Re: Factoid

Jon (
Wed, 14 Oct 1998 00:23:30 -0700

Damn, I KNEW _I_ would be phased out soon...I admit it I invested in my own
short term memory loss...It was fun though...

This is a very cool idea.

Am I a factoid who has a problem with buffer overflows and keeps corrupting

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Baker <>
To: <>
Cc: <>
Date: Tuesday, October 13, 1998 1:54 PM
Subject: Factoid

:Not much too add to what's at the URL. Power's an issue, of course. If
:it's always on our person, how about having it powered by our motion,
:ala Negroponte or self-winding watches?
:What is a Factoid?
:A Factoid can be viewed in many ways. Perhaps the simplest is to think
:of it as a minimal PDA. It is about 3" long, 3/4" wide, and 1/4"
:thick. It has no display, no buttons, no microphone, and no speaker. The
:only I/O device is a 900MHz radio with a range of 30 feet. There is
:no power switch, as the Factoid is always turned on. The device fits on
:a keyring using not much more space than a key. I expect people to
:carry their Factoid around with them in their pocket, daypack, or
:The Factoid's purpose in life is to accumulate information that is
:broadcast from other Factoids, and upload it to the user's home base.
:sort of information envisioned are tiny facts, such as one might see on
:a sign, in an advertisement, on a business card, or on the display of
:an instrument like a thermometer or GPS receiver. These facts are small,
:say 200 bytes.
:While gathering up data, a Factoid is also on the lookout for an
:Internet connected Factoid server. When it finds one (that is, when you
:near one), it uploads the facts to the user's home base in a reliable
:and secure fashion, and deletes them from its own memory.
:Once uploaded, these facts are kept forever. There simply is no need to
:delete things that are only 200 bytes in size. If you gathered 1,000
:facts per day for a year, that only comes to 73MB per year, and is
:highly compressible. Thus, they can be saved forever and constitute a
:sort of history of the user's life.
:At home base, the user interacts with application software to access his
:lifetime collection of facts. Various reports could be generated,
:perhaps in the format of a trip diary, a daily diary, or perhaps even
:client billing records. Search engines could be used to find that
:"needle in
:a haystack" fact that you want to recall. Since this lifetime collection
:of facts is very personal, privacy concerns are a major part of this