Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Banning the Bomb

Good idea in theory, but...

Experts doubt plan to block bomb recipes on Web

A European Union proposal to stop people from accessing bomb-making instructions online is fraught with technical difficulties, if not downright unworkable, Internet practitioners say.

"I do intend to carry out a clear exploring exercise with the private sector...on how it is possible to use technology to prevent people from using or searching dangerous words like 'bomb,' 'kill,' 'genocide' or 'terrorism,'" Frattini told Reuters in an interview earlier this month.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Rotten Neighbors

Stumbled onto this via Lifehacker and think it's an absolutely brilliant idea for a GMaps Mashup:

Rotten Neighbor

Not sure how accurately it's being used, but there's a grain of truth to every story, and a lot of these are hilarious.

If only LinkedIn had a similar feature for "reviewing" the unemployable...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Language Barrier At Risk

Interesting article on how the world's languages are fading away. Not sure if I'm more amazed at how many there are (were?), or how many are at risk. Both numbers are bigger than I expected.

Study finds languages quickly dying out

Half of the world's 7,000 languages are expected to disappear before the end of the century.

"We are seeing in front of our eyes the erosion of the human knowledge base."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dial Directions

Dial Directions

Interesting new directions-by-phone service with a "why didn't I think of that" phone number.

Downsides are the fact that it's voice recognition and uses MapQuest for the actual directions, but reviews are positive and it uses some familiar tricks and tenants based on this WSJ review:

"It's smart enough to ask you if you know how to get to the highway, thus saving you from reading directions you already know."

"Symbols help to shorten the messages, like using "L @ Maryland Ave. SW" to tell a user to turn left at Maryland Avenue Southwest."

"While the mobile versions of these services are improving, the user interface of a cellphone isn't ideal for inputting addresses and extracting directions. Even smart phones with larger screens and full keyboards can be hampered by slow Internet speeds."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Visualizing Search Results

There's quite a few of these alternative search engines now ...quite a lot more than I imagined, actually.

This is an interesting collection of visually based search engines - The crystal one is particularly strange but ingenious somehow at the same time.

Heres a pic of a crystal visual search engine result.

25! :)

Happy Birthday, Smiley

Sept. 19, 1982
"I propose the following character for joke markers: :-) Read it sideways," Fahlman wrote. "Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use :-( "

And my favorite quote from the article:

"Good writers should have no need to explicitly label their humorous comments."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Google, at age 10
On September 15, 1997 Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two 24 year-old Stanford University students, registered the domain name of "google.com."


Sort of a Google Zeitgeist for Wikipedia based on edit activity.


(via LifeHacker)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Google In The News

Google Founders’ Ultimate Perk: A NASA Runway
The famous founders seem to have acquired landing rights to a runway that NO other civilian planes can land at, and are only a few miles away from Google's headquarters. The articles says that NASA gets to run scientific missions on their planes, and thus the allowance. Hmmm, I want to see the results of those experiments.

In other Google news, it seems that some confidential Google plans to compete with FaceBook were leaked.


They're allying some of their platform around the Google Reader. I haven't used the reader yet, but I may have to. And some interesting learnings at the bottom of the article:

  • Two thirds of all RSS feeds only have one subscriber
  • Google prioritizes more popular feeds polling every hour for updates, while the two thirds mentioned above are polled every 3 hours.
  • The Google Reader back-end stores a staggering 10 terebytes of data from 8 million feeds

And of course, there's the Moon Prize they announced. I was at the first prize, so I'll definitely try to be at this one, if someone enters.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

MTurk + GEarth = Search and Rescue

Amazon is using their Mechanical Turk service to assist in the search and rescue for missing aviator Steve Fossett.

Got this email from Amazon:

Details of the task to perform are available here:

Steve Fossett Missing: Help find him by searching satellite imagery

I hadn't heard of it before, but TechCrunch has a story on how Amazon did something similar when Jim Gray was lost at sea.

Very interesting and noble use of crowd sourcing.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Great article on the origins of Lost and the Hollywood saga of the original creator.

Cast Away
Every time ABC runs an episode of its hit TV series Lost, Evanston's Jeffrey Lieber gets an onscreen credit and his bank account gets a nice pop. But the twisting tale of his Hollywood triumph has left Lieber feeling a bit ... well, lost.

Apple Adwords Prank

Man buys Google Adwords ad for "iphone price drop" and a comedy of errors ensues.

DYH isn’t funny?

Also interesting in how it shows the lack of basic fact checking when blogs become common news sources.

Bowling and NLP

A couple of random YouTube videos.

First, the winning entry for a guitar-usage competition. I was (and still am a little) a LEGO fanatic.


Second, part of a show about a British NLP expert. Neuro-linguistic programming is what I'd call a minor form of hypnosis used to manipulate people to your desires.


And instead of worrying about what to get someone for a birthday, wouldn't it be nice if they REALLY wanted exactly what you wanted to get them.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

SMS Turns 15

This article has some neat trivia points and quotes even though it follows the overdone "SMS Speak Is Ruining English" theory. But the fact that our loyal friend the text message is about to turn 15 is borderline amazing.

OMG! TXT MSG turns 15!

Fun Fact:

"The British-based Mobile Data Association dates text messaging to December 1992, when a British engineer sent the message "Merry Christmas" to a colleague from a computer to a mobile handset."

Great Quote:

"There's nothing wrong with flip-flops, worn at the appropriate time in an appropriate way. But soccer players don't wear flip-flops in a game."

Saturday, September 01, 2007

360° Light Field Display

A holographic display created using a spinning mirror. Very "Help me Obi-wan Kenobi" sort of feel to it.