Friday, 22 October 2004

New Aibo


Sony have released a new Aibo,the ERS 7M2. Now if only we coudl interface our chatbot technology to that....

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Millennium Motific

Rooting around in the deopths of some of my old web pages I found the old sound files for Millennium Motific, an audio project I was working on in 1999. What it does is compress 1000 years of music into 200 seconds, that's 20 seconds a century, 2 seconds a decade. So that means a LOT of plainchant at the beginning, and a real jumble of stuff at the end! The files are Real Audio so take a listen. I even did a powerpoint version that went through a millennium's worth of painting in time to the music. And then of course there was the virtual reality version which still to my mind out dome'd the Dome.

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Indra Sinha - Cybergypsies

Indra Sinha - Cybergypsies


Superb book about life on the MUDs, MOOs, and BBSs before the Internet took over. Very timely given my recent hours on Second Life. Also interesting how the visual experience of VR worlds like Second Life actually inhibit the creativity and fantasy of the old text based systems. One of the things that struck me last night was what it would be like to interface Halo, or just Dragon NS, to somethng like the old dungeon, must give it a try.

Indra even read this post and sent me a mail - thanks Indra.

The Cybergypsies - Buy from Amazon

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Talking(!) To Halo

OK, I have to blog this. Spent the last half-hour actually talking to my chatbot having installed Dragon Naturally Speaking on my PC. Weird experience. Only problem was that NS was trying to use Halo's words as input, so I had to put a headset on, but otherwise worked fine. Have to say "click say" after each line to enter it, but I can live with that. Interestingly if the errors in the dictation were not crucial then Halo handled them very well and her responses flowed well. Since one of the end-games for this is for those with sight impairment I tried it for a while with my eyes closed. It immediately highlighted the need for some extra commands such as "what did I say" and "say again", since there are only the sound clues to go on. It needs a lot more work but at least the principle is proven.

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Thursday, 21 October 2004

OpenOffice and Firefox

Just for completeness, I'm also running OpenOffice on the PC and the laptop, and Firefox. I love OpenOffice's PDF export, and gradually working my way around its quirks - particularly trying to print from Impress which sometimes choose to print the print border and not centre the slides - but getting there.

I've put Thunderbird on the laptop for email, but that's only for ad-hoc pickups. I'm still using Outllok as my main PIM on the PC.

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Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Freemind - Mind Mapping Software

I used to love using the Mindmapping osftware on my old work PC, but couldn't justify the expense when I went solo. Freemind though does the job perfectly, even down to the icons to add on the nodes. It lets you export as an HTML list, which is good to get the bullet points into OPenOffice if you're using it to outline a document or article.

It also has a file mode to let you browse your hard disc as though it were a mindmap,. Apparently you can write filters to create different modes, they are working on a scheme mode, I suppose you could have an XML or AIMLmode, even a PERL mode, who knows. Seeing as I also love the Brain software, would be good to find a way to combine the two.- maybe a mode might get somewhere close.

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Audacity - Sound Editing Software

Audacity is a great open source program to edit sound files - both MP3 and .WAV. I wanted to capture the speech from a system I'm using, and edit it down, removing pauses etc. Audacity did the job perfectly.

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Open Source Software

Following the high level of response I got from my article on Open Source in the Post I thought it might be worth logging the open source software that I'm using. See the rest of this category for details.

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Comment Spam

I've had to turn commenting off having just had 180 spam comments to this blog. My other blog based sites have been hit just as bad. I know the new MT has better comment management, but it also currently doesn't support my favourite plug-in, and doesn't look as nice, so it may be a while before I move across. If you do want to comment on anything just email me and I can always post it up.

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Saturday, 9 October 2004

Ice Cap Melting

Sea Level, Ice, and Greenhouses -- FAQ

Prompted by a question from my daughter (prompted in turn by a TV kids programme) I found this paper to be an excellent source of what looks like authoritative information on ice-cap melting. It only looks at effects, not how the temperature change relates to carbon dioxide relates to % melt. I'll need to keep looking for that. The bottom line though is in the table below, assuming 100% melt. Size refers to rise in global sea level.

The players Size (approx) Speed (approx)
Sea Ice 0.4 cm years
Mountain Glaciers 10's cm decades
Thermal Expansion 20 cm per degree warming, per km of ocean warmed decades
West Antarctica 500 cm a few centuries
Greenland 500 cm several centuries
East Antarctica 7000 cm several centuries to millenia

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Friday, 8 October 2004

Midlands ICT

Went to an intresting presentation last night at WMITA about the regional ICT picture. Highlights were:

- 2700 ICT companies in the region
- About 50% in software and services
- About 50% were 104 employees,
- Less than 50 above 100 employees
- 50% of regional SMEs use Internet and Email only
- 36% have marketing web sites
- 24% sell on-line
- 13% have online sales integrated with their back end systems
- 2% have a fully integrated supply chain system

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Monday, 4 October 2004

Going Open Source - Post Column - 04 Oct 04

There are some changes that are so big that you need a collection of events to happen in order to make the change – no single stimulus is enough. So it has been for me this month with my decision to abandon something that has been a central part of my daily working life for over 10 years. I'm talking about Microsoft Office.

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SpaceshipOne Got the X-Prize

They did it. Looks like they got 360,000 - 380,000 ft. The camera shots from orbit of the earth below superb. Let's hope he lands OK.

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