The Importance Of Bedtime Stories

Of all activities in life, I’ve come to the realisation that the bedtime story is most important. More than important, significant! It is the lifeblood to educate, comfort, nurture, develop creativity, and most importantly, to build rich relationships.

And I didn’t tell enough of them. Not by a long shot.

It’s probably my only regret. Well, certainly my biggest.

I especially regret the times I was at home; too busy commuting, working on projects, or studying. Too invested in my career, and not nearly enough in my family.

Don’t get me wrong, I did read and tell many stories in my time. Just not enough, and I didn’t begin early enough. I learned too late that the (bedtime) story is more important than anything else you do. Seriously, in the hospice when your kids can’t relate to you, you’re not going to care about that sale in 2007, that certificate of excellence in 2012, or that shiny medal.

And then there’s the travel. My entire career has seen me spend long hours, days, even weeks away from home. Of course I faxed, phoned, then Skyped, and now FaceTime and WhatsApp my family. But it’s hardly being in the room with The Very Busy Spider, Harry Potter, Jock of the Bushveld, or stories of lives I’ve lived.

There are two technologies that are going to revolutionise stories for when you have to travel.

Soon you’ll literally be able to holoport with Augmented Reality

And right now you can join your child in a fantasy world with Virtual Reality:

But whether you’re in the bedroom, or your hotel room, you still need to take the time to tell stories to your kids. That’s not about technology, we’ve been sharing stories since before inventing fire.

Ricoh Theta S
The 360 Ricoh Theta S Video Camera

For myself, I’m going to buy a 360 Camera and start recording myself reading and telling bedtime stories. So my grandkids can enjoy time with their grandad even when I’m gone.

How about you?


The Virtual Reality Classroom

What is the biggest challenge to education?


Simply how do we scale the curricula to as many people as we can. Or the learning corollory, how do we give as many people access to lessons as possible?

Over the years we’ve printed books, built libraries, then classrooms, trained teachers and professors. It’s a good start, but it simply doesn’t scale. Not to everyone.

Resource contention is why universities are becoming so expensive. It’s why we even have private schools. You simply cannot scale the best teacher or lecturer beyond a couple of hundred students, and even then you dilute the efficacy of their teaching.

Access to specialist equipment is even harder.

Today universities don’t even give access to expensive equipment like electron microscopes to undergrads. The equipment is just too expensive, the postgrads and researchers too many.

You know where I’m going with this… …Virtual Reality. So rather than tell, let me show:

[ted id=2500]

When I was at school we learned from much used textbooks. My kids didn’t. They got photocopies of textbooks. Which already was ridiculous 10 years after the advent of the world wide web. And an anachronism in a state with an $8.5b annual education budget.

Totally apart from being able to access great lessons and teachers, this generation could learn experientially. They could walk up the beach at Gallipoli, or watch a seed germinate, or figure out Pythagoras’ Theorem at a building site.

And most of them already own the equipment to do so.

IPhone 7: All I Want Is…

HP iPaq 210
iPaq 210 - first PDA with fingerprint access

I gave up asking the question “What more could they possibly put in a phone?” in about 2005. When I was still playing with the Compaq iPaq. And to be fair, I'm not exactly sure what new HW device manufacturers could add to a smartphone.

No doubt Apple will improve the performance of the processor, resolution of the screen, quality of the camera, life of the battery, speed of the WiFi, amount of storage, the thinness, weight, yada, yada, yada. They may add inductive charging, 3D stereoscopic or even depth sensing cameras, but we must we be getting close to what can be stuffed into the shell.

Even for the regular slew of improvements they'll have to invest in some seriously innovative engineering. Predictably a cynical press will file copy on their iPhones lamenting how Apple has 'lost its way.' The result of diminishing returns from an entitled marketplace.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

For me, I'm loving my 6s+ right now. (Well apart from the name – WTF! Come on Apple) I can honestly say there is nothing on Android or Windows devices that I lack.

Well, maybe one thing.

There is one area that is revolutionary enough for me to seriously consider switching to Android, specifically Samsung, for my next phone…


Fantasy world of Samsung GearVR

The Samsung GearVR is genius. Nowhere near perfect. But genius nonetheless.

Yes there's Personal Cinema. And immersive games. Meh!

Being able to share experiences with remote loved ones, a birth, a bedtime story, a motorbike ride. That's cool.

But I'm thinking about unfettered VR.

For education, research, analysis, sales… …the options are endless. And although I can use the cheap Google Cardboard, or Chinese Plastic VR headsets with my iPhone; they simply aren't as comfortable, functional or elegant as the GearVR.

So come on Apple. Up your game. If the 7 doesn't have an elegant, Ive inspired, VR option, I'll be switching to Samsung.

There, I said it.

I may even consider the Samsung Gear S3 watch too.


In AR and VR The Map IS The Territory

Cave paintings from Lascaux Cave
Credit: Bradshaw Foundation - Lascaux Cave Paintings

Ever since we've presented knowledge with models, probably the hunt on cave walls, one thing is commonly agreed as true:

“The map is not the territory.”

But that is changing. Technology is removing the latency between how we present information, and the source of that information.

Augmented and Mixed Reality

AR is a means of placing digital information into a real space. Right now you can do this with special glasses, or via the display of a mobile device. As you look through the display, a computer presents visual and aural artefacts that appear as real as physical objects.

Mixed Reality with Microsoft Hololens
Credit: - MR with MS Hololens

The difference between AR and MR is that AR merely 'augments' the space. So whatever digital information you see occludes everything behind it. In AR a digital sign is always visible in front of a door. MR, also referred to as holographic computing, treats digital artefacts as if real. In MR a digital ball can roll behind a real table. You could juggle a real and digital ball.

Both AR and MR 'occur' in the real world. In this sense we paint the 'map' onto the 'territory.'

Virtual Reality

In VR you wear a headset and earphones that immerse you into a virtual space. You no longer experience anything from the real world (at least visually and aurally)

This space can be a reflection of a physical space through 360 degree video, simulated via CGI, or entirely synthetic.

In VR we create the 'territory' into a 'map.'

The Impact of a Malleable World

There is considerable power in mashing the model and the world.

A model is something you can manipulate, learn from, understand key relationships, and evolve. The world where we gain rich experience not achievable from theory.

The model allows us to zoom into the tiniest details or out to cosmic scale. The world allows us to perform again and again to understand and manage laws of physics.

There is no question that both of these technologies will quickly become as ubiquitous as the mobile phone.