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Showing posts from March, 2011

The future of education is bright!

I'm not a guru on education [yet], but was recently inspired by a couple of things that are now coming nicely together...

NoPC.org.uk and One.laptop.org are doing noteworthy work to bring technology to kids, especially where good education is lacking. But I know at least that my wife and I have been cautious in introducing too much tech too early to our kids, as we fear that the positive impact of tech could be overshadowed by an imbalance, if the kids don't develop other skills (e.g. those acquired through sports and play).
Both NoPC and One Laptop Per Child need good content, and I know many companies build great content for this purpose.
But today I followed a TED videocast about the work Salman Khan does in creating educational videos. There were a few interesting things that his organisation has done and found. For example, their data shows that the "slower" kids quickly catch up and become indistinguishable from the "faster" kids: Don't let the pa…

Tennis playing flying robots are our friends

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This, I like!

It ties nicely into my Cyborg experience and social robots, don't you think? What's next? A robotic dog? Oh - I forgot, that's old news!

Less-than-free business model

I've stumbled across this good write-up by Bill Gurley on how Google are changing the market it's operating in. Have a look!

When I was at Microsoft, Microsoft also offered some customers money to search (e.g. by making Live Search the default on machines bought from Dixons or paying enterprise customers to get their employees to use Live Search, or paying consumers cash back), but the economics never quite stacked up to make this work for Microsof or their customers IMHO. And at the heart of the problem was the vicious circle that Microsoft found themselves to be stuck in: Poor search relevancy -> fewer users -> fewer advertisers -> less revenue to share in the model above to compensate for the poor results.

I've just been briefed on the latest features that are being built for Google Apps... Google keeps on making best use of it's (own) assets to augment and enhance it's products. I can't spill the beans on any of this, but as an example...

Street Vi…

A good RSS reader for sites

Google Sites are an incredible powerful tool, and the extensibility of "insert -> gadget" is fantastic.

But... I still get frustrated that the gallery of gadgets is so vast without a great way to find the nuggets. So, in case you are looking for a good way to display your favourite RSS feed (only one) in a Google site, I found this one to work well for me. Just copy the URL, and paste it in "gadget URL".
What makes this one good for me, is that it's not trying to be too clever and format my content. It simply inherits the style from the site it's sitting in.

Happy Birthday to me (but it's not)

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I received an email from Google HR a few minutes ago, wishing me a happy birthday... even though it's still a few months before my real birthday.

It was to congratulate me on my first year at Google, or in the words from HR "You have been at Google for 365 days, 1/10th of a decade, >3.15 x 1010 milliseconds, 20% of a lustrum or 0.001 of a millennium and today is your 1st Google Birthday :)"
Incredibly, 43% of Google joined after me, which just shows the incredible growth... and the best (eg.) is yet to come!

My day with a cyborg

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A couple of weeks ago, I was given the chance to spend a day with Kevin Warwick... and what a day it was!
http://www.google.com/events/sciencefair/blog.html



On yoghurts and culture

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I've posted one of Manu's earlier Goomics before... and this one got me chuckling again.
How will outdated yoghurt be treated in your work place?


Work life balance observations

TEDTalks : Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work - Nigel Marsh (2010)In this TED talk, Nigel flags a few things about work life balance:
* It's up to you and me to fix it
* we should approach the balance with balance
* small things can make a big differenceLovely quote: "Millions of people work long hours on jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don't need to impress people they don't like."Have a good weekend!

The next social wave will be through robots

TEDTalks : Cynthia Breazeal: The rise of personal robots - Cynthia Breazeal (2010)Social is important. Nobody is arguing with this. But to text, to chat, even a photo or video presence is just so poor compared to the meeting in the flesh.This TED talk really got me thinking about the next social wave!

VOIP calling on latest gingerbread is tasty with Android!

With Vodafone's troubles yesterday, the value of my Android phone's ability to call using a wifi connection, was again demonstrated.

Essentially, my set-up is this: I signed up for a sipdiscount customer, which allows me to make cheap calls to family in South Africa and elsewhere abroad. I've got a Fritz!Box at home (an old one bought on ebay, that was originally issued by a Greek Telco) that are connected to my broadband, my TalkTalk phone line and also my normal home DECT phones. When my non-IT family place a call to 002711.... or any other international number (as I've defined in Fritz!Box rules), the call is not connected to my landline, but rather routed over broadband, via sipdiscount, and it just cost me €0.06 per minute to SA (or free to the UK).
On my Android (a Nexus S), I've configured the same sipdiscount account, and when I now dial a number - any number - it gives me the option to dial using the cellular network or the wifi/voip/sipdiscount network. Yes…