Month: September 2011

Video of a man making a vacuum tube

These two videos take some time but if you like this kind of view of fabrication you’re gonna love it. The piano music goes well with it but gets long after a while. Turning sound off helps but then you miss the occassional sound of the fabrication tools.

Note: I originally posted this on January 8, 2008 with a link to video but I’m re-posting today with embedded video.

[via Justin Blanton]

[via Product by Process]

Instagram 2.0 upgrade a downgrade

Instagram 2.0 review: Insta-grumble

I agree, the recent big Instagram upgrade was terrible, images aren’t saved into the main library anymore, the filters suck, and the entire operation of the app has been slowed down and downgraded.

I’m going to go back to using Path a bit more and I’m not crazy about its UI either but at this point its better than Instagram.

For those who don’t know about these iOS Apps they’re iPhone photography apps that allow posting to a mini social network of your friends (limited number, not the whole world). Instagram also allows simultaneous posting to Twitter and Flickr from inside the app which is very convenient.

Both apps will geotag images which is nice and allow a bit of key word tagging as well. While I don’t use my iPhone as a primary camera I do enjoy taking pictures with it and the fact that these apps allow posting pictures instantly (if one has a connection, either wifi or cellular) makes them appealing.

[via Daring Fireball]


Apple’s ‘Assistant’ Seen as Key Feature for New iPhone Hardware

Apple has been thinking about virtual assistants for years. Some of you may remember their mock up called Knowledge Navigator that included a visual person in the form of a guy with a bow tie. That bow tie guy is an assistant who understands natural language and figures stuff out.

We’re starting down that path with this new assistant.

Apple is using speech to text technology from Nuance Siri to power Assistant. Here’s Siri’s demo I posted about earlier. Apple’s assistant technology will be built into iOS 5.

My guess is this kind of assistant will be part of all Apple products at some point.

NGrams and Culturomics

What we learned from 5 million books

Erez Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel do a talk at TED about what they did with a huge amount of digitized book data from Google. This is a fascinating talk and worth watching.

You can mess with it yourself with Google’s Books Ngram Viewer.

As an example I graphed the use of the term “dyslexia” from 1900 to 2008. Notice that it peaks around 2000 and then starts dropping off. I’m guessing this is because it was replaced by the phrase “auditory processing disorder.” Sure enough it was.

Wow, this is amazing. Give it a go, let me know what you come up with in comments.