Intel speech recognition

I think Google is in the lead on this one, with Apple within closing distance but still second.

I might have to revisit what I wrote just yesterday; I wouldn’t discount Intel:

Intel partnered with an unnamed third party to put that company’s voice recognition software on Intel mobile processors powerful enough to parse the human voice but small enough to fit in the device that’s listening, no round trip to the cloud required.

This would be an interesting gumshoe exercise … Nuance?

The difference that 15 years makes

There are some great passages in this Salon article — written at Apple’s nadir — about ex-Apple programmers working for Microsoft. In those areas where a contrast is drawn, I think most would agree that Apple now bests Microsoft.

Some choice parts:

And of course Microsoft is determined to keep developing Mac versions of its Web browser to press its struggle for market share with Netscape.

I wonder how many members of the current youth could conceive of the browser situation in 1997, where Netscape was the incumbent.

How do these software artists feel about working for the company that the public and the media, if not they themselves, often picture as an all-devouring Evil Empire?

I wonder which company would today come to mind if you asked people to identify the “Evil Empire”?

“Working for Apple is a very frustrating experience because Apple is extraordinarily good at inventing things, but extremely bad at competing,” Eames explains.

Surely, the situation is diametrically opposite now. Continue Reading →

30 years of the Mac

The Mac was launched 30 years ago today. I don’t remember the launch, but I do remember (as a late primary school student) being taken by my mother to try one out in a computer store on Oxford Street, Bondi Junction, not long afterwards. It was immediately clear that the GUI was a far superior way of doing things, particularly for those who were not as techie as I (read:parents).

Some months later, when Apple released a mouse for our then-new Apple 2e, we grabbed one immediately. I still remember getting used to the way it worked as a user (mouse paint on such a dinky machine felt nearly as good as MacDraw), then jumping into BASIC to work out how to interface with it as a programmer. IN#4 and all that…

That was useful knowledge when we finally bought our first Mac, and retired the Apple 2e, about half a decade later. The superiority of the Mac to the Apple was clear as soon as I started learning to programme it: it did not have a closed apple key, but it could detect presses of just the shift key! And it could tell a press on the left shift key from one on the right!

Apple has set up a site for people to post reminiscences such as this. Clever marketing. But it also reveals some interesting things. Continue Reading →

The SMH … sigh

What is it about using commas for pauses, but not to separate dependent clauses

Unsurprisingly, African countries with their high rates of malnourishment and lack of access to clean water and affordable produce, populated the top 10 worst countries to eat in.

including when they are clearly needed?

The all-rounder dubbed the Big Show by teammates threatened his best production yet, hauling Australia back from 4-114 after the exit of Shaun Marsh (55) into what was looking by the minute a match-turning knock.

That article has a pearler even by the standards of sports journalism:

The ball after reverse-pulling Bresnan for another boundary a slightly more conventional pull brought him unstuck, ending up in the hands of Ravi Bopara at midwicket.

So the ball reverse-pulled Bresnan? Sigh…

And, of course, no sports article would be complete without a failure to recognise the existence of the collective singular:

Australia lead the series 2-0 heading into Sunday’s third match in Sydney.

More lacklustre writing in the Herald:

It comes as Fairfax Media revealed the T-shirts pulled by Aldi had been approved by the federal government.

It is unclear if the Big W shirts were also approved by the government.

Numerous objectionable bits in just two sentences. Starting with the minor ones:

  1. “It comes”
  2. “revealed the” should be “revealed that the”
  3. “It is unclear if” should be “It is unclear whether”

More significantly, the reference to “federal government” is rather slipshod.

First, it should be (as is stated later in the article) a reference to a permission granted by DPMC (the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet) not the “government” itself.

Secondly, the article omits to mention that the approval occurred in July 2013 (i.e. the previous administration).

Thirdly, the article omits to mention what the approval was for. It says later:

The seven designs had been approved by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in July 2013, under strict guidelines regarding products bearing the image of the Australian flag.

However, it appears likely that the approval would not have been for the content of the shirt per se, nor even for use of the flag on a commercial product. Rather, it seems likely that the “approval” was actually permission to import a product bearing the Australian flag under Customs legislation — suggesting that the shirts were made overseas. See this explanation (or the legislation itself).

If that is the case, then the “strict guidelines” in the quote relate to the import of the articles, not their content. The article rather suggests that the approval was as to the content, and that it was given by the present administration, which is a wholly different complexion.