Posts tagged “accuracy”

This Year’s Virtual Model

Not new, but new to me: Lands’ End Virtual Model, allowing people to shop online for clothes and see what the clothes would look like on a person. The idea is that the person is you, the shopper, but there’s a fundamental disconnect between projection onto a mannequin (digital, even) and projection into a mirror. The person in the mirror is us. It doesn’t approximate us, it looks exactly like us and it naturally moves in response to our every movement. The virtual model is clumsy in comparison.

I think the whole notion of seeing the clothes in context is (including in combination) is brilliant, but I think the conceit (and it really is just that) of presenting this us a projection of us is completely wrong. Looking in the mirror is the gold standard and this breaks that badly. There’s a lot of customization (just like an avatar builder) of height, weight, body type, skin tone, hair style, etc.

So I started with

Umm, hello, body image norms?

and eventually customized him/me/it to end up with

Umm, is it weird to post this? It’s virtual, but the concept suggests this approximates what I look like in my underpants. I can tell you not to worry, it really doesn’t, but the idea seems a bit transgressive, because of the level of accuracy we expect from representations. A photograph isn’t me, but carries a certain truth. Also don’t worry, no actual underpants pictures of me are coming up in this post either.

As for the virtual me, I think we’ll feel better if he/me has some clothes on!


Frankly, I think this Simpsons avatar is more true version of me, even though it abandons reality, it also offers a kernel of truth and overall feels more accurate.

Update: maybe the avatar isn’t meant to be a model, but instead an effective salesperson?

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Report: Real-world police forensics don't resemble 'CSI' – Even before the popularity of shows like CSI, there was presumably a cultural belief in the "science" behind these techniques. But the report finds that:
    – Fingerprint science "does not guarantee that two analysts following it will obtain the same results."
    – Shoeprint and tire-print matching methods lack statistical backing, making it "impossible to assess."
    – Hair analyses show "no scientific support for the use of hair comparisons for individualization in the absence of (DNA)."
    – Bullet match reviews show "scientific knowledge base for tool mark and firearms analysis is fairly limited."
    – Bite-mark matches display "no scientific studies to support (their) assessment, and no large population studies have been conducted."
  • NJOY electronic cigarette – Looks like a real cigarette, complete with glowing tip on inhale, and exhaled vapor that resembles smoke. Gives an inhaled nicotine experience, while messaging to the rest of the world that you are really smoking a real lit cigarette. Paging Erving Goffman?

    Someone was using one a party last week; someone else got out their simulated Zippo lighter (an iPhone app) and lit it for them.

NEVER! Except twice

Stupid bad journalism mars an otherwise excellent article about the culture of Syrian Jews in Brooklyn

No Jewish community in the world (other than two small Syrian congregations in Mexico and Argentina) has ever had such an extreme rule.

I feel like I see this sort of writing in print more often. An absolute statement followed by “qualifiers” that prove the original statement false.

Other than Brooklyn’s SY enclave, only two other communities in the world – a small Syrian congregation in Mexico and another in Argentina – have such an extreme rule.

I’d hope for better than this sort of hyperbolic and confusing storytelling.

The Media Can’t Get The Right Message About The Medium

Rep. Foley’s Explicit Messages are big news. But ask yourself this, based on what you’ve read so far. Were the inappropriate communications in email? Or IM? Or both? I really can’t tell. What I’ve seen is sloppy reporting, where a non-technical publication doesn’t bother to distinguish between very different technologies. It was a running joke when reporters kept calling Undercover a “chat room” or a “message board” or an “online forum” instead of a mailing list – you don’t expect much accuracy (or interest in accuracy) from entertainment reporters (I think one story in ’97 or so referred to me as Eve Portigal) and those technologies were somewhat newer back then. But now we’ve got front page coverage by hard-news journalists in all the top publications, presumably with fact-checkers and lawyers looking this stuff over.

Don’t these sort of details matter?

You’ve Got The Teeth Of The Hydra Upon You

An article on the recent Aryan Brotherhood convictions quotes Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School/former federal prosecutor.”But the truth is, this (gang) is like a hydra – you cut off a limb and it’s going to grow back,” she said. “These guys have been around a long time and they’re going to get new leaders.”

But the Hydra had many heads, not many limbs. It was difficult/impossible to kill because the heads would grow back. That really breaks her metaphor! I’m sure the journalist just went with the quote anyway, as did the editor. Too bad.

And what about the frog?

In the The Wired 40 I was intrigued to see

2005 Rank: 22
Singapore-based Flex-tronics pioneered outsourced electronics manufacturing for blue-chip customers like Motorola and Nortel. Now the sprawling company wants to own another link in the value chain: product design.

Pardon? Flextronics already bought and then sold frogdesign.


Seems like Wired is playing kinda loose (if not completely off the mark) with their glib faux-analysis.

GPS format wars

World’s second GPS system set to start working in 2008

Officials of the European Space Agency said the Galileo system — scheduled to begin operation in 2008 — will double the world’s satellite coverage, now provided by the U.S. military’s Global Positioning System.

The launch comes at a time when Russia is moving forward with a positioning system known as GLONASS. On Sunday it put into orbit three new satellites for the network, which is scheduled to be operational in 2010.

With more satellites circling the globe, civilians almost anywhere on the planet could switch navigation systems as easily as mobile phones shift between service providers, according to European space agency officials.

Galileo is designed to provide real-time positioning accuracy to within 1 meter, or about 39 inches, ‘which is unprecedented for a publicly available system,’ according to the European Space Agency’s description. Civilian services available on the U.S. network are accurate to within about 16 feet.

Groovy. Format-wars come to GPS. Why not? Add international politics to the mix, and you’ve got a fun way to increase complexity and create confusion and limit adoption. I keep reading about blu-ray DVD and HD-DVD, but Sony can’t even begin to create the bureacracy of the EU. Much better this way, yikes. I guess one thing this format war has in common with others is a ridiculous focus on specs and less on design or usability. What the hell will we do with accuracy to 16 inches for consumer navigation systems, if we can’t get an accurate map database (scroll down to the thread entitled In-car GPS navigation )?

Update: A blurb in Popular Science suggests the different GPS technologies will be interoperable, which (if true, and depending on how true) renders my outrage obsolete.

So much for fact checking

So much for fact checking. A review from the SF Chron

CD REVIEWS: “In a time of austerity in the music business, ‘Weird Tales of the Ramones‘ is a behemoth, containing 85 songs on three CDs and every single video the band filmed from 1981 to their retirement in 1996. In this unsentimental but nonetheless fascinating document of rock endurance, fans visually and audibly experience the Ramones in their sullen glory, all deadpan pasty faces, ripped skin-tight jeans and off-the-rack leather jackets. They go from snarling through three-minute blasts of rage and irony on songs like ‘Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue,’ ‘Cretin Hop’ and ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ to having most of their raw edges rubbed down as they become the benign cartoonish elder punk statesmen of their later years, wading through a myriad of age-related songs like ‘When I Was Young,’ Tom Waits’ far too revealing ‘I Don’t Wanna Grow Up’ and the painfully brilliant ‘I Want To Live,’ from Joey Ramone’s posthumously released solo album. This is a fascinating but hardly weird tale, unless you consider it weird how undervalued these pre-eminent architects of the American punk juggernaut were during their lifetime.

— Jaan Uhelszki.

But I Want To Live isn’t from Don’t Worry About Me (the above-referenced posthumous Joey album), it’s from 1987’s Halfway to Sanity (and it seems to be called I Wanna Live, in fact).

How hard would it be to get that right? I haven’t seen the new box set, but don’t you imagine it includes liner notes that indicate where the songs were from?



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