Artificial Intelligencer

•  A special technology supplement to The Mattopia Times  •

Publisher's Note: As Uncle Ben once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” But, as Peter Parker would likely phrase it, “With great power comes great fun.” Technology is advancing at an ever-increasingly rapid rate, but balancing out the dangers (such as the egregious Equifax data breach) is the potential for a lot of fun (including augmented reality and better, lighter cameras), education (such as Sphero’s STEAM sensations) and global community (by way of collaborative efforts like contributing to data analytics through distributed computing). The following pages touch on all of these topics and more.

“Tutum manere  •  Custodiunt illud reale  •  Have fun”

Physical Media: Going Out With a Bang

Indiana Jones and Oppenheimer limited edition 4K covers

Physical media — particularly CDs and 4K Blu-ray, plus the inexplicably resilient DVD — has been circling the drain for a few years now. The “plan” has been to finally move away from physical media and go exclusively digital for consumer music and movie distribution. Target and Best Buy have announced plans to stop carrying physical media in 2024. Read more.

Raspberry Pi 4 and Coronavirus Research

Updated 4 May 2020

The Raspberry Pi robotics experiment has been an eye-opening look at all sorts of DIY IoT possibilities. Now it’s become an opportunity to join a distributed computing network that provides computing resources to scientists trying to crack the COVID-19 code and — through protein modeling — find ways to combat the virus.

Here’s what it takes to join the fight against COVID-19.

Sphero RVR and Raspberry Pi 4: The Experiment

19 April 2020

I found my new learning opportunity during this “stay at home” period: take Sphero’s RVR from an app-controlled droid with some in-app programming capabilities and turn it into an ambitious skills enrichment project roping in a Raspberry Pi 4B for extended programmability and enhanced functionality.

Behold the beginning of the bold RVR experiment.

The MacBook Pro 16-inch

Updated 19 April 2020

The old 2015 MacBook Pro (with a 13-inch screen) was struggling to process the new camera's RAW photos (each photo around 100 MB). The battery was in need of replacement. And it had started shutting down unexpectedly with alarming frequency.

Enter the magnificent 2019 MacBook Pro.

Active Noise Cancellation Ear Buds

10 November 2019

My personal search for something better in ear buds audio led me to the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8. I got them in March and I was delighted with their performance in the air and on land.

Fast-forward to October 30; both Amazon and Apple launched new ear buds. Curiousity got the best of me and I had to check 'em out.

iPhone 11 Pro Max: The Camera

Updated 4 May 2020

Now including photos and a video from Mattopia Jones and the Jaws of Life, taken with the iPhone 11 Pro Max camera in Australia, Japan, South Korea, India and Thailand.

Augmented Reality: Still a Marketing Gimmick

20 October 2019

As it stands, things haven't changed all that much since I played around with some AR gimmickry leading up to the release of Star Wars: Episode VIII two years ago. A lot of AR is still a marketing toy.

iPadOS in Beta

Updated 30 September 2019

I've been tinkering with the brand new iPadOS now that the public beta has been released. I like what I see so far, but, as expected, there are some bugs to squash.

Dig into the newest OS...

Becoming a Digital Rembrandt

12 January 2019

Here it is. The technology to turn any aspiring painter into the next Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Lichtenstein or Warhol. All through the swipe of a finger.

Explore my gallery of paintings (from photos)

Living "Smart" at Matt Manor

30 December 2018

I had no idea I really needed 16 million lighting color options at my disposal until I plugged in that first bulb. It was a transformative experience.

Enter my personal inner sanctum of smartness

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"Clear Me" at the Ballpark: Clearly It Doesn't Work

Clear security line at Coors Field

21 April 2018

I made it to two Opening Day games this year. At both games, I used the Clear lane for — allegedly — speedy access to the park. Their slogan, after all, is "Skip the line, every time." But. Not so fast.

Proceed to more secure thoughts

Sphero's R2-D2: Under the Dome

R2-D2 with a Jawa in the background

Updated 28 January 2018

Now programmable with Apple's Swift Playgrounds on iPad as well as Sphero's Edu app, R2 offers a lot more dynamic programming and interaction options.

Doo bop bonk bee pffft... (That's Astromech for "read on, Padawan learner.")

Target's Cartwheel Deals Near You

Target floor map of deals

22 January 2018

Target recently updated its app with a cool new feature: Cartwheel Near You. I was wondering when something like this would be available and it's great to see this advancement in making the brick-and-mortar experience (almost) as easy as cyber shopping.

"Check out" more

Equifax: Dissecting the Data Breach

16 September 2017

What did Equifax get wrong during the data breach fiasco? Pretty much everything. Let's break it all down with a laundry list of shocking missteps and bad, bad mojo.

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User Experience with a Specialty in Interaction Design

UX Certified

The world of tech — particularly software, apps and web development — is an exciting place to be. Part of the excitement stems from the need to constantly adapt in order to stay relevant. Change shouldn’t be feared, it should be embraced, particularly in a field where new advancements come at an increasingly rapid pace. In that spirit, I’ve dived into studying user experience — from a qualitative point of view — and I’m thrilled to have added a UXC from Nielsen Norman Group to my credentials.

Product Owner (CSPO - Active 2019-2021)

Certified Scrum Product Owner

As my role morphed from hand-coding web sites to mobilizing different digital agencies and gathering disparate teams around a singular vision, I transitioned into a “powerfully cool” area: product ownership. From the outside looking in, I've often put on my “consumer geek” hat and imagined how things could be better. Some of those thoughts have made it onto these pages.

Certifiably Social and Analytical

Hootsuite Advanced Social Advertising Certified

There's so much out there — so many coding languages and frameworks, applications, platforms, channels, etc. — it's impossible to know it all. But it's also important to keep up and remain relevant. So I've studied up and got certified on some of the more ubiquitous  tools I use:

Google: Analytics for BeginnersAdvanced AnalyticsAnalytics for Power UsersTag Manager FundamentalsIntroduction to Data Studio

Hootsuite: Social MarketingAdvanced Social AdvertisingHootsuite Platform

A Forceful Explorer

Salesforce is something of a techy infatuation for me. We're implementing it at the day job and I've started hiking around some of the Trailhead trails.

Right now, I'm at the "Explorer" rank, but that doesn't properly reflect my skills. I know a lot more, outside of all those badges and points.

Staying "on brand" with Mattopia Jones, here's my Salesforce profile.

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Bagan, Myanmar

It's true. I'm not very social when I'm on vacation, at least in terms of social media.

Traveling thousands of miles away, my first obligation is to take in the atmosphere and the people, always minding my surroundings (sage advice provided to Bruce Wayne).

Living in the moment, sharing it later. Maybe even much later. But those experiences will always be with me because I took the time to let them happen instead of having my face perpetually staring at a glass.


Greg MacGillivray

I've had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister (Inception) and also meeting legendary filmmaker Greg MacGillivray.

What do they have in common? Filming in the extra-large IMAX format. Pfister's a key force behind making IMAX a part of Hollywood's blockbuster theatrical releases and MacGillivray filmed the most successful IMAX-exclusive movie of all time, Everest. In my own small — very small — way I channel their creative vision while on vacation, playing around with much smaller and lighter-weight gear at the consumer level.


Bono in Denver, i+e Tour

Why do I follow U2 all over the planet? It's the music (of course) and the unbeatable experience of being in the crowd and absorbing the collective energy.

But U2 also put on groundbreaking shows tour after tour. What they're doing now other bands might be brave enough to try... oh... maybe 5 years down the road.

U2 use technology to bring the audience closer into the show, turning arenas into intimate night clubs and stadiums into venues where even the nosebleeds can feel a part of the band.

Guitar Tech

Guitar Triller

Speaking of Kickstarter, I supported the campaign to make the Guitar Triller a reality. Still wating for my one-on-one virtual training session, but my poor guitar hasn't had much play time anyway. Check out the Guitar Triller.

Drupal 8

Drupal 8 is a completely hand-coded effort; there's no CMS behind its massive 1,500+ pages of content. At the day job, however, CH2M's was the first Fortune 500 site to launch in Drupal 8 thanks to the mad skills of developers at Chapter Three.

Droid Factory


Sorry, BB-8. With a "fresh one," K-2SO has sent you rolling out of my heart's pole position for droids. I appreciate both droids have designs dating back to Ralph McQuarrie's original concept art for Episode IV, but it helps that K-2SO speaks my language and shares my sense of humor.