The terahertz revolution and local security

lenscraftersIf you were able to get through to yesterday’s column between server crashes perhaps you noticed the very first reader comment, which wasn’t about mobile phones or marathons at all, but about my promise to in this column discuss new anti-terrorism technology.  Here, if you missed it, is his comment:

“Is yesterday going to be an excuse to ban pressure cookers? I’m fed up with the government. Money has been shoveled by the barge load onto the ‘security issue’ and we have nothing to show for it except the union thug goons that feel us up at the airport and a severe loss of personal and constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. I suggest we disband these futile efforts […]

Why elite marathoners don’t (yet) wear wristwatch mobile phones

GPSwatchesThirty years and 50 pounds of blubber ago, between various teaching jobs and being fired from computer companies, I wrote for a New York-based magazine called The Runner, which was long ago absorbed by Runners World. I took the gig to force myself to get in shape and it worked, which is why one year I ran the Boston Marathon. Understand that my editor at the time, a guy named Amby Burfoot, had won the Boston Marathon, so my finish well back in the pack was professionally meaningless, but that memory gives me some sense of the scene yesterday in Boston when those bombs went off. I know what the air was like, what the […]

Not all smart people work at the X-Prize Foundation

This is my response to yesterday’s message from Qualcomm Tricorder X-Prize director Mark Winter, who said my objections to his contest design were without merit. Let me make a point here: this isn’t about me receiving $10 million. We all know that’s not going to happen. It’s about designing a contest that actually encourages innovation. Please read on as I explain… 

I appreciate your position, Mark, and might have sent the same reply were I standing in your shoes. However I am sure I’ve uncovered exactly the sort of poor contest design that may well doom your effort. As such I will go ahead tomorrow and publish the letter I wrote to Paul Jacobs so my readers can weigh-in on this issue. Certainly […]

X-Prize Foundation defends their poorly-conceived Qualcomm Tricorder contest

X_PRIZE_Foundation_logo_HiRes_jpgThis message from the X-Prize Foundation is in response to the letter I published yesterday. They seem to feel the contest is fine as-is and my objections are without merit.
Dear Bob,
 
I am the Senior Director in charge of this competition and I appreciate receiving your letter of interest dated January 11.  First, let me offer you my highest level of encouragement for your creation of a SIDS monitoring device. As you know, medical technology is one of the most difficult areas to make significant progress in. To make something really work and pass through all the regulatory hurdles in […]

Qualcomm Tricorder X-Prize is another poorly conceived contest

tricorderSo of course I wrote a letter to Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs. This went out January 11th and was delivered on the morning of the 14th. No answer yet.

Dear Mr. Jacobs:

As a professional blogger I’d normally be posting this letter on my web site but this time I’ll first try a more graceful approach.  You see I have a beef with your Qualcomm Tricorder X-Prize and I want you to make some changes.

In 2002 my son Chase died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) at age 73 days. I wrote about it at the time and received great support from the Internet community. My pledge to do something about SIDS manifested […]