c used by the San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook:

  • the phone is already owned by and in possession of the government
  • there are only 10.000 possible combinations to try (the PIN is a 4 digit number)
  • it will take about 7 months to try all combinations (due to the programmed delays) if the phone does not have the “delete all content after 10 failed attempts” option turned on
  • we should assume that that feature is turned on
  • the content is stored on the device only in 0 and 1 bits
  • those can be read without changing them (non-invasive and non-destructive)
  • thus a duplicate of the exact data can be made
  • the hardware has an embedded unique identifier, that part needs to be isolated in a way that all device duplicates can interact with it
  • we should probably assume that the wrong PIN code has already been tried (a few) times
  • the maximum is 9 times out of 10, so if we err on the side of caution, 10.000 device duplicates need to be made
  • the cost of the hardware is significant (the retail price is around 650 USD)
  • however, the hardware can be virtualized
  • that makes duplication cost about zero, but the reverse engineering rather costly
  • but once that is done, the government can “unlock” all devices of that same type by just duplicating all the bits into the virtual model


Getting to inbox zero.

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

Many years ago when gmail was just launched in beta, my first email was the welcome email from Google. Over time I had an inbox in the thousands. In the last few years I tried to get to 0 again, but failed. Now I have learned about GTD and also a thing our two from The Behavioral Science Guys, so I decided to actually track my, uhm, progress publicly.

Gmail Inbox Chart

PS: This is done by having a Google Script write to a Google Spreadsheet that generates a public Google Spreadsheet Chart. Here is the code:

function WriteInboxCountToSpreadSheet()
  var ss = SpreadsheetApp.openById("TheCodePartFromTheSpreadsheetUrlHere");
  var sheet = ss.getSheets()[0];
  sheet.appendRow([Utilities.formatDate(new Date(), "Europe/Amsterdam", "yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm:ss"), MyGmailInboxCount()]);

Are your customers satisfied?

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Customer satisfaction research might be a waste of time if you only try to find the areas you want to improve for existing customers: they are still customers! You can probably be more effective in improving the aspects that cause existing customers to go elsewhere – or, even more importantly, not even come to you!

Research News on Brain-Measured Learning to Save Time

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

The following article explains that studying-results can be significantly improved not only by the brain-based methods I am a strong proponent for, but also by actual retention qualifiers.

Using Brain Scans to Predict Future Test Performance

Will a brain scan reveal how well you’ve studied for a big test? Researchers at Sandia National Laboratory have demonstrated that the brain’s electrical activity, detectable via electroencephalogram (EEG), predicts how well studied material has been incorporated into memory, and, thus, how well subjects performed on memory tests.

The researchers asked 23 people to attempt to memorize a list of words while undergoing brain scanning. The average subject recalled 45% of the words on the list. The EEG data correctly predicted which five of the 23 subjects would beat the competition, remembering 72% of the words on average.

“If you had someone learning new material and you were recording the EEG, you might be able to tell them, ‘You’re going to forget this, you should study this again,’ or tell them, ‘OK, you got it and go on to the next thing,’ ” chief researcher Laura Matzen said in a statement.

Matzen presented her findings at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society conference in Chicago. This second phase of research will determine the effectiveness of various types of research and training methods.

Source: Sandia National Laboratories


Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Regarding the new (European) law about cookies on websites I have this to say: while I am pro transparency, I believe that one should not force transparency. In order to deal with the problem of having to opt-in users I suggest you write a good disclaimer and wait until browsers solve the cookie opt-in problem by for example keeping a list of pre-authorized sites (like Google Analytics) or by subscribing to public or paid white/black lists that are auto-updated in the browser. This should not be a human choice on every site, but a general “setting” and/or trusting an intermediary source to help users make that decision in an automated way.


Friday, June 8th, 2012

Because attention is so closely connected to our brain’s basic wiring, it can be difficult to recognize our own patterns of giving attention – patterns we’ve been absorbing since birth. Yet different cultures do allocate attention differently. For example: psychologist Richard E. Nisbett concluded (in his underwater scene study) that East Asians focus on relationships while Westerners tend to see isolated objects rather than the connections between them. What is your brain (not) wired for? What do you “see” and are you aware off what you miss?

Mantra 33 Consolidation

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

As you might already know, every year near my birthday I post the proclamation for myself for the coming year. When I was an old teenager I was spending serious time connecting to my mystic roots through meditation. When I was 18 I predicted my 31ste year would be my year of Money – I was excited about that my whole life – but got very nervous every month it was getting closer. Little did I know how right I was so many years ago. Here is how: at 24 I slowly made the transition to actually be an adult. Now in the last year (mantra: introspection) I believe I have finally gained the basic knowledge (about myself) I expected to gain in my life.

For this year my mantra is: consolidation (between yin & yang). I have already realized that most mantra’s were spot on, but in retrospect in such an incredibly different way than expected. So, I have spent significant effort over the last weeks to realize the way I could go about interpreting my own words of wisdom. They didn’t make sense to me until I read an article in a management magazine this Sunday afternoon in my mothers garden which had a line in it that made me realize what I have unconsciously already set out to do: “weet wat je wil en creeer een kans” (which translates as: “know what you want and create an opportunity to do it”). I will rewrite it in my own words (from the last 2 years) as: understand my passion and create an environment in which I can live it – and I hope in 12 months or so to fully understand how that relates to consolidation – because literally the first day after my birthday, it felt much more like the year of separation 🙁

To gain some perspective/inspiration hese will guide me:

Life Vision:

I exist, as all else exist, because all else exists. I am unbound and infinite.

Life Mission:

Bringing about balanced success that leads to and supports growth in the
four success areas – mental, spiritual, physical and financial – through
creating choices and understanding their impact and consequences (on and
for myself and those around me).

Life Motto:

To live, to love, to learn and to leave a legacy.