Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Visions of future technology don't involve being chained to a desktop machine. People move from home computers to work computers to mobile devices; public kiosks pop up in libraries, schools and hotels; and people increasingly store everything from e-mail to spreadsheets on the Web.
But for the roughly 10 million people in the United States who are blind or visually impaired, using a computer has, so far, required special screen-reading software typically installed only on their own machines.
New software, called WebAnywhere, launched today lets blind and visually impaired people surf the Web on the go. The tool developed at the University of Washington turns screen-reading into an Internet service that reads aloud Web text on any computer with speakers or headphone connections.
"This is for situations where someone who's blind can't use their own computer but still wants access to the Internet. At a museum, at a library, at a public kiosk, at a friend's house, at the airport," said Richard Ladner, a UW professor of computer science and engineering. The free program and both audio and video demonstrations are at http://webanywhere.cs.washington.edu.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
10 awesome Internet Easter eggs
I'm actually wondering why I never tried entering the Konami code on a webpage, since I secretly do it on most DVDs...
And still nobody has found either of the two Timely Persuasion easter eggs, hint hint.
Friday, June 20, 2008
It's also easy to imagine how sarcasm might be selected over time as evolutionarily crucial. Imagine two ancient humans running across the savannah with a hungry lion in pursuit. One guy says to the other, "Are we having fun yet?" and the other just looks blank and stops to figure out what in the world his pal meant by that remark. End of friendship, end of one guy's contribution to the future of the human gene pool.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Alaska Airlines' Airport of the Future makes quick work of getting passengers through check-in.
The results? During my two hours of observation in Seattle, an Alaska agent processed 46 passengers, while her counterpart at United managed just 22. United's agents lose precious time hauling bags and walking the length of the ticket counter to reach customers. Alaska agents stand at a station with belts on each side, assisting one passenger while a second traveler places luggage on the free belt. With just a slight turn, the agent can assist the next customer. "We considered having three belts," White says. "But then the agent has to take a step. That's wasted time."
Alaska, then, is likely to save almost $8 million a year on the Seattle terminal if it converts customers the way it has in Anchorage. The Seattle makeover cost $28 million, a far cry from a new $500 million terminal.