Category Archives: News Links

Speech In The News


I stumbled across two different speech related tech stories the other day, one shows how far speech related solutions can resolve very different problems, the other article is research into ‘how we talk’ so that speech algorithms can better be used to understand our intent.

One interesting quote from the second article: “It is fairly uncommon in everyday life for people to hear the speech of a person talking in the absence of other background sounds“, so your auditory senses naturally filter out background. The questions is how can computers do the same?

Internet Surfers Say Goodbye Mouse, Hello Voice Commands

University of Washington researchers have developed software designed to let those who can’t work a hand-held mouse use their voice instead to navigate the Web.

Aston Algorithm

A new study on the way humans perceive and organize speech could lead to better algorithms that will improve the accuracy of speech recognition systems.

Breaking News: Kasparov Enters Russia’s Presidential Race

Garry Kasparov

Breaking News!

Politically inspired former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov has overwhelmingly been elected to enter the presidential race representing the country’s opposition coalition called The Other Russia.

If you’re not the kind of geek that followed Kasparov over the years, you can catch up in this 60 Minutes interview as they look into the riskiest move of his career, given the police state that Russia is becoming, Kasparov fears for his life.

[youtube 2TKtWegS1DY]

Geeknews, Hot Off The Presses: 9/25/07


Unholy trinity of flaws put Google users at risk
The Register
If you use Google to send email, organize photos or help administer your website, doomwatchers have cataloged three new ways to steal your data and compromise the security of your users.

Armani to launch mobile phone with Samsung
Device will be the size of a credit card and 10.5 millimeters thick.Italian designer Giorgio Armani has joined forces with Samsung Electronics to design a television and a mobile phone, along with other consumer electronics, the companies said on Sunday.

China’s own high-speed train due by year-end
Terra Daily
China’s first domestically developed high-speed train, capable of reaching 300 kilometres (190 miles) per hour, will roll off production lines by the end of the year, state media reported Monday.

Firefox Update Addresses QuickTime-triggered Vulnerability
Beta News
The Mozilla org released an update that addresses a vulnerability involving Apple’s QuickTime plug-in that appears to have been a very old, very open hole.

Amazon rolls out widgets for associates
Amazon’ Affiliate Blog
These new widgets are small, visually dynamic, easily configurable widgets and allow you to feature products from Amazon on blogs, websites and social networking pages.

Unreal Tournament III: Collector’s Edition with Bonus!
The Collectors Edition will release about 1 week after the general release of UT3 and will contain the Collectors Tin box, Art Book, Bonus DVD with extras.

CrazyPC Hover Mouse, 100% frictionless mouse
Crazy PC
This is the world’s first 100% friction-less mouse. Utilizing advanced, patent-pending electromagnetic hovering technology, the Hover Mouse floats one centimeter above the mousing surface at all times.

NSA To Defend Against Black-Hat Hackers


I never really cared for the term ‘Cracker’ as the ‘bad hackers’, so we’ll stick with my favorite : Black Hat Hackers.

In a major shift in policy and intent, the National Security Administration (NSA) is examining what it would take to in order to monitor and defend against the bad guys that want to hack into the networks controlling the American power plants, utilities, subways and any other system deemed vital to the safety and well fare of its citizens.

The problem with this is that the original charter for the NSA emphasizes that the National Security Agency shall not spy on its own citizens, but this very thing would be required since the bad guys are coming from inside the borders as much as they are from outside.

From the Baltimore Sun:

The plan calls for the NSA to work with the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies to monitor such networks to prevent unauthorized intrusion, according to those with knowledge of what is known internally as the “Cyber Initiative.” Details of the project are highly classified.

The NSA’s new domestic role would require a revision of the agency’s charter, the senior intelligence official said. Up to now, the NSA’s cyberdefense arsenal has been used to guard the government’s classified networks — not the unclassified networks that now are the responsibility of other federal agencies.

Potential cyberattacks are being discussed in chat rooms in languages that include English, Arabic, Russian and Punjabi. Terrorists and others already know many of the country’s vulnerabilities and are extremely concerned about the ability to hack into computer systems controlling nuclear power plants.

Link to the Baltimore Sun article.

Inside The World Of Google The Dalles

GOOG The Dalles

For the first time ever, GOOG allowed the press (just two folks) to enter their data center complex in The Dalles, Oregon (The Dalles is at the end of the Oregon Trail), shown above.

With just a hint of transparency, these two reporters put a human face on one of the most secretive aspects of the internet behemoth, normally this location is treated with a level of secrecy as if it’s the CIA. And with good reason, with a global computer system estimated at around 450,000 computers, how they serve and analyze internet data is their ‘golden egg’.

The reason why they’re in this location one hour from Portland, OR is due to the cheap electricity from the Columbia River’s hydrodynamic power as well as easy access to data networking.

Link to The Dalles Chronicle article describing their visit.

Want more tangible information on the 2 football field sized computing center? Try this NY Times article from 2006.

Geeknews Roundup: 9/20/07

News and Coffee in the morning
DNA barcoding: from fruit-flies to puffer fish
Terra Daily
Hundreds of experts in DNA barcoding meet in Taiwan next week for a major conference on this young, cutting-edge science which could have wide-ranging implications for health and the environment.

EU Proposes Bailout of Galileo Sat Nav Project
Beta News
Galileo, once billed as a potential rival to the US Department of Defense’s GPS system, is now facing serious issues following disagreements over the development of the system by eight companies tasked with its build-out.

Video: The fate of Moore?s Law
Watch the video. Speaking at the Intel Developer Forum, Gordon Moore, Intel co-founder and the Moore in Moore?s Law gives his law 10 to 15 years before it hits the wall.

Metal Gear Solid Online Trailer
Game Trailers
Finally, a trailer for Metal Gear Online. “I need backup!”, “I got you covered”.

GNOME 2.20 Released
The improvements in GNOME 2.20 include: Improved support for right-to-left languages; desktop search integrated into the file chooser dialog; convenient new features in the Evolution email and calendar client; enhanced browsing of image collections; simplified system preferences; efficient power management and incredibly accurate laptop battery monitoring. Developers receive more help with application development thanks to a new version of the GTK+ toolkit, improved tools, and a great new documentation web site.

Geek News Roundup: 9-05-07


Programming Grads Meet a Skills Gap in the Real World
What programmers learn in college and what they need in the work force are out of sync.
Despite the best laid plans of colleges and universities, there remains a skills gap between what computer science graduates learn in their undergraduate years and what they need to become proficient in a typical at-work environment.

Report: Virginia Tech Massacre Unrelated to Shooter Games
Game Daily
According to a review panel put together by Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, the shooter during the events of April 16 wasn’t really a “gamer” at all. During Cho’s childhood, he played games like Sonic the Hedgehog, and during his college experience, he didn’t play games at all.

China wants to take out the space trash
Chinese government seeks to monitor and reduce debris from spacecrafts. Basically they’re trying to make up for all the crap they’re leaving behind.

Chicago cop chases down gunman on Segway
Believe it or not, Chicago policeman Thaddeus Martyka isn’t the first cop to chase down a crook with the help of a Segway.

NASA clean rooms breed hardy bacteria
The ultra-clean facilities used to assemble NASA’s spacecraft are inhabited by some hardy bacteria, which could be hitchhiking their way to space. Samples from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Kennedy Space Center and Johnson Space Center, show the variety of bacteria that make it into the spaceship assembly areas despite the clean rooms used to build the craft in.

Geek News Roundup 8-13-7

Newspaper news
The new bond girl?
Daniel Craig’s next on screen love conquest could be non-other than Bollywood beauty Shilpa Shetty. ‘She has a huge following in Bollywood, as well as a number of fans in the Western world ? especially in Britain ? so she will be great for box office sales,’ sources added.

Hotmail users get a storage bump
Microsoft on Monday made a series of updates to its Windows Live Hotmail service, chief among those being an increase in the size of its inboxes. Standard users now get 5GB of storage, while paid MSN Premium and Hotmail Plus accounts now get 10GB of storage.

Stephen King reviews Harry Potter
Now that the dust has settled on ”Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” Stephen King reflects on why no review did it justice, and whether kids (and their grown-ups) will ever read the same way again

Protein ‘chatter’ linked to cancer activation
Scientists have found the existence of cross-talk between human chromosome ends and the protein complexes central to the stability of the entire human genome, a ?chat? that contributes to cancer development.

Geek News Roundup: 8-7-7


How To Beat Google To Tech Talent
If you talk to people who have worked inside Google’s recruiting operation–or people who have competed against it–they’ll tell you that the Silicon Valley’s ultimate hiring machine can be beat. The trick: use Google’s consensus-driven decision-making process–and exacting standards–against it.

Sensory organ holds key to hot mouse sex
Female mice became sexually voracious and tried to mate like males after scientists disabled a small sensory organ, casting fresh light on how gender-specific behavior develops in animals.

Bluetooth to gain “audiophile-quality” sound
Audio transmitted across Bluetooth could provide “perfect, audiophile-quality sound” as soon as next year, according to Open Interface North America Inc. (OINA). The company claims its proprietary, patent-pending “SOUNDabout Lossless” Bluetooth codec to be capable of delivering remote digital audio that is “bit for bit” faithful to the original.

Zimbabwe: Researchers Urged to Simplify Scientific Terms
A cabinet minister has urged researchers in the country to desist from writing research findings in scientific terms that cannot be understood by the ordinary people.

Sunspot Abundance Linked To Heavy Rains In East Africa
Terra Daily
A new study reveals correlations between plentiful sunspots and periods of heavy rain in East Africa. Intense rainfall in the region often leads to flooding and disease outbreaks. The analysis by a team of U.S. and British researchers shows that unusually heavy rainfalls in East Africa over the past century preceded peak sunspot activity by about one year.

Chinese Navy To Build Two Carriers With Russian Help
Kanwa, a Hong Kong defense news agency, said Friday purchases by China of Russian aircraft carrier components suggested that Beijing was planning to build one or two aircraft carriers, possibly by 2015.

Geek News Roundup: 8-2-07


The Mobile TV Wars
Qualcomm’s MediaFlo and MobiTV are set to duke it out in the battle for this emerging business. The mobile TV shakeout has begun: Modeo, a subsidiary of cellular tower operator Crown Castle International, has shut down its one broadcast network in the New York City area, leaving the emerging business of delivering live TV programs to just a handful of players.

SGI and NASA Ready Most Powerful Linux Computer Ever
NASA has selected an SGI Altix supercomputer to help it meet future high-performance computing requirements. The new system will be the first supercomputer to operate 2,048 processor cores and 4 terabytes of memory under control of one Linux kernel, creating the world’s largest single-kernel Linux system.

Super-Ego Gets Inflated
Haven’t heard of Super-Ego Games? They hope to revitalize the industry with comedy adventures that feature rich real-time speech.

Microsoft Develops Biometric Recognition System for Ads
Microsoft has applied for a patent for a system designed to determine the identity of someone looking at a display and deliver personalized ads to that user.

AMD Claims Intel Made $60 Billion in ‘Monopoly’ Profits
San Jose Mercury News
Offering a glimpse into the antitrust case it will present in federal court in Delaware, Advanced Micro Devices indicated Wednesday that it will claim Intel pocketed $60 billion in ill-gotten, or “monopoly,” profits from a decade of anti-competitive behavior

Disney Buys Popular Kids’ Networking Site
Walt Disney Co. has paid $350 million to acquire Club Penguin, a popular online hangout that offers a mix of games and chatting tools for kids ages 6-14.

Geek News Roundup: 8-1-07

Newspaper news

Hidden order found in a quantum spin liquid
An international team, including scientists from the London Centre for Nanotechnology, has detected a hidden magnetic ?quantum order? that extends over chains of 100 atoms in a ceramic without classical magnetism. The findings, which are published today by Science, have implications for the design of devices and materials for quantum information processing.

Gene for left-handedness is found
Scientists have discovered the first gene which appears to increase the odds of being left-handed. The Oxford University-led team believe carrying the gene, called ‘LRRTM1’ may also slightly raise the risk of developing psychotic mental illness such as schizophrenia.

Area 51 Expanding and prepares for UFOs?
The Air Force’s secret testing facility at Groom Lake is expanding and Defense Technology International Editor-in-Chief Bill Sweetman (and dogged Area 51 investigator) suggests it may be that we’re finally seeing UFOs. No, not Unidentified Flying Objects, but Un-Funded Opportunities that companies like Lockheed Martin saw after 9/11, and that Sweetman says may have now blossomed into secret aircraft.


Geek News Roundup: 7-30-07

News and Coffee in the morning

Futurama Returns! (Watch the video promo!)
Speedbump Studios
Greetings Earthicans! As you may now know, the return of Futurama is officially imminent, barring any unscheduled Apocalypses, Second Comings or alien attacks from disgruntled lizard-like races (you know who you are). It’s true! Comedy Central will begin airing all new episodes in 2008 (or 3008, for viewers on Omicron Perseii Eight, so keep your capes on).

Mars Rovers on low-energy diet as global dust storm continues to rage
A global dust storm at Mars continues to veil the two surface rovers and their solar panels, the situation grew steadily worse after the first storm started in mid-June. NASA officials reported the other day they expect the robots are capable of weathering the tempest.

iPhone “Hello World” binary released
Tuaw, via Digg
The busy beavers of the #iphone IRC channel, whose collective efforts have built the first unauthorized iPhone GUI application (in true coding fashion, it displays “Hello World” and does nothing else), have released the source for the demo app, buildable with the community-built toolchain and UIKit.

Nepalese ‘goddess’ is reinstated
A 10-year-old girl who is worshipped as a living goddess in Nepal has had her title reinstated after defying tradition and visiting the US. Temple authorities at her home town say that she will not be stripped of her title because she is willing shortly to undergo a “cleansing” ceremony.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Plethora of Links: June 07 ’07

Wow – Tesla Motors roar!
0 to 60 in 4 seconds, 100% electric, 250 miles per 3.5 hr charge and damn sexy.

Sun CEO Says Apple Shifting to Solaris File System
Sun Microsystem’s CEO Jonathan Schwartz causes a stir in the Macintosh community when he said publicly that OpenSolaris ZFS will become “the” file system for the Leopard version of Mac OS X.

Dead Programmer Society
Dead Programmer Society
You have been reading a bit lately about “rockstar” programmers and recruiter ads are proclaiming “Rockstar programmer needed”? This geek would rather be a “jazz musician” programmer.

Pac Man Founder Calls It Quits with New Version
For a video game legend, Wednesday’s release of “Pac Man Championship Edition” for Xbox 360 will mark the end of a nearly three-decade career for one of gaming’s most illustrious developers.

40% efficient solar cells to be used for solar electricity
Scientists from Spectrolab, Inc., a subsidiary of Boeing, have recently published their research on the fabrication of solar cells that surpass the 40% efficiency milestone?the highest efficiency achieved for any photovoltaic device.

Business milestones: the Hot Chick Tipping Point
Scientific formula: Business + Hot Chick = Wildly Successful Business
Hot chicks can sell beer that tastes like water and foul-smelling body spray, and even a domain registrar. The male mind is easily sold. But the Hot Chick Tipping Point goes beyond advertising; it could be the one thing a business needs for wild success.

Plethora of Links: May 30 ’07

Astrophysicists try to weigh a black hole
Astronomers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center have developed an alternative weighing technique. They examine the spinning disk of hot gases that black holes gobble up from neighboring stars-also called the accretion disk.

Windows firewall squeezes into USB key
Yoggie Security Systems has squeezed a complete hardware firewall for Windows systems into a USB key sized form-factor. The “Yoggie Pico” runs Linux 2.6 along with 13 security applications on a 520MHz PXA270, a powerful Intel processor popular in smartphones and other high-end consumer devices.

Solar Powered Mobile Phone
If you?re looking for a phone that you don?t need to recharge constantly, you might want to check out what?s going on at the China Beijing International Expo 2007.

Science of the Silver Surfer
Quantum physics teaches us that the vacuum of empty space isn’t really empty at all but pervaded by an enormous energy reservoir called the Zero Point Field. If the Silver Surfer is able to tap into this energy source?essentially cooling off the entire universe by a tiny amount every time he lifts a finger?it would explain an awful lot about his abilities.

Use of Animal Forensics on the Rise
The killer had left his mark all over the crime scene. Grayish-tan hairs lay strewn on the ground below the old willow tree on Marylin Christian’s Loudoun County farm, inches away from where her beloved cat Cody was found dead.

China preparing for cyberwarfare
An annual report on China?s military capabilities reveals that the country is eying cyberweapons, network attacks and other plans to wage information warfare. The report from the Department of Defense outlines China?s overall military strategy and touches on some aspects of information warfare

Search for alien life to go round-the-clock
The SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute plans to have 42 radio astronomy dishes up and running in northern California by the end of 2007, which will enable it to scan the heavens for alien radio waves on a continuous basis.

Top 10 New Features in Windows Server 2008
The abilities to consolidate servers, to manage hardware more effectively, to remotely manage hardware without the graphical traffic, and to radically alter the system security model, could present a more compelling argument for customers to plan their WS2K8 migrations now, than the arguments for moving from Windows 2000 to Server 2003.

Plethora Of Links: May 22 ’07

China To Launch Luna Probe This Year
The PRC’s recently announced lunar exploratory program consists of 3 phases. Phase 1 aims to have a lunar orbiter deployed to Luna this year. In 2012 they expect to have phase 2 implemented which is to land on the moon, no targeted date was given for phase 3 which is to collect samples and return them to Earth.

Running D&D For Kids
Jonathan Drain’s D20 Source
Thoughts and tips to successfully running a D&D game for children. Tips include simplifying the combat, pre-generating characters for them, simplifying the magic items, reducing the gore, etc…

NY Cops On Segways
NY Daily News
Can cops looks menacing enough when charging across the Bronx on a Segway? 25 members of the NYPD are about to find out.

Blizzard Officially Announces StarCraft 2
StarCraft 2 development is well underway according to a Blizzard press release last week at the Blizzard event in Korea. Though they gave no release date there was a live demo for the attendees and there are several gameplay trailers you can view from the link above.

Pac-Man’s Skeleton
Ever wonder what Pac-Man’s skeleton would look like? Well apparently so did the artist that created this. What do you think, did he capture the spirit of the true Pac-Man or is it just a circle with teeth?

Companies Try eBay To Sell Themselves
USA Today Tech
What do Beanie Babies, Pez Dispensers and troubled Internet companies have in common? They’re all for sale on eBay. Does this mean eBay needs a Web 2.0 category for sales?

You Know That Spam And Phishing E-Mail You Get At Work? It May Be Coming From Your Boss!
Washington Post
Some corporate IT departments have been tasked with phishing the employees on their corp net in order to identify the folks at risk to infecting the network. Employees are outraged, I’m snickering.

A Plethora Of Links: May 16 ‘07

Woz Sports Two Of The Geekiest Watches Ever
Why would Woz wear a watch on each wrist? And what kinds of watches would a man with his finger on the pulse of the tech industry sport? Not your standard Timex, that’s for damned sure.’s New Interactive Weather Map
MSDN Blog – Jonbox
Weather.Com has added anew map, the Interactive Weather Map. It’s very much like using a map – zoom, panning, satellite view and a street view – but with weather features layered on top.

The Mother Of All Heatpipes To Cool Your Proc
This monstrosity is known as the Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme and it’s topping the charts for cooling performance.

AMD Unveils Phenom
Hardware Geeks
AMD has unveiled their new processor family called Phenom. The AMD Phenom processors are the world’s first true dual-core and quad-core processor.

NASA Unveils Hubble’s Successor
The telescope Hubble’s successor is scheduled to launch in June 2013. The $4.5 billion space telescope is bigger than the Hubble and will sit further from Earth. NASA officials unveiled a model of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) yesterday.

Spec Ops: Capture The Black Box
Relive an actual SEAL operation in Vietnam in this game of wits! Are you Special Forces material? Can you make the right decisions under pressure? Find out in just a few clicks.

A Plethora Of Links: May 9 ’07

RIM to Offer Plug-in for Visual Studio
IDG News Service
Research In Motion (RIM) will enable developers to create applications for BlackBerry phones using the .NET Framework.

Demand for Wii Overwhelms Nintendo
The astonishing popularity of the Wii game console has Nintendo with its nose to the grindstone to supply the demand.

Mac Share of Surfers Doubles in Eight Months
Analysis of Internet metrics indicate Mac OS X is close to or barely over 6 percent of all machines in the U.S. that connected to the Web in April.

Who Are the Linux Desktop Users?
A recent survey shows that your “typical” Linux client user is a fellow in his twenties, is computer savvy but may very well not be an IT pro.

Why Do Device Developers Prefer Debian?
A 2007 survey indicates that Debian was used in device-related projects by 13 percent of the survey’s 932 participants, roughly double the score of MontaVista.

Making ‘Minority Report’ Computer Navigation a Reality
Remember the Minority Report scenes in which Tom Cruise and others use their hands to manipulate data on giant computer screens? Oblong Industries has an operating system, based on human hand gesturing, that enables the user to explore in a 3D plane.

Sensor Sensibility
Science News
The mathematics of shapes is illuminating the structure of wireless sensor networks. “Imagine a future in which billions of tiny computers are embedded into buildings, streets, fields, or even our bodies.”

Plethora of Links

A plethora of links, some geeky, most for fun but again I’m short on time as I head into the office so I’m just relaying the good stuff below:

– From one of my all time favorite developers Raymond Chen, ‘The Notepad file encoding problem, redux

– Apple announces the iPhone is still on schedule for a June release.

– 12 Ways to be a Security Idiot [via GAS]

– The Ultimate Geek Boxer Shorts

– This should have the ‘Obvious’ tag: “Nanoparticles can damage DNA, increase cancer risk”

– A teenager was inadvertently jailed for 12 days due to mixup over recent DST changes

– New Red Hawk 4.2 release of real-time Linux scales up to 32 cpu cores!

– I recently stumbled on LyteByte, check them out if you’re interested in tips and tricks. Here’s a recent post on how to ‘Remove the shortcut overlay in Windows Vista

– Last, but not least (via OSNews), one of my favorite topics recently regarding obsolete computers and the fun and profit you can have with them.

Here’s A Link List

I’m lazy and tired tonight so i’m falling back on a link list.

No, not the data structure type, but just a list of links to interesting articles for the day. BTW, if you haven’t seen the Stanford Blinky Pointer animation that explains pointers, check it out, if nothing else you’ll enjoy the ‘magic wand of dereferencing’. Anyway, the wife kept me up most of the night and now I can hardly think straight, so before I hit the hay, here’s a few links to articles I found interesting today:

Medical Geek:

Vanderbilt University scientists say you’re brain isn’t wired to multi-task two decision making tasks simultaneously. You can thank the region of the brain for its ‘dual task interference’ phenomenon that postpones one cognitive task until another is completed. [Links to]

Just Geeky: informs us that while barnacles can slow down ships, which costs you and the transporter money, a graduate student from Cornell has a solution. It’s a polymer that can be sprayed to a surface exposed to water and will prevent growth or sundry creatures from attaching themselves. Other products were produced before to do this but proved so toxic to the environment they were banned. This one looks promising and the Brine Shrimp are simply raving about it.


From is an article on a new brake light system for cars. Some (or perhaps a lot) of rear end car collisions may be preventable using technology instead of keeping to the 2 second rule. During a braking scenario, drivers perceive the time separation between themselves and a vehicle they’re following based on the size of the image of the leading vehicle on the driver’s retina. They hypothesized that if it were possible to exaggerate how quickly the retinal image expanded, drivers might brake sooner in potential crash situations. A preliminary study using a driving simulator confirmed that they did. The next challenge was to find an application for this knowledge.

There solution is to make the brake lights *appear* to grow in size, fooling the brain since the retinal image increases in size. In tests, this got people to brake 100-300 msec sooner!

So does this mean the tailgaters can get closer now?

Just Geeky:

The folks at Evil Mad Scientists take you through the teardown process of a nixie tube. My gawd, it’s been about 15 years since I last played with electron tubes. They were so much easier to work with than software, it’s software that has added more gray to my head than even the wife.