Search engines do a great job of indexing text and graphical elements that have been tagged, but there are millions of images floating around the Internet that never get any love simply because there aren’t any great technologies that are able to accurately identify objects withing images (i.e. faces, car models, famous landmarks, etc.). Sure iPhoto, Picasa, FaceBook and a handful of other products and services offer facial recognition, but it’s flaky and the core tech focus is mostly on faces, and a lot of times results are not as accurate as one would hope for.
There are however a number of companies that are taking image search to the next level, one of them is a company based in UK called WeSee. WeSee achieves the most relevant possible search results by uniquely adding pattern recognition technology to mathematical algorithms. WeSEE’s core product is a proprietary engine that harnesses the powers of pattern recognition, semantics, mathematics and artificial neural networking techniques. They call this Hybrid Search, which is able to find textual and text-independent content automatically without relying on text descriptions and tags.
I had a chance to sit down with two of the founders, Adrian Moxley and Angie Lopez. In the short video below they explain what WeSee is, technology behind it and various business opportunities where this tech can be used.
A desktop computer and couple of servers from Lenovo just got better. Lenovo this week announced ThinkCentre M71e, an entry-level desktop and two new additions to the ThinkServer family – the TS130 and the TS430 – that give small-to-medium businesses and corporate branch offices a performance boost and powerful manageability tools. These boxes are designed with businesses with limited IT resources staff in mind.
ThinkCentre M71e, an entry-level desktop features 2nd generation Intel Core i processors, rapid boot up and security authentication features. The system is very quite, and thanks to Lenovo’s proprietary Enhanced Experience 2.0 capability, the ThinkCentre M71e is able to start and be ready for use is less than 15 seconds. M71e View Management Utility and Password Manager Software to manage passwords for encrypted drives give businesses a securable and reliable machine. The desktop also supports up to four individual monitors for working with lots of visual information.
The single processor TS130 and TS430 servers leverage the latest Intel Xeon E3-1200 processors, which offer up to 30 percent better performance than previous generations. Perfect for front-office, retail or back office deployment, these whisper-quiet servers boast powerful RAID and storage configurations to meet the needs of growing businesses. ThinkServer TS430 has an option for 16TB of hot swap storage capacity, SAS RAID data protection and redundant power choices. Servers are equipped with new Intel AMT 7.0 manageability too which really helps lower the cost of IT.
The ThinkServer TS130 and TS430 and ThinkCentre M71e starting at $499, $699 and $529, respectively, will be available through business partners and www.lenovo.com beginning in July.
We’re all human, and when something negative happens in our lives, especially with a product, service or a company, we tend to bitch and moan to our friends and whoever else will listen. Ten years ago negative sentiment was confined to small circles of people who interact face to face, through e-mail or forums. It would take weeks, months and sometimes years for negative opinion to snowball into something damaging to a company or a brand. Now with Twitter, Facebook and hundreds of other social networks negative sentiment about companies, brands and services can grown to potentially million of people in a matter of hours. The best thing a company can do, when this happens, is to swiftly respond and engage the customer, and turn their opinion from negative to positive through clear and personal communications.
So in order to measure, analyse and understand what is being said or talked about online about a brand or company you need a tool or service that does the monitoring. And if you do a search you will find many free and paid offerings. For the most part they do very similar things; monitor what is being said in real time thus help quickly react to negative feedback. In addition the same tools can help to develop brand, product and communication strategies given the background noise, as well as analyse the effectiveness of communication campaigns – using that online noise as a gauge.
Made In Social is one of these tools. They are a young development company headquartered in Mexico, with a large client base in South America. They are started to break into the North American market and having conversation with some big names such as Nike and Intel. They differentiate themselves from the competition by providing an easy to use and understand web-based interface and clear pricing structure. I sat down with David Alfaro (@DavidinSocial), who is one of the founders and we had a brief conversation about Made in Social.
I had a chance to sit down with Guy Kawasaki in his home the other day to chat about his new book Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. The book explains how to influence what people will do while maintaining the highest standards of ethics. It explains when and why enchantment is necessary and then the pillars of enchantment: likability, trustworthiness, and a great cause.
I wanted to know more about what influences in Guy’s life were the inspiration for this work. And I was curious about who Guy thinks are good examples of enchanters — those who lead their companies and brands using similar techniques described in the book.
Of course being hockey fanatics we could not skip the subject of ice hockey. How did Guy, who was born and raised in Hawaii, become an avid hockey player and a huge San Jose Sharks fan? Watch the video.
I love it when some ingenuity and a little bit of hard work results in a product that solves a problem. Tembo Trunks are portable, non-electrical, virtually indestructible stereo speakers that amplify your tunes – anywhere, anytime. And they will be available in different colors. Think about it – you’re at the beach or camping, you attach Tembo Trunks to your headphones earbuds and voila, you have a portable stereo that everyone around you can enjoy. And the best thing is – you don’t have to worry about your portable speakers getting scratched up, broken or spilled on. Check out the video and help these guys out by contributing a little of cash to bring this great idea to life. (Tembo Trunks)
If you’re a parent with an iPhone, iPad, or iTouch, then you’re probably aware that the little munchkins know how to work your device better than you do. They have also figured out how to rearrange applications and even delete them. And the last thing you need is your kid accidently firing off an e-mail to your boss full of gibberish, making you look like an idiot. Of course, Apple has built in Restrictions, which are supposed to help restrict what children (or some adults) can and can’t get to. Once enabled, Restrictions essentially remove a specific application such as Safari, YouTube, or iTunes from the screen. Restrictions also allow more-granular control over applications, music, and movies that have age restrictions. For example, I can restrict any application that is not appropriate for kids under the age of 9. But this means that when you’re ready to claim your device back and use Restricted applications, you have to disable some or all Restrictions. So in essence Apple’s iOS Restrictions are great if your child is the only one who uses the device. However, chances are it’s your iPhone or iPad and your child gets to play with it when you let him, or when you don’t see him snatch it from your super-secret hiding spot.
We can also make the argument that the device is not a toy and kids should not use it. However, that argument won’t stand up in court. We all know that by unleashing iPhones and iPads onto the world, Apple single handedly created baby crack. Kids (and most adults) cannot resist the temptation of killing time playing some pretty amazing games. And as smart as Apple’s engineers are, I can’t understand why they could not design a better way to handle Restrictions as a whole.
Here is my solution – page-based Restrictions. Leave existing Restrictions settings in place, but also allow me as a user to restrict access to everything with the exception of one specific page. For example, I move all games and applications that my kid is allowed to use to a page. And lets say it’s the last page. When the kid flips to that page, he is not able to flip back unless a pre-set secret code is entered correctly. This way I can flip to the secure page, give my iPhone to my child, and not worry about him browsing through other pages or apps. Simple and effective. So how about it, Apple? Don’t any of your software engineers have kids?
If you have other solutions and ideas, then please post them in comments.
In my humble opinion, the iPhone 4 looks great, and if it didn’t have the reported problems, I wouldn’t see any reason to cover it with a case. But the reality is different, so I protect my investment with some sort of a case or screen. There are plenty of case choices–some are thick, some thin; some tacky, some slippery; some feel expensive, and some feel and look cheap. What’s important, I feel, is the thickness of the case, how it feels in my hand, and maybe its appearance. Personally, I like a super-thin case so I doesn’t add to the bulkiness and weight of the phone in my pocket, and a slightly sticky/tacky feel so that the phone feels secure in my hand.
For this quick hands-on I focused on iFrogz Luxe Original case because it’s most likely the case you will find at an AT&T store. The case is two parts, top and bottom, and I simply snap the two halves together over the iPhone 4. On the back is a “belly button” locking mechanism that prevents the two halves from coming apart. The case is colorful and fun-looking (comes in teal/black, black/black, red/black, blue/black, fuchsia/black, and gun metal/black), fairly thin, and feels good in my hand. The case is made from a polycarbonate material so it feels slightly tacky but not sticky. It communicates a secure feel in my hand and is quite comfortable.
There seems to be a problem with iTunes that, as far as I can tell, Apple is not addressing – at least not publicly. According to many users complaining in the iTunes support forums, and my own experience, Apple is not accepting some people’s credit cards and debit cards as payments for apps, music or what have you. The problem seems to be sporadic, which is probably why there is no official response on Apple’s forums.
Here is what happens. I go to iTunes and edit my credit card information in my account settings. In my case I entered the number from the Wells Fargo Business Visa/Debit card, which I have been using as a debit and Visa card for the last 8 years. Continue Reading
Usually I am not compelled to review iPhone apps but I just had to talk about BOINK because it’s so… well… amusing? Say you’re bored with birthday, housewarming, game or pharm theme parties, and you also happen to be an iPhone fanboy or fangirl, then you better get your bits to the App store and download BOINK from MEDL Mobile. It’s a new iPhone app that uses BUMP technology to check sexual compatibility between two people. Set your sexual preferences from various categories such as type of kissing, foreplay, oral, sex style, positions, and fetishes, then BUMP your iPhone with another BOINK phone and you will be notified if you should quickly run away from the person or take them to the nearest motel. User preferences stay completely private. The app simply tells both parties how likely they are to enjoy a sexual hook-up and not — incompatible because one of you likes fast-sloppy-aggressive tonguing, followed by drunk sex in public while wearing leather.
Setting up BOINK preferences is very entertaining and can even be educational. Browsing the Positions category for example, I quickly figured out that “The Jockey” is not just a dude that rides race horses. And Rusty Bike Pump has nothing to do with a bike but will require some stretching before you attempt the position. Thankfully there are diagrams with short set of instructions for positions that are not so “mainstream”. Continue Reading
Plenty has been said and published about Netbooks and their place in the everyday work life. What I wanted to know is what it’s like to use one on daily basis, not for a few days but for a few months. Can a Netbook replace a traditional laptop? So I called ASUS, who practically invented the Netbook category, and they send me an ASUS Eee PC 1008HA. If you’re into specs then scroll down to see them.
Eee PC 1008HA, also known as the Seashell, is a much different design from many other Netbooks on the market. It’s a slim, curved, tapered and lightened chassis that’s just an inch in thickness at its largest point. It’s got a high gloss finish and overall just a sexy-looking machine, making it one of the best looking Netbooks I’ve seen. Most other Netbooks look well… boring compared to 1008HA. Opening the machine reveals a different trackpad than what I am used. The trackpad is dimpled and has some two-fingered zoom in and out gestures. I could do scrolling by dragging my finger along the right side of the trackpad – this is not apparent thought at first but discovered quickly due to a simple habit. Asus also managed to cram a decent size keyboard into the Seashell and I really appreciated the full sized right Shift key. You probably don’t know you want that until you don’t have it. However, one of my biggest disappointments was the glossy finish which seems to cover itself in finger prints. Technically it’s not a huge issue but I did find myself keeping one of those clothes that I clean my sunglasses with to periodically restore the original shine to the Seashell.