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The renaissance of the IT specialist

by Bruno Deshayes on 12 Jan 2017 permalink
I have two friends who left the corporate world to run their own practice. As they navigate their own business through a crowded marketplace they share similar experiences.

How do you call a person who eats and breathes computers? A geek? A computer freak? A nerd? Those two friends, let's call them Paul and Fernando have in fact a lot in common. Although they do not know each other they share a similar background. Both departed the comfort of the corporate world for no fault of their own. Both had the drive to start their own business and the good fortune to find the right contacts to get them off the ground. One single reliable client is all it takes to turn you from an employee to a self-managed consultant. The trick is how you make the move from one good client (all your eggs in one basket) to a dependable clientele.

Business life is a battle and a struggle and the field of computing is no exception. Having your fingers burned in some raw deal, bidding for a tender that is not awarded or extending yourself on trust and not getting paid are things that we hear all too often. Your attitude is crucial. You can get bitter or better. It's your call. You can be all the wiser out of the experience. What doesn't kill you will strengthen you.

So what is the cream of the market as an one-man band IT consultant? Computers by and large have been the bane of humanity creating as many problems as they claim to solve. Because I started in electronics and then quickly moved to computers myself I have learned to do my own support and sharpen my skills along the way. Ah! the reward and satisfaction of being independent and being able to fix your own computer issues. For the rest of baby boomers you have to call for outside help. If Paul and Fernando happen to be within an ear-shot they can make a living out of it. My 14 year old son built his own fancy PC out of spare parts and cleans-up the viruses that spoilt his sisters's laptops.

Paul and Fernando have built-up over time an upper class clientele of people who call the "computer-fix man" whenever something screws-up. Thanks to Microsoft that happens often enough. They also do installation, training, upgrades (both hardware and software). They can advise on the latest technologies (remember they are geeks) and tell you what's the latest smart thing to buy.

So if you have computer issues, who you gonna call? Try Mobilan (Fernando) or Remektek (Paul). You will be in good hands (they are friends of mine!)

Farming body parts and more

by Bruno Deshayes on 08 Dec 2016 permalink
The flow on effect of stem cell research is that right now you can use spray-on skin graft for burn victims. You can also grow mice teeth in a petri dish. It is not a matter of "if" but a matter of "when". Dr Who encounter with a warlord machine driven by the brain of a pig is not too far away. Welcome to your brave new world!

Should we welcome such technological breakthroughs with open arms or with a grain of salt? What does the overall political and economical landscape tell you?

Western democracies cannot even balance their budget. Healthcare is an ever deeper financial hole. People contract staph infections in our hospitals instead of coming home healed.

The jury is still out on genetically modified crops. The only people who seem to make money out of it are the lawyers who battle it out on behalf of those who want to establish their intellectual property. All they do is interfere with the design of creation.

The human genome project is public domain but the research made from it is passed to the private sector. After Silicon Valley the gold rush for IPOs is now biotech.

If you could trust mankind to govern the world with equity such inroads of science would abide well. What we see instead is an innate push to lower standards. Many unemployed security agents of the former Soviet Union have recycled themselves into organised crime. Even something as mundane as email spam is a curse that cripples internet communication.

We live in a season of extremes. Some would have you believe that it is commendable for same sex couples to marry. Their hope is that in-vitro fertilisation will give them access to human embryos they can pick and choose for themselves - like children on demand. Would you like to be born in a family like that?

It seems there is no limit to what people can achieve if they put their mind to it. People already worship science as the proof that mankind will be self-sufficient.

Right now what I would need is a money tree. Every week it would grow ten 100 dollar bills. Surely the DNA of such a plant wouldn't be too hard to synthetise!

Can't you see there is an undercurrent to enslave people rather than setting them free? The culmination of this movement will be when some charismatic figure will rise to power and claim to solve all the world problems - at the cost of you forfeiting your soul to him.

Obviously I have read the last chapter of the book so I know how the story ends.

There is a smell in the air...

by Bruno Deshayes on 03 Nov 2016 permalink
Some impending technological breakthrough has just come to my attention. After 3D movies the major studios are just about to release scented movies.

The recording and digitization of odors is based on a DDO (dynamic dilution olfactometer) feeding into a chemotopic map similar to the one we have in the brain.

The magnitude, flavour and duration of the smells are then played back through special transducers which release the aroma into the surrounding air just like a loudspeaker vibrates the air around you.

Think of the possibilities. For a Western movie you could smell the gun powder when shots are fired, the aroma of a stew cooking on a coal fire or the perfume the starlet is wearing for a close-up.

Many industries are lining up to take advantage of the technology. Now you can buy cheese, wine, perfume by mail-order.

Sanitation systems can be programmed to counter-balance your exact flatulence to clear the air whether you just ate baked beans or mashed potatoes.

Marketers are attracted in droves to this sweet smell of success for the market is huge. Even the army is considering it for psychological warfare where the enemy would be overcome with the pungent smell of rotten eggs or else.

Doctors could use the technology to diagnose stomach ulcers or rotten teeth. Lovers could email each other their body odor aka scent of a woman.

Cooking recipes videos could explain precisely how to saute onions to perfection.

Law enforcement agencies can calibrate their breath analysers to screen offenders who go past legal limits.

What about cost? Would such a system be a bit on the nose? After USB flash drives disguised as novelty earrings women will love to wear an ODD (olfactory digital dispenser) and dial a different perfume for different times of the day. The perfume bottle will never go dry but admittedly the batteries will go flat unless you recharge overnight. We are already used to that for our mobile phones. It is a given.

Tobacco addiction could take a turn for the better as smokers could enjoy the smell of tobacco without inhaling the fumes. Just like people wearing earphones to avoid disturbing others in a crowd you can wear a PSD (personal smell dispenser) to sniff glue, cannabis or your favourite drug - undisturbed.

No doubt some portals will allow you to download your scented ecstasy - for a price. Yet again, what would disillusioned folks do to numb their boredom?

For me I write science fiction for a living and if I got you baited until now, then my writing style works.

Transmuting matters

by Bruno Deshayes on 27 Oct 2016 permalink
People thought the fax machine was dead - well it has had a rebirth!

Some enterprising geek replaced the scanning part of a fax machine with a huge funnel the size of a toilet bowl. Instead of transmitting images the idea was to transmit real objects.

Think of the possibilities - with internet commerce on a steady rise courier companies have never been so busy shifting parcels around the globe. The market is huge.

After successfully transmitting everything from paper clips to a live mouse, our engineer became ready for a bold experiment.

He decided to transport himself through the phone lines as the utmost demonstration of his craftsmanship.

His left foot had already appeared at the other end when suddenly a power surge or other mishap jammed the machine. He pressed the reverse button to return his foot back to home base. When that didn't work he tried to insert his right hand to bring it back. Unfortunately that didn't work either.

He had to be amputated and the left foot and right hand shipped back to him in a courier bag full of ice to attempt surgical reconnection.

To add misfortune to injury his health insurance didn't cover such procedures and it cost him an arm and a leg.

Authorities are concerned about such developments. Crime syndicates could smuggle drugs incognito - just as law enforcement agencies were getting the upper hand.

But think of the implications for a moment: if this technology was plugged into a mobile phone you could have in-driving refuelling. Just transmit a container of gasoline and top-up the tank without even having to stop...

Better still. You don't need your car to go to work. Just dial your office transmutter and you show up at your cubicle in a split second.

People have been toying with this "Beam me up Scotty" idea since the days of Spok and no doubt one day someone will succeed. It is definitively a mind over matter subject.

Witchcraft will teach you about astro travel at the cost of forfeiting your soul but didn't you know that travelling in time and space is found in the Bible? Jesus himself visited the disciples after his death and resurrection by being translated from Emmaus to the room where they were huddling together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews. The apostle Philip departed from the eunuch he just baptized to reappear in Azotus.

No doubt as we are nearing the End Times the Holy Spirit will empower Christians to do likewise as the need arises but they will have to spend a heck of a time in the presence of God to receive that anointing.

Smile at the drone - you might be on live camera

by Bruno Deshayes on 16 Mar 2016 permalink
Just like computers and mobile phones have forever changed our social landscape, the next technological revolution is just about to hit.

Combined with that is the inept behaviour of governments who lack to provide a clear legal framework for new technology to be rolled out. Remember how queasy you felt when you first saw a picture of your house on Google Street-view? Well, that's just the beginning.

Who are the pundits interested in spying on everyone else? Market analysts have found that law enforcement agencies would be the prime clients but everyone knows that most governments are broke. Police, fire rescue and of course the military are jumping on the bandwagon. Next are the marketers who are outdoing each other in building huge databases of consumer behaviour. Then we have the hobbyists or interest groups or geeks who like to tinker with expensive toys and show off their prowess on You Tube.  Of course through those channels the Taliban will procure themselves some drones to spy on the Americans and we have gone full circle.

Some upmarket realtors in well-to-do suburbs already use drones to film compelling fly-by videos. They show off a property for sale without the clients having to jump on a plane to visit and see the place for themselves.

Just imagine a newscast in five years time: an elderly woman was hit on the head by a flying camera when a nearby investigative reporter lost control of his drone.

What about this one: criminals used a radio jamming transmitter to escape from a pursuing police drone. The remote control plane then lost control and there was a remote possibility that left to its own devices it would crash into the incoming traffic on the highway. Indeed it did and killed a family of four. The criminals are still at bay and it was reported that they themselves also used a drone to plan their escape route ahead of their speeding car.

Wait, there is more: a security guard used his gun to shoot down a drone flying over a private property. A famous actress was on the premises at the time and some paparazzi were on the prowl to take some scoop pictures.

A lawyer for a drawn-out divorce litigation case hired a private detective. A drone was flown outside the couple's window to gather evidence of an adulterous relationship taking place. The drone photo evidence was rejected in court as there was no proof the images were not digitally retouched to incriminate the defendants.

So there you have it. Drones will not change anything. Instead our lives will just be on edge one notch higher.



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Bruno Deshayes

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