Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Many hands make light work

Those great folks at Carnegie Mellon have re-worked CAPTCHA into reCAPTCHApage and, on any site that uses it, every time you retype the text correctly you are correcting an OCR problem in an Internet Archives file. If you want to just contribute to the effort you can go to this site. Why not go in and do a couple today?

Of course this is not really so new but seeing the numbers is pretty amazing. The story is from ScienceDaily (2008-08-19).

Thursday, August 07, 2008

New flexible displays for "pocket ereader"

Readius is a new (not yet available in US) e-book reading device that will be extremely portable. It's not quite there but they are getting real close.

There's a NYT article for general description but you need to look at Readius web site to see it held in a person's hand and get a sense of how small it is. Of course there are demos on YouTube. Holds 22 lines of text and does 16 shade grey scale. The specs from their site are:
  • Weight             5.6 g complete display module
  • Size (diagonal)    5" active area
  • Refresh            0.5 s
  • Grey levels        16
  • Resolution         QVGA, 320 x 240
  • Email              POP3 and IMAP supported
  • Audio              MP3 / AAC / WMA 
  • Images             JPEG / PNG / GIF / BMP 
  • Memory             RAM   128 MB 
  • Internal Storage   256MB 
  • Extendable Storage High Capacity Micro SD 
  • Operating system           
    • Open OS          
    • Microsoft Win CE 
  • Connects to PC or Apple Mac via USB cable
Readius can behave as USB mass storage device or connect with the PC client, works with Bluetooth 2.0 EDR for accessory connection (eg. headset, keyboard). And when fully charge it's good for up to 30 hours active reading or 7500 page refreshes. I can't find the citation but I think I read/heard it will connect to the internet the same way an iPhone does (don't quote me on that)

Sadly it's expected to be more expensive than the Kindle. At least to begin with.

Note: For comparison, on Project Gutenberg the ASCII version of War and Peace is 3.13 MB uncompressed.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The smartest man in the known world...

Apologies to those of you (if there are any) who read this for Scrapple-esque material. This is probably not something we'd talk about at a Scrapple lunch. (But the truth is I also use this blog as kind of bookmark list and I very much want to be able to get back to this.)

If you're interested in ideas like the Semantic Web and books like "Thinking on the Web : Berners-Lee, Gödel, and Turing" Eisenhower Stacks TK5105.888.A3755 2006 -- then you might enjoy listening to this. Searle is not just smart; he's witty and he has a deep understanding of an unbelievably wide range of topics."

Here he makes a proposal for how to move between neurobiology and free will. What I'd like to hear him talk about is the movement between free will and social interaction. If anyone could talk cogently about that, he'd be the one.

Some of the benefits of listening to him talk at Google are:
  • He's talking in a non-specialist way but still at a high level
  • You get really interesting questions