Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Analog vs Digital or Analog AND Digital


The Multimedia Enhanced Journal is a new product that seeks to combine the best of two worlds.      

Offering what the advertising states is the ultimate in personalization, the ME Journal has a QR code on the corner of each page which the user can scan to upload up to 50MB of content per page to the ME website into a personal account linking the written word on the journal page to a wealth of media online. An option to enter the code numbers manually is also offered.     

A QR (Quick Response) Code is a type of bar code easily read by handheld devices to store information or links to goods and services.   
 
This first struck me as an odd combination -- an effort to link two disparate groups with nothing in common. Like hitching up a horse team to move a Cadillac.

Would those who admire fine paper and the experience of moving ink across a page be interested in digital uploading, bits, bytes and bandwidth?

Could a person used to instant digital access 24/7 and ever evolving faster devices be lured back to paper and pen?

 Weren't these groups mutually exclusive? Did such a person exist?

Oh wait.

I'm so wired, I lose track of how many ways I have to interact with the world wide web. I have what can only be called a woodcase pencil obsession. I love fountain pens and am seriously fussy about paper.

Okay. They're out there, these people with a foot in each realm. Can the ME claim them?



 THE BOOK

Slightly larger than the small Moleskine, with a firmer cover that still feels a bit flexible. This journal looks and feels like business with a touch of elegance.

 
Surprisingly, it will lie open. almost flat, even in the middle pages.

The title (front) and company (back) are inscribed unobtrusively.

The first page contains instructions so help is at hand.

THE PAPER

85g Clairefontaine. Need I say anything else?

The only complaint I've ever read about Clairefontaine paper is it can be BLINDINGLY, BLAZING WHITE. The ME Journal has lined ivory paper -- a nice mellow cream.

My only objection is LINES. I always use blank pages. I'm strangled by lines, but that is a quirk of mine.

THE APP

I first tried to scan the QR code with a different scanning app and was impressed that the ME app did that itself, relatively quickly.

The APP is free, fast and user friendly.

THE WEBSITE

The user must sign up for a free account. Other than the 50MB limit per page, I couldn't find a space limit or lurking offers to sell more space.

The website is clear, uncluttered, relatively fast and user friendly.

THE SYSTEM

So, will it work?

I'm hampered living in northwestern Montana, as I'm often without either Wi-Fi or cell signal. I'm not used to being able to call on those at will. I don't take them for granted as some do.

My current travel journal is a soft cover, pocket Moleskine.


Obviously, I've been making it a multimedia experience for quite a while. Adding video and audio are enticing prospects.

 Will the tidy, more efficient ME replace it?


I can't tell yet. I'm going on an photography field trip and art class next month. I've decided to take the ME Journal and give it a good, boots on the ground try out.

One thought -- We've started planning a wedding at my house, and it occurs to me what a nice gift the ME Journal would be. 

Suppose the wedding party wrote something on the pages about the day, then uploaded pictures, video and whatever via the QR codes then gifted the book along with the free account and password for each book so the lucky recipient could page through the book and view the special day at leisure.

I think that's a good idea. 

As always, possibilities are limited only by imagination.


Purchase link is on the website. "ME Journals are available in large (6 ¼ x 9 ¼”) and pocket (4 x 6 3/8”) sizes in three colors—black, red and raspberry—in a firm, leatherette cover that’s perfect for on-the-go writing. Each journal has a bookmark and elastic closure."

DISCLOSURE -- I received the ME Journal from a contest on Rhodia.com.

I always like to see other folks' daily carry. Here is the rest of my travel journal set.




Monday, July 21, 2014

90% Stupid



Harlan Ellison says bad science fiction makes people stupid.

LUCY is a movie opening Friday in which the major plot point is that the heroine, exposed to a substance unknown, becomes able to use more than 10% of her brain.

Not that the heroine is impaired and restored, but that all humans only use 10% of their brains. Once she has access to more, super powers ignite.

Every human uses 100% of their brain, TV, social networking and Republicans aside,

EVERYONE USES 100% OF THEIR BRAIN.

If I met that screenwriter, I would throw a rock at him.

Morgan Freeman is on a science show, FFS, yet, playing the neuroscientist in the film, intones the 10% urban myth with the gravity of the Gettysburg Address.

Maybe I should throw a rock at him.

The problem is that the film looks cool. Special effects and the lovely Scarlet will attract that most sought after demographic -- young males -- who will leave the theater wishing they could use more than 10% of their brain.

The more serious flaw is that this film could have been SMART.

Maybe the substance could have created faster responding neuro pathways or conscious control of autonomic brain function with the ability to enhance them at will or a way to unlock partial strands of dormant Neanderthal DNA. And this is just me sitting here writing a blog post. Surely there exists a better idea than a stupid old wives tale.


My in-house anthropologist did her thesis on the brain drainage system -- the network of blood vessels that constitute the circulatory system that maintains the brain. When our ancestors stood upright and stayed that way, the brain drainage system changed from something like this  > to something like this \/ .

However, a certain percentage of modern humans retain the knuckle-dragging brain drainage system which explains Republicans and certain French writer/directors.

I thought I was the only person moved to yell at trailers and movie posters, but, thanks to the Internet, I find I'm an amoeba awash is a sea of the same.

Science News

Infinite Futures

Dorkly

Gus Blog

It will be interesting to see how the film performs. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Flashback


When I was a kid, I rode my bike back and forth from one end of our street to the other.

Back and forth in front of my house. That was as far as my mother would let me go.

I'd pretend my bike was a horse. This being back when I wanted to be a cowboy. Old Blue and I rode many miles, just not very far.

These days I have a stationary bike which is convenient and efficient, but not at all romantic. I've started taking my mountain bike out after dinner to ride up and down my street.

It feels like homecoming.

Most of the neighbors are still at dinner, watering their lawns or watching TV, so there is no traffic to dodge.

Back and forth.

There's something about moving one's own weight and feeling a breeze created by self effort that quiets my jumpy mind while strengthening a pair of old knees.

Afterward, while I sit in the yard swing, cooling off, I contemplate how a simple activity can transport a person back fifty years.

Time travel via bicycle. I wonder if Einstein ever considered that?