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LanceLetter -Tokyo Robots; The end of John McAfee; GoogleWorkspace



June 28 · Issue #235 · View online

Stuff that matters.

Composed while watching the temperatures rise

The fireworks. They have begun. (Credit: Lance Ulanoff)
The fireworks. They have begun. (Credit: Lance Ulanoff)
Robots in Japan
Japan is a leader in robotics and a big part of that innovation is driven by another one of its leadership areas: aging. More than 20% of the population is over 65 and as a huge chunk of the population ages into infirmity, they’re going to need help, robot help.
Tokyo’s progress on robots that can identify surfaces that need cleaning and how to work in environments without injuring soft-tissue humans is not just important for Japan. In case you hadn’t heard, the U.S. birthrate keeps falling (the pandemic accelerated this trend). If you have fewer babies, children, and young people filling the population, it simply ages–just like in Japan.
My thinking is that America will soon need some helper robots and, no, I do not ascribe to the belief that robots will take healthcare and home care jobs. There simply won’t be enough people to do the job and robots could be the answer.
The problem is that progress on building truly humanoid-like bots is way too slow. Even with fluidly moving torsos and arms, these robots tend to be large, sluggish, and look more like factory bots than C-3PO.
When I’m old, I want a root that looks as close to human as possible but has the strength and endurance of mechanics and technology. Am I alone in this?
John McAfee’s Wild Ride
John McAfee the creator and former CEO/owner of the popular McAfee antivirus software, who was found dead in a Spanish jail cell last week, wasn’t always a wild, slightly Mephistopheles-looking, eccentric, fugitive. As I was coming up in the computer publishing world, I’d often edit text with system security quotes from McAfee.
McAfee spent years as a respected member of the software industry, wrote books on enterprise security, and even served as Chairman of the Computer Virus Industry Association. After McAfee sold his company and became a multi-millionaire, he sort of faded into the background.
Things got weird in 2012 when he was held as a person of interest in Belize for the shooting of another American expatriate. A year later, he released a bizarre video criticizing his old company and showing how to uninstall antivirus software.
Who knows? Maybe McAfee always had a well-hidden wild side that took center stage when he became insanely wealthy. Whatever the case, it’s a shame that someone who played such an important role in the early days of the personal computing revolution has come to such a sad and tragic end.
Google’s Workspace
Google’s shuffling of its premium workspace and free apps had a small, unintended consequence. When I open Gmail, it now appears under Google Workspace and the venerable mail system no longer has its own splash screen. Once you’re inside, it still says “Gmail,” but it’s clear Google wants to unify everyone and everything under Workspace, even if you’re not a paying customer.
While the Gmail interface is mostly unchanged, there is one other change. Google’s relatively new meeting and collaboration platform, Meet, is quietly slotted into the left hand column. Google’s old Hangout is still below it, though I’m not sure why you need it if you have Meet. Plus, Google is trying to nudge old Hangout users into Google Chat. I know, Google’s messaging platforms are just as confusing as ever.
Windows 11
Microsoft finally made “Windows 11” official with a 45-minute online presentation that revealed a significantly redesigned interface with a centered Start and taskbar and curved windows. There are other changes like more power for Gaming, support (through Amazon App Store) for Android Apps, a redesigned Microsoft Store, better desktop management, and widgets. The free upgrade should show up for consumers in the fall. I did have some initial thoughts.
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