Archive | April, 2012

Meeting Alzheimer

30 Apr

I thought of sharing a idea I had to myself, for my own doing, inside a restricted context.

Well, not exactly I met the German psychiatrist. But an old lady of my friendship circle has got the disease and is in its first level. All her friends disappeared with the time being and her family has almost everybody passed away.

Because I’ve got a quite flexible work schedule and I’ve got some free afternoons, I thought spending a afternoon with her would be a great time for me listening her stories and sharing some of our common interests.

In the first meeting we discovered that back in her healthy days she was a literature freak, and a great critic – she has also been a book reviewer a bunch of years ago. And her past memory is as fresh as the age permits. Because I studied literature at university, I we talked two hours away and her recurrent question was: what do people do for literature nowadays?

Woodward’s History of Wales is shown open to t...

Woodward’s History of Wales is shown open to the title page. It’s propped up by an old Latin-English dictionary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We decided keep meeting once a week, one afternoon for reading and discussing some literature and current issues – and she named me her “window to world” – what made really happy.

We met twice afterwards and last meeting she was so glad, because she kept reading a book we started later and could recover a bit of the story when I returned – although only key happenings. Despite she’d read the book before her AD, I thought it was something remarkable. I then, thought of reading short stories and poetry for next meeting, so we can discuss each one the day we read, with a bit of a hope that she recalled the story at the end – unfortunately her present memory is quite short and I need to make a short summary of what we read quite often.

It occurred me doing two things today:

1) recording our meeting and burning her a cd with her telling me her impressions about our readings (that are quite interesting and teaches me a lot), so she will hear herself telling about her likings.

2) take notes of our summaries and publish some of them, here or in another place.

That is it. We cannot reverse the flow of AD, or recover her memory. But we can enjoy some hours of our week talking about things we like, here and now!

Have a nice week!

Thumb holder in your beer (beverage) can

29 Apr

I planned starting this post with a disclaimer, explaining I am not an alcoholic. Despite this is the case in fact, I enjoy myself a little beer with friends a bit often.  And therefore today’s stiod makes more sense if you like such circles, specially in these meetings you are not sitting the whole time.

How to know which beer can is yours when you and your mates left your cans on a table and went to a dance, for example?

That is not difficult if you press with your thumb in the very place where it usually stays when you hold a can. You will knead a little the can, in the form of your thumb (attention so you do that in the direction of the can opening). This will help you to find out easily which can is yours. And moreover it will help you to hold the can in such a way you’ll never miss the opening even after some beers.

Stiod Opinion: Black Power Sponge

28 Apr
Black Power

Black Power (Photo credit: Walt Jabsco)

I have never been a Barbie fan. That might be because she’d never had a hair as darting as mine 😀

In sudden, I’ve liked a doll. Wait, dear, you’re thirty! yeah, com’on, I’m not mother yet, so some playing with toys might not be a huge problem or might not it?

The toy: A Diana Ross doll. With this wonderful black power hair you can use as a washing sponge — and it does not stop there, they have black power version as well as punky (white), disco (white) and groovy (white) versions. The thing I find it a great stiod relies yet in my positivism and my keenness in finding usefulness in things.

My hair has had some usefulness, as many have noticed: protection against rain, shock, pen holder, etc. But I’ve never used it as a sponge (or have I?), and would be scared if someone did it. But what about a doll? I might use my wash sponges more often, I swear! I’ve thinking of finding some use to my cat’s soft soft soft fur, I promise, but no success yet…

Well the thing that makes it a bit upsetting is not the fact that they use our huge black hair as brush. But the problem some many “black people defenders” find in it. How many have reacted after the mop that look exactly like white straight hair (that in my country we call “Emilia” (A white doll we have in our folklore).

Thing is racist defenders have gone too long. Too far away from reality. That’s also why I can tell black people jokes and have dozen of people laughing at a bar, but cannot hear that from my friends.


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Doctor Follow up Notebook

27 Apr

How good is your memory? I don’t remember when mine worked well last. I felt bad for a while, later on, I forgot why I was sad about, then I got ok.

Moleskine notebook. Беларуская: Нататнік Moles...

(credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been recently to some doctor appointments. Because I am not steady with the some doctors by my new healthcare provider, I’ve visited different professionals for the same problem. That’s why the stiod came to me: keeping my own health diary.

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Even or Odds deciding – App

26 Apr

Since I started blogging at WP, reading blogs became a delightful habit. There are thousands of people out there with interesting things to do, and great ideas around. This blogger, for example created an App so you decide if a given number is odd or even. I did not play it, but I can see myself doing it again and again.

Since not everybody is like me (and AndroidResearch) that can be entertained with futility, and because I have turned into a (annoying) positivist, I can see his App as something formidable. And useful. Let’s have an Even or Odds App, similar to those toss-the-coin ones.

How I imagine it working: You decide who takes even and who takes odds. You would just shake your device, after opening the app, and it would show you randomly a number and say out aloud  the word “even” or “odd”.

It sounds pretty stupid I know. But it is not, indeed. You don’t really need an app for that unless you are blind or have all fingers :). In my friendship circles (even family), I got these disabled people around. In many cases they are just as normal people as any of us. But some of them do not have all fingers. Some of them are blind. As my BFF says sometimes to me: “I would show you my middle finger if I had got one!”

It might be cultural, but the ancient game Morra (the odds and even games) is pretty common around here, to decide which team starts a match, who will clean the cat sand (oh, this is home), make the popcorn during a match or a film, we do all of it with even or odds decision. It gets a bit hard if you do not have fingers, if you cannot see what your colleague put first as “amount of fingers”.

It is nice, to help people but sure it will entertain a lot of other people (regardless the age) that do not necessarily need it.

Imagine people who have vices — some people will always put an even number of fingers if they chose “even”, or the other way round. So it is quite obvious what you will get if you put an odd number. The app makes the decision more random!

Thanks for the Insight in your post, AndroidResearch

Digital interpreter

25 Apr
Title page of one of the earliest phrase books...

Title page of one of the earliest phrase books of Sindebele to be published in Rhodesia: J. O'Neil's "Phrase Book in English and Sindebele", 1910: Ellis Allen, Bulawayo, Rhodesia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You might say: “Come on, dear… we got those fantastic (half working) phrase book App. We do not need any one more.

Yeah. That’s true, but as far as I’ve seen these phrasebooks work partially and not as this one.

Despite it is still non-totally-working because of the bad quality of voice recognition technology we have nowadays, it might work better, with some pre-configured set of languages.

It will work with voice recognition, and you say the phrase you need to say somewhere in the world (in some preset language, of course), it recognizes your message (let’s say it works as source language mainly English, and then it gives you the phrase in the target language. You can just play the thing out loud in a restaurant, bus station, news stand etc (it can be separated by categories, so the set to look up the sentences will be quite restricted).

If you need, for example order a beer, you say the sentence in English (ok, am I being too lazy, you can type it, but we are talking about communicating, and speaking is faster) or select it from a given set. Your phrase book App look up for the counterpart in the target language and says it aloud to you.

If you are a daring person, you can try to repeat it by yourself, but you can avoid the scene, and help native people go quicker then you “treiaul oov seayiing dthe  seenteenss in dtheirr laenguaegdj” . Why that if you can have your personal digital interpreter?

Your interpreter will also help you to understand the answers you get. You ask your service/ product provider to speak clearly to your phone/ tablet/ gadget. The App will look for a similar sentence into its database. It will, then return you a (written) translation.

I am afraid it will have to rely on web, for having both ways of translations. But if you skip this last feature, I do not think only an off-line application would be non-working.

We have plenty of platforms for that, such as Forvo or Google voices. And I am in the queue for acquiring one in my next travel to Hungary – I don’t dare trying to speak that language myself.

Get my hobby paying itself

25 Apr

Much probably you will think I am going to sell my stiods. Not exactly. I have this narcissistic feeling of happiness in having people enjoying my writings and that does not cost me much — if you don’t consider that time is money and sometimes I stop some translation work for writing a post.

I got a more time and money consuming hobby. I love buying old metal objects and enhancing them. If I am allowed to brag about myself, I got good taste and good eyes for the thing.  Although the dedication to this hobby is quite new I have been mastering the techniques since the I’ve got skills –  and acquire a tool set for doing it with more precision and quality.

The thing is machines, tools, polishing products and silvery, gold, brass objects take me money and space. I cannot go shopping more objects since I don’t have much place to set them home – and I do not intend having a museum at home. Since my pleasure is satisfied in buying, plus making things beautiful, I decided to sell some the things I have ready and do not want to keep to myself. Remember, I am greedy, so I am not going to give things away for free.

That is in fact a kind of great thing to do. You will not be rich by selling your hobby work – knitting, stamp collection, model train etc. But you can have your hobby paying itself and being more sustainable – since you can skip keeping things you don’t need home.


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The Court of Love

25 Apr

Disclaimer: I will try to avoid it sounding slushy because that is definitely not the case.  It is not to be sexist either.

This idea has been hanging since the 12th century: to have a court that referees the cases love. Back in the medieval Occitania (Le País d’Òc), a kind of courtly games were played and they took decision in matters of love.

Because the court does not exist any longer and the members of it either: great ladies, troubadours (we got some poets,t that’s true) and  Knights, I propose a composition of a new court, with current characters. Smart ladies (?), Wise gentlemen, True lovers, Romantic men (poets, for example), emos and teenage girls.

The topic to be decided would hold the same:

“Is love possible between husband and wife?”
“How to handle quarrels between lover and lover?”.

Court of Love in Provence in the Fourteenth Ce...

(credit: Wikipedia)

The code, might be inspired in that one from The Courtly Love. It has, although, to be revisited, taking away chauvinistic point of views as well as heterosexuality: And the only question to be answered: “were the lovers conducted in accordance with this code?”. See for example the most famous verdict, delivered at Troyes by Marie de France who finds it impossible the love between married people : “Our judgment, issued after many councils and supported by the opinion of many other ladies, must be accepted by you as unmistakable and always true. Enacted in the year 1174, May 1, in the seventh indiction“. (Marie, Countess of Champagne).

The Court of Love cannot be defined locally – otherwise we have the risk of forbidding lovers from different cultures to be together, for example, or being too narrow-minded. Its members must be undoubtedly acquainted with “The Code” and represent the broader set of current thoughts existing around a community – country, county, city…

That shall help a lot of broken hearts.

This is a wide and deep idea, so I might come later to change it out. If you have topics to be included, Please, make me know!

Stiod Opinion: Analog SMS

24 Apr

To those who are fans of Moleskine notebooks – including this humble writer – cutting a piece of their excellent sheets sounds like an offensive stiod. But sometines it is just necessary to take a piece of paper in order to note something. And you only have your nice and expensive Italian designed notebook.

The brand just got a great idea to help us, by creating a notebook with detachable sheets and pre-printed messages  (that will take you away the pleasure of using your fancy stabilo pens) so you can use your notebook also for messaging.

The idea does not stop there as this cool notebook also will help you to effectively message your colleagues in this boring conferences by using an exclusive catapult to launch analog text messages. The text message is pulled up to 17 feet away. It’s at least fun, besides being quite functional. You can also use it at the library if you need to call attention of a friend. It’s very functional while flirting in a cafe or a bistro.

Can’t I do that with my old notebooks without needing to buy this special catapult Moleskine? — you will sure ask me.

Why will you spend hours calculating the rigth strength to stretch out the cord of your notebook? Forget it. That’s why great stiod exist: to make your life easier and more amusing!

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On the fly Fiction

23 Apr
245i Short Stories Oct-1949 Page 11 Loot from ...

245i Short Stories Oct-1949 Page 11 Loot from Badakhshan 06 by E. Hoffmann Price (credit: California Cthulhu (Will Hart))

Last week I was talking to a great friend of mine (Cid Marcus) and he told me why he’s never published a book despite he has material for at least a dozen of them: “I hate the all-time frozen aspect of books. I change, so do my ideas”.

Cid Marcus as well as many of us changes his mind on the go. Because he learns more and wants constant changes in the things he writes. That is why now he’s got a blog where he rewrites his texts that were published since the 70’s.

Thinking of Cid Marcus’ aversion for static opinions and the perpetual feeling of  printed materials I thought of how would it look like having a “on the fly” fiction. The stiod is to have your romance or etc written online. Something similar to old times short stories that were written in parts and published in magazines.

The novelty in this “on the fly” fiction is that it can be changed as the authors change their minds, since it is a hypertext. The story might change small details through time, the readers would access them by chapters or mark somehow where they’ve stopped reading (perfect in times of tablets and the likes), since the reader can log in (ah ha, a way of getting payed, so those merchant minds would adhere to the movement) and read periodically his/her story, romance or the so.

This would make the reading process much dynamic since you have a living story, progresses according to the time being, the acceptance of the chapters, public reaction, author’s state of mind. It will be rather challenging to keep the unity with all these features, keep the audience, the thrill.

I would be in the first isle to read such genre, as far as the story has personality and content.

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