Friday, 29 April 2005

Size of the Internet

An interesting paper on the size of the Internet. Pity its a 2003 paper using 2002 data. Must find a more up to date figure. Even so 532 TB sounds enough!

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Wednesday, 27 April 2005

ReaderBot Beta

Hear this page using ReaderBot

As part of the build up to the launch of ReaderBot in July we've put it onto this site as part of the beta test programme. Essentially it lets blind users hear a web site without having to install any specific software. Later versions will allow the site to be delivered as speech over the telephone. Give it a try and let us know what you think at

Note: Internet Explorer users will need to press ENTER after pressing ALT-R.

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Tuesday, 19 April 2005

Turing Hub - Take a Turing Test

Where the singularity starts?

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Bot Blog

Bot Blog
Good Chatbot Blog, courtesy of the Robitron list.

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Runescape, Children and Virtual Reality - Birmingham Post Column 050419


Runescape. For many of you the word won't mean much. But for the children in our family, their school friends, and most of their friends across the country Runescape is the obsession of the moment.

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Friday, 15 April 2005

It's the end of the world...

Prompted by Astronomer Royal Sir Martin Rees recent declaration that manking only stood a 50:50 chance of surviving the century the Guardian has an excellent article look at the main risks to humanity, and ranking by likelihood to happen in the next 70 years, and their impact if they do (they've obviously been on a risk management course!). The risks are:

- Climate Change: High/6
- Telomere erosion: Low/8
- Viral Pandemic: Very High/3
- Terrorism: Very High/2
- Nuclear War: Low/8
- Meteorite: Medium/5
- Robot takeover: High/8
- Cosmic ray blast: Low/4
- Super Volcanoes: Very High/7
- Black Hole: Exceedingly low/10

So looks like its a tie between Robots and Supervolcanoes. Looks like the Singularity is as close as we thought.

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Chatterbox Challenge 2005 Underway

The Chatterbox Challenge is underway again. Public votnig lasts until 30 April so please visit them and vote for Halo.

Read the full press release that we've put out on behalf of Chatterbox Challenge.

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Wednesday, 13 April 2005

Whatever Happened to Virtual Reality

Went to a cracking BCS/IEE lecture by Prof Bob Stone from UoB on Virtual Reailty. His main thesis being that a) kids are immersed in pseudo-3D games as much as any one ever was by real VR headsets and b) that games platforms enables VR on the cheap. As this generation grows up watch out for new and innovative uses (and deployments) of VR. ..and anybody who flies Space 1999 Eagle interceptors or takes on the Indepedence Day mothership in Microsoft Flight Simulator is OK by me!

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Monday, 11 April 2005

Family History


As a result of my brother digging out the "family history book" that my Grandfather did in the 1930s to show my daughters, and then talking to them in the car on the way home about ancestors and family trees I've momentarily caught the family history bug. Whereas my mental picture was of the Burdens coming from Lincolnshire I now find that that was my paternal grandmother's side, and that the Burdens actually came from Eynsham in Oxfordshire, only a few miles away from my in-laws. Having spent the weekend on the on-line history sites I think I've got the tree back to around 1800, and it looks like someone else can then take it back to the 1600s. Mind you we were only farm labourers so there's no riches buried away. The next step is to go "real world" and pop down to the village to look at gravestones, the Oxfordshire Family History Society and maybe even the Family records Office in London. Finding my way throughthe maze of information has been a real nightmare, so I've added an idiots guide below, mainly to help me and the kids when we return to the topic later, but it may also be of use to someone else. Once I've got a fuller firmer picture of the tree I'll post the relevant data here for any other Burdens to read.

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Friday, 1 April 2005

Things I love about Birmingham (and Moseley) #2


Once a month Moseley has a wonderful Farmer's Market where local farmers, craftspeople and food makers get the chance to sell directly to Moseley's eclectic inhabitants. Its a wonderful chance to buy good food, and bump in to everyone from friends to local VIPs. Hardly suprisingly it won Best Farmers Market in the Midlands last year. Now if only the could do something about the cars making a left turn at the lights just because the market occupies the slip road....

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Multi-Room audio for fifty quid


I've had something of a love-hate relationship with my MP101, and it sat idle for sveral months whilst I upgraded the server to XP, moved onto a new WiFi channel to avoid the neighbourhood interference, and bought an external antenna - and then a wireless repeater - in order to get the signal through all the brick walls in our solidly built 1900s house. However since doing this lot it has performed flawlessly. So flawlessly that I started thinnking about putting MP101s into each of the main rooms in the house. Such an enterprise has now been made readily acheiveable by all the MP101s going at £50 - £60 on eBay. And with the MP115 just launched (no LCD display so no good for this task), chances are MP101s will drop in price even further.

Suffice to say I can now work in the kitchen, utility or lounge and now have my whole music collection played to me. Next rooms - the dining room and the attic/games room.

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