Monday, July 14, 2014

My kind of nerdery!

I love all things space. Here is a great breakdown of the Saturn V Apollo. Enjoy!
Make sure to click on the image to see all the detail.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Gimme back my old Google maps

Although, the new Google maps is very pretty, I miss a lot of thew features from the old version like exact mileage.So, how does one get to the old classic version of maps. It's easy. Click here and save this link as a bookmark so you have it for later use. You can also get to it by clicking at the bottom of the new Google map on the question mark and choosing to show the classic version. Now you can get what you want, easily.

Friday, June 27, 2014

I wish I saw this as a kid

Many times throughout my schooling we read plays or short stories of famous long dead historical figures. The problem is they stayed dead in my mind. I never heard their voices or saw them as older people. Instead, I have images of people locked in amber, unchanging. These days, you can pull up footage of these people or see photos, paintings or other such moments in time of these amazing luminaries. As a perfect example, today is Helen Keller's birthday and of course we have access to an amazing video of her speaking, reading, and listening. The image in my head is of a young girl, and that is what she looked like until I watched the video below. I have a better feeling and understanding of who she is. It is unfortunate that many schools do not take advantage of sites like Youtube and instead choose to block them.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Well, those are awesome

I live with my earbuds. They are always in my pocket so I can zone out with music or news. However, I hate wires. I get them caught up in any project I'm working on and usually yank them out of my ears with a large popping sound. Take a peek at these wireless earbuds. These look amazing and I love the idea that you can't tell if you're wearing them. I don't buy earphones to show them off, looking at you Beets, but I buy them for good sound and sound blocking ability. This is a kickstarter and like all kickstarter projects, be prepared for delays.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Be wary of news bearing breakthroughs

Last week, we had the big news of the Turing test being beaten.  From Wikipedia, "The Turing test is a test of a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human." It was reported that a super computer fooled 30% of people into thinking it was a 13 year old Ukrainian child. A few things wrong, it is not a super computer, it was a program known as a chatbot. Chatbot's are used many many places from legit uses such as answering basic questions on the phone to questionable uses like spam-bots trying to get you to click on a link. So what's the big deal? My first encounter of the Turing test or a chatbot was the famous Eliza. She was a simple program with set responses that would keep leading you on for more information. I did not have a super computer, just an old LC II. Eliza is still running today and is just as strangely fun as I remember her and can be used here. Secondly, this is not a landmark. Chatbots have been fooling people for years now. There have been countless articles about this and other strange tests like having two chatbots talking to each other while each one tries to figure out if the other is a chatbot. Screwy, isn't it? Heck, if you want to talk to a chatbot, try chatbot4u, which is a site that people create bots with preset answers like the Hans Christian Andersen botYes, there really is such a thing. Today, you can read articles about this "ground breaking test" ranging from titles as wide as, A computer just passed the Turing Test in landmark trial to Why The Turing Test Is Bullshit. The reason I write this is to do two things, to inform you about what a Turing test is and the fact that we should question all "breakthroughs" much more closely. Lastly, let me recommend listening to this interview, from On The Media, a great podcast by the way, about the news media's failure to ask the right questions.
If you're feeling down after the interview, try out Eliza. She is very calming.