Ethical Issues Surrounding Emerging Technologies

Matthew Eargle, Gregg Hamilton, and Mary Morgan

Middle Georgia College


Technology is rapidly improving throughout every aspect of society.   While some of these advancements are mundane, some walk the path of moral ambiguity.   Genetic engineering technologies raise questions about playing God and the nature of humanity.   The automated cockpit asks people in mass to put their very lives in the hands of machines while robotic surgeons operate micrometers between life and death.   Cybernetic prosthesis asks humans to be part robot.   Drone aircraft provide extensive, nearly unfair, advances to an offensive military force while putting the defenders at a major disadvantage.   Robotics and artificial intelligence research calls into question the definition of life.   Driving many of these technological advancements is the philosophy of open source wherein information itself, the now basis of our resources, is inherently free to anyone who can use it–contrary to the traditional Lockean view of private intellectual property.

Genetic Engineering: Safety and Security

“Humans have long since possessed the tools for crafting a better world. Where love, compassion, altruism and justice have failed, genetic manipulation will not succeed.”

–Gina Maranto, Quest for Perfection

“The rapid…development of molecular genetics in the period from 1953 to 1970 provided the basis for understanding aspects of genetics at the molecular level that had only been imagined by prewar [World War II] geneticists” (Contemporary Genetics, 2009).  Understanding how DNA replicates itself and how genes control cell function by using proteins that serve both structural and catalytic roles, the nature of the genetic code itself, and the way in which genes are controlled all suggest that soon human beings will be able to engineer themselves or other organisms in almost any conceivable direction (Lazou, 2002).

“The application of the new genetics to practical concerns, both in agriculture and medicine, raised a number of social, political, and ethical issues, some of which overlapped with concerns from the classical era and some of which were quite new to the molecular era” (Contemporary Genetics, 2009).  In agriculture, one of the first great controversies to emerge concerned the technology for transferring genes from one organism to another.  The common method for doing this has been to use a bacterium or virus as a transmission vector to inject the new DNA strand into the subject’s cellular material.  Characteristics such as resistance to various insect and mold infestations, specifically, can be genetically engineered by transferring DNA from a species that has one of these traits to another one of higher commercial value (Contemporary Genetics, 2009).  The controversies arising from the appearance of this technology reached significant proportions in the early 1980’s in Massachusetts where much of the experimental work was being carried out by Harvard and MIT biologists.  Fears that viruses could escape into the community through the massive use of the new technology sparked a series of public meetings and calls for a moratorium on all genetic engineering until safeguards could be assured.  Eventually, guidelines were incorporated into all grants funded by the National Institutes of Health based on some of the early decisions among molecular biologists themselves.

Especially in the agricultural realm, the issue of “genetically modified organisms” (GMOs) became a matter of global concern in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  Critics of these new biotechnologies have argued that GMOs can have altered characteristics able to adversely affect the physiology of the consumer and the surrounding environment (Lazou, 2002).  One such case became apparent in 1999 when corn that was genetically modified to be insect resistant, was killing off monarch butterflies in Great Britain.

“Indeed, as mega-corporations such as Monsanto and others turned aggressively to exploiting the GMO market, many countries, especially those in the European Union and Africa, began to place restrictions on, or even ban, the sale or importation of GMOs within their borders.  The issue was less the effect on a specific species such as the monarch butterfly than the fact that destruction of the monarch symbolized a major problem with GMOs: as a result of competitive pressure from rival companies they were often rushed onto the market without thorough testing” (Contemporary Genetics, 2009).

A deep-rooted distrust of large agricultural corporations, who are seen as more concerned with profit than sustainability, has fueled much of the negative response to GMOs worldwide in addition to outcries from public health watchdog groups who want to be assured the long-term safety of the consumer.

Equally as important has been the issue of using human subjects in genetic research.  The problem of informed consent has become a central aspect of the ethics of all human subject research protocols since the 1970’s.  All universities and hospitals engaged in any sort of human genetic research are required to have internal review boards responsible for overseeing projects in which human subjects are involved (Contemporary Genetics, 2009).  With regard to genetic information about individuals, the issue of consent is meant not only to ensure that individual subjects fully understand the nature of the research that they are taking part in, but also to place tight restrictions on who has access to the information.  Of particular concern in clinical studies is whether individual subjects could be identified from “examining published or unpublished reports, notebooks, or other documents” (Contemporary Genetics, 2009).  Anonymity has become the top priority of all modern genetic research involving human subjects.

As testing for genes known to be related to specific human genetic diseases, such as sickle-cell anemia, Huntington’s disease, or cystic fibrosis has been made available to clinicians, two questions have loomed large, especially in the United States: accuracy of the individual tests and access to the results.  Dystopian fears that genetic information might lead to job or health care genetic screening programs have become more plausible.  Even more concerning is the potential for private insurance companies to obtain–or even require–genetic testing of adults as the basis for medical coverage, or, in what seems eugenic in nature, dropping coverage if a fetus with a known genetic defect is born.  Medical insurance companies have already attempted to classify genetic diseases as “prior conditions” that are thus exempt from coverage (Contemporary Genetics, 2009).  Most of these plans have not been carried through, but the threat does exist, and it raises a host of legal, social, and psychological concerns not only for the individual, but for the welfare of society in general.

The Glass Cockpit: Making a Push-Button Pilot

“Now I know what a dog feels like watching TV.”

–Anon. DC-9 Captain regarding the A-320 Glass Cockpit

A glass cockpit is an aircraft cockpit that features electronic instrument displays.  A relatively recent development, glass cockpits are highly wanted upgrades from traditional cockpits.  Where a traditional cockpit relies on numerous mechanical gauges to display information, a glass cockpit utilizes a few computer-controlled displays that can be adjusted to display flight information as needed.  This simplifies the cockpit extremely and allows pilots to focus only on the most important information.  The NASA Columbia Supercomputer. …Which in some cases pilots need to have a smaller work load so they can have more time controlling the aircraft.  Which means having a glass cockpit aircraft would be so much easier.  With the invention of this we will have a better way to fly and make the aircraft look enhanced.  The down side is that the aircraft will cost much more than a regular aircraft and will cost more to fix it if something was to go wrong.  But most aircraft like the diamond DA42 and Twin star only come in the glass cockpit.  While most basic trainers are coming out in glass to and most buyers are chose the option of having glass as well.

The glass cockpit has become standard equipment in airliners, business jets, and military aircraft, and was even fitted into NASA’s Space Shuttle.  In the 1970’s an airliner would have over one hundred gauges and controls.  NASA was the first group to research and develop the glass cockpit which was a LCD panel which lacked in glare and angle view.

The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle: Terminators in the Sky

“Listen and understand…It can’t be bargained with…It doesn’t pity, or remorse, or fear.  And it will absolutely not stop–ever–until you are dead.”

–Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), The Terminator

A new threshold in the history of air power is opening on a scene changed by the impact of a new weapon-delivery mode.  The unmanned aerial vehicle or UAV is here as a viable element in aerospace power.  Its use is Air Force mission area reconnaissance, air-to-ground strikes, and electronic warfare.

Since mid-1970 the aerospace trade developing and thinking the UAV.  Due to the facts that: costs of new aircraft and increased effectiveness of defensive systems.  Since World War II the cost of tactical aircraft has come to costing millions of dollars each, with some new generation vehicles costing more than fifteen million each.  Therefore costs have driven modern aircraft to the point of being limited, high-value property.  Improved defense systems have changed the use of more refined and costlier aircraft, but with higher wear and tear.  The improved defense has also necessitated a three to fourfold increase in support aircraft for electronic countermeasures and Combat Air Patrol.

Since then, UAV’s have been developed for other applications, but operationally they have been used primarily in the reconnaissance role or as target drones.  Another mission application was for tactical electronic warfare support.  The activation of the 11th Tactical Drone Squadron on 1 July 1971 marks the beginning of employing unmanned vehicles in tactical operations.

The history of the Drone starts out under wraps until 1938 until the Army Air Corp contracted a radio controlled company to become Ventura Division of Northrop Corporation of radio controlled target drones.  Which stated the first production line of radio controlled drones in the world.  In World War II the U.S.  actually had made the battle ready B-17 and B-24 into drone aircrafts to fly into heavily guarded Germany and coast of France.  But of course this plan was abandoned because the heavy cost of making the aircrafts airworthy took a toll on the U.S.

“In the years immediately following World War II, much of the R&D activity was focused on the guided.  Missile program The UAV found its role limited to target applications, which became the technological base for our current unmanned vehicles.  A number of manned aircraft were modified for drone applications, again, primarily, in the target application.”(Assault Drones, n.d.).

Tensions during the early sixties provided the catalyst to employ the UAV in other than target applications.  In 1962, two research and development photo reconnaissance UAV’s were created out of modified Firebee target drones.  From this humble beginning an operational reconnaissance capability evolved, which was used in Southeast Asia.

The current inventory of USAF drone/UAV systems is directly related to the manner in which the programs developed historically.  Usually, an existing target drone or a copy was selected for modification to meet an urgent operational reconnaissance need rather than expend the critical time required to design and develop the best possible radio controlled vehicle.

In this century or now a day the drones are being used for reconnaissance over in Iran and Iraq for our soldiers.  Like most people in the Air force want to be pilots of a jet aircraft are actually being a signed to the drone program so we can help save soldiers life on the ground.  They are flying out of bases in other countries as some of the pilots or radio operators are in the U.S.  or in other parts of the world.  The cockpit they sit in is realistic like a jet fighter and also has views like you are in the drone flying it.

Artificial Intelligence: Hello, Computer

“We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error.”

–HAL 9000 (Douglas Rain), 2001: A Space Odyssey

AI–or Artificial Intelligence–is the division of computer science that deals with writing computer programs that can crack problems resourcefully.  AI is generally used in medical systems and also can be found in industrial robots.  “Today developers can build systems that meet the advanced information processing needs of government and industry by choosing from a broad palette of mature technologies.  Sophisticated methods for reasoning about uncertainty and for coping with incomplete knowledge have led to more robust diagnostic and planning systems.  Hybrid technologies that combine symbolic representations of knowledge with more quantitative representations inspired by biological information processing systems have resulted in more flexible, human-like behavior.”(Waltz, 1996).

“AI began as an attempt to answer some of the most fundamental questions about human existence by understanding the nature of intelligence, but it has grown into a scientific and technological field affecting many aspects of commerce and society.”(Waltz, 1996)

Robotics: Humanity’s Replacement?

“A robot may not injure humanity, or, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.”

–Isaac Asimov

 “Robotics is the use of technology to design and manufacture (intelligent) machines, built for specific purposes, programmed to perform specific tasks” (Ethical Issues, 2008).  The technology of robotics is growing rapidly.  “Robots are very visible machines, ranging from small, miniature machines, to large crane size constructions with intelligence varying from simple programming to perform mechanical tasks, such as painting a car or lifting cargo, to highly complex reasoning algorithms mimicking human thought” (Ethical Issues, 2008).  Many ethical questions have been raised from the development and increasing use of robotics.  “The question whether it is ethically and morally responsible to manufacture robot workers – and androids – is one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to robots and artificial intelligence” (Ethical Issues, 2008).  To this question, there is not an easy answer.

“The argument that robot workers take jobs from human workers is true.  It is also true that these jobs are generally repetitive jobs, monotonous and often hazardous to human workers.  Is it wrong then to replace humans with robots in these cases?” (Ethical Issues, 2008).  If there are still enough jobs left for the humans and as long as the robots are not causing thousands of humans to completely lose their jobs then it is not wrong.  “A more detailed answer lies in the progress and development of countries as well as advances in science and technology” (Ethical Issues, 2008).  Many of the wealthier countries have allowed the science and technology of robotics to advance.  The people in these countries are also advancing their intellect.  The need for human workers in factories is decreasing and even the uneducated humans are becoming wealthier and are not as willing to work in factories.

Now manufacturers have a few options to consider when running their factories.  One option is to use robots to work in the factories instead of using humans.  This option is good because it reduces cost and is more efficient.  However, in order to keep the people happy another approach could be to use migrant workers to work in semi-automated factories.  This keeps the people happy but causes social and financial difficulties.  The most common approach is to combine to two options above and “move the factory to a low income country AND employ robot workers.  In this scenario, yes, human workers lose out all around…So the real question is how to obtain a balance between using the development of technology without causing undue hardship?” (Ethical Issues, 2008).

Robots are comparable to computers because they can both be valuable tools in our everyday and working lives.  Robots are taking over more of the cyclic, hazardous and time consuming tasks so that we can spend our time more valuably.  For example, “Provided the costs are low, a farmer can employ agricultural robots that till and seed the land, do the weeding and harvest the crops” (Ethical Issues, 2008).  If robots could run on solar energy, it would be even better.  Also, in the food industry, robots are cleaner and more humane butchers than humans.  When it comes to pollution, robots can clean up substantial amounts of waste on the land and in the water.  They can even reforest the land.  In the home, robots have already begun to help with the house cleaning and chores.  The iRobot Roomba is a vacuum cleaning robot that vacuums a household with little input from humans.  If more robots are created to do household cleaning and chores, humans will have more time for leisure activities (Ethical Issues, 2008).

In hospitals robots can assist in laboratories and operating rooms.  For example, robots can distribute medicines, do cleaning work, and even act like receptionists.  At Aizu Central Hospital in Aizu-Wakamatsu, Japan, an android receptionist and two porters work together with humans.  The receptionist robot welcomes patients and answers questions that they might have, and the two porters can carry luggage and take patients to their rooms or other destinations in the hospital (The Future, 2006).  Robots are also able to do basic surgical procedures.  “The possibility of robots working at a micro precision scale may even make them more suitable for these procedures” (Ethical Issues, 2008).  According to a study by the University of Maryland, since robotic surgeons make “a smaller incision, patients recovered faster.  They were out of the hospital faster, had fewer complications, and the blood vessels were more likely to stay open” (Blankenhorn, 2008).  In fact, robots can be manufactured to do all the things that we, as humans, do not want to do for any reason.  Is it ethical to allow robots to do all of the things humans do not want to do? Where would that leave the humans? Without jobs, and with only leisure activities to do, how are humans going to make money to pay for their leisure activities? If robots are used as workers are they also going to be paid for their work?” (Ethical Issues, 2008).

A new and astonishing use of robots is also being researched.  David Levy made a statement saying, “There’s a trend of robots becoming more human-like in appearance and coming more in contact with humans” (Choi, 2007).  At first, robots were used impersonally.  They were used in factories where they helped build automobiles, in offices to deliver mail, or to show visitors around museums.  Now, robots are being used more affectionately.  For example, toys like Sony’s Aibo robot dog, or Tyco’s Tickle Me Elmo, or digital pets like Bandai’s Tamagotchi are loved and enjoyed by children.  Because of the affection created by these robots, Levy created a theory.  “In his thesis, ‘Intimate Relationships with Artificial Partners,’ Levy conjectures that robots will become so human-like in appearance, function and personality that many people will fall in love with them, have sex with them and even marry them.  ‘It may sound a little weird, but it isn’t,’ Levy said.  ‘Love and sex with robots are inevitable’” (Choi, 2007).  Robots are truly becoming more like humans.  A robot named Dexter has even taught itself to walk.

“Dexter took its first tentative steps only a few days after it first discovered how to stand upright.  Dexter’s designers say their robot differs from commercially available predecessors because it can learn from its mistakes” (Walking Robot, 2007).  Is it ethical for humans to have a relationship with robots? People are likely chose robots over humans to have relationships with.  A robot partner could be programmed to be the perfect mate for a human so that disagreements between the two would be minimal or not existent at all.  However, a relationship between humans and robots is prone to be treated with some hostility as relationships between the same sexes were treated at first.

Cybernetics: The Next Evolution of Mankind

“I am C-3PO, Human-Cyborg Relations”

–C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Star Wars

In the medical field, cybernetic prosthesis asks humans to replace one or more parts of their body with robotics.  “A highly dexterous, bio-inspired artificial hand and sensory system that could provide patients with active feeling, is being developed by a European project” (Cybernetic Hand, 2005).  The Cyberhand project intends to go beyond what humans can imagine in prosthesis.  The project plans to hardwire this hand into the nervous system.  This action will allow “sensory feedback from the hand to reach the brain, and instructions to come from the brain to control the hand, at least in part” (Cybernetic Hand, 2005).  Is allowing a robotic hand to be wired to the brain ethical? The idea seems to be a fantastic medical breakthrough but the humans who use the Cyberhand are going to be part robot.  Is there a limit on how far humans should be able to go when replacing a body part or enhancing a body part with robotics?

It will soon be possible to enhance the human brain with electronic “plug-ins” or even by genetic enhancement.  “What will this mean for the future of humanity? This was the theme of a recent Neuroscience in Context meeting in Berlin, Germany, where anthropologists, technologists, neurologists, archaeologists and philosophers met to consider the implications of this next stage of human brain development” (Boosting Brainpower, 2009).  Could the brain enhancement further widen the gap between the social statuses of the human race or even make people super human in their intellect? “Onto the Ethical Issues discussed in the article, most are fairly basic.  Starting with human dignity, referring to comments made by Dietrich Birnbacher, a philosopher at the University of Düsseldorf in Germany: One potential problem arises from altering what we consider to be “normal”: the dangers are similar to the social pressure to conform to idealised forms of beauty, physique or sporting ability that we see today.  People without enhancement could come to see themselves as failures, have lower self-esteem or even be discriminated against by those whose brains have been enhanced, Birnbacher says” (Boosting Brainpower, 2009).

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a “cyborg” which is short for “cybernetic organism” as, “a human who has certain physiological processes aided or controlled by mechanical or electronic devices” (Ask a Scientist, 2008) According to this definition, thousands of cyborgs live among us right now.  “Anyone who has a pacemaker to promote a normal heartbeat, a prosthetic leg with electronic motors, or wears a hearing aid could be considered a cyborg.  While many of these prostheses are designed to replace lost abilities, others are designed to enhance ones that already work” (Ask a Scientist, 2008).  A company called Cyberkinetics recently received approval from the government to experiment with neural prosthesis which would permit humans with severe paralysis to send commands to a computer using only their thoughts.  “If this technology works, then people who aren’t paralyzed might also be able to use it to supplement their normal abilities.  The advanced cyborgs of the future—some of whom may be elected to government—may simply be regular humans with biological implants that give them super-human abilities” (Ask a Scientist, 2008).

Telemedicine and robotics serve the ethical principle in that they expand the amount of practitioners of many medical disciplines to make their services available in areas they cannot possibly reach in person.  Robotics can thus diminish the lack of medical specialists in underserved regions and countries.  However, there is the risk that these robotics may aggravate relocation of medical specialists from low-resource areas, by allowing them means to serve the countries or areas they leave, by electronic and robotic technologies.  “In its 1999 statement on telemedicine, the World Medical Association emphasizes that regardless of the telemedicine system under which the physician is operating, the principles of medical ethics globally binding upon the medical profession must never be compromised” (Dickens & Cook, 2006).  These include such matters as “ensuring confidentiality, reliability of equipment, the offering of opinions only when possessing necessary information, and contemporaneous record-keeping” (Dickens & Cook, 2006).  Can robots treat patients in an ethical manner? Are robots going to ever have opinions? These questions are hard to answer because robots can be made to treat patients but they will be lacking the human aspects that medical specialists need to have.

Open Source: Advancement Through Collaboration

“In a world without walls, who needs Gates and Windows?”

–Scott McNealy on Microsoft

A long-standing, but quickly-growing debate in the world of business information technology is that of using open source versus closed source software.  Open source generally denotes software that is freely available to acquire, distribute, modify, and adapt depending on the end-users’ needs.  This concept, however, is not restricted solely to software.  A broader definition would be one that includes any sort of technology in which the end-user has free (as in “freedom”) access to the products’ source material (Wikipedia, 2009).

The most fundamental ethical issue behind open source is a question of ownership.  When one creates a new piece of software, that developer, traditionally, has had a Lockean private property sense of ownership over it wherein only the developer has access to the information and controls all aspects of where and how the product is distributed.  This Draconian view stifles innovation and discourages criticism and peer review which is so key to advancing technology.  With the open source model, technology is subject to immediate review and feedback to create better products faster and more in line with the end-users’ needs.

In the economy of the 21st century, information is pivotal to all advancement.  Unfortunately, information itself is impossible to put a fair price on and impossible to keep value in (Velazquez, 2006).  Once an individual has obtained that information, it is useless–as well as morally bankrupt–to keep it to oneself, excepting very rare instances.  Companies attempt to control this information by making their products closed–refusing to provide details regarding the nature of their software–and protecting those secrets at any cost.  Some even go so far as to take legal action for another entity reverse-engineering a product in order to comply with certain interface standards (Spinello, 1997).  The open source model attempts to put a moral imperative to share information–in a utilitarian sense that all parties receive a net gain through technological advancement–into the minds of software developers.

Driving the argument toward open-source development is the idea of interface standards, whereby multiple developers can produce for one infrastructure and consumers benefit the most through pure competition versus a top-down approach to development where one entity controls who will develop for a particular platform.  In the 1980’s, Apple had a technologically-superior product in their Macintosh computer,  but sales slumped in the wake of the open standard IBM PC which allowed for multiple operating systems and a plethora of software titles to be developed faster and distributed more easily than the Macintosh.  Microsoft continued to ensure this market dominance by allowing certain parts of their Windows OS source code to be available (in the form of “libraries” that supplemented the closed-source behemoth) for developers to freely adapt their products to the mushrooming interface standard.  Apple, since their 2001 renaissance, has still embraced a closed-source model for all their developing, especially for their “killer app,” the iPhone, and it may again prove to be their Achilles heel as open source giant Google’s Android platform is gaining serious momentum, poised to topple the de-facto king of the mobile computing market (Roth, 2008).

In addition to providing market analysts with interesting article-fodder, the interface standard debate has started to appear in the academic arena as specialists debate the need for a universal standard by which newcomers to the IT field can learn during their postsecondary education and not have to be re-taught a new, proprietary system every time they change employers.  This kind of redundancy inhibits productivity and wastes valuable resources which can be better allocated to support and improvement roles (Chua, 2005).  Also in the business IT field, is the question of using unlicensed software.  Often times, because of monopolistic forces brought on by closed-source products (notably Microsoft Windows and Office), companies adopt these software suites as their standard, but are forced to pay unfair prices in order to legally use them.  This is where open source products can certainly make a difference.  Custom derivations of the Linux operating system can be produced for little to no cost, for example, and distributed across a corporate infrastructure while open source productivity suites (a la and Google Documents)–even though they may not be as “pretty” and as their commercial, closed source counterparts–can provide all the functions a company needs to communicate internally and externally.

Quite possibly the most poignant argument between open and closed source information technology lies in the nature of security.  As stated, information is power in our society and, while the majority of (non-personal) information should inherently be free, certain kinds of privileged, personal information should be kept confidential.  This information includes financial records, medical records, personal identification numbers, and so-forth.  To keep this information secure, certain protocols have to be adapted.  In the world of closed source software, as is evidenced by Microsoft Windows’s track record for gaping security flaws and proliferation of malware, this is not so easily done.  The problem again lies in the lack of available peer review and transparency with regard to its methods of storing and transmitting information.  The idea of “security through obscurity” neglects any thought of a malicious individual breaking through the closed source barriers and only confounds the problem by preventing concerned developers from immediately identifying, diagnosing, and fixing the problem.  In the open source world, however, malware is almost unheard of as any security flaws are nearly immediately recognised through peer review and repaired just as fast.  Thus, security is maintained through transparency and collaboration rather than through walls and litigation (Chua, 2005).

The open source philosophy transcends mere software development and can easily permeate every aspect of our society by encouraging a utilitarian idea of fairness that supports Adam Smith’s “invisible hand.”  The spirit of cooperation and the spirit of competition work together to push technology forward–just like a spirit of openness and freedom allowed the Western world to triumph over the closed, walled-off Soviet empire during the Cold War.  There is no technology in existence that did not have its origins in a previous idea or design and there should not be legal barriers to continuing this practice.  Technological advancement is inherently organic; it evolves just as species in the wild do, and there should be no hindrance to this effect (Wikipedia, 2009).

Works Cited

Ask a Scientist.  (2008, November 27).  Retrieved November 14, 2009

Assault Drone. (2009, September 27). Retrieved November 16, 2009

Blankenhorn, Dana.  (2008, April 28).  Study Calls Robot the Better Surgeon.  Retrieved November 14, 2009 from ZDNet Healthcare

Boosting Brainpower(2009, May 14).  Retrieved November 14, 2009

Choi, Charles Q.  (2007, October 12).  Sex and Marriage With Robots? It Could Happen. Retrieved November 14, 2009 from MSNBC

Chua, Sacha.  (2005, January 4).  Ethical Issues in Open Source [Web log message].

Contemporary Genetics – Dna, Genomics, And The New Ethical Dilemmas(2009).  Retrieved November 20, 2009

Cybernetic Hand Prosthesis is Under Development(2005, December 12).  Retrieved November 14, 2009

Dickens, Bernard, & Cook, Rebecca J.  (2006).  Legal and Ethical Issues in Telemedicine and Robotics.  International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 94, 73-78.

Ethical Issues Concerning Robots and Android Humanoids.  (2008, June 5).  Retrieved November 14, 2009

Glass Cockpit. in Wikipedia.  Retrieved November 22, 2009

Lazou, Chris.  (2002, July 22).  Ethical Issues – Genetic Engineering.  Retrieved November 20, 2009, from Primeur Weekly website

Open Source.  (n.d.).  in Wikipedia.  Retrieved November 22, 2009

Roth, Daniel.  (2008, June 23).  Google’s Open Source Android OS Will Free the Wireless Web. Retrieved November 22, 2009 from Wired

Spinello, Richard A.  (1997).  Software Compatibility and Reverse Engineering.  In Richard A. Spinello, Case Studies in Information and Computer Ethics.  (pp.  142-145).  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

The Future is Here(2006, November 5).  Retrieved November 14, 2009

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. (n.d.).  in Wikipedia.  Retrieved November 22, 2009

Velazquez, Manuel G.  (2006).  Business Ethics: Concepts and Cases, Sixth Edition.  Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Walking Robot Steps Up The Pace(2007, March 2).  Retrieved November 14, 2009

Waltz, David L. (1996).  Artificial Intelligence: Realizing the Ultimate Promises of Computing. Retrieved November 22, 2009


How To Play The Android Easter Egg Game

The team over at Google has done a great labor of love building Android into the powerhouse it is today, and part of that labor is hiding a simple Flappy Bird-style game as an Android Easter egg in the code. If you’re like me and don’t keep games on your phone, it’s a cinch to access in a boredom emergency–if you know how!

To access the Android Easter egg, access the settings screen by puling the notification shade down and tapping the cog icon in the top right corner. Scroll down to “About phone” and give it a tap. On the About phone screen, find the section for Android version and start tapping repeatedly. About 5 taps and you’ll get a strange icon on your screen.

Android Easter egg splash iconTap then long-press the “M” icon to get a marshmallow icon. Repeat this a few times to start the game.

screenshot_20160930-222614It’s rather difficult, but if you find yourself getting good, you can always add more Androids.

screenshot_20160930-222754Yeah, good luck with that….

How To Enable Android Developer Settings

Sometimes you just want a little more granular control over your phone, but you don’t want to flash the software to something like Cyanogenmod since the current version doesn’t work well on your phone. For times like this, the best thing to do is enable Android developer settings on your device.

I like these settings because they let me set the phone up just so, and add or take away things that I’d like to see in the UI. The Android team hasn’t given us every possible option yet, but there are a lot of great options such as turning off animations and other little tweaks to make the OS run a bit faster as well as nice at-a-glance changes like adding a numerical battery percentage to the charge indicator.

To enable developer options, open the Settings page by clicking the cog icon in the notification shade. Tap on “About phone” to bring up the appropriate page, then tap “Build number” repeatedly until Android congratulates you on your persistence and awards you the coveted Developer Options menu.

android developer settingsAdditionally, Marshmallow includes another secret menu called the System UI Tuner that allows for minor tweaks and adjustments to the interface–all in the name of customization! (Take that, Apple!) To access the System UI Tuner, pull down the notification shade and long-press the cog icon until it begins to spin. You’ll receive a notification and can then access the new menu option from the Settings panel.

screenshot_20160930-230507One word of caution: The System UI Tuner mostly contains experimental options that could change, break, or disappear entirely when your phone updates, so keep that in mind. Meanwhile, enjoy!

Product Review: SXE Electronics Wireless Charging Digital Alarm Clock

Looking for a good, cheap way to upgrade an older phone to have wireless charging? This probably isn’t it. It’s the good, the bad, and the REALLY ugly about the SXE Electronics Wireless Charging Digital Alarm Clock.

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Tech teardowns, repairs, and reviews; sketches; how-to; games; and lots of other interesting geekery. At least one new video per month! Thanks for watching, and be sure to like, share, and subscribe!


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okay so here we have the FX e wireless

00:00:10,360 –> 00:00:19,929
charging digital alarm clock wireless

00:00:15,459 –> 00:00:21,939
charging enabled smartphone anyway so

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here’s the box wirelessly charge your

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smartphone they can charge no wires

00:00:23,830 –> 00:00:26,140
needed because it comes with these

00:00:25,210 –> 00:00:28,720

00:00:26,140 –> 00:00:30,970
wireless charging adapters that you can

00:00:28,720 –> 00:00:32,860
stick on the banking phone or your

00:00:30,970 –> 00:00:36,340
family ever and then of course you can

00:00:32,860 –> 00:00:39,180
wireless charging have on top a physical

00:00:36,340 –> 00:00:43,149
device to clock

00:00:39,180 –> 00:00:47,649
fuck your manual side and optional

00:00:43,149 –> 00:00:50,699
battery backup with to delay that’s the

00:00:47,649 –> 00:00:53,910
acquirement well it’s days you just like

00:00:50,699 –> 00:00:53,910
let’s do

00:00:55,970 –> 00:01:05,880

00:00:57,840 –> 00:01:05,880
clock radio units we have two adapters

00:01:05,970 –> 00:01:27,820
AC adapter patient there this is light

00:01:18,310 –> 00:01:34,350
adapter the adapter it Saturday the

00:01:27,820 –> 00:01:42,700
adapter 110 120 240 240 in Portland –

00:01:34,350 –> 00:01:47,940
what – amp to 5 volt pan 6 and center

00:01:42,700 –> 00:01:47,940
positive barrel adapter 3 standard stuff

00:01:48,600 –> 00:01:58,960
there’s your battery port for two

00:01:51,520 –> 00:02:04,420
doublea’s charging pad oats it cut some

00:01:58,960 –> 00:02:06,700
nice kind of a rubbery substance here

00:02:04,420 –> 00:02:11,170
just to hold your stuff in place little

00:02:06,700 –> 00:02:13,660
grippy see I low and off for your alarm

00:02:11,170 –> 00:02:17,190
time that alarm stuff squeeze your

00:02:13,660 –> 00:02:19,530
dimmer minute

00:02:17,190 –> 00:02:21,210
and that’s pretty much all there is to

00:02:19,530 –> 00:02:22,500
it there’s no radio function or anything

00:02:21,210 –> 00:02:24,450
like that

00:02:22,500 –> 00:02:25,860
not that we need that on this model this

00:02:24,450 –> 00:02:30,810
is just something that we’re going to

00:02:25,860 –> 00:02:34,350
use to charge charge phone and cell time

00:02:30,810 –> 00:02:39,420
with we got to plug down you can see

00:02:34,350 –> 00:02:42,690
this is pretty bright see if it would

00:02:39,420 –> 00:02:46,590
affect the general settings so the

00:02:42,690 –> 00:02:53,940
lowest one should be okay for for

00:02:46,590 –> 00:03:01,260
nighttime use set the alarm for highest

00:02:53,940 –> 00:03:10,950
setting here goes off moving

00:03:01,260 –> 00:03:10,950

00:03:14,470 –> 00:03:23,850

00:03:20,090 –> 00:03:27,630
love it uh we’ll hook up the phone and

00:03:23,850 –> 00:03:28,830
see how it does with charging so what

00:03:27,630 –> 00:03:31,890
we’re going to do so we’re just gonna

00:03:28,830 –> 00:03:39,750
fit this right off in the back the phone

00:03:31,890 –> 00:03:44,570
here look it yeah right there your

00:03:39,750 –> 00:03:44,570
father she is fits them nice and snugly

00:03:44,660 –> 00:04:00,750
popper into case

00:03:48,440 –> 00:04:03,090
sure charging it’s charging there this

00:04:00,750 –> 00:04:06,210
is a yeah this is kind of ridiculous

00:04:03,090 –> 00:04:12,150
hear how this caught plug them sent

00:04:06,210 –> 00:04:19,200
Sunday now Friday and it has game looks

00:04:12,150 –> 00:04:21,600
like 11 minutes or so yeah so it’s on

00:04:19,200 –> 00:04:24,800
I’m a three minute the day to to in

00:04:21,600 –> 00:04:26,040
changes day over five day that’s

00:04:24,800 –> 00:04:29,850

00:04:26,040 –> 00:04:31,980
bad timing in this plan so if you want

00:04:29,850 –> 00:04:35,190
an accurate clock this is not going to

00:04:31,980 –> 00:04:36,990
be the one as I was afraid of this was

00:04:35,190 –> 00:04:39,030
sort of something that was handed in the

00:04:36,990 –> 00:04:42,300
back of my mind the whole time I was

00:04:39,030 –> 00:04:46,190
playing with this nowhere on the box

00:04:42,300 –> 00:04:48,000
does it say that it is Qi compliant and

00:04:46,190 –> 00:04:50,880
that’s the problem

00:04:48,000 –> 00:04:52,860
now of course it says

00:04:50,880 –> 00:04:54,930
the other you know compatible with

00:04:52,860 –> 00:04:56,370
wireless charging in a smartphone other

00:04:54,930 –> 00:05:01,100
smartphones like an iphone blah blah

00:04:56,370 –> 00:05:03,960
blah maybe adaptors to work with this

00:05:01,100 –> 00:05:08,520
unfortunately these adapters are also

00:05:03,960 –> 00:05:13,770
not Chi compliant thus they do not work

00:05:08,520 –> 00:05:16,200
on any qi chargers they only work on

00:05:13,770 –> 00:05:18,380
this charger this particular charger

00:05:16,200 –> 00:05:23,250
which pretty much makes them useless

00:05:18,380 –> 00:05:25,860
that’s a deal breaker right there so sxe

00:05:23,250 –> 00:05:29,730
wireless charging digital alarm clock

00:05:25,860 –> 00:05:32,840
stay away from it don’t buy this do not

00:05:29,730 –> 00:05:37,710
waste your money on this piece of trash

00:05:32,840 –> 00:05:42,830
get yourself a real qi adapter and a

00:05:37,710 –> 00:05:42,830
real key compatible charger

00:05:43,720 –> 00:05:51,759

Omoton Moto X Pure/Style Case Unbox & Review

The Omoton cases offer great quality on a budget. This is a dual-layer case offering a shock-absorbing polyurethane inner layer surrounded by a rigid polycarbonate outer shell, and it fixes the biggest “feature” of the Moto X Pure: it’s curved back!

Grab one here (AFFILIATE LINK):

–Be sure to subscribe!
–Follow on Twitter
–LIVE on Periscope every Wed @ 5pm Pacific
–Everything else is at

Tech teardowns, repairs, and reviews; sketches; how-to; games; and lots of other interesting geekery. At least one new video per month! Thanks for watching, and be sure to like, share, and subscribe!


00:00:01,780 –> 00:00:14,920
I ordered this from Amazon

00:00:09,070 –> 00:00:18,070
it’s the omelet on Moto X pure case this

00:00:14,920 –> 00:00:22,150
is it’s like ten bucks on Amazon stuff

00:00:18,070 –> 00:00:25,840
like that and it promises to give you a

00:00:22,150 –> 00:00:30,970
flat back now if I just get blasting

00:00:25,840 –> 00:00:34,360
open promises to give you a flat back on

00:00:30,970 –> 00:00:38,350
your phone which can be useful for

00:00:34,360 –> 00:00:41,320
things like wireless charging okay so

00:00:38,350 –> 00:00:53,110
it’s in the box and then it comes in

00:00:41,320 –> 00:01:08,530
this kind of a plastic zipper top kind

00:00:53,110 –> 00:01:11,159
of bag here and when I feel hard just a

00:01:08,530 –> 00:01:11,159
business card

00:01:11,619 –> 00:01:18,009
Oh gonna come a little mock up going

00:01:14,619 –> 00:01:20,829
inside it’s got a nice feel to it it’s

00:01:18,009 –> 00:01:23,920
not it’s not super slick but it’s not

00:01:20,829 –> 00:01:27,670
like you know doesn’t feel like hard

00:01:23,920 –> 00:01:32,380
tough plastic so you know that’s or

00:01:27,670 –> 00:01:33,750
whatever it’s got this put the two-piece

00:01:32,380 –> 00:01:42,329

00:01:33,750 –> 00:01:42,329
thank you so it is a two-piece case and

00:01:42,450 –> 00:01:48,700
okay so you know you’ve got you’ve got

00:01:44,590 –> 00:01:53,560
this soft internal part and then you

00:01:48,700 –> 00:01:55,390
have this harder and you know it’s

00:01:53,560 –> 00:01:57,450
pretty rigid you know fairly rigid so

00:01:55,390 –> 00:02:00,039
it’s pretty you know seems like it’s a

00:01:57,450 –> 00:02:02,950
seems like it’s okay now you got some

00:02:00,039 –> 00:02:04,750
some weird sort of like I guess these

00:02:02,950 –> 00:02:08,979
are drip marks or something like that

00:02:04,750 –> 00:02:11,760
from where it was I assumed this was an

00:02:08,979 –> 00:02:16,720
extrusion but I’m not entirely certain

00:02:11,760 –> 00:02:21,459
looks like it may have been stamped into

00:02:16,720 –> 00:02:24,430
the shape so probably what this is and

00:02:21,459 –> 00:02:26,380
we’re just you know hot stamp you know

00:02:24,430 –> 00:02:30,370
press it into place of course it presses

00:02:26,380 –> 00:02:32,349
in this little lot with little branding

00:02:30,370 –> 00:02:35,040
knots you know which one it goes to of

00:02:32,349 –> 00:02:43,569
course it matches the inside of this one

00:02:35,040 –> 00:02:47,859
here so first things first is as we put

00:02:43,569 –> 00:02:50,519
this guy inside here and you know if

00:02:47,859 –> 00:02:50,519
it’s pretty snug

00:02:50,790 –> 00:02:56,400
it’s pretty stuff it is not form-fitting

00:02:54,120 –> 00:02:59,010
as you see I’m thinking there was going

00:02:56,400 –> 00:03:00,840
to be a spacer or something here but

00:02:59,010 –> 00:03:03,690
there’s there’s not there’s just the

00:03:00,840 –> 00:03:05,670
booster just a void here and I don’t

00:03:03,690 –> 00:03:08,240
know if I like them or not

00:03:05,670 –> 00:03:11,870
I will probably do something here to

00:03:08,240 –> 00:03:15,480

00:03:11,870 –> 00:03:17,940
shore that up a little bit but there’s a

00:03:15,480 –> 00:03:23,340
little bit of a void there and then if

00:03:17,940 –> 00:03:25,260
we take that and we can snap that right

00:03:23,340 –> 00:03:27,720
over it

00:03:25,260 –> 00:03:30,000
you know the little beefier feels beep

00:03:27,720 –> 00:03:34,829
here now and doesn’t feel quite as bad

00:03:30,000 –> 00:03:36,510
right there where that point is but it’s

00:03:34,829 –> 00:03:40,829
definitely beefier it’s definitely

00:03:36,510 –> 00:03:45,450
heavier than this little guy is falling

00:03:40,829 –> 00:03:46,950
apart if you got buttons right here so

00:03:45,450 –> 00:03:50,459
you’ve got nice access to your power

00:03:46,950 –> 00:03:53,940
your plus and minus volume hold that

00:03:50,459 –> 00:03:56,099
down and that turns the screen on just

00:03:53,940 –> 00:03:57,630
fine it actually feels a little bit

00:03:56,099 –> 00:04:00,000
better than the buttons on here which

00:03:57,630 –> 00:04:02,280
are raised and they tended to not hit

00:04:00,000 –> 00:04:03,650
the button right so that feels a little

00:04:02,280 –> 00:04:09,209
bit better

00:04:03,650 –> 00:04:12,419
our button works just fine and volume

00:04:09,209 –> 00:04:16,070
seems to work really nicely so looks

00:04:12,419 –> 00:04:21,530
like we’re good at nice access to the

00:04:16,070 –> 00:04:24,389
power power supply port the USB port

00:04:21,530 –> 00:04:25,979
yeah everything seems to be good you got

00:04:24,389 –> 00:04:27,450
got your camera and your flash

00:04:25,979 –> 00:04:29,789
everything none of this is actually

00:04:27,450 –> 00:04:31,919
impeded by anything that’s just open

00:04:29,789 –> 00:04:33,120
well there’s your head from your

00:04:31,919 –> 00:04:36,900
headphone jack right there and that’s

00:04:33,120 –> 00:04:40,530
available there’s no flaps or anything

00:04:36,900 –> 00:04:43,200
to really deal with here the real test

00:04:40,530 –> 00:04:46,410
is going to come from carrying into my

00:04:43,200 –> 00:04:50,280
pocket and of course when it starts to

00:04:46,410 –> 00:04:52,520
get warmer carrying having this mounted

00:04:50,280 –> 00:04:55,699
in the windshield of my car

00:04:52,520 –> 00:05:00,319
I normally do see how well this stands

00:04:55,699 –> 00:05:04,360
up to heat and ultraviolet so I will

00:05:00,319 –> 00:05:07,569
report back on that when I get there

00:05:04,360 –> 00:05:07,569
Tallyho yell

How To Add Wireless Charging To Any Device

With just a few off-the-shelf parts, you can add wireless charging to any portable device!

Qi Wireless Charging Receiver:
Omoton Case for Moto X Pure:
Choetech Wireless Charger:

–Be sure to subscribe!…
–Follow on Twitter
–LIVE on Periscope every Wed @ 5pm Pacific
–Everything else is at

Tech teardowns, repairs, and reviews; sketches; how-to; games; and lots of other interesting geekery. At least one new video per month! Thanks for watching, and be sure to like, share, and subscribe!

“Shaving Mirror” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License


00:00:02,389 –> 00:00:07,680
okay so today we’re going to look at a

00:00:04,470 –> 00:00:10,110
very simple non hack that you can do

00:00:07,680 –> 00:00:14,340
more of more of a pro tip that you can

00:00:10,110 –> 00:00:17,940
do to turn a non wirelessly charging

00:00:14,340 –> 00:00:19,560
phone into a Qi compliant wireless

00:00:17,940 –> 00:00:22,289
charging phone that you can use with

00:00:19,560 –> 00:00:26,310
pretty much anything available market

00:00:22,289 –> 00:00:31,289
now I have tried this already with a

00:00:26,310 –> 00:00:34,980
piece of trash deal right there and of

00:00:31,289 –> 00:00:38,430
course it wasn’t she complained so do

00:00:34,980 –> 00:00:40,950
not recommend what you should do you

00:00:38,430 –> 00:00:44,910
should do the smart way and grab

00:00:40,950 –> 00:00:46,140
yourself a party grab this the case in

00:00:44,910 –> 00:00:49,050
the case of patriotism

00:00:46,140 –> 00:00:52,079
so I got the helmet on case here and you

00:00:49,050 –> 00:00:54,870
can see overview of that I’ll put a link

00:00:52,079 –> 00:00:57,180
somewhere as you can see the view of the

00:00:54,870 –> 00:01:00,270
case it’s a good little case that with

00:00:57,180 –> 00:01:04,100
no cream for a protective mouthpiece

00:01:00,270 –> 00:01:04,100
fishing form and then sort of a harder

00:01:05,810 –> 00:01:10,660

00:01:07,560 –> 00:01:13,220
so the Carter classic partnership

00:01:10,660 –> 00:01:16,370
it’s nice because it steps look it

00:01:13,220 –> 00:01:19,700
allows the phones except last slide

00:01:16,370 –> 00:01:23,540
expenses which going to be imperative if

00:01:19,700 –> 00:01:25,190
we’re going to get a good connection and

00:01:23,540 –> 00:01:27,920
then I got this wireless charger on

00:01:25,190 –> 00:01:30,110
Amazon for in a couple bucks it’s not a

00:01:27,920 –> 00:01:32,870
big deal decreasing all over the place

00:01:30,110 –> 00:01:38,210
make sure you get one that she compliant

00:01:32,870 –> 00:01:44,990
as most of them are the long time most

00:01:38,210 –> 00:01:48,710
of them so I think this is a super

00:01:44,990 –> 00:01:50,540
simple not not even a real hack so we’ve

00:01:48,710 –> 00:01:54,470
got our little charging pad as you see

00:01:50,540 –> 00:01:57,320
it’s got the key icon air so you do know

00:01:54,470 –> 00:01:59,710
that it is Qi compliant or at least we

00:01:57,320 –> 00:02:01,790
hope that is Qi compliant you know but

00:01:59,710 –> 00:02:05,960
all we got to do is just plug this

00:02:01,790 –> 00:02:07,820
little guy here into BA and I’m going to

00:02:05,960 –> 00:02:09,950
actually put it I’m actually going to

00:02:07,820 –> 00:02:11,150
put the charger down here towards the

00:02:09,950 –> 00:02:13,430
bottom not actually going to Center it

00:02:11,150 –> 00:02:15,380
up on the phone on this particular model

00:02:13,430 –> 00:02:18,140
simply because you’re going to create

00:02:15,380 –> 00:02:21,350
there’s a little bit of thickness here

00:02:18,140 –> 00:02:24,049
with there’s a little circuit board in

00:02:21,350 –> 00:02:25,250
here and of course the antenna that adds

00:02:24,049 –> 00:02:27,350
a little bit of thickness so I’m going

00:02:25,250 –> 00:02:30,560
to stick it down here where the phone

00:02:27,350 –> 00:02:32,840
curves in just so it doesn’t create the

00:02:30,560 –> 00:02:34,370
bulge on the back of the phone that

00:02:32,840 –> 00:02:36,530
would allow that would make the phone

00:02:34,370 –> 00:02:40,970
sit and rock and do all the annoying

00:02:36,530 –> 00:02:44,180
things anyway so then so all we’re going

00:02:40,970 –> 00:02:48,580
to do is just place that there they’re

00:02:44,180 –> 00:02:48,580
going to that

00:02:49,140 –> 00:02:54,880

00:02:50,790 –> 00:03:02,460
over them play nice and or Center down

00:02:54,880 –> 00:03:09,300
there on top slide enter squishy parked

00:03:02,460 –> 00:03:13,060
over that have an enforce lift the

00:03:09,300 –> 00:03:16,330
harder outer shot onto a mic back now we

00:03:13,060 –> 00:03:21,160
have a Moto X pure a little extra beep –

00:03:16,330 –> 00:03:24,550
that looks perhaps to it but it is it is

00:03:21,160 –> 00:03:27,190
flat on the back that’s nice it’s kind

00:03:24,550 –> 00:03:30,490
of nice weight – I like I like kind of

00:03:27,190 –> 00:03:33,100
this bp4 debuff that’s throwback to the

00:03:30,490 –> 00:03:36,730
old track very like – mom you know

00:03:33,100 –> 00:03:39,520
pulling up inside your head Zack Morris

00:03:36,730 –> 00:03:43,060
phone anyway so I liked a little bit of

00:03:39,520 –> 00:03:44,950
weight there it adds a substantial bit

00:03:43,060 –> 00:03:46,120
there and when I’m when I’m traveling

00:03:44,950 –> 00:03:48,010
when I’ve got this gun mounted it

00:03:46,120 –> 00:03:50,540
doesn’t shake quite so much just get a

00:03:48,010 –> 00:03:52,849
little more inertia to

00:03:50,540 –> 00:03:54,890
so that’s that and it really that is

00:03:52,849 –> 00:03:56,540
that is all there is to it is very

00:03:54,890 –> 00:03:59,780
simple hack I’ll throw it on the charger

00:03:56,540 –> 00:04:03,230
here so you can see what happens so here

00:03:59,780 –> 00:04:05,209
we have a G compliant charger that I

00:04:03,230 –> 00:04:07,909
picked up at IKEA me has this section

00:04:05,209 –> 00:04:11,900
from ten bucks on the way over there I

00:04:07,909 –> 00:04:14,959
don’t really care but it works we got to

00:04:11,900 –> 00:04:18,650
do is just stick that on there and as

00:04:14,959 –> 00:04:21,680
you see it’s now charging I mean that’s

00:04:18,650 –> 00:04:23,270
really all you got to do so if you liked

00:04:21,680 –> 00:04:26,120
the video and I’ll give it a thumbs up

00:04:23,270 –> 00:04:27,680
share with your friends and of course

00:04:26,120 –> 00:04:31,610
you know always subscribe that’s pretty

00:04:27,680 –> 00:04:33,880
cool too and until next time Cali oh

00:04:31,610 –> 00:04:33,880

00:04:39,240 –> 00:04:41,270


How To Set Up The Google AIY Voice Kit

AI voice assistants are the latest new hotness to come out of Silicon Valley, but before they were in every electronics department, they were much the exclusive playground of the DIY tinkerer. With kits like Google’s AIY line, hackers and makers can build their own voice assistants with little more than the good ol’ Raspberry Pi! In this video, I’ll walk you through how to set up the Google AIY Voice kit on a Raspberry Pi and run one of the demo python scripts to start building your own voice interfaces!


Google AIY Voice Kit

Raspberry Pi 3B+ (with appropriate SD card and power supply)


AIY Custom Raspbian

Google Developer Console


If you’re having trouble with segmentation faults crashing the Python demos, invoke these commands as Pi to install the earlier Google Assistant Library Python modules:

pip3 install google-assistant-library==1.0.0
pip3 install google-assistant-library

If you’re receiving the following error message

File "/home/pi/AIY-projects-python/src/aiy/assistant/", line 75, in _credentials_flow_interactive
webbrowser.register('chromium-browser', None, webbrowser.Chrome('chromium-browser'), -1)
TypeError: register() takes from 2 to 3 positional arguments but 4 were given

Then change line 75 in /home/pi/AIY-projects-python/src/aiy/assistant/auth_helpers.pyto the following:

webbrowser.register('chromium-browser', None, webbrowser.Chrome('chromium-browser'), preferred=True)

Be sure to keep the indentation and spacing the same as the original as it the code is sensitive.

How To Automatically Select Random Google Wear Android Watch Faces

Say you’re an aficionado of novelty like I am, but you also don’t like being overwhelmed by the paradox of choice when it comes to the myriad Google Wear watch faces. I have a huge array of Android watch faces installed, and I would like to have a way to randomly select a new watch face every day. To automatically select a random Google Wear Android watch face, you just need to have the Tasker app installed on your primary Android device with the AutoInput plugin also installed.

Once those prerequisites are met, you can create a task in Tasker called “Switch Watchface” and populate it with the following code:

A1: Array Push [ Variable Array:%watchfaces Position:9999 Value:/*ENTER THE NAME OF THE WATCH FACE HERE*/ Fill Spaces:Off ]
A2: Array Push [ Variable Array:%watchfaces Position:9999 Value:/*USE AS MANY 'ARRAY PUSH' LINES AS YOU HAVE WATCH FACES YOU WANT TO SELECT FROM*/ Fill Spaces:Off ]
A3: Variable Set [ Name:%count To:%watchfaces(#) Recurse Variables:Off Do Maths:Off Append:Off Max Rounding Digits:0 ]
A4: Variable Randomize [ Name:%random Min:1 Max:%count ]
A5: Variable Set [ Name:%watchface To:%watchfaces(%random) Recurse Variables:Off Do Maths:Off Append:Off Max Rounding Digits:0 ]
A6: Popup [ Title: Text:Switching watch face to %watchface Background Image: Layout:Popup Timeout (Seconds):1 Show Over Keyguard:On ]
A7: Launch App [ Package/App Name:Android Wear Data: Exclude From Recent Apps:Off Always Start New Copy:On ]
A8: Wait [ MS:0 Seconds:1 Minutes:0 Hours:0 Days:0 ]
A9: AutoInput Action [ Configuration:Type: Text
Value: More
Action : Click Timeout (Seconds):23 ]
A10: Wait [ MS:0 Seconds:1 Minutes:0 Hours:0 Days:0 ]
<check if on screen>
A11: AutoInput UI Query [ Configuration:Variables: faces() Timeout (Seconds):20 ]
A12: If [ %faces(#?%watchface) eq 0 ]
A13: Flash [ Text:Didn't find %watchface. Scrolling... Long:Off ]
A14: AutoInput Action [ Configuration:Type: Id
Action : Scroll Forward Timeout (Seconds):20 ]
A15: Wait [ MS:0 Seconds:1 Minutes:0 Hours:0 Days:0 ]
A16: Goto [ Type:Action Label Number:1 Label:check if on screen ]
A17: Else
A18: Flash [ Text:Found %watchface. Switching to it! Long:Off ]
A19: End If
A20: AutoInput Action [ Configuration:Type: Text
Value: %watchface
Action : Click Timeout (Seconds):20 ]
A21: Wait [ MS:0 Seconds:1 Minutes:0 Hours:0 Days:0 ]
A22: AutoInput Action [ Configuration:Type: Text
Value: Set on watch
Action : Click
Is Tasker Action: false
Check Screen State: false Timeout (Seconds):1 Continue Task After Error:On ]
A23: Wait [ MS:0 Seconds:1 Minutes:0 Hours:0 Days:0 ]
A24: Go Home [ Page:0 ]

What this task does is it creates an array populated by the names of each watch face to be selected from. Then it creates a variable %count whose value is the number of items in the array. Then it creates a %random variable with a value of a randomized number between 1 and the value of %count.  With as the random number selected, it assigns the %watchface variable the name of whichever watch face is located at that position in the array.

With a %watchface defined, Tasker launches the Android Wear app, looks for the word “More” on the screen, taps it to bring up the list of watch faces, looks for the name of the watch face (it’s important that the %watchfaces array is populated by exact matches, otherwise Tasker will not find them!), taps the menu icon for the watch face, then taps “Set on watch”, setting the watch face.

If Tasker doesn’t find the name of the watch face, it will automatically scroll, looking for the name of the face.

Once the watch face has been set, Tasker will exit the app back to the home screen. The whole process takes about 5 seconds or so, depending on how many times Tasker has to scroll.

For your convenience, I have saved this task as an XML file that can be directly imported into Tasker. You can download that file here.

Mastering Two Elusive Windows Entertainment Pack Games: Spider Solitaire and Minesweeper

In the mid-90s, I was very much a console gamer. OG Nintendo, to be more precise. I was knee-deep into games like The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. 3. My folks bought a second-hand 286 DOS machine when I entered middle school so I would have access to a computer, but in 1995, it was already woefully outdated with the only real games available being the handful of titles that were already installed (shout out to Mixed-Up Mother Goose) or whatever might be found in the bargain bin at the local computer store (Street Rod 2 FTW!). With Windows 3.11 and 95 being adopted across the market, I was enamored with games like Chip’s Challenge and SkiFree on the occasions that I got to play around on a relative’s machine. When I got my first “modern” computer in high school (a Pentium 75 from Micro Center running Windows 95), I took little time attempting to “catch up” with my PC gaming peers: Quake, Duke Nukem, and Command & Conquer became my lingua franca for a couple of years. When America Online and The Internet came along in the late 1990s (my AOL journey is a story for another day), I would tie up the phone line for hours trying to download a 30-second RealMedia video clip over 56kbps. Unfortunately, attempting to kill time by playing some of the “better” PC games would necessitate severing the connection due to the RAM requirements, so I became intimately familiar with the built-in Windows games like Freecell, Minesweeper, and–my favorite–Spider Solitaire.

Thirty-five minutes of careful planning, testing, and undoing to get it right.
For great justice!

Spider was always a fun diversion for me, but I never really played higher than the easy level with one suit. This was a diversion, after all, so I only really needed to steer my attention away for 5-10 minutes at a time, and the easy level could allow me a quick game while still being able to catch The Daily Show with Craig Kilborn while downloading the latest video weirdness from Consumption Junction or loading that week’s SomethingAwful Photoshop Phriday post. Spider is one of those interesting solitaire games that evolves in complexity as you add more suits to the deck, culminating in an extremely difficult 4-suit deck that causes dead ends at nearly every turn of a card. It’s a challenging game, and I nearly forgot about it for years until I rediscovered it on Android. For a time, I would play during any spare minutes I had–usually before bed–until I finally worked my way up to a 4-suit game. It’s a great challenge, and after an unusual hot streak, I finally managed to win a game at this hardest difficulty!

Slow and steady wins the race. Think of the children that could've stepped on a mine you missed!

Like Spider, Minesweeper was another Windows game that I would dig into while I was waiting on documents to load during those bygone days of the early Internet. Minesweeper was a strategy game for those times when I felt like I needed a little more tension. It’s not as difficult a game as Spider considering that it (usually) gives you all the information you need to locate the mines in the form of those colorful numbers that populate the board. Again, I usually only played at the easy level because I was lazy and because I only needed to kill so much time (my long-term gaming sessions were populated by favorites such as C&C Red Alert and X-Wing). Also again, I rediscovered the game on Android after a years-long hiatus due to my concentrating on aspects of life outside of video games (2006-2016 found me in the throes of what I would refer to as “Survival Mode” wherein I would not have much in the way of gaming time) and I made it a point to dig in and complete a game on the hardest available setting. I actually forgot how much I enjoyed great puzzle games like Minesweeper, and I’ve been enjoying diving into others that I have in my collection like BoxyBoy and Donkey Kong ’94.

I know that both Spider and Minesweeper seem to be fairly easy games to program, and I’ve been on a kick to sharpen my coding tools. As such, I’m going to add developing my own versions of these games to my project list. I’ve always learned programming languages best by following models and learning the mechanics of the code as I go, so I’ll be using an iterative format to develop my own applications over time. My goal is to document the development of both applications as I go so that I’ll be able to reinforce the skills I learn as well as provide a reference to anyone else that may want to learn how to develop their own versions of these classic games. It’s a little exciting to finally learn the mechanics behind these pieces of my own history, and I hope to gain some practical knowledge that I can use on later projects that I have planned!

How To Install Android Apps On Windows 11 Without Amazon

Microsoft has really leaned into the whole open source world since Staya Nadella took over in 2014, and that’s been pretty wonderful if you ask me. I am completely enamored with their use of GitHub for developing Windows modules, and especially with the Windows Subsystem for Linux that lets me run all my favorite Linux tools right from the convenience of Windows Terminal (which is also pretty awesome, by the way). While Apple has doubled-down on the closed-off, walled-garden ecosystem that they’ve been working on since the debut of the iPhone, Microsoft has gone in the opposite direction (to great benefit), embracing the same kinds of interoperability with Android devices through the Your Phone app. The only piece of the puzzle that’s been missing is the ability to run Android apps directly on the desktop which is where the new Windows Subsystem for Android comes in. Unfortunately, the system is immediately hobbled by having only the Amazon app store available, so we’ll need a way to get any and all apps (and app stores) installed. I generally prefer starting from the Google Play store (which has its own caveats, of course), so we’ll need to go through an alternative installation process to set up WSA rather than the straightforward installation via the Microsoft Store.

This tutorial is based on work previously put together by the WSA Community on GitHub with my own commentary to clarify or expand on the subject matter.

Install Windows Subsystem for Android and Windows Subsystem for Linux from the Microsoft Store

The first step in getting the Google version of WSA is to install the stock version (with Amazon) from the Microsoft Store. There are several dependencies that WSA requires, so this is the quickest and easiest way to have them installed on your machine. Once WSA is installed, you can skip signing into the Amazon App Store and uninstall the stock WSA.

To compile a custom version of WSA, we’re going to need a few tools that run exclusively in Linux (Android being based on the Linux kernel, but you knew that). Grab your preferred flavor from the Microsoft Store. I’m using Ubuntu because that’s the one I’m most familiar with (being my daily driver for half a decade). Once you have WSL installed, open a PowerShell terminal and type wsl --list --verbose to verify that your distro is running WSL version 2. If, for whatever reason, your distro is running WSL version 1, you’ll need to stop the WSL with wsl --shutdown and type the following command:

wsl --set-version <distro name> 2 where <distro name> is the name of your distro as listed when you ran the –list command earlier. This will take just a few moments, and you’ll be ready to continue!

Install Linux packages

If you’ve already set up your Linux distro as a tab in Windows Terminal, good on you! Open that tab and get ready to Bash. For the rest of you, start your distro by invoking the following in a PowerShell terminal:

wsl -d <distro name>

Now you’ve got your Linux distro up and running, so the following commands will be entered at the $ prompt (instead of the Windows > prompt):
sudo apt update
sudo apt install unzip lzip

Prepare Installation Folder

Back in Windows Explorer, create a folder at C:\WSA. This is going to be the working folder for our installation. Now, we need to download the installation package. However, since we’re going to be modifying the package, we can’t just grab it from the Microsoft Store (that’s what we did earlier). You’re also going to want to install a Zip archive manager like 7Zip or PeaZip.

Download the WSA installation package

We’re going to use a link generator service to get the installation package from the Microsoft Store’s repository. Navigate to and enter the following settings before clicking the check mark:

ProductID: 9P3395VX91NR

RP: Fast

You’ll be presented with a list of all the files related to that Product ID, but we’re looking for the *.msixbundle file extension associated with WindowsSubsystemForAndroid. The file should measure around 1.3GB. Download the package file to your C:\WSA folder and open it with your Zip manager. You’re going to see a lot of files with the *.msix extension, but sort them by size to find the biggest files. Find the one that matches your OS architecture (for example, WsaPackage_X.X.XXXXX.X_x64_Release-Nightly.msix for a 64-bit Windows) and extract it.

Now, extract the contents of the *.msix file to a new folder within C:\WSA. Locate and delete the following:




and delete the “AppxMetadata” folder.

Download OpenGApps

Navigate to and download the Android 11.0 Pico variant for your architecture.

Save the Zip file in the C:\WSA folder, but don’t extract it.

Clone the GitHub Repo and Populate Directories

Fire up your WSL distro and mount your C:\WSA directrory so you can clone the WSAGAScript repo by running the following at your WSL ($) prompt:
cd /mnt/c/WSA
git clone

(NOTE: If this repository fails, I have a fork at

In Windows Explorer, go back to your extracted WsaPackage folder (the one you deleted files from earlier) and copy the following files into the C:\WSA\WSAGAScript#IMAGES folder:





Lastly, copy the GApps Zip file downloaded earlier into C:\WSA\WSAGAScript#GAPPS (again, do not extract it).

Create the New Installation Package

Check the “” file to verify that your architecture is set correctly, then set the permissions for the scripts that will create the new installation images. From your WSL terminal (you should still be in mnt/c/WSA/WSAGAScript), invoke the following command:

chmod +x *.sh

You can verify the scripts are now executable by invoking ls -l and checking that the *.sh files show “-rwxrwxrwx”. If all is set, then execute the scripts by invoking the following:

sudo ./
sudo ./
sudo ./

Once complete, move the *.img files from the C:\WSA\WSAGAScript#IMAGES folder back to the WsaPackage folder you previously copied them from.

Register the New Installation Package and Install

Open Windows Developer Settings (search “Developer Settings” from the Start Menu) and enable Developer Mode. Close Windows Terminal and open a new PowerShell Terminal as Administrator, then invoke the following command: Add-AppxPackage -Register <path-to-extracted-msix>\AppxManifest.xml where <path-to-extracted-msix> is the path to the WsaPackage folder inside C:\WSA.

WSA will now install with GApps. Once complete, sign into the Google Play Store and install “Android System WebView” to make sure your apps don’t crash.