Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New IFTF report: Smart Infrastructures: Computational Resources to Burn

There is a new addition to IFTF's public library. From the Technology Horizons Program is the report, "Smart Infrastructures: Computational Resources to Burn"

Over the next 15–20 years we will overcome limits in availability of our computational resources. While today, high-performance computing applications are mostly limited to capital-intensive industries like petroleum exploration, aircraft and automotive design, and pharmaceuticals, over time these capabilities will migrate to mass markets and eventually into the hands of consumers. In this world of abundant computing, our interactions with computers will no longer be constrained to laptops, desktops, and handhelds. High-powered computing capability will be embedded in our physical environment, in living things, medicine, walls, furniture, garments, tools, utensils, and toys. We'll be able to interact with information in place as naturally as we interact now with physical things, which will become increasingly less passive, and more active. In short, the computation revolution will have huge impacts on daily life, workplaces, and in many industries. In this memo we review the fundamental technologies driving exponential growth in computing resources and some of the likely applications in areas such as entertainment, gaming, health, and communications.

New IFTF report: Sensory Transformation: New Tools & Practices for Overcoming Cognitive Overload

There is a new addition to IFTF's public library. From the Technology Horizons Program is the report, "Sensory Transformation: New Tools & Practices for Overcoming Cognitive Overload"

Information overload has become a cliche. We use the phrase half-jokingly to describe the stress associated with the onslaught of media that digital technology has unleashed on us. The sobering reality is that we ain't seen nothin' yet. The vast majority of new information technologies are either built for data acquisition (e.g., sensor networks and camera phones) or information dissemination (e.g., blogs, RSS, location-enhanced media, and aware environments). The suffocation of endless incoming e-mail demanding immediate response, the twinge of guilt from falling behind on your RSS feeds, dread about a TiVo hard drive full of unwatched shows these are all just a teaser for what to come. No matter how many computers surround us, collecting, aggregating, and delivering information, we each only have one pair of eyes and ears, and more importantly, one mind, to deal with the data.

Friday, April 25, 2008

STIRR Deal Hacks (and STIRR Birthday!)

STIRR Deal Hacks (and STIRR Birthday!)
  • Wednesday, May 14...6-9pm
  • Bistro 412
  • 412 Emerson Street
  • Palo Alto CA
Join other founding teams and investors for STIRR's first Deal Hacks.

STIRR Celebrates It's 3rd year with a twist. This time we bring you two of the best early stage investors in the spotlight for Deal Hacks. Each VC will be sharing personal stories from the the investment side of the fence. They'll be available afterward for group Q&A.

Year 3!

This event kicks off STIRR's 3rd year. We'll be clebrating by returning to the site that started it all back in April 2006: Bistro 412 (formerly F&A's). The venue has a beautiful back patio and we've reserved the whole space just for STIRR.


Who should attend?
  • Founding Teams of launched Internet, Mobile, Enterprise, Software related BioTech and Cleantech
  • VCs
  • Qualified Angels
  • Top level engineering talent
  • Press (must qualify for pass:
Who shouldn't attend (these folks bring us down):
  • No deal finders/middlemen
  • Non-investing advisors (aka 'Advisory Capital')
  • Unrelated consultants, service providers, tourists
STIRR's mixer events are designed to bring together the founding teams of early stage startups and later stage entrepreneurs. The events are created and hosted by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. STIRR events are never PR stunts or sales pitches and we never sell/rent our email lists.

Some of the venue and food cost have been graciously sponsored by:

Sun Microsystems -

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Why I won't upgrade my SUV's Navigation System

Last year, I bought an SUV (2007 Honda Pilot) and choose the Navigation System as an add-on. This added ~$2,000 to the cost of my vehicle. Even knowing that they made a huge margin on the nav system, I am quite happy with it. What I didn't ask about at the time, was upgrades to the system (new points of interest, new roads, upgraded features, etc.). A mistake.

The vehicle had been making a funny sound when I gently accelerated, and as the 10,000 mile mark had passed, I thought that a check-up was in order: oil change, rotate the tires, top off the car juices, etc. & also have the sound looked at/fixed. When I dropped off the vehicle, I also inquired if a Nav Update was available. A hesitant look and a quick response was given, "you'll have to speak to parts, they can tell you." It didn't seem to important to me at the time to do this, so I didn't. I went to work and returned around 5pm and all was in order (the sound was fixed, too!).

Today, while speaking to a colleague about nav systems (he just got a Dash Express), I queried him about updates. We googled and quickly found this site that show you if an update is available. One is...but only to dealers...and at a cost of, get this, $191 + tax. I called them for clarification. It will be available to consumers in July at the same price. Now...what do I get for this upgrade? Here's the list. Coverage was expanded (in places that I probably won't be driving to)...and here are the full list of new "features":
  • One way streets (indicated with arrows on the 1/20 mile scale - turn on in Icon Options - "Other icons")
  • Loss of male voice prompts (voice prompts revert to female - regardless of previous setup setting)
  • Additional brand icons for restaurants, motels and other POIs
  • Updated maps and POIs
I don't know about any of you...but how is this upgrade worth $191 + tax?

Tele you have an answer? (For those that don't know...Tele-Atlas is the supplier of this data to Alpine USA, the maker of my nav system.)

IFTF's next conference: The Future of Making: Making the Future

Here is what IFTF is up to next! Should be a fun conference!

The Future of Making: Making the Future
2008 Technology Horizons Spring Exchange, May 4-5, 2008

We are on the verge of a transformation in how products are designed, manufactured, and distributed. The entire supply chain is undergoing reinvention and the impact will be felt not only by manufacturers but by individuals, households, communities, even entire regions. Driven by the need to innovate faster than ever before, green aspirations, and a quest for authenticity, new paradigms for "making things" are emerging. The introduction of cheap 3D printers, the growth of the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) culture, the rise of ad hoc manufacturing, and the popularity of collaborative communities around ideas, designs, and R&D all point to how the future of making may play out. What will these new models for making look like? Who will be the new makers? What role will your organization play in the new production chain and what will it mean for how you relate to your customers?

We will begin the exploration by immersing ourselves in the at the third annual Bay Area Maker Faire, a massive celebration of DIY culture taking place at the San Mateo Expo Center on May 3 and 4. Sponsored by MAKE:, the DIY technology projects magazine, the Maker Faire is packed with "weak signals"—projects, methods, and people that can give us glimpses of the future of making. After our Sunday at the Maker Faire, we will gather the next day at a nearby hotel to make sense of what we've learned. IFTF's Technology Horizons team will present the new Future of Making Map, a framework for thinking about this transformation. Joining us will be a handful of future-thinking, passionate experts who will help us understand how to navigate a future where making itself is being remade.