My thoughts exactly. I don't mean to threadjack, but I'm running a new startup where I'm building augmented reality displays ( http://gothameyewear.com/ if anyone is interested -- haven't posted it here before, simply because there's not much there), and I occasionally have that "well shit, it's the future" realization in working on it. We may not be in the 2011 of Shadowrun, but we'll have decks soon -- they'll be our smartphones.
I'd love to bring on an intern or two, but honestly we're just not there yet. I'm currently funding everything out of pocket, before we seek funding. There will definitely be such opportunities in the (hopefully near!) future, though.
Fair enough. :) This fall I am going to be doing a project about integrating a neural interface (Emotive Epoc) with a wearable in hopes of a hands free interface that is easy to use. This is a technology I want to make the concentration of my research, there are a lot of techniques we need to find about how to present data to users effectively in a AR situation and how to choose what data to present from very large data sets (think Google goggles and map overlays as starting points) and I want to make that the focus of my graduate research. This is a bit of Sifi I want to help make real.
This guy has a history of "starting" things and never finishing him. You'd be better off finding someone with a more stable history of finishing what they started. And when I say history, I mean he's into the double digits of "startups" he's initiated.
I have started a massive number of projects, but of the startups I've founded, every single one of them has released a product. Of the projects, I have probably a 40% finish rate overall, which isn't half bad IMO, considering that those are projects like creating new OSes, independently recreating the Win32 API, etc.
So no, I don't have a perfect history, but it's pretty good considering the scale at which I've worked.
Edit: Fwiw, I've only started 3 companies, not including this one. Not that many, considering a 6 year time span.
Product-wise, I haven't built much; the biggest thing I've built was Alky, which allowed the conversion of Win32 binaries to run natively on OS X and Linux. It was a marginal success, although it ended up failing later for business reasons.
These days, I'm working on a few things:
Renraku: http://daeken.com/renraku-future-os This will eventually be combined with OpenBAMF/IREctive: Reverse-engineering platform and module store (My primary for-profit project right now)
The Emulator's Handbook: A book on building an emulator from start to finish. There's simply nothing there yet, which is a damn shame -- we need to get people involved here.
So far unnamed: A book on reverse-engineering game protocols and emulating them.
In the future, I'd like to be developing and selling Eyetaps and other hardware around Renraku.
This isn't fail-fast, it's ship-nothing. It only bothers me because he keeps attention-whoring for every little idea he gets and ends up disappointing anybody who thought it was cool.
In the time since then, I've released a complete hotel front desk system and several lock forensics tools; in fact, it's quite possible that you've stayed in a hotel powered by my company's products. I've also released an open source library for talking to the Emotiv Epoc headset, libraries for dealing with the Belkin Network USB Hub, and several security tools.
As for EveInject, it had some bugs, but worked beautifully -- in fact, people are shipping code based on it to this day.
If you want to see a dozen failed projects of mine, I can show them to you. I can also show you many successful ones.
I know that you're now probably 22, that you were struggling a few years ago because you had to drop out of school and you had very little experience and were seeking some advice. HNers gave you some good advice at the time too, I believe. Did you go back to school?
But, now you're on HN calling a guy out on his projects like some project nazi because you probably think of yourself as really smart, but your more young than smart.
So, it is ok if this guy starts shit and for whatever reason they dont get completed. Keep plugging.
You're statements calling him out defacto call attention to yourself and what you're doing - so I would recommend getting back to work for that startup rather than posting on HN in the middle of the day.
I've convinced myself that augmented reality displays are right around the corner. Don't we have the technology to to do this now? I suppose the challenge might be to make everything light and compact enough.
There are two challenges: getting it into a form factor where normal people would wear it (our initial dev units will not be too far off this mark) and getting the price down to something sane. The latter is the really hard part, if you care about quality; the 0.5" 800x600 OLED displays we're using are $800 for a single unit, and don't drop to $400/unit until you hit a volume of 1000+ units. Of course, they'll get cheaper over time, so I'm not terribly worried about it.
I did a good bit of research into it, but it just doesn't seem to be viable at this point. It's insanely expensive (fiber stuff isn't cheap), and you can't really do AR due to the lack of a camera. Eventually we'll get there, but as of now it's just going to be goggles.
The iPhone/Android device as a kind of handheld augmented reality window is very real and available in a great form factor at a great marginal price (assuming you want the rest of the features of the smart phone to begin with). Still, it's not quite the same as being able to go full on Snow Crash gargoyle.
Cyberpunk (in written SF) died around the time "Vincent Omniaveritas" folded his zine Cheap Truth in 1986 (which you can find an archive of here: http://www.its.caltech.edu/~erich/cheaptruth/ ) ... by 1992, when Bantam Spectra published Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash" it had descended into self-parody (hint: a heroic central character called Hiro Protagonist? Try saying that aloud).
Transhumanism/posthumanism was big in the 1990s -- Vernor Vinge coughed up the hairball that is the singularity in the mid-1980s and Hans Moravec of CMU popularized it and spread the fertile soil for the early 1990s transhumanists, who also hybridized with libertarians and cypherpunks by way of the extropians mailing list circa 1990-95. But again, by the time you get to the late 1990s folks like Ray Kurzweil were bandwagoning on it, and these days that, too, is ancient history.
"Accelerando" was written circa 1998-2003, and "Singularity Sky" -- not its original title, but one dropped on it by the publisher in search of teh sexxy -- in 1996-98. If you're pointing to them as signs of where SF is at, I'll just get my coat -- because SF is dead.
Yes, the only thing truly missing is the idea of a direct neural interface and some kind of virtual world... but in reality that virtual world will likely never exist outside games.
Why, you ask? Because the main conceit of the cyberpunk virtual world is that it's entirely like reality with the exception that it's more fantastic. But an amazon/itunes search with a quick click to buy is infinitely faster and more convenient than jumping in to a virtual world and 'physically' trying to find something.
Alternate reality is the new future, not virtual reality. We already have a perfectly good reality, so we'll just spice it up.
Given the advances in EEG and other brain scan techs, I believe direct neural interfaces aren't that far away anymore. One step at a time, we'll first have to get used to motion-based interfaces. Neural interfaces will probably be like moving a limb but not actually moving. With such interfaces, there is no reason anymore to restrict to planar screens. Everything can be 3D.
For buying stuff you're right -- just clicking and using an efficient search system is much more efficient. But the market for experiences is another thing.
Many people will disagree with you that we already have a "perfectly good reality". They might desire things they cannot have in life, for example, or want to do things that physics makes impossible in real life (teleportation?). Just imagine the possibilities. As soon as the tech is there, there will be a huge market for it.
And don't forget collaboration over a distance. "telepresence". It's not just for games and fun.
Yes, I agree here too, telepresence would be a pretty good reason. But even then, that's probably actually less useful than just a videoconferencing system, since you could continue to have your hands/eyes free for other things like taking notes or whatever at the same time.
I don't agree it'll be less useful. Actual telepresence has a lot more possibilities than just a video stream.
You could interact with people in the virtual environment, build or design something together, brainstorm in new ways (For example, imagine architects designing a building while walking in it in realtime), and take notes digitally. Once you can do everything in the virtual "world", you don't need your hands/eyes free for other things.
(and I'm sure there will be a pop-up HUD interface in which you can do other things if you really want to be distracted like browsing HN during a meeting :).
As I understand it, an alternate reality doesn't need to correspond with the primary reality (the metaverse, the grid, the matrix, etc) whereas an augmented reality is essentially a HUD type setup for the primary reality.
As far as I can really tell, none. So I kind of use the terms interchangeably. Both are about layering virtual information over top of reality, as far as I know. I guess augmented is the superior term.