Monthly Archives: June 2014

Finding Your Passion

Vincent Brady is someone that created his own path for himself by going out and doing something he loves but never thought would take over his life. Using refurbished cameras rigged to a wooden board he was able to take some amazing shots of the night. Just look at this one video he took.

Amazing, right? The work he found himself doing is one that has caught the eye of so many other people. So how did he get himself into doing this? Simple, he just got up and went one day. He sold most of his stuff, got rid of his apartment and got into his car and went.

He started learning how to take 360 degree panoramas while also learning how to shoot long exposure shots. He took pictures during the day but also at night to see how different they are. He visits some of the best places to take pictures of the night sky. He travels with sky charts in order to find out where the Milky Way will be. You can see from his videos that he has gotten very good at what he does now.

Creating or doing something you love and enjoy should not be something you only get to do on the weekends or when you have a free hour. It should be something that drives your interests. If you have no ties to your life then you have no reason for staying home all the time. You can go and attend as many festivals and events as you wish. You can take day-trips to new places and see the culture in the surrounding areas. If you don’t have a car but use public transportation, map out places you’ve never been to and just go.

As I child I used to ride city buses all over my city and whenever I got to know one part of town really well I got on another bus and went as far as it was wiling to take me. I would get off in random spots because I knew the bus would be back in the same spot to pick me up so I was never afraid of getting lost. I found some amazing places and learned how to get around on my own. Something no child will learn about in school since they don’t teach kids how to take care of themselves, that’s not allowed on state mandated tests.

Entrepreneurs all have a passion for something and many times it requires the help of someone else to make that happen. I can tell you this, you won’t find it sitting at home, you have to get up and go and take the first step.

If you have an idea for building a product find some places around your city that offer to make custom products and see if they are willing to teach you how to do it. 3-D printers are now becoming more affordable so you can teach yourself how to create blueprints for your project and then print it out and sell it.

Maybe you are a photographer and you don’t have enough experience, post on craigslist or find a meetup group for photographers that you are interested in forming a group and going out and taking photos but also sharing tips and tricks with one another. Learning from others is one of the fastest ways of learning so why not form your own group. Maybe you know you need to read more business books but don’t have the energy for getting through some of them, well, form a business book club for entrepreneurs then. This will motivate you and keep you on track, and if you want to make it fun then make It a pot-luck event.

When you start to explore and take the limits off how you spend your time then you begin to see the world for what it really is. If you spend all your time in bed wondering when you will ever get to do such and such, then that’s not much of a life worth living. This is why successful people are up by 5 or 6 in the morning doing the things they are passionate about but its also the reason they are successful in the first place, they don’t make excuses for themselves.

Changing your habits
In order to get started with something you want to do, it’s important to be realistic as well so start with the first step. Find something you want to do and plan for it. Maybe there is a concert coming up or an outdoor festival you’ve always wanted to attend, Put it on your calendar and make sure no excuses come up that keep you from going. After you’ve made the effort of going, look for another event that you can add that is a little more consistent, either on a monthly basis or weekly basis.

Once you get that first habit down then you can start putting in a morning routine to help keep you going and doing what you enjoy.

You can learn more about how Vincent turned a hobby into his work. He has plans to drop the car and eventually go to Iceland where he wants to capture the northern lights there. Chances are that once he does, it will be an amazing video to watch once he puts it up. He’s pursing his dreams, so what’s stopping you from doing the same?

Learn more about Vincent


YouTube Channel

Read more about Vincent Here


What this boy did with MOOCs will Amaze You

MOOCs are an amazing gift to everyone around the world who takes advantage of them. It’s not easy to stay motivated to a course that offers little more than a real education if you keep up with the work. If you do not pay for the certificate then all you have is the letter grade of completion but no official word that you took the course and met the requirements.

Going to School Online
You hear advertisements all the time now about how you can go back to school on your own time by signing up for online courses that fit your schedule. Many people will look at these advertisements against their own schedule and think that they can fit in an hour or two here and there and get an education at the same time. Unfortunately it does not work like that. The drop out rate for online courses is very high and the reason for that is that most people are just not used to thinking like a student anymore.

Signing up for a course online that only has one or two hourly sessions may not seem like much in the beginning but you have to remember you still need to study the material from the book and understand it. That takes planning and time in order to pass the material, and if you do not understand what you are reading, then who do you turn to for help? It’s one thing if you have a support system in place where you are taking the course with someone else to help keep you motivated but it’s another if you do not. When you have the right support structure in place, MOOCs are pure gold.

Third-World Setting
In a place where most kids play at home, in an area that is mostly rural, lives a boy who has managed to catch the eye of M.I.T. for the work he has done on his own, but with the help of some amazing resources. His name is Battushig Myanganbayar and he passed Circuits and Electronics from one of M.I.T.s online courses with a perfect score, something only 350 students were able to do out of 150,000 who registered in the beginning. Oh, and he was only 15 at the time.

The course was free and open to anyone with an internet connection that was interested in learning more about the topic. M.I.T. lists many of their courses online but by doing so they are also fishing for new talent to bring to their campus. This was rightly so when they came upon this teenager who lived in Mongolia where most of the people there are nomads and electronic parts are scarce.

So what was the secret to his success, when the dropout rate is more than half for all online courses? There were two actually, one was his principal of his school, Enkhmunkh Zurgaanjinwho was a M.I.T. alum, and a friend of the principal, Tony Kim, who was a Ph.D student at Stanford who was studying electrical engineering at the time. These two people are the reason for his success. Mr. Zurgaanjinwho wanted his students to enroll in the course and watch it at home, since the course was not approved by the ministry of education in the country, and in order to help the students keep up, he asked his friend to provide a lab so they can follow with the coursework. Kim brought over electronic parts for the kids to use and understand. Kim agreed to visit for 10 weeks and teach the students as they were learning the material online.

It’s important to understand here that the M.I.T. course was taught in English so not only was Battushig trying to learn the material but he also was learning it as a second language. Then he did something that many successful people do if they really want to learn something, they go out and teach it. In that respect, he created online youtube videos for his other classmates who didn’t speak English and translated the material that way. This is an old secret for learning new material fast, if you want to learn something right away then the best thing for you to do is once you go over the material is to go right out and teach it to someone. That action right there is what helped Battushig to learn how to process and understand the material. He learned along the way how to teach something to someone if you do not have a firm grip on things. Well, as you are processing the material to teach you run across gaps in your knowledge, this requires the teacher to go back and look for the answer, especially when the students are asking question that require you to think differently about the material as well. This helped Battushig to really understand the material if he was going to help his friends learn it, it required more of him to understand the material.

Success from MOOCs
While he was teaching his friends, making online translation videos, and doing very well in the course, M.I.T. was watching. They were curious to understand how he was able to pass a course without any of the prerequisites which require higher levels of math than he was already used to. His answer was that he scoured the web to find those materials online for free and supplement it that way and because he was just a teenager without any responsibilities that older adults have (job, paying bills, kids, social life, etc) he had all the time in the world to making his time a success.

These are important factors to consider when thinking about taking any kind of MOOC – what support structure will you have, who will be there to answer questions, and do you know where to find supplemental materials online? M.I.T. was very impressed with how he created those online videos using just his iPhone camera. He would walk students through problems with the phone above the sheet of paper so they can watch all the while speaking in his native language as he did the problems.

The work he has done impressed them so much that M.I.T. wanted to hire him to come and work on their online courses but because of the issue with his visa they realized it wasn’t going to happen right away. At the suggestion of his high school principal he said that Battushig should apply as a student and then he would be able to work there so M.I.T. told him to apply, which he was accepted, and in return he took a student job working on their MOOCs. At 17 he started as a freshman at M.I.T. in the fall of 2013 and he has since been teaching everyone there the question they all wanted answered, how did a Mongolian teenager master all the course work for a sophomore level M.I.T. course all by himself? That’s what he teaches now for his student job, while most regular student jobs are in the library or as student assistants, he is teaching people how to learn from online courses using free resources.

Putting it into Perspective
Well, now you know the secret to how he did it, the question now becomes, if a teenager in a third-world country, with internet speeds slower than those in the US, can master an online course and get into one of the top Math and Science universities in the world with no background on the material, then what’s your excuse?

News Articles
You can read more about him from these online articles.

New York Times

Slate News

YouTube Channel

Boston Magazine

You can control everything with a wave of your finger

You might be wondering what new fandangle device I’m referring to now but this piece of technology should make you wonder just how far technology is coming.

Logbar Inc. are the makers of this amazing device called Ring. It’s a ring that you wear that is connected to a smartphone app that lets you perform actions in the air using the movement of the finger wearing the ring. For example, if you came home and wanted to turn on the lights then you would just swipe up in the air with your finger and the lamp would turn on. The ring would also let you pay for something by drawing in the air the amount of the bill and then drawing a check mark in the air to signal to the app to pay for it. The video down below shows how it works.

Logbar Inc. was able to go past their kickstarter goal enabling them to go from just a concept idea to a full-fledged product. Their initial goal was to raise $250k but in the end they reached $880,998 showing that this was a product many people wanted. Their investors felt deeply about this device as it would make performing certain actions a lot easier, and if connected to Google Glass, would make it quite a revolutionary product for everyone, which is compatible with already, including smart watches. We already have magical wands that can controls devices around the house, so why not a ring that can interactive with different apps and wearable technology?

The Ring was exhibited at SXSW 2014 where it received a lot of attention. In this video you can see people interacting with the device. The device is capable of submitting txt messages, notifying users of alerts they get from their phone, use gesture control, and pay for things with finger gestures.

The great thing about this ring is that the developers made sure that it works with both iOS and Android software so that it can reach as many uses as anyone can come up with. It is also bluetooth compatible so that also extends its many uses. The great thing is that CNN named it one of the top ten inventions so you can check out what other inventions they have already named. First shipments will be out by July of this year. Check this product out to find out how you can get your hands on one.

Ring Twitter Page
Ring Facebook Page

The thing about ideas today is that they are everywhere and now that more and more people have access to the internet and international laws still don’t mesh well, it’s easy for others to see a product in one country and copy it in another. This similar device looks just like The Ring except you wear it on your thumb and its called the Fin where it received attention back in March of this year. You can watch the video below to see if there is anything different, except the design. This was created by 23 year old Rohildev N hailing from Kerala in India with RHL Vision, the same team that he works with now working on Fin.

You can read this interview he did where he talks about how he came up with the idea, all the troubles he ran into, and what else he plans to do with it.
Read Rohildev Interview
News Article

Fin Twitter Page
Fin Facebook Page

This is another wearable device that you wear on your finger but this ring also has a “click” function where you can tap on its side to mimic the same action you would clicking on a mouse. It works with both iOS and Android and lets you control any device with bluetooth function or universal remote function. Nod lets you can perform many of the same functions except you will need a screen of some sort in order to know where you are pointing. Created by ex-google engineer Anush Elangovan he was someone who saw a trend coming and created something that can interact with your everyday devices.


Review Article on Nod
BBC News on Nod

Nod Twitter Page

This device is made mainly for women but it can be worn by anyone of interest. The device is called Ringly and it’s made to have style and look like a piece of jewelery when worn except it performs all the same kinds of functions, it lights up when you get an alert on your phone letting you know you have a text message or statue update on any social media site you signed up for, which the other devices listed on this article are capable of doing as well. You can check out the videos that demonstrate and talk about the product.

Advertisement Video


Highway1 Demo

Ringly Twitter Page
Ringly Facebook Page


CNN: Top 10 Inventions – The Ring

More Wearable Devices

Think Drones are just for flying, these Drones can build Houses

Drones are being used in just about every area you can think of now, from getting teens into trouble at the beach, to recording scenic views of cities, to now building houses. Drones are being programming to perform some amazing tasks that have made our lives a lot more interesting and easier now that we have little robots doing most of the work.

Saša Jokić and Petr Novikov created these little robots that can 3-D print a house following the layout that they have been given. Using a crane like system, they follow a map that tells the drones where to go and how much to build. There are two types of drones used in the process, first there is the Foundation Robot which sets the foundation of the building, after that there is the Grip Robot which trowels the surface and can move in many directions, which also handles the curing process of the material used to build the structures.

A Future of Robot Construction Workers
The idea behind such an invention is that it would eventually lead to many people being out of work. These robots are able to work with a small crew of people who monitor their work. They can work 24/7 and push as many more structures than a normal human construction crew could. This is to say that they are only building simple structures, not elaborate football stadiums, but who knows, their programming is open-sourced so someone in the world could add to it to make the deign of the drones even better and able to take on more tasks.

The idea of robot builders is nothing new, they have been created by many companies; companies that NASA has employed to create robots that can build houses on the moon. This idea has been around for a long time because if robots could be planted on the moon then all they need is a fresh supply of materials every so often that by the time they are done, there will be an entire moon colony waiting. Companies like Contour Crafting specialize in building robots to create homes and structures, which is another company interested in building homes and buildings on the moon.

There are many ways to get involved in the drone trend so check out some of the links below about how to build your own drone.

How Far Drone Technology Has Come

Quadrotor shows how they build basic structures

Drones can 3-D Print Homes

DIY Drones

More ideas about using Robots on the Moon

Google Plans to create more Wearable Technology

Google wants a hand in everything you do and they are making this more evident by creating products that you wear that will help control your life. Imagine you are driving home and you have Google Now on your phone set up, as you get close to your house it will automatically communicate with the nest home system to adjust to the temperature that you enjoy. The lights in the house will also turn on automatically as you approach and you will have your favorite programming waiting for you on your Google TV in any room you enter. All the while your smartwatch, smartphone, and google glass are recording your every step in order to anticipate your needs.

Science Fiction or Reality?
What I just described sounds like the future we are so used to seeing in the movies but Google has now made it all a reality. Most of what I mentioned has already been around for while except for the smartwatch which is just coming out now and google glass for those that don’t own one or google tv. The idea here is to simplify life by letting google do all the thinking for you (at the cost of giving over all your personal information, including location tracking, emails, photos, videos, etc) so you don’t ever have to worry about losing any piece of information. You can simply call out a command and have google make an appointment, add a reminder, take a picture, or record a video of something you are watching to send it to a friend.

The example given above is just for when you come home, I didn’t cover the millions of other situations that google has already anticipated for you such as dealing with hotel reservations, flight cancellations, restaurant reservations, and movie ticket purchasing, and more. The idea is that google wants to be the one to make your life easier, and since android is the dominate force in the market they realize their potential of staying on track with consumers. This doesn’t even include Google entering the gaming market, which they will include into their TV streaming device.

Programming with Google
In order to encourage more people to use their different products Google is actively encouraging many developers out there to create useful apps for the products by releasing their developer kits online. Developers can download the kits and start creating apps that meet the needs of different industries. For example, a useful application of google glass would be to create an app that can visually display dangerous gases in the air, a tool that would have come in handy back in the day of coal miners using canaries to detect for dangerous gases. Such an app would need a sensor add-on that you would connect to your smartphone and use as a detector and see the gases in the air through glass.

For now here are 6 apps that have already been created for the Android Smartwatch

You can download their kits here
GlassBecome a Certified Glass Partner for Google at Work
Android Smartwatch – Google Launches Full Android Wear
Android Smartphone and Tablets
Material Design – Video on Material Design


Added Security
The nice thing about all this is that your smartwatch will also act as a second security step in accessing your phone or any android device. If you are wearing your watch then you will be able to use your phone anytime but if your phone happens to be at a distance from your watch and you are not wearing it, then you will be asked to enter your password. This includes all over devices as well so your information is protected.

So how quickly do you plan to jump on this bandwagon of wearable technology? My guess is that for most people who don’t earn in the high income bracket, it will be awhile before their home looks anything like what Google is expecting their everyday consumers to have.

Article News
Weird News about Google Wear
Google Reveals a new design language
Google announces Glass at Work program
Nest Center of Smart Home

This guy combined two types of new technologies to create one (old) impressive effect.

Creating a Pepper Ghost is an illusion technique that has been around for a very long time. It involves using lights, angles, pieces of glass and several other tools in order to make the audience believe what they seeing. In this video, Adrien M / Claire B, create a video that shows an illusion from the reflection of the laptop screen.

They use technology to create digital art and apply that to acting, theater, dance, and art. This is a great example of someone who has crossed computer science with technology and fine arts creating a new form of entertainment using hand motion awareness from LEAP Motion technology.

What to Take Away From This
You should see the combing of several different fields to create a new field. you are looking for ways to improve or add-on to what you are already doing and if there is one person who knows how to do something really well then you should combine your efforts to come up with a new idea. In a world where people share more information now about themselves it is very easy to find anyone looking to create something with someone who is willing to put in the same amount of work. Their collaboration shows a new form of entertainment that people enjoy watching that years before would only have existed in a math lab where experiments are done.

Try to find news ways of using something you find. A simple bottle opener could be turned into something different (and maybe even frustrating) but worth buying if you know how to look at things in a creative fashion.

Another, “How not to use social media for your campaign” article

In a recent attempt to get more students, who don’t have any money, to fill out their FAFSA form online some brilliant (please note the sarcasm) marketing person decided it would be funny to include a meme of a situation from Bridesmaids where one of the actresses tells a stewardess on the plane that she needs help because she is poor. I guess the people in the FAFSA department thought this would be funny to those that really do need money in order to go to college.

No Colleges have offered any response to the rising prices of tuition except to say that they are necessary in order to keep up with the changing demands of the economy. Translation, we can’t stop building stuff that students don’t really need but we say that they do so we keep building it in order to have a reason to keep raising prices every week and then hold elections by our boards to make it look like a justified effort.

For those millions of students who have to give up on their dream school because the price of tuition is just too high, consider giving yourself a real education by the price of nothing. Take some MOOC courses, read this article, and check out these books (Don’t Go Back to School, Hacking Your Education, Better Than College) from your library. You might end up being smarter in the end for doing so, because hey, if you can save $100k in tuition money and still get the same quality education then who is the real idiot?

The key thing to learn from all of this is to not insult who your target audience is. The form requires very detailed personal information and for many who come from disadvantaged backgrounds getting that information can be difficult. FAFSA does not make it any easier on you if you leave out a small detail or can not provide the information necessary in order to complete your applications because you do not know it or can not get access to finding out. They did learn their mistake about what they did because after one hour people were very mad to see how insensitive they were to students’ needs.

How to get people mad using social media