Wednesday, December 31

PDA translates speech

PDA translates speech - in a very limited domain of Medical speak, researchers have written software to run on an iPAQ that can translate Arabic->English and English->Arabic for medical speech and have also written software to translate street signs from digital photos taken with the PDA.

With PDAs being as fast as computers were 4 or 5 years ago, they have plenty of CPU power for speech recognition. Their biggest limitation is the small amount of storage space on the devices. Give them a few more years and they'll have software like this bundled with the devices! (They have Handwriting recognition bundled with them already. Speech would be a much quicker/easier way to use the device - and would allow for usage while driving a car/etc)

Web's inventor gets a knighthood

BBC News reports that Tim Berners-Lee, one of the pioneers of WWW and the founder and chairman of the W3C, has been awarded a knighthood.

Friday, December 26

Mars Express

The Mars Probe launched by the European Space Agency has reached orbit around the Red Planet. It arrived at 03:47 CET 25/12/2003.

At about the same time, the Beage 2 lander entered the atmosphere. They have yet to establish contact with the lander.

Tuesday, December 23

Antibubbles in Beer from Belgium

Antibubbles in Beer from Belgium. It seems belgium beer is similar to, but not the same as dishwater.

Friday, December 19

Wooden Ferrari

A Wooden Ferrari boat. Very well made. No specs on this thing, only a few pictures.

Tuesday, December 16

Longest Line - Ginza Apple Store (Tokyo)

Movie of the opening of the new Apple store in Japan. Or more specifically, the Queue outside the store. See the movie to the end to see how long the queue is.

Apple opened their first store in Japan on Sunday, November 30, 2003.

Wired News has some more information from an American who flew over for the opening, so as to gather information for his website -, including revelations about their visitor tracking system and store standardisation.

Saturday, December 13

Digital vs Analogue Cameras

Would Ansel Adams Have Gone Digital? asked Peter Lewis to Richard loPinto, vice president for SLR camera systems at Nikon. Executive summary at

Extremely short summary: Yes - he liked using cutting edge technology.

The Ansel Adams Gallery has many of his pictures online.

Thursday, December 11

Monkey Play

We have found some old, previously unreleased dirty photos of Ice Monkey, one of our work mascots, whose death was first reported here last month.

Is seems that the original article has gotten some publicity and at another place also. People have also found it by doing google searches for "Ice Monkey".

Wednesday, December 10

DIY Cruise Missile Shutdown

The project to construct a Cruise Missile for under US$5000 has been shut down by the New Zealand government, in what appears to be an illegal fashion.

As he hadn't broken any laws, the NZ Government couldn't shut his project down by direct methods, so they have deliberately scuttled a licensing deal he has with a US Company over a different product and are causing a nuisance with his website and other things.

Wednesday, December 3

Tuesday, December 2

If a Computer Beeps and There is No One Around...

If a Computer Beeps and There is No One Around...:
A supposedly actual bug report allegedly from someone at Microsoft.

"Visual C++ makes an audible signal when a build completes. When no
developer is in the room, this signal doesn't make a sound. To reproduce:

1) Start a build.
2) Leave the room.
3) Note that the chime does not make a sound.

We should find a way to make the build bell make a sound even if nobody
is there to hear it.

This philosophical issue may need program management's attention before
being resolved."

Monday, December 1

Rings stars keep souvenirs

The Australian reports: "ELIJAH Wood has the ring, Sean Astin has Sam's bag and Peter Jackson has, well, a framed carrot."

And the guy behind Gollum got a rubber fish.