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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Jack Black is Kung Fu Panda!

Surfing around and found this trailer. I'm a huge Jackie Chan fan and love Dream Works movies... Jack Black has his moments too. Check it out!

Lonely girl 95?

This is a great story... a 95 year old Spanish grandmother who's grandson presented her with a blog for her birthday was less than impressed, "Today it's my birthday and my grandson, who is very stingy, gave me a blog." However, she now receives comments from web surfers all over the world and of all ages. With 60,000 regular readers Maria Amelia Lopez has become somewhat of an Internet celebrity and has embraced the technology. "The Internet has given me life," she told Reuters. You go girl!

Friday, November 9, 2007

MIT creates search engine to aid students to find topics within video taped lectures

Wow, 2 AI / natural language recognition search related posts in one day! Faculty and students of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a search engine that allows students to search video taped lectures as they might a text based web site. Lectures that have been video taped are fed to speech to text software that captures a transcript, the text is then divided into groups of words, or topics, that are analyzed for key-word density. Students can then query the search engine for topics and be guided directly to the portion of the video that best matches the query, therefor saving the trouble of scanning an entire lecture to find a specific portion. Best of all it's not just for MIT students, in fact its openly available thanks to MIT's OpenCourseWare initiative. Guess I know how my weekend is going to be spent! Give it a try! (Requires Real Player Plug in)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Natural Language Search Engine [true knowledge]

TechCrunch tipped me off to this new search engine, [true knowledge]. It's currently in private beta, which I'm hoping to be accepted to, but the video below does a fine job of spelling out the features / advantages to natural language searches. I've been playing with natural language chatbots for a six or seven years and have always had a soft spot for the technology. It will be interesting to follow [true knowledge] to see if others find the technology equally interesting. I think that those new to the Internet (if there still is anyone out there) will find this very intuitive, it's also a much more efficient way to find simple one line type answers. It will be interesting to see if those who are accustomed to the current search engine methods will see the benefit of natural language type queries. Also interesting to follow will be the success of the user contributed responses, have they found a way to keep people honest and thwart the attempts of those who would try to deceive others?

Good luck [true knowledge], I'm anxious to give it a try!

Super Mario in Zero G!

This is pretty funny... veteran astronaut Dr. Buzz Aldrin helps Super Mario experience zero g's in a publicity stunt aimed at the upcoming release of Super Mario Galaxy. Is it me or does Mario look like he's about to loose his lunch?

Online advertising to double by 2011?

Research firm eMarketer is forecasting that online advertising will surpass $21-Billion this year and will double to $42-Billion by 2011. The Globe and Mail says "In the coming years, paid search will remain the biggest form of online advertising, accounting for about 40 per cent of spending annually through 2011. Display ads like banners will generate about 20 per cent of Internet ad revenues, while classified ads will contribute about 17 per cent, the report said." The question is where will all this extra cash come from? Assume tougher times ahead for Print and Television ad departments!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Parental Timer coming to the Xbox?

According to G4's The Feed, Microsoft is teaming up with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and football superstar Jerry Rice to encourage families to limit Xbox time by enabling parents to physically control the consoles usage via a "Family Timer". “As a leader in interactive entertainment, it’s Microsoft’s responsibility to provide parents with tools they can use to manage their children’s video gaming and online experiences, and we have made that a priority from the very start,” said Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment & Devices Division at Microsoft.

Okay, for enough cash I'll kill this story and deny any knowledge... time to pool your allowances together kiddies!

Facebook marketing to your friends

Yesterday "Facebook began selling ads that display people’s profile photos next to commercial messages that are shown to their friends about items they purchased or registered an opinion about" according to this NY Times article. The idea is to inform your friends of your purchases via a Facebook broadcast, with your permission of course. “Nothing influences a person more than a recommendation from a trusted friend,” Mark Zuckerberg said of the program Facebook is calling "social advertising". Participation could mean "joining a fan club for a brand, recommending a product or sharing information about their purchases from external Web sites." Be fore warned, your friends will have no choice but to view the ads so you may find your friend list beginning to shrink if you are the source of a lot of spam!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

YouTube opens Canadian site

YouTube has launched a Canadian version,, at an event in Toronto today. Luis Garcia, international product manager for YouTube, said "The only thing that's different is that this is just a Canadian lens into that content, so if a user wants to get the Canada point of view into that global body of content, then they're able to do that," The idea is to promote Canadian content to Canadians with the CBC, the Canadian Football League, and Sony BMG Canada all be featured. According to the CBC "The CBC has been showcasing content on since March, including clips from The Rick Mercer Report and Royal Canadian Air Farce, as well as short films and archival footage." Check out this classic Rick Mercer skit, it's sort of fitting!

No gPhone, but plenty of wireless noise for Google

Google has finally let us all in on it's plans for the wireless world and there is no mention of a gPhone just yet. In a press release yesterday Google announced a new alliance with 33 technology companies to develop an open-source operating system for cellphones, to be known as Android. Android is said to have taken it's name from Android Inc. a company that Google bought in 2005, co-founded by Andy Rubin who helped design T-Mobile's popular Sidekick phone and who is now Google's director of mobile platforms. The list of partners includes Motorola, LG, and Samsung as well as several US carriers and tech companies Intel and Texas Instruments. Google intends on releasing the open software development kits on Monday. The Globe and Mail has the details.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Wired has a look under the hood as e-bay tries to regain momentum

Wired has an interesting article about slowing growth at e-bay and the companies attempts to get going again. It's not that e-bay is not making money, it's more about continuing to grow. Over the last few months e-bay has undertaken a number of new initiatives that are aimed at growing business and keeping browsers pointed squarely in their direction. "Other discovery features hop on the social-network bandwagon. Neighborhoods, a forum for like-minded collectors to network, got buzz when it launched in early October, and the still-unpublicized EKG allows users to curate their favorite items and share them with others, a concept similar to craft-commerce site Etsy's Treasury." Come to think of it, I can't remember the last time I visited e-bay?

A Billion text messages a week in Briton!

According to the latest figures from the Mobile Data Association (MDA) Britons are now sending more than 1 Billion text messages a week, up 25% in the last year! "It's convenient, comprehensive, it's on every handset and network and it is cost effective," said Mike Short, head of the MDA. The upward trend seems to be driven by business's adoption of the technology, "It's a lot more convenient for a business now to notify lots of their employees about an urgent message using a text message," what ever the reason that's a lot of keys being pressed on tiny key pads! I am seeing an increase in texting here in North America as well but I'd venture to guess that it's adoption rate is far below that of Europe and Asia. The BBC has more here.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

iPhone named invention of the year by Time Magazine

Time Magazine's Lev Grossman says "All the cool features in the world won't do you any good unless you can figure out how to use said features, and feel smart and attractive while doing it," Grossman wrote. "In the world of technology, surface really is depth." according to this CBC article. The iPhone beat out wind and solar power cars as well as flexible display screens created by Sony Corp. and LG Electronics Inc. It sure did get a lot of buzz and it definitely sold well, I guess it all depends on the criteria you use to judge whether or not you'd come to the same conclusion as Time!

3 driverless vehicles survive challenge, winner to be announced today

Stanford's robotic VW Passat ("Junior"), Virginia Tech's modified Ford Escape Hybrid ("VictorTango"), and Carnegie Mellon's autonomous Chevrolet Tahoe ("Boss") all completed their tasks within the allowed time and DARPA will announce the winner of the Urban Challenge sometime today. Up for grabs is a $2 Million first prize and $1 Million second prize purse.