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Showing posts from 2015

Lara AI - a focussed exploration of artificial intelligence

After watching the film Her it really hit me that, the real breakthrough for Artificial Intelligence is the day that an AI assistant starts working with and supporting a real life assistant in getting important things done.

In real life, I jokingly call my office manager Lara my boss. She holds everything together for me... but one of the frustrations of our work together is involving her in my activities to the degree that she/ Lara can automatically take over things that don't need my input, but at the same time not demeaning her by getting her to do things that are convenient for me but are boring and repetitive for her.

For example, having Lara listen in on a phone call so that she can take notes and list follow up items is a good use of her time, but having her call people and get them on the line for me smacks of the old Mad Men secretary days.

So what does this have to do with AI and the project I have named Lara AI? Well, what if I ask Lara to spend part of her week doing …

Update: The password replacement project

A lot has happened since the SMH article last year. Here are some highlights:

A company was incorporated to commercialise the technology.I have partnered with a respected co-founderWe have been working in the banking industryThe technology is officially workingWe have an initial customerWe have secured fundingAnd will soon have an experienced CEO in place to roll out market entry Why all the secrecy? Well there isn't really, its just that with this project, that we have called Haven, we have opted to quietly go about executing. Also the fact that the players involved are all significant well known people and institutions, it would be improper for me to speak for them in my blog.
That being said, when the time comes it will be really exciting for me as this project is by far the fastest moving most successful project I have ever worked on.

Solving the shark problem

Byron Bay is a marine park sanctuary. Its the marine equivalent of Africa's Serengeti, although quite a bit smaller! This fact really hit me when I first started having a go at solving the shark problem for our beautiful corner of the world.

The beaut thing about wildlife parks is that you can see the Lions and Leopards at a distance before they get close. You can jump out of the car, take photos, enjoy the landscape and feel safe.


When the dangerous wildlife is a half kilometre off you can start moving back to your car... at 100 metres you can start the engine and close the windows and then move if you have to... but the healthy respect for wild animals is not terrifying.

Now if that Lion or Leopard was somewhere in a sea of tall grass, and you had no idea if it was 3 metres away or a kilometre... now that's scary.

And this is the problem with sharks. They are beautiful, powerful animals, but when they sneak up on you there is not much you can do.... and when great whites com…

Life size Lego blocks for actual building projects

About 6 months ago, Pete Symms, a friend of the family approached me about the idea of using life size Lego blocks for building projects... We discussed all kinds of interesting ideas and angles on the concept.

For my own part I started to research how to set the building block connection PINs so that there is pressure between the blocks to induce an airtight seal that would do away with the need for cement or another sealing agent...


Then sadly I started seeing articles about people using the idea for a range of situations... well good on them, but the problem is that none of the solutions fully exploit the strong advantages of Lego type building.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1214729/James-May-size-Lego-house-wants.html
http://www.wired.com/2015/08/everblock-life-size-lego/

Plus, the Lego system has seemed to have taken a different direction since I was a kid. Back in the day, Lego was about buying multi purpose components and doing all kinds of things with the same set of b…

Can home based hydro-electric power work? Calculate for yourself!

I've been sick at home this weekend noodling over whatever can distract me from feeling sick and did an interesting Virtual proof of concept. I invite you to do the math with me and tell me if my thinking is wrong or not but I think it is possible for many of us to have our own hydro electric power scheme!

Why would I want one? It's not about generating power... its about storing it... even if you have a 4kWh solar panel setup you can still only run it during the day. The point of using stored water is that it can be used like a battery. But unlike a battery a water tank and water turbine has no dangerous chemicals and is much easier to maintain than a bank of batteries. Tesla recently announced a solution in this field but even at 15-20k I still worry about having all those batteries stored in the garage... so here goes the math.

Hydro power (watts) = the mass of the stored water (kg or litres) x the water flow (litres per second) x the distance the water drops (metres) x grav…

Open Letter to Sir Richard Branson

Sir Richard,
Ever since I first read your book "Losing my Virginity" I have been fascinated by your simple approaches to complex processes and your personal productivity. Thank you so much for sharing what are obviously private thoughts. Thank you.
Now to the purposes of this letter. If by a great stroke of luck (and your forbearance) you do see this letter, I would love to know some of the answers to these burning questions I have asked over the years. I'm sorry if you have answered them in other places but I haven't been able to find satisfactory explanations. So here goes:

About the Virgin Group ?
Lots of Aussies, what qualities attracted you to have them on your Group team?How does Virgin Group keep cash flow if equity is the main goal of the business?Is there any equity sharing with the team in Virgin Group?Is Virgin Group cashed by bank loans, or was there initially investors that were then bought out?About building new Venture Teams?
There seems to be a practice …

Ewingsdale Road Peak Traffic Congestion Plan

Typically I wouldn't get involved with local problems as I really try to apply myself to solving problems for Industries and everyday general users of technology. But the problem in my hometown of Byron Bay is getting so chronic that I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring.

The problem: To enable emergency vehicles and selected public transport, such as the sports ground to CBD shuttle, to have direct and uninterrupted access to the full length of Ewingsdale Road. Note, this is not an ongoing solution but simply a recommendation for the busiest parts of the year namely the last week of the year going into Jan and during big peak periods such as Bluesfest.

The solution: To temporarily on an “as needed” basis, or at a reasonable time table, stop the outbound traffic from the CBD so that the outgoing lane can be used (temporarily for 10 minutes or so) for incoming emergency or shuttle traffic. To do this by placing traffic lights that face the outgoing traffic and asks them to stop…
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