Tag Archives: technology

Let me show you how French Coffee makes your brain happier (and other statistical lies)

Lies, damned lies and statistics (about TEDTalks)

In a brilliantly tongue-in-cheek analysis, Sebastian Wernicke turns the tools of statistical analysis on TEDTalks, to come up with a metric for creating “the optimum TEDTalk” based on user ratings. How do you rate it? “Jaw-dropping”? “Unconvincing”? Or just plain “Funny”?

[download tedPad here]

Share it with your friends or comment below. You can also continue the conversation on Google+.

Google TV is coming (and we told you so)

The New York Times (Google and Partners Seek TV Foothold) and Web TV Wire (Google TV On Way – Search Giant Teams With Intel & Sony For Android-Based Set-Top Box) are reporting that…

Google and Intel have teamed with Sony to develop a platform called Google TV to bring the Web into the living room through a new generation of televisions and set-top boxes. (NYT)

RED66 readers (yes, all three of you) got a glimpse of the future and already knew about this development four years ago, when I wrote about “Google Media.” Some choice quotes from that article:

Google has been quietly getting ready to bring the power of its brand and technology to the way you experience music, television and media in general.

Google has the equipment and expertise necessary to set up a massive media distribution and tracking network, integrated into their existing search and advertising technologies.

Google is also making inroads into the set-top box business, hoping to bring television media straight into your television (whether it’s in your living room or your mobile phone).

At the time I wrote that article (April, 2006) I made a mock-up of what a Google Media Dashboard could look like, based on their Google Finance interface. What do you think?

Google TV Dashboard

Read the original article here: Google Media.

And, as always, feel free to comment below and share it with your friends (hint: use the retweet button at the end of the article).

7 Missing Features from the iPhone 3G

Apple’s announcement of the new iPhone 3G puts to rest all the crazy rumors about new features it may include. Here are seven features I was waiting for but never materialized.


1. Flash Support

The iPhone’s Safari browser still lacks support for Adobe Flash, so it seems connection speed wasn’t really the issue.

2. Cut-and-Paste

Nope. You still can’t copy-and-paste text in the iPhone. I’m guessing Apple has some security concerns about allowing cutting and pasting of data (and Flash applications. See #1 above).

3. Network Independent

There was no mention of offering the iPhone unlocked so that you can use it with your favorite GSM provider. Apparently it’s still AT&T only in the US.

4. Video or a Better Camera

The iPhone 3G still sports a 2-megapixel camera with no video support. Nokia offers a 5-MP camera with very good video support, so why can’t Apple?

5. Landscape Email

Why can’t I turn my iPhone sideways to read emails?

6. Wi-Fi syncing

Although Mobile Me will go a long way towards syncing the information on my iPhone with my desktop, I still don’t understand why the iPhone can’t automatically sync itself when it connects to my home wifi network. Why the need for a USB cable?

7. iPhone Modem

Why can’t I use my iPhone as a modem? It connects to the internet via cellular and it connects to my Mac via USB or Bluetooth… Then, why can’t it patch me through to the Internet?

In conclusion… other than 3G speed and true GPS, it doesn’t seem like the new iPhone does much more than the old one (which doesn’t make it a bad phone, specially at the new price; it just doesn’t make a must upgrade, since most of the cool stuff comes with the 2.0 software upgrade, available free for all iPhones).

Léelo en español en: 7 Funciones que le Faltan al iPhone 3G

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5 Observations on the State of Digital Media

I wrote this as the introduction to a report I presented a year ago, after attending the Forbes MEET conference, and was surprised at how relevant it still was… so I decided to share it with my blog readers.

1. Universal access to media distribution.

The traditional media outlets were used to managing an industry of scarce resources, which they owned. Acting like toll booths, they decided what got published and what didn’t. The Internet put an end to this system, giving everyone an effective distribution channel. The bottlenecks have disappeared. Anyone can post their opinion to a blog, a video on YouTube, and even distribute their band’s songs. MediaSnackers are an example of the way users are adapting to this new way of creating and consuming content.

2. Time-Shifting: The future of media consumption is when you want it, how you want it, where you want it.

Although traditional television will continue being relevant for a while, an ever growing number of users will opt for the freedom of deciding how, when and where to consume media. The need for watching live television will still exist, given people’s need to socialize around shows (the so called water cooler effect), but users will increasingly satisfy this need with their online friends (via Twitter, for instance).

3. A need for more -and better- editors.

In a world of easily accessible, unlimited content, the role of editors is ever more important. We need trustworthy recommendations in order to find quality, relevant content. As the value of our time increases, so does the need for editors or editorial systems we trust. This applies for all kinds of content: news, software, music, games, videos, etc. Services like Digg, even with all their faults and growing pains, are a possible solution.

4. Go Local: news will be closer to home than ever.

When agencies like Reuters can distribute their content to every news show in the world, the value of those news falls (as they’re no longer exclusive to any one show). Newscasts and newspapers need to take advantage of their local presence and knowledge to cover events of real relevance to local consumers. The tendency is towards hyperlocal: the neighborhood, the county, the municipality. The Internet is the ideal medium to distribute this localized content. Likewise, users have begun to engage in Citizen Journalism, using blogs, videos, podcasts and any other distribution technology to give their opinions, make their complaints public and comment on the latest events.

5. The Internet will compete with television on the television.

In the next couple of years the Internet will be connected to the rest of our homes. Already, content that’s available on the Internet competes with television shows, and soon watching an Internet-available show on our television sets will be a simple matter of pushing a button on our remotes. YouTube, CurrentTV, Google Video, to name a few, will have a permanent home in our high-definition televisions. Traditional media networks need to make an effort to distribute their content through the Internet (see Hulu), create Internet content that supports and extends their TV offerings (see Heroes) and, more importantly, begin to compete against themselves in this new arena.

What do you see as the future of digital media?

A Spanish-language version of this article is available at Technosailor.com, where I write a regular column. Disponible en español en Technosailor.com, donde escribo una columna regularmente.

Refocusing a photograph after taking it and other seemingly magical technologies

Arthur C. Clarke once said that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Entire religions have been built around apparently magical events. In this PodTech video interview, Robert Scoble converses with Professor Marc Levoy of Stanford University about ongoing computational photography research that will simply blow your mind.

It’s almost an hour long (and worth watching entirely), but if you can’t afford that much time (really, it’s brain food.. it’s good for you) these are some of the highlights:

11 minutes: Using stock photography to recompose or fix images. Read more about it here.

Carnegie Mellon Scene Completion Technology

16 minutes: A camera that allows you to refocus a photograph after taking it. Ever taken a photo only to find that the camera auto-focused on the background? No problem… this technology will solve that. (Even more amazing is that this technology was presented two years ago at SIGGRAPH and is currently under commercial development by Refocus Imaging, Inc. – How did I miss this?).

Stanford University Refocusing Technology

38 minutes: Gigapixel imaging. Creating gigapixel panoramas. Check out the Gigapixel Panorama viewer at Microsoft Research.

42 minutes: Microscopy research. Using the image refocusing technology to create a three-dimensional image of neurons firing throughout the brain at a particular moment in time.

45 minutes: One of the interviewers asks Prof. Levoy what’s next for image search? His answer is priceless: “I know too much, sorry.”

46 minutes: A bit of trivia: the real origin of Google‘s name.